OK, before I get to doing my next segment, I want to point out another small error with the previous chapter: Hauptmann Ryan Lautenslager's standard-issue sidearm is a C-96 "broomhandle" Mauser, not a luger... It even says so in his character entry... Anyways, on with the story.
Ryan cursed up a storm as what was left of the squad re-grouped in the woods several miles from the Robertson border... Of the 11 men who accompanied him to the ill-fated diplomatic attempt, only 6 were left.... Miraculously, two of the survivors were Oberwachtmeister Eichenlaub and the gunner from his Kubelwagen, although Mark had taken a flesh wound in his left arm. One bit of silver lining in the cloud of suck was that in addition to him triggering the Jagdpanther's disabling charges in a timely manner, the gunner from his Kubelwagen, Obergefreiter Lewis Dorty, had managed to dismount his MG-42/3 from the vehicle before making good his escape... Now to figure out what to do.
Mark pretty much summed up the immediate situation as he finished dressing his wound, "We're ----ed, sir!"
Ryan sighed, "Well, maybe... I see that Soldat Brechbill happens to have a radio on him... I think the best thing we can do at the moment is call up Leutnant Snyder and let him know we need a ride..." Before he even started to issue the order, Soldat Brechbill passed the radio to Ryan, who nodded and said, "Thanks, Brechbill," then keyed the mike and said, "Olive Branch to Wagon Train, come in, over..."
After waiting a few seconds, he lifted the radio back to his lips to repeat the call when Snyder's voice replied, "Olive Branch, this is Wagon Train, I have you loud and clear, over."
"Wagon Train, Plan Olive Branch was a failure... We were attacked without provocation and suffered close to 50% casualties.... We lost the big kitty and our dune buggies... Could you give us a lift, over?"
"Roger, that Olive Branch," Snyder replied, "hang tight and we'll be by to pick you up, over."
"Copy that, Wagon Train, be advised to come loaded for trouble.... I have a feeling those Robertsons are going to be looking for us too," Ryan radioed back, "Olive Branch out!" As soon as he got the final acknowledgment from Lt. Snyder, Ryan hooked the radio to his belt and said, "Okay, boys! There's a bridge about half a mile up the road from where we are... Lets hoof it there and get dug in until help arrives! Now move out!" The men picked up their guns and silently moved through the woods to the location that Ryan pointed out and set up a nice little machinegun nest/ambush zone before settling in for a long wait... It would probably be a couple hours before Lt. Snyder got the rest of the convoy back together and reached their position, and they weren't going to be taken by surprise a second time in one day.
Obergefreiter Dorty even made a comment about the huge FUBAR that went down almost an hour ago: "I can't believe a bunch of hillbillies got the best of us!" he muttered as he settled down behind his MG-42/3 and cast a wary eye on the road leading back to the Robertson territory.
Meanwhile, James, Gunner, Liz and Will were echoing similar sentiments as they wee being driven towards their eventual exile. "I can't believe I let that Nazi rat-_______ Harry get the drop on me!" Gunner snarled as they rolled down the road, "I mean I'm
the one who was a frakkin' Rebellion Marine for Pete's sake!"
Before any of the other prisoners in the Kubelwagen (Ironically enough, Ryan's command car no less) could say anything, one of the Robertson Old Guard cuffed Gunner alongside the head and said, "Shaddup, ya quisling! If anyone here is the Nazi rat, it's YOU fer plantin' false evidence again' Harry an' tryin' ta usurp control of the clan!" If looks could kill, the one that Gunner gave the arrogant Old Guard would have reduced him to sub-atomic particles. When the Old Guard noticed this, he sneered and said, "Hey, Ernie! This 'un's got him an attitude problem! Think I aughtta teach 'im a lesson in manners?" Before Ernie could reply, all Hell broke loose.
The six surviving Pennsylvania Grenzschutz soldiers perked up when they heard vehicles on the road approaching from the direction leading back to the Robertson territory. Hauptmann Lautenslager looked through his binoculars and said, "Those lousy, stinking, rotten pieces of crap! They're driving my dadgum COMMAND CAR like they own it!" Mark and Obergefreiter Dorty looked at each other with somewhat worried expressions... While the Hauptmann was usually a good, levelheaded leader, too much stress tended to send him into a berserker rage, and it looked like he was approaching his rage threshold.
"Well, sir," Oberwachtmeister Eichenlaub said in as calm a voice as he could muster, "how do you want to go about getting it back?"
Ryan took a few deep breaths and said, "Okay men, stand-by.... Obergefreiter Dorty, as soon as they cross the bridge, I want you to use the MG-42/3 to disable the lead car... Looks like a T-bird...." he then raised his StG-50 to his shoulder, set it into semi-automatic mode and sighted down the Vampir MK III Infrared Scope, "And I'll take out the driver of the Kubelwagen! After that, I'll ask if they're willing to listen to reason, or at least delay them until help arrives."
By this time, the vehicles had rounded the last bend in the road and began crossing the bridge. "Wait for it.... Wait for it.... NOW!" Ryan shouted as soon as the T-Bird and the Kubelwagen had both made it across the bridge. As soon as he gave the command, he double-tapped the Robertson Old Guard driving the Kubelwagen at the exact same time Dorty opened up with the MG-42/3. The 7.62x51mm Steel-core bullets, fired at a rate of 1200 rounds per minute shredded the T-bird's engine block at about the same time the Kubelwagen's driver had his brain and chest cavity evacuated by two 7.62x39mm bullets from Ryan's StG-50. The T-bird came to an abrupt halt, and the Kubelwagen crashed into its rear, similarly coming to a complete stop, as Robertson Old Guards who weren't killed from the impact or too dazed rolled off the back of the Kubelwagen and roof of the T-Bird to seek cover behind the vehicles, leaving their prisoners to their fates.
Ryan holds up his hand indicating that his troops should hold their fire and, switching the radio to PA mode says, "Surrender, NOW! Put down your weapons and come out with your hands up, you truce-breaking scumbags!"
"Go blow it out your royal wazoo, Kraut!" Ernie Robertson, the guard detail's leader shouted back, "I know fer a fact that not more'n a half a dozen of you quislings got away from the butt-whuppin' ol' Harry gave ya, an' it's only a matter of time 'fore the others come lookin' fer us.... So basically, what we got here is a Mexican standoff, 'cept we we aint got no Mexicans!" This last part raised a chorus of snickers from the Robertsons hiding behind the vehicles.
Inside the Kubelwagen, James looks at Gunner and says, "Well, looks like our goose is about to get cooked, trapped here between two groups of maniacs!"
"It's all my fault," Special Agent Welch says, "If I hadn't gotten caught this all wouldn't be happening! I don't know how, but they were able to find my secret communications point...."
Gunner leans back and growls, "Well, as I was saying before I got hit upside the head, Harry Robertson is a no-good Nazi SPY... He must have gotten tipped off by his contacts that you were snooping around and where to find you.... What a piece of work!"
Liz sighed and said, "Well, so much for finding us a place to call home... At least we ain't dying in some Nazi prison camp, though...."
Before anyone else could say anything, the rumble of approaching vehicles could be heard coming up the road from the opposite direction.
Mark, Ryan and the other soldiers on the rise overlooking the standoff grinned, and Mark said, "Well, well, well! If it ain't the cavalry coming to save the day!"
Ryan got on the radio and said, "Lt. Snyder, we've got some Robertsons pinned down at the bridge... I need you to dismount the rest of the company and flank them with second and third platoon... Take what's left of first platoon and meet me here, over!"
"Roger that, Herr Hauptmann!" came the reply as olive-green uniformed Pennsylvania Grenzschutz troops swarmed through the area. Most of the Robertson guards, seeing how badly they were outnumbered, not to mention out-flanked they were, immediately threw down their guns and held their hands up... A few idiots, however, decided to try fleeing across the bridge, only to be mowed down my Obergefreiter Dorty's MG-42/3.
As the Grenzschutz soldiers rounded up the half-dozen prisoners, Hauptmann Lautenslager walked over to his re-claimed command car and said, "Well, Herr Welch, I think we can safely assume that any chance of diplomatic relations with the Robertsons are officially hosed!"
Before Will could say anything, one of the other people in the Kubelwagen said, "Maybe not.... I'm James Robertson, and I'd be willing to make a deal, but first, it would be helpful if you could untie me."
Ryan looked and noticed that the man who identified himself as James Robertson, along with Special Agent Welch, the man who had earlier identified himself as a member of the Rebellion Marines and some woman were all tied up. "Uh, right," Ryan said as he began cutting their bonds, "I'm sure that there's an interesting story here, but it can wait until we've got the scumbags who attacked us taken care of and we're back on the road."
James nodded, "Right, oh, there's more of us in the T-Bird." Ryan nodded and ordered some soldiers to free the people in the T-Bird, and James continued, "By the Way, Harry, the foul-mouthed SOB who ordered the attack, is a Nazi Spy... Figgered you might want to know that, since you told him about the existence of Raven Ridge or whatever...."
Ryan Blanched and went to switch the Kubelwagen's radio to the encrypted military frequency, only to find the set perforated by a stray bullet. He turned and shouted, "Leutnant Snyder, I need you to get on the horn with the Chief of Intel and let him know that I inadvertently let out one of our biggest secrets to an enemy spy... With any luck we might be able to neutralize his contacts before they can do any damage..." He turns to the group of freed prisoners and asks, "Did any of you, perchance get the names of his contacts?"
"Yeah," Gunner replied, "Ludwig Schwarz and Rudolf Lowenstein!"
"Right, tell him to be on the lookout for a Ludwig Schwarz and Rudolf Lowenstein!" Ryan continued, "Oberwachtsmeister Eichenlaub, I want you to get some sturdy lads together and push that T-bird into the ravine, along with any bodies... I want as little evidence left of our firefight here as possible under our time constraints... I need this show back on the road in fifteen minutes!"
Mark saluted and began barking orders to the troops. Soon all the bodies from the firefight and resultant wreck were loaded into the trashed T-Bird, which was shoved over the edge of the ravine, and the men used branches to sweep away as much blood and dirt as possible before getting back into their trucks. Hauptmann Lautenslager climbed into the back seat of his command Kubelwagen, taking the gunners place between Gunner Patterson and James Robertson, while the usual gunner, Obergefreiter Dorty took Lautenslager's usual position in the passenger seat. Leutnant Snyder strolled up to the car and saluted, "Herr Hauptmann, Intel got back to me... Looks like we're in luck: both those agents happened to be lurking around in the Freischteet, and were also on Intel's hit list... Chief said that he's going to give them the option of working for us as double-agents or suffering an 'unfortunate accident'."
"Good work. Leutnant," Ryan replied, "Now let's get this show on the road!" As the somewhat reduced convoy got underway, he turned to his new travelling companions and said, "Mr. Robertson and Mr. Patterson, was it? ...I'm sure what you've got to tell me is a long story, but it's going to be a long trip back to Harrisburg, and I'm sure the Governor is going to want to hear what I'm sure you're about to tell me...."
....To Be ContinuedOkay, I'm planning on posting the second installment of this piece sometime tomorrow... The only reason I'm stopping here is that (a) it's a good stopping point and (b) it's freaking midnight and I'm really freaking tired. Also, I realized I made an embarrassing translation error: Brandschutz = Fire Patrol... GRENZschutz ~ National Guard.... I'm going to be going over my previous entries and fix that.