Today we shall write about: the campaign.
One day of work to go!
The men moved between snow-crusted pines, as silently as their weary feet could manage, their rifles at the ready. With the moon fast approaching full they had been expecting a rare night of rest, but a thick cloud cover had brought with it the concealment they required and so they continued to march. There was no choice – their hunters would be moving as well; stopping while the Americans closed in would be suicide.
No words were exchanged in the whitened darkness - the crunching of their boots against the packed snow beneath their feet was more noise than any of them cared to be making. No sign of pursuit had been spotted for over a week but not a nerve was less frayed for it. They knew too well the price to be paid for lowering their guard. If they had not grown too complacent in the town they had been charged with occupying they might still have had a roof over their heads and a fire to warm themselves by.
Their numbers had been more than halved since they had been deployed into the countryside and they were on the retreat. But there were no thoughts of surrender. No consideration of putting down their guns. Until the order came from the Führer, they would continue to fight.
The commanding officer, a young Untersturmführer who had the misfortune of being the highest ranking survivor, brought his troops to a halt at the edge of a clearing. It was a lonely, exposed three hundred feet to the tree line on the opposite side. They had precious little time to waste on delay and the young man felt the pressure of his men’s nervous backward glances as he studied the terrain.
After only a few seconds of contemplation he signalled for the soldiers to move to the right and they began to follow the edge of the clearing, hoping to find a way north that offered more cover, or at least less time in the open.
On the far side of the clearing the Americans continued to wait for their prey to step into their trap. Another two days would pass before they accepted their targets had slipped past them. Wearily they decamped and returned to their chase, each of them privately hoping this drawn out conflict would be brought to a halt before any more shots were fired.