A town along the River
By Frederich Barbarossa
It was not entirely known, how Sergeant Drabik survived that day. It was such a frightening morning, filled with so much, but still he managed to survive. Now you must ask, who is this man and what did he do? Well, it is a matter of reading along, and finding out.
It was March 7, 1945, and on that fateful day this meagre soldier would be immortalized for one reason and one reason only. He and his squad commenced to attack the town from the outskirts, after being pitted into a horrible firefight with Wehrmacht troops day in and day out. His unit was exhausted, and ready to turn back to regroup with the approaching army, but they decided, 'what the hell, lets go!'
The towns outskirts was very hilly with a castle style building in front of them. This building was on top of what seemed rigid terrain, and it's architectual design remined the squad of their brawls in Italy. The fighting started. First they arrived at the outskirts of the town from a forest, around 500 M back, and could see the city without smoke, without fire, or without disorder. For a moment the soldiers just stood and gazed on to see how it was like to basically invade or gaze upon the first intact city they had seen in months, since Paris in August, 1944. They quietly and quickly approached to what seemed as a line of trenches between them and the 'castle' buildings' of the town. The trenchs seemed to be shadowed by these buildings. To the soldiers the town looked as if it was floating. They just couldn't shun the beauty of this countryside, honestly, it was beautiful. And as they thought, they began to say stuff like 'I'd sure love to live here, after the war.' Or 'Where are the chicks?' and continued on for a few minutes.
The squad could visualize a few soldiers patroling the trenches and upstairs at the town. They began to kneel and walk into the trenches. One of the soldiers, a fairly clumpsy one accidently tripped while getting into the trenches. Do to this he accidently opened his big mouth, and yelled 'Shi.t!'. Soldiers in the town had heard this very clearly, and knew it was not German. They then saw the soldiers at the treeline, hopping one by one into the trench in a scurry. They started to shoot their rusty Kar98's, and managed to shoot one soldier before he could get in. Immediately the squad got into a fuss and after that insults commenced between one another. Some saying it was his fault, others saying it was an accident. Afterall, it was over in just a minute. So they continued. After a good half hour clearing the trenches, the squad was finally in their supposed destination. One by one started to climb the stairs up into the town, but as they got to the top they met a keen suprise. A German machine gun commenced to fire at them. 2 Already dead at an instance.
'Holy shi.t Lieutenant, we got a Kraut tearing us apart!.' Said one man.
'Get that fu.cking bazooka here!' Said another.
The response was firm and direct.
'Shut the f.uck up and listen!' As said by the Lieutenant.
He just made a quick plan to pass through the enemy mg nest as qiuickly as possible. 'Two of you throw your grenades!' The idea was simple. Throw 2 grenades at the last minute. Why 2? Because, if the Kraut had enough time to throw 1 back, the other would still blow him apart.
A countdown was shouted. The gunner must have been realizing what they were doing, but continued to fire. Bang! A loud burst was heard, and screams were being heard too. The dissappointed Lieutenant started to stare blankly into space in agony. He shouted the order to advance, and so they did. Up the stairs they saw that same machine gunner in a small corner crying and screaming. He was shouting in German that he could not feel his leg. One of the US soldiers that knew German, actually responded saying 'You have no leg.' and he took out his pistol and shot the guy.
None of those soldiers know if he did it to either put the guy out of his misery, or just for revenge. Nobody knows, but at that moment they didn't care too much, until a bit later, when he started acting wierd and in had a vent of rage when shooting at Krauts. They told him to stop, but he continued, and shouted things like 'let me go m.otherf.ucker!' Is this what war is all about? And does it honestly drive a man to the point where he cannot be called stable anymore?
The squad continued, fighting through the streets of the gentle town. They passed the beer hall, the town hall, the residential quarters, the local hq, and were amazed by how pretty the architecture was. Paintings of knights, and of German folklore fascinated them.
The soldiers continued their push to the edge of town, but they knew they were incrediably scarse. Over time however, more and more soldiers arrived at the scene in good numbers which both boosted Drabik's morale and his will of fighting in a general aspect. But he could not see how they would win today. He just had a bad feeling for what was in front of them.
Then suddenly as soon as the men exited the church grounds, at a finally calm stance, a shot was heard. A man feel knees first to the ground and growned softly. The blood was gushing out of his mouth when he did this, and his pupils were wide open. He fell and closed his eyes. He was dead.
Suddenly a new firefight took place against a sniper upstairs. The troops shot, he shot, they shot again, he shot. It became exhausting, and so Drabik decided to intercept their attacker in a much more proficient way. He asked for covering fire, and got it. He rushed towards the chapel doors, and was nearly shot twice. Thanks to that covering fire, the sniper was too distracted in protecting his own life then taking someone elses.
Once in the building, all the searge could hear was what he said was a qweeky folk song. Though it was of course Schneidige Truppe, a well known German ww1 march, but of course he was American so he did not know of it, or did not care. But he was hymning to the melody while he was intensively grabbing that m1 garand he carried around with him. He entered into the main chapel and saw a wide open space, with the altar in front of him, 2 floors high, and a silver Chandolier hanging from the top. He could see in the upstairs there was a sort of corridor or inner balcony for viewing mass from the upstairs. He quickly moved towards the stairs went up, and tried to locate himself in where he wanted to go. He was confused, everything was in German! He couldn't understand what it all meant. But he did use some instinct and assumed it was that way, or this way. He was right, and reached the tower. But before he wanted to make sure the soldier did not know of his presence. He went up to the tower, and then stopped on the last corner. He looked to his side to see if there was anyone there. He cautiously breathed in and out, and turned quickly walking towards the sniper. The sniper was still infact concentrated on the squad and must have thought he shot Drabik. The sergeant then kneeled next to him and pointed his m1 garand at the soldiers back. Immediately the soldier turned slowly and opened his eyes in fear. He started shouting in German begging for mercy, typically of any POW from any nation. The squad noticed that Drabik made it and ceased fire. The seargant started walking towards the soldier, and the soldier started stepping back to the edge of the tower. He repetatively looked back and started getting real nervous. The soldier thought this was it, and that he was going to die, and for some case so did Drabik. The soldiers black boots started to fall back from the hardened cement of the tower floor. Little stones had fallen, even making him more nervous. The soldier then yelled and accidently fell back. But just before the seargant grabbed his tunic, let go of his gun, and began to pull the boy back. Immediately the squad was stumbled by confusion, and some started saying 'I can't believe it...' or 'This guys a saint or sumtin.'
When Drabik started walking back down. The soldier suprisingly asked in a studdering form of English, 'Why do you save me?'
The Searge just smiled, looked at him and said 'Comon Kid, don't ask stupid questions.' From then on the searge knew, that by this action at the very least, he had reconciled with himself for the things he did in this war. Who ever knew, that he was actually in the town of Remagen, Germany and that when he arrived at that bridge, and crossed it, that he would be the very first American soldier, to cross the Rhine and finally into the heart of Germany...