"Now, let me go through this one more time for those in the back."
Freddy was in a humorous mood today. Even the distant booms of falling bombs didn't shake that smile. Fearless didn't describe Freddy, but foolish did. He was a man with no fear because he wasn't sure what it meant. Yet, we were his foolish disciples.
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"The enemy has us surrounded with heavy infantry!" Freddy roared. "Our job is to put them on a lead diet! Bravo company-"
"We're Delta," I interjected.
"Right, Delta Bravo Company," Freddy continued. "You are to move out to the East and over that hill. From there you will be under the watchful gaze of enemy snipers. Dodging bullets and running along the foot of the hill, you will take cover behind those trees. From there you should have no problem reaching the tanks."
"The explosives are...better, but not fixed," Jameson muttered.
"Of course. Let me also remind those who didn't get the memo. The charges are a little shaky away from going off. I recommend that if you make a full sprint try to run with grace. Otherwise, you will be missing a section of your body before you can blink."
The rest of the company blinked and immediately cringed.
"You have your orders. Private, hand me some charges."
Freddy took a belt of charges from the Private First Class and slung it over his shoulder. I could tell he had no clue what to do with them immediately. Yet, Freddy knew how to start the timer. If he did that and planted the charges in time, he would have a new medal on his jacket before the war ends.
With that in mind, so would I. A bit of tin won't save you from a bullet, but it is something to show off back home. For many soldiers in Delta, that was enough.
"Delta Bravo, move out!" Freddy yelled.
He was the first to leave the cover of the building. The bombs had come close to wiping him out as soon as he did, yet he escaped without a scratch. Running from the building towards the hill, Delta company followed. The eagerness of the troops was clear for all to see. Even the enemy, watching us through scopes or binoculars, smiled. Although, I believe their reasons were different from ours.
We climbed the hill with loud grunting, peaked over the top and the first soldier fell. There was a crack of a sniper rifle soon after. The rule always was, if you can hear the gunshot, it didn't hit you. Sometime. Not much you can do with that information, yet we ran onwards. Freddy led the way with a measure of confidence, but even he was careful.
"Almost there, lads!" Freddy yelled back at us. His voice was cut off by a close explosion.
I was pelted with debris, but nothing sharper than a clod of dirt. Realising I was still alive, I turned to look at what happened. From the looks of it, one of our company had tripped. The charges hit a rock and the soldier was consumed in the explosion. I didn't know who it was, at least, I couldn't tell from what was left. I would have to find that out later.
The trees drew closer.
We couldn't reach them sooner, but all the same, we were happy to have some cover. The sniper bullets hit the dirt where our feet were before the tree trunks blocked them. We were fortunate there weren't any enemy soldiers in the forest, which saved us a lot of trouble.
Everyone felt exhausted, but we couldn't slow. The tank squadron moving in on the town along with the heavy infantry wouldn't slow. Freddy knew this and roared as he hiked up another hill. The last of Delta company roared with him and we soon left the tree line. We had made it over the hill, now came our final trial.
The tank weres ahead of us, moving faster than us, but they stopped here and there. The land was peppered with signs of the bombing. Debris too large to drive over, even in a tank. Freddy was still ahead of us, but we were gaining fast. He had chosen his tank and I soon chose mine. Delta company split and sprinted towards their targets.
The less prepared didn't realise there were mounted guns on the top of the tanks. We had to keep an eye on them at all times, avoid their sight. By the time the first tank blew up, the machines guns started. The sound was terrifying, but luckily, it was too late.
Tank after tank exploded. The heavy infantry scrambled without their greatest weapons. Ground troops moved out of the city to chase them away, along with Delta company. Freddy was still roaring, his voice was starting to break. The madness that possessed him was a combination of blind luck and foolish plans. Still, it was an undefeated combination for Freddy and the whole of Delta.
That was only one of Freddy's greatest tactical marvels.
Many soldiers tried to explain his brilliance, but all would say at the end they failed. Even myself, fighting under his leadership for years, have no clue. He gave orders so simple that you couldn't help but believe they were easy to follow through with. Or, he inspired Delta by leading every charge with amazing confidence.
Yet, many say Freddy is foolish and nothing more. While I admit that may be the simplest way of putting it, I like to think there is more to it than that.
Freddy's father was in the first war.
He died serving a coward of a captain. The captain lived, was discharged when the war ended. Freddy never met the man, but the damage he did to Freddy's family with his tactics were clear. Freddy would never be like that, he would never give a family reason to hate him.
Freddy couldn't protect everyone in Delta, but he made sure they died in combat of their choosing. Something worthy of a soldier who fought for their family. It was more than the cowards who led soldiers could do. We were all honoured, live or die, as long as it was by Freddy’s side. Even if he didn’t quite know the name of the company he led.