In the U.S. Marines, doing a mock war in the Norwegian city of Trondheim with the Dutch, Germans and other allies, training in urban combat. My infantry unit was positioned in a large soccer field next to an elementary school. Keep in mind there was no actual combat, even simulated; it was mostly just practicing maneuvers and tactics. But we still looked out of place with weapons and gear, etc. It’s February. In Norway. Cold as hell. Snow up to our knees. Norway obviously has no snow days, so the kids were all in school.
Anyway, so Norway has this most delicious and amazing delicacy, I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s basically a bacon-wrapped hot dog; we just assumed it was called Candy of the Lord. As Americans we were naturally and instantly addicted. You find them at gas stations, and there just happened to be one on the other side of the school where we were camped. A few of my fellow Marines and I requested permission to go to the gas station and we set out on our way.
We made it to right about where the main entrance of the school was, and the doors opened; school was out. There were only a few kids, probably 6 or 7 years old. Lots of talking and laughing. Gawking at us as we walked by, with our guns and huge ridiculous snow suits. One precocious little guy made shooting noises at us. We made shooting noises back.
Someone threw a snowball and hit a little girl in the leg.
And those little Norwegian children unleashed hell.
There was a shrill cry in unintelligible gibberish and the doors to the school burst open. School children flooded out like a never-ending flood of something that never ends. Screeching, smiling, sprinting – how the hell were they sprinting?? – little bastards were slinging snowballs faster than the laws of physics should allow. It was like that movie Elf. If you can imagine riding in a fast car in a snowstorm and sticking your head out the window. Now imagine the snowflakes that are hitting your face are the size of snowballs. We couldn’t see a damn thing. We couldn’t run. We could barely breathe. Holy hell….
We tried to return fire and threw one, maybe two half-packed, crappy snowballs that fell apart in the air, arms flailing like limp-wristed fairies. I am from Texas. We were a unit stationed in North Carolina. We were so outmatched and out of our element, it only made them laugh harder. We were cut off from our main forces. We tried to perform a flanking maneuver but they were too fast. I think some of them were throwing rocks!
As for my comrades. I could see them speed waddling in their huge suits back to camp like a messed up pair of white Teletubbies, under withering fire. Screw tactics, screw me, screw the Candy of the Lord, this was survival! I was the slow one in the group. My snow boots were too big but they were the smallest size they had at Issue goddammit!! My Marines had left me behind.
I tried pulling my hood over my head and keeping my head down. No longer content to pelt my defenseless body with ballistic snow, the enemy swarmed me and dragged me down, cackling like a pack of hyenas descending on a wildebeest. I tried to sling them off by spinning. I came out of one of my boots and fell. I began to scream and plead for them to stop but they neither understood nor gave a single Nordic damn. They literally pinned me down with about five kids on each limb. It was then that I actually thought – oh sh*t. I’m really in trouble. My snow-mittens were ripped off and flung into trees. They started shoving snow down my suit. Have you ever had anyone drop an ice cube down your shirt?
Well now imagine someone shoveling handfuls of ice cubes down your shirt. It literally shocked the breath out of my body.
They left me laying like a Family Guy accident victim. Moaning and screaming in the cold. Rifle packed with snow and dirt. Boot buried somewhere. They ran away laughing, jabbering in their crazy language. I lay there trying to figure out just what in the great American hell had happened.
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