Three GI’s are on forward reconnaissance on their way out of the Battle of the Bulge in Germany. They stop to check out a local Gasthaus very early in the morning. They hear a shot, and then a second shot. Investigating they come across a Nazi Colonel burying twelve large steel crates, with two dead German Soldiers lying nearby.............
The Last Battle
Date & Time: Nearing the end of the 2nd World War in West Germany Time: 06:45 hours, Date: 23rd. February 1945
The early morning mist was still visible over the war torn village of Steinmetz in Western Germany. Sergeant Ralph Carano, PFC Jack Grüber and Corporal Peter DeCicco were cautiously driving their US 4X4 Jeep through the North end of the village. They were checking for any remaining German foot soldiers. Grüber was sucking on a cigar - long gone out and DeCicco was chewing gum, Carano was driving. Both Carano and DeCicco were of American Italian descent, and Grüber was a first generation German, whose family had immigrated to America in the late 1920's. Carano was a squat and swarthy loud mouth and because he had been an enforcer for the so-called non-existent Mafia in New Jersey, he had the confidence and tenacity to stay alive, at least to the end of the war.
DeCicco, was tall and blonde, strange for an Italian and thought that by sticking with Carano, he would have maybe a better chance to finish the war alive. Grüber on the other hand was still bewildered about fighting his former Countrymen, he also had a good command of the German language and Carano had seconded him to his platoon because of that, of which at that time, was about to become very useful.
Meanwhile, down a couple of blocks just off the main street in a local bank vault at about the same time as Sgt. Carano and company were driving through the village, Hauptman Klaus Christensen was in the bank’s basement standing by 12 sturdy steel crates. It was early in the morning and it seemed that the mist still rising in the damp vault was like dust; he had some hours before ordered two the last remaining German infantry soldiers in the village to accompany him to the local Raiffeisenbank.
In the musty and dim light of the bank vault, the crates seemed strangely out of place, and the contents of the boxes were unknown to the two Germans soldiers.
The village was deserted aside a few stray cats searching for food in the bombed debris. The main US tank Armored Division was some 2 hours or so in arrear due to one of the last Tank Battles in trying to gain access over the Rhine. Colonel Christensen was just 34 years old 6’ feet 4” inches, dark black hair and a sallow face. He had advanced through the ranks rapidly and had been Goering's bright protégé. Herman Goering was Commander of the Luftwaffe and virtually 2nd or third Command of the German Armed Forces.
Goring having been promoted to the unique rank of Reich Marshall in 1940. He had an IQ of 138. He was dead at the age of 53. He committed suicide by taking a potassium cyanide capsule, he was eventually cremated and scattered in the Conwentzbach in Munich. Goering killed himself only hours before he was scheduled to be hanged in 1946, following his conviction for war crimes.
A former US guard says he unwittingly gave Nazi leader Hermann Goering the poison he used to commit suicide. Herbert Lee Stivers, who was a 19-year-old guard at the trials, says he agreed to carry "medicine" to the imprisoned Nazi air force chief. He said he was talked into it after meeting a flirtatious local girl. He said he met the girl in the street, and she appeared impressed by his role as a guard at the trials. She introduced him to two men, who asked him to take messages to Goering hidden inside a fountain pen. The third time, he said, the pen hid a pill.
Goering was noted for the following quote, which Colonel Christensen remembered was his last words to him. "Shoot first and ask questions later, and don't worry no matter what happens I will protect you." He continued as if lecturing Christenson "Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policies and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or even a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for the lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
Klaus Christensen was born in Bornheim, a small town near Frankfurt Am Main. Before the war he had worked in an International Antique shop. This was one of the main reasons he got on well with Goering. His explicit orders regarding the 12 crates came from Berlin and direct from the Field Marshal himself. In the dark vault of the bank and at that particular moment in time, Christensen's life had no meaning to any past reality, he knew that the American and British Axis were closing in, and although he had been at Stalingrad and witnessed death and destruction by both the Russian and Germans, he was not happy as to what his final orders were. His orders from Goering were very concise, "bury the crates, remember the location and leave no witnesses". The sealed letter in his pocket gave specific instructions, that in the event of Germany losing the war, he was to follow the exact commands in the letter.
40 years later, the fomer Hauptman Klaus Christensen, remembered the letter he had stashed away. Opening the still sealed letter, he read the contents in disbelief.......................
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