Army Boys in the French Trenches; Or, Hand to Hand Fighting with the Enemy

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ARMY BOYS IN THE FRENCH TRENCHES

OR
HAND TO HAND FIGHTING WITH THE ENEMY
BY
HOMER RANDALL

AUTHOR OF

“Army Boys in France” and “Army Boys on the Firing Line”

Illustrated by ROBERT GASTON HERBERT

1919

[Illustration: There was a grinding, tearing, screeching sound,
as wire entanglements were uprooted.]

CONTENTS

I A SLASHING ATTACK
II THE UPLIFTED KNIFE
III TAKING CHANCES
IV BETWEEN THE LINES
V THE BARBAROUS HUNS
VI A TASTE OF COLD STEEL
VII NICK RABIG’S QUEER ACTIONS
VIII COLONEL PAVET REAPPEARS
IX THE ESCAPE
X A GHASTLY BURDEN
XI WITH THE TANKS
XII BREAKING THROUGH
XIII CAUGHT NAPPING
XIV IN CLOSE QUARTERS
XV THE FOUR-FOOTED ENEMY
XVI CHASED BY CAVALRY
XVII THE BROKEN BRIDGE
XVIII RESCUE FROM THE SKY
XIX PUTTING ONE OVER
XX SUSPICION
XXI A FAMILIAR VOICE
XXII THE SHADOW OF TREASON
XXIII A HAIL OF LEAD
XXIV A DEED OF DARING
XXV STORMING THE RIDGE

CHAPTER I

A SLASHING ATTACK

“Stand ready, boys. We attack at dawn!”

The word passed in a whisper down the long line of the trench, where the
American army boys crouched like so many khaki-clad ghosts, awaiting the
command to go “over the top.”

“That will be in about fifteen minutes from now, I figure,” murmured
Frank Sheldon to his friend and comrade, Bart Raymond, as he glanced at
the hands of his radio watch and then put it up to his ear to make sure
that it had not stopped.

“It’ll seem more like fifteen hours,” muttered Tom Bradford, who was on
the other side of Sheldon.

“Tom’s in a hurry to get at the Huns,” chuckled Billy Waldon. “He wants
to show them where they get off.”

“I saw him putting a razor edge on his bayonet last night,” added Bart.

“Now he’s anxious to see how it works.”

“He’ll have plenty of chances to find out,” said Frank. “This is going
to be a hot scrap, or I miss my guess. I heard the captain tell the
lieutenant that the Germans had their heaviest force right in front of
our part of the line.”

“So much the better,” asserted Billy stoutly. “They can’t come too thick
or too fast. They’ve been sneering at what the Yankees were going to do
in this war, and it’s about time they got punctures in their tires.”

At this moment the mess helpers passed along the line with buckets of
steaming hot coffee, and the men welcomed it eagerly, for it was late in
the autumn and the night air was chill and penetrating. “Come, little
cup, to one who loves thee well,” murmured Tom, as he swallowed his
portion in one gulp.

The others were not slow in following his example, and the buckets were
emptied in a twinkling.

Then the stern vigil was renewed.

From the opposing lines a star shell rose and exploded, casting a
greenish radiance over the barren stretch of No Man’s Land that
separated the hostile forces.

“Fritz isn’t asleep,” muttered Frank.

“He’s right on the job with his fireworks,” agreed Bart.

“Maybe he has his suspicions that we’re going to give him a little
surprise party,” remarked Billy, “and that’s his way of telling us that
he’s ready to welcome us with open arms.”

“Fix bayonets!” came the command from the officer in charge, and there
was a faint clink as the order was obeyed.

“It won’t be long now,” murmured Tom. “But why don’t the guns open up?”

“They always do before it’s time to charge,” commented Billy, as he
shifted his position a little. “I suppose they will now almost any
minute.”

“I don’t think there’ll be any gun fire this time before we go over the
top,” ventured Frank.

“What do you mean?” asked Bart in surprise, as he turned his head toward
his chum.

“Do you know anything?” queried Tom.

“Not exactly know, but I’ve heard enough to make a guess,” replied
Frank. “I think we’re going to play the game a little differently this
time. Unless I’m mistaken, the Huns are going to get the surprise of
their lives.”

“Put on gas masks!” came another order, and in the six seconds allowed

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