Chapter 2:

The Soldier's Battleground Part 2

The Soldier's Battleground

On the morning of the eve of the battle, the clouds in the sky were dark grey with and rain poured down from above. Most people found themselves inside sitting down to the morning meal, but the Arkadian trenches was one of bustle and slight chaos as orders were given by commanding officers to their men. A massive operation was about to commence and everyone's nerves were at an all-time high, many casualties would occur in this operation, but as to how many, no one knew.
Preparation continued on their way and after things had been set up, the soldiers found themselves lining both sides of the trench with officers walking down the middle. Soon the order was given and the wall facing the enemy was soon also lined with wooden ladders. Afterwards an order was sent down the ranks.
“Fix bayonets!”
Everyone started to pull their bayonets out of there sheath and attached them to the end of their rifles. A few tense moments later an officer looked down at his watch and raised the whistle to his lips, the tension spiked immediately.
Fweeee! Fweeee!
The sound of whistling could be heard throughout the trench, the operation had begun. A battle cry went up from the Arkadian soldiers as they started to climb the ladders. Jun felt himself joining in the cry and he gripped his rifle tightly in his hands. Gunfire erupted from the enemy side and Jun watched in slight horror as soldiers started falling back into the trench riddled with bullet holes. Some would find themselves still climbing the ladder before a bullet would strike them ending their life as they tumbled backwards. While others had only just gone a few feet before being struck down. But this was war and even though many died just getting out of the trench, the Arkadian soldiers pushed forward.
Even though the floor of the trench was now running with the blood of those who had been hit, Jun forced himself to step over the casualties and grip the side of the ladder. The moment he started climbing the ladder he knew he would be leaving the safety and protection this trench offered. After climbing out of the trench, Jun ducked low and started to advance through the hail of bullets being sent by the enemy. A crater was just up ahead and he successfully was able to reach it without being hit by anything. That moment of relief was shattered when an explosion went off right beside him and a mangled body came flying into the crater, there was a sizeable amount of water in the crater and a splash was made when the body landed.
Jun wiped his face to clear the mud that splashed his face when the body landed. He gripped his rifle before standing up and raising it to his shoulder. A target presented itself to him and he pulled the trigger. Time was not on his side and he did not have the time to check if he hit his target before looking down and pulling back the cocking bolt to eject the spent round. He shoved the bolt forward and a new round was loaded and ready to fire. Crawling out of the crater Jun gave a quick look around and was able to see that some of his squad was not around him, which either meant they had been separated or killed. The latter was more likely though, sadly.
As the Arkadian soldiers pushed towards the enemy, the land behind them was littered with many bodies both dead and wounded. The more ground they gained the more casualties they suffered. If circumstances permitted it, then medics would be sent out to treat the wounded but things looked grim for those who lay crying in pain. Still even though this was happening all around, progress was being made and Jun was able to see the enemy lines come more clearly into view. The rain obscured vision but by now both sides were upon each other and it didn’t matter.
The time had come when Jun fired off the last bullet in his rifle and the enemy trench was right in front of him, he raised his rifle to block a bayonet thrust his way before shoving his own bayonet into the enemy's throat. He pulled the bayonet out before jumping down into the trench. Now it was all up to skill to see who could kill the other person first. Rifles were fired point blank at each other, bayonets clashed, and the screams of those being hit filled the air. Even though they had received training, many of the new soldiers fell to the enemy. Things looked grim, if they couldn’t capture the trench then they would be forced to fall back, and all the sacrifices made so far would be for nothing.
Jun swung his rifle and a sickening crunch was heard as it hit the enemy in the face. He wasn’t given a break as another one came charging at him. He side stepped at the last moment and threw an underhanded punch to the man’s lower abdomen. The man stumbled and Jun used that time to slash him across the throat. The struggling happened for quite some time but in the end the Arkadian soldiers had been victories and the trench had been captured. A moment to relax was presented to Jun and he took that time to load another clip into his rifle. Sporadic gunfire could still be heard but the area around Jun had been completely cleared. He looked around to see if he could spot any of his squad but couldn’t recognize anyone, while on that matter, back in their trench the soldiers had been shoulder to shoulder lining both sides of the trench, but judging by the ones remaining, everyone could line up on one side of the trench with a comfortable space separating each of them. Almost half of the soldiers they started out with had been killed or wounded in the fight to take over the trench.
Still the mission was not over yet. They still had to take over the city to complete the operation. More orders came from division headquarters, the 276th battalion would push forward into the city, while the other two remaining battalions would remain in the trenches and provide reinforcements if needed. Jun saw that everyone around him was getting into a very loose sense of order and after a few moments the order to advance was given. This would be another difficult part, crossing no man’s land was hard enough, but this time there were was not nearly as many craters or things to hid behind, it would be up to how fast one could cover the open ground into the town. Once that was over they still needed to take the town itself. A brief thought went through Jun’s mind that no one would survive this battle due to all the danger involved. Another cry went up from the remaining 276th battalion Arkadian soldiers as they started to charge across the relatively open ground to the city, though this time the incoming fire was even more intense than when they were trying to take over the trench. They had lost many soldiers just to rifle fire and close quarter combat, but this time the enemy gunfire now consisted of artillery rounds exploding into the ranks of the advancing Arkadians, sending many a soldier to their very quick and often gruesome demise.
Jun pumped his legs to move even faster, though his muscles screamed in pain from the strain he was putting on them. He ran for a little while longer before he came upon a small hill of dirt where he hid behind just in time before an artillery shell exploded right in front of him showering him with a cloud of dirt and mud. The sounds of wounded could be heard as shrapnel filled the air penetrating many a body. A small hope was found when they roughly crossed halfway across the open ground and were able to hide behind some cover. This of course brought its own problems as they were now being rained upon by rifle fire again, but a sound started to fill the air that truly made any soldier fear. That sound was the ominous machine gun. A weapon that could fire many times faster than a rifle and was capable of mowing down countless troops before having to reload. In a sense it was even more dangerous than artillery.
Even though there was some small dirt hills and debris to hide behind, it did little against the onslaught the Arkadian troops were facing. Jun lifted his head long enough to locate where one of the machine guns was firing from before ducking back down behind cover. Jun may have lost his squad, but he still was a sergeant and he gathered four others to follow him. Their objective was going to try and knock out that machine gun, and if possible create an opening for their forces to break through. A grenade was not supposed to be used in the way Jun was about to use it, but it was the closest thing that available at hand. After giving a simple hand motion, the four soldier stood up to give Jun cover fire as he ran straight forward towards the machine gun.
When he got almost close enough to throw the grenade he was met with blistering machine gun fire and he chucked the grenade at the position. While it didn’t explode where he wanted it to which was the machine gun, it did make the crew handling the gun to duck for cover, and that was all he needed. An opening had presented itself and Jun used the few precious seconds he was granted to run forward the rest of the way and chuck another grenade right where he wanted it to go.