This game is an attempt to expand upon the Hoganís Heroes Episode #24, How to Cook a German Goose by Radar, first aired on March 4, 1966. Written by Phil Sharp. We again do not make any claims on the original Hoganís Heroesí characters. All other characters are ours. But again, those characters are free for anyone to use, if you so choose. Our rating for this story would be G.
This story came from a request to show how Allied High Command perceived Hogan, and the operation at Stalag 13. We hope that you like this one, Frog!
Thanks to both Kits and Bianca for beta-ing this effort, itís much better now! Enjoy!
Every time you meet a situation, though you think at the moment it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you were before. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
London, England, Signal Corps Headquarters, Operations Room,
May 1, 1943, 1000 Hours
The senior members of Signal Corps stationed in England were studying maps that were laid out on a large oval conference table. They were in the middle of an intense discussion. Leading that discussion was an American, a General Tillman Walters, a balding, heavy-set man in his 50ís. He and his staff were in the middle of another planning session to destroy yet another of the enemies newly constructed Rocket Plants. The Rengersbrunn Plant would be the fourth installation that they were to destroy. Their standard operating procedure (SOP) had been to allow the Germans to almost fully construct each plant, tying up manpower and supplies, and just before its completionÖ they would go in and blow the place to smithereens.
The plan had worked perfectly up until this point. But they had just run into a major stumbling block in the destruction of the Rengersbrunn plant. The valley surrounding the plant had been socked in by severe weather that showed no signs of tapering off in the near future. Word had it that the plant would be fully operational within days. Their orders were not to allow the plant to begin production. It was now imperative that it be knocked out within the next few days. But there was just no way to destroy the place utilizing standard techniques. The bombers wouldnít be able to locate the target.
It was decided to utilize a new portable radar installation to triangulate on the plantís position. This little portable device was the newest gadget from the scientific minds back in the States. It only had a 30-mile radius, but that was all that they would need. The bombers would be able to easily triangulate the target with the aide of this little device. But someone was going to have to install the device in the proper location. It was decided that the proper location was Hammelburg, Germany. Specifically in a location 3-miles outside of town. It was expected to be a simple matter of dropping a man in, planting the device and getting out again.
"So itís decided then. Thatís the only place that the radar can be installed?" Walters asked his staff.
"Yes sir," Colonel Brian Keneally agreed. "It has to be placed exactly 30-miles due east of the plant. The calculations must be exact, sir. So therefore, I volunteer to go. I do have the most experience with this radar unit."
"I appreciate your offer Colonel," Walters said. "But I do have to disagree with you. I have the most experience with this unit. Therefore, I will go."
"You canít go sir," Colonel Keneally protested immediately. "Youíre an indispensable member of this planning staff. This will be dangerous, therefore I should be the one to go sir."
Walters stood up quickly hoping to quell anymore dissent. "No Brian. I will go. It is imperative that the calculations are exact. Although I know that you are very capable, I still have the most experience. I will be the one to go."
Brian Keneally sighed. "Yes sir," he said knowing he wasnít going to talk his commanding officer out of this plan of action. "May I suggest something sir?" Keneally asked quickly. Then not waiting for the Generalís response he continued, "You should speak with General Michael Simpson over at Allied High Command. Heís in charge of all Allied covert operations. He may be able to get you some help from the underground agents in the Hammelburg area. They should be able to help while you're on the ground. And of course, you are going to need a way in, and out of Germany sir."
"Thank you Brian. I had planned on doing just that," Walters replied. "So letís get this show on the road then. Thank you Gentlemen. I hope to see you back here again."
"Good luck sir," Keneally replied as he stood along with the five other men in attendance. They saluted General Walters as he left the room.
London, England, Allied High Command Office of General Michael Simpson,
May 1, 1943, 1130 Hours
General Michael Simpson sat quietly at his desk contemplating the phone call he had just received from a General Tillman Walters at Signal Corps. Walters has given me a brief overview of what he wants. He's on his way here now to discuss the details. He expects me to get him help from the underground in the vicinity of Hammelburg Germany. His assumption, at this point, is that his mission will be, a quick in and out, easy undertaking -- simply conduct some calculations and install a radar device. What he doesnít know, and didnít give me much of a chance to tell him, was that the area he identified for this installation was a POW Camp -- Luft Stalag 13 -- located three miles outside of Hammelburg. This mission was going to be very complicated, as the present situation in Hammelburg was tentative at best. The underground in that area was in the process of being restructured and expanded. They were currently under a self-imposed radio silence due to some trouble with the local Gestapo. There is no way to contact them. I can only hope that communications will be re-established soon.
"Come in," General Simpson called when he heard a knock on his office door.
General Tillman Walters entered the office. "Simpson," Walters acknowledged taking a seat in the chair closest to Simpsonís desk. "So whatís the plan? You can get me in and out, canít you?"
"Hold on Walters. You didn't give me much of an opportunity to explain on the phone. The situation in that area of Germany is not stable. The underground in Hammelburg is being restructured and is presently under a self-imposed radio silence. On top of that, your radar installation must be installed close to, or quite possibly inside Luft Stalag 13, a POW Camp located three miles outside of Hammelburg. That is of course, if your initial calculations were correct," Simpson explained.
"A POW Camp?" Walters repeated surprised. "So. Are you saying that there is no way to accomplish this then?"
"Well. I didnít really say that," Simpson hedged. "It is just that you will be going in blind. There is no way to contact anyone in that area. But, the underground in that particular area of Germany has proven to be quite capable. We can drop you in the area with all of the correct recognition codes and the location of a safe house, and they should be able to help you from there."
"But from what you just said, I will need to get inside Luft Stalag 13," Walters protested. "I canít be hidden. I need an excuse that will give me free reign in or around that POW Camp. Iím the only one who can make the proper calculations. And I need to be visible." Walters looked Simpson directly in the eyes and demanded, "So Simpson... Do you have a plan to get me inside?"
Simpson sighed. "Yes. However, we only have one option available to us. The local underground leader is the Senior POW Officer at Luft Stalag 13 -- a Colonel Robert Hogan, code name Papa Bear. Under normal circumstances it would not be a problem, as With Papa Bearís cooperation, we would have had more options available to us. But since we canít get in touch with him, there is only one way into that camp. And unfortunately for you Walters, that one way is as a prisoner. It will be up to you to convince Hogan of your situation. But you should know that you would never be sent to Stalag 13 as a General. Itís a NCO camp. Colonel Hogan is the only officer above the rank of Sergeant."
"That's incredible, an underground operation run from within a POW Camp. Very ingenious," Walters replied intrigued. He then paused thinking. "So, this should be simple then. I can go in as a Corporal and once inside I'll be able to work with your man Hogan," Walters replied confident.
"Nothing in this business is ever simple Walters. I really wish you would reconsider what youíre going to do. It could be very dangerous. Is there anyway to hold off on the raid?" Simpson asked giving the other General a look of trepidation.
"Listen Simpson. We have this timetable for a reason. We canít let that plant begin production. This raid must succeed, and getting into that camp appears to be the only way itís going too. And since Iím the only one with a chance of calculating the correct placement of this transmitterÖ I need to be there," Walters reminded him adamantly. "Though admittedly, Iím not exactly thrilled with the idea of ending up in a POW Camp. Youíre sure this agent of yours will be able to help me?"
"Although Iíve never met him, Colonel Hogan is a very accomplished operative. Heís done some outstanding work for us, under some very difficult circumstances. But youíre taking a chance going in there blind," Simpson warned. "Hogan is not the trusting type. He canít be. Thereís too much at stake. One wrong move or decision on his part, and a lot of people could die. Youíre not going to look anything like a Corporal, and heís not going to readily trust you."
"Is there anything at all you can do to get in contact with him?" Walters asked.
"We play regularly scheduled messages on the BBC addressed to the Unsung Heroes, Papa Bearís message code. They always monitor the BBC at those times. They can still receive that radio signal, as theyíve tapped into the Camp Kommandantís radio. Our next scheduled broadcast is for May 3rd," Simpson stated. "I would still prefer not to put you in Stalag 13 unannounced. Papa Bear has very unorthodox methods. He has yet to respond to situations like anyone would expect him too. So, you will need to be very careful. You could find yourself in a difficult situationÖ very quickly," Simpson warned.
"So, just play the piece on the BBC. That should be enough for him. We should time my arrival as close to your broadcast as possible. That way, this Papa Bear of yours wonít have much of an opportunity to do anything," Walters replied adamant.
Simpson shook his head, but didnít immediately say anything.
"You donít agree?" Walters pressed.
"No, I donít. I donít like the plan at all," Simpson replied. "The situation is too unpredictable."
"Thatís why we wonít give this Colonel Hogan any time to react adversely," Walters replied exasperated. "Heíll have to cooperate. There just wonít be any time for him to do anything else."
"Walters," Simpson said with a grim smile. "If there is one thing that I have learned about Colonel Robert HoganÖ itís that you must expect the unexpected. You need to know that he is a conceptual genius and a master at deception. So far, on his own, he has supplied us with copious amounts of intelligence. How he has done it we have no idea, but his information has been accurate and incredibly beneficial to the Allied War Effort. And on top of that, anything we have requested from him thus farÖ heís been able to give us. There is no job that weíve asked of him that heís yet failed to accomplish. But youíre going to look odd to him Walters. And if there is one thing that you donít want to look in this business, itís odd."
"He wonít have any time to react," Walters repeated adamant, not really hearing the other officer.
"Donít kid yourself, General. Papa Bear will make the time," Simpson replied just as adamant. Then he sighed deeply. "However, if I still canít talk you out of thisÖ Letís discuss how we will get you sent to Stalag 13 as a new prisonerÖ"
Frankfurt, Germany, Abwehr Office, Office of Major Hans Tepple,
May 1, 1943, 1300 Hours
Major Hans Tepple stared in disbelief at the message that he had just finished decoding. This is insane. Why the Hell would Allied High Command want to place a man, as a prisoner, into Luft Stalag 13? From what Iíve heard, that Camp is gaining a reputation as the toughest POW Camp in all of Germany. There hasnít been a successful escape from there in over a year. It must be an important assignment for them to take the risk of losing this operative by dropping him into the lionís den. Maybe there is more to Stalag13 than meets the eye? Perhaps the man being dropped will know more.
This agent is due to be dropped tonight, at 2100 hours, at a rendezvous point fifteen miles from here. My job at this point is to arrange for his capture and official transfer into Stalag 13. All in a dayís work, huh Hans my boy? Why canít Allied High Command ever ask for anything simple? Eh, stop grousing. You can do it, canít you? Yeah. Yeah.
Frankfurt, Germany, Abwehr Office, Woods, Fifteen miles West of Frankfurt,
May 1, 1943, 2100 Hours
Hans Tepple sat quietly, hiding in the trees by the small clearing that was the rendezvous point. He knew he was this manís sole chance at survival. But, if anything went wrongÖ Tepple knew that he would have to forsake this agent to keep his own operation underway. He had always worked alone and couldnít let one agent get in the way of his mission. He knew that Allied High Command knew of that possibility. He just wondered if they had ever actually told this man that.
It didnít take long until Tepple was able to put his flashlight away after signaling for the drop. He kept his eyes on the figure parachuting to earth. He allowed the man to land before he approached and began the code heíd been given. "Steeple chasing is the sport of kings," he said to the man standing in front of him.
"I understand Winston Churchill fancies Polo more," General Walters replied taking a deep breath after losing the parachute. The man who had met him was dressed, as a Major in one of Germanyís more feared intelligence agencies: The Abwehr.
Tepple smiled and offered his hand. "Welcome to Germany. We've got to move out quickly. Your parachute might have been spotted. Come on." This guy isn't what I was expecting. He's supposed to be a Corporal, but he's the oldest damned Corporal I've ever seen. I hope Allied High Command knows what they're doing. This guy's going to stick out like a sore thumb. This definitely wonít make my job any easier. I now have to explain an over aged Corporal to the Abwehr. This could be tricky. Letís just hope they believe me.
Walters nodded and returned the handshake. He then followed the other man quietly through the dense undergrowth. It wasnít long before they approached an ambulance parked off to the side of the road. Why an ambulance? Walters thought and was going to ask the question of his contact, but was startled when the officer suddenly stopped.
Tepple turned quickly to face the older man as he pulled his handcuffs off his belt. "You've been briefed, right? You know from now on that you're to be treated as a prisoner of the Abwehr," he said with authority.
Walters was surprised by the sound of the Abwehr Officer's voice. But he nodded his head affirmatively in response. "Yes. That's what I've been told," he said evenly, even though his heart was pounding hard in his chest.
"Good. Turn around. Put your hands behind your back," Tepple ordered as he clasped the cuffs on the manís wrists. "Get in the back of the ambulance. We'll talk on the way."
Walters did as he was told, even though his gut was telling him that this was a trap. He had been briefed on who was to meet him, but he had expected a more amiable greeting. This man obviously took his position in the Abwehr seriously. I just hope not too seriously.
Walters's fears were eased somewhat as the officer began outlining his plans for the Corporalís capture and eventual transfer to Stalag 13.
Frankfurt, Germany, Abwehr Office, Prison Cell,
May 1, 1943, 2300 Hours
General Tillman Walters had paced his small cell until he was too tired to continue. Then he gingerly lowered himself to the cell floor, as there was no place else to sit. There were no windows, and even the single steel door was solid with a small peek hole that only opened from the outside. The walls and the floor were concrete. The cell contained only a urinal. It was cold, dark, squalid and downright depressing. The Abwehr Major had locked him in here almost an hour ago and then presumably had gone home for the rest of the night.
Is this what every captured Allied soldier faces? Unbelievable. The Major had told me on our way here that I would be Ďinterrogatedí tomorrow. I have to start thinking of myself as Corporal Walter Tillman. My life depends on knowing my cover story inside and out. If I even accidentally slip up and say something I shouldnít... Major Tepple will react, as only an Abwehr Officer should. My mission could be over -- as well as my life presumably. I will have to be very cautious tomorrow. I can't let any of this affect my mission. Even more importantly I have to make sure not to give up any information about the operation at Stalag13. Too many people could die. I won't let that happen. I would die first.
Okay. Okay. Stop thinking like that. Everything will work out. So, Tepple said that after the interrogation I would be transferred to Stalag 13 and arrive early on Monday, May 3rd. The timing will need to be perfect. The bombers are scheduled to go over in the early afternoon. If all goes as planned, there should be plenty of time to do the calculations, place the transmitter and get out of Germany -- Yeah. Everything will be fine... as long as I can live through tomorrow. Walters shook his head in disbelief and quietly contemplated, how did I get myself into this?
After sitting on the cold damp cell floor for a while, Walters's body began to shiver. He drew his legs up and tried to burrow deeper into his fleece bomber jacket. It was going to be a long night.
Frankfurt, Germany, Abwehr Office, Prison Cell,
May 2, 1943, 1500 Hours
General Tillman Walters was thrown back into his cell after five hours of interrogation. He hadn't been fed or given anything to drink since Major Tepple had locked him into this cell almost seventeen hours earlier. He was exhausted, hungry, thirsty and in pain. The Major was indeed very thorough for his superiors. Walters could feel the cracked ribs and bruises. Thankfully, the officers in charge here were made to believe that I was a hasbin and posed no real threat. Major Tepple really came through. Although admittedly... Iíd like to give him some of his own medicine... But I truly can only admire the courage it takes to be the black sheep among the wolves.
And then to his tremendous disgust, General Tillman Walters never saw another person or the outside of his cell until almost sixteen hours later, when he was unceremoniously thrown into the back of a military truck, with some provisions provided by the Germans. How thoughtful. There were four guards sent to accompany him, two were in the front and two more in back with him. I guess I passed the interrogation. Lord God, help all the others that will pass this way. I can only assume others will have it much worse than I.
Hammelburg, Germany, Stalag 13, Compound, May 3, 1943, 0900 Hours
Corporal Walter Tillman -- formerly General Tillman Walters -- was very anxious as the truck he was being transported in passed through what he had to assume were the gates of Luft Stalag 13. He should have been happy, as this was his expected destination, but the last two days had been very nerve racking. He was not used to all the subterfuge, as he had always been a man of direct action. All this was very hard to get used too.
The truck finally came to an abrupt stop and two of the four German soldiers assigned to his transfer led him from the back of the truck. Corporal Tillman disembarked the truck slowly hauling his gear with him. But before he had much time to even survey the compound, a rather noisy and unruly group of Allied soldiers approached him voicing their welcome, much to the discern of a large German Staff Sergeant who tried to restore order to the proceedings. Tillman scanned the group of soldiers quickly and noticed that one of them was indeed a Colonel. Hogan? Very strange. Heís playing along with the chaos. Actually heís quite a willing participant.
Before Tillman could think, a German Colonel -- Kommandant Wilhelm Klink -- exited his office and entered the fray. At that point, the German Sergeant bellowed for quiet and the POWs complied. Tillman had to listen to more degrading remarks about his age from the Kommandant, something that ate at his craw. As if yesterday wasnít enough. Never have I stood for that from someone else. But here... I have to be careful. The interesting part was that the American Colonel was very quick on the uptake. He retorted quickly in a similar manner to the German officerís remarks -- And got away with it too -- And the only reaction he got from the Kommandant was a look of long suffering -- Amazing!
Kommandant Klink then broke into, what seemed to Tillman, a standard prisoner welcome speech. Tillman listened quietly, but watched the reactions of the other POWs. They were all pretty much ignoring the Kommandant. Then the German Colonel declared emphatically that he ran Stalag 13 with an iron hand. Then he made a blatant point of asking Colonel Hogan, if that was indeed the case. It was then that Colonel Hogan yelled "Letís hear it for the Kommandant!" Then the entire group of POWs milling about, all gave the German Colonel a Ďraspberryí -- in unison.
What the hell was that all about? I half expected machine guns to appear and cut down the lot of us. There is no way that Iíd take that from anyone, especially a group of POWs, thought Walters. But damn, the German officer is taking it in stride, almost as if it were a compliment. How strange is that?
The strange assembly broke quickly then, with Colonel Hogan greeting Tillman with a handshake and leading him to one of the barracks. Tillman followed quietly, still not sure what to make of this group of men. Expect the unexpected. Simpsonís voice rang in Tillmanís ear.
Hammelburg, Germany, Stalag 13, Compound, May 3, 1943, 1015 Hours
Corporal Walter Tillman was now on his way to the delousing station, even more concerned about his situation than just minutes before. The POWs had quickly turned against me. Their jovial and unruly attitude in front of the Germans had turned to one of suspicion and concern almost immediately after we had made our way to the barracks. Only Colonel Hoganís order kept the enlisted men in line as he sent me off to the showers. They had appeared almost ready to rid themselves of a thorn in their side. Simpson was right, I donít fit the part and they are not going to trust me. It didnít help that I jumped down their throats almost immediately. Not quite what a Corporal should have done. And definitely not quite the way to start a relationship. These menís live depend on each other and I came in and upset the apple cart within 10 minutes.
When he returned from taking his shower ridding himself of the grime collected in the past two days, Tillman realized he was now the only one in the barracks. I wonder where they went? The men here are not going to believe me. Not that I should blame them. You screwed up Walters. I guess, I should really confirm the status of this operation here before giving out any information. Simpson said that Hogan was having difficulties. Funny. There doesnít appear to be any obvious signs of any underground activity. As well there shouldnít be I guess. It just with this operation being as big as Simpson led me to believeÖ you would think thatÖ No, they are POWsÖ Not spiesÖ They have to retain their cover story. Well maybe, Iíll just have a little look around. Maybe then I can get a better feel for these men. Weíve only got 45 minutes until the BBC broadcast. I may just have to bite the bullet and trust these men anyway. Hopefully the BBC broadcast will help ease the tension in the air.
Hammelburg, Germany, Stalag 13, Barracks Two, May 3, 1943, 1115 Hours
General Tillman Walters sat studying an excellent hand drawn map of the Stalag 13 compound that had been given to him by Colonel Hogan. Try as he might though, to concentrate on familiarizing himself with the camp layout, Waltersís thoughts kept returning to his near disastrous confrontation with Hogan, not thirty minutes before.
Hogan had caught me as I was going through his quarters. I don't really even know what I had gone in there looking for. Damn. When Hogan had come in, the look in his eyes told me that Iíd gone too far. It was almost as if he had already known that I was there. Anyway, I knew immediately that I had crossed some line. Simpson had been right, I found myself in that difficult situation he had warned me about. Quickly, I tried to tell Hogan who I was, why I was there, and that he should listen to the BBC broadcast for confirmation. He was very skeptical until I mentioned his message code. Hogan then quietly left his quarters. I assumed on his way to listen to the BBC. I found it surprising that he had left me in his office alone. I quickly learned though, as I tried to follow him a few moments later, that his quarters had become my prison. His men were guarding the door into the barracks, as well as guarding the window from Hogan's office to the outside. He must have had men watching me from the very beginning. The message was clear now. If I was lying to Hogan, I wasnít leaving that room alive.
Luckily for me, Hogan chose to believe the BBC. I was surprised how drastically his demeanor changed. In a matter of minutes, Hogan had gone from belligerent and dangerous, to just a good oleí boy. I finally got my first glimpse of Papa Bear. He was like a chameleon, ever changing and blending in with his surroundings. Almost before I had fully explained my mission he was ready with a plan of his own to acquire the needed supplies - including a radar installation. He seemed almost disappointed when I told him that I had one with me. Simpson was right again. Hogan was indeed a conceptual genius. He just grinned at me when I said that his reputation had preceded him.
To Waltersís amazement, the next hour and a half flew by. All the planning and preparations went almost unhindered. Any problem that arose was easily solved. Hogan and his men have more control over this Luft Stalag than I could ever imagine. And yet, they are in even more danger here than Major Tepple in Frankfurt. There were a thousand or so men here, who owe their lives to the decisions that Colonel Hogan makes everyday. It could backfire so very quickly for these men. And, add to that, living in such squalor... I can't imagine what would keep these men here, other than a commitment to duty and a belief that what they are doing is the right thing.
Hammelburg, Germany, Stalag 13, Compound, May 3, 1943, 1245 Hours
Walters now walked quietly with Hogan back across the prison compound into barracks two after successfully installing the radar installation on top of the East guard tower. Oh my God, that was truly an amazing performance. Not only was Hogan able to distract all the guards in the Camp by utilizing a very attractive young girl in a bathing suit. But he got us outside the wire through a sliding fence section, then climbed the guard tower in question, installed the unit, and got us back inside the Camp. All without the Germans aware of a thing! It was simply incredible.
After returning to the barracks, Walters accepted a mug with a splash of champagne. But the celebration was not to last long. Hogan didn't want Walters to stay any longer than necessary, as the German Sergeant might come in at any moment and try to complete his transfer. As Walters was getting ready to leave, they became aware of a miscalculation in the placement of the radar installation. It now had to be moved another 6 inches to the left. All within the next 26 minutes. Hogan assured Walters that he and his men would be able to move the transmitter.
A Sergeant Olsen was assigned to process Walters for his return to England. Olsen led him down into the incredible tunnel system beneath Stalag 13. Once down below Walters was outfitted with civilian clothing, papers and money. All of which had already been prepared for him earlier in the day. He was ready to leave in less than ten minutes.
Walters took one last look around him, before he followed Olsen up the ladder to the outside world. I am still utterly amazed at the depth and breadth of Papa Bear's organization. Even to the point of arranging my transfer from camp as a firebug to then confounding the execution of it. Hogan's made it possible for me to leave Germany unchallenged. Stalag 18 thinks I'm not coming, and Stalag 13 thinks I've already been transferred. It was beautifully executed.
I do hope they can move that radar installation. But from what I've seen here alreadyÖ I doubt that it will pose much of a problem. I now truly wonderÖ if there was anything that Papa Bear could not accomplish? I envy Robert Hogan his abilities and his steadfastness to his duty. But, I don't envy him or his men staying in the pigpen of a prison above my head.
London, England, Allied High Command
Office of General Michael Simpson, May 9, 1943, 1130 Hours
General Michael Simpson sat waiting for his meeting to debrief General Tillman Walters. It had been eight days since Walters had departed for Germany. A lot had happened since he had begun his return trip to England. Communication had been re-established with Papa Bear. The 506th Bomber Squadron successfully destroyed the target, after a last minute re-calibration of the transmitter by Hogan and his men. And it seemed that the underground was able to rid themselves of a Gestapo Colonel who had become too much of a liability. All in all, it had been a very successful few days.
"Well how did it go?" Simpson asked Walters when the other General arrived in his office. "I know the target was hit."
"Yeah. The raid was a big success," Walters agreed. "Thanks to Papa Bear and his operatives." He was quiet for a moment and then said to Simpson, "You were right, Colonel Hogan wasnít what I expected."
"I told you he wouldnít be Walters," Simpson reminded the other officer. "Iíve never met him. But heís an extraordinary man, capable of extraordinary things."
"He is that," Walters replied with a sigh. "And you knowÖ you were also right about him finding the time. Before I even had time to approach him with the mission, he had already determined I didnít fit the role I was playing. Within fifteen minutes of my arrival, Hogan had already convinced the Kommandant that I was a firebug and needed to be transferred out of camp."
"A fire bug?" Simpson smirked.
"So you think thatís funny Simpson?" Walters asked rather annoyed.
"Sorry General," laughed Simpson. "Donít take it personally. I told you the man was unorthodox. Iím sure you wonít believe thisÖ but just recently he secretly built an airplane inside that camp and flew a defecting German Baroness here to England. The plane successfully took off right under the noses of the officers of that camp. How he got away with that, Iíll never understand. But I will never be surprised by anything the man does ever again."
"Thatís extraordinary," replied Walters quietly "But I must say Iíve never been so glad to leave a place," Walters replied looking Simpson right in the eyes. "Stalag 13 is the most depressing, oppressive looking place Iíve ever seen. To stay there, day after day, month after monthÖ knowing there was a way out," Walters said shaking his head. "It is not something I would be able to do."
"Itís that bad then?" Simpson asked concerned. He knew the conditions in German POW camps were substandard, but Hogan had continually made light of it. There had only been one incident where heís asked for our help, that pneumonia outbreak a few months back. But things had returned to normal after that.
"Itís horrible," Walters clarified.
Simpson sighed deeply disturbed. Oh damn.
"You shouldnít leave them there General," Walters urged.
"Iíve no choice. Theyíre too valuable where they are. Besides Hogan wonít come in at this point," Simpson replied with a tired sigh.
"Why the Hell not?" Walters demanded. "You put him thereÖ Just rescind the damned orders."
"Actually General, I didnít put him there. Colonel Hogan is truly a POW. He was originally the commanding officer of the 504th Bomber Squadron out of Fieldstone, when eight months ago, his plane was shot down and he was captured. Hogan went on to create that whole operation by himself. And so farÖ he has returned, to us, literally hundreds of Allied pilots and escaped POWs. In addition, more recently, a number of German deserters and defecting civilians have been sent to us. Hoganís rescue operation was already very extensive when only two months ago he reported another type of detainment camp altogether. A concentration camp, where inmates are subjected to unspeakable horror, torture, and death. He wanted us to level the place, inmates and all. He said that it would be a mission of mercy. Well after that, Hogan went over the deep end. He has been totally rearranging his organization into what it is now. A full-blown espionage, sabotage and rescue operation that is still growing. From what he has told me General, his only goal now is a no holds barred campaign to end the war one day earlier. No matter the cost."
"So what youíre telling me isÖ that this man was a pilot and was not one of your operatives?" Walters asked astonished.
"Yes General. Colonel Hogan and his men are all volunteers. Every prisoner in that camp has committed themselves to Hoganís agenda," Simpson explained. "All I can say is, that Iím glad that Papa Bear is on our side."
"Amen to that General," Walters replied. Well, it appears that the only way out for any of those men is either a pine box or the war's end. God speed to you and your men Hogan. You are all truly heroes.
Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength stare it down. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
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