- Author: David Healey
Book online «Sniper's Justice (Caje Cole Book 9) David Healey (little bear else holmelund minarik .TXT) 📖». Author David Healey
By David Healey
Copyright © 2021 by David Healey. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotation for the purpose of critical articles and reviews. Please support the arts by refusing to participate in digital piracy.
Intracoastal Media digital edition published March 2021. Print edition ISBN 978-0-9674162-7-4
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
BISAC Subject Headings:
FIC032000 FICTION/War & Military
About the Author
Also by David Healey
Revenge is an act of passion; vengeance of justice. Injuries are revenged; crimes are avenged.
— Samuel Johnson
January 1945, Vosges Mountains, France
Waiting in ambush, Caje Cole shivered in the freezing fog and snow but didn’t take his eyes from the rifle scope. Any minute now, he expected to see a German unit come into view on the snow-covered road below.
All around him, the other squad members were ready. Vaccaro crouched at Cole’s elbow, sighting down the barrel of his own rifle. Lieutenant Mulholland stood behind a tree, pointing his weapon down the slight incline in the direction from which they expected the Krauts to appear. Cutting through steep hills, the road seemed to pass through a tunnel of thick spruces and hemlocks arching overhead, adding to the winter gloom.
“You know what I’ve been thinking?” Vaccaro whispered.
“You thinking? That sounds about the same as you pulling the pin out of a grenade,” Cole responded without taking his eyes off the road. “Give me a few seconds, so I can take cover.”
“Very funny, Hillbilly. What I’ve been thinking is that it probably hurts less to get shot in cold weather. You’re so damn numb that you can’t feel it.”
“City Boy, everybody knows it hurts more to get shot when it’s cold,” Cole said. “Take a hammer and whack your thumb in January and then whack it again in July. See which one you like better.”
“What kind of test is that? I’m talking about getting shot.”
“The thing is, you can only test it once when you get shot. Now with a hammer—”
“Quiet, you two,” the lieutenant said. “Save it for the Krauts.”
Cole grinned. Mulholland was getting antsy. Cole couldn’t blame him. Their squad had been sent back along this road to intercept the Germans behind them. They weren’t necessarily supposed to stop the Krauts, but to buy the rest of the unit some time.
With any luck, they might even lead the Germans right into a trap. Unfortunately, the squad would be serving as the bait.
The cause of the hold-up that necessitated this delaying action was the condition of the mountain roads. The trucks carrying the soldiers and supplies down the slippery, snow-covered roads were having a terrible time negotiating the hills and curves. The nimble Jeeps with their chain-wrapped tires fared somewhat better. Finally, one of the Studebaker trucks had slid sideways into a ditch and managed to get itself stuck.
The problem was that the truck now blocked the road, so they couldn’t just leave it. It was a fact of life that any truck that got stuck instantly became crudely personified as a stubborn bitch. Half a mile behind them, every soldier in the unit, no matter how weary and frostbitten he might be, was now pushing that truck, some of them hauling on ropes secured to the front bumper, trying to get that stubborn bitch out of the ditch.
From the other direction, they all knew that the Germans were coming. It was the squad’s job to slow them down while the rest of the unit got the road cleared.
Everybody kept saying that the Germans were beaten, but apparently, the Germans in these hills hadn’t gotten the message. Every time they ran into the Krauts, those bastards fought like hell.
“I wish those Kraut bastards would hurry up and get here,” Vaccaro said. “Let’s get this over with.”
“Just keep your eyes open,” Cole said.
If there was one thing that Cole had, it was patience. He tended to move slowly and deliberately, a perfect economy of motion without any wasted effort. When he did move in a hurry, it caught people off guard.
He was like a hawk floating easily in the high air that suddenly dives to strike its prey with vicious precision.
If Cole was a hawk, then Vaccaro was more like a junkyard dog. Nonetheless, they made a good team. Cole’s nickname was Hillbilly, a nod to his Appalachian roots. As for Vaccaro, everybody called him City Boy, which fit his Brooklyn origins. Just about every soldier had a nickname, earned for some action or personality trait. As for the greenbeans in the unit, nobody even bothered to give them names. They tended not to last that long.
“Here they come,” the lieutenant said.
Off in the distance, they heard the rumble of motorized vehicles. Mixed in was the distinctive sound of an enemy tank. It was funny how you could hear the difference between a Sherman and a Panzer. This Panzer was definitely coming closer.
If it was any consolation, the Germans would be having just as hard of a time navigating the narrow winter roads. In fact, they might even be having a harder time of it, considering that if the Krauts had a Tiger with them, those tanks were twice the size of a Sherman.
“That’s just great,” muttered Vaccaro beside him. “Tanks. Why does it have to be tanks?”
“We’re just lucky, I reckon,” Cole said.
“We’d be a whole lot luckier if we were about ten miles behind