F. William Broome
At 04:20 they bump around in the back of a truck
fifteen GIs strapped in full combat gear
are jolted in and out of deeper pot holes
shivering and numb in constant sub-zero cold
on their way back to the front
after a new enemy breakthrough
canceling a day of rest this side of madness.
German infantrymen seep through
holes routing entire companies
whose ranking commanders are corporals
as our casualties outnumber replacements
green from fear and inexperience
soon to face a desperate final push of
fast-firing tanks close-by mortars and killing snipers.
At daybreak they are to become part of
a ragged battle line short of men
low on ammunition and leadership
sick to death of the dying and
the moaning from untreated injuries
a handful of soldiers making headlines
for history’s Battle of the Bulge.
The sudden sharpness of steel grinding into steel
as truck smashes into disabled tank spilling soldiers
into darkness a few to die trapped under truck
others to drown in a shell-hole pond
the lone survivor recalling his profane reply
after their deranged captain shouts repeatedly
How much of the equipment is damaged?
©Copyright 2003 by F. William Broome