“We did our best then, and I guess we must have rolled back part of a wing of one of the German divisions. But our particular sector was halted, and we seem to have gone on too far, or else the others got orders to retreat, and we didn’t, and here we are.
“Now I think the two German machine-gun crews that were in this mill were probably what was left of the force our boys succeeded in wiping out. They had orders to stay as long as possible to delay our advance, and they stayed—got to give ’em that credit.
“But we just had to wipe ’em out, and we did. That’s to our credit. This seems to be the last of some not very large German force that started the game this morning. And now comes a much larger force,” and he indicated the Hun hordes rolling down the slopes. “It was probably the knowledge of the advance of this big body of troops that caused the retreat, or halt, of our main force. We’re probably waiting for reserves, or we may be playing a deeper game—to get the Huns in this valley and clean ’em up.
“That, of course, is up to the General Staff. But that doesn’t change our position. We’re here, but I don’t believe those Huns know it. The army, or division, or whatever it is, that’s coming on now may not even know that this mill, for a time, was held by some of their own men. Though, of course, later, when orders and instructions are interchanged, this fact will come out.
“But before then I hope we’ll either be out of here, or in a position to give a better account of ourselves,” went on Jimmy, who was sitting on a box, munching part of his rations, and drinking from an old tin cup he had found.
“What’s that mean?” asked Franz.
“Well, either we can escape, or our boys will drive these Huns back, and in that case we’ll be all right. I admit it’s going to be a ticklish proposition to escape from here though,” and Jimmy went to an upper window and took another observation.
“Are they closing in?” asked Bob.
“They seem to have halted,” replied Jimmy. “At least the center has. The two wings are coming on like a pair of pliers getting ready to nip us between the jaws.”
“Ach! Den will dey squeeze us?” asked Iggy.
“If they know we are here I suppose they’ll try it,” declared Jimmy. “But maybe we can inflict a few bites before they crush us! Fellows, we’d better look to the defense. How much ammunition have we?”
“Mighty little!” declared Roger, gloomily. “I fired about all I had coming on in the rush.”
“Same here,” admitted Bob.
“Maybe a machine-gun yet we could shoot,” suggested Iggy. “One only was bust by your grenade, Jimmy. Maybe one iss—”
“By Jove! He’s right!” cried Jimmy. “I never thought of that. If worst comes to worst we may, for a short time, turn the German’s own gun on ’em. Come on and we’ll take a look.”
To the delight of the Khaki Boys the second machine-gun was in good order, and there was considerable ammunition left.