Secret Meetings: General Nuisance and a Major Headache
Colonel Wilhelm Klink sat basking in the warm sun. He felt the rays penetrate his body. He felt the breeze, hot, but with a slight coolness so that one didn’t get too overheated. He could smell the salty tang of the water and hear the waves making contact with the shore. He smiled very contently to himself. He was utterly relaxed. He had just gotten comfortable in his lounge chair, his fruity drink on a table beside him. He thought about how wonderfully bronzed he was going to look in a few hours. Yes, soon he’d be glowing and able to attract the attention of the gorgeous fräulein a few feet away. Through his sunglasses, he eyed her, her long black hair pulled back by a headband, her eyes covered by two dark lenses, her pouty red mouth freshly stained from the pomegranate she had just finished, her legs, long and darkly tanned. She was gorgeous. He turned away to take a sip of his drink, revisiting her image in his mind. As he turned back to look at her, he found that the woman and her lounge chair were gone. He was the only one on the beach. Slightly disappointed, Klink laid back and began concentrating on the warm sun.
Suddenly, a loud ringing pierced the heavy air. Klink jolted up, startled, and looked around
but couldn’t find the source of it. He
tried to pinpoint the noise; it sounded so familiar. Soon it hit him; that was the sound of the
telephone in his office. At once the
beach, the ocean, and the warmth of the sun vanished and were replaced by the
drab interior of his office at Stalag Luft 13 outside of Hammelburg
Although it was only one in the afternoon, everything was quiet in Barrack 2. Lunch had been over for an hour, yet all five men were huddled around the coffee pot in the center of the table. Colonel Robert Hogan sat closest to the makeshift listening device that allowed his team to stay current in the goings on of the camp. Seated to his left were Sergeant James Kinchloe and Corporal Peter Newkirk. Across from Hogan, Corporal Louis LeBeau and Sergeant Andrew Carter both leaned in. All of them listened as Klink spoke to Major Hochstetter. Although the phone wasn’t bugged and they couldn’t hear what Hochstetter was saying to Klink, they could hear Klink bumbling over his words, trying to make a good impression on the Major. Klink was notorious for always trying to get on his superiors’ good sides. He would agree with their suggestions, take their sides, anything to make himself look good in their eyes. Hogan could picture him in his office, squirming. He smiled, then turned his attention back to what Klink was saying. “Of course Major Hochstetter…I will expect you at . I can assure you that all the necessary precautions will be taken, and any of our facilities will be at your disposal,” Klink said. There was a pause, then, “Ja, ich verstehe mein Herr. Auf Wiederhören.” (Yes, I understand sir. Goodbye.) They heard Klink replace the receiver. LeBeau and Carter eased back from the coffee pot. Kinch looked at Hogan and said, “What do you think Colonel?” “I’m not sure Kinch,” Hogan said scratching his chin, “but I know I’ll definitely need more information. Our inside man didn’t give us very much to go on.” He stood up, preparing to go see the Kommandant so he could get more information as to why the charming Major Hochstetter would be visiting the camp. He was just about to unplug the coffee pot when the phone in Klink’s office rang again. Quickly, he sat down again, and the other four men leaned in closer, eager to learn the identity of the caller.
“Ah General Burkhalter, how nice to hear from you sir,” Klink said pleasantly into the phone. Although he feared Major Hochstetter, General Burkhalter was slightly easier to deal with. He did have a short temper like Hochstetter, and he did threaten to send Klink to the Russian front occasionally, but at least the general couldn’t physically torture him like the Gestapo. He only does it to me mentally, thought Klink. “Klink, morgen komme ich zum Stalag 13 für eine wichtige Konferenz. Wir besprechen die spätesten Fortschritte in Luftwaffe Technologie. Die erste Punkt in die Tagesordnung ist eine besondere Darstellung. Diese Information ist ganz geheim. Wir müssen Vorsichtsmaßnahmen treffen. (Klink, tomorrow I’m coming to Stalag 13 for an important meeting. We will be discussing the latest advances in Luftwaffe technology. The first order on the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting is a special presentation. This information is top secret. We must take precautions.) Ich will die Wachen verdoppeln und die Gefangenen unter Kasernenarrest. (I want the guards doubled and the prisoners confined to barracks.) Wenn etwas misrattet, werde ich Sie persönlich haftbar machen.” (If anything goes wrong, I will hold you personally responsible.)
Klink swallowed the lump which had risen in his throat. He began to sweat furiously. “General Burkhalter, ich kann Ihnen
versichern, dass alle die notwendige Vorsichtsmaßnahmen werden nehmen. (General
Burkhalter, I can assure you that all the necessary precautions will be taken.)
Die Information ist geschützt hier am Stalag 13. (The information will be safe here at Stalag
13.) “Man kann nur hoffen Klink,”
Burkhalter said with annoyance. (One can
only hope Klink.) “Erwarten Sie
Satisfied that Klink wasn’t going to receive any more important phone calls, Hogan unplugged the coffee pot. From what they could deduce from Klink’s phone conversation, it was evident that General Burkhalter was also coming to camp tomorrow. “Two phone calls within thirty seconds,” LeBeau said. “And from Burkhalter and Hochstetter no less. Whatever they’re coming to discuss must be really important,” Kinch added. Carter looked down longingly. “Boy, I wish I could get two phone calls in one day. You know, I haven’t gotten a phone call since August of 194...” A large hand clamped over Carter’s still mumbling mouth. Newkirk glanced at him, “If you’d shut your trap, we might be able to see if the Colonel’s got a plan, yeah?” Carter nodded, and Newkirk removed his hand from Carter’s mouth. Hogan tried to hide the smirk that was growing on his face. Carter was a bright kid but way too chatty. “So what’s the plan Colonel?” Carter asked. “I don’t know, but first,” Hogan said getting up from the table, “I need to talk to our inside man.”
Hogan walked into the office unannounced. Klink didn’t even notice him come in. He looked agitated as he scribbled furiously on some forms. Hogan cleared his throat, “Excuse me, Commandant?” Klink looked up, exasperated. “Colonel Hogan, whatever you came here to discuss, it will have to wait until another time. I am extremely busy.” Irritated, Klink waved him away. Hogan, determined not to be brushed off that easily, moved closer to the desk and began tracing the spike of the Kommandant’s helmet with his finger. Out of the corner of his eye, Klink saw Hogan’s finger move. He reached out and smacked Hogan’s hand. “Hogan, I said I’m extremely busy, now get out!” Surprised at Klink’s outburst, Hogan stood back. Rubbing his hand, he turned towards the door. “Gee, there’s no need for violence; I can take a hint.” Hearing the slight anger in Hogan’s voice, Klink stopped what he was doing. “Wait Hogan,” he said. He looked up at him. “I regret that little display of violence Hogan, but as you can see, I’m very busy. I just received word that General Burkhalter is coming here tomorrow morning for an important meeting. To further complicate matters, Major Hochstetter phoned earlier to say he is also coming here tomorrow to meet with me. I’m trying to make the necessary preparations for their meetings and find ways to accommodate both of them. On top of that, the camp needs to be made presentable for their visits tomorrow, but there is so much to do and not enough time to get it all done.” Klink slumped down resting his hands on his chin.
Hogan saw how dejected Klink looked. He almost felt sorry for the Kommandant, but he knew that what was bad for the Kommandant was good for his team. He broke the gloomy silence in the room. “Uh Commandant, tell you what. I know how important these visits are to you so I’ll make you a deal. You tell me what needs to be done around camp, cleanup, etc, and I’ll get a work detail on it right away.” Klink looked up at him, sheer joy written all over his face. He practically jumped up out of his chair and hugged Hogan. “However, we expect something in return,” Hogan added. Klink’s joyful expression faded slightly. He winced then said, “What would you like?” “Well,” Hogan replied, “this weekend some of the men are debuting a new play written by one of the prisoners, and I’d like everyone in attendance to get a special treat, popcorn, candy, something like that. Also sir, they could use a few more props, a pillow, a cot, a toy rocking horse…” “A rocking horse!” Klink exclaimed. “What do you think this is Hogan, the Schotsy toy company?” “Aw, come on Commandant, all they want is to borrow them for the play. You’ll have them back after the performance, you have my word.”
Klink fidgeted; he didn’t really want to give Hogan anything, but since he had so graciously offered to help with this stressful situation, he acquiesced. “All right Hogan,” Klink said. “I will allow you both of your requests, but if anything goes wrong tomorrow, the men get no treat for the play this weekend.” “You’re cruel sir,” Hogan said. Klink didn’t reply. He stood up and walked around to the front of his desk. “Now Hogan, here is what needs to be done around the camp: all the trash is to be picked up, all the clutter around the barracks cleaned up, the gardens need to be pruned, and the yards need to be raked. I want the camp to look orderly when the General and the Major arrive for their meetings.” “Speaking of meetings, have you chosen where they’ll be held yet?” asked Hogan. “That’s none of your business Hogan,” Klink growled. “It doesn’t matter where they meet.” Klink paused for a moment, thinking over what he had just said. A small twinge of doubt began to creep over him. He turned to face Hogan. “Does it?” he asked hoarsely.
“Of course it does Commandant,” said Hogan. “You know how much Burkhalter and Hochstetter hate each other. They’d be at each other’s throats if you put them in adjacent buildings.” “Ja, Hogan, you’re right,” said Klink. He could picture both men yelling and screaming at each other; then turning and screaming at him. He shuddered; he did not want that to happen. “Does Burkhalter or Hochstetter know that he won’t be the only one meeting in camp tomorrow?” Hogan asked. At the instant Hogan uttered that, Klink suddenly realized the difficult situation he faced. He nearly fell to the floor. Hogan caught him and led him to his chair. He looked at Klink’s face. It looked as though he was in physical pain. “Oh Hogan, I never even considered that they would both be sharing the camp at the same time. This is terrible. Both of them have scheduled important meetings with me tomorrow; they both emphasized the importance of the information in their meetings and ordered precautionary measures be taken. I can’t risk them finding out about each other because of the security risk. Donnerwetter, they are both such thorns in my side, but I must find a way to make things work because if anything goes wrong, I’ll be shipped to the Eastern front faster than you can say bratwurst,” Klink moaned.
Hogan leaned down and put his hand comfortingly on Klink’s shoulder. Normally, the Kommandant would stiffen up or brush the hand away, but now it seemed he didn’t even know the hand was there. “Sir, may I make a suggestion?” Hogan asked timidly. “Anything,” Klink said woefully. He chose his words carefully. “What if they never find out about each other?” Klink looked up at Hogan both interested and confused. “How would we do that?” he asked. Hogan smiled inwardly, knowing that he could easily convince Klink to arrange things in their favor. “Well, it’s easy sir; you’d put them in buildings on opposite ends of the camp. They’d never know they weren’t the only one in camp because they’d never see each other. With both of them in different buildings, you’d be able to keep their visits secret and their information confidential.” “Brilliant Hogan, brilliant,” smiled Klink as he rose from his chair, his melancholy mood forgotten. “And to make sure you could attend both meetings, you could put them in buildings close to you. Meet with Burkhalter in your office and Hochstetter in Barrack 9,” Hogan suggested. Klink nodded. “An excellent suggestion Hogan; I’ll think it over. Disssmissed.” He saluted Hogan and went back to making arrangements for their visitors tomorrow.
That evening Klink sat
in the armchair in his quarters trying not to think about the next day. He thought back to the earlier events of the
evening. When Hogan had showed him the
clean camp, Klink was very pleased. For
prisoners of war, they do a very thorough job, he thought. He had announced his willingness to let them
have a treat for the play this weekend and had even told Hogan that the actors
could look for props, after tomorrow. He
pushed the memory away and went through his mail. He’d been so busy that afternoon that he was
just now getting to read it. With all
the official papers he’d received, he was actually very happy to find a letter
from his older brother Gerhard. Gerhard
was the middle son of Warren and Lotte Klink.
Like his younger brother Wilhelm, Gerhard excelled in school and was
well liked. After gymnasium, he went to
university and studied law. After his
service during the War, he finished his studies, obtained his degree, and worked
at a law firm in
The letter said the family was well.
They had visited Gerhard’s and Wilhelm’s parents, and they were in good
health. The letter also included
information about their three children.
Efraim had gotten a promotion to head engineer. He, his wife, and their three children were
well. He was just like Gerhard, so
intelligent, hard working and kind, with black hair and tan skin like his
mother. Mercedes was working as a
secretary in a law office, and she also volunteered in the church. She and her husband, a fireman, had one
child. She looked like her mother, dark
black hair, tan skin, big brown eyes, so full of life and laughter, just like
The eldest Klink, Wolfgang and his wife Marta lived in
Klink jolted out of bed, cold sweat dripping all over his body. He swung his legs over the edge of his bed and buried his face in his hands. He took a deep breath and began to rub the back of his neck. The dream had felt so real. He’d dreamt that both the General and the Gestapo Major were chasing after him with axes, screaming at the top of their lungs. He was running, but they were always right behind him. Klink put on his dressing gown and went to look out the window. The waning crescent moon hardly cast a light on the camp grounds and the forest in the distance. Klink sighed and went to look at the clock, four in the morning. He felt a twinge of pain in his forehead. He pinched at the bridge of his nose; a headache was the last thing he needed after a terrible dream, and the General and the Major would be arriving later this morning. He sighed again and climbed back into bed and tried to go back to sleep.
“Repooooort!” Klink yelled as he walked toward the formation of prisoners in front of Barrack 2. “Herr Kommandant, I beg to report all prisoners are present and accounted for,” said Schultz saluting. Klink returned a somewhat less than crisp salute. He turned and addressed the prisoners. “Gentlemen, General Burkhalter and Major Hochstetter are coming to camp today. Due to the nature of their visits, there will be some changes in routine. All prisoners will be confined to barracks at by orders of General Burkhalter.” A loud protest began. The voices of the prisoners pounded in Klink’s head. “Silence!” he yelled. He pressed his finger below the base of his thumb, hoping to alleviate the dull ache in his head. “Commandant, I protest,” Hogan said. “The men involved in the play planned a rehearsal today. If the prisoners are confined to barracks, how are the actors supposed to rehearse? Not all of them live in the same barrack.” Klink looked at him, a sour expression on his face. “Your protest is noted Colonel Hogan. It won’t do any good though, I have my orders.” “Please sir, couldn’t you make an exception just for the actors? They need to rehearse if they’re going to perform this weekend,” Hogan asked. Klink thought for a moment. “Very well Hogan, since you did inform me yesterday of the play to be performed this weekend, and because I consider myself a patron of the arts, I’ll allow those involved in the play to be confined in the same building so they can rehearse.”
There was cheering. Klink cringed at the loud yelling. Hogan noticed Klink seemed to be in pain; his temples were tightened. “Thank you sir,” said Hogan. “I know the actors will make good use of their time in the rec. hall.” Klink looked at him questioningly. “Just a moment Hogan, I didn’t say they were being confined to the rec. hall. The rec. hall is being used for General Burkhalter’s meeting. They will be confined to the canteen.” “But sir,” Hogan began. Klink cut him off. “Colonel Hogan, you were the one who pressed for this exception and now you’re not satisfied with my compromise. If my generosity is unwelcome, I can always withdraw the offer.” Hogan stood silent. “Then we agree?” Klink asked. Hogan nodded. Klink again addressed the prisoners. “So as a review, all those involved in the play will be confined to the canteen. The rest of the prisoners will be confined to barracks. If anyone is caught out of his barrack and wandering around the camp, he will be punished. Disssssmissed.”
Hogan watched Klink walk back to his office. He looked tired. He was pale; his face looked haggard. He had dark circles under his eyes, and he appeared to have a headache. Hogan figured Klink’s weariness had something to do with General Burkhalter and Major Hochstetter. He was surprised when Klink told him the General would be meeting in the rec. hall. That made him suspicious. Knowing now that they couldn’t use the coffeepot to eavesdrop, he had to find out the purpose behind both meetings and come up with a plan before they were all confined to barracks. As the men fell out of formation and scattered about the yard, Hogan stopped Kinch. After speaking briefly, Kinch went into the barrack to retrieve something. He quickly reemerged and headed towards Schultz.
After Kinch returned, Hogan motioned his men into his office. Once they were all inside and the door shut, he pulled down a map of the camp hidden in the room. All the men gathered around it. “Okay, listen up. Major Hochstetter is due in camp at . We don’t know much about why he’s coming or where he and Klink are meeting so we’ll keep an eye on him for good measure. Our main focus is General Burkhalter; he arrives at eleven. They’re meeting in the rec. hall. Obviously whatever they’re doing is big, otherwise Klink would have given him a smaller building.” He turned to Kinch, “What do we know?” he asked. “Schultz “accidentally” hinted to me that Hochstetter is coming here for a meeting. That’s all he knew about that. Burkhalter is coming here to brief Klink about new Luftwaffe technology,” Kinch divulged. Newkirk looked over at him. “Just ‘ow much did it cost you for Schultz to “accidentally” ‘int about that stuff?” “One candy bar and one packet of real coffee,” replied Kinch. Newkirk was stunned. Kinch had given up real coffee. Wanting to reimburse him for his sacrifice, he looked at Kinch and said, “After this mission, I’ll give you my two candy bars from the last Red Cross package. That’ll make up for the candy bar at least.” Kinch nodded in thanks.
Hogan resumed the discussion. “We don’t have a way of getting into the rec. hall through a tunnel, so we’ll have to find another way to infiltrate the room. Now until we know what’s going on and what we’re dealing with, we’ll have to play it by ear. For starters, you’ll work in teams of two. Each team will be assigned an officer to scout; Carter and LeBeau, you’ve got Burkhalter. Kinch and Newkirk, you’ve got Hochstetter.” Just then, they heard the guards rounding up prisoners to confine them to barracks. Burkhalter would be here soon. Hogan and his men left the office and went into the main room. As the guards took head counts in the barracks, the sounds of an engine rumbled outside. All the men in Barrack 2 went to the window and looked out. The General’s staff car had just pulled up.
At as Klink was going over some camp supply reports, Fräulein Hilda knocked on the door and told him that General Burkhalter had arrived. He rose as the General entered the office. “General Burkhalter, what a pleasure to have you here at Stalag 13,” Klink said. Burkhalter offered a stern gaze to the idiotic colonel. “Cut the pleasantries Klink,” he replied. “Show us where we are meeting. The demonstration takes a while to set up.” “Yes sir,” said Klink. “We are meeting in the rec. hall. If you will follow me, I will escort you.” He walked around his desk. “What is the subject of the demonstration?” he asked. “You will see in a moment Klink,” said Burkhalter. “Let’s just say that it will show you the effects our fighters are having on enemy flyers. It will prove our superior position over the Allies,” he said with a smug grin. “Excellent sir; I look forward to seeing it,” Klink replied. He opened the door for the General and followed him outside. Two men were standing outside waiting for them. One was in a Luftwaffe uniform carrying a steel cylinder and a small wooden slab; the other was wearing a dark suit carrying a briefcase. They followed Burkhalter and Klink to the rec. hall.
“So do I,” said Hogan as he unplugged the coffee pot. Unbeknownst to Klink, Hogan and his men were listening in on the conversation with Burkhalter and watching the two men while they waited outside the office for the two officers to come out. They looked at the briefcase the man held. Hogan turned to his men. “Okay, here’s the plan; one of you will hide in the rec. hall and eavesdrop on the meeting. We need to get information about this new technology, especially the one in the demonstration.” “But where would you hide, the rec. hall is open, and there’s no cover?” voiced Kinch. “There’s the stage,” said Carter. “We’re going to hide behind the stage?” asked LeBeau. “No, you’re going to hide under it,” said Hogan. “Under the stage, are you crazy? How is that any different from behind the stage?” questioned LeBeau. “Well, the stage is just one long platform,” Newkirk explained. “If we ‘id underneath it, we’d be able to get a good look at whatever their doing, and ‘ear what they’re talking about. And we’d ‘ave more cover because the performers keep their props, tools, and costumes in boxes under the stage. We’d just move ‘em in front of us, leave a ‘ole where we could see out, and we wouldn’t be seen.” “Exactly,” Hogan exclaimed. He turned and looked at the young American sergeant. “Carter, I want you to hurry over to the rec. hall, crawl under the stage and stay there. I want you to listen to every word they say, and when they take a break, I want you to come back and repeat everything back to me, verbatim.” Carter nodded and hurried out of the barrack.
Carter hunched down and crawled under the wooden stage. He carefully moved around the tools, extra plywood, boxes, and props. He inched closer to the front of the stage pushing some props in front of him. He lay there quietly and watched as the four men entered the building. He watched as the Luftwaffe officer and the man in the dark suit began unloading ammo and fuses from the briefcase. Because of his position, Carter couldn’t see the items as clearly as he would have liked, but he could hear very well. He heard the Luftwaffe Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) ask the other man, “Brauche ich das Benzin und das Kühlmittel zu ansetzen ?”1 (Do I need to mix the fuel and the coolant?) “Ja, bitte. Sie sind in meiner Aktentasche in den Flaschen,” said the other man. (Yes, please. They’re in the flasks in my briefcase.) Carter’s ears perked up. He didn’t know much German, but after sabotaging countless factories and labs, he did know the word for fuel. Gas, this was gonna be big. He inched closer and settled down waiting to see what would happen.
Burkhalter motioning toward the man in the dark suit, “this is Herr Augustus
Lechts. He works for
Rheinmetall-Borsig.”2 “How do
you do,” replied Klink shaking hands with the man. “Before we begin our portion of the meeting,
he will conduct the demonstration. Proceed
Herr Lechts.” Lechts looked at
Klink. “Herr Oberst (Colonel), you have
heard many reports of late about the Luftwaffe’s successful raids on Allied
fliers, have you not?”1 “Of
course Herr Lechts,” Klink replied. “I
stay current on all Luftwaffe activities.”
Lechts nodded. “My assistant and
I have been traveling around
Lechts motioned to the lieutenant colonel who had laid out a coffee can, a long, thick steel cylinder, a small wooden slab, some incendiary rounds, and a fuse. “Now imagine this,” began Lechts pointing to the steel cylinder, “is the hull of a plane.” He picked up a fuse and fitted it to an incendiary shell. “We fit the shells with an incendiary fuse which allows them to penetrate the hull and detonate when it comes into contact with liquid.”2 “Liquid,” Klink asked incredulously. “What kind of liquid?” Lechts picked up the coffee can. “Gasoline or coolant from the fuel tanks or the radiators,”2 he said. “This can contains a mixture of both liquids.” He placed the coffee can inside the cylinder, picked it up along with the wooden slab, and opened the door. Outside, he placed the slab a few inches away from the rec. hall. As he set the cylinder on top of it, the assistant loaded a gun with some of the rounds of ammunition and walked closer to the open door. Lechts reentered the rec. hall. “Observe the effectiveness of the ammunition Herr Oberst,” he announced.1 Klink and Burkhalter moved to where they could see outside the hall. The assistant aimed the gun at the cylinder and fired. Klink jumped as he heard the small explosion. Thick smoke billowed forth from the top of the cylinder. The metal hissed and sizzled. He rushed to see the results, a gaping hole in the withered, smoking steel.
Carter was amazed. That incendiary ammo is really big stuff, he thought. He knew that this mission was now more important than ever. As the men reentered the building, he shifted positions and listened with eager ears to hear just how effective this ammo was.
Klink turned to Lechts as he sat down.
“Herr Lechts,” he said, “this is a brilliant type of ammunition. What an advance in German engineering.” “I’m glad you approve Klink,” said Burkhalter
sarcastically. “Danke Herr Oberst,”
(Thank you Colonel) Herr Lechts replied.1 “We’re very proud of it. We knew it was good ammunition, but in the
field, it has exceeded our expectations.
I’ll let the General explain.”
Burkhalter reached for some charts to his left and spread them out in
front of Klink. Klink peered over them,
examining the data. “As of now, we have
had a 98% efficiency rating with the cannons.
They are on all our models, Messerschmitts, Focke-Wolfs and Heinkels.2
It takes very little effort to
take down a plane with this ammo, usually 4-6 hits for a bomber and 1 hit for a
fighter.2 Because of this effectiveness,
we have been expanding their use in other ways.
We’ve employed them in the raids on the British night bombing forces. We attack the bombers from underneath,
undetected.2 They never
realize we are there. We are easily
able to take down the bombers. We have
news from our foreign contacts that
Klink gasped in amazement, 115%. “My congratulations to you and your company Herr Lechts,” replied Klink shaking Lechts’ hand. He looked at the specs of the cannon. He looked over the tactical maps of where enemy fighters were shot down. He went through map after map and report after report, enthusiastically. Fascinating, he thought. Now we will be able to make the Allies fall back, and I will have something to rib about to Hogan. He grinned; finally I will have the upper hand. “Thank you for the demonstration gentlemen,” said Burkhalter. Lechts began putting the empty flasks back in the briefcase. The assistant picked up the shriveled steel cylinder and asked Klink about disposing of it. Klink called one of the guards over to the rec. hall and told him to dispose of the cylinder and the wooden slab. As the guard took the items away, Lechts and the lieutenant rejoined the meeting as Burkhalter began discussing Luftwaffe business.
After hearing about the cannons’ extremely high efficiency rating and its success in the night raids, Carter knew he had to get out of the rec. hall and tell Colonel Hogan the news, but he was waiting for an opportunity to escape. When Lechts and his assistant were putting away their materials, he began slowly crawling to the back of the stage. He had just reached the edge when he heard Klink call for the guard. Quickly, he crawled out from under the stage, crept to the back door of the rec. hall, and snuck quietly back to the barracks.
When Carter had
finished relaying the information to Hogan and the gang, everyone was
shocked. “One hundred and fifteen
percent,” exclaimed Kinch. “That must be
some cannon!” “And with that ammo it’s
giving the Germans an advantage over our fliers,” said Hogan. He turned to Carter, “What’s the secret that
makes it so effective?” “Well sir, it’s
mainly the ammo that cripples the planes,” Carter began. “With the type of fuse it uses, it detonates
when it comes into contact with liquid like coolant or gasoline. The steel cylinder that was used in the demonstration
had a huge hole in the side. The metal
was balled up and twisted in places. The
coffee can with the mixture in it was completely destroyed. Just think of what it does to our
planes.” Everyone shuddered at the
thought. They all knew that with this
type of ammo, the Germans had a huge advantage over them. Hogan broke the silence. “We have to find out the specifications of the
ammo and the cannon. It’s imperative
that we get this info to
sitting at the far end of the table. He
looked distraught. His face was clouded
with worry and sadness. He sat completely
silent, staring blankly into space as if in his own world. He didn’t acknowledge when Hogan spoke his
name. Hogan knew this was a bad
sign. When Newkirk was this quiet and
not joking around, something was seriously wrong. He walked over and put his hand on Newkirk’s
shoulder. “Corporal, are you
alright?” “Ruddy Krauts,” Newkirk whispered. He looked up at Hogan; his eyes were misty. “The
RAF doesn’t ‘ave a fighting chance. That
cannon and the new ammo give the Germans a serious advantage over our fliers. The worst part of it is that no one in
Hogan knew that Newkirk was hurting, but he needed him in this operation. He spoke gently but firmly. “After this operation, they’ll know about the cannon, the ammo, and the Germans’ night raid tactics. With this information, we’ll be able to give them the upper hand, and they’ll be prepared on the next raid. But the operation has to come off smoothly, and it won’t succeed if all of us aren’t focused on the mission.” Newkirk lowered his head. “I want you to go meet up with Kinch and watch for Major Hochstetter,” Hogan said. Newkirk nodded silently and rose. As he opened the door, Hogan squeezed his shoulder hoping to reassure him and give him confidence. Newkirk smiled weakly then walked silently out of the office. Hogan sighed. It hurt to see any of his men affected by the horrors of war. He hoped Newkirk would push his personal feelings to the side and focus on the job. Hogan sympathized with Newkirk; if it were the American flyers being bombed, he would feel exactly the way Newkirk did. Although he felt sorry for the British, he couldn’t let this news hinder the focus of the mission. The most important task was to get the ammo specs.
Kinch watched as the staff car pulled away from Klink’s office. Walking up the steps was Major Hochstetter and another man dressed in civilian attire. They spoke with Schultz for a moment then entered the building. Schultz went toward the rec. hall. Kinch nudged Newkirk to go tell the Colonel that Hochstetter had arrived. Now things are getting interesting, he thought.
“Schultz why did you say that?” asked Klink as he walked through camp. “You know that I signed for the delivery of the milk, eggs, and flour this morning.” “Herr Kommandant, Major Hochstetter is waiting for you in your office. I lied to the general because you told me to keep the Major’s visit a secret,” said Schultz. Klink nodded “Very good Schultz.” He entered the office and saluted Major Hochstetter and another man in civilian clothes. “Wilkhommen (Welcome) Major to Stalag 13. It is indeed a pleasure to see you,” said Klink. “For you perhaps Klink, but not for me,” replied Hochstetter curtly. Klink’s smile faded. “Klink,” said Hochstetter, “this is one of my associates Dieter Spurgen. He is one of our more covert operatives in the field. He has been tracking an Underground group for seven months. This group has been passing party secrets out of the country. They are a threat to the Third Reich. Fortunately, the Gestapo is finally in a position to crush this individual,” said Hochstetter devilishly wringing his hands and licking his lips. Klink gulped. What kind of man takes pleasure in crushing someone? he thought.
Hochstetter continued. “It will be tricky though. The man who provides the information for the group is an aide to very high ranking party officials. He knows that if he is caught, he will be executed so he will always be watching his back. Fortunately, Sturmbannführer (Major) Spurgen has infiltrated the organization, aided them for the past seven months, and gained the confidence of the key leaders of the movement.1 We are planning to incarcerate the traitor immediately and hopefully catch the members of the Underground cell,” he purred with a sinister smile as he examined a glass paperweight from Klink’s desk. Klink nodded. “This is all very interesting Major Hochstetter, but why are you telling me all this? I am not involved in this plan.”
Hochstetter’s eyes bored into Klink.
He felt his whole body go numb, the dull ache in his head suddenly
growing. “I’m telling you this Klink
because you will play a part in it,” Hochstetter said frustrated at Klink’s
naivety. “The Underground group is based
in Staffelstein, but they are coming to Hammelburg to meet the man because he
is on official business to
“Now,” Hochstetter faced Klink, eyeing him like a hawk. “I want a double set of guards on duty that night on the roads and in the woods outside of camp.” “Yes sir,” Klink replied crisply. “I will assign the guard details personally.” Hochstetter frowned. “Klink, if you choose the guards, the person is sure to elude us. No, I will choose the guards myself.” “Yes Herr Major,” said Klink. He retrieved a guard roster from his desk and gave it to Hochstetter then headed nervously toward the door. He’d already been gone for ten minutes. General Burkhalter would start to wonder where he was. He had to get back. He had almost reached the door when Hochstetter said, “Klink, I will need to inspect the guards personally. To do this, I will need a larger building because your office won’t accommodate everyone. Have them report to the canteen.” “But Herr Major, there are prisoners in that building,” said Klink. “Then move them somewhere else,” said Hochstetter. “I don’t care where you put them, just make sure they’re far away from us. Now, show us to the canteen.”
“Of course Major,” replied Klink. Quickly, he sent Schultz ahead to move the prisoners out of the canteen then he escorted the two men to the building. He watched as Spurgen went into the building first followed by Hochstetter. Just before he entered, he turned and faced Klink with a nasty sneer. “That will be all for now Klink. When I need you, I’ll let you know.” With a quick turn, Hochstetter entered the building and shut the door. Klink, eager to get back to the meeting, called Schultz and told him to escort the prisoners from the canteen to the sports field. He was to take the back way so Major Hochstetter wouldn’t suspect anything. He then told Schultz to call all guards on 2nd shift to report to the canteen at once. I hope the dummkopf doesn’t bumble everything up, he thought as he hurried back toward the rec. hall. What am I thinking? he thought as he opened the door and entered the building. “Klink, does it usually take this long to sign a delivery form?” questioned General Burkhlater as he eyed Klink. Klink fidgeted; he couldn’t let the General know about Major Hochstetter. He had to think of something quickly. He rubbed his head; the stress was making the pain increase. “No Herr General, it’s just that some complications ensued and…” “Klink,” barked Burkhalter, “I don’t want your excuse for trying to get out of this meeting. Now sit down so we can speed things along.” Reluctantly and with dread, Klink sat down.
An hour later, Hogan and his men were still waiting. Klink was still in the meeting, and there was no movement from the canteen. They had listened in on Hochstetter’s conversation in Klink’s office and knew what he was planning, but they needed more details on how it would be carried out. Suddenly, Kinch turned from his post at the window. “Movement Colonel. Schultz is coming across the yard and headed toward the rec. hall,” Kinch reported. “Must be going to get Klink,” said Hogan. He turned to Newkirk. The English corporal had masked his feelings after Hogan’s brief talk and was doing his best to focus on the mission. “Newkirk stall him; see if you can weasel anything else out of him.” “Right sir,” Newkirk said heading out the door. As he strolled out into the yard, he saw Schultz coming his way. “ ‘ey Schultz,” he called, “what’s the rush?”
Schultz stopped, turned abruptly, and hurried over to Newkirk. “Major Hochstetter wants to see the Kommandant again. I was watching the prisoners he had transferred from the canteen to the sports field when I was summoned to the canteen. When I got there, Major Hochstetter told me he wanted to see the Kommandant. I told him I would get him at once. But he is in a meeting with General Burkhalter right now. I need a convincing excuse that will allow the Kommandant to go see Major Hochstetter without making the General suspicious. Newkirk, you’re good at making excuses, what should I say?” he asked.
“Well that’s easy Schultz, just go in and say that Klink’s got an urgent phone call from some ‘igh ranking brass above ol’ Burkhalter’s ‘ead. That way ‘e won’t suspect a thing.” Schultz grinned. “Oh danke Newkirk, that is brilliant. I shall go tell the Kommandant at once.” He turned to go, then turned back around and looked at Newkirk. “Wait a minute; why are you out of the barracks?” he asked. Newkirk scoffed. “Now come on Schultz, I’m just getting a bit o’ fresh air. There’s no ‘arm in that, is there?” “Yes,” Schultz said. “The Kommandant said prisoners are to be confined to barracks. Please Newkirk, go back inside and don’t get me in trouble,” he whimpered. “All right Schultz,” said Newkirk putting his hands up. “I’ll go in.” “Danke,” said Schultz who turned and hurried off to the rec. hall. Newkirk went back inside to tell the news to Colonel Hogan.
Klink sat staring at the wall behind the General’s head trying to appear interested in the new Luftwaffe technology he and Herr Lechts had been discussing for the past 45 minutes. All he could think about was Major Hochstetter on the other end of camp. He hoped the Major wouldn’t need to see him anytime soon. The General was still here, and he musn’t learn of Hochstetter’s presence. All this worrying was making his headache worse. His temples were throbbing. He was so engrossed that when Schultz entered the room, he practically jumped out of his seat with fright. “Dummkopf, why did you barge in like that? Can’t you see we are in the middle of a meeting!” he yelled. “I’m sorry Herr Kommandant, but you have a very important phone call,” said Schultz. “Have them call back,” said Burkhalter. “Excuse me Herr General, but the person calling is Generaloberst Altmann,” said Schultz nervously.1 “Very well,” Burkhalter sighed reluctantly, “but be quick about it Klink.” “Yes sir,” replied Klink, and he followed Schultz out the door.
“Who is this Generaloberst Altmann Schultz?” asked Klink as they walked towards the office.1 “I’ve never heard of him.” “Herr Kommandant, there is no phone call for you,” said Schultz. “Then why did you say there was?” asked Klink confused. “I made up an excuse because Major Hochstetter wants to see you again,” Schultz answered. Klink’s eyes widened. “Danke Schultz,” he said and went back to the canteen.
“Klink, I have chosen the men I want on duty on the night of the raid,” began Hochstetter when Klink arrived. “Here is the list. You will have them report to their posts in two days at . They will be stationed on the roads outside of camp. A heavier concentration of officers will be in the woods on all sides of the camp. They must be heavily armed. Under no circumstance is any prisoner to be out on that evening; they will be confined to barracks.”
“Of course Major,” Klink replied. “We still need to plan the positions of the guards in the woods,” said Hochstetter. He turned to Klink. “Go get me a topographic map of the area and a map of Hammelburg and bring them back here; I will need them for planning,” he barked. “At once Major,” said Klink turning hurriedly towards the door. “And Klink,” Hochstetter continued, “this raid is very important. Should anything foul up it up…,” He glared at Klink wolfishly then watched as a fly landed on the table. Quick as lightening, he pulled the paperweight from Klink’s desk out of his pocket and slammed it down over the bug with a loud whap. It split into pieces as he put it down. “That is what will happen to you. Do you understand?” Klink had to lock his knees to keep from falling over. He could only stand there and nod; he couldn’t seem to get any words to come out of his mouth. He spun rapidly and walked as fast as he could out of the building. Outside, he stood still for a moment trying to get his bearings. The afternoon sun beat down on him. Normally he would’ve enjoyed the warm rays, but in his nervous and agitated state, they only made him hot and more uncomfortable. He shielded the light from his face. His head was beginning to pound like kettle drums. His neck had even started to hurt. He quickly composed himself as best he could and hurried to the office to find the maps.
After finding what he needed, Klink exited the office. As he walked towards the canteen, he glanced up and panicked. He clutched his chest; he thought he was going to have a heart attack. General Burkhalter was halfway to the office and coming straight towards him. He hid the maps behind his back and hurried over to him as fast as he could. “Herr General, I was just on my way back,” he said as he approached him. “Klink, why did it take you this long to complete a simple phone call? You’ve been gone for nearly ten minutes!” Burkhalter snapped. “But General, I couldn’t be disrespectful to a superior officer on the telephone,” Klink replied timidly. “I don’t care if you were on the phone with Admiral Canaris or the Führer himself,” Burkhalter said, his voice rising with anger. “That phone call took entirely too long. I don’t want you wasting any more of our time. Now I am ordering you not to leave the meeting again for any reason. The sooner we finish up, the sooner I can leave.” Burkhalter turned and began walking briskly towards the rec. hall. Klink turned and saw Schultz standing by his office. “Schultz,” he called. The corpulent sergeant hurried over to Klink. “Schultz, I am not able to leave the meeting anymore. I want you to take these maps to Major Hochstetter,” he said handing them to Schultz. “You are in charge of keeping him occupied.” “Herr Kommandant, what shall I do if he wants to talk with you again?” asked Schultz thickly. Klink’s face fell, and he slumped. “Stall,” he said. “Klink, you have five seconds to get down here!” yelled Burkhalter. Quickly, Klink turned away from Schultz and ran.
Hogan had to laugh as he watched Klink take off like a jack rabbit running to meet General Burkhalter. He noticed Schultz was standing there with the maps. We’ve got him right where we want him, thought Hogan. He opened the barrack’s door and called out, “Schultz, come here a minute.”
“What is it Colonel Hogan?” asked Schultz once inside the barrack. “Sit down and relax a little; you look tired. What’s with all the running around anyway?” Hogan asked. “I know sir, ‘e’s trying to exercise,” quipped Newkirk. Schultz glared angrily at Newkirk as he sat down. “That is not the reason. I have to bring Major Hochstetter these maps he requested,” he said setting them down on the table. “The Kommandant was going to do it, but as he went to give them to the Major, General Burkhalter came looking for him. He was not happy. I told the General that the Kommandant had an urgent phone call so he could leave the meeting and go see Major Hochstetter. The General got very angry because he was gone too long and told him that he was not to leave the meeting again.” Hogan poured some water into a cup and handed it to Schultz. “What kind of maps Schultz?” asked Carter. “A topographic map and one of the Hammelburg area,” said Schultz, grateful for the water. “What happens if Hochstetter wants to talk to Klink again and goes looking for him?” asked Hogan. Schultz’s face contorted. “I don’t want to think about it.” “Will there be trouble?” Hogan pressed. As he said this, he inclined his eyebrows slightly toward Newkirk. Newkirk acknowledged and quietly swiped the maps from the table next to the unsuspecting guard and hid them under the covers of one of the bunks. “Ja,” replied Schultz sadly. “If the Major goes looking for Klink, he will discover that General Burkhalter is here in camp. I must see that that doesn’t happen, but it is not easy. If the Kommandant doesn’t come, the Major will be furious. Kommandant Klink told me to keep him occupied. If he asks for him again, I am supposed to stall.” He looked at Hogan. “Colonel Hogan, help me please. I must keep the Major’s presence a secret from the General, but how do I keep him occupied?”
“Well, the best thing to do is to let him know you are taking care of his needs,” Hogan replied. “Tell him Klink assigned you to do it. That way Hochstetter will have to give you his orders, and you can carry them out. The next thing to do is to keep him happy. Carry out his orders promptly and don’t upset him in any way, or he’ll be really angry. When did he ask Klink for those maps?” “Eight minutes ago,” Schultz stated. “Well then why are you ‘anging around talking to us Schultz?” asked Newkirk in an exasperated tone. “You’re wasting the Major’s time. Gor blimey, if you don’t ‘urry up and get over there, ‘ochstetter’s gonna ‘ave your ‘ead.” “Newkirk’s right Schultz; you’d better hurry and bring those maps to Hochstetter,” Hogan replied. “If he doesn’t get his maps soon, he’ll get angry and go looking for Klink, and if he finds him with Burkhalter…” “Then he is a dead man,” Schultz whimpered. “Hochstetter must not find out about the General.” “And he won’t, if you hurry and bring him the maps,” explained Hogan. “Once he has them, he’ll be happy; then you can keep him occupied so he won’t go looking for Klink.” The men guided Schultz toward the door. “So hurry,” he ordered. Quickly they pushed Schultz outside.
Schultz walked toward the canteen. All this secret keeping and making sure that neither Hochstetter nor Burkhalter found out about each other was stressful. I must try to stay calm, he thought. He looked down in his right hand where he was carrying the maps. They weren’t there. He frantically looked around and felt in his pockets, but they were nowhere to be found. “What have I done with them?” he panicked. Where was the last place I was? he thought in a frenzy. Colonel Hogan’s barrack, he remembered. One of the men must have stolen the maps to play a trick on me. He had to get those maps back, or he would be in big trouble. Hurriedly, he ran back to Barrack 2.
Major Hochstetter impatiently stamped back and forth in the canteen. How long does it take Klink to get these maps? he wondered. With an idiot like Klink, one never knows. He is probably searching frantically for them right now. He glanced at his watch. I will give him one more minute, and if he doesn’t arrive with the maps, I will go and find them myself.
“He’s coming back,” said LeBeau as Schultz barged into the barrack. “Back so soon Schultz?” asked Hogan. “Colonel Hogan, please, this is no time to joke!” wailed Schultz. “When I came in, I had two maps with me. Now I have none. I want to know who stole them, and I want them back immediately, or I will be in big trouble.” “Schultz, I’m hurt that you would accuse one of us of stealing!” exclaimed Hogan. “We wouldn’t steal from you Schultz; you’re like a brother to us,” Carter chimed in. “Colonel Hogan please, no monkey business, I must find those maps,” pleaded Schultz. “All right Schultz; to show you that we didn’t steal them, we’ll help you look around the barracks. They must be lying around here somewhere,” said Hogan. He and Carter lead Schultz to look in his office while Newkirk quickly retrieved the maps from the bunk.
Major Hochstetter looked at his watch again. He was furious that Klink had kept him waiting this long. “Klink, I am coming to give you a piece of my mind!” he growled and thundered out of the building.
“There they are!” exclaimed Schultz picking up the maps from the bench under the table. “You see Schultz we didn’t steal them; you left them there,” said Hogan. “Gee Schultz, you’re memory’s going. You need to try a trick my grandmother taught me. If you tie a piece of string around your finger, it helps you remember things better,” said Carter. “Ja, I try it,” said Schultz hurrying out the door. He had to get these to Major Hochstetter. Schultz had barely left the building when Kinch came bursting into the main room out of Hogan’s office. He’d been watching the camp through the office window. “Colonel, Hochstetter just went into Klink’s office,” he replied. Hogan smiled. “All right fellas, this is it, the big moment when we get Klink out of the rec. hall. Newkirk, you go with LeBeau as backup. Wait outside the rec. hall. When the men come out, go in and be the lookout while LeBeau takes pictures.” Newkirk nodded, and he and LeBeau left. Hogan turned and looked at Kinch and Carter. “Kinch,” he said, “get your mitt. Carter, you too. We’re gonna play some ball.”
Major Hochstetter stormed out of the office fuming. After bursting into Klink’s office and finding it empty, he’d demanded to know where Klink was. His secretary had told him that he was in the rec. hall. Having fun Klink, fumed Hochstetter as he walked out of the office. When I get finished with you, you won’t be.
Hogan stood peering out from the corner of the rec. hall. He saw Hochstetter walking furiously towards the building. He turned and said, “Okay guys, here he comes; you know what to do. Kinch,” he said with a mischievous smile, “give the German Luftwaffe your fastball.”
Klink couldn’t stand it anymore. He’d been nervous and uncomfortable the whole meeting. The constant worry of concealing both Burkhalter’s and Hochstetter’s presence from one another was gnawing at him. He kept fidgeting, and the General had snapped at him several times. He couldn’t remember half of the things discussed in the meeting. His head hurt, and his neck was stiff and cramped. Although he was miserable, he tried to be optimistic about the situation. Other than a few close calls, things had gone well so far. Hochstetter hadn’t needed him lately, neither man knew of the other’s presence in camp, and with the meeting coming to a close, the General would be leaving soon. I am almost in the clear, thought Klink. Suddenly a loud crash resounded through the building as a baseball bounced on the table and rolled onto the floor. “What was that?” shouted Burkhalter. Klink bent over to pick up the ball from the floor. “It appears to be a baseball General,” he said. “I can see that dummkopf, what I want to know is who threw it,” said Burkhalter. Loud voices could be heard outside the building. “That’s great Kinch, thanks for losing our ball!” yelled Carter. “Well, I didn’t mean to,” shouted Kinch. “Knock it off both of you,” yelled Hogan. “We’ll just have to see if we can borrow a ball when we get to the sports field.” “Klink, what did I tell you about prisoners being confined to barracks?” demanded Burkhalter. “But Herr General I…” began Klink. “Klink, when I give an order, I expect it to be obeyed,” Burkhalter barked. “I want to know who these men are and why they are out of the barracks,” he said. “Yes Herr General,” said Klink dejectedly as he, Herr Lechts, his assistant, and the general headed for the door.
Schultz entered the canteen very relieved that he had found the maps. “Hier sind Ihre Landkarten Herr Major,” he announced. (Here are your maps Major). He looked around the room. The Major was gone; only the civilian sat at the table. “Wo ist Major Hochstetter?” (Where is Major Hochstetter?) he asked. “Er ist Oberst Klink gegangen zu finden,” replied the man.1 (He went to find Colonel Klink.) Schultz’s eyes bulged out as the color drained from his face. “Oberst Klink?” he asked.1 “Ja, Oberst Klink (Yes, Colonel Klink),” said the man.1 Schultz panicked and fled from the building. He ran as fast as he could towards the rec. hall. I must warn the Kommandant or intercept Major Hochstetter, he thought as he waddled along. I must not let him find out about General Burkhalter’s visit, or I will be in so much trouble.
“Hogan what is the meaning of this?” barked Klink looking at the broken window of the rec. hall. “Well sir,” began Hogan, “Kinch, Carter, and I were going out to the sports field to play some ball. Well, Kinch wanted to warm up his arm so…” “Hogan,” said Klink exasperated. “Perhaps Colonel Hogan can explain why he is not in his barrack, since I specifically ordered all prisoners confined to quarters,” clipped Burkhalter. “Yes Hogan, please enlighten us as to why you are out here,” said Klink. “I told you this morning that all prisoners would be confined to barracks today. I didn’t give any prisoner permission to go out to the sports field.” “You didn’t? Are you sure?” asked Hogan. “Yes I’m sure,” said Klink tightlipped. “Well, this is awkward,” Hogan replied puzzled. Burkhalter interrupted. “Klink, I want these men sent back to their quarters immediately,” he snapped. “Immediately, Herr General,” said Klink. He turned to face the three prisoners. He pointed his finger at Kinch. “Hogan, I want Sergeant Kinchloe to fix the window immediately after the General has left. You and your men are to go back to the barracks. I will punish you later.”
The men began to protest. “Silence,” barked Klink. “Aw come on Commandant, we were only going to the sports field because we heard the guys in the canteen were out there already,” said Hogan. “We figured the General had left, and you’d lifted the confinement order.” Klink fumed. There was only one way Hogan could have found out about the prisoners being moved. Schultz must have blabbed. That idiot Schultz, he thought. Can’t the dummkopf be discreet. “So, there are other prisoners out of barracks?” quizzed Burkhalter angrily. “No Herr General, I assure you there are no other prisoners out of the barracks,” Klink pleaded. Burkhalter mustn’t find out that Major Hochstetter had ordered him to move the prisoners from the canteen. Trying to shift the focus of the discussion, he turned and gave a nasty look at Hogan. “Hogan, I don’t think this was an accident. You know that if I’d lifted the confinement order, you would be the first to know. I think you deliberately threw that ball through the window. Now I want to know why you and your men disobeyed a direct order and left the barracks to pull this little prank?” “Do you really want to know sir?” asked Hogan. “Of course he does Hogan, and more importantly, I want to know,” said Burkhalter icily. “All right, but you’re not going to like it,” said Hogan. “I was coming to tell the Kommandant that his friend was looking for him.”
Klink’s jaw nearly dropped. Hogan could only mean one person, Hochstetter. How did he know? he thought. Now it didn’t matter. “Danke schön Hogan (Thank you very much Hogan),” said Klink and began hurrying around the building towards the canteen. As he did, he nearly collided head on with Major Hochstetter. “Klink, you bumbling imbecile, get off of me! What are you doing over here? How long does it take you to get maps? I have been waiting for fifteen minutes!” he raged. “Well, Major, I was unable to bring them to you so I told Schultz to do it.” “I didn’t tell Schultz to do it, I told you. Schultz couldn’t bring me maps if they were right in front of him!” Hochstetter fumed. “Herr Major, I would have brought them to you myself, but unfortunately, I was involved in other matters,” Klink explained massaging his temples. “Other matters,” screamed Hochstetter. “What is more important than the Gestapo?” “A superior officer of higher rank,” barked Burkhalter. Klink turned in fear and panic. General Burkhalter, Herr Lechts, his assistant, and the three prisoners had come to the front of the rec. hall.
Klink’s body sagged as a wave of hopelessness and despair washed over him. The secret was revealed. Time to face the backlash, he thought. “General, I realize that Klink is a subordinate and must follow your orders; however; at the moment, he is under the authority of the Gestapo. He has been assisting me in planning an incursion. He has cooperated fully until I sent him to get some maps that I needed. He has yet to give them to me,” clipped Hochstetter. “That cannot be Hochstetter because Colonel Klink has been attending a meeting in this building since this morning. Except for two rather long interruptions, he has been with me the whole time,” said Burkhalter. Hochstetter’s eyes grew wide, and his face contorted. “What are you saying General?” “Well, sir, that Klink booked you both in the camp at the same time and didn’t tell you about the other one’s visit,” replied Hogan cheerfully.
Klink shot murderous look at Hogan. His head ached and throbbed. It felt as though jack hammers were drilling into his skull. He massaged the back of his neck. “Hogan be quiet!” he snapped. Both Burkhalter and Hochstetter, at the realization that Klink had lied to them, became enraged. “Klink, you assured me that all necessary precautions would be taken so our secrecy would remain intact!” shouted Hochstetter. “Do you know what would happen if this information was discovered or fell into enemy hands?” Burkhalter demanded. “This raid is of vital importance and because of your failure, you nearly blew our cover!” growled Hochstetter. “I want an explanation Klink,” he snarled. “Yes, so would I,” said Burkhalter. “And where are those maps?” Hochstetter screamed down Klink’s throat. At that moment, Schultz came up, exhausted and pouring with sweat from running. Panting and breathless, he went over to Hochstetter and handed him the maps. “Hier… sind …Ihre …Landkarten (Here are your maps),” he panted. “Dummkopf!” screamed Hochstetter to Schultz as he ripped the maps from his hand and threw them to the ground. “I want an explanation Klink, and I want it now!”
When the men had come out of the rec. hall to see what was going on, Newkirk signaled to LeBeau who went into the building through the back door. He hurried up to the table and began searching through Lechts’ briefcase and Burkhalter’s papers for any information about the specs of the cannon and the ammo. Once he found them, he began taking pictures. He heard the front door open a crack, and as he looked up, Newkirk slipped in. “Keep taking pictures but make it fast, we don’t ‘ave much time. I’ll watch the door,” Newkirk said quietly. “Oui,” replied LeBeau quickly and went back to taking photographs.
“But sir,” pleaded Klink exhausted, “I could not refuse either of you. I could not refuse the General because he is my superior officer. He would have court martialed me if I refused,” he explained pointing to the General. “Very true Klink,” replied Burkhalter curtly. Klink turned back to face Hochstetter. “And I couldn’t refuse you Major because no one refuses the Gestapo.” “Of course no one refuses the Gestapo!” barked Hochstetter. “Anyone who does will be dealt with.” “So you see why I had to hide each of your respective visits from the other,” Klink answered. He hoped he’d worded his explanation so it looked as though he was just trying to be accommodating, even though it had been a nightmare. He hoped both men would understand why he’d deceived them. His head was killing him mainly because Burkhalter and Hochstetter had screamed at him at the top of their lungs for several minutes, each as he tried to explain. Eventually Hogan had to yell louder than both of them to get their attention so they would listen to his explanation. “I don’t care Klink, when the Gestapo tells you to do something, you do it without question,” Hochstetter growled. “The Gestapo does not, however, take precedence over the command given by a superior officer,” replied Burkhalter heatedly to Hochstetter. Hochstetter snarled at Burkhalter. “The Gestapo takes precedence over everything.”
Hogan saw his chance to cut in. “Now be reasonable Major. Colonel Klink tried his best to accommodate both you and the General. He risked his neck and bent the rules to meet with both of you so that neither you nor the General would find out about the other’s visit, and you’re harping on him for not following procedure. You’re making him choose between the Gestapo and the Luftwaffe. You put him in an awkward position; I don’t think that’s fair.” Klink looked at Hogan, surprised. He felt deeply touched that Hogan was standing up for him. Although the pain in his head was excruciating, he smiled at Hogan. Hochstetter turned from Klink and glared at Hogan, just now realizing that there were prisoners out of the barracks, and they were listening to the entire exchange. “Klink obviously can’t follow even the simplest orders,” he said to Hogan. He turned back to the Kommandant. “Klink, explain to me why there are prisoners out of the barracks!”
LeBeau snapped the picture of the last diagram and quickly hid the camera in his jacket. He went over to Newkirk who was still watching the door. “I’ve finished,” he whispered. Newkirk turned his head to the right so he could see LeBeau. “There’s a bit of a commotion goin’ on out there so we’ll ‘ave to go out through the back way,” he said. “Then let’s hurry,” LeBeau said as they both turned and headed for the back door. After making sure the coast was clear, both men hurried back to Barrack 2.
Klink had accepted defeat. He had no explanation as to why Hogan and his men were out of their barrack. They hadn’t been part of the group moved to the sports field. He wished they had stayed inside as he’d ordered. When prisoners, especially Hogan and his men, disobeyed orders, it always made things worse. They must be doing this to torture me, thought Klink. The pain from his head and neck now encompassed his whole body. He was hot, stressed, and exhausted. Even thinking hurt. All he wanted was for both men to leave so he could lie down and rest. He’d tried to explain to both men that he’d only transferred the prisoners from the canteen; he didn’t know why Hogan and his men were out, and that he hadn’t given them permission to leave the barrack. When he’d demanded a reason from the prisoners, Hogan gave them the same excuse as before: they’d heard that the actors from the canteen were on the sports field playing ball. Assuming the confinement order had been lifted, they decided to join the baseball game. Burkhalter then started yelling at Klink for not confining the transferred prisoners to barracks.
“Colonel Klink was just trying to protect the privacy of your meeting sir,” Hogan pressed. “He had all prisoners confined to barracks except one group. You see there’s a play this weekend, and before you ordered us confined to barracks, the actors were going to use the rec. hall to practice. Your orders threw a kink in their system. The Kommandant was nice enough to confine them to the canteen so they could rehearse because they don’t all live in the same barrack. When Major Hochstetter commandeered the canteen for his meeting, he was forced to move them. He didn’t want to risk upsetting either of you or compromising your security by relocating prisoners. With both of you in camp giving him two different sets of orders, I don’t blame him. So he transferred the prisoners to the perfect spot, the sports field. Think about it; it’s far away from both your meetings, and with some of the prisoners enjoying themselves out there, they’d forget about you even being here. He was only thinking of your best interest, and how do you repay his kindness? You stand outside and scream at him where every prisoner in his barrack can hear you. Great job at keeping a low profile.”
Burkhalter’s eyes got wide; Hochstetter turned to look around suspiciously at the buildings surrounding the rec. hall. Klink looked at Hogan again, astonished and deeply moved that Hogan had stood up for him. He smiled at Hogan gratefully. Hochstetter grabbed the maps off the ground and glared at Klink. “You may have done something smart to protect our privacy for once Klink, but the next time the Gestapo gives you an order, you will follow it to the letter.” Hochstetter turned on his heel and stormed off in the direction of the canteen. Burkhalter towered over Klink. “And I expect all Luftwaffe orders to be carried out in the same manner.” He turned to Lechts and the assistant who were standing to the side watching the entire exchange. “Herr Lechts, get your things; we’re leaving.” Klink felt overjoyed; that was the best news he’d heard all day. “Schultz, go and tell the general’s driver to prepare the car,” he commanded. Schultz turned and began walking toward the front of the camp. Lechts went into the rec. hall and in a few minutes came out with his briefcase. Burkhalter turned to Klink. “Klink, I want these men punished for being out of the barracks!” he bellowed. “At once Herr General,” Klink agreed. “I assure you that I will give the…” “Klink!” screamed Burkhalter, and he turned and walked toward the car with Klink following after him. Hogan, Carter, and Kinch stood watching as Burkhalter and the two men got into the car. As it sped out of the camp, Hogan gestured to his men, “Come on, let’s hurry and get back to the barracks and see how LeBeau did with the film.”
Later that evening as
Hogan walked toward the Kommandant’s office, he thought about the events of the
day and laughed. It was , and the sky was dark and
clear. Hochstetter had left about , but not before giving Klink
another good dressing down. After the
General left, Hochstetter came to Klink’s office and ordered him to assist in
planning the rest of the raid. He didn’t
want Klink out of his sight. With Klink
and Hochstetter in the office, Hogan and his men listened in on their
conversation and planned to send a message to their Underground contacts to get
information on the Staffelstein Underground group and the legitimacy of their Nazi
informant. They also had plenty of time
to develop the film. After seeing what
was on it and confirming what Carter had told him, Hogan knew this information
was vitally important, especially to English night fliers. They sent a message to
As Hogan entered the office he looked at Klink. He looks awful, thought Hogan. Klink did look awful. The normally neat, military precise Kommandant was slumped in his chair. A plate of untouched food sat on the edge of his desk. He was pale with a pained expression on his face. His whole body was tense and achy. His hands were shielding his eyes from the light. He felt as if his head was going to explode. He looked up as Hogan entered the office then mustered what little reserve strength was left in him to dole out Hogan’s punishment. “Colonel Hogan, your behavior today was inexcusable. Leaving the barracks, sneaking out to the sports field, damaging German property, I expected better from you and your men,” he said, aggravated. “You and your men disobeyed a direct order and will be punished.” Hogan leaned over the desk. He was about to open his mouth and protest, but Klink was in no mood for Hogan’s banter. “And none of your protesting and negotiating Hogan; I’m not in the mood,” he said putting his face in his hand and massaging his brow. He looked up at Hogan who had fallen silent, looking at him concerned. Klink continued. “Sergeant Kinchloe has fixed the window, but he and Sergeant Carter will get fifteen days in the cooler for disobeying orders. You, Hogan, will get twenty.” Klink watched as Hogan reacted to the news. Normally, he would’ve enjoyed Hogan’s low spirit, but he was so tired and in so much pain that he didn’t care about Hogan or anyone else.
Seeing the Kommandant in pain, Hogan actually felt bad for Klink. He had handled the situation the best he could, and Hogan actually admired his actions during the stressful events of the day. “Sir,” Hogan spoke up, “I ask that the punishment be reduced. After all, Kinch, Carter and I were only trying to help you out.” Klink looked at Hogan as if in a daze. His head hurt so badly he felt like crying. He tried to grasp what Hogan had said to him. “How’s that?” he asked. “We provided a distraction for Burkhalter and Hochstetter. Kinch really didn’t mean to break the window, but it was a good thing we were there. Instead of Burkhalter and Hochstetter reprimanding you for lying to both of them, they mostly harped on us being out of barracks.” “I couldn’t let both of them belittle you sir,” Hogan continued. “They don’t know how much stress you’ve been under preparing for their visits and trying to keep them a secret. They really were making unreasonable demands of you. It’s hard enough holding one secret meeting, but two meetings with two different officers in one day? I thought that you handled the situation very well sir,” Hogan finished.
Through the pain, Klink pondered over what Hogan had said. It was true that the prisoners provided a distraction from Burkhalter and Hochstetter’s screaming at him. He felt grateful that Hogan recognized how hard he’d been working to make sure both meetings went smoothly. He looked at the senior POW officer. “Thank you Hogan,” he said sincerely. “I appreciate your support and recognition of how hard I worked to make these meetings happen. Under the circumstances, I’ll rescind the punishment. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve had a horrible day, I have a terrible headache, and I’d just like to be left alone.” “Of course sir,” Hogan replied sympathetically. “I hope you have a pleasant evening and an excellent night’s rest.” As he turned to leave, he took Klink’s hand and dropped something into his upturned palm. He saluted with a smile then exited the office. Bewildered, Klink looked down into his hand and gaped with astonishment, happiness, and gratitude. Sitting in his palm were two aspirin.
Note: Any errors in the German grammar are my own.
Works Cited: Instead of parenthetically citing the sources I used in the dialogue of this story, I used note numbers because I didn’t want citations hindering the layout of the story or the reader in reading it.
These sources helped me immensely in constructing the plot for my
story. They include info on the MK-108
and life in
1 Steinhoff, Johannes, Peter Pechel, and Dennis Showalter, Voices from the Third Reich,
2 MK-108 cannon, July 14, 2006,
Text and original characters copyright 2007 by Elsa Green
This copyright covers only original material and characters, and in no way intends to infringe upon the privileges of the holders of the copyrights, trademarks, or other legal rights, for the Hogan's Heroes universe.