Invisible Enemy

A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack


~ CHAPTER SEVENTEEN ~

Previously:

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.
“This alone will justify the raid,” Clancy said. “Good work, Lieutenant.”

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.

After seeing that all doors were locked and the alarm reactivated, Clancy lit his pipe and returned to Davis’s Jeep. Davis expressed his pleasure on a successful mission and thanked Otto for a good job with the safe lock.

“What will happen to the old man?” Clancy asked Davis.

“He will be detained for interrogation later today and then probably released. I don’t think he has any idea what the place is about.”

“I would like to talk to him instead of some uninvolved interrogator. I would hate to see him released and later be done away with by a worried agent; and we won’t get them all you know. Maybe he and his family, if he has one, can be relocated with some financial help.”

“That isn’t unheard of but Major Foster will have to initiate it” Davis replied. “Look what they are doing for that defector, Graff! I’ll make some inquiries,” he said as they pulled up in front of headquarters and found Fox waiting for them.

“Ok. Now, it is 03:15 and I want to get some rest before I have to see Major Foster. I suppose I will see you later as well?” He said toDavis.

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.

“Glad you finally got here, but I understand. It was a late night. The analyst team worked all night looking over the material brought from the break-in. A comprehensive listing, by category, will be compiled today. It proves, along with the revelation of the arsenal room, that the action this morning was more than worth the effort. A fine job by all involved.

“Davis informed me of the watchman, poor fellow. Everyone is convinced he is not knowingly hooked up with the gang of commies operating from the club; just an underpaid watchman. I have made the calls necessary for his relocation to a large city of his choosing where he can lose himself. I hope the club manager doesn’t wonder why he is not there tonight and start conjecturing about his disappearance. Some CIC people talked to him early this morning and he is OK, just confused. I think it‘s a good idea for you to visit him, Clancy. He asked where you were. Try to feel him out regarding where he would like to live, what relatives he has, etc. Try to see him this morning. The training at the mockup building started early today and you are scheduled to join them at 13:00 for the afternoon session, and tomorrow at 07:30. They will continue the walk through one more day and have an assignment session tomorrow evening here at the conference room at 17:00.

“I’m glad it is a walk through. I don’t think I’m up for any running after the long day yesterday, and on so little sleep. Being twenty, or more, years older than them and not at peak shape I would have a hard time keeping up.”

“I understand. Coming directly from a teaching job, we have expected a lot of you here. That aside, we are very happy you joined us. You have accomplished a lot from Freiberg, to Mittenwald, to here and are instrumental in the breakup and capture if a giant conspiracy against your country and our German hosts. Hopefully, you will be on you way home soon; that is unless you decide to stay in the army.” Foster said with a grin on his face.

”Not a chance, Clancy said. What Lieutenant Otto and I did in the war, and what he is still doing, we do for love of our country and its protection. However, I have a great job waiting for me along with a wonderful wife and home. I just want to get back to it all, thanks anyway. I am sincerely glad I could be effective after so long away from the Platoon, or anything military for that matter. Frankly, I hope they never need me again.”

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.
He was bitter and angry that younger men were given extensive training before seeing action, and that the Nazis considered older men expendable canon fodder. His wife died three years ago from the effect of malnutrition during the war. He had one son living in Straubing, a small village north west of Garmish, and has a dairy farm there. Asked why he wasn’t living with his son, He told Clancy he didn’t want to leave his home and the place his wife was buried. If he has to leave, he would like to go to his son and not a lonely large city. Clancy assured him he would do all he can to arrange that he goes to Straubing and his son. Again he insisted he knew nothing about the Silver Skates other than it was a good restaurant. Clancy assured him that everyone believed him and not to worry about it.

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.

“Major Clancy, do you think it is necessary for you and your men to continue with this training? As I understand, you will already be in the club when we get there, and you obviously know your business. Also, we will be going at full speed today,” Harris said.

“Point well taken, Captain. I’m satisfied you and your men will execute the plan with clock-like precision. I’ll see you tomorrow at headquarters for the meeting.

“Very well, Sir,” Harris said as he snapped to attention and saluted.

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.

“Do you both have your assignment solid in your minds? Any questions or doubts?

“No Sir,” they answered in unison. Then Fox added, “I just hope the bartender will cooperate. I’m not sure what to do if he resists me getting behind the bar, much less if he tries to stop me from disabling the warning button.”

“Don’t ask him,” Otto responded emphatically. ‘Just get at him as fast as you can and disable him if he looks like he is going to fight you, despite your weapon. Then, remove any weapons he might have on him. Just knock any knives lying around to the floor. Listen, the way you handled Stahlmann’s bodyguard in Mittenwald, I don’t think you will have any trouble. If you do, shoot him.”

“Exactly!” Clancy said. Don’t take any chances with that guy. He is there for more than mixing drinks. Look, I have to make a couple of calls so let’s get back to headquarters and I’ll see if Foster will let me commandeer his clerk to put the calls through for me.”

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.

Von Schmidt added just before he said good bye, “I’ll be receiving official reports on all activities that I will forward to the DOF and the Platoon office. I’ll also add my personal comments on how well you three performed, and your opinion of Fox’s potential.”

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.

“I have laundry to pickup, Fox said. I’ll be back and pick you up at 16:30 if that’s OK”

Otto decided to stay with Clancy and the two went outside and sat on a bench. Clancy busied himself filling and lighting his pipe.

“Hank, do you have any leave time?” Clancy asked.

“Yes, I have a ton of it, at least thirty days. Why do you ask?”

“I was just thinking that it would be great if you took some time and came to New Hampshire for a visit with Alma and me. We have plenty of room and Christmas is just around the corner. You will like it there.”

“Well, you are the closest thing I have to family. Sounds like a good idea. You will clear it with Alma before hand?”

“Naturally, but there is no question in my mind that she will be delighted. You get your request in quickly and we can fly home together.”

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.

“Of course you can, Major Foster told him. The papers will be ready by tomorrow morning. You can pick them up whenever you want and I will fill in the dates later when you know them.”

Otto entered the day room all smiles and happy and told Clancy the good news.

“Great, Clancy exclaimed. Sam, are you free to take me to headquarters? I want to try a call to Alma again.”

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.

“Now don’t drink too much,” Gisela said giggling on her first trip to the bar.

“Look, sweetheart, we’re talking army business and don’t want to be interrupted.” Otto blurted out gruffly.

Clancy spun his stool in her direction and gently took her hand saying. “He’s right , Honey. This is very important and I’ll see you later. What time are you through tonight? I’m really looking forward to it.”

She said, “Eleven o’clock.” In a very low voice and walked back to her station, glairing at Otto on the way.

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.

“Are you all set,” he asked. It is almost time to move. I’ve been thinking. Don’t bother with your armband. Just keep an eye on us and when you see us get up from the bar, you attack. This will give you a few seconds jump on the whole thing and perhaps distract some of the waiters, or whoever is around watching the place.”

“Good idea, Hank. If I have it planned right, the bartender will be right in front of me and serving me a beer. You explain it to the Major.”

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.

“ I will be recommending you for a commendation Lieutenant,
and you as well, Lieutenant Otto. It will take someone with more rank than I to recommend you, Major Clancy, I’m sure it will be done, however.”

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.

“I’m sure you and your men can leave. Everything is going as planned here – a great success. Thanks for your expert help tonight, and your very successful break-in. Without that, this raids legality could be in question. Eventually, we would turn up the same evidence as you and your men. However it could have been very sticky for a while, what with hearings, investigations, etc.

When they left by the front door a string of “duce and a half” trucks, with the covers on, were pulling up.

“Must be for hauling the suspected patrons and girls off to the pokey, Otto said laughingly. It does my heart good. Too bad the GIs have to be detained and questioned. You would think they would just call them in individually. They’re not going anywhere!”

“You know better than that. It’s not the army way.” Clancy replied.

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.

“Sit down, you will find this very interesting. CIC people have been going over those papers from the raid and break-in and have concluded the communist agents were not the only ones connected with the Silver Skates. Some papers revealed that Werewolf had a connection there, and the arsenal was probably theirs.”

“I’m sure you have heard if this terrorist group formed in 1944 of officers and troupes from the Wehrmacht and Waffen–SS. The treasure everyone is looking for in Mittenwald was supposed to fund this group to defeat allied occupation armies and continue the war with Russia. It appears now, they have joined hands. Considering the diamonds and gold have yet to be found, and Werewolf, by all accounts, has petered out. This adds one more accomplishment to you activities here, Major Clancy. Those people detained last night will get an extra measure of examination and background checks. SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) would very much like to crush whatever is left of Werewolf, now that we know it still exists in some form. Who knows, they might be building strength again.”

“That’s all new to me, Fox said. I’m glad to know about it. There must have been all kind of plots being hatched by the Nazis near the end of the war, when defeat was eminent.”

“Enough to fill a library, Otto responded. There are probably some we will never hear about. Between Hitler’s military commanders and sub-commanders of every military branch trying to save their necks, who can say?”

“On to other things, Foster interjected. Clancy, you are free to leave day after tomorrow, as are you lieutenant Otto. If you think you can be ready by then, I will arrange a MATS flight from Nubuiberg Air Base near Munich to the Frankfort International for you. You have a first class ticket waiting for you on Lufthansa flight 691 to Boston at 21:30, Clancy. I understand, Otto, you are going with the Major. I can get you on the same MATS and Lufthansa flights if you like. Would you want first class as well? You will have to pay for it yourself.”

Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2017

Chapters: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Ch 13 | Ch 14 | Ch 15 | Ch 16 | Ch 17 |                    Ch 18



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 now retired.


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