The warm sunshine of an April day shone through the window of Standartenführer Heinz Kaufmann’s office, which was located on the third
floor of the SS headquarters in Paris, 84 Avenue Foch, not far from the Arc de Triomphe. The weather, one way or the other, meant
little to Kaufmann. He had more important issues on his mind. He studied a report closely. It was one of many on his desk, but this
one had piqued his interest. He read it again and frowned. Then, as if making up his mind, he pressed the button on his intercom.
The answer was immediate. “Herr Standartenführer?”
“Ja, Herr Standartenführer.”
The intercom clicked off. Moments later there came a knock at the door. “Come
The man who entered the office was overweight, and the belt on his uniform seemed to compress
his belly into two bulging halves. He had a round face, straight black hair and small, piggy eyes. “Herr Standartenführer?”
“Tell me, what do you make of this report from, er,” he turned over the paper on his desk, “a Major Wentzell at Merville-Colonne?”
Köhler ran his eye quickly over Wentzell’s summary, then looking at his superior, he said, “The idiot got
drunk, drove off and hit a tree. At least he had the girl first.”
“Yes, but read it, man. He was not known
to be a heavy drinker, nor had he ever been drunk on duty before.”
“Always a first time, sir. Perhaps he
needed Dutch courage to ficken das Mädchen.”
“Do not tell me that an officer of the SS would need artificial
courage for anything, let alone the taking of some French whore.”
“Jawohl, Herr Standartenführer. But if
he didn’t drink heavily, why was there liquor in the vehicle?”
Kaufmann thought about that for a moment.
“He may have been transporting it back to the base. He could have been using it as currency, particularly with the locals, or perhaps
he did not even know it was there. These vehicles are used by others on the base. We cannot know the reason. However, I am not satisfied.
Why was this case examined by the Luftwaffe? It should have been referred straight to this office. Pack a bag, Köhler.”
“Jawohl, Herr Standartenführer.”
“We have offices in Cassel, not far from Merville. We will go there. My
nose tells me there is more to this than what’s written here.”
. . . . .
Shouts and cheers greeted Forrester
as he walked into the mess at Tangmere.
“Back from the dead,” someone shouted.
you’d bought it, old man,” said another.
Flying Officer Michael Jenkins stood up as Forrester came in. “So
“Sorry to disappoint,” said Forrester.
Honestly, I really couldn’t care less.”
Squadron Leader Munro came into the mess to see what all the noise
was about. “Forrester! Where the hell have you been?”
“Seeing a little bit of northern France, sir.”
This caused a chorus of jeers from the surrounding group.
“Better come into my office and tell me all about
it,” said Munro.
Forrester was relieved to escape the barrage of questions that were aimed at him for the comparative quiet of the
Squadron leader’s office. “Glad to see you back, and virtually unscathed,” said Munro.
“Thank you, sir. Not totally unscathed. I got
shot in the arse.” He put his hand on his wound. “But luckily it’s only a scratch.”
“You did? Well, make sure you check it out with
the MO as soon as you can. I’ll need his report before you can fly again.”
Yes, sir, but I have seen a doctor and it’s only a scratch.”
Munro just stared at him for a moment and Forrester took this to mean that he had better see the MO. “So tell me about it,” said Munro