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A body of text containing key words and phrases relating to WW2 militaria is required to be picked up by the robots in who’s hands our success lays. This Blogging usually takes the form of watered down snippets of text relevant to each website.
Rather than rewriting readily available information David Mattey invites you to enjoy an entertaining short story /novel/screen play “Berlin 43″ serialized and published here for the first time .
By lacing the short story with relevant second world war terminology we hope to maintain our ranking. Week One 6/July/2013 .
“1943 Episode 1) 6/7/13
November rain lashed the Berlin streets. In unison the vigilant searchlights shut down. The lidded head lamp of an east bound trolley bus providing the only light; its deep reflection shimmering into the glazed road as it shuffled ponderously towards Winterfeldstrasse.
Hanging heavy in the early evening air was a familiar stale bonfire smell . The pounding of distant anti aircraft batteries finally ceased , soon to be replaced by a wailing chorus of sirens heralding the “All Clear”; silence an incongruous momentary silence that was subsequently interrupted by a frenzy of fire engines. The clang of their clattering bells fading as they sped over the river towards the suburbs.
Miles avoided the worst of the downpour from a covered shop doorway. He watched two R.L.B. air raid wardens shepherd a group of dazed figures, mainly N.S.D.A.P office workers from the shelter built below the city’s Openplatz.
“Move along now, in line”.
One of them instructed in a loud cheerful voice.
For many of the capital’s prioritised war workers this bunker had become home. The secret observer reflected on his gathering of intelligence from the depths of this sunken chamber. Eavesdropping on officials whilst they bickered carelessly during the summer months.
After some consideration the Englishman set off for his meeting with Madeleine, opting at the last moment to brave the elements and walk. He favoured this choice the alternative being a claustrophobic bus journey.
Why ?he questioned, should he run the risk of some stranger engaging him in conversation? Such exposure was hazardous; The Nazis had orchestrated a culture of suspicion .Defeatist conversations were routinely reported. Hitler youth members were instructed to observe and inform .
To walk he concluded was clearly his safest option.
He briskly navigated the ancient streets drawing comfort from their shadows. Gusting wind blew fine drizzle under the brim of his hat and on to his spectacles. Resilient natives began emerging from their burrows.
The City’s life blood was returning.
Almost everyone Miles passed was in uniform. Firstly he encountered a group of exhausted F.l.A.K (Anti aircraft) helpers, boys of perhaps fourteen years or less? They’re oversized gladiator helmets shielding their soot blacked faces from the rain.
A drunken Whermacht infantryman sank back into a doorway his face flashing red as he attempted to relight his damp cigarette .A Bahnshutze railway police guard marched bye in clockwork fashion steadying an outmoded first pattern dress dagger with one hand whilst swinging his other arm to emphasis rank.
Before long Miles found himself within sight of the station kiosk, the designated liaison point. His wristwatch showed the time to be six twenty-five p.m. he was, by design a few minutes early.
A brief panic invaded him, as he struggled to locate Madeleine in the larger than expected crowd. Then from within the darkness of the central arch he identified her distinct animated form.
“You are late darling”
She whispered as she joined the Englishman under a tattered umbrella. Brunette curls beneath the latest design of winter hats softly framed her blue eyes and delicate features. Miles’s sense of relief was conspicuous; The emphasis of her greeting coupled with the delivery of the memorised sentence indicated that she believed everything was safe.
Officially Madeleine was still regarded, as a loyal operative, however there were question marks surrounding one of her reports. Unbeknown to her she was under scrutiny. Miles had been given the insidious task of conducting an investigating. The agents embraced. The damp air intensified the potency of Madeleine’s strategically applied perfume. With linked arms they made their way to the Plaza theatre. Their cover was that of a courting couple. It was accepted that in the event of their being challenged Madeleine would feign inebriation whilst Miles would be left to answer any questions. Their papers were in order and as smartly dressed office workers it seemed unlikely to Miles that they should attract any unwanted attention.
In Madeleine’s company the British agent felt invigorated a sensation that had for some time eluded him.
The couple walked the moonlit pavements pausing briefly to survey a freshly damaged landmark.
A large framed portrait of Hitler hung defiantly, high upon the exposed internal wall of an office building, the front of which had collapsed along with all three of its flours.
“It’s like a giant doll’s house”.
Commented Miles .He griped Madeleine’s hand supportively as they stepped over rubble and swollen hose pipes enticed by the bizarre spectacle.
A fire policeman stretched out from his extended ladder but faled to retrieve the painting, his second unsuccessful lunge sent the framed image plummeting to rest, impaled on a jagged timber joist .
The crowd, into which the agents now blended , gasped as if they had witnessed a wilful act of desecration. Miles struggled to resist suggesting that this just might be symbolic.
The couple moved along to fulfil the night’s official objective,
The exchange of dangerously obtained information was achieved on a deserted footbridge that straddled a railway goods yard.
This occasion differed from any before, because the (knowledge) Miles shared was in fact fictional.
By the summer of 1940 the operatives had infiltrated separate government departments and now held similar posts as translators; both were perfectly placed to intercept information from a variety of sources.
London had received a report that Madeleine had been sighted leaving Gestapo headquarters in Prinz-Albrect Strasser on Thursday the fourth of October. Miles could not account for Madeleine’s whereabouts on that day in fact she had completely neglected to contact him until the following Monday. An unscheduled pause in communication constituted a breach of standard procedure. Such irregularities could not bee over looked.
In her belated report to H.Q. she claimed to have been accompanying officials to a meeting in the south, and was therefore unable to communicate. Miles had taken this to be plausible His superiors however with their hard earned caution believed that she might have been “turned” offered a position within the Abware in exchange for her life. For an allied agent at her level to be offered such an option by the Gestapo was to the best of Miles’s knowledge unprecedented.
Flickering light from the projector’s beam cut a swath through swirling clouds of tobacco smoke that filled the old theatre. A golden party lapel badge worn by the Englishman insured that the couple were shown the best seats in the house. With a now practised patience and apparent enthusiasm Miles endured yet another cinematic epic .An historical drama manipulated to convey Dr.Goerbbel’s hate filled ideology. . The tedious program ended with a newsreel expounding the virtues of Germany’s Courageous U-boat Crews. Everyone clapped enthusiastically .A smartly dressed lady seated beside Miles turned and smiled. He smiled back at her whilst applauding and nodding approvingly. Her face was animated, filled with the kind of patriotic emotion one had encountered more frequently before the demise of the six army at Stalingrad. He firstly considered it likely that she had a son serving in the forces, then something about her distant stare suggested that she might be displaying the agonising symptoms of bereavement. ?
The house lights came up. Miles collected the coats and his umbrella.
“Would you care for a drink Madeleine?”
She replied smiling, It was nine thirty and from a bar’s entrance next to the theatre issued a jolly medley of music and voices. Had he been offered a choice Miles would have preferred to find somewhere quieter? But once inside he felt as ease. Quite typically the vivacious Madeleine and her guest were directed to a good table.
“A glass of hock for the young lady . And a small beer for myself please”. Shouted Miles.
The waiter nodded and smiled approvingly boldly indicating that he shared some ofthe young agent’s admiration for Madeleine. He perched the couples hats and coats on a bent wood stand then left to fetch the order.
The two operatives settled down to soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Smartly dressed theatregoers mingled with sailors; soldiers and city workers. Miles savoured his refreshment, he positively warmed to the environment and before long was drinking a second glass of beer, this was in it’s self a novelty for the Englishman who rarely drank in public places for fear of revealing clues about himself.
After an uplifting hour the would-be couple ventured outside. The rain had abated .An SS officer, his arm in a sling took the last available taxi. Without hesitation Miles volunteered to escort Madeleine to her apartment on foot, believing perhaps naively that their evening together was nearly over. She accepted his offer and after a stroll that seemed poignantly bereft of conversation Miles concluded correctly that they had reached their destination. An imposing modern apartment building loomed above . Madeleine reached into her pocket to retrieve her door keys. Miles took hold of her gloved hand and kissed it then bid her.
But as he turned to walk away he became snared by here actions. Their was a glint in her eye, her stare intensified, her head tilted in the direction of the apartment building .Her behaviour was familiar it’s meaning unambiguous. He had little defence against it; nothing in life had prepared him for such intoxication. For the moment he possessed neither the will power nor the desire to resist.
“Come on up, it will be just fine”.
She uttered in her warm calm way. Perhaps the combination of both fear and guilt made him more receptive to the prospect of intimacy. His animal instincts were beginning to overpower any sense of duty. His mind began to shut out the briefing that he had received from H.Q. The psychological conflict was hideous. Nothing on earth could arrest his desire to hold her once more yet Ironically and quite disturbingly as circuit leader should the allegations against Madeleine prove to have foundation Miles had instructions to eliminate her? A wrong move now would compromise everything. He had to act naturally. He desperately wanted to believe she was not a traitor. Their previous liaison in a hotel in Munich some weeks before was contrary to the basic rules of their trade. Miles was beginning to understand why personal relationships were discouraged within the network and forbidden within his circuit. If it was love that he was feeling he had not chosen it.
Miles had failed to declare to H,Q, one critical piece of information
Madeleine and he were already acquainted. Europe had been a small place for people from a certain background before the war. Miles had attended the same skiing class as Madelene following his graduation from oxford back in thirty eight. Knowing one another’s true identity’s was something that should have been reported. He assumed that it was their mutual attraction that had silenced the matter. Cautiously he considered the prospect of another torrid encounter and the likelihood of it reinforcing their physical bond. He knew that to spend the night in Madeleine’s apartment was in security term’s utter madness. It made nonsense of the evenings elaborate charades, never the less her power and control over him seemed absolute. He believed that he had experienced love before, he certainly had enjoyed romantic encounters. This however was different; in his reckoning they had rediscovered some dormant human sense. Perfect empathy might best describe it. He was entranced; in normal peacetime circumstances his prognosis would read infatuated or love sick.
He wanted to believed that Madeleine shared this intensity of feeling but tried not to loose sight of the facts. She was after all the archetypal femme fatale. She was blessed with extraordinary beauty, charm and sophistication. When dressed in the most drab of Berlin office clothes her poise and mannerisms betrayed her French socialite background. The very way she smoked her cigarette was intriguing. She knew quite expertly how to manipulate men, allied intelligence had taken that into account when recruiting her. Perhaps pleasure was her terror weapon, a trump card that good girls did not usually play. Just maybe with fear of the Gestapo hanging over her head there were no longer any rules in her game? If she had been “turned” her one concern would be self-preservation at whatever cost. Perhaps she believed she had found in Miles a willing co recruit the ideal fellow traitor? If the worst were true, and she was reporting to the Reich, did Miles stand any chance of preserving her? He had taken it upon himself to make her the conduit of misinformation? This was an unsanctioned decision that should have been subject to the approval of the London committee. So many Questions .In truth to entertain the possibility that she may have made him her bedfellow purely to acquire information was agonising, and unthinkable. Their intimate sessions had become his addiction. Separation for Miles felt like bereavement. Would this be their last time together he wondered? As H.Q. had so tactfully put it, Madeleine might have to meet with a little accident. This thought horrified him. The verdict of her fate for the moment depended on the effect if any of the information he had passed to her on the bridge. If the Germans responded to it, it would identify Madeleine as a traitor.
Until such times that the allied landings and their locations had been decided the circuits presence in the capital was crucial the delicate chemistry of the Berlin operation had to be maintained. It may not have been “Business as usual” but it had to appear that way. Things in the south of England appeared to be heating up and the Germans knew it. They had started to reinforce “The Pas de Calais”, believing not surprisingly that a landing would most likely be attempted there. Just for good measure Miles had furnished Madeleine with additional inaccuracies regarding the build up of troops. If passed on these would perpetuate an important myth ensuring the squandering of both German manpower and resources.
They entered Madeleine’s apartment building; it was modern and comfortable in keeping with her party status. As the lift ascended Miles reflected on all his suppositions, begging the question that he knew could never be asked. Which are you Madeleine friend or enemy? She quietly slid the concertina door behind them as they stepped away from the lift, then with a chopping gesture silently indicated the direction of her apartment, number twelve. They entered; she switched on the hall light then secured the door behind them. Miles considered it miraculous that so far they had avoided encountering any of the building’s other residents . From a drawer in her bedside table she produced a night-light and a red enameled cigarette lighter. Madeleine’s face took on an angelic radiance in the candlelight, her room a shrine like quality. The couple’s shadows danced briefly whilst the flame settled. No words were uttered. Their lust, hunger whatever it was? Pressingly communicated and choreographed what followed. Trepidations dissolved, the Parisian anticipated then attended to Miles’s desires with insight and sensitivity. Miles was convinced that love was being expressed . Adrenaline flowed; the lovers heart rates increased then having first snatched a breath the brunette sighed. Miles collapsed satiated. She retained contact, both of her arms were locked around him, her grip gradually loosening until one hand flopped down and dangled over the side of the bed.
The Englishman whispered in a breathless tone.
To Be Continued soon