Thirteen, nearing Weimar, Germany, 04/11/45
The sun was coming up as the train crested the hill. Jack was one of the few GIs not wearing prison uniforms, but was instead dressed as the fireman.
Jack couldn’t help but think to Flossy. She and the rest of the prisoners were marching for Weimar, holding their former captives with their own captured arms, all save for Hauptman Sommer, who was tied to a chair at the back of the compartment, himself wearing a prisoner’s uniform. Fleming had directed the liberated prisoners to a Resistance holdout in Weimar, where they could wait out the advance of the Third Army.
Fleming was dressed as a prisoner with a Star of David sewn into his uniform. He was hunched over the radio, jotting dots and dashes onto a wedge of paper in time with Morse code coming over it. “This is dire,” Fleming said, reading over the paper. “This message is an SOS from the Goethe concentration camp captives. The SS want to evacuate them. They fear extermination.”
“How far out are we?” Jack asked.
Colonel Mike Edwards looked up from the map on the table next to the radio. “According to this, we’ll be there in less than an hour.” He heard beeping coming from Fleming at the radio. “What’re you saying?”
“Telling them to hold out, the cavalry are on our way.” He finished, and turned to Edwards. “What’s our plan?”
Edwards unfurled a second map, drawn by hand by Hauptman Sommer. “Between the maps on the train and everything Sommer’s told us, we know that the train yard is here, on the far side of the camp, just inside the walls. There are guard towers every thirty degrees on this side of the wall, every other housing a machine gun nest, four total.
“Our greatest weapon is going to be surprise. If we can get our men into place near those towers and we can take them quickly, we’ll control a third of the yard almost instantly. I’ve got the best shooters in our detachment prepared to post up in those towers, to give us fire superiority even deeper into the camp. The remaining side has another three towers, at sixty degrees instead of thirty, which makes sense, since there are mostly other camps and Nazi territory to that side.
“Those other towers are going to be a bear, like storming Normandy, but until we take them, it only takes a handful of Nazis to threaten a third of the camp. But there’s plenty of Nazis down on the ground, too. We don’t know how well the prisoners are going to be able to hold out, so we need to push through the center, too. Jack’s going to lead that force, and I’ll be taking the towers, moving south to east to north. Things go smoothly, we’ll effectively pincer the remaining Germans just north of the center.”
“And if they don’t go smoothly?” Fleming asked.
“Then we’re going to kill a heap of Nazis before we die.”