Tuesday, July 19, 2022


Oberleutnant Gerhard Krausse closed the door to the office quickly, it was snowing again and the wind was coming up the fjord briskly. Even so, quite a few snow flakes got through the door with Krausse. He brushed the snow from his greatcoat, stomped his feet, then walked into the only heated room in the building where Unteroffizier Georg Schülze sat with a large grin on his face.

"Something amuses you, Georg?"

"I am continually amazed at the vigor with which the Gebirgsjäger do everything. You made enough noise cleaning the snow off of yourself to wake the dead."

Krausse chuckled, then took off his greatcoat and outer gear and sat down across from Schülze, "Anything new from our masters in Oslo?"

Schülze turned the document he had been reading around and handed it to his officer.

"What's this? Hhmm, hostages ..., strenuous measures to be taken ..., I don't understand, ever since that SD officer left, we haven't had any trouble. Why this, why now?"

"I talked with my counterpart in Bergen, according to him there was some resistance activities in the more rural areas, but with the onset of the colder weather, things have calmed down. He thinks, and I agree, that this directive is intended to keep us on our toes for when the weather gets better. I guess they're worried that the Norwegians might stir after a long winter and discover that they're still occupied by us. And not like that idea."

"I don't know Georg, the Norwegians here seem okay with the occupation, we leave them alone, they leave us alone. Do you see any problems?"

"No, but the bigger cities are starting to see passive resistance. Nothing overt, but things aren't as peaceful in the cities as they seem to be out here."

They had started the winter with six people: two regular army, two reservists, and two civilians. Premierløitnant Morten Henriksen had made the not so difficult decision to let the two reservists go in mid-January.

"Bjørn says the first really heavy snows are on the way, Åsmund, Sander, I can't make you stay and, to be honest, we don't have the food reserves for six people, it will be tight for the four of us who remain."

Sander Stohl wanted to leave, he had a young fiancé back home he hadn't seen since the summer. It was time to go home, he figured that the war was lost, the Germans were too strong.

On the other hand, Åsmund Baardson had mixed feelings about leaving. He had watched two of his comrades die in the opening hours of the war, killed by the Germans. His home in Oslo had been destroyed, he had no family other than these people here in the mountains. He turned to his lieutenant.

"Sir, I have nothing to go back to, no home, no family. If I have to leave here, where shall I go?"

Before Henriksen could speak, Hildur Tonnesdottir spoke up, "If you wish, you can come with me. Both of my boys are unaccounted for, I've heard nothing from them since shortly after the war began. A neighbor passed on a rumor that they had perhaps joined the King when he fled to England. But, like you, I have no one. Unlike you, I do have a home, provided the Germans haven't seized it."

Henriksen turned to look at Hildur, "Bestemor, I somehow thought that you would stay here with us."

"And do what, the cooking, the cleaning, perhaps I could make myself useful by mending your clothing! There's nothing I can do to fight the Germans, nor is there anything you can do once the snows come. I want to go home. War is a young person's game."

Henriksen thought about it for a moment, if she left, and the two reservists with her, then there would just be the three of them. But why would Mikkelsen stay? The hunter was older than the soldiers by at least a decade. Though he had lived his life in the outdoors, he too wasn't getting any younger. He spoke up.

"Martin and I are regular soldiers, by now the Germans probably figure that we fled to England with the King or died in the fighting. We can't simply rejoin society, the Germans are meticulous record keepers, if we simply showed up, offered our pay books up to get ration cards, or employment, they would be suspicious. Odds are, they would assume, correctly as it turns out, that we had been with the resistance and that when the winter set in, we decided to quit. I'm sure there have been those who have done that, but I ..."

Menig Martin Sundheim spoke up, "Sir, we can't go down into the town. I want to fight these bastards. Is there any way to get to England and rejoin the regular army?"

The old hunter spoke up, "If that is what you want, I might be able to help you. Olaf, the man I got the scope from, knows a man. A man with a boat. He might be able to get you to England."

SS-Sturmbannführer Roland Eckhart and his driver SS-Sturmmann Otto Greiz were heading to the hunting lodge near Litenhavn. Snow was falling and the day was cold, but Eckhart had made a lady friend at the lodge, the wife of a Norwegian sailor. She didn't know if her husband was dead or alive, all she knew is that she had no support, so she had taken a job at the lodge. Eckhart didn't care, he intended to bed the lady.

"The turn off to the inn should be coming up on your right Greiz, another hundred meters or so."

Greiz never saw the steel cable which had been strung across the road, the snow was falling faster, which should have caused the white stuff to build up on the cable, but the wind swept it clear.

They weren't going very fast, but they were going fast enough so that the cable, anchored as it was to two stout trees, sliced through the windshield as if it were made of butter. Greiz was nearly decapitated.

Eckhart shook his head, he had been thrown forward into the back of the passenger's seat in front of him. He had the wind knocked out of him but he was coming around quickly.

"Greiz you fool, what did you run into?"

Hearing no answer from his driver, Eckhart struggled to pull himself back up onto the seat. That's when he felt the wind blowing into the passenger compartment, that's when he noticed the steel cable running from one side of the compartment to the other.

After impact the engine on the Kübelwagen had stalled, then the car had rolled back some, allowing Greiz's head to slump forward. To Eckhart it seemed that his driver had simply lost consciousness, when he leaned forward and grabbed Greiz's shoulder, the man's head lolled to one side at a sickeningly impossible angle. That and the blood soaking the front of the man's tunic was Eckhart's first clue that this was not a simple traffic accident.

The second was when a pair of strong hands yanked the car's rear door open and pulled him roughly from the back seat.

"What do you think ..."

A Norwegian rifle butt knocked the SD man senseless.

Oberleutnant Gerhard Krausse found himself in Schülze's office once again.

"What now?"

"It seems one of our SD men is missing, well, two actually, SS-Sturmbannführer Eckhart and his driver, SS-Sturmmann Greiz. They were supposedly traveling to that inn about ten kilometers to the east of here."

"Inn, what inn? Oh, you mean the hunting lodge!"

"Aber natürlich, Herr Oberleutnant, I'm a simple city detective who prefers the city streets. Yes, the hunting lodge, if you will. They never arrived."

"Why contact us?" Krausse asked, knowing the answer.

"They want a patrol to go have a look."

"In dieses Wetter?!¹" Krausse gestured at the window, the snow was falling harder, the wind made visibility almost zero.

"They didn't actually say when, Sir, but you know the implication."

"Phone them, let them know I'll do my best, but my men will have to travel on skis, I can't put an LKW² on these roads and hope to get anywhere."

Schülze lifted the phone, he then proceeded to rattle the handset several times.

"Großartig!³ The phone is dead. Perhaps the wires are down? It worked not thirty minutes ago."

Krausse nodded, "I'll lead the patrol myself, we'll follow the phone line out to the main road. I'll have my radio operator along, he can probably mend a broken line. He can also tell whether it was cut naturally, oder ..."

"I don't envy you being out in this storm." Schülze said, shivering as he looked out the window.

"We're trained for this, but yes, not my favorite thing either. If we're not back by tomorrow morning, then you can start worrying. Servus⁵!"

Schütze nodded as the lieutenant donned his gear and went back into the cold. "Good hunting!"

"Where am I? I demand that you release me!" SS-Sturmbannführer Eckhart struggled against the ropes that held him to the chair. He was shocked to his core when someone struck him, hard, across the face.

"Halt die Klappe, Arschloch!⁶" was followed by the pressing of a cold, hard object to Eckhart's forehead.

Eckhart recognized an accent, not Norwegian, something else, English perhaps? The man's German was very good, but not perfect.

"Listen carefully you SD pig. You have hostages in Litenhavn, now we have a hostage. You."

"La oss bare drepe ham.⁷" a nearby voice growled. Eckhart didn't understand what the man said, but it wasn't good. Not at all.

"You do know that they are searching for me, even in this storm?" Eckhart said.

"Well, they might find you, in the spring after the snow melts." the man with the odd accent spoke again.

The accent gave Eckhart's mind something to work on, he thought it might keep him sane in this nightmare he'd fallen into.

"How long, Johannes?" Krausse watched as his radioman examined the cut ends of the phone line. A very large branch had taken the line down.

"Not long Sir, the connection will be scratchy, but it will work. If I had the right tools I could do a proper splice, but ..." Gefreiter Johannes Tryb gestured at the surroundings. They were in a ditch beside the road, out of the wind but not out of the cold.

"Do the best you can," Krausse slapped Tryb on the shoulder then stood up and looked around. It was going to be dark soon, earlier than usual with this storm. He had two choices, neither of them good, they could make camp here and continue to the inn tomorrow, or head back to Litenhavn and see if the phone worked. Perhaps by then the storm would blow over. He doubted that they were more than three kilometers from Litenhavn.

His platoon sergeant, Feldwebel Wolf Burkhalter, came over to him. "We should camp here, Klaus thinks the storm will blow over in the morning. He's from the Harz, they know these things."

"Haven't we spent enough time in the mountains to know these things ourselves, Wolf?" Krausse squinted against the wind.

"Not like Klaus, has he ever been wrong?"

"Set up the Zeltbahnen⁸, we'll wait it out."

In the dark of a cold Norwegian night, the men would rest as best they could. Krausse assumed that the two SD men were dead. They probably were in a traffic accident, either they died in the wreck or the elements would kill them. Them being taken by the Norwegian resistance was the furthest thing from the lieutenant's mind. The Norwegians seemed rather like allies to him, not foes. At least they didn't seem all that antagonistic to the Reich.

He would learn.

¹ "In this weather?!" (German)
² Abbreviation for Lastkraftwagen, a truck (German)
³ "Great" (German)
⁴ A German will often end a sentence with "oder" (literally or) as a way of suggesting that other possibilities exist.
⁵ A very southern German/Austrian word. Similar to "ciao" and "aloha." Hello or goodbye, depending on context. Never heard it used in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Maybe that's just me.
⁶ Shut your mouth, asshole. (German)
⁷ Let's just kill him. (Norwegian)
⁸ Shelter quarters (German, literally "strip of canvas"), each man was issued one, four could be put together to make a small tent. Not roomy but better than nothing. DAMHIK


  1. Wondering how long Eckhart is for this world. Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.

    1. Well, he is a waste of oxygen, but lots of those live long lives. We'll have to see.

  2. One should never become too comfortable in a country in which one is the occupier. Current acceptance of the status quo should never be confused with acceptance.

    1. There are those who bide their time, appear to cooperate, then strike when they have the means and the opportunity.

  3. Norskies invented the Jeep Wire? Cool! This is gonna be interesting, especially as it is well told!

    1. I'm not saying they invented it, just that I had them use it.

    2. Used in the Middle Ages against horsemen. The Swiss were kind of prolific in the use. The Chinese probably will take credit for its first use, as they always do.

      Probably one of those things that develop wherever the ability to string something between two other somethings exists and the need to knock somethingsomeone off or down that is moving fast also exists.

    3. It's cheap, it's practical, and hey, it works!

  4. Everyone has lessons to learn. I got handed one last night, and three hours later, realized why I needed it. It will be hard to do, and I can see good results already; an unknown bad habit will slowly go away.

  5. I am glad the resistance is not afraid of the weather! Their stamina coming from being raised on lutfisk from some seasonal Norwegian julebord, I assume. However, between your good writing and watching some folks bob about in the North Sea on the telly last night, I had to put on a long sleeved shirt!

    1. I think I'm setting this in a Norwegian winter because it's starting to get hot and sticky here. It helps me cool off!

  6. A typo in "pair of string hands"... (I'm just looking for something to say so I can keep up with the comments throughout the day :-)

  7. Well, if they REALLY wanted to extract information from Eckhart, they could threaten him with Lutefisk, or Surstromming. Though, either would probably give their location away, unless the wind was just right.

    Excellent chapter of this unfolding tale. A toast (with Aquavit) to your Muse!

    1. Dear Lord, that would be against the Geneva Convention wouldn't it?

    2. Crusty Old TV Tech here. Some claim Lutefisk was invented by the Vikings as the first WMD (though the Vikings thought it a delicacy...hmmm!), so maybe it IS!

    3. COTT - Could well be, they were a pretty rough lot!

    4. StB - From what I've heard ...

    5. Another story of the invention of Lutefisk was that when the Vikings occupied Ireland, the Irish Resistance tried to destroy their stock of dried fish by pouring lye on it. The Vikings called it Lutefisk and thrived on it. Worse, they were taking all the Irish potato crop to make Lefse to go with it. Finally, St Patrick ascended a high place, spread his arms, and commanded all the Scandinavians to go to [the hotter place]. And they all left and moved to Minnesota...

  8. The above is brought to you by Crusty Old TV Tech

  9. Crusty Old TV Tech again. Slàinte, Prost, and Skål to you and your Muse!

  10. "Servous" is indeed a southern/ Bayrische term. Never seen it spelled out. From pronunciation I would think it started with a "Z" vice an "S". Learned it in Bad Tolz, myself.
    Boat Guy


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