“You and the children are leaving for South Africa immediately!”
“All arrangements have been made. Tomorrow a SS garrison will be here to escort you and the children to cross the border and there after, another escort will take you to another country where you can get transport to South Africa. I have sold this mansion and money already been remitted to my uncle in South Africa. He is making arrangements to purchase a vineyard. We will start our life fresh in South Africa, just as we have planned for a long time”\
“What about you? Are you joining us in South Africa?”
“No my dear, I still have a mission to be done for the Third Reich. I can’t leave now. It’s better if you are in a safe place. My uncles will watch over you”
“I understand my dear; I will pack now and get ready the children”
The rest of the day was spend of packing things and that night, the captain’s wife cooked the last grand dinner in the mansion’s kitchen. All the household and workers was invited. Some of the workers will join the family in South Africa whilst the rest will continue to work in the plantation for the new owner. The next day, under a heavy escort, the captain bid good bye to his family. The SS garrison leader assured that he will ensure that the family crosses the border safely. Meantime, the local Gestapo agents watched out for any information that may endanger the family or the captain. There was none at the moment.
The captain, Ernst and his four body guards left the mansion after handing over to the new owners and moved in a special quarters in the local SS base. The commander felt that it will provide better protection for the captain. Besides, with the mansion sold, there was no safer place for the captain to go.
It was late a night when the captain received words that his family has safely crossed the border and being escorted to the next country where they will be able to leave to South Africa. Now the captain can take a long deserving sleep.
The next day, as he dined at the garrison mess hall, he received an order from Berlin. The date for the mission has been brought forward and therefore he needs to return to Berlin immediately. The recent development certainly caused the German High Command to be wary of a possible sabotage and have decided that they cannot wait for long for the mission to start. The preparation works were doubled. Having another faction that wants to see the mission successful in the Gestapo, certainly have helped the German High Command to buy valuable time. But the German High Command did not want longer. It was difficult to identify who belonged to which faction and the fact that the Gestapo Head was at the loggerhead with the Kriegsmarine admirals did not help the situation much.
The SS garrison commander provided a small SS troop for escort the captain and his men to Berlin. They were well trained and were prepared to do anything to ensure the safety of the captain and his men.
The trip back to Berlin was uneventful. Perhaps that the convoy was well guarded may have put off any would be saboteurs. Accommodation was provided at the Kriegsmarine base in Berlin. The Kriegsmarine admiral was waiting for the captain as he arrived.
“Sorry to hear about the incidents at your mansion and you have to cut short your holiday with your family” said the admiral, handing over a short note to the captain. The note confirms that the captain’s family have safely reached South Africa and have over a large vineyard.
“Plans have been brought forward and many details have changed to avoid anyone from sabotaging it. Your new U Boat will be ready in a week’s time. It is undergoing sea trials and so far the results have been good. There were some incidents during the construction stage but it has been resolved now”
“My new U Boat?”
“Certainly you were not serious in thinking that you could use U 133 for the mission to the Far East, did you? The U Boat would not last long in the trip. Besides, we need to incorporate some new technology and new U Boat has the design for it”
“What about the men?”
“Oh, you will still have your existing U 133 crew to man this new U Boat. It is done as per your request. They have been brought to Berlin and are undergoing training for the new U Boat. And don’t worry, adequate protection have been granted for them as well”
“Tomorrow, there will be the final briefing where all the details will provided for”
“Admiral, besides my crew, the scientists and the specialised extraction team, you think we will have room for four more persons?” the captain asked.
“You are referring to the men who been your body guards? Don’t worry; they are actually part of the specialised extraction team. The four and the driver” informed the Admiral, to relief of the captain.
The captain was tired from his journey and excused himself. He was happy that his new found men will be joining him on his mission. Later that night, a parcel was dropped at the entrance of his quarters, simply marked “Top Secret”. He did not know who dropped off the parcel but when he opened it, it was the layout plan for a very large U Boat. Simply titled as the plan for U X, there were details of the U Boat. Certainly it was much larger than his U 133. There were 3 main engines to drive the propulsion, large fuel storage tank, more area for the weapons. There was an empty area in the middle, well concealed from any leakages and marked simply as “the main storage area”.
The captain also noticed that the technology used in this U X was years ahead of U 133 and more work had been done for the long range mission to the Far East. There were manuals and instruction books on several areas of the U Boat. New radar and sonar system has been improved many fold over and is being deployed for the first time in the history of German naval military.
The captain skipped his dinner as he was too more interested in understanding the working of the new U Boat. As a captain who will take helm of the new boat, he was clearly excited with the new improved vessel. There was knock on his door. He quickly hid the details of the new U Boat and asked the person at the door to come in. It was Ernst with a tray of food for the captain.
“Captain, you skipped your dinner – so I thought it will better if I brought it for you”
The captain informed Ernst about the new U Boat and the new technologies. As with the captain, Ernst was also excited to hear about the new U Boat. They both were aware that their U 133 crew are being trained for mission on the new U X.
“I do not know who left the parcel containing the details of the new U Boat at the door entrance but it was a good head start for us before the briefing tomorrow. But until we know who gave the details, we better to keep this information to ourselves. We do not want to create any problems”
The captain did not realise that he was hungry and was glad Ernst brought the dinner to his quarters. He took his dinner as Ernst was reading through the information on U X.
“It looks very impressive indeed” as Ernst shifted through the notes.
“I wonder who left the information to you and more importantly whether the information provided here is true” said Ernst as the captain finished his dinner.
“I was thinking the same, so we better keep quiet about this until we know more about this in the briefing tomorrow” replied the captain.
The next morning, word was sent to both the captain and Ernst to present themselves in the briefing room. When they entered the room, they noted only Kriegsmarine high rankling officers and scientists from the previous meeting was present. To much of the captain’s relief, the Fuhrer decided not to attend this final briefing as his briefing has been done earliest in his private quarters in the Eagle’s Mountain.
The captain also noted that no Gestapo agents were present in this briefing and so did the high ranking officers from the German Army. It now appears to the captain that the Kriegsmarine High Command has taken precaution to limit the number of people available for the information on the mission.
Certainly after the fiasco at the captain’s mansion, the Kriegsmarine dislike of the Gestapo grew even stronger.
In addition to the Kriegsmarine high ranking officer and the scientists, the captain was also joined by his body guards who formed the specialist extraction team members. The briefing room was darkened and from afar, the captain noticed a shadow of a man sitting in the dark. He did not join the active discussion but he was aware what was being spoken. The captain recognised the shadow – was the same person who saved him from punishment when he disobeyed the order of the Chief of Naval Operations several months ago.
He cannot get a clearer picture of the person sitting in the dark but he had a feeling that he is going to find out.
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