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We Attack At Dawn!
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We Attack At Dawn!
Toward the end of WWII, an army platoon encouters German resistance.
Gregory J Christiano
I was born in NYC 1947, lived in the Bronx till I got married and moved to Jersey in 1979. I was raised Roman Catholic and went to Catholic grammar and High School. Graduated with BA from Central University of Iowa. Worked in Manhattan most of my career. Presently I am a Claims Adjuster for a service company in the city.
I have only been writing seriously for the past three years, but am published in various nostalgia magazines, have won some awards on line and was awarded the coveted Halpern Memorial Award for best narrative for the Fall 2002 issue of the Bronx County Historical Society Journal. I also have several of my poems published in anthologies. Two short stories will be published at the end of this year.
I will submit essays, historical articles, short stories, and poetry. Looking forward to reading and commenting on the works of fellow authors at this site.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (14)
A Death In The City (Poetry) It is a painful and tragic event when a parent must bury their child. [241 words]
Card Sharps (Short Stories) The poker game grew heated. The cheated card player lay dead on the floor! [1,309 words] [Crime]
Dancing With A Stranger (Poetry) It's a Make Believe Ballroom - when two stangers meet and fall in love! [312 words] [Drama]
Invisible Universe (Novels) Suppose our science was able to shrink a man into a sub-atomic level. What would he find there, and wouls his journey ever end? This is a story of one such traveller and his adventures into that rea... [2,651 words] [Science Fiction]
Invisible Universe - Chapter Ii - First Contact (Novels) The sub-atomic traveller, attacked by a microscopic life-form fell into the abyss. The adventure continues. [2,184 words] [Science Fiction]
Invisible Universe - Chapter Iii - Myth! (Novels) The lonely traveler continues his journey, ever downward, into vast and endless universes. [2,315 words] [Science Fiction]
Lenny's Last Jump! (Short Stories) Two gangsters out for a night’s work, but they’re in for a surprise! [880 words]
Lincoln Past (Poetry) To the honor of one of our greatest Presidents. [107 words] [Biography]
The Five Points (Essays) The old rookeries and dilapidated shanties that formerly abounded in the vicinity of the Five Points and Cow's Bay in the Sixth Ward were the resort and refuge of a desperate class of criminals. This... [897 words] [History]
The Last Full Measure (Essays) Abraham Lincoln on his way to address the crowd at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetary. This has to be one of the greatest speeches ever presented by a head of state! [1,441 words] [Biography]
The Lonely Lighthouse (Poetry) Lighthouse keepers and their wives have an isolated life...most of the time cut off from the mainland. It is a constant struggle to combat loneliness and its effects! [382 words] [Adventure]
The Ninth Avenue El (Essays) Rapid Transit had been a top priority for the city fathers in mid 19th Cenbtury Manhattan. The first elevated railway was a failure but the idea was sound. Once the overhead trains were run by stea... [3,038 words] [History]
The Old Salts And The Sea (Poetry) A shanty to the countless sailors that perished at sea! [205 words] [Adventure]
Who Is The Hero? (Short Stories) Schoolyard bullies have always intimidated their classmates. But what if a boy refuses to fight back? Is he a coward or a hero? [1,534 words] [Motivational]
We Attack At Dawn!
Gregory J Christiano
Private James Miller was just an average G.I. He obeyed orders and did his duty. Beyond that nothing distinguished him until the Army suddenly realized he possessed a rare gift…a gift which was destined to save many lives once it was recognized!
Somewhere on the German border, 1945, nearing open farmland…
“Joe, crawl down the line and tell the guys we’re going to break off! Our mission is accomplished.” Said the grubby, stubble-bearded sergeant.
“Okay Sarge!” answered the Corporal as he headed away from the squad down a ditch. The platoon was still engaging the enemy with small arms fire. As the Corporal spread the word, the platoon withdrew, and twenty minutes later…
“This beats me!” said a perplexed Sergeant Blare Davis as he was stooping down looking at an unfolded map. “The fork in the road isn’t marked on the map!”
“We better know which road to take Sarge!” replied a concerned soldier standing nearby, “One of these forks can lead right into a Krout position!”
Pvt. Miller approached the Sergeant, he was a tall figure, slim, blonde hair, light colored eyes, also with a stubble from days in the trenches, “I don’t want to butt in Sarge, but the LEFT fork is the one that leads back to our position.” He said with confidence.
The Sergeant was credulous about that, “It can’t be, Jimmy! This road was on our right when we moved toward our objective. It’d got to be the RIGHT fork!”
Sgt. Blare Davis was boss, and the platoon moved up the right fork as ordered…”Yeah,” thought a worried Sgt. Davis, “We’re on the right track now! Seems to me I remember this section of terrain.”
It was a desolate area, the moon was shining so the platoon could clearly see the surrounding countryside. Mostly it was in rubble from artillery bombardment and many weeks of battle. Suddenly…
They were under fire! “Take cover! Taylor! Simkovich! Set up a rear guard fire party, so we can withdraw!” cried a startled Sgt. Davis The platoon scattered. “Heads down and keep dispersed!” ordered the Sgt.
Ten minutes had passed when the platoon found itself out of harms way. “Guess Jimmy Miller was right!” said a confused Sgt. Davis, “We take the LEFT fork. Where’s Jimmy?”
“Bringing up the rear as usual,” shouted one of the soldiers.
“Jim, how did you know about that left fork? It isn’t on the map!” asked a curious Sgt. Davis.
“I dunno!” answered a rather grim-faced Jim Miller, “ I remember seeing a stone wall on our left bordering the road when we came in. I figured it would have to be there when we came back.”
“You’ve got some memory, Jim.” The sergeant continued, “I wish I had taken your advice in the first place.”
“Oh, it wasn’t anything special. I just remembered, that’s all!” They walked together with their weapons slung.
When they reached base, they were de-briefed on their mission. “Then your recon mission was just routine, Sergeant?” question the Colonel. “Yessir!,” answered a tired Sgt. Davis, “Nothing unusual. There were more infantry troops than usual passing along that road. The Krout trucks looked sort of new, but that’s about all.”
Pvt Miller, interrupted, “Funny thing about those troops. They had two jagged marks on the side of their helmets.”
“What’s that?’ asked the Colonel, “Do you say two jagged streaks?”
“Yes sir!” replied Miller, “Two streaks, sort of like lightning bolts.”
A spark ignited in the Colonel’s next remark, “Those jagged marks are the insignia of SS troops! This information can change the course of the entire allied plan in this sector!”
The Colonel put his fingers to his chin to think on it some more. “The presence of SS troops in this sector signifies weakness in the Nazi forces! The regular troops of the Wiemacht are being stiffened by die-hard SS thugs!”
“I’ll rush this information straight through to division.” Said the adjutant as he jotted down some notes on his clip board.
The group of soldiers left the tent, “My eyes were open,” said a thoughtful Sgt. Davis, “but I never saw those marks you mentioned Jim.”
“I just happened to notice it!” said Miller rather meekly, “I thought it was a pretty queer insignia.”
Meanwhile some miles ahead at the front, General Gallagher was peering through his binoculars , “Somewhere out there a Krout observation post is calling signals on us…and the artillery fire is pretty accurate!”
“We have our direction finders working to locate the OP, sir.” Said Captain Forrester.
A runner approached the general, saluting and handing him a dispatch, “Signal Corps report on the enemy observation post, sir. I think they’ve pinpointed it.”
“Good,” commented Gen. Gallagher, “We’ll have a photo recon plane get some shots of the area.”
The following morning, at headquarters…the photos were developed and the Colonel was briefing Sgt. Davis on what action to take. “Now, right there is the abandoned silo the enemy is using to radio artillery information from. Take a good look at these shots. Your mission will be to destroy the silo.” Jim Miller was standing nearby also browsing over the photos.
Beacon Green Platoon moved cautiously toward their objective, and a few hours later –
They reached the outskirts of the farm, the Sgt, peering intently through his binoculars. “That’s it!” he said, “Take a good look at it Jim.”
“Must be it, “ said the Pvt., “It’s the only one around and that’s the approximate spot the detectors pinned down.”
“How does it look?” continued the Sgt.
“It’s a silo, but I don’t know. I’m not sure.” Jim was looking through the binoculars when he answered the Sgt.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” said the Sgt. In a frustrated, strained voice, “That’s the place. Let’s get ready to jump off!”
But Jim Miller wasn’t so confident. He was rubbing his chin, deep in thought, when he continued to object to the Sgt. “Something about that silo, Sarge. I can’t pin it down yet, but I’m still not sure.”
Sgt. Davis prepared to attack. Everybody was ready except Private Jim Miller…
“Get set to jump off!” shouted Sgt. Davis, then he turned to Miller, “What’s eating you, Miller?”
Miller took his helmet off, and like a flash of light he suddenly realized what was bothering him about that silo. “I got a hunch about that silo!” he said as he adjusted the straps in his helmet, “I got a feeling that’s NOT our objective.”
Then he pause reflecting on what he had said, “Listen, Sarge…give me a chance to make sure. Let’s scout this area once more. It will only take an hour or so.”
The Sgt. Sighed, “I’m crazy to even listen to you, Jim. I’ll go along for one hour, but when it’s up, we attack!”
For one solid hour the men of beacon Green Platoon probed the area carefully, observing, feeling, checking, and searching.
“Are you satisfied now, Jim, that silo is our objective?”
“NO WAIT!” said an excited Jim Miller, “Look at these fresh wheel marks. Heavy stuff has been dragged to that silo from the woods. Let’s check.” He pointed ahead.
Ten minutes later, Miller led the platoon to another silo and pointed at it, “There’s the silo we’re after. The other one is a dummy, set up to throw us off track!”
“You’re right, Jim” admitted the Sgt., “We ought to flush something out of that nest.”
From dispersed positions, Sgt. Davis led the attack. “CUT LOOSE!” he cried. Screaming, he led the attack through the flimsy boards of the silo, as the attack increased in intensity.
“They’re firing back!” yelled Miller, “Does that prove we’re hitting the real thing?”
“It sure does,” responded the Sgt., firing his machine gun in short bursts.
“Belton, DiMatto, Farrell, get around to the rear. Let’s hit ‘em men.” The Sgt. Ordered as they ran toward the foot of the structure.
Another ten minutes passed, the Nazi defenders surrendered… “Farrell, take a couple of men and check inside an’ see if we got ‘em all.”
On the road back, the Sgt. asked Miller, “Jim, how did you notice the difference between the two silos?”
“I wasn’t sure at first,” Miller began, “But then I remembered those black and white photos. The film showed up the CAMOUFLAGE in shades of gray.” He paused, turned and then continued, “The real silo had camouflage markings which gave it away on film!”
The Sgt., impressed, shook his head, “Jim, the army is going to make use of your talents from now on. I’ll see to it personally.”
“We Attack at Dawn”
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"Your war stories are just as good as your crime stories.I like the dialogue between Miller and the Sgt. and thought it was well written." -- David D.
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© 2005 Gregory J Christiano
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