Escape From Stalag VIIIB

Return to the Warehouse

2 August 1943

Terry slows the half-track a little as they keep watch on the tail.

Terry waits on Piotr’s orders, keeping the Sd. Kfz. 251/1 running smoothly along the road.

“Want me ta run ’im over, Petey old pal?”

“That wouldn’t be terribly subtle now would it, Terry?” Piotr replies with a sigh. “As Taffy says, he might be wrong about the chap following our civvies and you’d probably end up having to take a wall out along with the chap. These half-tracks are pretty easy to see coming.”

“And there’s a decent chance that he is on our side just checking us out,” adds Taffy.

And so the half-track continues to follow the civilians.

“Keep calm, everyone,” Bruce says. “Someone may be watching over us, but remember that he’s not the only one doing so. Our Lord, Jesus, is watching over us too.”

This does not help in calming the others too much.

Lodd decides that he doesn’t want to be the prey; he wants to be the predator. When the group of civvies next turns a corner, he jumps into an alleyway before the tail comes around. Upon seeing that he is now only tailing three people instead of four, the follower looks around to see what happened to the fourth, but continues following the main group.

The three remaining civvies have now reached the tram stop and wait there. Out of the corner of their eyes, they see that the tail is lingering, pretending to tie his shoelaces.

The last tram arrives bang on time. These Nazis might be responsible for mass genocide, but you have to hand it to them when it comes to the punctuality of their public transport system.

Bob, Bruce and Haim board the lead tram. Being the last tram of the night, it’s pretty packed inside. They just catch a glimpse of the tail getting into the second carriage.

A little further down the street, the three occupants of the parked Sd. Kfz. 251/1 as well as Lodd who continues to lurk in the bushes also see the tail getting onto the tram. But that’s not all they see. Someone else acting suspiciously also jumps onboard at the last second just as the doors are closing.

“Follow that tram,” Piotr says, predictably.

Lodd sees his comrades in the half-track and emerges from cover. He hops into the back knowing that he will get left behind otherwise.

The half-track follows the tram until it gets to the last stop before the warehouse. Bruce, Bob and Haim alight. Behind them, they see that their tail has done the same.

“I think I’ve just soiled myself,” whispers Haim.

“Just keep calm and take it slow,” Bob whispers in reply. “Remember we have some tame SS officers following behind him. I’m sure they’ll take care of it. They do have Lugers, after all.”

Those in the half-track are keeping a close eye on the situation. They see that both of the tails have left the tram. As they both walk after the civvies, they realize that the second tail is tailing the first tail.

Realizing that they are starting to run out of time before the civvies get to the warehouse, they decide to act, starting with the tail’s tail.

Terry stops the half-track in front of the tail’s tail, allowing Piotr and Taffy to get out.

“Ihre Papiere, bitte,” Piotr says, calmly but efficiently.

The tail doesn’t seem particularly nervous. He calmly produces his ID from an inside pocket.

The papers show the man to be Piotr Rutowski, a resident of Lublin who has arrived in Krakow just a few weeks earlier. The paperwork looks genuine to the other Piotr, but he doesn’t really know how to spot a forgery anyway.

Taffy decides to frisk the tail. Now the tail is starting to look nervous. The reason for this soon becomes apparent when Taffy finds a semi-automatic pistol inside the man’s pants. Interestingly, they see that it is a Tokarev TT-33 – a Russian-made pistol. Piotr and Taffy look knowingly at one another. Piotr calls to Terry, in German.

As Terry comes out, Piotr comes to him and whispers. “OK, time to play good cop/bad cop. I’m the good cop.”

Terry smiles as he produces his bayonet. He laughs maniacally as he makes a slitting motion across his throat and then holds the bayonet at the man’s groin.

Piotr speaks to man in a reassuring fashion, telling him that, if he cooperates, then nothing bad will happen to him. Cause any problems, however, and he will let his sidekick have his way with him.

The man’s resolve breaks instantly. He starts begging for mercy and comes up with a half-baked story about being an informer for the Gestapo and being in the process of following a known enemy resistance fighter.

Remembering the hand-written note that they recovered with the blueprints in the morning, Piotr asks him:

“Does the name Udom mean anything to you?”

The man shakes his head, but the look of pure terror in his eyes betrays the reality of the situation.

They realize that time is not on their side – that the civvies must be nearly at the warehouse now and that they need to pick up the other tail, now having a pretty good idea as to whom he might be.

Taffy manhandles Udom into the back of the half-track where Lodd keeps an eye on him while the others get into the front. Terry floors the accelerator and they go after the remaining tail.

They catch up with him just in time. Terry mounts the kerb as they pull in front of the tail. Immediately the tail starts to run. Everyone in the half-track runs after him apart from Lodd, who keeps an eye on the first tail they picked up.

As a true Welshman, Taffy was a keen rugby-player in his youth, the perfect qualifications for the chase. He quickly catches up with the man and neatly tackles him to the ground. The man reaches behind him and grabs a pistol, but Terry is also there now and stamps on the man’s wrist, which sends the pistol flying.

Piotr picks up the gun. The gun brings back happy memories for him:

“A Radom ViS wz. 35,” he says in English. “Identical to the one I used to have when I was with the uhlans.”

He shows the pistol to Terry. “Based on your Colt M1911A’s, but better,” he says proudly.

Terry snorts, “Says you, schlep.”

The man stops struggling when he hears talking in English.

“You are Polish? And American? Not SS?”

The sound of relief in his voice is obvious.

“Tu nie miejsce, aby porozmawiać, mój nowy przyjaciel jest,” Piotr says softly. “Chodź z nami, a my wszystko wyjaśnić.”

The man offers no resistance at all as Taffy and Terry allow him to get up. Terry and Piotr return to the cab while Taffy escorts him into the back of the half-track.

The man’s eyes narrow as he sees Udom in the back of the cab.

“Co za niespodzianka, aby znaleźć się tu, Jarosław, ty pieprzony komunistyczny szumowiny zdrajcę!” the new arrival shouts at Udom before spitting into his face.

Lodd steps in to separate the pair of them:

“You two will being quiet and staying calm,” he says sternly. “If there is some beating needing to do, then it will be I who it does, да?”

“да?” A look of hope comes over Udom’s face. “Вы говорите на русском? Вы большевик брата нашего?”

Fortunately Lodd doesn’t understand Russian, so just tells him to shut up and sit down.

Meanwhile, Bruce, Bob and Haim saw the original tail being taken out by the half-track crew, much to their great relief, so they headed back to the warehouse.

Terry neatly brings ‘Betty’ into the warehouse just a couple of minutes later. The three civvies look on in surprise as Lodd and Taffy escort both of the tails into the building.

“Two?” The Padre says, his eyebrows raising in surprise. “The SS of Krakow has had a busy evening tonight.”

While Lodd and Taffy keep an eye on the two tails, Piotr brings the others up to speed regarding what they have discovered during the two pick-ups.

The civvies come over to join the others as everyone looks at one another wondering what to do now.

“Does anybody here know what these two mooks said to each others in their wacked lingo when we picked ’em up? Seems like the one was pretty angry at the other.” says Terry.

Piotr sidles over to Terry and whispers to him out of ear-shot of Lodd:

“Seems like Udom’s real name is Jarosław. The other guy said something like, ‘What a surprise to find you here, Jarosław, you fucking Communist traitor son-of-a-bitch’.”

“Maybe we can play these two off against each other then, eh pally?”

“What do we have to gain by playing them off against one another?” Piotr asks. “The reason for going to the club tonight was to try and make contact with the Resistance and to find a way of knowing whether the Resistance we make contact with are in league with London or Moscow.”

“I would say that, unless these two are playing a very clever and risky game with us, we now know who is who and have a route through to the Armia Krajowa.”

“Hey, I’m just goofin with ya. Who am I to break the Devil’s dishes, ya know?” Terry says, “Just wanted as much verified gospel as we can get before we commit to one of these Polocks.”

“And anyway, it woulda been fun.” sighs Terry, “Nobody ever lets me have any fun. No killing SS men. No running people over with Betty. No messin’ with the yokels. Nyah, nyah, nyah. I wasn’t gonna whack ’im around like the Babe with a Spaldeen.”

“One question is what to do with Udom?" Piotr interjects, "I imagine that his days are numbered if we leave him to the other guy and his companions. Although I am no friend of the Russians, they are still the enemies of our enemies, which means that they are useful allies – for now at least.”

“What say we ask his buddy? That’ll get us in Dutch with the boys we like, right Boss? Makes a statement about what team we’re playing for,” Terry says.

“Unfortunately, if we want the help of one party I don’t see how we can afford to annoy them by letting Udom go. If we do let him go it may well end up rebounding on us. He’s also seen us in our SS Guise and word of that will spread,” says Taffy.

Terry nods at Taffy, “Right boss, like my pal Taffy here was sayin’, might be a good idea to get in good with them rats we like.”

“Yes, you’re right,” Piotr agrees. “Udom has obviously pissed off the loyalists pretty bad by the sound of things – betraying someone’s trust. I’m happy to go all in with the other guy – it will prove to him that we are on his side without a doubt. I have a feeling though that if we give the ‘good guy’ his pistol back, then the first thing he is going to do with it is to put a bullet through the back of Udom’s head.”

“I’ll pretend that I didn’t hear that, cobbers,” says Padre. “I’ll leave this up to you to decide. I’m heading off to get some sleep now. It’s been a long day.”

The group discusses what to do with the two captured Poles. Although killing Udom would be the simplest solution, a majority of the group are against doing so. Instead they decide to tie him up and leave him for the night well out of the way inside ‘Betty’. The loyalist Pole, who has now told them his name is Witold, they allow to remain free, although they don’t give him his pistol back.

Witold accepts this. It is obvious that he still has a slight element of doubt over the party’s story, just as they have some doubt over his. He sleeps on the grubby discarded sofa in the centre of the warehouse where the others can keep an eye on him.

It’s been a long and eventful day and everyone needs sleep. The party members all find somewhere to rest, apart from Terry and Piotr who are taking the first watch. Terry sets up his MG34 on a raised platform where he has a commanding view of the centre of the warehouse and the sleeping Witold. Piotr wanders the perimeter of the building, looking out of each window as he passes them.

Comments

“Does anybody here know what these two mooks said to each others in their wacked lingo when we picked ’em up? Seems like the one was pretty angry at the other.” says Terry.

Return to the Warehouse
 

Piotr sidles over to Terry and whispers to him out of ear-shot of Lodd:

“Seems like Udom’s real name is Jarosław. The other guy said something like, ‘What a surprise to find you here, Jarosław, you fucking Communist traitor son-of-a-bitch’.”

Return to the Warehouse
 

“Maybe we can play these two off against each other then, eh pally?”

Return to the Warehouse
 

“What do we have to gain by playing them off against one another?” Piotr asks. “The reason for going to the club tonight was to try and make contact with the Resistance and to find a way of knowing whether the Resistance we make contact with are in league with London or Moscow.”

“I would say that, unless these two are playing a very clever and risky game with us, we now know who is who and have a route through to the Armia Krajowa.”

“One question is what to do with Udom? I imagine that his days are numbered if we leave him to the other guy and his companions. Although I am no friend of the Russians, they are still the enemies of our enemies which means that they are useful allies – for now at least.”

Return to the Warehouse
 

“Unfortunately, if we want the help of one party I don’t see how we can afford to annoy them by letting Udom go. If we do let him go it may well end up rebounding on us. He’s also seen us in our SS Guise and word of that will spread.”

Return to the Warehouse
 

“Hey, I’m just goofin with ya. Who am I to break the Devil’s dishes, ya know?” Terry says, “Just wanted as much verified gospel as we can get before we commit to one of these Polocks.”

“And anyway, it woulda been fun.” sighs Terry, “Nobody ever lets me have any fun. No killing SS men. No running people over with Betty. No messin’ with the yokels. Nyah, nyah, nyah. I wasn’t gonna whack ’im around like the Babe with a Spaldeen.”

“Anyways, as to what to do with this Udom, what say we ask his buddy? That’ll get us in Dutch with the boys we like, right Boss? Makes a statement about what team we’re playing for.”

Return to the Warehouse
 

Terry nods at Taffy, “Right boss, like my pal Taffy here was sayin’, might be a good idea to get in good with them rats we like.”

Return to the Warehouse
 

So:#

Were the Tentacle Things the Mark IIIs?, and

The Zombie Things the Mark II’s?

Which only leave sthe Matk IV’s?

Return to the Warehouse
 

Terry says, “Whatever they are, I want to drive one! I hear those Porsche engines and Trannies are too cool!”

(Can see the “Tranny named Portia jokes coming already…”)

Return to the Warehouse
NickPendrell

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