Monday, September 22, 2014

WWII: Retreating From The Russian Front, German Troops Get The Shock Of Their Lives...

For Nazi Germany, the war is lost.

For the men retreating from both the Eastern Front and their belief in Adolf Hitler's promise of victory, all they have left to fight for is their lives. There is no time to dwell on what went wrong, or to belabor the mistake they made following the bellicose braying of the fanatical F├╝hrer of Germany. Every waking moment is possessed of one thing: their tenuous grasp on life.

Now the bloodied and battered survivors of several regiments have coalesced into a rag-tag group of soldiers led by the remnants of the 3rd Mountain Division. They must rely on their teenage sniper, a young man more at home making toys in his father's workshop than fighting in a global conflict that will decide the fate of nations and redraw the map of the world for generations to come.

As they wait for the first light of dawn for their planned breakout, they are pursued by Russian troops to the small, shell-blasted village that was not worth the lives it took to secure it. Supplies and morale are fading, but the will to live is still strong. These men have only each other to rely on as their situation becomes more hopeless, but some dare to dream of what they might do after the war.

But that dream is threatened when their officers and soldiers start being methodically picked off by some unseen foe. As their numbers dwindle, they come to an inescapable conclusion. Their avenue of escape back to the Fatherland has been cut off. They have been surrounded.

Surrounded by an entire company of Russian snipers.

All of them women.

”The Other Side of the Night” is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at

Monday, September 8, 2014


According to, an estimated 10 million children have been killed as a result of war during the last 10 years.

A million children per year!

War is tragic enough to the civilians who are caught in its crossfire, but to the children, it is catastrophic. Children are often not old enough to even understand what is going on around them, which raises the level of fear and insecurity. And their inability to defend themselves makes their situation even more heartbreaking.

In “Toy Soldiers,” one of the stories in “No Place For Mercy,” a schoolteacher-turned-soldier is faced with a tragic dilemma. His company has wiped out an enemy village, and he is leading his soldiers on to their next objective when he discovers that this village has some survivors: two small children.

But this is no ordinary war, if such a thing exists. This is 1999 at the height of the Kosovo War between Serbs and Albanians. The objective is ethnic-cleansing, so there is no real rationalization for taking prisoners. This former schoolteacher knows what his orders are, and they don't include options for taking anyone back alive.

His commanding officer is close behind him, and the moment of decision is upon him. Will he challenge his orders, try to spare these two small children, or follow his orders and murder them? His decision may surprise you.

”Toy Soldiers” is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at

Monday, September 1, 2014


What is justice when dealing with extremely heinous crimes?

Justice seems like a simple enough concept. You devise a legal code, with punishments set on an escalating scale depending upon the transgression. In theory, such a system seems to make sense. As a civilized country, you repudiate or at least extremely limit capital punishment to extreme crimes and circumstances.

But what do you do when you are in the midst of a war, especially a 20th Century war within which crimes against humanity are being committed on a vast scale?

Original photograph attribution:

As a civilized people, do you refuse to allow emotion into your punishment, as reason and justice dictate? Or must extreme examples be made for extreme capital crimes?

That is the dilemma facing one U.S. Army Captain Frank Decker at the University of Strasbourg in France during the winter of 1944. He is in charge of a forward company that has pushed the Nazi's out of the area of the university. Although their most sought-after war criminal, Nazi Professor August Hirt, has eluded them, Decker has been informed that four of his assistants remain.

Decker wasn't trained for such decisions. He never expected such barbarous and inhuman behavior, even from Hitler's rampaging hordes. Decker is a soldier, not a judge, but he is appalled by the monstrous crimes he has been exposed to in the march across France, pushing the once seemingly invincible Third Reich's armies further towards their inevitable annihilation.

Decker is determined that his men process the meaning of these atrocities, and reflects on what he will tell his children when they grow up about the choices he made during the war. If he responds emotionally to this tragedy, with revenge masquerading as justice, will that make him as bad as the criminals he seeks?

A thorough search of the grounds turns up nothing, but the captain knows that his most trusted sergeant, the temperamental Zachary Isaacs, arrived a day before him when the four assistants were still there. Decker's lieutenant has told him that no one left the university in that time, so the four war criminals disappearance cannot be reconciled.

Where are they, and what does Sergeant Isaacs know about them?

ONE JUSTICE is one of the short stories in the anthology "No Place For Mercy," available at