The unit’s been blooded, and we’ve lost a lot of good men along with a number of our tanks. Replacements are on the way, but although we won the day, there’s still a sense of loss in the air.
Then the artillery boys did something that cheered the men.
Gunnery practice was called, so the field guns and the AT gun were towed out to the range. But as the AT gun went past, it turned a few heads and started a wave of laughter when the men saw that the Whitaker Shield had been painted a bright yellow!
Later, the full story came out. During a previous battle the gun was camouflaged and ready to fire, but the crew were caught by surprise by the Martian advance. One nearby tripod was hit and damaged, sending it stumbling towards the gun. The crew made the fateful decision at that moment not to fire, hoping that the falling machine would miss them. And it almost did, but as it went past it tripped over the gun. The impact dislodged the shield on the gun, but the tripod went flying and crumpled as it hit the ground.
After the battle, the crew claimed the kill, and decided to name their gun “Uncle Josh” after the Vaudeville comedian. The shield remains slightly askew to this day, but now it’s been painted yellow, and written on it are the names of all the men we lost in our first battle with the Martians.