Escape From Stalag VIIIB

Hiking through Silesian Forests

30 July / 1 August 1943

The group spends the next two days hiking through the forests of Silesia, using only the sun to navigate by.

They make fair progress during this time – fair, but not excellent. The forest is not vast – rather it seems to be a strip of land remaining wooded varying from one to two miles wide. Quite often they find that they need to doubleback on the route to avoid leaving its confines and on several occasions carefully have to cross some roads running north to south as well as taking care to avoid some small villages cut from the forest. On occasions, Bob who is scouting ahead, drops and frantically signals for everyone to get to cover as he spies someone on the path. Fortunately, however, they are just local Silesians and there are no signs of any Nazis out here in the middle of nowhere.

As they continue, they look for anything that may be edible. The forest proves to be less than bountiful, however, as they find little more than berries to supplement their fast diminishing stocks from the Red Cross Parcels.

By the end of the second day, the party members are starting to get irritable. The bikes have been slowing them down and are heavy to push. To make matters worse, the weather that had been fine since they left Stalag VIIIB breaks mid-afternoon and so it’s starting to drizzle. It seems as if this journey has taken forever, even though they estimate that they are probably covering less than a dozen miles per day.

It’s late in the afternoon now and there is plenty of talk of ‘ditching the fucking bikes’ when Bob signals to everyone. They know the drill now having done it more than half a dozen times already. But then they see that Bob is beckoning the others to some up and join him. Leaving the bikes where they are, they cautiously come up to join him.

“Looks like we have run out of forest now,” he says.

The others looks around too in the fast disappearing light and see that he is right. They are at the end of a wooded peninsula with open fields and buildings in the distance. Just 50 yards away, however, is a small cottage in a small compound which also contains a barn. They can also hear the occasional clucking of chickens.

Lodd’s eyes go all dreamy.

“Barn with roof,” he says. “No rain. Soft hay for to sleep on. Roast chickens and fried eggs.”

“Not so fast, Lodd,” Piotr says. “The cottage is in good condition. It does not look abandoned. And, as I said before, we cannot trust any of the Silesians not to turn us into the Germans.”

“I agree that we should exercise caution,” Bruce says, as usual.

“Let’s just keep watch on the place for a while,” Bob says.

As twilight falls, Piotr’s hunch was right, as a dim light comes on in the cottage. Someone is in there.

“We just need to wait here until we see the lights go off,” says Bob. “Then hopefully we can sneak in the barn. As long as we are away again early, they should never know we were here.”

The wait seems to take forever, especially in the rain which has increased in force drenching everyone despite the forest cover. But after a few hours, the lights in the cottage eventually go off. They all wait another 15 minutes in the hope that the occupant or occupants are now asleep.

“I’ll check it out,” Bob says. “Cover me.”

With the others all covering the cottage, Bob stealthily enters the compound, scuttling among the trees. Silently he opens the gate to the picket fence and tiptoes to the barn. With relief, he finds the door is open. He gestures to the others to come – one at a time.

One by one they follow Bob’s route to the barn until they are all safely inside the barn with Piotr, the last to arrive, silently closing the door behind him.

Sure enough, there are chickens here. Wringing their necks will probably start them squawking, but there everyone is able to get a day’s worth of food in eggs from them. Fried eggs will have to wait for another day though as they are afraid to start a fire inside the barn for fear of waking the occupants of the cottage. Instead they eat more of the rations from the Red Cross Parcels. It’s late now and they know they will need to get away early in the morning before the occupants of the cottage are up and so those not on watch go straight to sleep. The soft hay beneath them sure beats the forest floor and so they are asleep in an instant.

Comments

Currently you each have one day of food from your Red Cross Parcels plus one day of eggs remaining.

Everyone roll two survival checks (don’t forget your wild dice everyone!)

For those without survival, this means that you would roll 1d4 + 1d6 and you will need a six.

Each success is an extra day of food. Each raise is five days of food.

Let me know how you do.

Also I am assuming that the watch rota is:

Terry + Piotr
Lodd + Taffy
Padre + Bob

Let me know if you would like to swap this around, otherwise I will always use these combos for watch rotas.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Piotr, whose nanny often used to take him mushroom picking in Polish forests in the early morning, proves to be very useful in the situation and manages to pick up 15 man/days’ worth of mushrooms.

Bruce, used to walking through the bush, is also fairly useful and picks up 5 man/days of berries.

Water is not a problem here – you crossed many mountain streams during your two-day trek and so it was easy to keep refilling your water flasks as and when necessary.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Taffy failed both, and got a double 1 on one of them

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Taffy tried to eat something poisonous and spent the rest of the day puking his guts out. The Padre has managed to fix him up now though so he is OK.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Roll: 1d4
3
Roll: 1d6
2
Roll: 1d4
3
Roll: 1d6
1

Terry missed both.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Watch rota looks fine. Ol’ Petey can teach me some of the local lingo.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Survival check 1:
Skill die: 6 (really!)
Wild die: 2
Ace: another 6, followed by a 1
Total: 13

Survival check 2:
Skill die: 1
Wild die: 3
2 failures.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
 

Lodd rolls da bones…
Survival(Forest)=Roll: 1d4 1
Wild Dice===Roll: 1d6 6, Yay! Another Wild Dice=Roll: 1d6 6, Awesome! Wild dice=Roll: 1d6 1.

Lodd is feelin’ pretty good. He scrounges again…
Survival (Forest)=Roll: 1d4 1
Wild Dice=====Roll: 1d6 5

2 successes. Again I used the O.P. dice roller. I suppose it would be best that the others not accompany the big guy as he stalks his prey during the resting times. Rot grubs, slugs and larva don’t look so appealing in the raw, but Lodd knows how to make a paste that almost tastes like clam chowder. Best to mind the mandibles, however.

Hiking through Silesian Forests
NickPendrell

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