Unto The Breech

It's taken me a full several hours to calm down enough to write these words. The initial fighting is ended but my heart continues to furiously pump, seemingly struggling to escape my chest. I shall attempt to recount my words here to the best of my ability, lest they weigh heavily upon my mind and incapacitate me before I am able to act. We hit the beaches early in the morning under the light of enemy flares and fighting continued well into dawn. I was a member of the initial party to push inland, the only medic for the entire unit.

Our unit was lead by Sergeant Hardly a good natured but blob of a man. I did not think much of him at first, but he lead us with a strict tenacity that surprised me. Also in the unit was Private MacPherson, Private Walsh, Private Rasi, Private Patrick, Private Stein, Private Walter and some other bloke whom I had never met. We encountered light resistance early and managed to push the enemy back outright. Upon first contact with the lad whose name I never learned caught a bullet with his face. Perhaps It is better I never met him.

The second to get injured was Patrick, and then another bloke, I think Walsh. Both took some severe arm wounds, I managed to get Pat's under control but the Sarge sent Walsh back to the beach to get treated. Sarge took a bullet in the leg, and we pushed forward. Then MacPherson took a shot straight in the chest. I thought the lad was a goner, scrambled over and managed to stabilize him .. patched him up and last I saw he was doing well. Doc Young knows his trade, MacPherson will likely be back on the line tomorrow.

Pushing further east we eventually came under machine-gun fire. Sarge took another hit. Instead of turning tail and fleeing, he kept straight away. I feel kind of bad for thinking low of him, all considering. Private Stein and I ordered to take the foxhole, Stein runs ahead. With great reluctance I admit to hesitating, but a swift kick in the ass got me down the ridge. Prepped one of our home-made bombs, tossed it in just as Petey took to the foxhole. Luckily it was dud.

Was under machinegun fire, couldn't see what was happening to Petey. Heard his shouts, balled up and charged the foxhole. Petey took a nasty number of stabs, but the rest of the unit moved up and we took the foxhole. Everything seemed find - but that's when it went to shit. I started to patch up a stab wound on Petey when every Turk started coming out of the hills like field mice. There were hundreds of them. Machine-gun fire opened up and any man who was still standing no longer was. Hardly took another shot to his arm and gave way.

Realized I was the last man standing, and ordered an able-bodied retreat. Patrick took a few more hits; the other rookie took a nasty one in his leg and Walter in the arm. I left Petey in the fox-hole, I didn't look back. Assumed him dead like the Sarge when I got back to the beach. Turned out he crawled all the way back, was happy to see him alive.

I thank my lucky stars that I am still alive. Let's hope that whoever is watching over me keeps doing so. We've just got our foot in the door. The real fighting starts in a few hours.

Private Alistair Lydgate, Combat Medic

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