Battleground by Keith Douglass Read Free Book Online

Book: Battleground by Keith Douglass Read Free Book Online
Authors: Keith Douglass
Wilson had dropped down just in time. Long before the smoke cleared away they could hear the tank. The round hadn’t stopped it. Wilson wasn’t even sure if it had made a hit. He sent Marshall to a window down the hall with two grenades and told him to fire at the tank if it smashed through the wall.
    “Aim for the fucking tread. That’s about the only way we can stop it.”
    As he spoke, a blast shook the north wing of the embassy. It must have hit just below them. Sergeant Wilson lifted up and looked out the window. The tank’s gun, maybe a .75-caliber, still smoked. They had fired a round at the embassy.
    The next time he looked out, Sergeant Wilson saw that the tank was too close to the wall to fire over it. That wouldn’t last long. He looked out the window now every three or four seconds. He took no incoming fire. The snipers must be off the wall.
    A moment later he saw the ten-foot concrete block barricade bulging. Then cracks showed, and a second later one large section of blocks crashed down inside the compound. The tank’s gun swiveled around to point to the front again as the tank clanked and rattled as it crawled over the broken and bashed-in blocks, then stopped just inside the compound.
    The tank’s machine gun chattered, and the window frame above Wilson shattered as half-a-dozen rounds hit it and rained glass down on him. The last grenade.
    Wilson armed it, checked the sight, lifted up, and in another quick move aimed, fired, and ducked. This time he wasn’t quite fast enough, or the marksman outside had been firing already before Wilson had launched the small missile.
    The AK-47 round glanced off the rocket launcher, tumbled as it smashed forward, and dug into the right side of Sergeant Wilson’s mouth, then slanted to the left and slashed through the top of his mouth into his brain. He slammed backwards, and died before he knew if his round had hit the tank.
    One window down, Private Marshall saw the sergeant’s round explode on the left tank tread and blow it off the rollers. The tank was dead in the water. Then the big gun swung around, and Marshall got off his round aimed at the small driver’s window slots in the front. He saw the round hit and explode, but he wasn’t sure of the damage.
    He fired his last RPG round as a dozen Kenyan troops ranthrough the hole in the wall. The grenade splattered four of the soldiers into spare body parts, and put down three more. Then Marshall picked up his M-16 and fired out the window. He couldn’t understand why Sergeant Wilson wasn’t firing.
    Downstairs at the front window, the Marines kept the machine gun chattering aimed just over the wall. The men there heard the tank and the RPG rounds, but they didn’t know the tank had crashed through the wall.
    Two green-shirted Kenyan soldiers worked along the front of the embassy building, tucked in close so no one inside could see them. One crawled the last twenty feet, lay on his back, and pulled the pin on a hand grenade. He tossed it into the window where the machine gun chattered, then ran back the way he had come.
    Private Anderson saw the grenade come in. Four-second fuse, he thought. No time to run. The small hand bomb bounced once on the wooden floor; then Anderson dove on it, shielding it with his body as it exploded with a mind-numbing rumble.
    The machine gunner’s eyes went wide as he stared at the man on the floor who had just saved his life. Then he bellowed in fury and angled his weapon to the north, where he saw the movement of green uniforms. He fired until his last belt ran out, then grabbed an M-1 and kept blasting away at the oncoming Kenyan soldiers.
    Ten minutes later, it was all over. Ten of the twelve Marines were dead. The other two had been knocked unconscious by the concussion of the .75-caliber rounds and captured. Four of the civilian employees of the embassy had been killed by gunfire. The Kenyan troops backed the truck away from the main entrance and opened the gates.

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