Theo and Hunter did in fact drop off during the night but now, 3am they were wide awake and after one more naked cuddle and a kiss, they smiled at one another and got dressed.
One hundred men assembled in the square with their wives and kids watching a short distance away.
By now there were 35 armed men which meant there were 65 men in reserve to take over a weapon, tend any injured, act as runners and look after prisoners if there were ever any, five of them were armed with lugers and two had Theo and Hunters pistols. Father Jacques would lead them and encourage every man by prayer while the fight was going on. He had every intention of carrying on with his chosen way of life and that of the village, “and FUCK any German who dares to try to convert us into the horrors of Nazism! We have only one course and that is to drive them out of France, but my dear fellows, we will have to kill many of the bastards before that can come about.” His church was always full and no wonder! His flock loved him!
If this was not so serious it would have been funny as this group of civilians, dressed in their scruffy work clothing and most of them carrying brown leather suit cases followed the only two genuine military men towards their various ambush positions and their chance to reverse Germany’s abuse of their country and the many thousands they had killed while engaged in the Third Reich’s dream of empire.
The first to be dropped off were the four men who would fire on a possible forward patrol of motor cyclists and side cars each armed with an MG42. They would open fire after Hunter had fired his first shell from his PIAT and after they had killed them run like hell to get the belts of ammunition to Theo and his men.
Next was Hunter and his loader, Wyatt. They took the PIAT out of it’s hiding place and set it up ready to fire, Wyatt then loaded the weapon and they were ready.
They both knew that after the first shot they would have to get to the front of the banks as quickly as possible but look to see if they needed to fire into the banks because of enemy return fire.
Theo and Hunter looked at one another and then embraced for a few seconds. They looked at one another one more time before Theo had to go and oversee every other position much of which could only be guesswork as to where they would be at their most advantageous.
It would be entirely up to Franc to organise his group and get them into a position to best attack the Hun.
Finally Theo took his men to their firing positions. Collectively it was massive fire power with the machine guns alone belching out a rate of well over 3000 rounds a minute and the riflemen’s 50 rounds plus per minute. But, massive fire power was one thing, a lousy shooter or shooters was something else and could lead to most of the limited ammunition supply hitting nothing but dirt.
“A machine gunner MAY kill every 20 rounds or so. A rifleman can kill with every round. Right, let’s get back to basics and fucking concentrate this time!
Theo just hoped his training and advise to the shooters would have been learnt. It would not be long before he would find out. It was now 6am.
It was a lovely day and very warm, just the sort of day two 15 year old boys, who liked one another more than very much, could not resist getting naked as well get up to mischief, after all they were completely private so no risk at all! Noel was standing with his legs apart and eyes half closed while Jon was on his knees giving his boyfriends cock a good seeing too!
“Oh yes! Fuck that’s good, don’t sto… Jesus fucking Christ Jon!! The Bosch are coming!”
There was no time to get dressed, Jon opened the cage that held the three pigeons with a red ribbon tied to a leg and sent them off. Noel was ready with the slim strip of paper that would be rolled up and fitted into a tiny container attached to the other three pigeons legs.
He would write down the convoy in the order it was formed up with these abbreviations, MCOR=motor cycle out riders, TK=tanks, ART=artillery, LRY=lorries, TRP/N=approx. Troop numbers, HMG=heavy machine guns, SC=Staff Car/s.
Twelve year old Marcel was on dovecote watch and saw the pigeons before they landed. His time had come, he could not wait to ring the hand bell. He grabbed it with two hands and rang it as fast as he could. Yves, another twelve year old lad in the church tower then laid into the ancient bronze bell with a hammer and banged away for the next two minutes. Everyone in the woods and in the village tensed with most of them crossing themselves and offering a prayer. Back in the village mothers rounded up the children and carrying food and water disappeared into the woods, except for Marcel and Yves who were waiting the arrival of the first message pigeon.
Jon and Noel wrote numbers down as the convoy was still some distance away, MCOR 2, TK 2, ART 6, LRY 15, SC 1, TRP/N 4/500+. Jon took a pigeon out and Noel loaded the message into the container and sent it of followed by the other two. They were finished and cuddled into one another as the German force trundled past them. They would have to stay where they were until it was all over and both boys thinking about their fathers and other family who would soon be fighting and possibly not much time before they could even die. Once again they cuddled in tight in an attempt to comfort one another, they even forgot they were still naked.
The whole village fighting force were now totally dependent on a couple of twelve year olds, Marcel and Yves as they waited for the first pigeon to arrive.
“Marcel! There, one is coming! Come to Papa you little fucker!” The pigeon landed and was grabbed by Yves while Marcel got the message out. The two boys then ran like the wind until they got to the wood. They stopped and began to yell out.
“MCOR 4!” That was then shouted out down the line. Two seconds later;
“TK 2!” Now that was shouted down the line.
“ART 6!” Ditto.
“LRY 15!” Ditto.
“SC 1!” Ditto.
“TRP 400/500+!” Oh fuck!
The boys work, like Jon’s and Noel’s was done and they would now be expected to join their mothers! Yeah right try telling that to two 12 year olds and expect them to do as they were told when a battle was about to begin! There was no way they would leave now.
Theo, Hunter, Franc and Jacques were fully aware that the first five minutes or so would be crucial and in that time they would have to eliminate as many of them as possible before they could return effective fire.
Franc would now have to spread his group out to attack the lorries towing the field guns as they were likely to have troops in them as well as shells.
Hunter on the other hand was relieved, he would have a tank to fire at but the main reason he was happier was if he fired at the lead lorry the shells in it could blow up taking all in the area with it. Down at the front of the banks Theo was also pleased there were tanks and if Hunter fired well, the destroyed tank would definitely stop the German retreat.
He also hoped Franc’s notice would bring the convoy closer together so that more of them would be in between the banks, but knew there would be a number of troop lorries that would not be effected and all those troops would become a threat but just how many of them he would have to wait and see.
The two outriders noticed Franc’s sign first but kept going at the same speed and entered between the banks, they would have passed some earth on the road that Theo had scraped off the banks just to give the notice some credence. They were caught up by the first tank that had increased its speed followed by those behind. Franc had got it right and by the time they were at the far end both tanks, field guns and five troop lorries were between the banks. It was now up to Hunter and his aim.
Hunter settled down to wait for his tank to arrive in his usual calm manner, no matter what the situation was and how demanding, Hunter remained cool and calm but at the same time fully concentrating on the job. He looked at Wyatt and smiled at him and slapped him on his back. Wyatt smiled back and hoped he would find a man like Hunter one day.
They heard the tanks long before they entered the banks which became louder as they got closer.
A man was hidden behind a tree and would be a marker for Hunter and when he flashed his torch Hunter would know the motor cycles were about to come out and he would fire his first shell from the PIAT!
The tank was making enough noise to drown that of the motor cycles and all Hunter concentrated on was looking for the muzzle of the tanks barrel, when he saw it, he would fire and just hope he had got his aim and timing right. He and Wyatt had spent ages practising reloading which would hopefully give Hunter a second chance if his first shell missed.
Hunter saw the torch flashing and held the butt firmly into his shoulder, he was about to experience the massive recoil from this weapon as he fired.
Hunter concentrated as never before, the two cycles came out followed almost immediately by the gun muzzle, he pulled the trigger.
Both man and boy watched as the shell left the weapon and gently lobbed towards its target as more of the tank came into sight… It was a perfect shot, the shell hit midships and detonated ending the life of not only the tank but all those inside it.
That shell exploding was the signal for the whole force to open up with rifles, automatic weapons, grenades, the ten bombs exploding and Hunter firing off shells directly onto the trapped Germans would cause many casualties.
The troop carriers outside the banks came under tremendous fire and added to the growing list of Germans who would be taking no further part in Hitler’s dream of empire.
That list was made even longer when Hunter, now without Wyatt, appeared alongside Theo and after firing off his last four shells, a white flag was raised by an officer in the staff car. The killing in this small area of France was over. From the first shell going off to the German white flag being raised, just 20 minutes had past.
The prisoners were assembled together and counted, 235 out of a total of exactly 500.
Of the 265 casualties 193 were killed and the rest wounded, some so badly they would also die later.
Five of the villagers were injured but none seriously, but sadly one was killed, it was Wyatt. His body would be found later on the road between the banks. They had come across one of the villagers who had been injured and Wyatt told Hunter he would take over the man’s sten. He picked it up, kissed Hunter on the cheek and ran towards the bank.
Hunter, Franc, Jacques and a number of villagers took over 50 prisoners and after many shovels had been retrieved amongst the damaged trucks and others from the village, the prisoners, under armed guard, were put to work on digging a mass grave. Jacques was determined to have as many as possible buried by the time it got dark. However, he would go with the small party of men who discovered Wyatt’s body and take him to the church and remain with his grieving parents, brothers and sister.
Theo sat with the surrendering officer, a Major who was more than open about what his men had been told to carry out.
“I had been ordered to take your village and make a stand against the Americans as they came out of the forest. This area is perfect for an ambush but I don’t need to tell you that of course. We were even going to do what you did and that is mine the banks to trap advancing enemy, my troops would even be hidden in the same places your people were waiting for us.”
“You say you had been ordered to take the village. What exactly does that mean?” The officer looked at Theo and then the ground for some time.
“When we had destroyed the Americans I was to radio they were no longer a threat and before we left I was to have the village raised to the ground… and kill 50 villagers as well in retaliation to the invasion.”
“Would you have carried out those orders?” There was another long silence.
“Yes… In this army it’s either carry out orders or be killed.”
“Well, as far as I know there are no orders like that with my army but I doubt we are that innocent either, far from it. God forgive us all… if there is one.”
It took the whole of the next day to bury the dead including those who succumbed to their injuries and everyone was pleased when the American’s turned up to help with clearing the road.
Two days later the road was open again with rather a lot of scrap metal dragged away to be cleared some other time. The intact tank was parked outside the village and after it had been cleared of anything dangerous, it became a play thing for the kids.
The US officer in command, Colonel John Merton the third, Theo, Hunter as well as Franc and Jacques once again interrogated the German major who repeated all he had told Theo.
“So, you two are Brits and seems all you guys have saved many American lives. Thanks all of you, great job.”
“In actual fact this was the second time these two men saved many lives and without them there would have been nothing we could have done to stop the enemy, we just pray the killing has stopped.”
The day after the Americans and prisoners left and the village trying to return to something like normal, the funeral of Wyatt took place which to say the least was a hugely emotional affair which effected all of them, not least Theo and Hunter. They kept out of the way so the village could morn privately and even went for a walk after the service and everyone going to the church hall for the French version of a wake, until Jacques found them and insisted they join the rest. It was a good move and both men were received with a huge amount of warmth, which included Wyatt’s family.
“What happens to you now boys?” Theo, Hunter, Franc and Jacques were sitting together drinking even more cognac.
“I suppose we had better try to get back to England, there will be ships we can get by now, what do you think Theo?” Unlike him Theo stayed quiet for some time and then looked at Franc and Jacques.
“Is it possible we could stay and work on the farm for a few months Franc?” A huge smile came over Franc’s and Jacques faces.
“Of course you can, of COURSE you can! You can stay for as long as you want, you have become one of us and will be until time stops.” Theo looked at Hunter.
“Wherever you are, I am, you must know that.”
“Even if it’s against what is expected and we should try to get back home?” Hunter thought for a very short time.
“Who’s sending the message, you or me?”
“Me.” Theo and Hunter had made their final decision of the war which meant, for them, it was over. An hour later Theo sent “DEKCUF” and then turned the radio off for all time. The next day their first job was to muck out the pigs!
They refused to be paid and just worked for keep. Franc ordered them to move into his house where they were spoilt rotten and also became full members of the village and would only be referred to by their French names.
They asked and were given permission to start to convert an old barn into a museum which after the war would be dedicated to Wyatt in his memory. In it would be many of the weapons used on that day (now decommissioned) and the story in words and photographs but as a centre piece a large portrait of Wyatt painted by Franc. It was still being worked on when Theo and Hunter thought it was time to go back home, the war had ended and so had their 15 months as Le Bray villagers.
At the leaving party they were presented with an album full of photos taken during their stay but the best of all was when Franc, after his speech presented them with a framed photo which showed Wyatt with his arms around both of their shoulders and a huge smile on all three faces.
As he presented the photo he added. “You will forever be citizens of La Bray and become honorary Frenchmen. Please come back to see us often and even stay permanently should you so wish. There is plenty of land to farm and with our help we can help you get your own.” The applause went on for a long time and every one of them echoing Frank’s words.
The following morning the entire village was outside the church cemetery as Theo and Hunter came out after laying flowers on Wyatt’s grave. Everyone said goodbye and shook hands with them before they got into Jacques car, he was taking them to Cherbourg were they hoped to find a ship back home.
“We are only 15 months late Hunter, but I will tell Paul it was your idea so no problem for me and I WILL visit you in prison, I promise.”
“Oh good, lots of REAL men to fuck for a change, captain!” Theo didn’t say anymore, but Jacques was ceased up and nearly drove off the road!
Jacques dropped them off and after a long and emotional farewell he drove off leaving his two friends standing there with a couple of thousand others hoping for a boat home but only one tied up in the harbour. They picked their cases up, loaded with cognac and a few clothes and wandered over to join the queue. Theo took one look at all the other men in front of them hoping for a place on the ship and decided he would have to cheat to have any chance of getting them on it.
They looked along the queue which lead to four tents with an officer and two NCO’s in each, they were dispatchers and after a couple of questions a card was stamped and signed then handed to the lucky ones. Theo began to walk down the length of the queue.
“Where are we going?”
“God knows but standing at the back of this lot wont get us on that ship. We need to borrow a couple of those cards, come on.” As soon as he said that a staff sergeant came along the line yelling out that the ship was full. “Come back tomorrow, you never know another boat may turn up, not that I could give a fuck, me and my lads are on this one and then demob when we get back!”
“When does it sail?” Theo asked.
“Fifteen minutes from now mate, why?” Theo lent towards this man and whispered in his ear.
“Plenty of time for you to issue us with boarding passes then. It’s either that or I will have you charged for insubordination. I am NOT your mate and you are still under army discipline.” The bloke laughed in Theo’s face.
“Look mate, I don’t give a fuck about you, your rank or the fucking army, I am now a civilian and you matey can piss off!” He turned and walked off, followed a short distance by Theo and Hunter. They stood outside a tent listening to the laughing coming out of it.
“Fucking wanker, who the fuck does he think he is. Right boys, let’s get out of this shit hole.” Theo and Hunter went into the tent and smiled at those inside.
“We don’t think so, MATE!” No more was said as Theo and Hunter laid into all four of them until they were well and truly fast asleep. All four boarding passes were taken then all four men stripped to their underpants. Their cases were opened and tipped out all over the tent floor. They left taking the uniforms with them which ended up in a rubbish bin.
“Hello, you two lads still waiting?”
“Yes sir, we have been here two bloody days and still no luck.”
“That’s about to change. Have a good trip.”
They got on board and found a place on the port rail where Theo would remain for the entire crossing while he threw up. Hunter helped no end by laughing his head off and drinking from a handy bottle of cognac which he passed to fellow passengers all of whom raised the bottle to Theo wishing him good health! Theo tried to tell Hunter he was dead when they got off but threw up again instead.
Finally they moored up in Worthing much to Theo’s relief but instead of going through the arrival process, Theo opted to take himself and Hunter off out of the gates and make their way to Hunter’s home.
They hitch hiked most of the way then walked the last three miles. Hunter looked at his watch. “Brilliant timing Theo, we are just in time for dinner.”
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