Jimmy realized this as well as did his chum, and, in another moment, the two were making their way back to their line as they had left it, by alternately moving on their hands and knees and again by working themselves forward on their elbows and stomach. It was the only safe way. The horizontal storm of missiles was, fortunately, about three feet above them, but that distance precluded walking upright.
“Come on, boys! Fall in! Fall in!” cried their lieutenant as Roger and Jimmy got back “We’re going to advance. You’re just in time!”
“Did you find him?” asked Bob, as he leaped to his feet in readiness for a dash toward the German lines.
“Yes. In a shell hole!” yelled Jimmy, for the firing was heavy on both sides of them now, making a vicious din.
“Alive!” Franz wanted to know.
“Yes, alive, but how long he’ll be that way it’s hard to say,” answered Roger. “He was under a pile of dirt and—”
“Come on! Come on!” cried the lieutenant. “We’re going to finish the job!”
He was leading his men, not driving them on as do the Germans, and nobly the four Brothers and their fellows followed the gallant lieutenant.
On they rushed—ever onward. About them swept the leaden hail of death. Shoulder to shoulder, firing from the hip, rushed the four Khaki Boys. And even in that terrible din of battle they spared a thought for the gallant comrade who would have been with him if he could.
With wild yells the Sammies swept over the first line of German trenches. The Boches had deserted them in the face of a withering rifle and machine-gun fire.
“Come on! Come on!” yelled the lieutenant again and again. “They’re laying down a perfect barrage for us! The Huns can’t get through to attack us!”
This was true, to a certain extent. Supported by the big guns in the rear, the 509th Infantry was rushing onward. Before them, and ever moving forward, was a never-ending curtain of fire—a hail of lead and steel.
As this curtain advanced, caused by the continual but slow elevation of the muzzles of the big guns, the infantry followed. And this fire kept the German support from coming to save the lines that were under attack.
“Wipe ’em out! Wipe out the Hun nests!” cried the lieutenant.
“It’s our turn now!” grimly shouted Roger in Jimmy’s ear.
Forward swept the company to which our heroes were assigned. For a time, during which the two chums had had a chance to get Iggy from the shell hole, there had been no advance. Now it came with a vengeance.
But the Germans were not idle. If their infantry was held back from making a counter-attack, their heavy guns, and here and there, machine-guns, were not idle. And these weapons tore big holes in the ranks of the Sammies. But ever the holes were closed up—comparatively closed up, that is, for the fighting of the Americans was not in close order, such as that in which the Germans so often advanced to their deaths.