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638 Regiment: A Novel of the Legion Volontaires Francais

Discussion in 'Military Books' started by ColHessler, Mar 15, 2016.

  1. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    I've written and published four WWII novels. The last one I did, which I published in 2014, is a story of the French volunteers who fought in the Legion Volontaires Francais. Here is a sample chapter. You can get this at the Barnes & Nolbe site, either on the Nook reader or in print on demand paperback, from my publisher booklocker.com, or from Amazon, for the Kindle or print on demand.

    CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

    25 FEBRUARY 1944

    The regiment was done with the Somry forest campaign. The operation was a success. The Germans had decorated Colonel Puaud with the Iron Cross, Second Class for the unit’s superb job. The bunkers LeBris had destroyed were a drop in the bucket compared to the 1,000 bunkers destroyed by the regiment during this operation. Over a thousand of the partisans were killed, and over 1,300 prisoners were taken.
    LeBris and the men were now marching back to the road, where the trucks were waiting. “So, Martinez,” LeBris asked his assistant, “you looking forward to some leave?”
    “Oh, yes, Sergent, I need a bath and a fire to sit by, and a nice pipe with fine tobacco. A pretty girl would be good, too.”
    “Some wine and a nice loaf of crusty bread would be the ticket for me,” Fornier chimed in.
    Pelletier added, “All of the above would work for me, Sergent.”
    Lebouchere nodded, “All of the above is right.” They came to the road and halted. The trucks would be drawing up anytime now.
    LeBris looked at his watch. “It should be another five minutes. Smoke if you have them.” The men passed around their smokes and even sat down on the stumps near the road. After five minutes, the trucks were rounding the turn to their right. The rest of the battalion was coming in, and LeBris and his men would be the last to get picked up for the long drive back to Minsk. “All right, men, on your feet.” The trucks were going by, slowing down to make their stop for LeBris and his squad. The tail of the convoy was in sight. As the last truck slowed down, the men lined up to get in.
    There was a sudden explosion up the road. A truck had been hit by a grenade, and automatic fire was reverberating up and down the road. A Kübelwagen that had brought up the rear of the convoy blew up as a mortar shell hit it. “Take cover,” LeBris yelled. As his men got to the stumps and hid behind them, he yelled into the truck, “Come on, get out, and help us.”
    The men in the truck, and the trucks in front of them, got out in a hurry. Fire was coming from both sides of the road. The partisans that had avoided them now came to avenge their comrades. Mahmoud and Bellefontaine had the MG42 set up and were firing into the trees. Their effort was rewarded with screams of pain and death as the partisans began to take hits.
    LeBris gestured for Maldini and Beauvais to crawl in after the enemy. The two of them crawled on their bellies and closed the distance. As the partisans popped up to shoot, the two Frenchmen would fire. Their inexperience would cost them.
    The mortar must be over to the left, LeBris thought. It had fired again and blew up near the truck behind him. He saw Beaulieu crouched near a stump, firing when he could see something, then reloading his rifle. LeBris crawled to him. “Come on, let’s get that mortar.”
    “Yes, Sergent.”
    The two of them crawled out to about two hundred meters from the road. They had the smoke from the mortar firing to guide them. They were now close enough to throw grenades. LeBris motioned for this, and drew a grenade from his belt. Beaulieu did the same.
    LeBris unscrewed the cap on his grenade and saw Beaulieu had also. He held up three fingers, and then grabbed the string. Beaulieu grabbed the string on his grenade. After three seconds, they each pulled the strings, then waited another two seconds before throwing. Their timing was right, as the mortar crew was about to drop another round when the grenades went off. All three men screamed and fell.
    The Frenchmen ran up and found the enemy moaning in agony from their wounds. Both Frenchmen drew their bayonets and slashed the throats of their tormentors. They could hear the firing had ceased on their right. LeBris blew out a breath and said, “Come on, Beaulieu.”
    “Yes, Sergent.”
    Both men got back to the road to find the rest of the squad waiting. Lieutenant Rielle was with them. “Excellent job, Sergent. We’ve driven them back again.”
    “Thank you, Mon Lieutenant.” LeBris turned to his men. “Everyone all right?”
    “Yes, Sergent,” Martinez replied, “other than all of us being grazed by bullets. A couple of the other trucks were destroyed, and some men killed, but First Squad is intact.”
    “Très bien.”
    Rielle stood for a moment, then said, “All right men, time to go home. Let’s get in the trucks.”
    LeBris nodded, “Yes, Mon Lieutenant. You heard him, men. Let’s go.”
    They piled into the nearest truck, now with wounded men in it, and headed back to Minsk.
     

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