The story in the book talks about an infantry warrior named Private Matthew Dodd and his journey to re unite with his fellow soldiers. The British army was retreating to the lines of Torres Vedras and Dodd was left behind since he separated from his comrades during the retreat in Portugal behind enemy lines. He knew that he had to do one thing, and that was to kill all the Frenchmen. Private Dodd ran through a lot of problems during his journey trying to find his way back to his men.
With some help here and there from the natives, but mostly his own, he raids the French with his rifle to try and prevent them from building a bridge across the Tagus River. Rifleman Dodd is a story of a soldier who is on his own and slowly learns to make plans without any given orders, and it shows leadership qualities and knowledge of warfare. The main challenges that he had to go through was starvation, fatigue, and the little Portuguese boy he had encountered while he was trying to find his way to his fellow soldiers.
At the beginning of the story, Dodd was lost and couldn’t find his men or be on time so he got cut off and left behind and his fellow soldiers couldn’t wait any longer. He knew he would be left behind so he tried finding his own way to get to his people. While patrolling on foot alone, he was spotted out by a Frenchmen. They knew he was different because of the color of his uniform, it wasn’t like theirs. Half a dozen of the Frenchmen fired at him but every single shot they fired, they missed.
While they still shot at Dodd, he still managed to make it up the hill to find cover, as he was up there; Dodd aimed at the group of Frenchmen from the top of the hill and was able to take some out with his rifle. The French saw where the shots were coming from and fired back at Dodd, but were unsuccessful to hit Dodd. His first challenge was battling starvation. This was a very serious problem because he didn’t have any food and it had a major effect on how he acted in the face of danger because he was tired and starving.
Rifleman Dodd showed a big amount of discipline throughout his journey by only eating enough food needed to keep surviving. Mind you, this was the little rations he had the night before he was left behind, he saved it just in case they’d run out. With him doing this, he gave himself the hopes to not only sustain the little amount of food he had but also the strength and energy that he was going to need in case he would end up in the heat of battle. After traveling many miles on foot, Dodd crept through several fields during the day and night time so that he wouldn’t run into any Frenchmen.
He was seen by Frenchmen, so the French started to fire at Dodd and still missed. Dodd fired back and took out numerous amounts of men. As the day goes by, Dodd starts to feel like he could no longer walk, his next challenge was that he had to go through during his separation was the battle of fatigue. It was really starting to tear him away. Fatigue is a major factor to a person who is in the heat of battle because a person can do so much to keep their strength and move forward without stopping or giving up.
It was hard for Rifleman Dodd because he had been starving for days but he still found the durability to look beyond himself and continue to fight to return back to his men. He had a plan of attack to help him sleep at night and continue on with his mission in the morning by using tactics. For example, one night he slept with his pack on his back sitting straight up with his rifle in his hands just in case he had to fight if something was to go wrong around him during the night. He was ready to go! He was determined to get back to his men.
His last challenge that he went through was the Portuguese boy he encountered. Dodd was taking cover from the French in a dark ditch. He then jumped as if a bullet had shot him but it was just beechnut thrown at his shoulder. He looks back and see’s a Portuguese boy, he looked very young around his youth ages. He was called “Idiot”. That was just the name he was given by the French Soldiers. Idiot approached him and grabbed onto Dodd’s hand but Dodd pulled back cause he didn’t know whether to trust him or not but his mind told him to because Idiot was just a young boy.
He didn’t look like he was taken care of, pretty much on his own, he had a torn shirt on with some pants that looked like it’s been worn for years and nothing on his feet. Idiot then grabbed onto Dodd’s hand again and led him to the edge of the woods where from there, he pointed to a grey house. Idiot told Dodd that the neighborhood was clear of danger. Dodd took his word and went inside the house. Once they stepped in, all Dodd saw were two dead bodies lying on the ground. They were the idiot’s parents.
Dodd got frighten thinking there might be someone around since there’s nothing but dead bodies in the house so he took off and Idiot came running after him. Dodd wasn’t sure about what to do with Idiot, he couldn’t just leave him there so he took the boy along with him and did everything he could to keep them both alive. He even gave the kid the rest of his food even though his mind told him to keep his rations but pity told him to give some to Idiot. Dodd took care of Idiot to the best of his ability then one morning, Idiot didn’t wake up, he had died of pneumonia.
Dodd had no choice but to leave him in order to get back to his men. At the end of the story, Dodd was able to find his men, going through all these obstacles on his own and doing what he could to survive, he managed to get himself back to his men like he said he would when he got left behind in the beginning. He came across a river and slid down a nearly fifty feet of the stream. Scared he might run into a Frenchmen watering horses or washing clothes. As he kept investing, he made his way to town where he saw his first English patrol.
He recognized those men. He walked towards them and the LT of the patrol came up to him and asked who he was, he replied “Dodd, sir. With ninety fifth. ” The LT then told Dodd that the British men were only two miles up the road. As Dodd continued to walk towards the direction he was given, he saw his Colonel and walks right up to him, his Colonel remembers him only because he was reported missing asking how he had survived this whole time and he replied with “I don’t know sir, I just did.
” From then on, the Colonel told him to fall into his platoon. Dodd’s men greeted him with joy and laughter when they saw him. This book talk’s about a man’s commitment to taking lead over his own personal survival. It shows how one man with ability, courage, and initiative can make a difference to the outcome of a war. It relates to the Marine Corps because it shows leadership skills and the ability to do things on your own without being told or having any help from anyone yet, the mission is accomplished. Also, looking out for your Marines.
Dodd found a stranded kid he’s never met before and took care of him to best of his ability. This is a story of one man’s fight against the enemy. A British rifleman has been cut off behind enemy lines by the French advance into Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars. The British Army was pushed back to a last line of defense. The rifleman continues to do what he can to stop the French, with no hope for personal recognition and a slim chance of survival. He was highly trained to do his duty and got the job done.