“I sent myself,” was the laconic answer. “I couldn’t stand it being cooped up back there. My ankle felt a lot better, and I took French leave, as it were. I sneaked out and I crawled over toward the Hun trenches. And say, I’ve got some information that the K.O. will give his eye teeth to have. They’re raising a little party to come over and try to get back some of the land we took from ’em this morning. The Huns are going to raid our position in half an hour.”
“Are you sure?” demanded Bob, and yet he knew that Franz would not say it if it were not so.
“Well, I’m as sure as one can be of anything in this war,” was the answer in a whisper, all the talk being of that calibre. “I crawled over until I could hear the sentries talking. Then I located a dugout. The door was open and more talk floated out. I heard enough to tell me that the raid is going to be made just before daylight and on this position.”
“You mean where we are?” asked Bob.
“As nearly as I can tell,” answered Franz, whose knowledge of the German language had again done him and his friends such good service.
“Whew!” softly whistled Jimmy. “We’d better get word to the K.O. in a jiffy. You’ll get blue streaks, though, Schnitz, for disobeying orders.”
“Oh, I guess not,” was the easy answer. “It’ll all be forgotten in the excitement. I just had to go out. I heard where you fellows were stationed on listening post and I started out with the intention of crawling back to your position. Hit it, too; didn’t I?”
“That sneeze came near causing you to be hit, and with something harder than a rubber ball,” said Jimmy grimly. “Bob? you’d better go back with him and let him tell his yarn to the captain. He doesn’t know the password, and I’ll have to stay here on duty. But hurry back and let me know what the word is.”
“Right-O!” assented Bob, and a moment later he and Franz were stumbling back over the rough ground, and through the rain and darkness, toward the dugout where the officer in charge of that particular sector was on duty. A captured German dugout had been taken over, and such comforts as it afforded were utilized.
Just as Franz had surmised, the import of the news he brought in wiped out his offense against orders. He told in detail what he had overheard, and quick, sharp commands were at once sent out over the telephone, for the engineers had hastily strung wires when the advanced posts had been taken by the onrushing American doughboys.
And the information Franz had secured by his bold act proved correct in every detail. The Germans, smarting under their defeat, were determined on revenge. The raiding party came over—but they found the Americans ready.
It was not a large raid, not as large as Franz, in his enthusiasm, had intimated. And it was evidently undertaken to get back the commanding position occupied by that part of the 509th to which the five Brothers were assigned.