Stalag 13

November 1944

Day 2

 

Colonel Robert Hogan, US Army Air Corps stood outside of Barracks 2, tossing a baseball up on to the roof and catching it as it came back down in his old baseball mitt. It was another standard day at Stalag 13, the late morning sun was shining and prisoners were occupying themselves within the compound, some playing an organized game of volleyball, others reading or just doing activities to keep themselves active.

 

We certainly don’t have any problem staying active around this joint, that’s for sure… he thought, giving consideration to the fact that when they weren’t acting like prisoners of war, they were acting as saboteurs, messing up the German war effort as best they could and all from right under the German’s noses. Stalag 13 was the toughest POW camp in all of Germany…and the best kept secret of the Allied war effort. It was a thought that always brought a smile to the Colonel’s face.

 

Such a smile however, tended to fade whenever there was the sudden movement of camp guards. Hogan stopped tossing his baseball and turned to look. The portly Sergeant of the Guard, Hans Schultz was coming from the direction of Kommandant Klink's office and was shouting orders. The camp was being placed on lock down. Something was up and Hogan felt a momentary touch of a panic in his gut. Although they had been fortunate thus far in keeping their operation under wraps, Hogan knew it could only be a matter of time before somebody got wise to what was going on. He prayed today wasn’t it.

 

"All prisoners back into the barracks!!” Schultz ordered the prisoners who were playing volleyball. “Back, back, back!!"  

 

Guards were ordering the prisoners back to their barracks, receiving grumbling complaints in return. RAF Corporal Peter Newkirk, French Army Corporal Louis LeBeau and US Army Sergeant Andrew Carter had been playing volleyball and walked now back to Barracks 2 along with other prisoners. LeBeau was being the most vocal with Newkirk and Carter adding their two cents worth.

 

"Into the barracks!" Schultz ordered. "Schnell, schnell, schnell!"

 

"What's going on Schultz?" Hogan asked as the Sergeant approached.

"How do I know? I just have my orders. All prisoners are to be confined to the barracks, immediately, Colonel."

 

"Awright, awright we're moving..." Hogan said. "C'mon fellas, you heard the man, inside."

 

US Army Sergeant James Kinchloe was one of the last ones into the barracks and he came just in time to hear LeBeau complain, "We were winning, Colonel."

 

"'E's right, Colonel. We were beatin' Barracks Four, and every time we're winnin' at volleyball they gotta put us in lockdown," Newkirk said.

 

"You can pick up the game again when the lock down is over," Schultz offered.

 

"Bloody lot o' good that's gonna do," Newkirk grumbled. "Lost our momentum by that point."

 

"Awright, fellas just simmer down," Hogan said. "Colonel Klink must have some big surprise for us, right Schultz? Doesn't want us to see it until he can wrap it up?"

 

"I know nuthin'. I was only told by the Kommandant to have the prisoners placed in the barracks until the all clear signal is given."

 

Hogan walked over to the window. "So I guess that means we can't even watch out the window either right?"  Hogan peered out, long enough to see two staff cars come into the compound.

 

"Nein! You can not look out the window either!" Schultz immediately came over, closed the wooden shutter and stood in front of the window, preventing anyone else from looking out.

 

"Eh, shoulda figured on that." Hogan turned to Newkirk and LeBeau and then looked toward the door.  The Englishman and Frenchman both nodded. "And seeing as we can't look out the window, you don't want us peeking out the door either, right Schultz?"

 

"That's right."

 

"Okay then, I'll stand here then and make sure no one looks out the door." Hogan stood with his back to the door and when he was sure Schultz couldn't see him, he turned and along with Newkirk and LeBeau they looked outside. They recognized General Burkhalter, saw there were at least two Gestapo guards, along with Major Hochstetter and then finally an American army officer stepped out of the car. The group walked to Colonel Klink's office

 

"A new prisoner, Colonel?" Newkirk wondered.

 

"Confine everyone to barracks for a new prisoner?" LeBeau said.

 

"They've done it before when it's somebody they don't want us to see," Hogan said. He squinted trying to see the American officer, whose back was turned to the barracks as the group walked into Klink's office. "But why are they taking him to Klink's office first and not the cooler?"

 

"All new prisoners go to Klink's office first," LeBeau said.

 

"Not when it's somebody they don't want us to see..."

 

Once the door to Klink's office closed, a whistle blew. Hogan quickly shut the door and he, Newkirk and LeBeau turned their backs to the door.

 

"There's the signal," Schultz announced. He looked at Newkirk and LeBeau. "You can go back to your game now."

 

"Momentum's shot, Schultzie," Newkirk said. "We'll have to pick it up some other time."

 

Schultz shrugged and left the barracks. LeBeau opened the door and watched Schultz walk across the compound towards Klink's office. He closed the door and nodded to Hogan. The Colonel turned and waved for everyone to follow him to his quarters. The coffee pot was set up and the heroes listened in.

 

"....for he will not be here long, Colonel Klink," Hochstetter said. "The Propaganda Ministry wants us to keep him moving around, so as the Allies can not find him easily."

 

"The Propaganda Ministry wants to keep his whereabouts as well concealed as possible," Burkhalter said. "And you are not to place him in with the rest of the prisoners. Given that he is well known by just about every soldier of the Allied forces, no prisoner here is to see him or even know he is here."

 

"Where am I to keep him?"

 

"The visiting officer's quarters will do," Burkhalter said. "You will have a guard posted at all hours of the day and night. No one is to go near the quarters unless authorized by Major Hochstetter, myself, or by the Propaganda Ministry."

 

Klink nodded. "Understood, Herr General." He smiled. "You can rest assured gentlemen, while Major Miller is here at Stalag 13, no one will know he is here."

 

The heroes all looked at each other and Colonel Hogan. "Major Miller?" LeBeau said.

 

Carter looked at Hogan. "Sir, you don't think that's..."

 

"Major Glenn Miller?" Hogan said. "He's the only Major Miller I know of that they might go to all this trouble for and have the Propaganda Ministry involved." 

 

"The band leader?" Newkirk said.

 

"The same. But I can't believe the Germans could have some how nabbed him." Hogan looked at Kinch. "Kinch, send a message to London. Ask them where Glenn Miller is."

 

"Right," Kinch turned and left the Colonel's quarters.

 

Hogan unplugged the coffee pot. "What if it is Glenn Miller?" Carter asked. "What are we going to do?"

 

"Figure a way to get him out of here and back to London where he belongs."

 

"If it is him, Colonel, what do you think the Germans are going to do with him?" Newkirk asked.

"If the Propaganda Ministry is involved it could be anything. They may try to use him in some of those Berlin Betty broadcasts or Axis Annie or something." Hogan paused. "Or they could be holding him for a ransom of some kind. Maybe swap him for some Kraut that our side captured. Whatever they have planned, if they do have the real Glenn Miller, they've got themselves one hell of a bargaining chip."

 

***

 

Across the compound, Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz were showing Major Miller to the guest quarters. Burkhalter and Hochstetter were present as well.

 

"Here we are, Major Miller," Klink said, being almost a little too pleasant. "I hope you find these quarters to your liking."

 

"He's not supposed to find the quarters to his liking, Klink," Burkhalter scolded. The heavy set General glared at Klink. "He's not a visiting dignitary."

 

"He should not make himself too comfortable here anyway," Hochstetter added, casting a glance toward Miller, "as he won't be here for long."

 

Miller kept his comments to himself, although he looked directly back at Hochstetter. It was clearly becoming evident by this point that Miller had no use for Hochstetter and Hochstetter had no use for Miller. Truthfully, Hochstetter didn't like the idea of the Gestapo being babysitters for the Propaganda Ministry's prize catch, but with direct orders coming from Himmler's office, Hochstetter had no choice but keep his mouth shut. So he gave Miller all the Gestapo charm he deserved.

 

Miller, on the other hand, refused to show any fear toward Hochstetter, which only made Hochstetter all the more irritated. Plus the fact that Miller was considerably taller than Hochstetter the Gestapo Major didn't like either. Despite this, Hochstetter took a few steps toward Major Miller, to remind the American of the fact that he was a prisoner of the Third Reich. "The Major should also be reminded that he should not attempt to escape..." he said, "or he will not be treated as lightly as other prisoners of war."

"Yes, there has never been a successful escape from Stalag 13," Klink added. He then stopped and looked at Hochstetter. "What do you mean he won't be treated as lightly as other prisoners of war?"

 

"He means I'm not a prisoner of war," Miller said casually, looking at the Kommandant. He then turned his gaze back to Hochstetter. "Therefore if I escape, I'll more than likely be shot if found. That is what you mean, is it not Major?"

 

Hochstetter straightened his shoulders, but didn't give an answer.

 

"Of course, if that should happen," Miller continued, "then the broadcasts from London will resume as normal. And the Propaganda Ministry will be rather upset that you got a little over zealous....don't you think?"

 

Hochstetter's moustache twitched in annoyance. Obviously Miller had figured out he was essentially untouchable. "Enjoy your stay here, Major. We'll see each other again."

 

"Looking forward to it."

 

Major Hochstetter turned and marched out of the quarters.

 

Burkhalter turned to the Kommandant. "Keep him well guarded, Klink. The Propaganda Ministry has a lot vested in this man's capture."

 

"Yes, Herr General!" Klink saluted. Burkhalter turned to leave with Klink and Schultz following. Schultz looked back at the American Major and gave a slight bob of his head, a silent bravo for getting Hochstetter pretty well flustered, before shutting the door.

 

Major Miller found the portly sergeant’s action odd but shrugged it off. He sat down on the sofa, removing his crush cap and tossing it into the seat next to him, and then removed his glasses and rubbed his tired eyes. This was going to be a long confinement...

 

***

 

Over in Barracks Two, Kinch was coming up from the tunnel. ''What did you find out, Kinch?" Hogan asked.

 

"It is Glenn Miller they've got. He was kidnapped by German commandos yesterday. The Allied Expeditionary Forces Band has been told that if they play in any further broadcasts, Miller would be sent back to England in a… sarg…" Kinch handed the paper to Hogan.

 

"Sarg?" Carter asked.

 

Hogan's expression was grim. "Coffin." He sighed and looked at the paper. "London's suspended the AEF broadcasts until they can get Miller back." He looked at Kinch. "Did you tell London we might know where Miller is?"

 

Kinch nodded. "They said if we can verify that it really is Glenn Miller, they want us to get him out of here and back to London, by any means necessary."

 

"How are we going to do that?" LeBeau asked.

Hogan already had the gears turning. "I'm not sure yet. But we're going to have to move fast. They're not going to keep him here long and we don't know how long we've got." Hogan went to the door of the barracks and looked out onto the compound. Burkhalter and Hochstetter were leaving. A guard stood outside the entrance to the guest quarters.

 

The rest of the heroes peered out the doorway with the Colonel. "Only one guard," Kinch pointed out.

 

"Yeah," Hogan said. "We shouldn't have any problem getting one of us in there to find out if it's really him. But first I'm going to try and see if I can weasel any information from Klink..." Hogan walked out of the barracks and across the compound to Klink's office. As usual, he walked directly into Klink's office without knocking.

 

Klink looked up from his desk, startled. "Oh Hogan, go away." After Burkhalter and Hochstetter and a highly important prisoner being brought in, Klink wasn't in the mood for any shenanigans from Hogan.

 

"What's the idea of putting the camp on lock down with Burkhalter and Hochstetter?” Hogan started. “We’re not allowed to see them come into the camp anymore, but we can see them leave? And what's with the guard outside the guest quarters?"

 

Klink sighed. "The Gestapo has a very important prisoner and they're having him held here temporarily. That's all I can tell you."

 

"Important prisoner? What kind of important prisoner?" Hogan paused. "An Allied prisoner?"

 

"Hogan, I can't tell you anything. None of it is of any concern to you nor is it part of any business of Stalag 13. It is a Gestapo prisoner and he is only here temporarily."

 

"If it's a Gestapo prisoner, how come he's not in the cooler?"

 

"He does not need to be held in the cooler. He is not a dangerous prisoner."

 

"But he has to be an Allied prisoner," Hogan surmised. "Why else would you put the camp on lock down? It has to be somebody the Gestapo doesn't want us to see. Who is it, Kommandant? A General? A Colonel?"

 

"Hogan, you're dismissed." Klink saluted.

 

"Are they really a prisoner....or a defector?"

 

Klink glared at Hogan. "It is not a defector. That is all I'm telling you. Disssmissssed, Hogan!" Klink looked down at his paperwork.

 

"If he's being held as a prisoner then he should be held in accordance with the Geneva Convention and as the senior POW officer of this camp I should be allowed to see him--"

 

"He is not a POW, Hogan! He is a prisoner of the Gestapo. Now, you were dismissed!"

 

Hogan backed off. Klink wasn't giving so much as an inch which meant that despite the prize of the Krauts capturing Miller, nobody was allowed to gloat about it. Quietly, Hogan turned and left the office. He paused in the area of Hilda’s desk and looked back at the Kommandant’s office door. Nobody’s allowed to gloat about it... Hogan also realized that if Klink let something slip and if the entire camp knew that Miller was being held there, the Major would be moved out in no time flat. And that would be the end of any escape attempts. By the same token, Hogan knew he had to show his natural curiosity. Hopefully, Klink could keep his mouth shut.

 

Hilda was seated at her desk and the blonde secretary was watching the Colonel. "You're curious about the Gestapo prisoner?" she asked.

 

Hogan turned and looked at her. "Did you see who it was?"

 

"Only what uniform he wears. He is an American."

 

"Is he an officer?"

 

"I think so...his uniform looked like that of an officer. He had the same kind of hat as you."

 

Hogan nodded. "He's an officer." He looked at her for a moment. "What did he look like?"

 

Hilda shook her head. "I saw more than I was supposed to."

 

"They didn't want you to see him either?"

 

"No."

 

"Makes sense I suppose..." Hogan said as he came around the desk. "They figure one of us would ask you questions." Hogan smiled and leaned to Hilda and planted a kiss upon her cheek. "Of course, you've told me nothing..."

 

 

Meanwhile, Sergeant Schultz had been giving a task by Kommandant Klink: Find out what the special prisoner needed for any additional personal items and get them. Klink muttered about the Gestapo not taking care of such business before sending Schultz on his way. Schultz had withheld his own answer to the complaint, that being that the Gestapo was taking care of it….by having the Luftwaffe take care of it.

 

Schultz nodded to the guard as he approached the guest quarters. He paused at the door and then knocked before entering. He found Major Miller was standing in the middle of the room, looking down at the floor with one hand in his pocket, the other holding a cigarette. The American looked up as Schultz entered. "Herr Major," the Sergeant said, "the Kommandant asked me to ask you if there is anything you need?"

 

Miller looked at Schultz, remembering this was the guard that seemed to enjoy his reserved audaciousness towards Major Hochstetter. Miller decided he could risk a crack.  "A ticket back to England?" he asked.

 

Schultz chuckled. "Jolly joker...Is there anything else that you need?"

 

Miller sighed. "Well, a kit would be nice." He looked at the cigarette he held between his fingers. His second to last one. "And a pack of cigarettes."

 

"A...kit?" Schultz raised an eyebrow.

 

Miller figured the German didn’t understand the term. "Yeah. You know, a comb, toothbrush, shaving gear? Obviously I'm going to be here for a spell..."

 

Schultz looked at the Major. "You don't already have one with you?"

 

"The Gestapo didn't exactly give me time to pack, Sergeant..."

 

Schultz was mildly annoyed by this. The Gestapo really is having the Luftwaffe take care of this. He nodded to the Major. "I will get you a kit and some cigarettes. Is there anything else?"

 

Miller shook his head. "No."

 

"Very well." Schultz nodded and offered a salute to Major Miller. Miller returned it, although he found it odd to be saluting a German….let alone that a German would salute him. Schultz then turned to leave, the door quietly closing behind the Sergeant.

 

***

 

Kinch was waiting outside the door of the barracks with the other heroes when Hogan came back. "Schultz just went into the guest quarters," he said.

 

Hogan turned to look. "Guess we wait.”

 

"Did Klink say anything?" Carter asked.

 

Hogan shook his head. "Not really. He wouldn't say names, he wouldn't even confirm it's an allied officer. Only that Miller is a prisoner of the Gestapo and is not being treated as a POW. He did not however, mention the involvement of the Propaganda Ministry. Hilda only admitted it was an American officer."

 

"Not much ol' Klink can do anyway," Newkirk said, "with Hochstetter running the show."

 

"And the Propaganda Ministry," Kinch added. "Klink's going to be under a lot of pressure to make sure that none of us see Glenn Miller in this camp."

 

"Exactly. I also have a feeling that if they knew that we know Miller's here, they'll move him out fast and we'll be sunk." Hogan said. "On the other hand they may just be waiting for the right time to show him to us. For propaganda purposes of course."

 

The door of the guest quarters opened at that point and Schultz came out. The sergeant of the guard headed to Klink's office.

 

"But we're not waiting..." Hogan turned to his men and a quick plan of diversion was brought together. Newkirk ducked into the barracks to retrieve his playing cards and then came back out. He, LeBeau and Kinch went in one direction, while Hogan went the opposite. Carter headed towards another group of prisoners. The idea was for it to look like Newkirk, LeBeau and Kinch were merely walking around the yard, all the while Newkirk was demonstrating some card tricks. Hogan merely looked like he too was just strolling around the yard. Carter looked like he was joining a game of football in progress.

 

Newkirk, LeBeau and Kinch paused near the guard by the guest quarters.

 

"I'll show you again, I'll show you again..." Newkirk said. He held his hands up. "Nothin’ up me sleeves, nothin’ in me coat, nothin’ under me hat. Under ‘ere I have a pretty lady with diamonds..." He held up the top card with the Queen of Diamonds on it. "But she's a little shy, you know, isn't sure what to do with all these fellas hangin’ around and when they knock on ‘er door all they find..." Newkirk put the card back down and with motion quicker than the eye, when he turned the card back up he had the Ace of Spades. "...is nothin’ but spades."

 

"I'd think those boys would get tired of knocking on her door all the time," LeBeau complained.

 

Newkirk chuckled. "'Ere, I'll show you 'nother one..." Newkirk shuffled the cards and then fanned them out. "Here, Kinch, pick a card, any card..."

 

The guard watched as the card trick progressed. He didn't notice as Colonel Hogan casually made his way to the other side of the guest quarters.  The one guard in the tower that would have seen Hogan, didn't, as he was suddenly distracted by the sudden boisterous noise of the Allied prisoners in their football game. Hogan paused only to look up at the tower and make sure he wasn't being watched. Seeing his opportunity, Hogan quickly went to the backside of the guest quarters.

 

He went to the window and worked it open. He then lifted himself up and in through the window.

 

Major Miller heard the voices outside the front of the guest quarters and then heard the noise of the window being opened in the bedroom. He took a few cautious steps toward the door of the bedroom, which was closed. He stopped when the door opened.

 

Hogan looked at the Major and saw the look of momentary alarm. He put a hand up in a gesture of wait. "It's okay. I'm Colonel Robert Hogan, I'm the senior POW officer in this camp."

 

Miller let out the breath he'd been holding. "I take it despite your rank, they won't let you in the front door?"

 

Hogan put his hand down and approached the Major. "No. They don't want anybody in this camp to see you. Despite that tho', we have to figure a way to get you out of here."

 

"That's a tall order."

 

"Tell me about it." Hogan paused, looking at the band leader, noticing he looked rather worn. "Major Glenn Miller I presume?"

 

Miller made a face, wishing he could say no. After all, that was why he was in the predicament he was in was because of who he was. "Glenn who?"

 

Hogan chuckled softly, understanding. "Are you okay, Major?"

 

Miller nodded. "I'm fine, thank you."

 

"How'd the Gestapo grab you?"

 

"There were two of them," Miller said. "They were dressed as American Army officers. They paraded me right out of the BBC Broadcasting House and into a car."

 

"Did you try to run for it?"

 

Miller was caught in mid-drag on his cigarette. He blew a string of smoke out away from the Colonel. "I got as far as turning around. The second one pulled a gun on me."

 

"Where'd they take you?"

 

Miller shook his head. "I don't know. They blind folded me after I got into the car and didn't take it off until I got into Germany and into a Gestapo interrogation room."

 

"You were interrogated?" Hogan was suddenly concerned.

 

"For a couple of hours. Song and dance stuff, really, I didn’t say much more than name, rank and serial number. Finally though, I learned it's not the Gestapo that wants anything with me anyway."

 

"I know it's the Propaganda Ministry. I just wanted to make sure they didn't try to rough you up or anything."

 

Miller shook his head. "They didn't."

 

"Good."

 

Miller paused for another smoke. He then suddenly realized what the Colonel had said. "How'd you know the Propaganda Ministry wanted me?"

 

Hogan grinned. "We have a bug in the Kommandant's office. We over heard General Burkhalter and Major Hochstetter talking when they brought you in."

 

"You have a ...?" Miller blinked, not sure he heard the Colonel right. "Really?"

 

"The Kommandant likes to think he runs this camp. He doesn't."

 

Miller chuckled. "Perhaps the Germans have made a mistake in bringing me here."

 

"You bet they did. Tho' they made a mistake in nabbing you, period." Hogan's grin faded and he hesitated a moment. "I also know that London has suspended the AEF broadcasts...."

 

Miller sighed. "Figured they would be." Although he knew why, he wondered if the Colonel knew too. "Do you know why?" he asked.

 

Hogan nodded grimly. "That's why we have to get you out of here and back to England."

 

Miller neither agreed nor disagreed. Instead he looked away slightly from Colonel Hogan and stood quietly for a moment, smoking his cigarette. He didn't know that Hogan really could get him out of Germany, and figured the Colonel was making a well intended promise that he would have a hard time keeping. However, Miller detected from things Hogan just said, that the Colonel was very well informed of things that were going on both inside and outside of the POW camp. But the band leader wasn't sure about the optimistic insistence that Hogan could get him back to England. Quite frankly, he didn't believe it. Thus, he wasn't counting on getting back to England and instead considered making a request of Hogan. He looked at him.

 

"Colonel, based on what you've told me, I'm guessing you have contacts outside of this camp don't you?"

 

Hogan nodded. "I do."

 

"Would it be possible for you to get a message back to London?"

 

"I can."

 

Miller hesitated, considering his words. He would not admit to the Colonel that he didn't believe he could get him out of Germany. But he couldn't let the broadcasts remain suspended. "I don't mean this to sound melodramatic," he said, "but I knew the risk when I put on this uniform, even for just being a band leader. I especially knew the risk when I came to England.  My only purpose in doing all this was to bring the music closer to those who were fighting. I've been told that what I've done as one man has been extraordinary, and I appreciate knowing that. But if one man's life is going to stand in the way of those broadcasts continuing, I'd rather it not. My fear is that if those broadcasts remain suspended because of my life, what does that do for morale? The Germans knew exactly what they were doing when they grabbed me, but I refuse to let them have the satisfaction." Miller paused and straightened his shoulders, knowing he was addressing a Colonel. "If possible, sir, I'd like for you to tell London to resume those broadcasts, that I want them to resume the broadcasts, regardless of my well being."

 

Hogan hesitated, struck by the Major's willingness to accept sacrifice. "Can the band play on without you?" he asked.

 

"Yes. They're more than capable of continuing without me."

 

"Can they do it knowing they would be sealing your fate?"

 

Miller paused. "If they know that I want them to continue, they'll get through it."

 

"Are you willing to make such a sacrifice?"

 

"Isn't that a question that's asked of every good soldier?" Miller chuckled softly. "I don't consider myself much of a soldier...but I am a patriot. There's more at stake here than just my life, Colonel. You understand what I mean?"

 

Hogan understood. He understood all too well. He too was a patriot, and a soldier. He knew what Major Miller was talking about. After all, wasn't that the reason he was doing what he was doing now? Remaining a prisoner while helping others to escape, because so much was at stake?

 

But Glenn Miller was the biggest morale booster next to pinups of Betty Grable, the humor of Bob Hope and a letter from home that the Allies had. However, Hogan knew what the band leader was saying. Losing me might be unfortunate, but to lose the music would be devastating.

 

Hogan wasn't arguing that, but still he felt a duty to try to get Miller out of the Nazi's grasp and back to England. He had to at least try.

 

He looked at the Major and nodded. "I understand..." He paused, considering what he was about to say next. "Major, what I'm about to tell you is to be held in the strictest confidence. What you see here at Stalag 13 is not your ordinary POW camp. I, and a small group of men, work covert operations, sabotage, from here and we help Allied fliers and POW's escape and get back to England so they can fight another day. I don't reject what you're asking me, but given what my purpose here is, and what your purpose has been, you have to at least let me try and spring you."

 

Miller was astonished. Covert operations? Out of a POW camp??  "Colonel..."

 

"I'll make a deal with you," Hogan said. "The Germans aren't going to keep you here at Stalag 13 or in this area for very long. If I can't spring you before they move you to somewhere where I can’t reach you....I'll send your request to London and I'll insist they adhere to it."

 

Miller considered this for a moment and then nodded, grateful. "Fair enough. But Colonel, how--?"

 

Hogan shook his head. "Trust me. I can get you out of here...if you'll give me a chance."

 

Suddenly Hogan and Miller heard somebody whistling a song outside. That was the Colonel's cue.

 

"I'm out of time. But trust me, I can get you out of here."  Hogan took a step back and turned, disappearing back through the bedroom.

 

***

 

When the heroes all gathered back in Barracks Two, Hogan filled the men in on how Miller had been captured, that he was physically okay and then told them of the Major's request.

 

"He does realize what the Germans could do to him if those broadcasts resume, doesn't he??" Carter asked, concerned.

 

"He knows perfectly well," Hogan said.

 

"Wow..."

 

"You sure he didn't take a hit on the head or somethin', Colonel?" Newkirk asked. "I mean, that's quite the sacrifice to make just for some broadcasts."

 

"But think of how many of our troops listen to those broadcasts," Kinch said. "A silent radio doesn't do much for morale."

 

"Exactly," Hogan said. "And demoralized troops make for a weak fighting force. The Germans knew that capturing Miller wasn't enough to stop the broadcasts, they also have to hold his life in the balance. London doesn't want to be responsible for the Major losing his life, but Miller doesn't want his life to stand in the way of the possibility of preventing the loss of hundreds of lives."

 

The heroes paused in consideration of what the Colonel just said. There was a heavy, awe struck silence that surrounded the table for a moment. With the Major's request put into perspective, they now understood and respected the situation. And they realized that the Major understood there was a bigger picture that he...and all of them...were a part of.

 

"Well," Newkirk said soberly. "When you put it that way..."

 

"It is a true patriot, that puts the welfare of others and of his country, before his own," LeBeau said.

 

"Miller's been doing that for two years..." Hogan said. The door to the barracks suddenly opened and Schultz came in.

 

"Colonel Hogan, I request your assistance."

 

"What do you need, Schultz?"

 

"Maj---uh, that is the secret prisoner needs a kit."

 

Hogan heard Schultz's slip. "Major who?" he asked.

 

"Ah ah, I know nuthin'. But he needs a kit." Schultz handed the bag he had started to Hogan. He had gathered the basic toiletries, comb, razor and soap. "I need a few more items, plus cigarettes."

 

"I'm not givin' up some of my cigarettes for just anybody," Newkirk said.

 

"You would for this fella!" Schultz said.

 

"Who is it, Schultz? C'mon...real big shot?" Hogan asked.

 

Schultz chuckled. "Big shot...perhaps."

 

"He's a Major...right?"

 

Schultz hesitated. So he let slip the rank, he had given no name. "Jawohl."

 

"A Major in which army? American? British? French?"

 

Schultz chuckled again. "Heh heh...I know nuthin'."

 

"C'mon Schultzie," Newkirk said. "We gotta know. Did he specify a preference between English or American cigarettes?"

 

"He did not."

 

"Well I guess we give him a little of each," Hogan said. "Thing is Schultz, it's going be hard to convince the men to give up something from their Red Cross packages if they don't know who they're giving it up for."

 

"I'll give you a hint..." Schultz then made a motion with his hands as if he was playing a trombone.

 

"A musician?" LeBeau asked.

 

"Ja."

 

"Oh that narrows it down a lot!" Newkirk muttered.

 

"Well, it's a trombone player," Carter said. "That only narrows it down to a couple hundred guys I suppose." He paused. "Wait a minute! The Germans captured Tommy Dorsey?!"

 

"Tommy Dorsey?" LeBeau said. "He's not in the Army!"

 

"No, he's not," Hogan said. "Which is why I can narrow it down even further." He looked at Schultz. "The only Major I know of that plays trombone, is Major Glenn Miller."

 

Schultz said nothing, neither confirming nor denying it. He looked at the kit in Hogan's hand. "I will need those items as soon as possible..." He turned to the door but was stopped by all of the heroes as they sprung up from the table, expressing their shock and disbelief.

 

"Wait a minute, Schultz," Hogan said. "Is that who they've got? Glenn Miller?"

 

"I know nuthin'..."

 

"A bloody likely story!" Newkirk said.

 

"One of the most popular band leaders in the world and the rotten Krauts have got 'em right here at Stalag 13!" LeBeau added.

 

"Awright, awright.." Hogan said, calming his men down. He looked at Schultz.

 

"Colonel, please," Schultz said, "you did not hear this from me. I only give the hint because they are keeping him isolated. He is not being classified as a POW. I think the kit would mean a lot if it included some other items..."

 

"Okay, Schultz," Hogan said. "We'll put together a special kit for the Major."

 

"Danke, Colonel. Ah, and no monkey business...?"

 

"No monkey business." Hogan smiled. "We know nuthin'."

 

Schultz nodded and left the barracks.

 

Hogan turned to his men. He handed the kit to Carter. "I want you fellas to get this kit together. Despite what Schultz didn't tell us, remember we know nothing. I don't want our little discovery here to leave this barracks. They find out we really know Miller is here, they could move him and then we're out of luck."

 

"What are you going to do?" Kinch asked.

 

"I'm gonna go bug Klink some more."

 

"But, Colonel, you just said--" Carter said.

 

"I know what I just said, but if I don't show my natural curiosity about all of this, Klink might get suspicious." Hogan turned and left the barracks, leaving the heroes looking at each other.

 

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive..." Kinch said.

 

Hogan got pretty much what he expected from Klink. More stonewalling. Klink wouldn't take any argument from Hogan about having to help with the kit and told him...no, ordered him, to assist Schultz in putting the kit together. Klink did allow one piece of information to Hogan: That the special prisoner would probably prefer American cigarettes. When Hogan vocalized his conclusion that the prisoner was an American, he was immediately dismissed by Klink.

 

When Hogan returned to the barracks he found the wooden table was full of packs of cigarettes, matches, chocolate bars, coffee, candies, a deck of playing cards, a couple of pads of paper with pens, crackers, cookies, a couple cans of SPAM...

 

Hogan looked at all of the stuff. "What did you guys do? Knock over the canteen?"

 

"No, sir, we merely took up a collection," Newkirk said with a grin. "Everybody in the barracks contributed. Charitable bunch, wouldn't you say?"

 

"Very," Hogan said with a chuckle. "Only problem is we can't give all this stuff to Miller."

 

"I know sir, I was just contemplating that little fact meself..."

 

"I bet you were." Hogan looked at Newkirk with a knowing eye. "Let's dwindle this down to something less obvious and return the remaining items to the rightful owners..."

 

Newkirk cleared his throat. "Uh, right sir..."

 

The kit was completed with at least one item of everything, although there were a couple of extra chocolate bars, packages of crackers, cookies and cigarettes that were added. The kit was then delivered to Schultz and inspected and the Sergeant of the guard found everything to be satisfactory. He thanked the Colonel and all of the heroes for their help.

 

Schultz then delivered the kit to Major Miller, telling him that Colonel Hogan and his men from barracks number two had put the kit together for him. Miller had to hold back a smile and he nodded. He took a moment to inspect the contents and was pleasantly surprised by what he found. He was especially surprised to find not just a few cigarettes or just one pack of cigarettes but two packs of cigarettes. Thank God... he thought. The thought of facing the remainder of this capture with one cigarette left in his pocket was distressing to say the least. However, Miller knew that if there was one thing that was worth just about as much as money to a serviceman it was a pack of cigarettes and the fact that a serviceman had given up a whole pack of cigarettes for him, was not lost on the Major. He appreciated this, and the other items, greatly.  He held the two packs of cigarettes up for Schultz to see and smiled.

 

"Tell Colonel Hogan and his men that I'm very appreciative," Miller said.

 

Schultz smiled. "Jawhol, Herr Major."  He gave a smart click of his boots and saluted, before turning to leave the quarters.

 

****

 

Miller observed the noon roll call from the window of the guest quarters that looked out onto the compound. The drapes had been pulled to prevent anyone on the outside to look in and to keep Miller from looking out but it didn't stop him. The small space between where the two pieces of drapery came together in the middle of the window were parted just enough for Miller to peer through without having to disturb the drapes too much. He watched as the men from Barracks Two filed out into formation, hearing the heavyset sergeant of the guard bellowing "Roll call! Roll call!! Rouse! Rrrrrrouse!"

 

When the men were lined up, Schultz started to count.

 

"C'mon Schultz," Newkirk said. "Haven't you got us all memorized by now?"

 

"Ha, jolly joker...." He pointed to Newkirk. "Zwei..." and continued down the line. "...drei, vier, funf...."

 

A moment later, Klink was coming out from his office. "Repoooooooooooooorrrrt!"

 

Schultz had just counted the last prisoner for the barracks and he came around from behind Colonel Hogan to stand before the prisoners and face the Kommandant, giving a salute. "Jawhol, Herr Kommandant! All prisoners present and accounted for!"

 

"Good." Klink looked at the men of Barracks Two. "Gentlemen, I want to thank you for assisting Sergeant Schultz here with the preparations of the kit for our...special guest. Your generosity is noted and I thought you would like to know that the special prisoner has expressed his gratitude for the items that some of you had to give up for this kit."

 

"That just goes to show you, Kommandant, even though we don't know who he is...the Allies take care of their own," Hogan said. The gathered prisoners murmured their agreement.

 

"Well that's very noble of you, Colonel. However, this will be all you, and the Allies, will be able to do for this prisoner. In fact...you may come to find yourselves regretting having been so generous." 

 

"What kind of crack is that?" Hogan asked.

 

Klink ignored him. He turned to Schultz, saluting. "Schultz, dismiss the prisoners!"

 

"Jawohl, Herr Kommandant!"

 

Klink turned and headed back to his office. Schultz dismissed the prisoners and the assembled men disbursed back toward the barracks. Hogan stood pat, watching Klink walk back to the office. The heroes gathered around the Colonel.

 

"If there's one thing I can't stand it's the sight of a gloating German," Hogan muttered.

 

Across the compound, Miller was still watching from the window. He had heard the Kommandant when he spoke, but couldn't make out what had been said. He now saw Hogan standing with four other prisoners. He wondered if this was the group the Colonel had spoke of earlier, the ones that worked the covert operations. If it was, whatever it was the Kommandant had said to them was apparently not well received, judging by the looks on their faces and the looks they directed toward the building where Klink's office was located. After a moment, the group headed for their barracks and Miller stepped away from the window.

 

A little while later, with the heroes providing a sufficient diversion for him, Colonel Hogan went to pay a visit to the Major, to see if everything in the kit was satisfactory and if there was anything else he would like or needed.

 

Miller had no idea the Colonel was coming. The Major had managed to distract himself from his current predicament with a game of solitaire. He hardly registered the bump sound of the window being opened but soon had the sense there was another presence....right at the same time the bedroom door opened.

 

Miller looked up in a shot, startled. Hogan gave a sheepish grin. "Did it again, didn't I?"

 

Miller sighed but gave a chuckle. "Do you prefer to get the drop on people, Colonel?"

 

"I'll admit it gives me an advantage," Hogan replied, approaching the Major. "But I don't mean to startle you when I come in like that."

 

"It's okay. However, I think I'll sleep out here because if you come through that window during the night, that's not going to be pretty..."

 

Hogan laughed. He then sat down in a chair across from the Major and eyed the kit on the table. "So did you find everything you ever wished for in our little kit?"

 

Miller smiled. "I found enough to tie me over. And I do appreciate it, Colonel, very much."

 

Hogan nodded. "We would have given you more but we're all out of the champagne and caviar," he said in a pseudo-serious tone.

 

Miller looked at the Colonel, believing for a split second that Hogan would have champagne and caviar normally in stock but then he smirked and the Colonel chuckled.

 

"Why do I get the feeling you could get champagne and caviar if you really wanted to?"

 

"Oh we can get anything you want," Hogan replied. "Might take a day or two but we can get it. Why, you want some?"

 

"No," Miller said with a chuckle. "No, that's fine. Don't care for caviar anyway. And I'm quickly discovering I don't care for sauerkraut either."

 

Hogan smiled. "That's why we put extra cookies and crackers in your kit. Give you something different for a side dish."

 

"Side dish? The sauerkraut's the main course."

 

Hogan's expression dropped. "Don't tell me that's all they're giving you?"

 

"For the most part. I had something last night I couldn't identify, but for two days I've had sauerkraut."

 

Hogan rolled his eyes. "I didn't think they'd try to damn near starve you."

 

"They're just making sure I behave. The Gestapo Major and I don't exactly get along very well."

 

Hogan smirked. "Hochstetter. Yeah, he's a piece of work, but he's dangerous. You have to watch out for him."

 

Miller nodded. "I think the only reason he doesn't like me is because I'm taller than he is."

 

Hogan chuckled softly.

 

"I noticed the roll call a few minutes ago. I didn't hear what the camp Kommandant had to say but I could see the looks on the faces of you and your men. I take it he said something you didn't like?"

 

"Yeah, he did...." Hogan told the Major what happened and what Klink had said.

 

Miller paused. "Sounds like they expect me to commit treason."

 

"Of course they do. I figure the Propaganda Ministry is going to be looking to showcase you very soon."

 

"Well, try as they might, they're going to find me to be the most uncooperative SOB they've ever met."

 

Hogan softly snorted. "I would say that you better get used to eating sauerkraut then, but you’re not staying."

 

“How do you plan to get me out of here?”

 

“I’m not completely sure yet. I’ve got a few ideas, but the tricky part is they have you so secluded. None of us are even supposed to know you’re in camp. If they had thrown you with the rest of us, I could have had you out of here by now. But I’m working on it.” He smiled. “You won’t be here long enough to get used to eating sauerkraut.”

 

***

 

When Hogan returned to the barracks, he had Kinch go down into the tunnel to monitor the calls coming into Klink's office. The Colonel wanted to be on top of anything the Germans had planned for Miller, while at the same time trying to plan for Miller's escape. As he had told the Major, Hogan did have a few ideas but what he didn’t admit was that they were risky. Of course, every escape had its inherent risks, and Hogan had got important people out of Germany and to England before...but with Miller the game was different. Firstly was that Miller was easily recognizable and once they got him on the escape route he would have to be well disguised. Really well disguised. Secondly, and this was true with just about every escape, one slip up, one mistake, and there was the possibility that the Major could be killed. Or he could be moved from Stalag 13 in a shot, taken somewhere and hidden where no one could find him thus squelching any further attempts for escape, and then Hogan would have to forward Miller's request back to London...and the same end result would be met.

 

However, the broadcasts would continue as the Major wanted. But for Hogan, to lose the Major would be equal to failure and failure was never an option. Deep down though, he knew it was a possibility and he was feeling the pressure because Miller's status raised the stakes considerably. This wasn't just another Army Major...this was Glenn Miller! Hogan knew that every decision he made put the lives of his men into his hands sometimes and it was an awareness that he never took lightly. And as he paced in his quarters, considering possibilities and contemplating plans, he knew that the Major's life was now in his hands. And that wasn't something to take lightly either.

 

While Hogan paced, Kinch was listening in on a phone call between General Burkhalter and Klink.

 

"The Propaganda Ministry is eager to use Major Miller in several propaganda methods and they will be there tomorrow to speak to him about it," Burkhalter was saying on the telephone. "I will not be able to attend this meeting, but I want you to be there, Klink."

 

"Of course, Herr General. You can count on me."

 

"Hmmm..." Burkhalter refrained from comment on that. "Major Hochstetter will be at this meeting as well, seeing as Miller is being held under Gestapo authority."

 

Klink nodded. "Of course. Who will be here from the Propaganda Ministry?"

 

"Anna Gebhart and Hauptmann Horst Reigels. Fraulien Gebhart is very anxious to feature Major Miller in some of her broadcasts. She is also working on some other broadcast material that she would like to feature him in."

 

"I see," Klink said.

 

"All of that will be sorted out tomorrow when they meet with Miller. In the meantime, you are not to say anything to the Major about this meeting...."

 

Kinch listened to the end of the conversation and then put his headphones down. He climbed up the ladder to the barracks, where the others were sitting at the wooden table.

 

"Where's the Colonel?"

 

"In his quarters..." Newkirk stood up from the table and went over to Hogan's door. He knocked and Hogan opened the door.

 

"Kinch has something," the Englishman said. Hogan came out and the heroes gathered at the table.

 

"I just over heard Klink on the phone with Burkhalter," Kinch said. "The Propaganda Ministry is coming here tomorrow to have a meeting with Major Miller."

 

"Who from the Ministry?" Hogan asked.


"Fraulein Anna Gebhart and Hauptmann Reigels."

 

"Terrific," Hogan muttered. "Axis Annie."

 

"Blimey...she'll want to get Miller to say how great and wonderful the Third Reich is and all that rubbish," Newkirk said.

 

"He'd never do it," LeBeau said.

 

"No," Hogan said, "but I’m sure they’ll be very persuasive." He paused. "Kinch, we don't have the guest quarters wired do we?"

 

"No, sir."

 

"Could we?"

 

"We could but we'd have to run a new wire out and then set up a microphone somewhere inside. Considering how hard it's been just to distract the guard long enough for you to get in there..."

 

"Could the Major do any of it?"

 

"Sure. It's a straightforward set up. If we can smuggle a microphone in, all he would have to do is connect the wires.” Kinch paused. “We can run the wire through the tunnel to Klink’s quarters and then just route it under the floorboards of the guest quarters*.”

 

"Good,” Hogan said. “Get started on it. LeBeau, help him out."

 

"Oui, Colonel."

 

"I'd like this done before tomorrow morning.  I want to know what the Propaganda Ministry is going to be up to so we can stay ahead of it."

 

"What if they try to move him out of here tomorrow to some undisclosed location?" Newkirk asked.

 

"If they do that, they're going to be in for a surprise."

 

"We bust him out?" Carter said.

 

Hogan nodded. "We bust him out. I want you and Newkirk to have the commando stuff ready to go and make sure there’s a car we can take from the motor pool.”

 

“Right, sir,” Newkirk replied and stood up with Carter. All of the heroes set out to tend to their tasks.

 

***

 

Major Miller considered himself fortunate that the quarters he was in had an aristocratic looking upright piano because, other than the deck of playing cards, he certainly didn't have much else to occupy his time with. Not that the instrument sounded all that wonderful but he made do, playing stripped down versions of various songs that both his civilian and military bands had played.

 

It was a simplified version of Moonlight Serenade that Kinch and LeBeau heard once they made it to the end of the tunnel directly underneath Klink's quarters. It was a tight fit, but the crawl space between the floor and the dirt was just big enough to allow Kinch and LeBeau to crawl out of the tunnel and make their way over to where they wanted to run the wire up through.

 

"You hear that?" LeBeau asked.

 

Kinch listened and then nodded. "Moonlight Serenade."

 

LeBeau nodded, knowing the tune. He listened as Kinch prepared his small hand held drill to drill through the floor. They both heard as the Major hit a note he didn't like, as he hit it more than once, obviously dissatisfied with it.

 

"Sounds like it needs a tune up," Kinch said. He put the drill to the floor board and began to turn it to drill the hole. The Moonlight Serenade continued, despite the rotten piano key. It took only a moment for Kinch to puncture the floor board and pull the drill back out. He then threaded the wire up through and tacked it to the underside of the floor board, holding it in place but keeping it lose enough to have it let go when the wire was pulled for more slack.

 

"Okay," Kinch said. "Now all the Colonel had to do is get the microphone in there."

 

LeBeau nodded. They then crawled back to the tunnel entrance.

 

***

 

Later, in Hogan's quarters, Kinch gave the cigarette-sized microphone to the Colonel.

 

"The wire should be near the desk. I judged it as best I could."

 

Hogan nodded. "Did you leave enough slack on the wire?"

 

"Plenty. He can run it up into ceiling if he wants."

 

Hogan chuckled. "I'll tell him that."

           

"The hard part is going to be finding a good place to hide it all. I'm sure he can hide in the desk somewhere.  We'll have to test it too, to make sure it's all working."

 

"I'll work out a signal with him to test it and one to let him know we can hear everything."

 

Kinch nodded. "I had LeBeau make a new plug for the coffee pot here for the microphone."

 

"Good." Kinch handed Hogan the microphone. The Colonel tucked it into his bomber jacket. "Okay..." He turned and walked out of his quarters and nodded to Newkirk, Carter and LeBeau. The three heroes got up and followed the Colonel out of the barracks.

 

Armed with his playing guards, Newkirk wandered across the compound shuffling them in his hand. Carter and LeBeau gathered a few other prisoners for a diversion making sure to keep the tower guard's attention on them while the Colonel snuck to the backside of the guest quarters.

 

Hogan carefully opened the window to the bedroom of the guest quarters and hoisted himself up and in.  He disappeared through the closed drapes and then turned around to close the window.

 

Major Miller heard the English pilot as he was talking to the camp guard. He carefully peeked through the closed drape in the living area and then heard the noise of the window being opened in the bedroom. He left the window and went to the other side of the quarters.

 

Hogan nearly had a coronary when the door opened. In a heartbeat he thought maybe he'd been caught, but when he saw it was the Major he let out the breath he had been holding.

 

Miller smiled. "Gotcha."

 

The Colonel chuckled. "You heard me coming?"

 

Miller nodded. "Also saw the Englishman outside, distracting the guard." He watched as Hogan removed the microphone from his bomber jacket. "What's going on?"

 

"Remember what I said earlier about the Propaganda Ministry looking to showcase you soon?"

"Yeah?"

"
They're coming tomorrow."

Miller rolled his eyes. "Wonderful.”

Hogan held the mike up. "And I want to hear every word they have to say." Hogan walked into the living area of the quarters and approached the desk, looking around it. "Some where here there's a wire sticking up through the floor..."  Hogan spotted it and kneeled down, taking a hold of it and pulling it up through the floor a little more. "Here we go."

 

Major Miller couldn't believe it. How the heck did that get there?! Curious, he approached as Hogan looked up at him.

 

"We have a receiver in the barracks. I'm going to leave this with you. It's easy to hook up, you just have to find a good place to hide it."

 

Miller nodded but looked at Hogan with surprise. "Colonel...how in the world...?"

Hogan smiled. "I told you my purpose here is to help POW's and the like escape? We have a tunnel system underneath this camp that helps us do that."

Miller blinked and looked at Hogan, his brown eyes wide. "Tunnels??"

"Yep. We've got one tunnel that runs right to Klink's quarters next door. We just ran the wire through there and drilled a hole through the floor here."

Miller was speechless.

"You know how I figured out the Propaganda Ministry is coming…"

"You have the Kommandant's office wired."

"Right. His phone too."

"You have a tap on his phone?!" Miller was so astounded by this he started laughing.

Hogan was grinning. "There are only five of us, but we do everything we can to mess up the German war effort." Hogan paused, feeling a sense of pride but knowing time was of the essence. "I wish I could show you everything we do, Major, because I know you'd get a kick out of it." Hogan sobered a little. "But we don't have the time to spare."

Miller nodded. "I understand Colonel." Hogan handed him the microphone.

"Once you have this set up and hidden, open the front window there about an inch. If the guard gives you a hard time about it, just tell him you need some air. One of my men will be watching that window. Even if the guard makes you close it, we'll see that you at least opened it."

 

"Okay."

 

"Now, after you do that, give us a moment or two so we can turn the receiver on. Then either just speak or..." Hogan glanced at the piano. "Better yet, play something on the piano."

 

"Okay. How will I know you can hear me?"

 

"If all goes well you should hear the Stalag 13 Barber Shop Quartet singing White Cliffs of Dover out in the yard." Hogan grinned.

 

Miller chuckled. "Appropriate."

 

Hogan nodded. Suddenly he heard Newkirk whistling a tune outside. That was the signal that the Englishman had run out of time with the guard.

 

"There's your signal," Miller said. "I'll take care of this, Colonel." He held up the mike.

 

Hogan nodded and stood up, patting Miller on the shoulder in a 'good luck' fashion before ducking into the bedroom, shutting the door behind him.

 

Major Miller looked at the cigarette-sized microphone and chuckled. He glanced behind him, checking the front door and then went to work connecting the microphone to the wire.

 

 

Once Hogan and Newkirk got back to the barracks, everyone took their positions and waited, knowing it would probably take the Major several minutes to connect the mike and then find a place to hide it. LeBeau sat with a book, holes cut through it so he could look directly across the compound at the front window of the guest quarters. Once he saw the window open, he would signal to Kinch, who stood near the door of the barracks and would knock, which would signal Carter to signal Hogan.

 

Major Miller had the wiring hooked up in less than two minutes. He then looked around the desk to find an appropriate place to sufficiently hide the microphone. He pulled the chair out and looked under the writing table and found a good place to hide the mike....but nothing to attach the mike to or anything to hold it in place. His brow furrowed in thought, he placed the mike down and began to rummage through the desk, looking for anything that might be of any help.

 

He found paper, an envelope opener and several fountain pens and then finally in the last drawer he opened he found a box containing sticks of sealing wax. This would work. He had his cigarette lighter and would have no problem softening the wax and the wax would surely hold the microphone in place, along with the wire, which he could tack to the underside of the desk and then down along the backside of the desk.

"Good...now..." Miller removed his Zippo cigarette lighter from his pocket and placed it on the desk. He picked up the microphone and checked to make sure that with it extended it to the very edge of the front of the desk that he would have sufficient slack on the wire. He did and leaving the microphone on the floor again, he opened the box of sealing wax and took one of the sticks out. Using the letter opener, he cut a piece of the wax off.

Miller then flipped open his lighter and struck it, passing it underneath the piece of wax that was on the letter opener, careful not to hold it directly to the wax and have it melt completely. He only wanted to soften it enough to use as tack.

Meanwhile, outside in the yard, the heroes were waiting for the signal.

 

"Nothing yet?" Kinch asked LeBeau.

 

"No." LeBeau dropped the book a moment, looking like he was turning a page. He raised it back up and continued to watch the window. "I hope he's not having any trouble with it."

 

"I think most of the time is being spent looking for a place to hide it," Kinch said.

 

Back in the guest quarters, Major Miller had successfully softened the wax enough and had tacked one end of the microphone underneath the desk. The one dab of wax, once cooled, wasn't enough to hold the microphone, which he knew it wouldn't be. But he now had to hold the microphone up with one hand and use the other to try to prepare the next dab.

"Terrific..." After a moment of thought, he picked up the letter opener and cut another piece of wax from the stick that was laying on the desk, with one hand. With the wax stuck to the tip of the letter opener, he laid the letter opener on the desk top, placing it so the tip was over the edge. He then held up the Zippo lighter and sparked the flame, carefully waving it back and forth near the dab of wax, being careful again not to totally melt the wax.

Seeing it was softened, he closed the lighter and took hold of the letter opener, applying the wax to the other end of the microphone underneath the desk. He held the mike while the wax hardened and prayed it would all hold when he let go of the mike.

 

He hesitated on letting go. He didn't trust it. If he let go and it let go, he wasn't all to thrilled about having to start the whole thing all over again. So he held on to the mike still with one hand and prepared another dab of wax.

 

By this point it had been almost ten minutes since Hogan had smuggled the microphone in. Although the heroes were anxious, they knew the task of hiding a listening device couldn't necessarily be done in five minutes. Wiring the Kommandant's office had taken Kinch almost an hour, as he had to patch in the telephone line as well. So they waited, as patiently as they could.

 

The microphone was now stuck to the underside of the desk with four tacks of wax. Major Miller held his breath as he slowly took his fingers away from the microphone. It held and he slowly breathed out. Luck must have been sitting on his shoulder.

 

Tacking up the wire that connected to the microphone was a cinch. He pulled the remaining slack back toward the back of the desk and prepared bits of tack to hold it up underneath the underside of the desk. He then tacked the remaining wire to the backside of the desk and whatever remaining slack he had he forced back through the hole in the floor and tacked that in place as well.

 

Miller looked over his work and satisfied with it he stood up. He returned the chair with the desk and checked to make sure when the chair was pulled out, it didn't interfere with any of the device. It didn't and with the chair pushed in, the Major stood back and looked at the desk, making sure it didn't betray what it hid.

 

The microphone was unnoticeable and the wire that had come up through the floor was in back of the desk, unnoticeable as well. He checked it from just about every angle, pacing back and forth in front of it and could see nothing that would suggest there was a listening device hidden beneath the desk. Major Miller was impressed with his work and grinned to himself. Not bad for a trombone player from Iowa...

 

He retrieved his Zippo lighter and returned the sealing wax and letter opener to the desk drawers he had found them in.  He found a cigarette from the pocket of his uniform, lit it, and walked over to the front window. He carefully peered out through the tiny slit of the drape and saw the guard that was pacing back and forth in front of the guest quarters. The Major took a moment to savor a drag on the cigarette and then holding it between his lips, he unlocked the window to open it.

 

Crack!!

 

The guard outside heard the noise and saw the window being opened a little. Across the compound, LeBeau sat up straight.

 

"There it is, he's got it!"

 

Kinch signaled to Carter, who signaled to Hogan. The Colonel turned on the receiver and all the heroes gathered in his quarters to listen.

 

The guard, meanwhile, had quickly run into the guest quarters. "Nein!" he shouted.

Miller jumped back from the window and held his hands up, cigarette still between his lips. "I was just opening it for some air." He paused to take hold of the cigarette. "Verboten?" he asked.

"Ja. Close it."

 

Miller nodded and obliged. He closed the window and stepped away as the guard checked it to make sure it was locked.

 

"Sorry," Miller said as the guard glared at him before leaving the quarters. The front door closed with a loud bang! and Miller looked over at the desk. "Well, Colonel I hope you can hear me..."  He approached the piano and sat down at it. He then began to play White Cliffs of Dover.

 

Over in the barracks, Hogan and the others smiled at the success. "Loud and clear, Major," Hogan said. "Loud and clear." He nodded to LeBeau, who unplugged the receiver and the heroes left the Colonel's quarters. When they emerged from the barracks, Newkirk signaled to several other prisoners to join them.  They lined up like a choir, and Hogan took the position to lead them. He raised his arms and then signaled for them to begin.

 

"There'll be blue birds over....
the white cliffs of
Dover
....tomorrow...
just you wait 'n see....

 

“There'll be love and laughter....
and peace ever after
....tomorrow...
when the world is free...
"

 

Major Miller heard the singing and stopped playing the piano. It worked! They could hear him!  He stood up from the piano and went over to the window and cautiously peered through the slit in the drape and saw Colonel Hogan leading several of the prisoners in the singing. Miller smiled, for the success and for the fact that the boys sounded pretty good.

 

 

 

Day Three...