Marchand And Vaclav

Where: Villanueva de la Canada
Who: Marchand, Vaclav
When: July, 1937

Brunete
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Coordinates : 7 7

The Castilian townships are small and scattered. Clusteres of several buildings compose the Villanueva that dot the countryside surrounding the town of Brunete itself. Cobbled stone roads, and red terra cotta roof tiles would make for lovely scenery in less violent times.

It is currently dawn.

Marchand walks over to the villa converted to a first aid station, peeking in to look over to the wounded now quartered there. He's just woken up, his clothing sticking to his body from sleeping through the summer night.

Vaclav is up and about with the alertness of a man awake for several hours prior. The occupation of the hour? Cleaning out the machinery of the captured chauchat. The big czech wears a light frown, breaths drawn slowly through the nose.

Marchand turns from the door, not seeming to find anyone really awake in there save a busy field medic trying to manage taking care of all the patients in this forward position far from the infrastructure of the Republic. As he looks around, the corporal's made out, and the American offers the Czech a nod. "Good morning, comrade." A squint towards the machine gun. "Chauchat. I hate those. But I guess that's what you have the ammo for."

Vaclav rumbles dryly in confirmation, "Comrade Marchand. That's what I have the ammo for. Even bad machine gun, better than no machine gun." A breath drawn and let out shortly, "Scouted Brunete. Strong nationalist poition. Two machine guns, five rifle. Storm later. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow."

Marchand slowly nods, listening to that. "Is it a big town, comrade? If it's no more than a couple blocks, like this village, we can maybe flank it." He grimaces a little, a touch of a frown. "Were they dug in? Fortified? The machine guns, I mean."

"Little bigger. Eh.. Bury dead place," he improvises, upon failing to find the word he searches for in english. "North of town. Give some cover for shooting. Maybe draw them into open, try to flank us." A fresh breath before he rumbles, "Set into buildings. Heavy machine gun center, with Moros. Regulares, Italians on both sides."

Marchand squints to the description. "Bury the dead place." and nods a bit, "Graveyard." He turns his head to look southwest, towards the larger town. "Machine gunner won't leave their position. Best to hit them from two different directions at once." He gestures west, "That's what we did in the Castilian plains with that one machine gun. The one on the road south of where the Stukas were bombing. You and some men fired from the north, me and that Russian kid and a medic were west. The gunner could only fire one direction at a time, so we didn't even need to get in cover, and could fire at will from the west."

Vaclav sniffs and frowns a bit. "Grave yard, yes." to the rest he sniffs a second time and rumbles, "I know what we do in Plains. Not same. Covered to city, on both flanks. We concentrate on one side first- maybe they sit still, let us kill them all." A shrug, "Maybe they flank us from grave yard, and we stuck in open."

Marchand slowly nods. "Where are the heights? In the city, or outside on the flank? Best place for a rifleman is high in cover, firing down for better range."

Vaclav grunts wordlessly, at first, before looking from his work to the american and frowning to state, "All is flat. No hill, not even low for river. Nothing but flat ground, from here to Madrid."

«Game» It is now daytime.

Marchand nods but without enthusiasm. "At least I'm not hurt too bad. The Swedish medic did a good job wrapping my hand in bandages." He draws up his right hand, still bandaged, though there's no sign of bleeding or swelling now. "River you say?" brows peaking in curiosity. "River offers some cover, but really slow to move through."

Vaclav glares, muttering a few short words in czech, before letting out a longer breath, "Not here, Comrade. Fascists hold south of river. Be shot on both sides we try to move that way. No." Looking back down to the chauchat, and scrubbing the chamber with a rag and rod, he rumbles, "Is good, about your hand."

Marchand nods faintly, listening with his eyes looking more distant. "Too bad. I've experience with a river assault, while in the Marines. Got a medal for taking a bridge and an artillery position guarding it by flanking across a river." He then shrugs both shoulders, letting the idea go with that. "How are you, comrade? I know the English boy was hit in the hands pretty bad."

"Am good," he states curtly, in reply- frowning deeply. "Engelbretson hit in both hands. Others hurt, but all can fight. Need more water, and more bullets. Supply is fucking terrible."

Marchand grimaces, "With a river not far from Brunete, we should be able to dig a well. Especially since the ground's pretty level, we're not far from the flood plain." He glances quickly up to the sky, then back down. "But the sun's baked the ground hard. So it'll be tough with trench tools to dig good and deep."

Vaclav nods once shortly. "We moving on soon," he rumbles, before adding, "Had two comrades fall over in day, just for walking sentry. Not send men to digging, even at night." A glare toward the bright sun as it rises fully above the eastern horizon, as if it owes him something.

Marchand speaks quietly. "Okay." and takes a few steps towards the old villa that's the centerpiece of the village. "They probably already have a well, for the rich family that owned this place. Maybe we can search it out?"

Vaclav nods. "That was plan. Until we take village and find fascists throw dead dog into well." A slowly drawn breath. "Pipes in ground brought water from Brunete, but those cut after Villanova del Canada fall to us."

Marchand grunts again, sighing. "This heat will kill us with no water." commented, almost to himself. He steps further against the villa's wall, letting the red slate roof's overhang provide some shade. "The wounded need it more than us."

Vaclav draws another slow breath, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding together behind his frown. "All need water. Wounded at least lying there, in shade. We need march over ground and fight." Mind you, inside is only slightly cooler than outside, and it doesnt have a breeze, but…

Marchand nods. "I need a wash, but that's impossible when we don't have enough water to drink." He tries pulling out the fabric of his tunic sticking to his sleeveless t-shirt and skin underneath. "First thing I do when we take Brunete is go to the river that night and jump in."

"I know you fight in Great War, comrade. I know you veteran, and have experience. I know you older than me, and think you should have charge." Vaclav's blue eyes shift sidlong to fix thier stare upon the American, "But you not run off on own, without order, as you did on Plains. Yes?"

Marchand slowly nods. "Yes, comrade Corporal. I will not duck when a Stuka is making a divebombing strafing run without orders again." There's a hint of a smirk. "I did move too far, too far and become seperated. That was my mistake. I won't repeat it." He draws up a breath, "Despite how it allowed us to take over the position west of the machine gunner, killing and routing two fascist riflemen and engaging the machine gunner and his assistant from the flank while you were engaged from the front. But tactics and strategy are not the domain of a Private, you see. So it will not happen again."

Vaclav scowls darkly, voice dropping lower, as he snarls, "Marchand. I sent two men after you, and take rest east, then advance south in parallel column. We drive off flank gunner and converge on middle position. *I* made that order!" his voice rises to shout that last, "Not you afraid of a bomb! I tell you obey order, and you laugh at me? STOP SMILING." he barks, facing Marchand squarely, blue eyes bright with anger. "I know my duty!"

Marchand lifts his chin a bit. "I never said you didn't know your duty, comrade corporal. I'm sure you'll go far in the ranks." He sucks in his breath, "I, however, will never be more than a Private in this army. So when I give advice about tactics, I don't give a damn if it's listened to or not." He looks Vaclav square in the eyes, then. "And if you made that order about a flanking move west, to advance south in parallel column, then I was following your orders, not disobeying." and he adds, "Sir."

Vaclav grinds his teeth in effort to contain the flared temper that is so at odds with Marchand's quiet calm. "If you had'nt run off, maybe you would have heard my order. Decided after you run from bomb, and refuse to come back," the words are all but spat, as Vaclav stares balefully at the american. "You try and take credit for fight, and then think I need be told how it happened after? I not stupid, Marchand. And you not call me SIR," that last word drips cold.

Marchand speaks more slowly, in a lower voice, "If you do not wish to be addressed as an aristocratic imperialist, one who thinks himself above the common working man, then do not address me as a peasant you need to shout down and scold, Comrade."

"Then ACT like a *solider*," Vaclav snarls back frostily. "You are one of this Company. ONE. No better than any other. No better than me, no better than Morris. Do as you are TOLD, and maybe you not need be shouted at."

Marchand slowly nods his head. "You are right. You are a better soldier than me." and lets that sink in. "But I am a more experienced soldier than you, though that seems to mean little here."

"You get all experience running from bombs?" Vaclav snaps curtly, before looking aside (taking his glare off Marchand for an instant and drawing a short breath. Frowning afresh, and bringing his regard back to the american, the big czech states flatly, "Company is stronger with you, Marchand. When you fight, when you do duty. But like fucking reporter: Experience does nothing. When you not do duty."

Marchand gives a nod, his face remaining calm though perhaps more steeled than easygoing. "You are a good man, Corporal Vaclav. You are not _yet_ like many others I've seen who have higher ranks, who got that rank by politicking rather than fighting. Please remember that discipline in the field is best when it goes hand-to-hand with adaptability, and openess to the opinions of others to consider, though the NCO or officer makes the final decision himself." He pauses for a breath, releasing a sigh through his nostrils to exhale. "Don't get caught up in who gets the credit, who came up with the idea. Please look at it as a soldier on the ground, and instead just judge an idea by whether it will succeed in winning the battle or taking the objective." He bows his head slightly, then gives the raised fist of a Communist salute.

Vaclav sniffs once, "I care shit for credit, Marchand. Comrade Commissar can keep all credit for Company's acts. I want Company to fight hard, and survive. I want Republic to win war, and fascists broken. Credit?" He scoffs, shaking his head again. "Loyalty of Comrades only 'credit' I want."

Marchand quirks a brow, but speaks no comment in response to that. The American remains silent, standing straight as if at attention, perhaps attempting to give the silence meaning.

"That is all, Comrade. Dismiss," Vaclav rumbles more quietly, after that long moment of silence, belatedly returning the salute Marchand had given him moments before.

Marchand lowers the hand that had saluted, "Yes, comrade corporal." spoken crisply. He takes a step back, rather formal in his motions as if on a parade grounds rather than the dust of Villaneuva de la Canada's street. The man remains quiet, at least not speaking, though he does try to mop off some sweat from his forehead with a sleeve.

Vaclav turns back to the abandoned task of cleaning dust and grime from the workings of the chauchat. Picking the weapon up once again, and retaking his seat in the narrowing shade alongside the house's wall, the rag is shaken out and taken in hand once more.

Marchand turns, walking slowly and wearily towards the shade of the overhanging red slate roof of the villa. He slowly gives a little shake of his head from side to side, then kneels and draws out his canteen to check the contents. It's turned nearly upside down with the screwcap off before he quickly sucks a few drops out and closes the cap again. A frown at that, then the American volunteer busies himself cleaning his Mauser rifle.

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