A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack
~ CHAPTER SEVENTEEN ~
Otto in the meantime was scouring the inside of the safe for any anomalies and suddenly shouted he had found something.
Clancy rushed in and Otto showed him a small section of paneling
that didn’t fit the pattern of the rest. He pushed on it and it
slid to the side revealing a leaver. Pulling the leaver down caused a
door sized section of paneling to rise and lights to go on in what appeared
to be an arsenal room. Weapons were neatly stacked in racks with open
ammunition boxes arranged beside them. Crates of rockets and grenades
lined the other wall. The back wall looked as if it had a laundry shoot
door in it close to the floor. It turned out to be the opening to a short,
wood lined tunnel to the outside ending behind a rubbish collection bin.
A similar exit was discovered in the kitchen behind a moveable cabinet and above a preparation counter. It opened out through a phony ventilation grid on the outside wall. Both considered emergency get-away exits for key agents. No other rooms were discovered. No bugs were found simply because they placed them wherever and whenever needed, as was the one Otto recently found under the dining table. Davis and his group unearthed a large number of helpful documents and got the mystery room back in perfect shape, as was the safe, which contained little beyond the escape door and arsenal, other than club business papers and records. The mission took longer than anticipated due to the vast number of papers looked at and the delay the watchman caused.
Fox, maneuvering the motor pool Chevy, wasted no time getting them to the BOQ, and hopefully, three hour restful sleep.
The three arrived at MP headquarters a little before 09:00 the next morning, and ushered into Fosters office immediately.
Later, Clancy visited the watchman from the club. He was being detained
in a secured room at the BOQ. He had calmed down considerably and was
glad to see Clancy. Clancy asked him questions about himself, background,
family and living preferences. It turned out that he was conscripted into
the German army and sent, after a two day indoctrination and rifle practice,
immediately to the Arden and the Battle of the Bulge. He mentioned he
didn’t know how he survived the cold and the fighting.
There were twenty men at the mock club building when Clancy arrived at 13:00. He was greeted by a Captain Harris and Sergeant Zino. The walk through was more like a trot through and after four hours Clancy was sure his legs were going to fall off. It was quite straightforward. With all activities explained.
The plan is to move in both front and back doors at the whistle and herd everyone to the left side of the dining room. Two each go directly to the restrooms and remove anyone there. Four clear out the kitchen. Two men each guard both doors and prevent any escapes. Twenty seconds before the whistle, Fox, Otto and Clancy, already inside, slip on MP armbands. Fox moves first to takes the bartender and, must move quickly to disable the button under the bar that flashes the warning light in the mystery room. Otto and Clancy back him up and then take over the mystery room. The rest has to do with separating out the military personnel who will be taken to the base and interviewed. Civilians will all be checked against a list of known agents gained from Graff’s defection at Mittenwald and the break-in at the club. Found agents are to be detained and incarcerated for interrogation, and trial later. Others will be allowed to leave after recording names and addresses.
Later in Foster’s office, Clancy reported on the meeting with the watchman and stressed that he did not want to relocate to a large city and what he said about his son and the dairy farm; that there he could fade into the small town and live out his life with family and in peace. He can also contribute with what ever compensation he is granted for his trouble. Clancy also suggested the lack of value in pursuing that woman at the club any further, or Otto and Fox being at the restaurant, other than the night of the raid. All agreed and headed to the Officers Club.
The next morning Clancy arrived at 07:30 and was again greeted by Captain Harris, whose men were already at their positions for the first of the day go at the mock raid.
As they drove back Fox asked if anyone was hungry, that he hadn’t had breakfast. All agreed and Clancy told him to take them wherever they can get breakfast.
At the Officers Mess, as they wolfed down beacon and eggs and a side of fried potatoes. They discussed the raid.
Clancy called Fox’s commander in Munich and informed him that Fox is performing like a pro; that he thinks he is material for bigger things. To answer the question, “What bigger things?” Clancy had to explain the Platoon, as succinctly as possible. The commander thanked him, asked for a written report on Fox and wished Clancy good luck.
Next, he called Carl Von Schmidt at the university in Freiberg and repeated what he had discussed with Fox’s commander and that things will be cleaned up in Garmisch-Partenkirchen very soon and thanked him for his help.
Alma wasn’t home when he called, and had to leave a message, which saddened Clancy. He was anxious to talk to her.
He went back and told Otto and Fox that he would hang around for a while and try to get Alma later; that they were free to do what they wished.
Otto decided to stay with Clancy and the two went outside and sat on a bench. Clancy busied himself filling and lighting his pipe.
Shortly, Fox arrived to take them to the BOQ, with a stop at the officers club to relax and talk for a while. Otto suggested they go to his favorite German restaurant, connected with a butcher shop and have a great steak.
The next morning, Clancy and Fox sat around the day room of the BOQ and discussed the raid and the timing of disabling the bartender. Otto went to Headquarters to request a three week furlough.
Otto entered the day room all smiles and happy and told Clancy the good news.
Alma was as delighted as Clancy said she would be and asked him to call her when he knows his travel plans.
They returned to headquarters at 17:00 for the joint meeting where Captain Harris again went over the sequence of events for the raid, using the large drawing and a long pointer. Members of his team made notes on the smaller drawings handed to each as they entered the room. Harris went over it three times before dismissing his men; telling them to assemble with vehicles in the headquarters parking lot and for each man to be at his respective Jeep by 20:00. They will leave starting at 20:10 and the raid will commence at 20:30 with all personnel at their proper positions. As they left, Harris gave Clancy three MP armbands and wished him luck.
At the Silver Skates, things went as usual with Gisela being extra attentive to Clancy. She was even bolder, whispering to him that she hopes he doesn’t have an early day tomorrow as she has a night of great fun planned for him; all the time squeezing him high on his leg.
Fox stationed himself at the opposite end of the bar this time and closer to the alarm button, hoping the bartender would also be at that end when the time came. Fox never thought about eating that night. He roughly calculated the time it took the bartender to draw a beer and walk to him. The bar wasn’t busy and he figured he had a good chance. He planned to order a drink so the bartender would be sure to be there about the time of the raid, thinking if only he can get the timing right.
Clancy and Otto moved to the bar after dinner, as usual, and sat near the middle. It was still early and they decided to discourage Gisela from continually coming to them every time she had a couple of minutes.
Clancy and Otto talked about Otto’s furlough and told him a bit about Harris Falls and the college. Otto told him that he plans to visit a cousin in Woodstock, Vermont for the first part, and get in some skiing in the Green Mountains. He added that Clancy might have to report to Fort Devens, outside Boston, for discharge before going home; that he doubted Clancy had accumulated any leave time these last couple of months. All the while they were checking the time carefully.
Otto got off his stool and walked to Fox. He greeted him as if they had not seen each other for a while and slapping him on the back.
The bartender was indeed in front of Fox serving a beer when Fox saw, from the corner of his eye, Clancy start to slide off his stool while putting on his armband. Fox stood on the footrest of the bar, reached out and grabbed the bartenders head and smashed it viciously against the bar, stunning him into almost unconsciousness. Fox vaulted the bar and cut the wires to the alarm button and then searched the bartender for weapons, finding only a long leather wrapped blackjack in his hip pocket weighing nearly a pound.
Captain Harris’s whistle blew just as Clancy and Otto, weapons drawn, burst through the door of the mystery room shouting surrender commands in German. Almost immediately, three MPs were there, two entering the room. The other tried to rouse the bartender enough to get him to the other side of the room while calling for a medic.
Things were quieting down by the time every one in the room was searched and ushered out to join the other civilians. Clancy turned the room over to MPs to clean out. His job was done, as was Otto’s and Fox’s.
They walked out to the dining room and joined Captain Harris, who praised Fox for his speed and efficiency. Telling him that his was a key element of the raid, and had he failed to disable the alarm, there might have been a lot of gunfire.
About then, Clancy spotted Gisela leaning sullenly against a post. He walked over to her, MP armband in plain view, and removed his glasses followed by the mustache. She turned red and started to come at him with fingernails at the ready, but stopped when Clancy revealed his 1911 from behind his back. Two MPs came immediately and handcuffed her. Clancy turned to Harris and asked if they were needed any longer.
When they left by the front door a string of “duce and a half” trucks, with the covers on, were pulling up.
In the morning, Fox drove them to headquarters where they met Major Foster just going into the building. He asked them to come directly to his office.
Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2017
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