"Shit!" a shivering Malarkey curses. "Almost forgot!" He triumphantly whips cigarettes from his pocket, to the delight of his hole-mates Skip and Penkala. They inhale with orgasmic delight, as if a simple cigarette is the first sliver of warmth they've cradled in too long. Skip passes the smoke to Penkala. "I'm shaking so goddamn much, I feel like I'm dancing," he trembles. Skip slips the cigarette between his friend's grateful lips. Over in Perconte's area, meanwhile, the guys are taking lemonade powder and mixing it with snow to yield a dessert of sorts. "Merry fucking Christmas," gripes Perconte.
Winters slinks over toward Welsh and Peacock, who have lit a small fire for warmth. "Fire's not a good idea," Winters softly admonishes. "Just a couple minutes," pleads Welsh. "We're in a dell." Winters: "A dell? Where fairies and gnomes live?" Nixon approaches and whispers, "I did smell a fire. Are you out of your mind?" Winters calmly replies, "Well, we're in a dell." I love this sarcastic Winters. But before he can remedy the fire situation, mortar fire bombards them and knocks Welsh backwards. "Noooo! Oh, God!" he screams, chillingly. Shit, I just gnawed on my nails again from tension -- I like Welsh. He's friendly, and he's a friend of Winters's, and seeing a trusted lieutenant felled like that freaks me out. Winters yells for a medic while Nixon frantically phones for a Jeep, and Peacock stamps out the tiny fire. Heffron violently shakes Roe out of a stupor; the medic is completely reluctant to move, suddenly, but Heffron forces him out of his hole. In leaving, Roe steps on Babe's hand and draws blood; the young soldier swears in frustration. So, how is it that the Germans can sing "Silent Night" unmolested, but the tiniest of controlled fires on the Allied side whips enemy gunners into a firing frenzy? I guess that's the benefit of firing on a decimated line with no artillery backup.
Roe nears Welsh and stops again, staring at an above-the-knee leg wound which Winters is holding tightly to slow blood flow. "Eugene," Winters says, calmly, but not without urgency. "Ohhhhhh!" Welsh howls. "Ohhh, Jesus! No!" In a second, Roe snaps into medic mode, grabbing the wound and making a tourniquet, then sprinkling the open cuts with sulfur. He instructs Winters to administer a syrette of morphine, which promptly quells Welsh's agony. Elevating his patient's head, Roe takes a bloody finger and marks it with an M indicating that the drug has been administered. Welsh's countenance is utterly sallow. After loading him onto a Jeep, Winters returns to Roe and pats him comfortingly on the shoulder. "Get yourself into town, get a hot meal," he says. Roe, still uneasy, heads silently to the car.