Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
  A Yankee in the Trenches R. Derby Holmes

Fascination Of Patrol Work

Page 1 of 7

Table Of Contents: A  Yankee in the Trenches

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

I want to say a word right here about patrol work in general, because for some reason it fascinated me and was my favorite game.

If you should be fortunate--or unfortunate enough, as the case might be--to be squatting in a front-line trench this fine morning and looking through a periscope, you wouldn't see much. Just over the top, not more than twenty feet away, would be your barbed-wire entanglements, a thick network of wire stretched on iron posts nearly waist high, and perhaps twelve or fifteen feet across. Then there would be an intervening stretch of from fifty to one hundred fifty yards of No Man's Land, a tortured, torn expanse of muddy soil, pitted with shell craters, and, over beyond, the German wire and his parapet.

There would be nothing alive visible. There would probably be a few corpses lying about or hanging in the wire. Everything would be still except for the flutter of some rag of a dead man's uniform. Perhaps not that. Daylight movements in No Man's Land are somehow disconcerting. Once I was in a trench where a leg--a booted German leg, stuck up stark and stiff out of the mud not twenty yards in front. Some idiotic joker on patrol hung a helmet on the foot, and all the next day that helmet dangled and swung in the breeze. It irritated the periscope watchers, and the next night it was taken down.

Ordinarily, however, there is little movement between the wires, nor behind them. And yet you know that over yonder there are thousands of men lurking in the trenches and shelters.

After dark these men, or some of them, crawl out like hunted animals and prowl in the black mystery of No Man's Land. They are the patrol.

We have hundreds more books for your enjoyment. Read them all!

The patrol goes out armed and equipped lightly. He has to move softly and at times very quickly. It is his duty to get as close to the enemy lines as possible and find out if they are repairing their wire or if any of their parties are out, and to get back word to the machine gunners, who immediately cut loose on the indicated spot.

Sometimes he lies with his head to the ground over some suspected area, straining his ears for the faint "scrape, scrape" that means a German mining party is down there, getting ready to plant a ton or so of high explosive, or, it may be, is preparing to touch it off at that very moment.

Always the patrol is supposed to avoid encounter with enemy patrols. He carries two or three Mills bombs and a pistol, but not for use except in extreme emergency. Also a persuader stick or a trench knife, which he may use if he is near enough to do it silently.

The patrol stares constantly through the dark and gets so he can see almost as well as a cat. He must avoid being seen. When a Very light goes up, he lies still. If he happens to be standing, he stands still. Unless the light is behind him so that he is silhouetted, he is invisible to the enemy.

Page 1 of 7 Previous Chapter   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
A Yankee in the Trenches
R. Derby Holmes

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004