The Attack

The attack began with mortars. Somehow in the dark, troops had been ferried across the river in sampans. No one had seen it, not even the guards on the bridge, but now they were massed at the bottom of the hill. Hundreds of them. The bridge was under heavy fire, and mortars slammed into everything on the hill. Men were running to the perimeter.

A corporal yelled. “Get some ammo up here! We’re running out.”

The mortars were concentrating on the ammo dump in the center of the compound.

“Grab that box,” said the ammo tech. The man with him did so, and they ran together toward the perimeter through the exploding mortars, a mat of tracers overhead. In the confusion of the fight, the man with the ammo box did not realize he’d been hit. A small piece of shrapnel had penetrated his lung. He had difficulty breathing.

Copyright 2013 George Lowell Tollefson

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