Over the Top
Belgium – 1914
The landscape flashed white, on and off, with gunfire. Artillery hammered away at the German trenches, trying to drive their morale to an all time low.
It was raining too, so the Germans were really angry.
Private Kyle Ryan looked out over the top of the trench, trying to catch a glimpse of the enemy. His coat was soaked, water pouring off his tin helmet.
They were out of the German's range, so it was actually safe to look out over the top.
He stepped down off the box he was using, planting his feet on the duckboards. He took his rifle from the wall, putting the strap over his torso. He held the strap with his right hand, going over his right shoulder.
He walked down the trench, continuing on his guard duty.
Nothing much had happened recently, apart from a German charge a few days ago. One or two Germans got within ten metres, but Kyle and the Captain took them out.
He passed his friend, Nigel Thornton, standing at a Lewis machine gun. He smiled, before looking back to the direction the Germans were supposedly hiding in.
Kyle kept walking, getting closer and closer to the officer's quarters.
When he was only a few feet away, it happened.
There was a soft explosion in the background… then a dull 'whump' as the dirt around Kyle shot into the air.
Kyle was thrown off his feet, hitting the ground hard.
He got up quickly, holding his helmet onto his head.
Kyle turned to see Nigel firing his machine gun, manic expression on his face.
"They're coming!" He shouted above the gun, swiping the weapons left and right ever so slightly.
Kyle turned again, looking out onto no man's land.
In the distance, a wave of German's was surging towards them. Somewhere further down the trench, a whistle sounded, more and more men pouring into the dugout.
Kyle readied his rifle, firing into the wave.
More men joined him, firing off into the horde.
Suddenly, large chunks of soil were sent hurtling into the air as some rather unlucky German's found out about the mines spread out across the expanse.
The trench fell silent…
The British were getting ready for a counter attack… if it were possible. The Germans had continued to shell the trench for several more minutes, after the initial attack.
That thinned out the Triple Entente's manpower by almost a half.
That didn't leave a lot of men.
Another half of whatever was left had to stay and guard the trenches… that meant the others were going to go over the top. Private Ryan was one of them.
The Officer stood there, drenched in the rain.
Water was running off his cap, past his piercing, emerald green eyes.
"Captain Roland, sir?" The Officer turned, slick black hair shining in the dim light.
The man facing him wore a trench coat, chewing a cocktail stick.
"Brett…" The Officer nodded,
"Are the others ready?"
Brett grinned, "Yep…" He turned, seeing men strolling towards them from further down the trench.
"Here they come."
Kyle turned, seeing silhouette's striding towards him.
Several men were taking their places on the line, one of them stopping next to Kyle.
The bloke was considerably taller than Kyle, seeming to be quite a bit tougher too.
He wore a long, leather trench coat; feet encased in big, sturdy leather boots.
He held a rifle… but had two, odd looking handguns strapped to his thighs.
He turned to Kyle, revealing some kind of padding beneath his trench coat.
"You scared son?" He asked, a thunderous yet kind voice sounding out.
"What's your name?"
Kyle saluted, "Private Kyle Ryan, sir!"
"It's alright… I'm only a corporal, and I'm not much of one for formalities… I'm Tommy Taylor."
Kyle nodded, remembering they were about to go over the top…
"On my first whistle," Captain Roland yelled,
"The Lock Down Squad will advance. On my second whistle, the rest of you will advance… there may not be a need for the second whistle."
Kyle was confused. How would one squad take on all those Germans?
Roland blew the whistle.
Tommy Taylor shot up, climbing over the top of the trench… so did just four others.
Taylor sprinted across no mans land, catching the Germans off guard. By the time they opened fire, he was already more than half way there.
He kept down, pushed into the dirt. He could hear the Germans screaming and shouting, ready for a counter.
The machine guns stopped.
More shouting, getting louder and louder… then a whistle was blown.
It turns out the Germans thought they were dead. How wrong they were.
Tommy got up, planting the butt of his rifle on the end of a German's chin.
The man dropped, exposing another behind him.
Thompson plunged his bayonet into the German's stomach, before firing the rifle, blowing the German off his feet, which then knocked down another Soldier behind him.
One came at him from his side, but Thompson threw his rifle at him, knocking him down.
A German grabbed him from behind; Tommy elbowed him in the stomach, then again and again.
He twisted free, managing to lash out with his boot, shattering the Germans kneecap. He howled in pain, but was quickly silenced by Thompson's knife.
Tommy hurled a rock at another, but yet another grabbed him around the neck.
He brought his leg back, catching the German hard in his groin… causing him to keel over, gasping.
He brought his leg forward, and then swung it back again, sending the German toppling over backwards.
Whilst he was bent down, he charged forwards, tackling yet another German to the floor.
He punched him, again and again. The German lashed out, catching Thompson in the chin.
The German unsheathed a knife… but was sent hurtling, red exploding from the side of his head.
Desmond Wayfield helped Tommy up, reloading his rifle. He pulled back the bolt, ready.
"How many are there?" He joked, smiling.
"Too many…" Thompson groaned as he got to his feet.
He turned towards the trench… seeing another wave approaching them.
It was going to be one hell of a night.