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DOUBLES

(A tribute to Earl Parker, Vic Morrow's stunt double.)

Combat! Fan Fiction by Mary Wright "Eagle Lady"
eaglelady80010@netzero.net

          Lieutenant Hanley walked into the remains of the building that was currently being used as a headquarters, surprised to see a man standing by the window with his back to the room, the sunlight sparkling on his blond hair as he dipped his head to take a drag from his cigarette.

          "Saunders, I didn't expect you back so soon."  Hanley tossed his papers on the table and picked up his own pack of cigarettes.

          The man at the window continued to gaze out, running one hand through his hair, paying no attention to the lieutenant.

          "Saunders."  The lieutenant's voice sharpened.

          "Hey, Lieutenant."  Kirby came in, followed by Caje and Littlejohn.  "Saunders back yet?"

          "Hey, Sarge!"  Caje caught sight of the man by the window. "When did you get back?"

          The man by the window turned slowly, the sun at his back throwing his face into shadow.

          "I'm a sergeant, but I don't think I'm the one you're looking for."  He spoke with a slight southern accent.

          "What kind of a game are you playing, Saunders?"  Hanley demanded.

          "My name is not Saunders, Lieutenant."

          Caje, Kirby, and Littlejohn exchanged puzzled looks then looked at the lieutenant, who looked equally puzzled.  Before he could speak, another man came in, tossing his helmet onto the table.

          "Sorry I took so long, Lieutenant."

          "Saunders?"  Caje, Kirby, Littlejohn, and Hanley said simultaneously.

          Saunders stopped in the act of lighting a cigarette and looked at them warily.

          "What's the matter with you guys?"  He asked.

          "If you're Saunders, then who is that?"  Caje asked.

          "Who is who?"  Saunders couldn't see the stranger, hidden behind Littlejohn.

          "I think they mean me."  The sergeant stepped around the men, stopping a couple feet from Saunders, who almost dropped his cigarette.  "I'm Sergeant Parker.  I was told to report to Lieutenant Hanley, K Company.  I take it I'm in the right place?"

          "My God."  Hanley said slowly.  "Twins."

          "Why didn't you tell us you had a twin brother, Sarge?"  Littlejohn asked.

          "I don't."  Saunders shook his head.  "Never seen him before."

          Hanley looked from one sergeant to the other, his mouth still hanging open.  Both men were within an inch of the same height, looked to be about the same weight, had the same build, the same blond hair, the same color eyes.  The only difference was that Saunders was right handed, and Parker was left handed, and that Parker did not carry a sidearm.

          "Amazing."  Hanley finally managed to say.

          "That's creepy."  Kirby said.

          "This is K Company, right?"  Parker asked patiently.

          "Yeah.  K Company."  Hanley mumbled, still staring.

          "I was told to report to you, Lieutenant Hanley."  Parker saluted.

          "Uh, yeah."  Hanley returned the salute absently.  "Kirby, go find Nelson, Doc, and Braddock."

          "Yes, sir."

          Kirby edged around the two sergeants, bumping into the doorframe as he left.  Saunders grinned at Parker, and motioned to the corner.

          "Want some coffee, Parker?"

          "Thanks."  Ignoring the others, the two moved over to the corner and got themselves coffee, leaning against a fallen beam.  They both grinned when they realized that Saunders was standing on his left foot, right knee bent, the foot resting against the beam behind him while Parker was standing on his right foot, left knee bent, his foot against the beam behind him. 

          "I'd heard that everyone has a twin somewhere in the world, but I didn't believe it till now."  Parker chuckled.  "Where're you from, Saunders?"

          "Illinois. You?"

          "Arkansas."

          Kirby returned, trailed by the other three, who all stopped short when they caught sight of Parker.

          "Alright, men, gather 'round."  Hanley called.

          When the men had grouped together; the three new arrivals still staring at Parker, he spread a map out on the table.

          "Sergeant Parker is a demolition expert.  Saunders, your job is to get him and his assistant to this winery.  The tower there is the only place in the area the Krauts can use as an OP and it's gotta go. We're going to move up soon.  You're to get in, blow it, and get back out without them seeing you.  Saunders, you're in charge till you get there, then Parker is in charge of the demolition.  Any questions?"

          "You want the whole squad to go, Lieutenant?"

          "Take as many as you think you'll need, Saunders."

          "Kirby, Caje, Doc, you go.  The rest take it easy."  Saunders decided.

          "Parker?"  Hanley said.

          "Sir?"

          "Where is your assistant?"

          "He should be here any minute, sir.  He's picking up the explosives."  Parker grinned.

          "What's so funny?"

          "Uh, nothing, sir."

          A moment later, a private stepped into the room, juggling two packs and a rifle.

          "Sergeant Parker?"  He called without looking up.

          "Yeah.  You got the right place, Hogan."

          Hogan lowered the packs carefully to the floor and straightened up, pushing his helmet back on his head.

          "Not another one!"  Hanley exploded.

          Hogan was a dead ringer for Kirby, except that his eyes were blue while Kirby's were brown.  The two men stared at each other in amazement, then Hogan caught sight of Saunders, and his jaw dropped further.

          "That's what was funny, sir."  Parker chuckled at the men's dumbfounded expressions.

          "This should be an interesting mission."  Hanley shook his head.

          "Caje, Kirby, extra ammo and rations for two days."  Saunders ordered.

          Braddock, Nelson, and Littlejohn meandered over to the coffee table, staring at Hogan and Parker, who paid them no attention.  Saunders studied the map, then folded it and stuffed it inside his jacket.  Parker and Hogan checked out the explosives while Hanley watched, bemused. 

          "Ready, Sarge."  Caje stuck his head inside the door.

          "Parker?  You guys ready?"  Saunders asked.

          "Yeah."  Parker stepped over to the window and picked up his helmet and weapon, which turned out to be a Thompson like Saunders.

          "Don't tell me you've got a cammo helmet?"  Hanley asked.

          "No, sir."  Parker grinned as Saunders put his helmet on and picked up his own Thompson.

^^^

          Hanley and the other three crowded the doorway, watching the men walk away.  As usual, Caje was in the lead then Kirby and Hogan, followed by Doc, with Parker and Saunders bringing up the rear.  Kirby was talking a mile a minute, Hogan replying occasionally, while both sergeants walked in silence.  They moved at a fairly rapid pace until they neared the German lines, then Caje slowed and moved more cautiously.  Kirby fell silent as the men formed a single line, Saunders moving up ahead of him.  After two miles, Saunders called a halt and pulled out the map.  Caje crouched at the base of a tree, his eyes darting around, while the others gathered around Saunders.

          "Doesn't your lead man need to look at the map?"  Parker asked.

          "He already did."  Saunders answered without looking up.

          "Sarge."  Caje called softly.  "Krauts."

          Quickly stuffing the map back inside his jacket, Saunders moved up beside the scout.  A patrol of five men was approaching, talking quietly among themselves.

          "Everybody down.  Let them pass us."  Saunders ordered softly.

          Kirby and Hogan bellied down several feet apart, Doc behind them.  Parker was behind a tree, his weapon up and ready.  They lay in tense silence, listening as the patrol came even with them, then moved away.  When they were out of sight, Saunders motioned Caje to move out.  Once again in single file, they silently followed the Cajun deeper into enemy territory.  Twice more, they stopped while patrols passed them, unaware of their presence. 

^^^          

          "Caje."  Saunders called quietly.  "Hold up."

          The men gathered around as Saunders squatted at the base of a thick berry bush.

          "Okay, Parker, the objective is just over this hill.  How do you want to do it?"

          "I want to take a look at it first, then I'll decide."

          "What about Hogan?"

          "I need him with me."

          "Alright. Caje, take over.  You three stay here.  Keep your heads down."  He told the others as he led Parker and Hogan along the side of the hill. 

          They moved along the hill until they reached an eroded gully which they crawled up, stopping just below the crest of the hill.  On the top of the next hill lay the winery.  Most of it was already destroyed, but a single tower still stood at the south side, it's windows blown out.  Some fifteen feet from the base of the tower, a low wall ran around part of the winery, ruble visible between the wall and the tower.  Trees offered fairly good cover almost to the wall, then they could move through the ruins themselves right up to the tower. They could see no movement, but that didn't mean the Germans weren't there. Parker eased forward a few inches, then motioned Hogan up to join him.  They talked softly for several minutes, then slid back down to join Saunders.

          "Seen enough?"  He asked.

          "Yeah.  Let's go."  Parker nodded.

          They reached the rest of the squad without incident, Parker and Hogan immediately starting to sort through their packs.

          "What have you got in mind, Parker?"

          "We need to get right up to the base of the wall on the left side.  We'll plant the explosives on that side, at the base and as high as we can reach.  That should bring the whole shebang down.  You guys watch our backs."

          "That's what we're here for."  Saunders grinned.  "We'll get you to the wall, you do the rest.  If something goes wrong, try to meet up back here.  Doc, you come with us till we get closer.  Any questions?"

          Receiving negative head shakes, he nodded and led the way back across the hill. Just before they left the shelter of the trees, he motioned Doc to stay put.  Indicating that Parker and Hogan should wait, he eased up to the low wall, Caje and Kirby on his heels.  Sliding over the wall, he waited a minute, watching for movement, then motioned the other two to join him.  Reaching the wall of the tower without incident, he waved to Parker and Hogan to move up.  A few minutes later, the two men had the explosives in place. 

          "Hit it!"  Caje hissed.  "Krauts coming."

          The five men took cover behind various pieces of rubble, Parker next to Saunders.

          "Hey, Saunders."  He said softly.

          "Yeah?"

          "We've got about two minutes to get out of here before that wall falls on us."

          "Kirby, Hogan, make a run for it back toward Doc."  He ordered.

          The two men took off in a fast, crouching run, making it to the trees without being spotted. 

          "Alright, Parker, your turn."

          Parker dropped a hand to Saunders' shoulder, then ran.  He was nearly to the trees when shots rang out and he went sprawling.  Kirby's BAR roared into action as Hogan and Doc dashed out, grabbed Parker and dragged him back into cover. 

          "Go, Caje!"  Saunders yelled, firing his Thompson at the approaching Germans.

          "What about you?"  Caje yelled back.

          "Go!"  Saunders ordered again, still firing.

          Caje  scrambled through the rubble, vaulted the low wall, then ran for the trees while Kirby, Hogan and Saunders provided cover fire.  He dove into the shelter of the trees as bullets zinged past his head. 

          "Saunders!  Get out of there!"  Parker yelled.  "It's gonna blow!"

          "Now, Sarge!"  Kirby screamed, his BAR blasting.

          Saunders jammed his helmet down on his head, got a secure hold on his weapon and ran for his life.  Just before he reached the trees, there was a tremendous explosion behind him, the blast wave slamming him to the ground.  He landed on his side, rolling, as pieces of the tower came flying through the air.  A crashing blow to the left side of his helmet partially stunned him.  A second later, Hogan had grabbed the back of his jacket and tugged him under cover.  He and Doc grabbed his arms and started running, dragging him between them.

          "Wait!"  Saunders gasped.  "The others!"

          "Right behind you."  Caje called.  He and Kirby were supporting Parker between them.

          "The Krauts?"

          "Buried under the tower, Sergeant."  Hogan answered.

          They stopped on the other side of the hill, lowering both sergeants to the ground where Doc immediately removed Saunders' helmet and examined his head.

          "How bad is it, Doc?"  Saunders asked.

          "Good thing you've got a hard head or you'd have a hole in it.  As it is, it'll be pretty sore for awhile."

          "We've gotta get moving, quick."  Caje urged.

          Doc and Hogan pulled Saunders to his feet again, following Caje and Kirby, who had Parker by the arm.

          "Parker. How bad?"  Saunders asked.

          "Bullet bounced off his helmet.  He'll be okay."  Doc answered.

          When they stopped to rest, both sergeants sat on the ground side by side, leaning against a log.  Saunders had a bruise forming at his left temple, Parker had a matching bruise on his right temple.  Taking a second from watching for the Germans, Kirby glanced over at them and started to chuckle.

          "What's so funny?"  Saunders demanded irritably.

          "Sorry, Sarge.  It's just that it's like a mirror image with you two."

          "Just watch for the Krauts."  Parker told him, equally irritated.

          "Sure, Sergeant."  He stifled his laughter and turned away.

          "Well, Saunders, we got the tower."  Parker looked over at him.

          "Yeah.  So much for not being seen."

          "They aren't going to tell anyone."  Parker grinned.

          "If we got 'em all."

          "You would bring that up."  Parker grimaced. 

          "Let's move out."  Saunders got to his feet, staggering slightly.  "Caje, take the point. Kirby, take the rear."

^^^

          The men moved out in single file, Hogan, Doc, and Parker following Caje,  Saunders a few feet in front of Kirby. 

          "Sarge!"  Kirby called softly.  "Krauts coming up behind."

          "Caje!  Move it!"  Saunders ordered.

          Caje broke into a run, the others on his heels, heading for good cover up a slight hill.  Caje, Hogan, Doc, Parker, and Saunders slid in behind the jumble of rocks and wood that had once been a small shed of some kind.  Kirby almost made it before the Germans started shooting.  He cursed as he fell sprawling on top of Doc, clutching his right arm, just above the elbow.  As Doc reached for him, Kirby lurched to his knees, swinging the BAR around and opening fire.

The Germans returned fire from the trees below them, the bullets bouncing off the rocks the Americans were sheltering behind.  One of the Germans stood up, his arm poised to throw a grenade, then sprawled backwards when Hogan nailed him.  The grenade flew up and back, exploding among the tree branches, doing little damage to the Germans.  Saunders pulled one of his own grenades and threw it over the partial wall he was behind.  It blew up just in front of the enemy soldiers, taking out two of them.  The three that were left renewed their attack, firing furiously. 

          Hogan cried out as a bullet ricocheted off a rock, ripping a gash in his left arm.   Parker pulled Hogan down and back, scrambling past him while pulling the pin from a grenade.  Quickly jumping to his feet, he threw the grenade, then dropped back behind cover.  A second later, the grenade exploded and the firing stopped.  The sergeants cautiously rose to their feet and moved down the slope to check out the Germans.  Finding them all dead, they turned back and stopped, both of them grinning.  Kirby was standing up, watching them, Hogan just rising to his feet on Kirby's left.

          "Now who's a mirror image?"  Parker asked.

          Hogan and Kirby looked at each other, then stepped apart sheepishly. Chuckling, Doc dressed and bandaged Hogan's arm, then Kirby's. 

          "Anybody else hurt?  Caje?"  Saunders asked.

          "Okay, Sarge."

          "Alright, let's head for home. Caje, move out."

          Hogan and Parker followed the Cajun, Doc right behind them while Kirby fell in beside Saunders.

          "Sarge?"

          "Yeah?"

          "Does it bother you that someone looks just like you?"

          Saunders glanced at Kirby, looked at Parker walking ahead of them, then shrugged.

          "No.  Does it bother you?"

          "Well, yeah, kind of. Hogan don't look just like me 'cause his eyes are different color.  But Parker, he looks just like you.  He could be you."

          "Well, he isn't, Kirby.  Why don't you get your mind back on the Germans and do your job?"

          "Sure, Sarge."  Kirby dropped back a few steps behind Saunders. 

^^^

          His head throbbing, Saunders had slowed down without realizing it.  Kirby, who was pacing himself with the sergeant, also hadn't noticed that they'd fallen behind.  When three Krauts suddenly stepped in front of them, Saunders was rubbing his eyes and nearly walked into them.  One of them shoved the sergeant backwards so hard that he fell against Kirby and Saunders' helmet, which he had shoved back on his head, tumbled off  and bounced into the bushes beside them.            The Germans jerked his Thompson out of his hands, pushed him to one side, seized Kirby's BAR, and knocked his helmet off as well.  Both men stood still, their hands half-raised.

          "Hands on your head!"  One of the Germans barked.

          "He's wounded.  He can't raise his arm."  Saunders protested.

          "Then he will die."  The German said flatly.

          Grimacing, Kirby slowly placed his hands on his head.  Glancing past the Germans, Saunders saw Parker and Hogan silently approaching.  There was no sign of Caje or Doc. 

          "Where are the rest of your men?"  The German demanded.

          "Saunders. Sergeant.  2270622"  Saunders returned the German's stare.

          "Perhaps you will be more intelligent than your sergeant."  The German turned to Kirby.  "Where are the rest of the men?"

          "Kirby. Private. 1302882." 

          "Sergeant, I will ask you one more time."

          "Saunders"  He broke off as a voice came from behind the German.

          "Sergeant.  2270622"

          The three Germans whirled, staring in shock at Hogan and Parker, who were standing with their hands on their heads in perfect imitation of Kirby and Saunders. Their jaws dropping, the Krauts jerked back to stare at Kirby and Saunders. Before they could recover, Caje burst out of the bushes beside them and Hogan and Parker had snatched up the weapons they'd left at their feet.  Still gaping at the lookalikes,  none of the Germans resisted when they were disarmed.

          Kirby burst into relieved laughter while the two sergeants grinned at each other.  Busy with the German weapons, Hogan just grinned.

          "That worked better than I thought it would."  Parker chuckled.

          "That was a great idea, Sergeant!"  Kirby chortled.

          "It wasn't my idea, Kirby."  Parker nodded toward Hogan.  "It was his idea."

          "What made you think of doing that?"  Kirby asked.          

          "My twin brother and I used to do that all the time when we were little."

          All of the Americans, including Doc, who had just joined them, stopped and stared at Hogan.

          "There's three of you?"  Saunders demanded.

          "Well, two of us Hogans and one Kirby."  Hogan grinned.

          "Are we going to run into your brother?"  Caje grinned.

          "Doubt it.  Last I heard, he was in the Pacific somewhere.  He's in the Navy."

          "Let's go home before we run into any more Krauts."  Saunders turned to pick up his helmet. 

^^^          

          "Hey, Lieutenant!  Sarge is back!"  Littlejohn yelled.

          Hanley stepped out  the door and stopped beside Littlejohn, Braddock, and Nelson, watching the group approach.

          Caje was walking in the lead, followed by three German soldiers.  Kirby and Hogan were flanking them, identical white bandages on opposite arms.  Parker and Saunders were behind the Germans, both carrying their helmets, exposing identical opposite bruises, while Doc trailed the group.

          "Jeez, they even got wounded in the same places."  Nelson whispered in amazement.

          "Did you get the tower?"  Hanley asked when they stopped in front of him.

          "Yes, sir."  Parker and Saunders answered in unison.

          They looked at each other, shook their heads and grinned.

          "Littlejohn, Braddock, Nelson.  Take the prisoners to Company." Hanley ordered.  "The rest of you, in here."

          They followed the lieutenant inside, gratefully dropping into chairs when he motioned them down.

          "How did you manage to get wounded in the same places?"

          "It wasn't easy, Lieutenant."  Parker grinned.

          "I don't suppose it was, Sergeant.  Alright, give me your report."

          "We'd better get back to our unit, if there's nothing else, Lieutenant."  Parker said when they'd finished, getting to his feet, Hogan joining him.

          "We've got two days R & R, Parker.  You're still attached to my platoon until I release you, which won't be for two days.  I may have more questions.  Now get out of here, the lot of you.  I have reports to write."

          Hanley watched, bemused, as Hogan and Kirby hurried out, followed more leisurely by the two sergeants, Caje and Doc.

 

November 2000, Mary Wright.  All rights reserved.

Read more Dogface Tales by Mary:
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The CombatFan web site thanks Mary (aka "EagleLady") for letting us share these fan fiction stories on this web site.

 

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