A/N: My friend Tim’s writing blog can be found here: http://wordsmithstories.blogspot.com.au/
Tim and I both came up with the idea of Wednesday Prompt Smash and his entries can be found on the linked blog. Without further ado the story.
Prompt: WW2 Tank Breaks Down
Word Limit: 750
It was the start of winter, 1942. We were moving to the frontline, it was a slow procession as our one tank moved up front and hundreds of soldiers marched behind. I was happy, snug in the tank away from the cold and I had spent the last night warming up a village girl. She was a beauty, long golden locks and a hefty bosom. Most of the other chaps had spent the night in a barn, but it had been the first inhabited place we had seen for a while and would be the last we saw for a long time.
I suppose I was so busy thinking of the girl that I wasn’t paying enough attention to the tank, because I soon heard the tell-tale sputter of a breakdown. “No, no not today, not now,” I muttered along with some profuse language as I prepared to hop out of the tank. Opening the hatch was the easy part but it is snug in a tank and not in the good way, as I pulled myself out I could feel all the knots that my muscles had embraced in the discomfort of my driver’s seat.
Harry my assistant driver was already out of the tank, shivering in his boots as a cold gust of wind descended on us. “Brr, ‘urry up Jimmy and fix this damned thing.” Harry hated the cold, he was from Miami though so I guess it doesn’t get too chilled there. “I’m getting to it Harry, calm your jets and lets find out what the problem is,” I looked back to see the line wasn’t far behind and if you strained your ear you could just begin to hear the complaints.
“Has that damned hunk of junk broken down again?”
“Christ I thought these were supposed to help us not hinder us,”
“I thought this new model broke down less than the old model!”
“Darn factory boys, how hard can it be to design something that doesn’t break.”
I decided best not to listen to the troops and began giving the tank a look over. It was a Medium Tank, M4 or M4 Sherman for short. As a former mechanic I loved my tank, it was beautiful though sure I would have liked to change the design just a bit. However tanks were built for practicality and had to be built fast so it’s not like they had time to think about all the aesthetics. My favourite part about the M4 Sherman was how easy it was to fix the bugger, sure it had breakdowns more often than I liked but they were usually an easy fix.
“Looks like one of the bogies are damaged, and maybe part of the tread, seems like damage from our last scuffle has caught up with us… The bogie I can replace easy but the tread repair might take a bit, we’ll have to halt the line.” I was just muttering to myself but it was at that moment the commander came to see what was going on,
“HALT!” His overpowering voice rang out loud and clear, “The tank needs repairs so we’ll be stopping, rest while you can.” As the commander announced it there was a groan from the general assembly, nobody wanted to stop because chances were it meant the commander would make us march for some part of the night.
“I’ll get it done as soon as I can commander,” I softly muttered to him as he stared me down, after that he marched off presumably to hassle the men about their weapons.
Hours went by, it had only taken me moments to swap the bogie for a new one but the tread was a different situation all together. “I think I’ve got it, yep seems just a small bit of strap got caught. And done, let’s give her a go Harry.
“You got it Jimmy,” Harry had a little experience in the main driver’s seat so I got him to start the Sherman up and see if it would go. The purr of the engine, more of a sputter I suppose, was music to my ears and I let out a whoop of joy.
“Grandpa, I’ve heard this one before. I wanted to hear about the battles, please grandpa.” He’s a little bub of six my grandson, but so curious about my stories about the war.
“Maybe next time Joseph, Grandpa doesn’t like talking about those days much.”
“But Grandpa you always talk about the marches and fixing the tank,”
“That’s a different thing all together, those are happy memories.”
– END –
Word Count: 766 words