Escape From Stalag VIIIB

Yum, Lamb Pie...

October 4, 1943

O.S.I. HQ, England

“Sargent, I know you and the boys have only been back from Kvalen Island for a few days,” Major Hendry began.

“A ‘few’ days? Sir, if I may, it’s barely been two days since we returned. That giant oaf Lodd’s only just gotten over being seasick. We haven’t even gotten a proper leave yet.” replied Taffy, before the officer could finish.

“Nevertheless Sargent, we’ve received intel from our contacts in the French underground that the Germans are almost ready to activate a new type of shore battery on the Normandy coast. Admiral Barrington has decided we need an immediate recon mission to determine how it works, and, if possible, to render it inoperable.”

“Render it bloody inoperable?” snapped Taffy, before he could catch himself, “Pardon, sir, but won’t they just build another?”

“They might, but Goering was very much against this project, and the other German high muckety mucks only got Hitler to ok it on the premise that it showed immediate results. As this is both an experimental unit designed to further test the science involved, and a functional prototype that could bolster the Normandy defenses in case we decide to land there in the coming year, knocking it out would serve a dual purpose…and might cause Hitler to focus his attention on another project at the same time, throwing away the time and research they’ve sunk into this one…”

“But sir, why us? Certainly there must be another team more rested than we are?”

“No, Roland and his Special Air Service group are on assignment in Italy. Vigo and the lads are doing something for us in Russia, and, to top it all off, Nimitz has requested OSI assistance in the Solomon Islands. Apparently the Japs are in league with a particularly powerful local witch doctor and the Marines are requesting help locating the source of his juju, so they can put him down. So OSI Europe had to detail three teams to OSI Pacific for the immediate future. Long and the short of it is: tag, you’re it.”

“Well then, Sir, when do we leave?” said Taffy, buckling down to duty in that most English way.

“Tomorrow night.”

“Bloody hell. Tomorrow night? I’ve got supper at me mum’s…” stopping himself once again, Taffy went on, “Mission details, Sir?”

Unrolling a tactical map on the briefing table, Hendry pointed to various spots as he droned on, but it was all Taffy could do to keep from thinking of his mum’s Lamb pies he’d be missing on the morrow…

“…dropping you in at night, in bad weather, to provide cover…increased underground sabotage activity in the area scheduled to coincide with the mission, to provide a distraction…resistance members will liaise with you, to provide direction…”

…Taffy’s mouth watered…

“…Admiral is allowing you to choose your option for dress and weapons: SS Men with false papers, local farmers with false papers, or straight in, as Commandos…extraction point will be down the beach a few klicks from the battery…any questions?”

…with a seasoned soldier’s ability to process a tactical briefing and simultaneously imagine eating hot food, Taffy snapped to attention. “None, Sir. Shall I brief the men?”

“Just one more thing, Sargent.”

“Sir?”

“When I heard your group drew this mission, after such a short R & R, I took the leave of ringing up your mum to apologize on behalf of HQ. Her response was, ‘My boy fights for his country, when his country needs him.’ Then she sent enough meat pies to feed the whole group before the plane ride over tomorrow night. " Hendry said. “I’ll have the boys in the commissary get ’em ready when you leave. Nothing like good home cooked food to get a man ready for a dangerous mission, right Sargent?”

Without waiting for a reply, the US Army Major rolled up his map, nodded, and left the room.

For the first time during that day, maybe even that whole week, hell, maybe since the bloody war began, Taffy smiled a genuine smile…

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NickPendrell

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