Invisible Enemy

A Short Story by Ernest N.Whitenack


~ CHAPTER TWELVE ~

Previously:

“I have also found out, through an investigation I launched, and the help of the West German government, that your tobacconist friend Zimmerman did indeed come here after working in Washington and in London. However he was one of those who answered Hitler’s call for all Arians. The American Nazis gave him a short indoctrination; he pledged his life to Hitler and worked his way into the translation job in Washington. The rest of his story is essentially true; A real cleaver guy, and very dangerous. I suspect he will be in custody before the day is over.”

“You have to be doubly cautious, Clancy. Keep in mind, two men will have your back at all times and men will stake out your hotel at night, so yell out if needed."

“Clancy listened intently then injected, “I hope they hang the bastard for treason. I can’t believe I messed up so badly as to not follow my instincts and report the recognition incident to Von Schmidt. Guess I’m getting too old for this work.”

“I don’t think it would have changed a thing, Ian. He knew all about you from Von Schmidt’s briefing of this operation. The commies were just waiting for you to get here. And, I don’t think it is your age; more likely the five or so years since the Platoon last called you. Other things have been occupying your mind and time”.

“Hell, you even got married. That’s something I never thought would happen”. Otto said with a smile in his voice and a twinkle in his eye.

The situation lightened considerable, with everyone having a laugh, and all relaxed a bit.

“Do you want me to talk to Erich Graff seeing he was looking for me?”

“Only if you are curious about him. I have his whole story and know what he wants. Eulund answered. “We will hold him under guard until someone comes to take him to Munich. He is temporally in the local jail. The State Department has been notified and he will probably be taken elsewhere at some point. There is also his family to worry about. They have to be protected until all decisions are final. It’s a big job when someone at Graff’s level defects; to say nothing of the cost. The fact they are on this side of the border simplifies things a little”.

Do you have a line on this guy Richard Stahlmann as yet? Clancy asked.

“Our people have a tail on him but he is very elusive. He has a lot of protection who have created incidences that allowed him to give us the slip. We are going to cut back personnel assigned to him, and try staying back some to see if that will confuse his protectors. I’ll let you know the situation the minute there is a change.”

“That’s about all I can ask for. In the meantime I’ll play the tourist for a few days and get an on-foot lay of the town. Also, have Hans drive me through the park to get a look at the terrain and cover before I venture in on foot. I have to say that I think the whole treasure thing is a waste of time. If it hasn’t been found by now, if it even exists, it probably never will. I’ll supply you with an itinerary of my sightseeing before I start. Now, I’ll head back to the hotel, have a bite to eat. I would like to talk to Lieutenant Fox this afternoon. Please have him come to my room at three o’clock.

While Clancy sat in the dining room, with Otto hovering three tables away, he felt, for the first time since this started, that he had some control over things. His recent activation and promotion, for however long it will last, has given him more confidence, and the ability to give orders rather than accept whatever came his way.

Clancy relaxed in his room after a fine meal, filled his old meerschaum when, at promptly three o’clock Fox knocked on his door. He shook hands with Fox an ushered him to a chair.

“How have you been, Fox? What’s new in Munich?”

“Just about the same, Sir. Congratulations. I understand they have activated your commission and promoted you”.

“Yes they have, temporarily at least. I just wish I had been informed of it before I left Boston. I might have been more enthusiastic about this assignment. But, that is neither here nor there. The reason you are here is I want to know just what your orders are, how you intend to carry them out and what I can expect of you. As I have told you, I think your training was slipshod and inferior and you might be in over your head with this one. I want you to consult with Lieutenant Otto if you have any questions or are unsure about any action you are to take. Is that clear”?

“Yes Sir, Major, very clear. I have been ordered to be one of two protectors, Lieutenant Otto being the other and primary protector.
He will be in close proximity to your movements and I will be at a reasonable distance ready to move in if needed. He and I will be in constant communication via short range transceivers with miniature ear phones. We will be well armed at all time. I know what you think of my initial training, but you were extremely helpful along those lines in Freiberg. You taught me a great deal while there. And, may I say I am very thankful for it. It filled in a lot of gaps and gave me a better understanding of this kind of work. You can trust me, Sir.”

“I believe I can. You seem more confident and self assured. I’m happy you took my tutoring seriously. It could save your life some day”.

Clancy walked over to a table to retrieve matches and was about to relight when he turned and asked Fox if he was still smoking the Lumberman he bought in Freiberg. With an affirmative answer, he tossed his L.L. Bean pouch to Fox and suggested he light up. Fox was impressed with the Sherlock’s Choice imitation and a short conversation regarding pipes and tobacco ensued. The two men discussed Clancy’s plans for the next few days and where the whole thing might lead, both militarily and politically before Fox, when he finished his pipe, asked to be excused.

Meantime, on the other side of town in a secret room in the lower level of a Weinkeller, Richard Stahlmann was meeting with some group leaders of local Eastern agents.

“Has Graff been in touch with any of you? I expected him to be here,” No one replied and Stahlmann put on his best angry face, pounded the table; as he usually does.

“Something must be done about him. He has been totally inefficient. I gave him a very important task and I haven’t even received a report from him. I called in a specialist for the task and haven’s heard from either. I must believe he failed.”

“Can any of you shed light on the search for Hitler’s diamonds? Graff was supposed to increase activity and determine if there is or isn’t such a treasure.”

The men glanced at each other waiting for someone to speak. After an uncomfortable silence one man stood, and cleared his throat.

“I know that the park area has been gone over and every likely spot excavated or tested with a detector. Gold is supposed to be with the diamonds, Heir Stahlmann. It has been a long and arduous task and men doing the work have come to think it is a futile one. Those who were in the SS believe Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a more likely place, if such a treasure exists. “

“That doesn’t help. I must have a more comprehensive report for Moscow. If Graff doesn’t turn up soon you will have to supply it. Start thinking about it and make it convincing. I’ll pass on the theory regarding Garmisch-Partenkirchen and hope it stalls them a little. If any of you or your people hears anything about Graff in the next several days, contact me. You know where to find me. You may go now.”

The next morning, under the capable guidance of Hans, Clancy and Hans headed out on a sight-seeing tour. Soon Clancy spotted a green grocer and had Hans stop so he could buy some fruit. When he returned Hans handed Clancy an envelope telling him it was from Heir Eulund and asked him where he would like to go now. Before answering him, Clancy opened the envelope and removed a picture and note. The note told Clancy the picture, a fine studio portrait, is of Richard Stahlmann and to please keep his eyes open for him. He placed the picture and note in an inside pocket.

I would like to see the down-town area and perhaps walk around a bit, then have a look at every hotel whether it is just a guest house or a fine resort hotel. You can manage that, Hans?”

Naturally sir, I know them all. We will start in town and then go to the resort area. Please let me know if you want to stop anywhere”

They covered the town and Clancy marveled at the quaint architecture, so different from that of the cities and even rural farming sections. The painted facades of the buildings, almost all religious paintings, fascinated him and he wondered if the faith of the people was represented in the paintings or was it just a tourist attraction. As they went slowly from street to street Clancy looked for Stahlmann while thinking of Alma and how she would love this place. He must purchase something for her.

“I see there is a silversmith ahead’ Hans. Please stop there. I want to get a gift for my wife.”

“Heir Gotlieb is a fine artist and does wonderful things with silver, Hans said. He is a wood carver as well.”

Hans stopped in front of the shop and Clancy got out, paused to look in the windows. All the while as he walked from window to window of the shop, he was trying to spot one of his backups. He wanted them closer in case, by sheer luck, he spotted Stahlmann. Otto watched him and decided there was something Clancy wanted and moved into view. When Clancy saw Otto, Clancy removed his hat and quickly waved it in front of his face as if shooing a fly away; a Platoon signal to follow him.

Clancy looked back to the taxi and noted that Hans had his nose in a book and passed the “come now” signal to Otto.

Otto entered the store shortly after Clancy and strolled around looking at the art in silver. He approached Clancy and asked,

“It’s a wonderful place! Don’t you agree?”

“I certainly do. This gentleman is about to get some larger pieces from storage for me to look at.”

Gotlieb smiled broadly at both men, clasped his hands behind him and bowed to both before going to the back room.

Quickly Clancy told Otto about the photo of Stahlmann and that he was looking for him.

“I want you to get a couple of squads of MPs to follow us just in case. Contact Eulund and let him know what is going on and get a few copies of the portrait for the MPs. You and Fox both move in closer so we three can work quickly as a unit should we get lucky.”

Heir Gotlieb returned carrying a delicately carved Nordic Cross in shining Silver and a duplicate carved in Boxwood. Otto told Gotlieb he would return another time and left. Clancy told him he would take the wood cross.

“Also, heir Gotlieb, I would like you to craft a silver broach for my wife; something round with her initials made of small flowers.”

“I am honored, sir I will have a drawing in two days for your approval. Please return then. If it meets your standard I will need a substantial deposit on both items.”

“Naturally.”

Gotlieb went through the bow routine again just as Clancy turned and left the shop. Hans was still into his book when Clancy let himself into the back seat of the taxi.

“Let’s look at the hotels now, please” Clancy said.

Hans made a methodical tour of the hotels in central Mittenwald, stopping at each and describing its merits in turn. They branched out from the center and repeated the routine at a myriad of lesser hotels and a few
B and B type establishes. Next they headed for the luxury resorts catering to skiers and vacationers. At times Clancy looked around an caught a glimpse of the MP Jeeps behind him at a discrete distance. They had looked at several of these when Clancy hastily told Hans to stop that he wanted to look around. He walked across the street and was compelled by something inside him to enter a Weinkeller on the corner thinking to himself he will never ignore a feeling again and always trust his instincts.

The shop was decorated finely with sections of huge wine casks housing hundreds of wine bottles. Several small carved tables with like chairs were strategically scattered around the room. A couple tables were occupied and several wine bottles and a green-aproned salesman were in attendance.

Clancy walked to a tasting bar and was greeted by another green apron.

“How may I serve you, sir” He asked.

“I would like to send a case of wine to my wife in the USA but am not familiar with German wines. She likes a fruity soft white wine but with some body”.

“I have just the thing”. He said as he climbed a ladder that ran on a track much like those used in libraries, and retrieved two dusty bottles from one of the cask sections. “This is a 1946 Scharshoffberger the most consistently excellent Mosel wine produced. Here try this”, and handed Clancy a glass, “This is a Spatlese at 48DM per bottle with a ten percent discount for a twenty-four bottle case. That’s delivered of course”

Clancy turned from the counter and made a big show of tasting the wine, all the while observing people coming and going from the shop. He played it out as long as he could and turned back.

“That is exactly right for my wife. I’ll take a case. I assume you can you guarantee safe delivery to the US.”

“Absolutely, sir”

Clancy paid him, folded the receipt, turned to leave and bumped a man, almost knocking him down. As he steadied the man he realized he was looking at Richard Stahlmann who had just come from the secret lower room. Clancy pardoned himself, lowered his head in a bow and left hoping Stahlmann didn’t recognize him.

Outside, Otto and Fox were slowly and cautiously nearing the Weinkeller on foot, wondering what Clancy was up to in there, when Stahlmann came through the door followed shortly by Clancy. Stahlmann turned right as a limousine pulled to the curb to pick him up. Otto and Fox moved in from their respective positions to capture Stahlmann when Clancy spotted his protectors and signaled them to stop and follow. The three converged on Hans’s taxi, it being closer than either of their own cars. Clancy instructed Hans to follow the limo as Otto was on his radio to the MPs.

Some miles away Stallman’s limo pulled into the drive of the Alpenhof, one of the luxury hotels Clancy had previously looked over. Two men emerged and surveyed the area before opening the limo door for Stahlmann. All three entered the hotel.

In the taxi, Clancy quickly told Fox to follow and see what room or suit Stahlmann occupies.

“And don’t do anything stupid; no heroics or you could end up dead. There are sure to be bodyguards in there.”

He turned to Otto, “Get on your radio and keep the MPs back until we find out where Stahlmann is. Tell them I will want two men guarding every door of the hotel and in the lobby. All others are to be with us when we go in the building. They are to wait for your next transmission and move in quickly. Emphasize; no helmets, armbands or Sam Browne belts. Hand guns only and concealed until needed.”

At this point Hans was completely bewildered and wondering what he had gotten into. Clancy looked at Hans and remembered he wasn’t one of them; having so much on his mined, he had simply ignored him for the last several minutes. He assured him all was OK and he was safe; that he would receive extra pay for today. All Hans could do was nod his head, pick up his book and slump as far into his seat as he could.

Otto followed the order and they waited, somewhat impatiently for Fox’s return, both men checking their weapons. Fox emerged from the hotel, stopped and lit his pipe, looked around and casually sauntered back to the taxi.

“He is in room 217 just to the left of the staircase – no elevators. There are two men stationed by the door and several in room 219. I was lucky to catch them just going in. What now major?”

Clancy repeated the plan for Fox, and then told Otto to give the MPs the go ahead. Soon eight MPs were approaching the front of the hotel. Two went inside while the others bunched up on the walkway talking and laughing. Clancy went over to the group and asked for a light from a sergeant, smiled and laughed.

“Sergeant, four of you go inside and hang around the bottom of the stairs, as you are now, and then precede us up the stairs when we approach. Keep talking and laughing. The last two men will follow me in and up the stairs. Stahlmann is in 217 with additional bodyguards in 219. The first four will assault 219 on my signal. We will take 217 at the same time. We want all to be alive if possible, Stahlmann for sure. Be safe and good luck.”


Copyright © Ernest N. Whitenack 2016

Chapters: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Ch 12 | Ch 13 | Ch 14 | Ch 15 | Ch 16 | Ch 17 |                    Ch 18



Ernie Whitenack was born in 1928 in Springfield, Illinois and moved to Massachusetts in the mid 1930's. He is a Korean War veteran, worked as a photographic illustrator for 43 years and is now retired.


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