MoboReader > Literature > Uncle Sam's Boys with Pershing's Troops Dick Prescott at Grips with the Boche

   Chapter 24 CONCLUSION

Uncle Sam's Boys with Pershing's Troops Dick Prescott at Grips with the Boche By H. Irving Hancock Characters: 6893

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

"Hurrah!" yelled Tom Reade. "Sink or swim--but never say die!

Now we'll give it to 'em, real Yankee Doodle, 'over there' style!"

It sounded like sheer bravado, but Reade was fired with the new genius of the war.

Tom headed straight for the nearest plane, and Dick turned the machine gun loose. Almost immediately he had the great good luck to cripple that enemy and send the craft fluttering down to earth.

But another plane had attempted to go under them with a view to shooting up. It came too near, in the maneuver shot too badly, and Dick let loose with the machine gun again. Down came the enemy plane while Reade took a wide swerve to the right.

So swift and daring had been Reade's tactics that he was through and past the opposing fleet ere the German aviators realized their failure. Now the survivors wheeled and gave chase, though they soon abandoned it, for the plane that Reade drove was a new one and faster than any of his pursuers. For a minute or so more the two Americans survived by sheer good luck. Then they were out of enemy range.

Higher Tom mounted in the air. Dick fairly chattered with the cold, but he kept the machine gun ready for instant use.

A few minutes more, then Tom, shutting off the power for a glide, inquired, at the top of his voice:

"Where do you want to be put down?"

"For choice," Captain Prescott answered, "as close as possible to General Bazain's divisional headquarters."

"I know the place," Tom nodded. "There's an aviation station about three miles beyond there."

Tom threw on the power, straightened away, and three minutes later began to glide again until he was not more than six thousand feet from earth.

"Keep your eyes turned low," Tom counseled. "Soon we ought to see something."

Nor was that "something" long in appearing. Not far ahead, yet so much below them as to look tiny, hundreds of flashes were seen.

"German artillery," Dick told himself.

Another minute, and he beheld flashes turned against the Germans.

"Between the two lines of artillery are the fire trenches of the opposing armies," Prescott realized with a thrill.

Next he found himself, at lower altitude, going squarely over a line of French batteries.

"Now comes the really ticklish work of the night!" Reade shouted back. "When we try for a landing we'll endeavor to make our own crowd understand that, though this is a German machine, it comes on no hostile errand. If we can't make the Frenchmen understand that, then they'll blow us back into the sky as soon as we range low enough!"

Guided by that instinct which is the aviator's best compass at night, Reade steered toward the landing field.

Bang! came the report of a gun below, and a shell exploded dangerously close to the aircraft. Tom switched on an electric light signal beneath the craft to show that a friendly craft sought safe landing. At the same time Dick leaned as far over as he could and waved an arm slowly. Then just ahead a flare began on the ground, next burned up brightly--a can of gasoline lighted and allowed to burn to indicate the neighborhood in which to come down.

Going past and turning, Reade volplaned gracefully earthward, landing just beyond the blazing gasoline.

Instantly they were surrounded by two-score French aviators and mechanicians.

"It is all right!" the cry went up. "They are Americans, though the machine is German."

M. le Commandant Perrault, chie

f of squadron, stepped rapidly forward, receiving the salute of the two American officers and asking questions at volley-fire speed. His face betrayed amazement, but when the brief narrative had been finished he grasped the hands of each.

"It was splendidly done," he declared.

"And now, sir, on behalf of my friend, may I ask how far we are from the front line?" Tom inquired. "Captain Prescott wishes to return to the trenches immediately."

"It is ten kilometers," replied the commandant. "Yet speed shall not be impossible. Within five minutes I will have here a car that will take Captain Prescott to the communication trenches, and in that car will be a trench guide."

"And I'm going, too, Dick," Tom added, squeezing his chum's arm.

"We have a lot to talk over yet."

As the German airplane had been turned over to Commandant Perrault, Reade had no further concern with that. He bounded into the motor car when it arrived. Later the trench guide conducted them into the front trenches, even to the section from which Prescott had been taken. Major Wells was now, with Captain Holmes and Lieutenant Terry, at a point about a third of a mile to the westward.

Thither Dick and Tom turned their steps, still with the trench guide showing the way. Unexpectedly this little party came upon Major Wells just as the latter was saying:

"The greatest blow to us was the loss of Captain Prescott. Of course he may be a prisoner, and unharmed, but we much fear that he was killed."

"I beg to report, sir," Dick broke in smilingly, as he saluted, "that I was not so indiscreet as to be killed."

Like a flash Major Wells turned upon him. "Prescott!" he cried, "I can't believe it." But he did, just the same, and, coming to his senses, went on hastily:

"General, I have the great happiness of presenting Captain Prescott!"

Again Dick came to the salute, and when it was finished he stood very erect, hands straight at his sides, for he had caught sight, above the horizontal braid on the general's coat, of four stars, instead of the two stars of a major-general. There was but one officer in the United States service who could wear four stars--the American Commander-in-chief.

Under the general's questioning Prescott and Reade, who was also presented, told their stories with soldierly brevity and directness.

"And how do you feel now, Captain?" inquired the Commander-in-chief smiling.

"Utterly happy, sir, for I've realized my sole ambition for months,"

Captain Dick answered fervently.

"And what was that?"

"To be in France, with General Pershing, and at grips with mankind's enemies."

"You've made a gallant start, Captain," smiled the Commander-in-chief. "And in that I include your friend, Lieutenant Reade. You are officers after my own heart."

Captain Greg Holmes coming upon this scene, stood back as long as etiquette in the presence of a general demanded, then rushed forward to give joyous greeting to both chums.

Dick and his friends were destined to go even further in the realization of their fondest hopes. Up to this moment the United States was only in the infancy of her part in the great war. Greater days were coming, and did come, and what happened then will be found truthfully set forth in the next volume in this series, which will be published under the title:

"Uncle Sam's Boys Smash The Germans; Or, Helping the Allies Wind Up the Great World War."


(← Keyboard shortcut) Previous Contents (Keyboard shortcut →)
 Novels To Read Online Free

Scan the QR code to download MoboReader app.

Back to Top