Of course Jimmy picked his four Brothers, and they crawled up behind him, ready for the word. Sergeant Simpson, a brave but somewhat reckless lad, had four of his own choosing, and there were five who crawled over to line up behind the lieutenant.
“All ready?” asked the officer. “Ready,” answered Jimmy, and the other leader gave a like reply.
“Then come on, and may we all live to get there!” cried the gallant officer.
He arose to a crouching position and started to run toward the red mill, followed by Jimmy and his four, and Simpson and his quartette. And, as they rushed on, the automatic guns cut loose again.
The dust in the grain field rose in little spurts as the bullets struck, and the rattle of the spiteful machine-gun made a chorus with the snapping and popping of the American rifles. For Jimmy and the others fired from the hip as they ran.
They could not hope to do much execution on the German gunners, protected as the latter were by the old mill. But some chance bullet, entering through crack or crevice, might end the activity of one or more of the Hun crews. It was the only thing to do, however, until they could come to hand grips—to cold steel—with the hidden Boches.
“Come on! Come on!” cried the lieutenant.
“Come on! Come on!” echoed Jimmy and Simpson.
They were nearing the red mill now. They could see no one in it, but the sight of two windows, on either side of the big, open door, seemed to give evidence of the location of the machine-guns. Smokeless powder was being used, but there was a thin film of smoke, for all of that, and this smoke floated from the two windows.
“There they are!” cried the lieutenant. “Come on, boys, we have ’em now!”
But the glory of it was not to be—for him. Hardly had the words left his mouth than he crumpled up, rolled completely over and lay still. Afterward a dozen bullets were found in his body.
But the others halted not. The man immediately behind the fallen lieutenant leaped over his lifeless body and led the advance, as Jimmy and Simpson were doing.
They were close to the mill now. They could see the flashes of fire coming from the guns which were shooting through the windows. And the fire was deadly. Jimmy heard a yell from Franz, who was directly in his rear. He did not dare stop or turn around but he shouted:
“Done for, Schnitz?”
“Only one finger nipped,” was the grim answer. “Go on! We’re with you!”
One machine-gun concentrated on Simpson and his four gallant lads, and, in less time than it takes for you to read these words, the five lives were snuffed out.
“Come on! Come on!” yelled Jimmy. He was so mad with rage he hardly knew what he was saying or doing. He saw a German face at one of the windows. Quickly he fired. The face turned crimson with blood and disappeared.