A story inspired by Castello di Briolio - Episode 48 - Reinforcements of another kind

For a story that was conceived during those long boring hours flying in a steel cocoon, striving to keep away the thoughts that the plane and everyone in it could just simply disappear as planes have in the past, it has come a long way.

 

Whilst I have always had a fascination with what happened during the Second World War, not the battles or fighting, but in the more obscure events that took place, I decided to pen my own little sidebar to what was a long and bitter war.

 

And, so, it continues...

 

 ...


One of the sentries came running into the church, out of breath and clearly agitated.

Blinky looked at him.  “What is it, man?”

“The reinforcements, sir.”

“Theirs or ours?”

“German.  Staff car, a panzer, and two trucks with soldiers.

He looked at me.  “That’s a little over the top, or have you been more of a pest than usual?”  He sighed.  “How many men are in the castle”

“Twenty plus, but this is not unexpected, just a little sooner than I was told it might happen.  it simply means they know Meyer is coming.”

“This adds what, another twenty or thirty, and a tank.  I mean, seriously, a tank.  Why?”

“I think the target that we’re here to rescue is far more important than we’re being told.  If he’s part of the V2 rocket program or just rockets in general, what does that suggest to you?”

I had an idea, but I hadn’t really thought too much about it.  But somewhere in my subconscious there had been a movie, rather far-fetched when I saw it, Flash Gordon, a man who flies a rocket into outer space.

No one really believed it was possible, that it was akin to a modern-day fairy tale.  Could it be possible this one man, Meyer, could make that fairy tale become true?

Was Hitler’s eventual plan to send rockets into space?  He had a chap called Von Braun, why would it matter about Meyer?  Perhaps he wasn’t willing to share this fantastic knowledge.

“You’re talking impossible stuff.  I’m guessing he knows where the rocket factories are, so we can bomb them.  I’d want to stop someone with that knowledge, at any cost.  I guess we’re now going to take out a panzer and kill a few more enemy soldiers.  It might be why we came with explosive.”

Why did it not surprise me that someone knew more than they were letting on?

“Where are they headed, Sarge?”

“The castle.”

“Then we’re going to have to move on them before they get out and about.  A panzer can do some serious damage.  They’ll no doubt park it in the castle walls, so we’re going to need a way in, and out.”

“Got just the man.  In the meantime, Sarge, follow them just to make sure they are going to the castle.”

“Sir.”

 

I searched the compound for Carlo but he had gone missing.  It didn’t take much to guess where he had gone.  I didn’t think he believed he could take on the whole German army on his own, but he would have heard about the new arrivals and gone to have a look where they ended up himself.

Since he knew the other entrances to the castle that none of us did. He would have much better access to the inside than any of us, and no doubt without the fear of being caught.

He was nowhere to be found, though one of Blinky’s soldiers said that he had seen Carlo leaving and thought it wise not to ask him where he was going.

It wasn’t until several hours later, as darkness fell, that both he and the soldier sent to follow the new arrivals, returned together.

Blinky called a conference, it was time to make a plan of attack.

The soldier reported the new arrivals had gone to the castle, in the main gate, and where to beyond that he couldn’t tell.  They closed the gate, and he wasn’t following them in.

Carlo had more information because he had managed to get inside.

He’d even drawn a rough map of the castle and surrounding grounds.  There were a series of lines drawn on that map, and it turned out, Carlo said, these were the drainage tunnels under the castle.

I was surprised to see that the tunnel I had tried to escape in however many days ago that was, was part of that drainage system.

As much as I was equally surprised that the drainage tunnels were big enough to have men walking in, and that they were a much more efficient manner to travel within the castle, via under the castle, useful no doubt in times of battles between the warring Italian cities.

The map also showed four underground entrances, three of which I knew about, the other I should have guessed because they would not have left one direction without an exit.  The reason why no one knew about it was because it looked like the tunnel had collapsed and blocked the way.

That, Carlo said, was just an illusion.

That was going to be our way in.

 

Our force was small, five soldiers, myself, Enrico and Carlo, and two Resistance defectors.  10 against fifty battle-hardened soldiers.  Of course, Carlo being Carlo said that would not be a problem,. A statement I took with a grain of salt until he said, “We have the means to even the odds.”

He had our undivided attention.

“We use the drains to create a diversion.  The fools have parked their tank and trucks over the drains.  You have brought explosives with timers?”  Carlo looked at Blinky.

“We did.  It was an afterthought.  Thompson thought you might find a use for them.”

“Good.  You have an expert?”

One of the soldiers, Corporal Spellman, put his hand up.  “Tell me where to put them and I’ll make them go boom.”

“You come with me now,” Carlo said to Spellman. “We come back in an hour, maybe a little more, so be ready to leave.”


....


© Charles Heath 2023

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