Thursday, July 21, 2022

Missing in Action

As the patrol came around a bend in the road, Feldwebel Wolf Burkhalter spotted it first, a Kübelwagen, looking rather beat up, sitting abandoned at a pull-off beside the road. Burkhalter nudged his lieutenant.

"I see it Wolf. Looks like SS plates as well. Let's put out a perimeter, then we can look the car over." Oberleutnant Gerhard Krausse was wary of surprises, what better bait than an abandoned car of the type driven by the men he was looking for?

Krausse was puzzled at first when he saw that the windscreen had been folded down on the bonnet of the car, but the roof frame, which normally had a canvas cover over it, was still in place at the rear of the car.

Brushing the snow off the bonnet, he could see that the glass was gone from the windscreen and the frame for that was rather mangled. Something rang a bell in his mind but he couldn't quite put a finger on it.

He opened the driver's door and brushed the snow away, there was frozen blood on the pan of the seat, also traces on the steering wheel and the dash. An examination of the back seat revealed nothing out of the ordinary.

Krausse had to assume that the driver of the car had to have been injured, if not killed outright, by whatever the car had run into but his passenger, the SD officer, had not been in the front, but in the back seat. There were no traces of blood where a passenger in the front might have been injured.



"Partisans, I think our SD major might have been taken captive. I think the driver was killed and his body disposed of, as he's obviously not in the car."

"Wire across the road?" the sergeant ventured.

That's when the bell in Krausse's head began to ring louder. "Of course."

For the first time in his life, SS-Sturmbannführer Roland Eckhart felt real fear. One of his captors was English, a Royal Marine in fact who had been cut off and left behind during the fighting around Namsos in the spring of 1940. The others were Norwegian with at least two Frenchmen. The two Frenchmen had also been cut off and left behind during the fighting in northern Norway the previous year. Eckhart spoke French and had overheard two men, obviously native speakers, talking about him. One of them had mentioned "la marine anglaise," Eckhart was sure that that was the man who had interrogated him.

It was amazing what a man could learn by listening, but sometimes what you heard was something you would rather not know. Apparently, through contacts with the Quisling government, the men who held him had learned that the German occupation forces were not interested in ransoming Norwegians for a single captive SD man.

Eckhart listened to the men talking, he had tried to work his blindfold loose, but one of the men had slapped him, hard, then tightened it to the point that it was giving Eckhart a headache. He wished he spoke Norwegian.

"I say we kill him and put the body somewhere the Germans will find it." Jakob Torvik's voice was low, but each man in the small room heard the anger in it. Torvik's wife and one of his children had been killed in a German air raid. His two surviving children were with his parents in Oslo.

Thore Wien shifted his position from where he leaned against one of the building's outer walls. He could hear the wind starting to drop outside, the blizzard could end soon. Then they would have to worry about leaving tracks. Though they were high in the hills near Litenhavn, the Germans were active in the area. No man wanted to try fighting the German mountain troops.

"Yes, we kill him, but we leave the body here," he gestured at a pile of debris in one corner, "bury it under that mess. They won't find him until spring." Wien continued, "We must leave soon, the storm will blow itself out by morning."

Krausse ordered the men to head back to the fishing village, the storm was dying, the roads would not get any worse. Oddly enough, the Norwegians were still plowing the roads. It made sense, he thought, they still needed to get around and make a living.

"Wolf, when we get back, I'll have Sepp's squad take a truck and tow the Kübel back to town. A few repairs, a new battery and we can use it ourselves until the SS want it back."

Feldwebel Burkhalter nodded, then got the men up and moving. As he looked around, he could feel the wind dropping. The snow seemed to be slowing as well. He wondered what had happened to the two men in the car. He had to assume they were both dead.

No doubt Oslo would send them up into the hills to hunt the partisans. He wasn't looking forward to that. Though his men were well trained and superb mountaineers, the men they were up against knew these mountains like their own backyard.

Burkhalter, had he but looked up, would have seen the half-ruined building some 500 meters up the slope on his left. The snow had stopped long enough to provide a glimpse of the building where SS-Sturmbannführer Roland Eckhart was being strangled.

"Er han død?¹" Quartermaster-Sergeant Herbert Wilkes asked his second in command, Korporal Oskar Solverson.

Solverson leaned over and checked Eckhart's pulse, he didn't really need to as the garrote had cut the man's throat deeply. But he wanted to be sure.

"Ja, han er død,Solverson stated matter-of-factly as he stood up. "Veldig død.²"

¹ Is he dead? (Norwegian)
² Yes, he's dead. Very dead. (Norwegian)


  1. Hoping the partisans make their escape.

  2. Doing what must be done. The world persists in falling down, we keep trying to build castles.

  3. It's likely they will make their escape even if the Gebirgsjager pursue; local knowledge and all that. The real question will be that of reprisals; the lesson there is not to be available for such.
    RM Commando, French and Norse; quite the Combined team, Sarge. I expect good things from them...
    Boat Guy

    1. Reprisals were always a problem. These guys will be back. I intend to keep Norway going on in the background, have a few episodes now and again, then back to the main storyline. The Norway story arch has grown on me!

    2. Reprisals, a vicious circle.

  4. Wilkes must be a very useful Marine, as he can speak, Norsk, Deutsche, and English.

    1. You forgot French, he speaks that as well. He's a gentleman ranker, sort of a throwback to Victorian times when such men would roam the world seeking fame and fortune.

  5. and all this time I thought it was just your muse who enjoyed lutefisk

    1. Family tradition. Always eaten when served, in observance of the Hard Times. (Rarely cooked by me, I'd have to ask my other cooking siblings if they have the recipes; Deb probably does.)

    2. Never tried it, don't really want to.

    3. ...Try it - it slides right down...

    4. I just threw up a little bit ...

  6. No, you don't want to try it. Fish is not a good flavor for Jello.


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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