Blazing Snow

by RandallXD1

Blazing Snow

 

  In the vast plains somewhere in the Russian forest painted with white snow, the surroundings are so quiet that even the slightest movement made by any animal could be heard a mile away. At the far edges of the land, you could see trees afar all devoid of any greenery, only blankets of snow cover the ground making the place seem devoid of any living creatures. It is as if time had stop in this part of the country and left undisturbed. A small red fox crawled out of a dead hollow trunk, scavenging the icy landscape in search of something to eat. Suddenly its ears perk up, from the distance there was a slight sound of an engine that slowly approaching. The fox scurried away as the sound got closer and more unbearable for its delicate ears. Moments later the hollow tree trunk where the fox was hiding was crushed by the enormous wheels of a killing machine. The source of the sound was from a Maybach engine, the sound of death of the German killing machine, a German Panzer IV* tank in the middle of the Russian forest. They painted the tank in such a way that it is able to blend in with the surroundings. They painted it white with very little contrast, all that could be seen is the tip of the gun that was painted with a light grey and the black swastika* on the hull of the Panzer.

 

“Achtung comrades, Report in” Said Micheal, a rather headstrong and rather stubborn of a leader.

 

“Still no connection with HQ commandant” Replied Alan listening to the radio while adjusting the frequency, he was the youngest of all who just turned eighteen when he joined these merry-men.  

 

“No Ivan* yet commandant” Replied Nickolas looking through the targeting scope, he was the sharpest of eyes

 

“Engines still working Sir” Replied Joe confidently

 

“We still have twenty-four rounds of Armour piercing rounds and sixteen rounds of high explosive” Replied Philip

 

“All right, proceed with the original plan to regroup with our front lines.” Micheal said while reading the map

 

“Roger” everyone replied

 

The Panzer IV slowly plough through the Russian snow, pushing everything that is opposed it away or under the tracks. It moved bit by bit as it leaves its trail of tracks behind. The place is so quiet that the sound of engines could be heard kilometers away. The Panzer engines roared away unchallenged as Joe stepped on the accelerator. The Panzer continued on West till it reach the edge of a slope.

 

“Stop, the tank” Nickolas shouted

“Why whats wrong?? You need to use the bathroom again.” Joe Replied smiling

“No you fool, i see 3 Ivan tanks bout 600 meters away” Nickolas said angrily “anymore further we would have given our position away” he continued

“I see them, two BT-7*s and a T-34*” Micheal spoke through his radio while looking through his periscope.

“Do we engage Sir?” asked Nickolas casually

“If we do, we won’t be able to out run or manoeuvre that Ivan T-34 due to the snow” Joe replied

“How are we on fuel, Joe?” Micheal ask

“Enough fuel to go 50 more kilometres” Joe replied checking the fuel meter.

 

  A stressful silence went through out the tank as they await their commander’s decision. The silence was broken by Nickolas when he asked again, this time rather tense “Sir do we engage?”

“Considering our advantage of Armour and gun against the BT-7s but, we wont stand a chance against that T-34 head on but unless……” Micheal’s face went into a sinister grin. “Well lads, today is our lucky day, we get to add three more tanks to our kill” he added on with full confidence ending with a slight evil chuckle.

  

The tank was filled with smiles and a slightest of cheers as they all resume into their respective battle positions.

 

“Joe, take us to the edge of the hill. Once reached put the gears on reverse, as soon as that T-34 opens fire i want us out of sight.” Micheal barked through his radio “Nickolas take out the BT-7 first, i don’t want it coming for us in the flanks and biting us in our ass”

 

“Gunner fire when ready”

 

There was complete silence within the internal radio, with an occasional prayer mumbled across channels and the sound of the engine running in the back ground, it was a very tense atmosphere as everyone was so focus on their duty at hand. Sweat slowing flowing down Nickolas’ face as he grasp on the handle of the gun, waiting for the right moment to pull the trigger. Even in the midst of winter the temperature did not do much aid to these men stuck in their iron monster; sweating as if it was the midst of summer. Everyone anxiously waiting for Nickolas to take the shot, when suddenly a familiar loud explosion rang throughout the interior of the tank breaking up the tense silence, as the turret recoiled Philipe sprang into action as his body being led by muscle memory load in the next shell into the gun within five seconds flat.

 

At the instance when Nickolas pulled the trigger to fire, the Russian BT-7 transform in an instance from an iron vehicle into a inferno of flames turning it into a fiery coffin for those inside. A clear sign that there was nothing left but scraps of metal left of that tank. Nickolas quickly turn the gun immediately towards the other BT-7 located next to its fiery friend and opposite the T-34. The operational BT-7 drove in front of the T-34 as it seems that the turret was slowing cranking up to face the Panzer IV.

 

“Scheisse this bugger is covering the T-34” said Nikolas as pulled the trigger

 

Again with a loud explosion rang throughout the tank as Philipe quickly loaded in the next round. Within seconds the operational BT-7 was hit this time it was a direct hit with  sparks indicating that it was a clean penetration but there was no explosions, stopping the tank dead in its tracks as if had died peacefully.

 

“BT hit, clean penetration” Nikolas exclaim.

 

“Good, how bout the damn T-34?’ Micheal asked.

 

“Hiding behind it’s dead comrades” while Nikolas looks through the sights “he is on the move now popping his head out from ……” just before he could finish his sentence the T-34 open fired at them.

 

The shot when zipping pass their tank, it was so close that those inside the tank could hear it. It has seemed that lady luck is on their side.

“Scheisse*, that was bloody close. I could hear the damn shot from in here” Alan screamed.

 

“Wait Joe don’t reverse yet, Nikolas return the favour.” Micheal commanded

 

“With pleasure” pulling the trigger and an explosion filled the tank once again sending the round towards the T-34.

 

It was a direct hit no doubt coming from from a tank ace. But unfortunately, due to the T-34 angled armour it deflected the shot.

 

“Scheisse, round bounced that is one tough Ivan”

 

“Now Joe! Now” Micheal barking through the radio

 

Instantly the Panzer IV reversed. While reversing the T-34 decided to take another shot at them. This time scrapping the right side of the turret as it zipped pass them leaving but another war scar on this war machine.

 

“Scheisse, that was too close for comfort.” he said as Nikolas looked at the direction where the round scraped them off. Seeing nothing but the interior of the tank made him feel more relieved. “Ivan nearly nip us good”

 

They reversed back towards the light woods which they came from, with their camouflage of snow white paint and multiple spots of black they blend into their surroundings. They quickly re-position themselves readying for the T-34 to make a grand appearance.

 

“Lucky swine, I could have killed that bugger”

 

“Seal it dunkof* just make sure you kill it this time” while Micheal checked the sights. “Come on you tin can where are you” saying it anxiously. “Joe make sure you get ready an escape plan, at this range, our armour won’t stand a chance”

 

“Yes sir” Joe replied

 

A rather tense moment once again aroused in the tank as all very anxious to destroy the last T-34 that seemed to allude destruction. Seconds felt like minutes and minutes felt like hours. Cold sweats were flowing down everyone faces as if winter meant nothing inside the tank. Minutes pass as the men were losing hope that the enemy would pursue them.

 

“Commandant do you think that the Ivan shit his pants and ran away? Joe asked

 

“I doubt that very much, after what we did in Stalingrad I think they are very much up for revenge eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.” Micheal answered back with an assured feeling.

 

“That be true, I heard that 6th Panzer army shot anything that moved took no prisoners and gave no mercy on anyone who is not German” Alan joined in the conversation

 

“I think the Ivan turn tail and ran sir” Nikolas said while scanning through the area

 

“Don’t be too sure, I’m sure that idiot is out for …………” before Micheal could finish.

 

“Ivan at 1 o`clock, it’s that bugger T-34” Joe shouted without hesitation trough the radio.

 

“Finally some fun” Nikolas turn the turret facing the oncoming T-34.

 

In a split second, the whole tank went quiet as everyone resumed battle positions. Phillipe with readying his hand to load the next round in, Joe anxious to drive while Micheal praying that this round would go through or they are dead and Alan; being nervous or stressed he started tuning the radio in hopes to actually find something rather than hearing static all the time.

 

As the turret turn you could hear the motorized cranking sounds. It turned slightly then it stopped, this time Nikolas used the hand crank systems slightly adjust the gun as he fully concentrates on the oncoming T-34. there was a slight pause in his action as if he froze from the cold, then suddenly the there was a sound of explosion rang throughout the turret, recoiling the recoil jerked the whole turret as the men feel unaffected.

 

Ripping through the dense cold air the round fired from the panzer zip it way towards it hitting it dead center in between the cavity of the hull and the turret as it penetrated trough the explosive compartment of the round exploded causing the turret the explode upwards causing it to fly up a good 3 meters before falling back to the ground; setting the whole tank up in flames as the rest of the ammunition exploded along with it turning it into a fiery grave for the four men inside hoping that death was instant for those poor souls.

 

“Clean penetration and manage to top his hat*, good shot Nikolas” Micheal said with a sigh of relief.

 

There was a slight celebration within the tank but it was cut to a brief end as they were not yet out of the woods. With each still holding on to the hope of finding the German army, they kept their calm and proceeded with the plan.

 

“Okay guys we need a revised plan, let’s get out from the tank. Alan get the map” commanded Micheal

 

“Want to bring out the guns sir?” Phillipe ask

 

“Yea just in case we attract unwanted attention” Micheal replied then he checks his holstered Luger. “Joe you stay in the tank, if anything happens we need you to be able to make our getaway drive”

 

“You should be happy that you are now useful for something” Nikolas shot out unexpectedly.

 

“Yea yea says the mama’s boy, sir permission to accidentally ram him sir” As Joe return the favour

 

“Quit it you dunkof and get out here you idiot” Micheal snapped back as he looked to Nikolas

 

The crew got out of the Panzer one by one and assemble in front of the tank. Alan was the last one to get out from the tank since he was the one holding the map they had to wait for him. As he climb out the hatch with elephant grace, eventually causing him to lose his balance when he jumped down from the hatch. He landed with both hands and feet on the ground while the waiting crew slowly shook their heads in disbelieve.

 

“Hurry up you snail, it’s gonna be spring time by the time you get here” Nikolas shouted at him

 

“Sorry sorry” Alan replied back politely since he was the newest edition to the team as a replacement for the radiomen that they lost in one of the mission in Operation Firshreiher*.

 

“Sigh….. What am I gonna do with you” Micheal said in disbelieve “now the map please, put in out on tank” he said pointing it out to Alan

 

With haste Alan unfolded the map across the panzer’s armour plates and stood by there waiting for the next order.

 

“Good man” Micheal nodded “Now men if we are not wrong and so is the map, we should be around here in the outskirts of Stalingrad*, due to the recent German defeat in the Volga River*, we now currently lost all contact with German command and apparently fantastically lost from the original group retreating back to the currently German occupied city of Stalingrad so our best chance to regroup with the Wehrmacht Army*. So my opinion is that we still continue our plan and try to reach German lines as soon as possible any objection? ”

 

“Is surrendering to the commies* accepted sir?” Phillipe asked sarcastically

 

“Unless you want me to shoot you for desertion, then yes” Micheal replied in an officer fashion

 

“In that case, nope no objection commandant” Phillipe immediately stand in attention as soon as he noticed that he played the officer card

“Well good man” Micheal said feeling proud of himself.

 

“Sir, if I may I remember hearing from Oberleutnnat* just before the battle of Volga River, that the Ivan has supposedly relatively small supply depot around this area “Alan said as he pointed out the position onto the map.

 

“And who is this Oberleutnnat you heard it from?” Nikolas asked curious to know

 

“Oberleutnnat Gabriel Axil Herman” Alan replied back

 

“Not only do you give me his name but even his family name too aren’t you something.” looking towards Micheal “It’s the SS* bastard, Hitlers lap dogs. You sure he can be trusted, and not that this information is meant to kill ourselves with it?”

 

“Well if one thing we know the most is that Hitler hates the commies more or less than he hates the Jews.” Micheal replied back “Well since it is quite close to us…” before he could finish

 

“We should go and raid that place commander. Who knows we may find extra supply like food and fuel and others stuff as well” Alan cut in

 

“Have some respect to your Officer when he is speaking Soldat*” Phillipe said in disgust

 

“Thank you Gerfieter*. As I was saying, since it is quite close to us we should go and pay Ivan a visit as the Soldat* here was mentioning we might find something of use.” Micheal finished off uninterrupted. “So all agree to this plan?” he asked

 

They were all in a nod of agreement.

 

“Alright then let’s go pay them a visit” Micheal said as he kept the map “I’m borrowing this: he said as he raised the folded map and looked towards Alan.

 

Not know what to say he kept quiet and headed towards the side of the tank. As they all climb back into their warm and odoriferous tank. Micheal was the last one into the tank as he took one last look at the burning T34 he said a little prayer and went back into the tank.

 

“Joe turn 38 degrees at 60% speed.” Micheal commanded as he sat himself in the commander seat

 

“Roger” Joe replied as he pulled the release gears and drove off

 

The tank jerked as the release gear were deactivated, the tank then turn towards their plotted direction and drove of plowing through the snow as if it was air making a trail as it went on. Passing by the burning T-34 and headed off toward what seemed a thicker version of the woods that they came out from as trees now seemed to be grouped together more than spread out, visibility was becoming a problem with the growing darkness. Fearing the unknown of what hospitality the Russians might have for them, they decided to stop and scout out around on foot.

 

“Alan, Phillipe go and see what you can find from the base I want details of opposition and armour if there is any, go now before it get too dark”

 

“Yes Comandant, let’s go kid time for your first combat patrol” Phillipe said as he took out his Rifle and an additional Mp40*

 

They both got out quickly and gathered in front of the tank. Phillipe passed Alan the Mp40 and a few rounds of magazine as they hurried off towards the woods in their black uniforms.

 

“I’m sorry about me cutting in the commandant just now I did mean …..” Alan tried to apologies

 

“Save it kid, we are on combat patrol so only say things if necessary” Phillipe snapped back

 

Feeling worse than before, quietly tail Phillipe from behind. The snow made it difficult to move around the area so from a graceful manoeuvre became an elephant trotting around the mud as they try to make it up a steep but low hill.

 

“Slowly kid, if I am correct it should be right pass this hill” Phillipe said as he slowly wiggle himself up.

 

Then he took a peek at the area and instantly noticed a fence covering what seemed to be a wooden house in the far distance towards the back. As he slowly scanned the area, from left to right, he noticed a guard post and a small hut behind the fence on the far right. He also managed to see a few guards around the area too.

 

“6 guards around the front gate with a post with a LMG, lightly armed but I think there is more than that. So kid stay here and keep a look out on that entry point just in case there is something I missed I’m going to go closer and have a closer look” Phillipe ordered Alan and went off into the distance as silently as possible.

 

Being worried as he is all by himself, he took a deep breath to calm down an constantly mumbled to himself say “you are fine it’s alright they won’t see you if you stay here.” he kept telling himself over and over again , then suddenly he heard a few vehicles come by. He hunkered down with his eye barely even reaching the edge. He saw that they were 3 trucks stopping by the guard house and one by one going into the depot after a few security checks.

 

Out of a sudden Phillipe rushed back and slid behind Alan. His face looked as if he saw a ghost all pale and white as he was panting for air.

 

“What was that? Did they send in armour or something?” Phillipe asked

 

“They brought in trucks, looks like supply trucks as if they saw the front lines they were rather beaten up and what seemed like charred marks on it too. Alan replied looking towards Phillipe.

 

“What!” Phillipe suddenly exclaimed

 

“Shhhhhhh” Alan said of panic as he looked back at the guard house

 

He saw that one off the guard had taken notice of the sudden shout and headed this way.

 

“Scheisse, Ivan is on their way. Let’s get back go, go” Alan panicked as he made his way down the small hill and gently knocks into Phillipe.

 

Both agreed silently as they left in a hurry back to their tank. Leaving nothing behind but footprints as they dash like a 3 legged horse through the thick snow, occasionally one of them would fall into a deep patch as the other help to carry him up. They quickly made their way to the Tank surprisingly without raising any alarm.

 

“What the hell, what are these idiots doing?” Joe asked as he saw those two rushing to the tank

 

“i don’t know, but get ready to move in a moment’s notice, Nikolas ready the gun” Micheal commanded fearing that they were chased by Russians

 

As the tank roared back to life waiting for the next command it gently stood guard as the 1 man ran towards it. When they both got to the tank, they took a deep breath before climbing back into the tank and report their findings to the commander.

 

“Lightly guarded sir with small arms likely a dozen men at best, those are for the outside, we have no idea how many men are inside the buildings, as I was scouting around they seemed to have reinforcements coming into the depot” Phillipe reported

 

“Reinforcements? What reinforcements?” Micheal asked looking back at Phillipe

 

Not knowing how to answer back to looked to Alan and slowly nod to him queuing him to answer the commander.

 

“Errr… when the Gerfieter went closer to look around I stayed behind and notice that the Russians brought in 3 more trucks , maybe to resupply the battlefield so because they looked rather beaten up and there were what I think was burnt marks too.”

 

“Bloody hell just god damn trucks” Phillipe said in disbelief and he slam his fist on the wall of the tank

 

“Why? What the hell happened, why were you all running in the snow like a madman being chased by a ghost?” Joe asked out of curiosity

 

“The Gerfieter ran back to me in panic when he thought the trucks were Russian armour. Upon returning we may have alerted the Russian a little bit as I saw one of them walking to our direction, so we both ran”

 

There was a good laugh among the tank between Nikolas and Joe as they teased Phillipe.

 

“Killer of tanks but afraid of a truck, what are you now a cat, Miaow Miaow……. HAHAHA!” Nikolas teased

 

“Shut the hell up you Swine or I’ll shoot you in the balls and see which is more hilarious” Phillipe said in retaliation then he looked towards Alan still in disbelief that it was just trucks.

 

With a light chuckle, Micheal brought back the focus inside the tank as he open up the hatch and took a good look around. He notice that it was getting dark by the minute as the sun was already setting by the tree line casting out a huge shadow of the forest in the horizon.

 

With a cough he clear his throat and said “ Okay guys get ready, in five minutes time I want you to get ready in your respective battle stations, Alan I want you to take position in in the fore gun*, Joe I want to be ready to use position 3 when we are in the compound. Phillipe, HE rounds only. Nikolas, target the ground with the rounds, I want minimal building damage, we might be lucky to get ourselves a treat from Stalin. And guys make sure all your personal weapons are ready and loaded to be used anytime for we may need it at any moment when things go South.”

 

“Men ready, Panzer Vor*”

 

The Panzer IV slowly plowed through the field as pushing aside anything in its path. It went deeper into the forest and climb up a small slope about 100 meters away from the depot in the cover of the forest and darkness it was almost impossible to see it without shining a beam of light towards it. The tank realigned with the road with the hull facing forward where the thickest armour is and slowly advanced with 30% of its engine capacity both to conserve fuel and for safety reasons as it was rather difficult to see in the dark without driving lights.

 

“Okay men here we go, BATTLE STATIONS let’s say hi to Ivan” Micheal shouted through the radio

 

Panzer IV slowly advanced unchallenged towards the depot. Soon the guard house was in view and you could see the confused figures of the Russians as they thought that I could be one of theirs in the confusion of darkness. One of them suddenly stood in front of the gates with a lowered barrier and shouted in Russian asking them to stop. Unfortunately for him the Panzer IV did not do as it was asked instead it got faster. The Russian instinctively noticed it and got out of the way as soon as possible and ordered the guns to fire.

 

A rip of fire suddenly blasted out from the machine guns and firearms from the guards pelting the frontal armour of the tank but with no avail as the tank seemingly stopped all of it from going through.

 

“hahahha stupid Ivans, take this” Nikolas squeezing the trigger and sending a High Explosive round towards the Russians blowing them right off their path sending them a good 3 feet away front their positions killing all them instantly. The blast also cleared the way toward the depot as the barrier was also blown up in the blast

 

“Watch the officer hut. Shoot anyone that gets out!” Micheal commanded

 

Heeding to the command Nikolas then turns his turret towards the hut to his right. Within seconds of the first shot the whole depot looked like an agitated beehive as the Russians were confused as there was an exchange of small arms fire from them and tank. Needless to say, Nikolas was gunning everyone down through the window as they tried to come out of the office hut with his machine gun located in the turret. Joe had stop the tank right in front of the gate making sure that no one could escape and keeping their weakest armour in the rear facing away from the reach of the Russians.

 

Feeling desperate to get out of the hut the Russian commander did a foolish move due to his in experience of battle he decided to throw a grenade at the tank hopefully it would help him and whoever was trapped in the hut. He stood up and aimed at the tank, unfortunately for him he got shot from Nikolas in the hand immediately after he pulled the pin off the grenade. The shot was so powerful at that range that it took his whole wrist off. As the Commander stood there looking at his missing hand shouting in pain as blood from the ruptured arteries were squirting out, seconds later there was an explosion from his own grenade that silenced him and pretty much everyone else in the hut and with that Nikolas turn the turret back facing the front shooting an gunning anything that tried to move. Within minutes, the whole depot was cleared out of Russians.

 

Knowing that it was still too soon to celebrate, Joe drove on slowly while the others scan the surroundings making sure there was nothing else left alive. The Panzer IV slowly and cautiously moved from the gates and into what seems the refuelling area of the depot, is was then they saw the trucks that Alan was talking about, they placed it in front of what seemed like several petrol pumps.

 

“Hey Phillipe, your worst nightmare hehehe” Nikolas chucked

 

Feeling annoyed, Phillipe held back his punch and groaned. They scan further up and noticed that there were two buildings made of wood in front of them. They were not inter connected so in Micheal’s head he knew that one had to be for either food rations, ammunition. Just before he could tell the others, suddenly there was a shot that came from nowhere and hit them at the side of the Tank, it was not a small arms round but what seemed like an anti-tank round. Fortunately for the crew it did not penetrate.

 

“Son of a ….. where did that round come from?” Micheal shouted in a breath of panic

 

“I don’t know I don’t see shiaze” Nikolas responded in the same tone

 

“I came from the side, right side, we got hit in the right” Phillipe shouted through the radio

 

Out of desperation Micheal open up the top hatch and took out his pistol and looked around towards the right while Nikolas immediately without delay turn the turret towards the right hoping to find out who shot them.

 

“Son of a …… there I see it less than 50 meters, russian Pak 34* hiding behind the first truck” Micheal reported trough the radio headsets while he tried shooting it with his luger.

 

Hoping to hit the crew operating it; only to find out they shot back with a rifle a lot bigger gun than his. Feeling that the odds were greatly against him, he hunkered down back into his commander seat and closed the hatch in cased they decided to lob a grenade in the tank.

 

“Shoot the damn Pak would you please” Micheal commanded

 

“With……” before Nikolas could reply back, the Russian took another shot at them this time the impact was not as powerful as before.

 

“Son of a gun, Shoot it now” Phillipe feeling the pressure as he is the closest to the impact.

 

Out of desperation, Nikolas fired then main gun, sending the round next to the Russian Anti-tank gun and silenced it with an explosion. The feeling of relief came in to all that is in the tank as they congratulate each other for a job well done as they all sat back in the tank and took a breather.

 

“Good work gunner, next time more action and less talking” Micheal said as he pat Nikolas on his shoulder

 

Minutes later as everyone was taking a breather and wiping off their sweat from their intense action pact nigh, there was a loud explosion that came from the right of where the Russian gun was, followed up with multiple smaller explosion which lead to a one grand finale of explosions as this time the whole fuel depot blew up along with what seemed to be the munitions store house as well, all up in flames about a great six meters high. The explosion was so loud that if anyone was in a kilometre range it would easily be heard.

 

In an unbelievable awe, the crew in the tank looked at the flames as if it was the New Year’s Day fireworks. Still unable to accept that the fact that they half the depot was on fire, Micheal got out from the top hatch a climbed down in front of the tank, followed by everyone else as they scramble out as fast as they could it was as true as it gets not only did it looked like a massive Bon fire, but the heat was enough to melt a the coldest of men right into the core.

 

Feeling and uncontrollable rage within, Micheal stormed towards Nikolas and without warning he took a punch right at his face knocking him down with one hit. Shouting in his face while pointing at the fire “THAT WAS OUR TICKET HOME YOU MOTHER ……. LOOK YOU BASTARD LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE IT IS NOW ALL GONE ALL GONE ASHES JUST LIKE THE REST OF US”

 

Without delay the rest of the crew came into break up the fight as though it seemed that Micheal would had kill Nikolas if he had a chance. Joe rushed to contain Micheal as he grabbed him by the arms and held him back as Phillipe sent to apologies to him saying it was all his fault that he pressured Nikolas to fire. Once they got a good 5 feet away, Alan went to help Nikolas up who first seemed rather dazed not knowing what happened. Moments later he felt a large amount of pain on his cheek, and then he noticed that he was bleeding in his mouth and all he could say is “owwwwa”

 

Still being restrained, Micheal shouted back “After all that all you could say is Owwa, Unbelievable, just unbelievable.” then sat back down into despair. Leaving the Commander alone to wallow Phillipe and Joe ran towards Nikolas to see if he was alright.

 

“You okay?” Joe asked

 

“You took a good clean hit to your face and still standing, what are you the devil or something” Phillipe asked

 

“I don’t know, but I do know that was a good punch, Ouch damn it still hurts. “ Nikolas said as he touched his face

 

“Are you not even mad? “ Alan ask out from the blue

 

“I don’t know some part of me said I should be made but some part of me says that this is my fault or all these are the Russian’s fault or Stalin or Hitler or I DON’T KNOW!” Suddenly he burst into despair as Nikolas let his emotions out.

 

Joe then took Alan aside and told him to let him be for now and told him to follow him as they search of what is left of the depot. Phillipe stayed behind in the midst of two broken men making sure they don’t kill each other to do something foolish as he knows that if there is a chance to survive this ordeal they needed everyone.

 

Alan slowly tagging along behind Joe tried to catch up as he kept looking back towards the team not knowing what is going to happen to them now. Nervously he asked “What is going to happened to us now, I mean I thought men are not supposed to cry.”

 

“Crying is good kid, because in this war it takes away the human inside you I’ve seen thousands of men in this war and trust me those are nothing but just husks with nothing inside, no soul, heart but a dark abyss of hatred and destruction. And being afraid being scared, nervous is good because it shows that you are still human, and even to cry it shows that you still are human inside. As I’ve met countless of men who said that they could not cry even if they wanted to, the emotions are no more there. That is what war did to us.” Joe said as he open up the doors of the only remanding building that was intact after the explosion and took a good look inside “Jackpot” he then said

 

Sitting outside checking his rifle, Phillipe occasionally looked up towards both the commander and Nickolas to make sure they were still there and most importantly alive. “So what now commander?” he tried to break the silence but to no avail and all the Micheal did was shrug as he went on looking at the fire that seemed to have scorched his plans to hell.

 

Phillipe then stood up seeing that there was nothing left he could do decided to patrol around the area and have a look around to see if there is something usable around the depot. Just before he walked off, Alan and Joe came back with 2 large sacks each on each shoulder. Look as happy as ever like kids in a candy store.

 

“Look what I got guys real gifts from Stalin himself. Looks like Christmas came early hahaha, look at this” as Joe put down the sacks and took out what seemed to be a frozen sausage. “Meat, frozen sausages, cheese, more meat, bread, some jam, tins and tins of biscuits and a big tin of coffee and tea. We look like we hit an officer’s jackpot. Yahhahaha” Joe said as he took out each of the items he had in the sack and displayed it like he was a cheap roadside merchant.

 

“Damn this is a fantastic find” as Phillipe too the piece of frozen meat. “Smells salted and it sure looks like beef to me.”

 

“Exactly that is why I took it, there is more inside but let’s not be too greedy shall we now.” Joe winked as he handed over the meat, “actually it was the kid who found it, got to hand it to him, he is a great scavenger.

 

“I…it’s nothing really, my dad used to own a butcher shop so he would teach me the best place to keep frozen meat clean and fresh would be to put it in a sealed metal container and seal it underground.” Alan replied modestly as he put his sacks of food down.

 

They sat around and distribute the food among each other as evenly as possible and group up near the ongoing fire that once was the fuel section of the depot trying their best to thaw the meat and some cheese. Nikolas willingly drag himself up and slowly walked toward the group like a zombie and sat right down next to Phillipe, opposite Alan. As soon as Nikolas sat down and made himself comfortable. Alan pass him a nice cut of meat that he thawed out with his combat knife, before he could pass it Nikolas as his hands reached for it, Joe took the meat and slab on chunk of half frozen melted cheese on top of it then proceeded to pass it on to Nikolas saying “Here this should help with the petroleum taste from the fire.”

 

Nikolas nodded as a sign of appreciation when I gently took the meat off from Joe’s hands. Each of them patiently awaited their turn as Alan did the cooking and cutting himself while Joe garnished it with cheese in hopes that is helped to mask the smell of burning petroleum. Joe then realized that Micheal was not among them, he then looked toward his last know position and saw him still sitting there looking at the flames.

 

“Hey Commandant, join us, don’t alienate yourself in the cold.” Joe shouted towards him.

 

Micheal then stubbornly got up and walked towards the group “you know standard procedure is to have one of you to stand guard at all times right, and with all of you idiots here we are doomed if Ivan decides to pop a Grenade towards us right.” he said as he stood over the group

 

“Awww shut up for once and get your frozen ass here in the group.” Phillipe snapped back and pulled his leggings down.

 

Micheal sat right down to the left of Phillipe looking towards Nikolas, suddenly he blurted out “Am sorry I punched you earlier, I was worried that we do not have enough fuel to get back to our line and hell I do not want to die here in this god forsaken wasteland of a country.”

 

“It’s okay commandant, my mama used to hit me worst then that” Nikolas said with a slight chuckle as he gently touch the bruise on his face.

 

It was there when he started laughing and the whole group started to laugh as whole like close friends around a camp fire.

 

“What did you mother hit you with then, a broom stick?” Joe asked as he stuffs his face with thawed bread.

 

“Oh she did, and the broomstick broke and not me” he laugh, “she used to hit me with anything she could find around the house even once a metal bar used for stamping iron. Oh was she mad that day when I told her that I broke her favourite vase from her grandmama, she chased me good around the house a few times before she went back in and locked the door and left me outside, to make things worst it suddenly started to rain so for shelter went over to Heiz; my friend’s house and stayed over for a night or so” Nikolas said as smile to himself with meat still in his mouth.

 

“And your dad?” Alan asked

 

“My dad he was not worried at all he knew where I was and exactly knew what I was thinking, you could say the apple did not fall that far from the tree as he would say I was exactly like him when I was young getting into trouble, went out with the wrong group always skipping school. Out of all that he became a plumber, and a good one too. Used to be the main person to call in our neighbourhood if anything went wrong with their toilets.” Nikolas replied

 

“Seems to me like a shitty job” Micheal added with a laugh as the whole group let off a few good laughs and went quiet

 

“My dad, he was great he sometimes if the clients had not enough money he would not force them or anything, and often enough he would be paid in food in substitute, meat, cheese, biscuits you named it he may have received it, food I mean.” Nikolas continued.

 

“You are a lucky one” Joe added.

 

“What about you Kid, what’s your story?” Nikolas asked

 

“Me? Well dad owns a family butcher shop down in Dresden, grew up there, work there helping out my dad most of the time when I was free only manage to finish school till twelve before my mom fell ill and I had to drop out to help out the shop more often. About a year later she passed, and yea it is just me and my dad and our two faithful dogs. Learn how to skin, carve and cut meat for a living. Then he joins up with the Nazi party hopefully to give us a better life. We always had enough to eat throughout the days and the worst days are winter but then we still had enough even to share with our neighbour for Christmas.” Alan answered

 

“Not bad kid it’s good that you have a reason to go back, are you a Nazi yourself?” Micheal asked continuing to chew on the half frozen meat.

 

“I am one since I joined up with my dad. But I don’t think I am that strict of a follower” Alan replied.

 

“And just how old are you now kid?” Joe asked

 

“18 this year, actually yesterday.”

 

“Oh is that right, here happy past birthday kid here a present for you, make sure you share it with Ivan” Phillipe said as he handed him a Stick Grenade* with a wink.

 

Looking rather lost he said “Thanks …. I guess” Alan took the grenade and kept it on his utility belt and got back into eating his meat that he cooked over the story telling, so how bout you guys how old are you all?” feeling a little awkward among the group as if he was the youngest.

 

“He is 20 same age as me” Joe pointing at Phillpe “Nikolas is 22, and that old guy there out commandant is 40. He may not look that old but trust me he served in the Great War, he knows his stuff.”

 

“I though you guys were way older than me but our age is not that far apart are we” Alan blurted out feeling less awkward now

 

“Oh kid we are way older than you with experience, remember in war experience outranks age and rank everything.” Nikolas answered calmly enjoying his bite of meat.

 

“Ah….. I see….. So you guys go way back eh you all seemed very close with each other”

 

“Yea we have to kid, it means survival in this war, you can’t have a team without trusting each other even if it cost you your life. Then again we all go way back to the occupation of France, He (Joe pointing to Micheal) was already a senior tank commandant then while we were all fresh like you, but back then we were using a Panzer III* back then we only had 4 tank kills to our name, we were more to infantry support than the main front lines tank group.

 

“I see” Alan trying to feel less awkward and tried to connect with the group again he asked,” so what were you all doing before the war started?”

 

“Well I was a farmer, who drove tractors, in a way that is how I got my role as a driver, Old man here is a military person through and through even after the great war he went back into service from the police force and now the great Wehrmacht of the great Third Reich oh hail Hitler” Joe said sarcastically.

 

“Oh do shut up with that skunk, he is nothing but an Obergefreiter* at best.” Micheal snapped back as the group laughed all around.

 

“As I was saying, he is a military man, and Phillipe is French of origin but stayed in the fatherland all his life and joined up when we took over France. He was a University student, studying what now?” Joe asked looking at Phillipe as he tried his best to chew off a part of the bread they stole.

 

“Medewewl Pwatioouuuserrr” Phillipe answered

 

“What now?” Joe asked in a confuse look

 

“Medical practitioner” said after he took a bite of the bread

 

“Eh! So you a doctor so how you become a tanker?” Alan asked

 

“Well I only studied like 3 months into university when the war broke out between Germany and France, back then I loved this country so much so I join up for it and here I am fighting with you dunkofs for a foreign country that I once knew.” Phillpe said as he looked at the bread looking for a soft spot to bite on.

 

“We all love you Phillipe hehehe” Joe replied “he basically is the life saver of the team not just as the loader but the medic too, you know the mechanic of the human body and the last Ass there is a plumber like his dad. But he does odd jobs now and again just to earn extra for himself, best not to ask what he did but yea that all you need to know about us” Joe once again focusing on Alan

 

“Boy you are new here so you better remember your manners when it comes to addressing your seniors” Nikolas said rather leniently “and next time let the old man finish first before you jump right in okay” he continues while enjoyably chewing what is left of his beef.

 

Feeling a shamed now Alan slowly looks to the ground in embarrassment.

 

“Knock it off give the kid some slack he or do I need to remind everyone how you were when you first joined in the military” Micheal said in Alan’s defence with a small smirk to his face

 

Feeling really embarrassed more than ever, Nikolas stood up at said “Er I shall take the first duty on look out, you go and enjoy your buffet” He walks off towards the tank, climb on top and put his rifle onto his lap.

 

“hehehe it rather easy to shut him up if you know how too.” Micheal laughed

 

“So what did he do back then?” Alan asked out of curiosity.

 

“We will tell you when the time comes kid, right now you go get some sleep and that means you too Joe. SLEEP and no more eating of anything else other than that piece in your hand, we won’t know when else we might need it. “ Micheal said then he pointed at Joe with a stern look

 

“Alright alright don’t get your panties in a loop” Joe said with a smile holding his cheese to his mouth.

 

They each went on through the night in rotation to take watch as the rest all slept like a log around the warm fire that still went on burning. Holding a cup of coffee and a small portion of Biscuits to accompany them throughout the long night occasionally you could hear and explosion and some fighting in the far distance, but these men sat there affected on top the tank.

 

Soon the dreadful night passed and the delightful morning and gently touches the vast open snowy lands. Bringing not only light but life to once seem rather dead men.

 

“Wake up you swines! Wake up” Micheal went around kicking the men up one by one “its morning already princess wake up, we better get moving before Ivan gets here and see what we have done. “ as he said continuing to kick everyone up one by one

 

Waking up like zombies each of them slowly looked towards the light from the sun shining in the distance. Slowly getting each and everyone of them was given a hot cup of coffee nicely prepared by Micheal himself cooked in a huge tin can. Soon later everyone sprang back to life.

 

“Okay get ready to move, Joe start up the engines and check the fuel gauge, Alan, Phillipe go and get what else you can find in the food store and see what we can replenish our rations with, unless you wanna eat can food forever, Nikolas follow me we will go and have a look around if we can find anything useful. You all got your orders let’s get to work move it.”

 

They five men crew immediately sprang into action with each busy with their own task. Micheal and Nikolas went around the compound looking around the dead to find if there was any intelligence of maps that may be of use, but all they found was just personal belongings of pictures of love ones, bread, personal weapons or even trinkets that they consider lucky. They went to look for the officer and all the found was cigar and a few medals and a patch that proves that he was KGB*. They dug around and found a picture a beautiful Russian girl in his pockets with a notebook. On the back of the picture said in Russian “Moya mladshaya sestra, s lyubov'yu” which means too my little sister, with love.

 

“Hey what you think, do you think I have a chance?” Nikolas asked out of the blue looking at the picture

 

“Not even a glimpse of hope, you think she wants to go out with the murderer who killed her brother. Dream on.” Micheal said while he glances through the tables tops and drawers to look for anything important, “Nothing here let’s move”

 

“What makes you think that this was her brother?” Nikolas said still holding on to the picture

 

“Read the back you dunkof, it says to my little sister with love” Micheal said as he whack the back of Nikolas’ head topping his service hat off.

 

“Alright alright I’ll put it back” mumbling to himself “Can’t I have fun for once” he said putting back the picture into the note book as he slid it into the coat of the officers chest and place it at the heart and gave it a good pat.

 

“You can have fun when Stalin is dead now let’s go” Micheal said as he walked out of the officer’s hut.

 

They made a good round around of what was left of the depot. Then Joe came and shouted to Micheal to come back as he was out of the tank inspecting the tracks.

 

“Sir you are not going to like this”

 

“What is it Joe?” Micheal asked as the rest of the crew gathered around the tank

 

“Sir, well let just say Ivan gave us a surprise gift as we gave them ours, they manage to take out a good portion of our tracks before dying in the explosion set off by our Feldwebel Wachtmeister* Nikolas here.”

 

“Damn it then, can It be repaired Joe, don’t we have any spare portions of tracks?” Micheal asked

 

“Yea we do but it’s gonna take time before we can get it up and running again.” Joe stood up and said it with assurance.

 

“Well good then get on it, we need to move before ….” before he could finish his sentence he heard people chattering in a distance.

 

Micheal could not make out if it is German or Russian or not so he immediately got everyone into battle positions with their weapons ready.

 

“Alan, Nikolas with me we will be hind the bushes here and set an ambush, Joe, Phillipe , I want you fan out the right side so at least we can pin them down in a cross fire. Only fire on my command”

 

They immediately sprang into their battle positions and fan out as ordered and dug into the snow. To the advantage of the environment, their black Panzer Uniform blends in well with the soot around the snow from last night’s battle. As they waited and waited anxiously the voices became louder and louder and it was clearly someone shouting in the group.

 

“Wait this sound like German…… guys do not ……..” before he could finish his sentence once again, there was a sudden fire from their side. “Who the hell fired?” Micheal was furious to know that was when he saw Alan struggling with his rifle.

 

Seconds pass and the whole place became a fire zone with both sides were shooting each other with German bullets. As Micheal went around telling Nickolas to stop firing then crawled his way in the snow towards Phillipe and Joe to tell them to cease fire. Unfortunately under the heat of fire, they could not hear their commander shouting to stop firing. Then he did the unthinkable. He stood up and shouted at both side to cease fire and shouted “We are Germans” see how that it was somewhat working, the firing came close to a stop, it was then he slowly walked out towards the open shouting that we are German.

 

He slowly came out into the open it was then it was clear it him that there were indeed German Wehrmacht Troops in their winter uniform. One by one of them slowly stood up as Micheal walked towards them. Each and every one looked like they just came back from hell themselves looking all battered up and rather sleep deprive. Micheal took a good look at each one of them as he passed by and pats them on the shoulder. Then he went up to what seemed like the commanding officer, and asked “Are you the Officer in charge? “

 

“Yes I am and who are you?” he took a look at the shoulder patch and noticed that he was a Hauptmann* and immediately snapped into a salute “Oberleutnnat Gabriel Axil Herman Sir. Reporting for duty Herr Hauptmann”

 

Looking in disbelief, that his was the SS officer that actually saved their lives by leaking out the information of the depot to Alan. “That is senior Hauptmann to you, Oberleutnnat. At ease what are you doing here and where did you come from.”

 

“4th Panzer Corps under the command of Viktor von Schwedler, we are headed back to German Occupied City of Stalingrad to regroup with the 6ThPanzer army after the defeat in the Volga River. There is about 12 of us excluding me, we lost 8 of us as we made our way here either died of a battle wounded or the cold. And luckily non in this small shootout.”

 

“Good, and you are in luck Commander we are headed the same way.” Micheal said then he turn to the rest of Gabriel’s men “At ease everyone, we have raided the depot already, you guys were an hours late, we have plenty of food to go around so help yourself. Joe, Nikolas get the tank on and running as soon as possible, Alan go bring these poor lads into the dining hall would you and serve them up a round of piping of coffee Phillipe you too help these poor souls and get some hot food for them.” hear some of these poor souls rejoicing among themselves gave some warmth in his heart thinking to himself at least he had done some good in this god forsaken war.

 

“Now Hauptmann, with all due respect, you are in charge of your men, not mine, even though you out rank me sir but these men are infantry not tankers sir.” Gabriel said as he felt there was a challenge of authority among his men.

 

“What now Oberleutentnant? Don’t feed this men you say, now listen here you SS* skunk, you may have the favouritism of your beloved god Hitler but these men are Wehrmacht troops that means they are the men of the Fatherland and not your private army. Even so do you want to deny them food where you can see them eagerly starving the lights out and if one by one of them dies then what leaves you commander of.” Micheal snapped back raising his voice and causing a small commotion. “SO Oberleutentnant would you like me to repeat what you said.” looking him dead right into his eye.

 

‘No Sir” Gabriel salute back

“Good, dismissed” Micheal said as he walked towards the worn down infantry men cheering them up by telling that they have sausages, beef and some of the Russian officer’s rations he then could still here Gabriel mumbling in dissatisfaction in the back.

 

They then made their way back to the depot and each of the tankers knew what their duties were and went right to it may it be fixing the tank of serving these starving men. Alan quickly start up a fire and cooked up a soup with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and finely diced thawed meat chunks, standard German army recipe but with a double serving portions for each men that filled to their hearts desires. If you have seen a sincere gratitude until you feed the starving Phillipe said to Alan. As they work double time to feed these guys and cook up a nice brew of coffee for each of these men.

 

These men walked in with quiet stares of exhaustion but as they ate their serving of food they started to be more lively and you could hear that the dining hall became rather cheery than before when they first walked in. Chuckles of laughter and chatter could be heard among these men that once looked too tired to even say thank you when they were presented food.

 

“Feels good eh kid, that you made a difference in their life” Phillipe said as he handed ad cup of coffee to Alan. “Here drink up, there is more if you want. I’ll go check on how the tank is coming along. Keep up the good work and will forget about what happened just now.” he then continues with a pat on Alan’s shoulder and proceeded with his MP40*

 

Feeling more motivated now Alan now worked on with more of a cherry mood as he tends to the hungry men. A good hour or so passed as the infantrymen rested while the tankers worked hard to change the tracks on the tank. Alan then brought them each a tin can full of soup and half a loaf of bread that included the SS officer and Micheal who had a chat at the Officer hut.

 

“Nikolas hurry up and finish that soup and go ahead for a recon mission, don’t return till you see Ivan and don’t worry I’ll send someone to go get you when we are getting ready to move, I can’t afford to leave my ace gunner can I” Micheal said with a wink.

 

Nikolas replied with a smile as he quickly down the soup and wiped his mouth with his sleeve, thanking Alan for the meal. He then took his rifle and off he went.

 

“Guys how’s the tracks coming along?” Micheal asked with a bit of a rush.

 

“Well without proper equipment sir we manage to change it within less than an hour but now the stupid engine is not working right.” Joe replied

 

“Damn it hurry up and get it working.” Micheal commanded.

 

“Yes sir we are on it” Joe replied

‘I see you that your men really respect you eh Commandant.” Gabriel said drinking a big mouthful of the soup.

 

“Naturally yea, you gotta be willing to put your life in risk and they will naturally do it as well.” Micheal said without taking is eyes off the tank from the officer’s hut.

 

“I see, so you lead by example I commend you for that Sir, I believe that men should lead by dedication, dedication in the service of the Fatherland.”

 

“You talk like a dirty politician, it is politician that started this war and not us army but we fight so these men may seem powerful.”

 

“Ah but on the other hand commander, the world need a good and proper politician that sees the rights and wrongs of people.”

 

“And I’m guessing that would be Hitler” Micheal said in disgust.

 

“I’m not implying that is the perfect politician but he is a good man that has great dreams for Germany.”

 

“That is bullshit, too me he is just a Obergefreiter that survive the great war just like me so what makes him so qualified to lead a country” Micheal stood up and walk out of the door as he just had enough of Gabriel’s Nazi propaganda.

 

“Commandant, we got bad news” Nickolas suddenly rushed back as he was out on scouting duty.

 

“What is it FeldwebelWachtmeister*?” Micheal asked

 

“We found commies, and they are headed this way, looks like an armoured company, about 2 T-34 and a KV-1* accompanied by infantry around 60 of them as most of them seemed new, uniforms untouched and fresh faces all of them, headed this way, estimated a good 30 minutes before reaching us” Nikolas reported in a rather calm manner.

 

“Okay then men ready up and get in to your battle positions. Nikolas, get the main gun ready I want you to focus on the the tanks, Joe, the tank is running right so I want you to angle the front armour facing the front gates, and get ready with the fore gun*, Phillipe do what you do best be the loader, Alan, with me, go the the MG42, our new toy and two boxes of ammo. Let’s go let’s go people! Ivan is not going to wait for us.” Micheal commanded as he took his MP40 and clocked it and looked towards Gabriel “Well Luetnnat let see what you and your men are made off, get them into battle positions, let’s go”

 

“Yes Sir Hauptmann” Gabriel replied with a salute

 

Gabriel immediately got his men to ready up and took a defensive line around the depot using what every cover they could find piles of sand bags left behind by the Russians, stacking them up to make an improvise cover along with the soot covered snow that added a great deal to their advantage due to their camouflage.

 

“Only fire on my command, let them get closer before we start firing.” Micheal commanded as he shouldered the MG42

 

“All due respect sir I command the infantry, so they will fire on my order they will engage as soon as they see first contact” Gabriel said in retaliation.

 

“I don’t have time to play Ranks with you dunkof, right now make sure you ready your men, spread them out two by two covering the flanks. As you can see I am trying to stay alive along with my crew alive as well. If you want to throw away your life do so but not my men and those around you, I don’t want to be in a long firefight and give Ivan a chance to call in support.” Micheal Said in annoyance as he load the MG42

 

“No this is my com…….” before Gabriel could finish

 

“Look here you swine you wanna live then follow my orders, if you don’t go and surrender to the commies and see if they let you Nazi dogs live.”

 

Feeling rather threaten by Micheal, he reluctantly followed orders, he then return to his men and changed his units position to face the front to suit him so that he could still feel that he was in command and told them to fire on Micheal’s mark. This was done without Micheal’s acknowledgment as Gabriel hated to feel inferior.

“Alan keep these rounds around your body, that way it would be easier for me to reload the gun” Micheal said as he puts the belt of MG ammo around Alan’s shoulder, “ and here take my Mpi*, you are gonna need it more than me, ive got this toy right here” he continued on with a smirk on his face.

 

Alan silently helped the commandant as he tried his best not to look nervous.

 

“Your first real firefight kid?” micheal noticed Alan’s shaky hands

 

“Y..yea” he replied

 

“Don’t worry kid, follow me and you’ll live, like the rest of my crew, we will get through this together alright” Micheal said pulling the belt of rounds into the MG and clocked it.

 

“Yes sir”. Alan said as he crouches down next to the commandant.

 

The form a line of defence facing towards the front gate, putting the panzer behind them to cover them if they ever needed to retreat back into the dining area. They waited in silence one by one saying a prayer to themselves in an paradoxical manner as these men looked more alive than before after a good meal inside them as the saying goes,” an army runs on their stomachs” in this case it was rather true. Feeling more energetic now these battle harden men are anxious to get the shooting started but all they can do now is insufferable waiting.

 

Soon the Russians got closer, the sound of their tanks were heard first then the sound of Russian chattering. One could easily be fooled that the war has come to an end as these indiscipline troops were laughing and singing as they walk towards a certain surprise that these Germans had waiting for them. Soon later they could already see the first few men in the front column fresh out of the training camp as they were still neat and tidy with little to no stains on their uniform as they joylessly marched towards the depot.

 

In an instance you could feel the tension in everyone as they hug the ground and ready to fire in moment’s notice. When the first column of the company arrived on the road leading to the depot, they immediately stop their singing and their jaws drop open as they could not believe their eyes. The lead soldier then called out his officer in charge and they stood there not knowing that they were not alone with watchful eyes everywhere looking at them. The Russian officer then look rather angry and send out the first group of men to check out the depot, still unaware his just send his men to certain doom.

 

Seconds after the group started running towards the depot, Micheal open fire at the first soldier leaded the group with a short burst of fire, followed by an instant volley of fire mixed with rifle and Mp40 and the MG from the tank cut down the first group and six men in an instant as all of them dropped like a sack of potatoes on the run spurting blood and organ parts all over their brand new uniform. The Russian commander immediately took cover behind the tree line as he was the only one to live for that surprise, one would say lady luck was on his side as three to four guys tried shooting at him before he got into the tree line.

 

“Ready for the charge guys.” Micheal shouted. “Knowing that these guys are new and so is the commander, they would witlessly charger into us as usual.”

 

Seeing combat on foot for the first time Alan was very nervous and was shaking all over. Minutes later, Micheal’s prediction was right, within minutes, there was a rather organized attack lead by the Russian T-34. The climb of the steep hill behind the T-34 being under constant fire from those with rifles trying to pick out some unlucky ones. It was just a matter of time until a few of these Russians ran out of luck as they got shot, their lifeless body just tumbled down the slope rag dolling those in is path. As soon as the rest of the defence line could get a clear shot they started to fire at their own will hoping to take out as much of the troops before they go too close. Suddenly a loud explosion came from the Panzer behind them as it fired its first round of the day towards the T-34, this time penetrating the armour with set it directly on fire, with no explosion, but internal fire. As the crew crawled out of the T-34 a blazed shout in pain begging to be killed as the kept burning, this was a real sight of horror to both side of the battlefield. As to Russians who may have just whiteness their first sight of death, their moral immediately broke and decided to retreat back.

 

Doing them a favour, Micheal shot down all those who were on fire leaving the rest of the others retreating falling prey to the other infantrymen.

 

“This is war kid, as an act of mercy shoot those on fire first. You are doing them a favour by ending their pain.” Micheal said without flinching.

 

Minutes later another wave of Russians came but this time they decided to use their brains and organized an attack on two sides as another T-34 came towards the front leading the charge of a what’s left of the company while the Kv-1 was going to out flank them from the sides. Minutes after the second charge with the T-34, Micheal noticed that there was something off with the attack he wondered what happened to the KV-1 that was reported by Nickolas. He then tap on Alan’s should telling him “we are re-positioning, something is not right.”

 

“In the middle of a shootout sir?” Alan said as he was reluctant to move wanting to stay down where the bullets are unlikely to hit.

 

“Just move it kid, and follow me” Micheal said as he picked up the MG42 while bullets zip pass him unflinching.

 

The both got up and ran behind the tank and re-position their gun facing the right flank now. As they were running to the right he noticed that the defence line was only facing the front and not covering the flank as Micheal commanded, after seeing this he cursed out loud “That Bastard dog. Must I do everything myself” putting down the MG onto the ground passed the area that was once used to be fencing is now nothing be a wreck of scrap metal. It had perfect cover as the trees mad it hard to see them and as soon as they pass the trees, the Russians would be right into the line of sights of the MG adding to the advantage of a small slope they have, making it the perfect killing ground for them.

 

Just as he put the MG into the snow, a lone Russian came charging out from the slope having drop the Mg to the ground Micheal was defenceless, Alan then instinctively shoot three to four rounds at the Russian before he could open fire, dropping him back onto the slope as he left a trail of blood as the lifeless body tumbled down.

 

“Good shot kid” Micheal said, unfortunately just before he could take a breather, another two more Russians came up from the slope and this time the first one charged towards the old man while the other one was less fortunate as Alan was able to shot him before he could fire back.

 

Looking at the commandant, Alan was conflicted is he should help him or not, worried that if he shoot the Russian, he may hit the commander. Knowing how the situation was proceeding, Micheal commanded Alan to ready the MG42 ignoring the Russian that was currently entangled in hand to hand combat with him. Alan sprang into action loading the MG while Micheal proceeded to deal with his little guest.

 

The Russian was so close to Micheal that Micheal could by hand touch the barrel of the rifle. Micheal then proceeded to move the rifle out of the way aiming towards the left side as it misfires, he then took out a knife from his belt forcing himself onto the soldier as he fell backwards onto the ground. He then proceeded to drive the knife right in to the poor guy’s heart as the body struggled to push him off, slowly as the body weakens as it gasp for air the Russian then dies as blood slowly drips out of his mouth. A sight that would scar most for life but not to this old man, he stood up and shrug it off as it was nothing.

 

He picked himself up and went back to Alan, hearing that the sound of the MG going off gave him a sign of relief that the kid was doing his job. He then joins the kid hugging the ground as they gun down any Russian foolish enough to challenge them. Suddenly the gun stop firing and they were thrown into a short confusion. Realizing that they ran out of ammo, Micheal took out the spent Mg belt and asked “Where is the extra I gave you?”

 

“errr I don’t know sir ….. I … I must have drop it on the way here.” Alan said as he notice the belt of ammunition was no more around his neck, so started to panic.

 

“Dunkof, arghhhhh ! Go, hurry up and go look for it now” Micheal shouted at the poor boy.

 

Taking back his Mp40 back from Alan he provided covering fire, as the kid ran back towards his last know position to look for the Mg rounds. It did not take long until the Russians knew that they had run out of ammo and decided to make their advance. Micheal manage to down two more just before his Mp40 ran out of ammunition knowing he had not enough time to reload he then proceeded to take out his Pistol hitting one more. Four more Russians fired back as they made their advance towards him, with multiple close calls, he decided to fall back into the compound as he sling the Mp40 onto his back as he proceeded to shoot back with whatever he still had in his pistol at the oncoming Russians.

 

Noticing that the flank had been breached one of the German Infantry went to provided firing cover as Micheal retreated. Managing to shoot down two more soldiers with his rifle, the then proceeded to reload his rifle. Taking out the clip and pressing down the bullets into the ammo chamber of the rifle he then pulled off the clip holder and return fire. He then signaled his partner to follow him. His partner picking up his Mp40 he then followed his fellow soldier towards the right flank of the compound, them made good progress as the advanced gunning down two more Russian as they foolishly rushed in. Unfortunately their luck ended as they reached the end of the trees line that was providing them cover. As the came about the open field where Micheal was. Looking towards their left the instantly regretted their decision, right there it was the Kv-1 looking at them with its gun aiming right at them.

 

“Scheisseee!!!!!” the infantryman shouted as he pushed his partner towards the ground instantly exploding into nothing but bits and chucks of body part as blood splatted around a three meter radius, fully painted his partner with his blood and a length on his entrails. It had seemed that the Kv-1 had tried to kill them both with a single shot but failed in succeeding so as it load in the next round.

 

Waking up in a dazed feeling the down German infantry slowly looked around trying to look for his partner, seeing that the place was splatted with a coat of blood red paint, he then only realized what happened to his friend when a length of human entrails drop in front of him. In terror he shouted out uncontrollably as you could see the horror in his eyes. Only to be silence as the Russian commander advanced up and shot him in the back of his head through his steel helmet with his pistol. At such close range, the bullet went right through his helmet easily and through his head and out his mouth with bits of his brain adding more blood shed into the once pure and white painted snow. Then he moved on rallying what is left of his company to charge on.  

 

Seeing the whole thing happening in just minutes, Micheal decide to spare Alan the horrible sight of it as he pushed him back the sides of the tank. Passing him back the Mp40, he also pass him a couple of rounds and told him to make it last. Directing him towards the main frontal attack he got him to hug the floor and keep on looking forward and shoot any Russians coming from the front. He proceeded to reload his Luger then and explosion came from the T-34 as it tried to take out the panzer but to fortunately missing the panzer zipping pass it and hitting the dining hall way behind it, punching a good hole right into it without exploding. In retaliation, Nikolas took a shot at the T-34 that was hiding behind his dead burning metal friend that was taken out earlier. Nickolas sending the round hitting the T-34 at the joint of the turret causing to explode into flames as it took it’s turret out sending it a good few foot a way form the corpse of the burning tank.  The shock of the panzer fire threw Micheal of his balance and he fell back first into the melted slush of snow and mud.

 

“Argh schiesse, ain’t my day” Micheal said as he quickly got up to his feet.

 

He got up, climb up on the tank in the midst of a shootout with minimal cover, tap Nickolas on the head and said “ reverse the tank left, there is a Kv-1 to our right flank.”

 

Nickolas relaying the message to Joe through the radio while Micheal jump down and pulled Alan to the side of out of the way of the tank. As they they start to lay down covering fire towards the right flank.

 

Gabriel took notice of the breach in their flanks he started to panic and immediately retreated into perimeter of the compound from his position, soon followed suit by his men as they one by one got up and proceeded to retreat with their commander, giving the Russians in the front a chance to push on.

 

Gabriel ran back as he tried to reach for cover behind the Officer’s hut. Running under the heat of fire he tried to keep low but unfortunately a bullet found a way to him and two of his other men. He then fell face down onto the soot covered snow just short by a few meters to back of the hut. Under immense pain he felt in the back of his upper left arm, started crying out for medic where as the other two of more of his men were not so lucky.

 

The other German infantrymen quickly secured their down commander as two of them drag him off by his armpits, ignoring his shout of pain placed him at the back of the hut along with Micheal and Alan as they desperately provided firing cover for them despite being vastly outgunned even with the help of the panzer. What was left of the German infantry now hid behind the hut and the panzer for cover as they fiercely fought back conserving as much ammo as they could and resorting into using the Russian weapons if they had too.  

 

“Argh, stop whining you god damn baby, don’t give the Russians another reason to shoot you. Micheal said as he addressed the wound on Gabriel. “lucky bastard, its just a scratch, a clean in and out wound. This should patch you right up” Micheal talked while applying first aid on to Gabriel as he groans. “here, your other arm is still good right, take this and shoot back” He then pass his Luger to Gabriel in exchange for this Mp40 and went back into covering the the three meter gap between the tank and the hut.

 

The battle got worse for both sides by the minute as casualties started to come in for the Germans too as they have already lost four men and plenty of minor wounded from shrapnel of explosions. There were only six men from the German infantry left as they hurdle up and held the line conserving their ammo as much as possible.

 

“Last clip” one of the German soldier shouted out as he reloaded his rifle while taking cover behind the tank.

 

“Here use this” Micheal passing him the PPsh that he took earlier as he gave him an extra drum of ammo. “Alan burst fire, not spraying please we don’t have enough bullets to for you for target practise”

 

After reloading his rifle, the German Soldier went back to his shooting position, but this time only to take a bullet to this thigh. Shouting in pain, Micheal with the help of Alan

 

Seeing that how the Russians are now learning to take cover rather than their conventional charging attacks the battle now prolonged as the day got older. Worried that the Russians may get reinforcements, Micheal climbed up unto the back turret of the tank and tried making a difference by providing cover with his Mp40.

 

As if things could not get not get any worse, the Kv-1 decided to show up leading a slow charge along with the infantry. Taking the first chance Nickolas could get, he fired first while the slow moving Kv-1 moved up the slopes, and grazed it by the turret.

 

“Schieese…” Nickolas shouted.

 

Before Phillipe could even load in the next round, the Kv-1 Fired back this time hitting the hull of the Panzer penetrating the co-driver seat without explosion, denting the interior pretty well. With lady luck still favoring them, there were no casualties.

 

“Bloody hell,” Phillipe complained while Joe and Nickolas were still recovering from the shot. He quickly got back up and loaded in the next round without delay. This time aiming just under two hundred meters, Nickolas pressed the trigger and sending the round right through the think KV-1 armour and killing it on the spot. Suddenly it caught fire as the crew rushed out of it to get away from it as soon as possible while being gunned down by Nickolas with his MG located at the turret.

 

Holding on to his interiors as he felt like he was on a roller-coaster ride from the Kv-1 round, he then without thinking pop his head over the top hatch of the tank to check if everyone was alright.

 

“You guys still alive?” Micheal asked

 

“Bloody hell, very shaken up but still breathing” Phillipe answered looking as if he was in a tin can being whacked by a hammer.

 

Nickolas gave the thumbs up as he continued firing the MG on the turret at the Russian troops.

 

Joe being the closest to the impact had seemed to have lost most of his hearing. But there was sure sign of him being alive as he was swirling his head as he slowly recovered from the impact shot.

 

Moments later after realizing their last tank was up in flames, the already demoralized; dropping their weapons, the Russians turn tail and took flight. Within seconds, there was complete silence on the battlefield. Desperately trying the regain his men, the Russian commander threatening to shoot his men if they fled by shouting at them to stay while aiming his pistol at them. The Germans could clearly hear his shouting of desperation immediately knew that they had won this battle as some took of their steel helmets and dropped onto the floor as they were all exhausted. Fearing the Germans more than death from their commander, the remaining Russians ignored their commander proceeded to run. Having no choice The Russian Commander then opendc fire on his own fleeing men dropping two of them whom were the closest to him.

 

Little did he know he had left much of his upper body exposed from cover as he turned to shoot the traitors to the motherland. Just as he was going to squeeze of the third round, a clear shot from a Rifle could be heard coming from the German side of the hitting him on the left side of his back and into his heart, dropping him there and then like a sack of potatoes.

 

Pulling the bolt back of his rifle ejecting the spent shell to the ground, the German infantry that took the shot then noticed that all eyes were on him.

 

“What?I hate these KGB officers.” He said in his defence.

 

With several sighs and mumbles among them, they then got up and went around tending to their dead. Taking off their dog tags and taking any personal letters or items that belong to them so that it can be returned to their mothers to mourn as most of them were sons barely in their early twenties.  

 

“What a waste of good Aryan Blood” Gabriel commented looking at his men tending the dead

 

“All thanks to Hitler my friend.” Micheal replied as he made his way down from the tank.

 

Just before Gabriel could say anything, Micheal started to dish out commands among the remaining Germans. “Okay guys let’s move it. It is only a matter of time before the Russians come back this time with a whole army. Infantrymen gather whatever weapons and ammo you can find both ours and Ivan we can’t be picky now, Phillipe, get the wounded sorted out see what you can do the skunk’s wound, we don’t want him whining all the way back to German lines. Alan go get check for food supply, see how much more we can take along with us. Okay guy I want us out by thirty minutes that should be at 12:43 German time. Now go go go.”

 

Wanting to say something to Micheal but due to his wound to the arm, Gabriel just moan in pain instead as he tried to get up, with the pain still going relentlessly giving him trouble, he sat back down and watch as everyone went about doing as Micheal ordered.

 

Minutes pass and the depot seemed like a busy beehive once again with men running around doing their duties. Alan collected more frozen meat and bread that would be kept inside the tank and other multiple treats like tea, coffee, vodkas, biscuits and chocolate that they intend to divide equally among themselves.

 

While collecting weapons and ammo, they found a Russian wounded who were left behind by their own men. They went back to report it to Micheal.

 

“Sir we found we found a wounded Russian sir, by the looks of it he took the wound on chest and it looks rather serious.” the soldier reported

 

“I see” Micheal looking towards Phillipe whom was in the midst of tending to Gabriel “Phillipe, go follow these men and tend to the Russian” Phillipe immediately re-did the bandage on Gabriel and quickly went with the soldier.

 

“What are you are you thinking, helping out the enemy” Gabriel said in retaliation towards Micheal.  

 

“Enemy or not a wounded soldier is still a wounded Soldier.” Micheal said as he proceeded to walk off.

 

“Come back here, I’ll have you court marshalled and shot for treason for helping out the enemies of the Fuhrer.” Gabriel threatened as he tried to get up.

 

Being really annoyed, Micheal walked towards Gabriel and grabbed him by the collar as he pulled him up and said “Shut up about the Fuhrer and all this Pro-Nazi Schieese. Say one more word and I’ll kill you here myself to save the Russian effort.” being rather furious, he threw him towards to ground and went about his inspection of his men.

 

Phillipe manage to earn the trust of the Russian, help him up and bandage him up. He then proceeded to bring him into the half emptied dining hall and proceeded to giving him hot cup of coffee and a loaf of bread that he kept in his breast pocket. Seeing the Russian taking a bite out of the bread, he then went back to Micheal.

 

“All done?” Micheal asked

 

“Yea, with hopes, he will recover with a scar that is if Ivan finds him first before the cold night.

Micheal nodded and then asked Alan to gather some extra food for the wounded Russian.

 

“Hauptmann, these are all that we could salvage sir, sixteen usable Mosin Nagant*, three k98 rifles*, and six PPsh and one Mpi” a German soldier came to report.

 

“Good, I want you to distribute the weapons among yourselves and make sure you get plenty of ammo of your chosen weapons, I want one infantry to carry at least two, can one of you help retrieve the MG that I left near that mess over there that would be much appreciated. Also distribute the food among yourselves too we got a long way to go, Phillipe and Nickolas get the wounded up on the back of the tank.”

 

“Yes sir” Nickolas said as he jumped down from the tank.

 

Within minutes every one was packed with both weapons and food as they gather up by the tank. With all the wounded placed on the back of the tank and Micheal assumed command as he stood out from the hatch he then said “Panzer Vor”

 

The band of Germans then proceeded to move out without delay nor even once looking back taking all that they could on their backs and in the tank. On the move again in back into the vast Russian lands hopping to get back to their lines.

 

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