Read CHAPTER XXV of Army Boys on the Firing Line / Holding Back the German Drive, free online book, by Homer Randall, on ReadCentral.com.

DRIVEN BACK

Two weeks later and Frank had left the hospital and was back again with the Army Boys. The injury to his head was found to be not serious, and the leg although badly wrenched and strained had no bone broken. It yielded rapidly to treatment, and Frank’s splendid strength and vitality aided greatly in his cure.

There was immense jubilation among the Army Boys when their idolized comrade resumed his place in the ranks.

“You can’t keep a squirrel on the ground,” exulted Tom, as he gave his friend a tremendous thump on the back.

“Or Frank Sheldon away from the firing line,” grinned Bart, looking at his friend admiringly.

“You didn’t think I was going to stay in that dinky hospital when there was so much doing, did you?” laughed Frank. “Say, fellows, if my leg had been broken instead of just sprained, I’d have died of a broken heart. I’ve got to get busy now and get even with the boches for that crack on the head they gave me. It’s a good thing it’s solid ivory, or it would have been split for fair.”

“You don’t need to worry about paying the Germans back,” chuckled Billy. “You paid them in advance. You don’t owe them a thing. Say, what George Washington did to the cherry tree with his little hatchet wasn’t a circumstance to what you did to the Huns with that axe of yours. The axe is your weapon, Frank. A rifle doesn’t run one, two, three, compared with it.”

“I’ll admit that the axe work was good as a curtain raiser,” remarked Tom. “But the real show was when those machine guns and their crews were blown to pieces. That made the work of the regiment easy.”

“It was classy work,” agreed Will Stone, who came along just then and heard what they were talking about.

“How are the tanks?” asked Frank of the newcomer. “I suppose old Jumbo is just spoiling for a fight.”

“I guess he is,” replied Stone, with a touch of affection in his voice for the monster tank that he commanded, “and from all I hear he’s going to get lots of it.”

“I guess we all are,” said Bart.

“All little pals together,” hummed Billy.

“And it’s going to be a different kind of fighting,” went on Stone. “The tide is turning at last. The Hun has been doing the driving. Now he’s going to be driven.”

“Glory hallelujah!” cried Billy.

“Do you think that General Foch is going to take the offensive?” asked Bart eagerly.

“It looks that way,” replied Stone. “Of course, I’m not in the secrets of the High Command, and only General Foch himself knows when and where he’s going to strike. But by the way they’re massing tanks here I think it will be soon. They’re gathering them by the hundreds in the woods, so that the movement can’t be seen by enemy aviators. When the blow comes it will be a heavy one. And do you notice the way the American divisions are being brought together here? That means that they’ll take a big part in the offensive. Foch has been watching what our boys have been doing, and he’s going to put us in the front ranks.”

“Better and better,” chortled Billy. “That boy’s got good judgment. He’s a born fighter himself and he knows fighters when he sees them.”

“Well, you boys keep right on your toes,” said Stone, as he prepared to leave them, “and I’ll bet a dollar to a doughnut that within three days you’ll see the Heinies on the run.”

Two days passed and nothing special happened. Then at dawn on the third day, Foch struck like a thunderbolt!

He had gathered his forces. He had chosen the place. He had bided his time.

The German forces were taken utterly by surprise. Their General Staff was caught napping. They had underestimated their enemy’s daring and resources. Their flank was exposed, and it crumpled up under the terrific and unexpected blow.

Thousands of prisoners and hundreds of guns were taken on the first day, and the success was continued for many days thereafter. The Allies were elated and the Germans correspondingly depressed. Their boasted drive had been held back, and now they themselves were the pursued, with the Allies, flushed with victory, close upon their heels.

The Army Boys were in their element, and they fought with a dash and spirit that they had never surpassed. Other volumes of this series will tell of the thrilling exploits, with the tanks and otherwise, by which they upheld the honor and glory of the Stars and Stripes.

“Well,” said Frank one evening, after a day crowded with splendid fighting, “we’ve put a dent in the Kaiser’s helmet.”

“Yes,” grinned Bart, as he wiped his glowing face. “Considering that we’re green troops that were going to run like sheep before the Prussian Guards, we haven’t done so badly.”

“I guess the folks at home aren’t kicking,” remarked Tom. “They told us to come over here and clean up, and so far we’ve been obeying orders.”

“We’ve held back the German drive,” put in Billy, “but that’s just the beginning. Now we’ve got to tackle another job. We’ve got to drive the Hun out of France ”

“And out of Belgium,” added Tom.

“And back to the Rhine,” chimed in Bart.

“Get it right, you boobs,” laughed Frank. “Straight back to Berlin!”