Here’s something a little different. I’ve been writing a story. Instead of traditionally keeping it a secret, I’m opting to share it. When it’s all done, I’ll self publish it and you’ll be able to buy it. Keep in mind, this is a first draft. Unedited and raw. Lots of stuff is likely to change as I finish it up and paw through a second draft.
Atlantik is the story of the Battle for Normandy. In this story, history is changed and created for entertainment’s sake, not by any means to take away from the sacrifices made or anything like that. It’s a story. Nothing more, nothing less.
The morning sun was just starting to crest over a line of half shredded treetops. Eddy leaned his back into the dumpy sandbags behind him. He let out an audible sigh and a glazed look washed over his face as his helmet softly knocked against the uneven surface at his rear, setting itself crookedly on the back of his head. His eyes barely squinted into the opposite row of sandbags in the open-topped corridor leading to Fox Company’s supply depot, a scraped together assembly of basic equipment and a few stacks of crates, lined by a simple sandbag embankment to protect the lot against whatever German patrols managed to sneak through the line.
The supply depot itself was little more than an outstretched circle. A length of sandbags on either side of the entrance several paces long would eventually be the only means to access the goods inside, once it was built to Army specifications. A far cry from the fortified, well-manned facilities that Fox Company was used to staffing, it would need a few good hours of work to be secure and stable. Though they knew that after the invasion, the job would look different, Eddy wasn’t exactly ready for such a thrown-together station. He also knew that conditions would improve with every arriving transport to the shores, so he set his mind into a familiar, cyclical train of thought while he waited for the trucks to arrive with the next load of crates and building materials.
He really should have been focusing on the tasks at hand; organize the latest deposit of ration crates, continue building up the perimeter and check in with his company leadership to figure out who’s next up for security, but the fact remained, he was just exhausted. His legs bore the weight of an invasion, the miles of walking inland behind the main combat forces and the sleepless nights in open-topped foxholes. Even though the main forces landed only a few days back, the work was non-stop to keep the push into France going strong in the face of a formidable, determined enemy. Eddy’s mind lagged into thinking about getting back to work on building the supply location he was sitting inside. It wouldn’t be long before the next Jeep would come barrelling down the pathway now, crates lashed down to it’s hood and passenger seats, ready to be unloaded.
Eddy allowed his torso to slump forward, away from the sandbags. His hands met his outstretched knees before falling to the ground. He sank his palms into the dirt, softened from so much foot traffic in and out of the cache and hoisted himself to his feet. Wobbly and uneven, he let out one more muffled sigh before blinking a few times to reopen his eyes and gain his focus. He’d been promised a little time away from his duties if he could make the final stretch into the night.
“1430, Ed-o. Keep sluggin’.” Mitch, with crate in hand, called to Eddy from the main dug out of the supply depot. He moved the crate to an existing pile of ration crates, setting it down as a few tiny wooden splinters let go of the side of the crate he’d been carrying.
Eddy and Mitch were assigned to establish ‘Fox Six’, the company’s sixth and final supply area. Closest to the front but far enough away to see any real action, Fox Six would be a popular station for the rest of the 1st Infantry Division, to and from the lines of combat. Eddy hoped the next delivery would have some camouflage netting to break up the obvious shape they had cut into the earth, an easy target for strafing German fighter-bombers.
From what they could tell through crate labels, the vehicle markings delivering the goods and the text from a newly delivered sign from the Company Command Post, they had been tasked to organize a cache for food-related items. A slender white plank bearing black painted letters read ‘CHOW – 1st ID’. Eddy made a note of the sign, with the idea of hanging it above the entrance once some tentage was brought in and stood up to cover the area from the elements. Now only a gentle wind, Eddy could feel a dampness to it and was sure rain was set to follow sometime soon.
A few brave birds called out to one another from the tree line, once dense but now quite haggard, toward the rear of the little base. They must be confused, or so Eddy had thought, from the devastation only a few days before. A pair of American fighter planes buzzed past at a decent height, just out toward the front, silencing the songbirds.
Eddy and Mitch were assigned to the 220th ‘Double Deuces’ Infantry Support Regiment after they were dropped into the 1st Infantry Division. A gruelling stint through Army training left them assigned the jobs of ‘Infantry Supply’, as they would come to be known.
“Infantry first, supply after that!” Eddy could almost hear the voice of Major Quinn, calling from behind the stacks of wooden boxes to remind the boys that fighting would always come first when the war was on.
The 220th would be mostly reserved for the tasks of moving stuff around, digging holes and pitching tents. Eddy knew they could be called into action if the front was pushed back. A welcome spot for most, Eddy found himself mostly bored with the duties of setting up supply lines for the rest of the division to empower the hard fights that surely lay ahead. He’d have rather been with the boys in front, hunting Jerry.
A handful of dull green transport trucks rolled past the supply cache as Mitch continued the task of sorting the crates already delivered. Eddy cast a short wave to the three supply guys in the passenger seats of the transport vehicles, one at a time. The final passenger smiled as he rolled past, the sound of gravel being flicked along the road from the knobby tires under him trailing past and further, around the cornered stretch of road leading to the Company CP. Eddy stood to watch the trucks wind into the distance before Mitch shouted to him again, not only breaking his mild concentration on the trucks, but startling him back into reality.
“Ed! What are you gawking at anyway, huh? Gimmie a hand here!” Mitch let loose another crate into a stack of them, slouching his shoulders with fatigue, waiting for his pal to wake up and join in. He stood wearing his boots and trousers, though he’d taken his combat gear off at the first deposit of crates. His jacket, a webbing belt and his rifle lay next to a short pack against the exterior wall. A dirty white, short-sleeved shirt barely kept his dangling dog tags in place, the slender chain resting over his collarbone before dipping in behind the shirt. Mitch narrowed his brow and exhaled, “Ed! Tune in, jackass! I’m not doing this alone!”
Eddy blinked hard and rubbed his eyes until his palms pressed into his eye sockets. It was probably just the last few days catching up with him, but his head felt soggy, clouded with a sort of tired confusion. His boots scraped the loose earth under him, recently torn up to build the supply area. He tried to shake himself back into a more alert state with a full body shiver but it was no use, he just started for the other end of the sandbag barrier, to give Mitch a hand with the crates. Nearly finished, Mitch had a more terse tone of voice when Eddy finally arrived, only a few feet from where he started. “Only took us a day to push into France, but it’ll take you two more to lift a crate.”