A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack
After an hours, he was on the last leg of the section when he heard the
zwip-zwip-zwip of bullets cutting the air as they passed near his head
and thudded into a nearby tree, a distinguishing sound he heard all too
often during his previous service . Instinct caused him to dive into a
slight depression to his right, probably too shallow to afford much protection,
as the unmistakable sound of a Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle, also known
as the” buzz saw”, reached his ears seconds later. He wiggled
along the depression to a large tree where he could perhaps take a discrete
look in the direction of the faint report of a rifle that followed the
sound of the slugs. Soon he spotted a man emerge from behind a tree some
hundred yard away carrying the Sturmgewehr 44 fitted with a scope and
quickly heading in Clancy’s direction.
Clancy could do little but extract the 45 from its holster and hurriedly
plot a tree-to-tree path of escape. There was little else in the clean
flat forest for protection. If he can maintain the same distance from
his assailant, it would be difficult to hit a moving target through a
scope. He made the run to the next tree large enough to hide behind safely
and was about to start for the second tree in his escape rout when the
silence was interrupted by a short machine gun bursts off to his left.
He snapped his head in the direction of the sound and spotted a man dressed
in forest green, almost hidden by kneeling in front of a bush of the same
color, and with an M1 Carbine, fitted with a thirty round magazine and
obviously on full automatic, pointed in the direction of the assailant.
Clancy watched the assailant running a weaving pattern from tree to tree,
and getting closer and closer when another burst stopped him in his tracks
and knocked his legs from under him as blood streamed from his thigh.
Quickly the assassin regained his footing and hobbled forward as fast
as he could. He went down again just as the man who shot him moved from
in front of the bush that hid his location. The wounded man turned the
SW44 in the direction of the now revealed man in green.
Meanwhile, at the sound of the first shots, Otto was running at top speed
toward Clancy’s position with an old M1 Garand at Port Arms.
General George S. Patton called it "the greatest battle implement
He reached a slight clearing in time to see the assassin rise and turn.
Otto fearing that Fox, dressed in green, was about to be shot and dropped
to a kneeling position as the SW44 came to the man’s shoulder. Otto
quickly raised the M1 and squeezed off three rounds. Clancy recognized
the crack of the
30-06 rounds and watched his would be assassin, in what seemed like slow
motion, arch his body and be knocked a couple of feet forward with his
famous “buzz saw” flying off to his right. He lay motionless.
The three men approached the seemingly lifeless body from their respective
positions, albeit cautiously and ready for action. Fox arrived first with
the carbine continually pointing at the body with its eyes staring blankly
to the side, and soon noticed three oozing holes in it’s back; holes
in a near perfect triangle about ten inches down from the collar.
Clancy and Otto started to jog and reached Fox almost simualtaniously.
They gazed down for several seconds before turning to Fox. Clancy shook
his hand and simply said;
“Good job lieutenant. You did not hesitate and that is unusual
for a man who has never seen combat.” He then turned to Otto and
said, “And you, you old campaigner, you haven’t lost your
touch – just look at that shot grouping”.
Otto smiled and said, “Not I, Sir, just my old friend here”,
as he nodded to the M1 Garand; still held at Port Arms after jogging.
The three laughed nervously, in spite of the dead man at their feet,
before Clancy told Otto to radio Eulund to get a clean-up crew here on
the double. Also, to send transportation to arrive in about an hour.
“I think we are done here, Tell Eulund to meet us at my hotel”.
On entering the hotel, Clancy stopped at the reception desk and ordered
a bottle of English Scotch whiskey, not knowing what brands they might
have, along with ice and four glasses. He spotted Eulund seated near the
stairs and motioned him to go up.
They all sagged into chairs in an effort to relax a bit.
“Well, what happened out there” Eulund asked, “Why
the clean-up crew? I was afraid one of you had bought it”.
Clancy was about to reveal the story when the waiter knocked and announced
himself. Fox let him in and Clancy signed the bill and noticed they had
received Black and White Scotch. He poured for each man and suggested
they help themselves to the ice. Before continuing, Clancy fished his
Meerschaum from a drawer and filled it, again tossing the pouch to Fox,
and returned to his chair and lit-up. Eulund fidgeted in his chair and
Eventually, Clancy gave a step-by-step account of the incident as Eulund
“Do any of you know who he was; did you check for identification?”
“No,” Clancy replied, “I left that to the clean-up
crew. Where ever they take him, I’m sure they will send you a
report as they did for the first assassin. While we’re on this,
what do you think of the idea of a press release announcing the death
of two men under strange circumstances; revealing both to be Eastern
Block sympathizers, and listing their names?
“What purpose will that serve?”
“They are probably known to their “comrades”. Undoubtedly
there are back-up assassins out there who might be reluctant to make
a try if the two before them were considered top men and are dead.”
“You could be right. Anyway it won’t take much effort, and
will end an immediate problem if it works. I’ll get right on it.
I have a friend on the paper that will write it up as a news story rather
than a press release. It will reach an area of a hundred miles and at
least thirty local papers. The story is newsworthy enough to be picked
up by a news service. Let me know if you think of any other details
for my report. I’ll make special mention in the report of these
two guys who saved your but today”.
“Will you need Hans later today, Ian”?
“No”, Clancy replied, “I’m through for the
“In that case, I’ll call him and release him until tomorrow”.
Eulund finished his second scotch and said goodbye. Otto and Fox stayed
for another couple of hours while each related his thoughts and feelings
about the action in the Park. Then, Clancy and Otto started relating stories
of there past association and their exploits in the recent war. Fox was
enthralled by the stories and didn’t miss a word. All the while
the volume in the bottle of Black and White slowly diminished and the
room filled with blue smoke.
When they left, Clancy sat finishing his scotch, his eyes getting heavy,
while his thoughts drifted to Alma all alone in Harris Falls and of his
favorite spot on the porch. She probably had the storm windows put on
by now and maybe even filled the corner with a Christmas tree. A half
hour or so later he woke up realizing he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
Clancy quickly washed, changed from his hiking clothes, and went to the
hotel dining room; on the way noticing the two young men who followed
him into the elevator, observe him closely as he walked into the dining
room and soon occupied a table close to him. He smiled to himself and
was grateful that Eulund actually had him well covered. He wondered if
they would be around all night.
Hans, with his usual punctuality, was waiting for Clancy in front of
the hotel. He felt a certain anxiety and his curiosity was at a peak hoping
Clancy would tell him about any adventures he had yesterday. He wanted
to ask, but in the light of previous events, he didn’t dare. They
traveled in silence until almost to the travel office when Hans could
not hold it in and nervously asked:
“How did your day go yesterday? Was it productive”?
Sensing Han’s overwhelming curiosity, Clancy almost laughed
and replied, “Keep an eye on the newspaper for the next few days
and you will find out”.
Eulund had coffee and pastry waiting when Clancy entered his office.
Clancy got right to the point and told Eulund he would like to get to
Garmisch-Partenkirchen tomorrow and find out why they want him there.
“I think you should too. There isn’t much more you can
do here except waste time looking for that treasure. I’ll make
reference to the treasure in my report stating we don’t believe
it exists, and relating the history and vast effort that has been made
to find it, by many factions, since the end of the war. Von Schmidt
will relay it to Washington and that should end it. I haven’t
a clue why they want you in Garmisch-Partenkirchen but it must be important.”
“I want Otto and Fox with me; at least until I know what’s
up there. Oh, by the way I want to send a letter to Fox’s commanding
officer in Munich. He deserves some praise for his work here. He, and
initially I never thought I would say this, has the stuff for the Platoon.
With a bit more training he can be a good agent.”
“I agree; at least from what you have told me. Stop by in the
morning before you leave and I will have the address for you.”
Clancy closed the door of the taxi just as Hans was gulping the last
of a paper cup of coffee.
“Where to now, sir”?
“Where would you like to go, Hans”?
“Me, sir? I would like to take the cable car up the mountain and
check out the snow. I’m just waiting for a good depth of powder
to take a day off for skiing”. You are the boss though, and it
is up to you”.
“Sound’s great to me. Let’s get going”.
It was several miles to the base station of the cable car. As the car
climbed into the hills, it became apparent snow had accumulated at the
higher elevations. The road however was clean and large mounds of snow
hid the trunks of trees that lined the road. Eventually they emerged from
the forest at the top of a cleared hill with a large parking lot half
filled with all manner of cars. Ahead was the large brick base station
with, what looked like a restaurant to the left of the door and a ski
rental shop to the right. The ticket seller was just inside the main door.
On the platform Clancy saw that the cable ran above a deep wooded valley
before it started the climb up the mountain. It was a spectacular ride
and provided a view in all directions for many miles. Clancy was happy
he remembered his camera.
At the top, they stepped out of the car inside a wood building. Hans
motioned for Clancy to follow him and they walked hurriedly to a door
that opened onto a snow covered platform with signs at its edge indicating
the several trails down. Heavy use left deep indentations of skis further
indicating the trails. Hans stepped off the platform edge and went to
his knees in soft light snow. He smiled broadly and gave Clancy a thumbs-up.
“Come this way”, Hans said, “I want to show you
They went through the building to a door on the other end and stepped
out onto a railing rimmed deck with small tables and chairs. Hans directed
Clancy to the west railing.
“See that peak rising above the others? That’s Mount Zugspitze;
Germany’s highest mountain. It lies just south of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
From the top can be seen Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy. We
holiday there each winter, Anna and me. She has relatives there; which
is lucky for us as the whole resort, or at least the best resorts, have
been taken by the US forces.”
“You are married then, Hans”
“Yes. Three years now. No children as yet but we are hoping.
Anna is a wonderful woman. She sometimes works as interpreter for your
For an hour or so while consuming hot mulled wine, they sat at one of
the tables and talked of each others lives, as much as Clancy could under
the circumstances. They continued their conversation on the ride back
to Clancy’s hotel.
“I’d like to meet Anna. Clancy said as he opened the taxi
door. Can you have dinner with me at the Hotel this evening at seven
o’clock? I’ll be in the dining room. Ask for Mr. Frank if
you can make it”.
“Yes, Anna would like that. It will be a pleasure”.
Otto as waiting for Clancy when he stepped onto the landing of his floor
and the two entered his room.
“I’ve been on the radio to Eulund who gave me some news
about Richard Stahlmann. He apparently had a cyanide capsule hidden
somewhere on him and took his own life last night in his cell -- followed
the old Nazi practice. He had been informed yesterday of his pending
deportation. The authorities conclude, because of his many failures,
he just couldn’t face what waited for him in the east. Eulund
also asked me to tell you he has instructions for you regarding Garmisch-Partenkirchen
and to leave a little extra time for him before you travel”.
"Good, Perhaps I’ll find out what I’m supposed to
do there. By the way, I’ve asked for you and Fox to be with me
“He told me. I’m afraid it will be just me. Fox has another
assignment. Do you want me to ride with you or follow?”
“Whatever you would like to do. I doubt anything will happen
on the road. They don’t seem that sophisticated and they would
have a hard time staying with that Porsche, if that were the game.
Otto was waiting at the travel office when Clancy arrived; his luggage
indicating he would be riding with him. Eulund told of his intention to
leak the story of Stallman’s suicide to further stir things up among
the Eastern agents. Also, raids will start tomorrow, following the names
Graff provided, to grab as many of the local underling and higher agents
“Clancy, they want you in Garmisch-Partenkirchen ASAP, so don’t
dally getting there. Raids will be starting there day after tomorrow
as well. I guess they want you in on it. Go directly to the Provost
Martial’s office and report in”.
“I was planning to do just that, Clancy replied. I’m sure
they have something in store for me other than breaking down a door
For the life of me I can’t figure out what it might be”.
The ride to Garmisch-Partenkirchen was smooth and uneventful. Otto directed
the rout to the army base and the Provost Martial’s office. Upon
entering Clancy spotted Lieutenant Fox seated in the corner of the
Orderly Room and gave him a nod. The OD acknowledged Otto who introduced
Clancy as Mr. Frank. Both were ushered promptly down a short hall to an
office with Major C.L Fisher, Provost Martial displayed on the door in
the familiar engraved black plastic sign.
Otto went in first and reported, then introduced Major Ian Clancy.
“Here at last, Major! I’ve been anxious to have you with
Your reputation precedes you and we can use your counseling.
The first thing is to get you settled in the BOQ, which is a rather
nice hotel about a half mile from here. The next is to get you supplied
with company equipment; you know, winter gear, field pack, field jacket
etc., in case you have forgotten. Your Class A and B uniforms and fatigues
are in your quarters at the BOQ. I hope they fit. I understand your
wife supplied your sizes. Report back here as soon as you can and we
will have lunch at the Officers Mess and talk.”
He pressed a button on the intercom and said; “Have Lieutenant
Fox come in please. Fox, take the Major to Supply and get him fitted
with company equipment, then return here and show the Major and Lieutenant
Otto to the BOQ and wait for them. Major Clancy, when you return bring
your passport, I.D. and anything in your possession that identifies
you as Gordon Frank. Be in military attire.”
When they returned, Clancy, Otto and Fox were in uniform and Clancy felt
comfortable, and a bit excited, to be in a perfectly fitting uniform with
all the correct patches and ribbons in place. Even the cap fit, which
is always a problem because of the large size he requires.
At lunch in the officer’s mess, Major Fisher explained why Clancy
was assigned to an MP unit and why his alias ID was taken from him.
“We need someone with your particular talent and uncanny instincts
for this last phase of your assignment. We took from you and destroyed
all references to Gordon Frank because first off, he no longer exists
as far as Washington is concerned; secondly, for your protection, which
is one reason you are in uniform and will stay that way until you are
back in the states and a civilian again. The other reason is that you
will be going under cover as a desk jockey from the Pentagon here on
official business to integrate selected Special Forces noncoms from
Flint Kaserne in Bad Tölz into the Provost Martial’s Special
Police. This work will start tonight at a high class night club where
we believe the cream of East Block female agents frequent and ply their
trade. Ian, how do you feel about wearing glasses and a small, trim
“I’ve worn worse”, Ian replied. “I fully understand
the reasons and I agree. They will be more in line with a Washington
officer, and will afford me a little more anonymity. I have no objection”.
“Fine; and you will be accompanied by Lieutenant Otto, your
Fox, you will cover them from the bar or a close table. Survey those
in the room and note anyone or group who seems to have a special interest
in our playboys. To communicate any apprehension you might have regarding
possible trouble, work out some signals and pre-determine a spot for
meeting, if needed, to alert either the Major or Otto. The object is
to obtain, over the next three evenings, enough evidence to warrant
a full scale raid on the club and end the work of these proficient and
When they left the O-mess, they drove to take a look at the club. It
sat directly across the street from the 1938 Olympic Ice Rink. The building
sat back farther than those on either side. This made the approach to
the entrance quite wide and deep. The building was of dark stucco with
bright yellow shutters at the windows. Above the double door hung a very
large rough-cut plank with Silberne Schlittschuhe Club (silver skates)
deeply carved into it and stained to contrast with the light wood. The
plank still had the dark bark showing on the top and bottom edges.
Clancy asked, “It’s good for a large frontal assault with
that wide entrance. Do you know what the back is like”?
“No, I don’t, but we will before any assault takes place”.
Fisher answered. We have a close replica of the building going up now.
Our men will start extensive assault training the minute it is finished."
“I want to be in on some of that training”, Clancy said.
“It will be good to know what to expect as I will, more than likely,
be in the building when it happens”.
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2016
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Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield,
Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean
War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is