Düsseldorf Radio Station

Düsseldorf, Germany

November, 1944

Day 6

 

 

The next morning, Hogan found a couple of minutes to pull Miller aside during a break in rehearsal.

 

"You look exhausted," Hogan noted.

 

"You're not exactly looking fresh as a daisy yourself."

 

Hogan snorted. "It was a long night last night. We tried to get to you but Hochstetter and Reigels got in the way."

 

Miller nodded. "Yeah. There I was, Little Nell saved by Simon Legree.”

 

"I saw."

 

Miller looked at Hogan and thought back to the night before. There were two Gestapo officers he hadn't been able to place...

 

Hogan grinned seeing the realization come to the Major's brown eyes. "Told you I'd be switching uniforms."

 

Miller chuckled.

 

"How long did Reigels stay?"

 

"About an hour."

 

"You didn't stay awake waiting for me did you?"

 

"Sort of. I tossed and turned more thinking about this awful broadcast they want to do."

 

"Reigels give you an itinerary?"

 

Miller nodded. "It's a half hour program...the first 15 minutes is pretty much all music. After that is rhetoric, but he wouldn't tell me what was going to be said and what I saw of the scripts it was all in German."

 

"Do they want you to speak?"

 

"Of course. But I don't know what it is I'll be saying. He gave me a phonetic German script, not unlike what the ABSIE had me read from."

 

"But wouldn't tell you the subject matter?"

 

"No."

"No wonder you tossed and turned. For all you know you're pledging allegiance to the Third Reich. And to make things more weird, the Gestapo has a peculiar interest in this broadcast, beyond being your jailers."

 

"The Gestapo?"

 

Hogan nodded. "Newkirk and I over heard that conversation between Hochstetter and Reigels. Besides telling Hochstetter to basically simmer down, Reigels said something about Goebbels' plan with you being something that Hochstetter was quite interested in when they were first planning it."

 

Miller raised an eyebrow and then thought back to two nights previous when Hochstetter gave him hell for the escape attempt. "You know...the other night when Hochstetter read the riot act to me after my escape attempt, he seemed perturbed about the Gestapo having to guard me to begin with. I asked him if I was a waste of his time. He replied that other than the one purpose I would be serving them, yes I was a complete waste of his time."

 

Hogan nodded. "You're bait. For something."

 

Miller dwelled on that for a moment. "I think I know what for." He glanced over his shoulder toward the band. "Others like them."

 

Hogan was dubious. "I don't follow..."

 

"All these kids are guilty of is enjoying swing and jazz music, which back home would be nothing. But here...here it's a snub to the Nazi's. These kids have no political agenda, they don't take up arms against the Reich. They buy records. American jazz records. They don't care about the color of the skin of the bandleader or his religious preference. All they care about is having good music so they can have a good time." Miller looked at Hogan. "Resistance is resistance, Colonel, but can you think of a bigger threat to everything we've ever read about the Third Reich, to everything we've seen in this war, than what it is that those kids represent?"

 

Hogan nodded, understanding now. "And considering the existence of the Hitler Youth and the Nazi's requirement that every youth in Germany be in the organization, it makes it difficult for the two sides to reconcile."

 

"Exactly. And those that don't agree to join are essentially sent off to prison camps. It's the Nazi way or no way." Miller sighed. "They're going to put me on that radio and it'll flush out every Swing Youth in Germany. They'll be crushed."

 

Hogan shook his head. "No they won't. I've been striking out on trying to spring you so far, but I can guarantee that that broadcast will go bust--" Hogan stopped suddenly when the doors to the studio opened. He glanced to see Reigels and Anna walk in for the first time that morning. He looked back at Miller.

 

"You want to add the drum solo where?"

 

"Uh.." Miller saw Reigels and Anna as well and shifted gears to bandleader. "At the pick up of the second chorus," he said following Hogan's lead. "Or what would be the pick up of the second chorus...if I had vocalists."

 

Hogan gave an indiscreet wink.

 

Anna heard this as she approached. "Vocalists?" she said.

 

"Well, I've been giving it some thought," Miller continued. "A couple of vocalists would be nice."

 

Anna smiled. "Well, Herr Major, for having not wanted to do this broadcast initially you are certainly giving it more thought."

 

"If it's going to be done, it may as well be done right," Miller said. "And I wouldn't want German vocalists. I would prefer English speaking."

 

"More POW's?" she asked.

 

"Preferably."

 

Anna nodded. "We will see what we can do for you, Herr Major."

 

"I hope you plan on making a good offer," Hogan said to Anna.

 

"Of course, Colonel," Anna said. "Special privileges will be offered, just as they were to you and your men here."

 

"But you're going to have to do one better," Hogan said. "Part of the reason I agreed to do this was to find out if it was really Glenn Miller you had." Hogan looked at Miller and hoped the Major wouldn't be too shocked by what he was about to say next. "Now that I know you do, I suppose the Major here is going to lead half of Stalag 13 to a treason charge."

 

Miller looked at Hogan, trying to hide his surprise. He followed the Colonel's lead however, and straightened his spine before offering an explanation. "I have little choice, Colonel," he said. "My back is against the wall. Despite what I'm doing, I'm not getting special privileges....other than being allowed to remain standing."

 

"Then I was right," Hogan said, now looking at Reigels. "People can be cooperative if you threaten them enough."

 

"We prefer to consider our tactics as persuasive, Colonel," Reigels said.

 

"Hmm..."

 

Anna looked at Miller. "Perhaps, Herr Major, you would like some special privileges of your own?"

 

"Staying alive is privilege enough."

 

"Maybe a nice dinner, perhaps some female companionship?"

 

"How about a pack of cigarettes?"

 

Anna chuckled softly. "Yes... you are married aren't you?"

 

"Very much so."

 

"Then perhaps a nice dinner then? You and Colonel Hogan here, along with his men, could dine with us this evening at the Houserhauf?"

 

Hogan and Miller exchanged glances.

 

"You bringing your camera, Anna?" Hogan asked. "Take a few snapshots of Major Miller dining with Nazis and appearing to enjoy himself?"

 

Anna paused to consider this. "As I said before, it would show to the Allies that he is being treated well here."

 

"Forget it," Miller said. "Look, you've got me and you'll have swing music for your broadcast. That's all I'm giving you."

 

Anna looked at Miller and smiled. "Yes, Herr Major. For now..." She turned and headed for the studio door with Reigels following.

 

Once the door shut, Hogan looked at Miller. "Nice job."

 

Miller sighed. "You know, the thought of the fact that, for all intents and purposes, I am in the process of committing treason doesn't sit too well with me."

 

"Don't worry, the rest of us all look the same way," Hogan said.

 

"Well, I hope the Propaganda Ministry has enjoyed what swing music they've heard over the past couple of days," Miller said.

 

"Why's that?"

"Because tomorrow they're not getting any."

 

Hogan blinked. "What do--?"

 

"Colonel," LeBeau spoke up.

 

Hogan and Miller looked at the Frenchman and LeBeau pointed to the control room. The two Army officers turned and saw Hochstetter had entered and was looking in on the studio. Miller turned back to Hogan and gestured for him to get back to the drum kit. The Colonel did so.

 

"Flat Foot Floogee," Miller announced. The band came to sudden attention and readied their instruments. Miller counted off, and then Hogan hit the hi-hat starting the song.  LeBeau, Kinch, Hogan and the kids did the lyrics as best they could.

 

"Flat foot floogee with the bright eyes....flat foot floogee with the bright eyes....flat foot floogee with the bright eyes... bright eyes, bright eyes, bright eyes..."

 

The band then launched in to the song. Hochstetter remained in the control room. In fact he remained through the whole song. Even after Miller announced In the Mood and the band played that, Hochstetter still remained in the control room.

 

After the band finished the run through of the song, Miller glanced over his shoulder, seeing Hochstetter was still in the control room. He turned back to the band and looked at Hogan. "What's he doing up there?" he wondered quietly.

 

Hogan put the drum sticks down. "Let's find out..." He stood up and walked to the middle of the studio, looking through the glass at Hochstetter. "Hiya Major! Didn't know you were such a fan of swing music!"

 

Hochstetter scowled and got up from his chair. He went to the door that led from the control room directly to the studio and opened it. "I'm not," he said as he came out. "But I've always been highly suspicious of you, Colonel Hogan."

 

"Why is that, I wonder?"

 

"Very strange things happen to things that you always seem to be somehow involved in," Hochstetter said. "Plans fail, people disappear..."

 

"Maybe it's just coincidence," Hogan said.

 

"I don't think so."

 

"Maybe it's bad luck?" Miller suggested.

 

Hochstetter glared at Miller. He then turned his gaze back to Hogan. "Just be reminded Colonel, that Major Miller is under the guard of the Gestapo and is not a POW..."

 

"The Major was telling me that," Hogan said. "Too bad really, he'd get along great with everybody back at Stalag 13. Lot of the guys like his music."

 

"Hmmm..." Hochstetter said. "Would they still be such enthusiasts if they knew he was broadcasting for our side?"

 

"Well, none of us would blame him. Especially seeing as he's been persuaded by warm and friendly folks such as yourself."

 

Miller snickered which earned him a cold glare from Hochstetter. "Bah!" the Gestapo Major said and marched to the studio doors, letting himself out.

 

"He's a ball of joy isn't he?" Miller said.

 

Hogan chuckled.

 

***

 

 

Stalag 13

November, 1944

Day 6

 

"Vocalists?" Klink repeated, looking at Reigels and Anna who were seated across from his desk. "What does Major Miller think Stalag 13 is? The Copenhagen School of Music?"

 

"Well, if you don't believe there are any prisoners here who would be able to assist I'm sure there are Kommandant's of other Stalags who would be more than willing to help..." Reigels said. 

 

Klink chuckled nervously. "I was merely trying to make a joke..uhUnteroffizier! Tell the prisoners there will be a roll call in five minutes!"

 

"Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!"  the Unteroffizier replied and turned, leaving Klink's office.

 

Klink looked back at Reigels and Anna with more nervous chuckling. "Uh..." He stood up and stepped around the side of his desk. "I happen to know that several of the prisoners here take part in small choirs and acappella singing. I'm sure we will have no problem finding singers for the Major."

 

"Very good, Colonel," Reigels said.

 

"You know, if I may ask...is there any possibility that I could be of any assistance with this broadcast?"

 

Anna turned in her chair to look at Klink, with a little alarm. "Colonel Klink, don't tell me you sing?"

 

"Oh no no!" Klink replied with a laugh. "Well, I've done a little singing here and there, but certainly not of the level that would be required for this very important broadcast.  No, I was thinking perhaps I could assist with the announcing duties?"

 

"The Propaganda Ministry appreciates your wanting to help but it will not be necessary," Reigels said. "We will be having Major Miller do most of the announcing during the broadcast."

 

"Major Miller? Will he be speaking German?"

 

"Some German. Some English also, as we will be broadcasting the program to London as well."

 

"I see. Are you sure you would not want some one else to speak the German while Major Miller speaks English?"

Reigels smiled as he and Anna stood up from their seats. "Your willingness to help with the broadcast is commendable, Herr Kommandant. But I assure we are well prepared. Now...the vocalists?"

 

Klink looked disappointed. "Yes, the vocalists..." He headed for the door with Reigels and Anna following.

 

Being the only two to volunteer, much to Klink's chagrin, Newkirk and Carter were brought to Klink's office before being taken to Düsseldorf.

 

"Just two of you?" Klink said. "But there are several of you whom I've heard sing, I don't understand this."

 

"Well sir," Newkirk explained, "some of the lads are a little under the weather, their voices aren't sounding all that good right now. And some of the others I think are really intimidated by the idea of singing for Major Miller."

 

"Yeah," Carter added. "He's real particular you know. Very disciplined." He waved his thumb between himself and Newkirk. "He may not even like us!"

 

"Unfortunately, Major Miller does not have the luxury to be choosy," Reigels said. "He will have to settle for the two of you. Assuming of course, you can sing..."

 

"Of course we can sing!" Carter replied. "Why else would we volunteer??"

 

Newkirk nudged Carter with his elbow. "We could be volunteering just to get the special privileges."

 

"Well I would think we better be able to carry a tune in a bucket or else we won't get anything." Carter looked at Reigels. "Right?"

 

Reigels nodded.

 

"See?" Carter looked at Newkirk now. "Boy they're gonna find out we can sing!"

 

"Hauptmann Reigels," Klink said, "I can assure that these men can sing. I've heard them."

 

"Very well," Reigels said. He looked at the two prisoners. "Let us be going now..."

 

Carter and Newkirk turned and started for the door. Together, they started to sing: "Over there. Over there. Send the word, send the word, over there..." as they marched out of Klink's office.

 

 

Düsseldorf Radio Station

Düsseldorf, Germany

November 1944

Day 6

 

 

With two hours left of rehearsal time, Miller called for a break. Hans and Ahren took a chance and approached Major Miller. It seemed like the American Colonel was around the bandleader all the time, pulling him off to the side and talking to him in hushed tones. Although the boys were suspicious, they figured it might have something to do with the Major attempting to escape the other night. The Colonel could have been telling the Major one of two things: How to do it right the next time, or to not do it again.

 

The boys were figuring the Colonel told him don't do it again, given that there had been no indication of any escape attempt the night before. Although Erik had been pretty shaken up by being singled out the day before, he and all of the boys knew that Major Miller could not, and should not, remain in Germany. If there was an opportunity for him to escape he should take it. They would face whatever they had to from the Gestapo for it. They had all faced much before.

 

With the American Colonel talking to the other two prisoners, Hans and Ahren approached Miller at the front of the bandstand. "Herr Miller?"

 

Miller looked up at the two. He saw both the seriousness and the concern on the young faces.

 

"Can we speak with you for a moment?" Ahren asked.

 

"Sure."

 

Hans' head moved slightly, indicating that he and Ahren wanted their own off to the side conversation. The boys then walked back towards the risers of the bandstand and Miller followed. When they stopped and turned back to him, he quietly asked, "What's wrong?"

 

"Herr Miller," Hans started, "did you... try to escape last night?"

 

Miller paused looking between the two. Although he was surprised by the question, he knew he shouldn't have been. The whole band had seen what happened the day before when Reigels tried to make Erik take the punishment for Miller's escape attempt. There was no hiding there had been an attempt. But there had been no attempt last night....

 

Miller's look was concerned as he answered. "No. Why, did Hochstetter or Reigels try something?"

 

The boys shook their heads. "Nein. We were just wondering." Ahren said.

 

"Oh. No, I didn't try to escape last night."

 

"Why not?" Hans asked.

 

Miller was caught off guard by Hans' tone. The boy wasn't merely wondering....he was practically demanding. "Well, because I had visitors. First was Hochstetter, who tried to take me to his Gestapo jail and then Reigels showed up, spoiling Hochstetter's plan."

 

"You were questioned by them?" Ahren asked.

 

"No. Hochstetter hardly said anything to me, he let his goons with the gun---er, his guards with the guns do the talking. Reigels came around to discuss the broadcast."

 

The boys nodded. "Herr Miller," Hans said, "we know you must try to escape. We know you should not be here. Please don't let us stop you from getting away from here."

 

"We will take whatever punishment the Gestapo and Reigels give, just as long as you make it safely back to England," Ahren added.

 

Miller was stunned. It took a moment for him to find his voice. "You boys don't know what you're saying..."

 

"Yes, we do," Hans said. "You should not be here. Therefore, you must leave here. Soon..."

 

The studio doors suddenly clicked open and Hauptmann Reigels entered with Carter and Newkirk.

 

Hogan turned from his conversation with LeBeau and Kinch and made eye contact with Miller. Before the Major could excuse himself from the boys, Hans gently touched his arm. The young boy's eyes were serious as he looked at Miller. "Remember," he said, "you must..."

 

Miller hesitated and then nodded. Not so much because he agreed with leaving them behind to take the punishment but agreeing with the urgency in getting out of the place. Of all of them getting out of the place.

 

Miller stepped away from the boys and came to the middle of the studio. "Nice of them to be timely," Hogan said quietly, coming to stand next to Major Miller. Reigels approached with Carter and Newkirk.

 

"Major Miller," Reigels said, "these were the only two prisoners to volunteer. Will two be sufficient?"

 

"Two will be fine. I wasn't expecting a choir."

 

Reigels gave a curt nod. "Very well." He turned to Carter and Newkirk. "The Propaganda Ministry thanks you for volunteering."

 

"Oh no sir," Newkirk said with a smile. "Thank you..."

 

Reigels wasn't sure he cared for the Englander's tone. He eye Newkirk warily before turning to leave with Anna.

 

"Charming lot," Newkirk muttered before turning back to face the Colonel and Major Miller. Carter came up directly to the Major with a wide eyed grin. "You really are Glenn Miller!"

 

"Carter..." Hogan said.

 

"Oh, sorry sir." Carter stepped back and saluted Major Miller. "You really are Glenn Miller. Sir."

 

Miller chuckled and returned a salute to the young airman. "Yes, I am. Although previously I've tried to deny it."

 

"Major Glenn Miller, Sergeant Andrew Carter," Hogan said.

 

Miller extended a hand and shook hands with the sergeant. "Nice to meet you."

 

"It's an honor to meet you, sir," Carter said. "I've got several of your records back home. I even saw ya in person once, just before I went into the service. And I saw you in Sun Valley Serenade." Carter paused. "Haven't seen Orchestra Wives yet."

 

"Uh Carter?" Hogan spoke up.

 

"Sorry, sir." Carter smiled at the Major and stepped back.

 

"Major.... Corporal Peter Newkirk."

 

Newkirk smiled and shook Miller's hand. "I'm with Andrew tho', it's an honor to meet you sir."

 

"You going to gush like Carter did?" Hogan joked.

 

"Uh, no sir." Newkirk grinned and stepped back. He then leaned forward a bit. "But I could."

 

 

*****

 

Major Miller stood with Colonel Hogan, LeBeau and Kinch as the young musicians were led out of the studio first by the Gestapo guard. As they had done for the previous two days, each band member looked at the Major and nodded, bidding him good night. He nodded back and said "Gute nacht," for all of them. Hans and Ahren spoke more formally. "Guten Abend, Herr Miller," each of them said. In each of their faces, Miller saw the honor and the sense of a salute. They were saying more than just good night. They were taking the opportunity to say goodbye, knowing if there was a chance for the Major to escape he should take it.

 

Once the boys were gone, Miller turned to Hogan. The Colonel had a small smile on his face and was tucking something into his brown bomber jacket.

 

"We'll stop by and see you later at the hotel."

 

"What?"

 

"Some more rehearsal," Hogan answered with a wink. He then saluted the Major and Miller saluted back. The Colonel and his men then turned as Schultz was approaching to lead them off.

 

"You gonna count us, Schultzie?" Newkirk asked. "You should have five..."

 

"Jolly joker," Schultz replied. "Rouse." He pointed to the door. The heroes obliged and marched, single file out of the studio. It was then that Miller realized what Hogan had been tucking into his bomber jacket.

 

Sheet music.

 

**

 

As they drove back to Stalag 13, Hogan pulled the sheet music out of his jacket. He turned in the passenger seat at the front of the truck to face the heroes who were in the back of the truck. "Okay fellas, this song here. I think we're going to have to really work on it to make it good for tomorrow...."

 

Schultz glanced away from the road ahead of him and saw what Hogan had. "Ah ah ah! Where did you get that?!"

 

"Major Miller," Hogan replied.

 

"Major Miller?? He is not supposed to be letting you have any of the things for the broadcast!" Schultz snatched the sheet music away from the Colonel.

 

"The sheet music?? C'mon Schultz, it's not like we just stole Hitler's memoirs!"

 

Schultz brought the truck to a stop at the side of the road. "This is the property of the Propaganda Ministry and you dangerous prisoners are not supposed to have any of this stuff."

 

"Schultz, like having a copy of the sheet music for "Perfidia" is going to change the course of the war! C'mon..." Hogan reached out for the sheet music but Schultz held it out of reach.

 

"Nein! We will go back to Düsseldorf and return this to the Major."

 

"All the way back to Düsseldorf just to return some sheet music?? Schultz, that's ridiculous!"

 

"We will go back to Düsseldorf." Schultz put the truck in gear and turned it around in the middle of the road and they headed back to Düsseldorf.

 

Hogan held back his grin. This was going better than he thought. Now to convince Schultz that once they got to Düsseldorf, they should stay for a bit to work out the song with the Major.

 

 

 

Düsseldorf Hotel

Düsseldorf, Germany

November 1944

Day 6

 

 

The Gestapo guard that was posted outside of Major Miller's hotel room door looked at Sergeant Schultz as the portly camp guard approached with Hogan and all the heroes in tow.

 

"What is this?" the guard asked.

 

"Colonel Hogan and these men would like to speak with Major Miller, about the broadcast tomorrow," Schultz said.

 

Hogan held up the borrowed sheet music he had. "These arrangements," he said. "We have to talk to him about these arrangements and have him take a listen to the vocalists, as we didn't have much time this afternoon." He pointed to Carter and Newkirk.

 

The Gestapo guard didn't understand a word Hogan said. He looked at Schultz.

 

Schultz translated and added, "It would not do any harm. They can not escape. We are on the sixth floor."

 

"That's true. How long will they be?"

 

Schultz looked at Hogan. "How long will you be?"

 

"Well, we're not going to have much of a chance to discuss anything with him tomorrow...let's say two hours?"

 

"Two hours?!" Schultz repeated. "Colonel Hogan---"

"Remember Schultz, strudel..." LeBeau said.

 

Schultz hesitated, gave a whine and then a sigh. He looked at the Gestapo guard. "They need two hours."

 

The Gestapo guard considered this for a moment. He really didn't see any problem with it. He nodded to Schultz and then turned and knocked on the hotel room door.

 

Major Miller stepped out of the wash room with a white hand towel in hand. His brown uniform jacket had been shed and was lying across the end of the bed, along with his neck tie. He hoped whoever his visitor was didn't mind his relaxed attire. He opened the door.

 

He was surprised to see so many faces looking back at him. The Gestapo guard pointed to Schultz.

 

"Herr Major," Schultz said. "Colonel Hogan and his men here would like to speak with you about tomorrow's broadcast."

 

Miller glanced at Hogan and his troop and then looked back at Schultz. "Certainly." He stepped back, opening the door wider and letting the heroes enter. Schultz looked at his watch and then looked at Colonel Hogan. "Two hours," he reminded.

 

"Two hours, Schultz," Hogan said.

 

Schultz nodded and stepped back. Miller closed the door and turned toward the room.

 

"How'd you manage this?" Miller asked.

 

Hogan grinned. "It's all the Propaganda Ministry's fault. They brought Carter and Newkirk in too late for you to get a good rehearsal with them for tomorrow's broadcast."

 

"Besides," LeBeau said, "convincing Schultz to bring us here was easy."

 

"Yeah, piece of strudel," Carter said with a smile.

 

"But the broadcast isn't until tomorrow evening. We'll have all day to rehearse."

 

"Yes, but we won't have all day to discuss escape plans," Hogan said. "I've the feeling that radio station is going to be crawling with Propaganda people in anticipation of the broadcast. Do you have that German script you're supposed to read from?"

 

"Sure..." Miller tossed the towel he had been holding onto the night stand and turned to the writing desk. He picked up a single sheet of paper and handed it to the Colonel. "I'm not sure I want to know what it says though..."

 

Hogan read the paper with Newkirk coming up beside him to read over the Colonel's shoulder. The two men were quiet as they read, but Miller, Carter, Kinch and LeBeau could all see the reaction on their faces.

 

Newkirk looked across the paper at Miller. "You're right, you don't want to know what it says."

 

Miller gulped, curiosity settling in. He looked at Hogan, who was still staring at the paper. "Colonel?"

 

Hogan paused, taking a deep breath. "I was right," he said softly, his eyes still looking at the paper. "You're denouncing everything with the Allied cause....you've been shown the error of your ways, and you believe that the preservation of the Aryan race is paramount. You're calling on the youth of Germany to except their responsibility to the Fatherland..."

 

"Like hell I am."

 

"Non!" LeBeau said, grabbing the paper from Hogan. He then tore it in half.

 

"LeBeau!"

 

"We can not let them do this, mon Colonel!" LeBeau said.

 

"We're not going to, LeBeau. That's why we're here right now so we can finalize the plans for tomorrow." Hogan took the torn paper back from LeBeau. He handed it to Miller and looked at the Major. "Should they ask, tell Reigels you figured out what they want you to say."

 

Miller nodded and turned back to the desk, putting the pieces of paper down. "If it makes you feel any better, LeBeau," he said, turning back to the group and the Frenchman, "I don't plan on having you fellas play any actual swing music tomorrow during that broadcast anyway."

 

Hogan looked at Miller. "You said that earlier...what are we going to play?"

 

"Noise."

 

"Noise?" Hogan grinned.

 

Miller nodded. "If you recall, the Fraulien from the Propaganda Ministry so graciously pointed out that the Reich frowns on such noise. So that's exactly what she's going to get."

 

The heroes laughed. "l like your way of thinking, Major," Hogan said.

 

Miller gave a slight bow. "Thank you, Colonel."

 

"Propaganda Ministry won't like it tho'..." Newkirk said.

 

"Won't matter by that point. I think we can use that as our cue for Fritz and his men to come in. What time is that broadcast supposed to start?"

 

"Eight o'clock."

 

Hogan nodded. "Okay. Most of the big shots should be there by seven-thirty or quarter of. At the very least, Fritz will be able to swap out those Gestapo guards in 15 minutes....though, it might be better if does it earlier in the evening."

 

"What if Fritz can't make the change until after the broadcast starts?" Kinch asked.

 

"That's where we all come in," Hogan said. "If the Major here is going to have us play noise, the Krauts will cut that live feed in a heartbeat. We'll all get hell for it but I think we can stall long enough for Fritz and his boys to move in."

 

"What about the kids who might be listening to the broadcast?" Miller asked. "Even if it goes bust, the Gestapo could still move in and do a sweep."

 

Hogan nodded. "I'm going to see Fritz later tonight and have him put a message out to the clubs to be aware of any broadcasts on German radio featuring you and your music. If they're not listening that should spare them from any Gestapo raids."

 

Miller nodded.

 

"By the way," Hogan continued and turned to Newkirk. "Fraulien Gebhart has tried before to snap pictures of Miller and the band and I'm sure tomorrow will be no different. I'll leave that up to you to make sure she doesn't get any pictures?"

 

Newkirk grinned. "I can take care of that, no problem."

 

There was a knock on the hotel room door and the men all looked to see Schultz poke his head in.

 

"What's the matter, Schultz?" Hogan asked.

 

"I do not hear any singing."

 

"We haven't gotten to that yet."

 

"Oh..." Schultz paused and then narrowed his eyes. "You wouldn't be thinking to plan any escapes would you?"

 

"Now Schultz, how could the six of us escape with you standing right out the door there?"

 

"Hmm." Schultz nodded. "That is true...." He stepped back and closed the door once again.

 

The heroes and Miller chuckled as Hogan turned back to face them. "That oughta hold him for awhile. But all the same we probably better sing a song or two here. Carter, Newkirk..." Hogan handed the sheet music to Carter and he stood next to Newkirk. They each cleared their throats and then began to sing.

 

"To you,

my heart cries out Perfidia.

For I found you the love of my life,

in somebody else's arms

 

Your eyes,

are echoing Perfidia.

Forgetful of a promise of love

you're sharing another charms..."

 

 

After two sang "Perfidia" and "Skylark" Hogan returned to business. As he recapped what they had so far Major Miller sat down on the edge of the bed and picked up his uniform jacket, going through the pockets. He found his lighter but failed to find any remaining cigarettes. He frowned.

 

Newkirk saw this. "Oh, we have something for you, sir..." he said. He sat down on the other side of the bed and produced a package of cigarettes from his RAF uniform jacket for the Major.  "We overheard Reigels tell Hochstetter to remove the cigarettes from your pack before you got it back."

 

Miller nodded. "I wondered what happened to them...." He paused to open the pack and remove a cigarette. "And I knew I wouldn't be able to conserve what I had left in my pocket."  He paused a moment to light the cigarette and savored the first drag. He looked at Newkirk. "Thank you."

 

Newkirk smiled. "You're welcome."

 

As Miller grabbed the ash tray off the night stand, LeBeau pulled the chair from the desk, which was to Miller's left, and brought it closer, sitting down. Carter and Kinch did the same with the two remaining chairs in the room, bringing them up toward the end of the bed. Hogan remained standing by choice. 

 

Miller paused. "Colonel....what about those kids?"

 

Hogan turned to Miller. "With all due respect, Major....we've had this conversation. Frankly, this isn't really a good time to be sentimental."

 

"Yes, and we're going to have the conversation again. I'm not being sentimental. I'm feeling guilty. Those kids shouldn't even be here and the only reason they are is because..." Miller cut himself short, refusing to put the blame on the Colonel. Instead he put it on himself. "...because I agreed to do all this."

 

"Because I told you to agree to it," Hogan said, correcting the Major. The Colonel didn't look at Miller, but the bandleader was studying him closely. The heroes were looking back and forth between the two men, knowing what conclusion the Major was coming to.

 

"You haven't thought once of those kids....you didn't have a plan at the time I walked out of that cooler, did you?"

 

Hogan looked up at Miller. "Of course I've thought of them! I'm not heartless here! And as for having a plan at the moment you walked out of that cooler, I'll admit it, no, I didn’t have a specific one. But I wasn't about to leave you in there."

 

"Would've been all right by me."

 

"No, it wouldn't have..." Hogan said. "Major, you have no idea what could have happened to you in there. You have no idea what they might have done to you, once they decided they weren't going to waste their time with you anymore. I've only known you for a short time, Major Miller, but I know you would've resisted come hell or high water. And being that you are an officer of the United States Army, I'd expect no less. But when it reached a point that you were going to be no help to the Germans, they sure as hell wouldn't be sending you back to England alive. They would have made an example of your demise, I'm sure..."

 

Miller looked away from Hogan.

 

"There were a lot of variables the gov'nor had to consider," Newkirk said, offering something for the Colonel's defense. "The Propaganda Ministry, the broadcast, how long they were going to keep you at Stalag 13. Plus he had London breathin' down his neck. None of us had any idea what the broadcast was going to be. And certainly none of us expected them to bring kids in for that band!"

 

Miller looked at his cigarette for a moment and then turned his dark eyes to the Colonel. "Well they're here now," he said. "And if I make it back to England, the Propaganda Ministry and the Gestapo will take it out on them."

 

“Couldn't the Underground get them out?” Carter asked innocently. “There’s only what? Nine of them?”

 

“Maybe,” Hogan said. “But that’s not what we've planned for. We don't even know if all of those kids would be cooperative in the escape, and if any of them got away from us and got back to the Gestapo, we'd be finished." 

 

"You mean if they're picked up by the Gestapo," Miller said.

 

"You're assuming none of these kids would go to the Gestapo?"

 

"You're assuming they would? Colonel, these kids were arrested by the Gestapo. They hate the Gestapo and in turn the Gestapo is not too fond of them. They'll question those kids if they're left behind and if the Gestapo doesn't hear the answers they want, those kids will pay a price."

 

"Gestapo will question us too," Kinch said.

 

"That's to be expected," Hogan said. He paused for a long moment, thinking. He then looked at Miller. "You're right though, those kids will be questioned. And I know they've seen us talking." Hogan paused. "You're going to make my job all that more difficult aren't you?"

 

"I promised myself I wouldn't," Miller replied. "Of course, I was in the cooler at the time...."

 

Hogan was quiet in thought. He looked down at the floor, considering ramifications, possibilities. Could it be done? Nine kids, plus the Major...ten people total, in one shot? Could Fritz's people do it? Hogan took a deep breath and figured there was only one way to find out. He looked back up at Major Miller. "How many of them do you think will go with you?"

 

Miller's look turned hopeful. "Based on what I've learned about these kids, I'd bet on all of them."

 

"Even the Hitler Youth ones?" LeBeau asked.

 

Miller nodded. "They're swing kids before they're Hitler Youth."

 

"You sure about that?" Hogan asked.

 

Miller looked at the Colonel, surprised at the bluntness of the question. "I'm sure. I've only spent about 8 hours a day with them for the last three days."

 

Hogan nodded. "I'm not purposely trying to cut you down here, but you have to understand my orders are specific: Get you back to London. Period at the end. Granted, the Underground could probably get those kids out too, but they may decide not to, or may not be able to. You're the priority." Hogan paused, seeing the Major wasn't completely agreeable with that. "I told you it wasn't a good time to be sentimental...or guilty."

 

"But Colonel, I don't understand. You just said yourself that those kids have seen us talking. They tell that to the Gestapo, thinking that you and I have been discussing nothing more than the broadcast, the Gestapo going to assume some things and come down on your organization. Hard."

 

"And like I told you yesterday, that's the risk I have to take."

 

Miller sighed not wanting to repeat his argument from the day before with Hogan. Instead he looked down at his uniform jacket laying on the bed. "Fine," he said. Still looking at his jacket, the brass buttons, the rank insignia on the shoulders, the US emblems on the collar, he thought of the possibilities of what could happen to those kids, knowing it would bother him for a long time. He closed his eyes and shook his head.

 

"We've managed to discredit anything the Gestapo's had on us up to this point," Carter said. "We can do it again."

 

Miller opened his eyes and looked at Carter. "I hope so," he said.

 

"I only point out the harsh reality because the possibility is there," Hogan said. "However, that doesn't mean I won't make a case to the Underground for you. But even I can't guarantee anything. Once you're on the escape route, you're in the hands of the Underground and they're the ones that call the shots at that point."

 

"I understand, Colonel."

 

Newkirk looked at the Major. "Those kids really are good musicians..."

 

Miller nodded. "Yeah, they are...but even if they were bad musicians I'd still want to take them back. I've asked them to go against one of their strongest principles but I can't tell them why. And in not being able to tell them, I'm essentially using them for my own personal gain, and possibly risking their lives in the process. And I don't like that. I have to do something for them in return."

 

"Those kids seem pretty fond of you," Kinch pointed out. "It's possible they would risk their lives for you."

 

Miller paused, recalling Hans and Ahren basically telling him to get the hell out of Germany anyway he could, as soon as he could. They had to already know what they would face from the Gestapo if that happened. Certainly Miller knew it. And that was why he was being something of pain to the Colonel now.

 

"I'd never ask them to do that," he said finally, shaking his head. "I especially wouldn't in a situation like this, where these kids didn't have a choice to be involved in this or not to begin with."

 

"But you're willing to risk your life..." Hogan said.

 

"I had a choice, Colonel. I didn't have to join the Army. But I chose too. I didn't have to bring the band over to England, but I chose too. I insisted on it." Miller paused. "Music is what I do, it's all I have to offer. I love my country, and if I was twenty years younger and didn't have such terrible eyesight I would've been first in line to enlist in whatever branch would take me, to defend my country. But now, I'm no good as a soldier. So instead of a rifle in my hand I come with the only thing I can. An instrument. Music. And I give all I can to keep the morale up for those who are the good soldiers, for those who are doing the fighting."

 

"Major," Hogan said, coming to stand behind the chair Carter sat in and looking directly at Miller, "you're more soldier than you realize..."

 

 

 

Stalag 13

November 1944

Day 6

 

Before leaving the hotel in Düsseldorf, the heroes sang one more tune, to keep Schultz from getting suspicious again. Hogan then told the Major to get a good night's rest, as the next day would be very busy, and to pack whatever was left of his kit into the pockets of his uniform. Not knowing if he would have another chance, Miller thanked each of the heroes for what they were doing. As he shook their hands in appreciation, and good night, he committed each face to memory. He would not forget these five men.

 

Back at Stalag 13, the heroes gathered in Hogan's quarters.

 

"You're going back to see Fritz?" Kinch asked.

 

Hogan nodded. "I've been thinking though. We need something to make sure that radio broadcast is terminated. Completely." He looked at Carter. "We need something that can sabotage the works..."

 

Carter thought for a moment. "Well, I've got one of those magnesium pencils left, we could set a timer and detonator cap to it. Put it somewhere in the paneling of the broadcast controls. When the magnesium ignites it'll meltdown the wires."

 

Hogan nodded. "But we'd have to find time to slip that pencil into the works in the control room..."

 

"Yeah. Could be tricky. But it wouldn't take any more than a minute to just slip it in."

 

Hogan nodded again. "I think we're going to need a back up though, incase we can't get into that control room tomorrow if there's too many people crawling around."

 

"What kind of backup?"

 

"The transmitter."

 

"Sabotage the transmitter?" Carter said. "Colonel, if getting into the control room is going to be tricky, how are we going to get to the transmitter with all that Gestapo around during the day?!"

 

"Exactly. Which is why we do it tonight. We can go back right now, rig it, go see Fritz and be back in time for morning roll call."

 

"This is turning out to be another long night," Newkirk grumbled.

 

"The next three days or so are going to be long, Newkirk." Hogan looked at Carter. "You got something to hit the transmitter with?"

 

"Sure."

 

"Go get it. Kinch, we're going to need a taxi from Hammelburg."

 

Kinch nodded. "Yes, sir."

 

"Newkirk, you, Carter and I will go tonight. We'll need Gestapo uniforms."

 

"Right sir..." the Englishman got up and went to collect the uniforms.

 

"LeBeau, you and Kinch will have to stall Schultz if for some reason we're not back by roll call in the morning. If it runs too late you'll just have to say we escaped. Barring all else, we'll try to get back here as fast as we can."

 

"Oui, Colonel."

 

 

Düsseldorf Radio Station

Düsseldorf, Germany

November 1944

Day 6

 

Colonel Hogan stood by the fire escape of the two story building that housed the radio station and looked up and down the little back alley he was in. Thankfully, the fire escape was in the back of the building where no one would see them from the street.

 

He looked at his watch and then looked up the ladder to the roof top. "C'mon fellas," he whispered loudly.

 

"Almost done, Colonel!" came Carter's hushed reply. He took the two sticks of dynamite that Newkirk held and placed them together near the point where the station's wire came through the roof to connect with the transmitter. They were then bound around the metal leg of the transmitter with fastening tape. The detonator cap and timer were then affixed to the leg of the transmitter.

 

Newkirk clicked on the small flashlight and held it to the timer so Carter could set it. "What time you got?" Carter asked.

 

"Twenty-three hundred, eighteen."

 

Carter nodded and set the current time and then the time for the explosive to go off. Twenty hundred hours, three minutes.

 

"We'll synchronize the magnesium pencil to go off at the same time, assuming we can get it in there."

 

"Right." Newkirk watched as Carter made the last adjustments to the explosive device, as if he were a florist fixing a flower arrangement. "Have I ever mentioned you're scary to watch when you do this?"

 

Carter grinned.

 

 

Fritz's Bakery

Düsseldorf, Germany

November 1944

Day 6

 

 

Fritz was surprised to see Colonel Hogan, Newkirk and Carter arrive at his bakery dressed in Gestapo uniforms, especially since Hogan was the only he had been expecting. Hogan quickly explained the sabotage set up they had just completed and got right down to business for the final details for the next day's activities.

 

"Everything is ready, Colonel," Fritz said. "We will have transportation by tomorrow morning and can swap out the guards at the outside entrances at any time after that."

 

Hogan nodded. "Good. The broadcast is scheduled for eight o'clock, Major Miller will be providing your cue. When you hear the sound of musical instruments making the most hideous noise you've ever heard, that's when you move in. You'll know for sure when the radio goes silent because either the Propaganda Ministry will pull the plug or the transmitter will have blown."

 

Fritz nodded and as he thought about it more, he chuckled. "Hideous music?"

"Major Miller had already decided he wasn't going to allow the band to play any real swing music for this broadcast. Instead he's just going to have us play noise." Hogan grinned.

 

"Sounds like the Major will do more damage than the sabotage you have set up."

 

"His method will be most effective, that's for sure. But it won't serve as a timely warning to anybody listening. We think the Gestapo is looking to do a sweep of the Swing Youths...is there anyway you can get a warning out to them to not tune in to the broadcast?"

 

Fritz nodded. "We can."

 

"Ok. I also have a request from the Major..."

 

"Of course."

"He would like for the kids to make the escape with him."

 

Fritz smiled. "Colonel...we are all ready prepared to take the boys as well."

 

Hogan blinked. "You are?"

 

"Ja. Those that wish to go, that is. The Hitler Youth ones naturally give us pause, but the other boys we know will just be sent back to camps and they most likely would rather go to England."

 

"But there's nine of them. With Miller that makes ten. In the two years you and I have been working together, the most we've ever sent back to England at one time was four."

 

"I know Colonel, but we are prepared. We have safe houses, clothes and the means. We can take all nine of the boys and the Major." Fritz paused. "It would not be fair, to leave those boys behind..."

 

Hogan felt a little ashamed as he looked at Fritz. He let out a slow breath. "No," he said. "It wouldn't." Hogan glanced at Carter and Newkirk. "I feel like a fool...bound by the chains of command."

 

"We don't envy you, sir," Newkirk said. "But we don't fault you either."

 

"We knew you didn't want to see anything happen to those kids," Carter said. "But we also know that, priorities had to be placed...and that certain promises couldn't be offered."

Fritz looked at the three Allied prisoners with question. "Colonel?"

 

Hogan looked at Fritz and chuckled softly. "I've been debating with Major Miller for two days about those kids. I know better, where there's a will there's a way. I had no idea that as you were preparing for all this, that you were preparing for the kids too."

 

"I am sorry, Colonel. I should have told you."

 

Hogan waved it off. "It's okay. The Major will be very happy....and so am I."

 

 

Day Seven...