Battle of Gazala; my Story


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1. Walking into the Memories

 

 

This was it. The commander knew it. The soldiers knew it. Everyone knew it. This was it, could be the thing that could tip the scales. It would show who had the power, which side has the upper hand. Everyone was sure, everyone was so positive, that the British would fail this time. That Rommel and the axis would win. That the British and their allies would not return victorious. The British Empire had taken a big hit after the First World War, and ever since they had gone down in both power, and confidence. They had been fighting for just over three years now, and it hadn’t been easy. There were some loses, some deaths, but now, it was on everyone’s mind, that it would be worth it, if Germany would fall against its enemies, and the British Empire might again be able to build up their status. They needed to do this, to prove their power and strength, protecting the land of Libya, and their allies. They had over 20000 more men and at least 200 more tanks than the opposition, how could they fail? Against the Germans and Italians, surely they could achieve something from this.

 

       The war had been rough so fair, rough and tough, what could you really expect though. It was the first world war all over again. The cause this time, just a man that seemed harmless at first, but had morphed into a monster, a monster with followers the size of Germany. So many lives had already been lost, too many that was needed, it was just so unnecessary, so cruel. But these days, war was. It was all for a good cause though, at least that was what they had be told. For the good of queen and country and all that. To fight for your rights. Yeah. That was the overall message at least.

 

       The boys were only young – it was just over a two years ago that they were at home, with family, with friends, they would still possibly be at school, or maybe might have just left from work. A completely different story to the one they were in now, it was like a fairy tale to a nightmare. They had leapt at the chance to join the army when they were offered it, when they first turned 18, well, most of them anyway. To the majority of them, it was an honour to fight for their country, to earn the rights and freedoms of their family, and in turn, help to fight for their own. They continued to march, confidence rising with adrenaline, confidence that they would be the victors. The cruiser tanks surrounding them were heavily armoured loaded with three personnel, who would control the forward mounted turret as they went into battle. They were a weird sand colour, made like that to blend in with the desert surroundings around them, they were pretty clear up close, but at a distance they might just work, unless they were in a flatter landscape where any movements and shapes in the horizon could be noticed easily. They would have to do though, its all that they had, they sort of didn’t have a choice but to rely on them. You just had to have faith. And believe faith would bring you through to the other side, what side that was, you didn’t really know, and you wouldn’t until it was over. The days were long and hot, burning, the sort of weather you would lie down and sunbath in if you were back home. They wore sunglasses to block out some of the bright and blinding light of the sun that beamed down on them, something that you generally wouldn’t expect when walking into a war scene.

 

       They looked cool, calm, collected, but little did they know of the hideous scene of war that they were about to commit to. The screaming, the shooting, the cries of pain. Little did they know of what was about to become of them, that they may no longer taste their mothers sweet pies or pasties, or even hear their little sisters laughter. That they might not ever see their friends back home, or see their families that they loved and missed so dearly. You just had to keep fighting, keep marching on, keep trying to go on.

 

       Charles knew this more than the others; he felt a cold, almost refreshing, shiver running down his spine, even from the overwhelming heat of the desert that surrounded them. He heard from rumours amongst the platoon that they had almost made it to their destination. He knew something wasn’t right. He had never wanted to join this place; he had had a good life at home, a safe one. All his mates had joined though, he didn’t have much of a choice if he followed or not, he’d be forced by the recruiters soon enough if he hadn’t, best to be with people you are slightly comfortable with than not at all. His mouth was dry; his throat felt like sand paper, each swallow scratched his throat. He was sweating from head to toe, mopping his brow didn’t help, the sand burned his feet even through his thick boots. He ran his fingers through his hair, which slicked back with the sweat, a huge comparison to his messed up, unfixable, scruffy hair he was usually stuck with. He looked to his left at Tommo who marched gravely on-wards, he was vicious, and was looking forward to his chance of victory and to destroy the enemy who he tough of as scum. He, like many others, had been brought up to alienate the competition; he wished to squeeze the very essence of their life, until they would drop. It all seemed a bit too much for Charles, obscure how someone would want violence like this, it was truly unneeded. As they reached near the battle, the shouting got louder, there were piercing screams, the sounds of clattering bullets and machine gun fire flew over their heads. The sounds of dropping bodies and the cries of injured could only just be heard.

 

       Charles remembered how he had got here, the sad version of events that sent him into such an immeasurable spiral, that he had no escape, no other way to break out. The build up of events that gave the reason of why he was here, in a place that was not meant for a man who hadn't even matured, before being sent to a hellish place which you wouldn't believe would be on earth. It wasn't a place which anyone in their right mind would want to be, a place where you would most likely die at, it wasn't a place for anyone.

 

       It had started a long time ago, when he too young to even remember, it would be hard to believe how an event from years back could still effect someone so much. Charles thought back, back to where it started. He thought back, years before, through his life, through his story, and just at once, it started to unfold in front of his eyes...My story.

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