Excerpt of “The Snowmen”


Americans push off from the lip of the broken ice in two rubber dinghies. March, Bud and Doc in one boat, Miller, Red and Joe in the other. The rest of the men wait on the ice.

The water is a nightmare of ice chunks, lit a garish orange by the burning sub.


(to Miller)

Tell them to swim to us.


Achtung! — wir sind hier, Ihnen zu helfen. Schwim zu den Booten!

Miller pulls a German in. Red”s twisting this way and that with his rifle, trying to cover everyone. March, in his boat, pulling in a German, sees Red.


Red, put down the gun, and lend a hand.

Red turns to address March. Another German, pulled into Red”s boat, thrashes in confusion, knocking Red in the leg.

Red whirls and shoots. The German screams in pain.


Red, goddammit!

Water”s coming in.


You idiot, you shot the boat! Back to the ice! Quick!

They row furiously back to the lip of the ice.

March returns to the ice himself to drop off the two men they”ve pulled in. He leaves for more as Miller”s boat arrives there safely.

The next two Germans are too scared by the gunplay to get in March”s boat. They push the boat away.


Chuck! Tell them it was an accident, we”re here to help them!


Da Mann ein Idiot, seine Gewehr ist, gingen versehentlich aus! Wir sind hier, Ihnen zu helfen!

The Germans don”t look convinced.


Come on! You”ll die in there!

They finally let themselves be helped into March”s boat.

There”s only one more man alive in the water. He”s holding on to a piece of ice. Another piece of ice bears down on him.

Bud and Doc row hard to get to him. But the ice blocks converge — the man is smashed between them. The wave washes March”s boat back.

March looks around. There”s no more shouting coming from the water. Only bodies float there, in the light of the orange flames.


The bodies are wearing American uniforms. Some of them roll over, eyeing March.


March sees them clearly as Germans again.


Let”s go.

March returns to the beach. The Germans are bundled up. Doc”s bound the leg of the German that Red shot.

The men are sullen and apprehensive. Cookie looks from one German to the next, clearly frightened out of his wits.

Using the rubber dinghies like sleds, the Americans pull the Germans toward the distant camp.

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