Admiral Kantz was waiting at the pen when U X returned from its first sea trials with Captain Franz. He was eager to know the performance of the U Boat. He has heard over the communications that there has been a massive U Boat attack against the Allied flotilla and two of its battle cruisers have been lost and he knew that there is no other U Boats in the vicinity other than U X.
U X docked and the captain disembarked. Admiral Kantz did not waste time, he quickly asked about U X’s performance during the battle. As Captain Franz was busying updating the Admiral, several technicians were checking the U X for reading and damage controls. After all it did take some hit from the anti U Boat bombs.
Despite of an easy successful, the captain still needed more days to put the U X into its pace. A possibility of delaying the launch date did not go too well with the Kriegsmarine High Command but they also aware that the U X need to be tested and retested for long range mission as given what is at stake here, the mission cannot afford to fail. The Kriegsmarine High Command however requested Captain Franz to expedite the sea trials and report back on the progress on a regular basis.
The captain was given three more days to complete his sea trials on U X but the captain gathers that he has only two days to do the sea trials as the final day need to be reserve for mission preparation and resupply. There are not many options for the Captain to test on the U X performance in these two days. A long range patrol was ruled out as the U X will take longer days to return to base. The captain therefore had to limit the testing on emergency dive and surface scenarios. The U X crew’s knowledge and readiness was tested over and over again. Nothing was left unturned on the men’s skill set and resourcefulness.
In the meantime, someone has been watching over the U X’s progress report and was clearly not happy. His plans to sabotage the mission have so far failed miserably. His intention of making the Gestapo the main suspect has been successful. Whatever happens, Gestapo will be the prime suspect and he and his men will get away with it. Some of his earlier attempts to sabotage the mission have failed to materialise despite being meticulously planned. Elements within the Gestapo and the Kriegsmarine have managed to keep one step ahead of his plans but he has managed to hide his tracks well. The U X mission is still on but it won’t be long. They have not suspected him yet and certainly the Fuhrer still believes in him for sound and tactical advice. He still has his options and the main plan yet to be executed. He picked the phone – it seems like there is no other choice but to execute his plan.
Today was an off day for the U X crew but since they were in a remote island, there was nothing much to do for the crew. Some went back to the mess hall to spend their time drinking and chatting whilst others found their quarters a solemn place to recollect their thoughts and prepared for the next mission.
Captain Franz and Ernst spend most of their good time going through the navigation plans over and over again. They need to make sure that their route of choice will be the safest and fastest route picked. They also need to make sure that they able to be on the rendezvous point on time for resupply. Three main rendezvous points has been set – one near the coastal area of Africa, another in the Indian Ocean and another nearer to Malaya. Although Captain Franz did not asked for the details of the supply ships, he knew that the best supply ships belonged to pirates and only they can be counted on to deliver the goods on time. However, they are also notorious for double crossing their contacts. Captain Franz needs to take precautions. He just hoped that the money paid by the German High Commands to these pirates is worth their loyalty.
The navigation plans was been updated recently by the Japanese Imperial Navy who recently completed an exercise to chart these waters for their Navy. Other detail was obtained from the British’s naval office in Singapore when the Japanese invaded it few weeks ago. It was a good thing that the Kriegsmarine managed to get hold on this without much questions by the Japanese Imperial Navy although similar requests in the past has been rejected strongly by them. Perhaps the recent delivery of twenty midget U Boats to the Japanese Imperial Navy may have changed their mind.
The navigation along the Malayan coastal waters however was not clear for the captain for there were no details plans available. The Japanese Imperial Navy have a copy of the information but refused to give the Kriegsmarine a copy as they are still in battle with pockets of resistance in Malaya. Recent news of the British dispatching two battle cruisers to the area did not help much. This means the U X also need to face more patrols from the Japanese Imperial Navy boats.
Ernst suggested that they take a break and go for a drink. The captain agreed but before leaving, he took out all his navigation plans and hides it. Although the base was safer than the one in Berlin but he did not want to take any chances. They could not afford to get another copy from the Japanese; they will get suspicious for sure this time around. The captain also ordered that his quarters are to be guarded by two armed sentries and if anyone wants to enter the room for whatever reasons, he must be notified first.
Having done that, he and Ernst took a break and headed to the mess hall for their drink. The anticipation and the eagerness of the commencing the mission was quite evident on the captain’s men’s faces. The captain on the other hand was getting nervous. The burden of making this mission a successful one is getting heavier by the minutes.
“I know what to do” said the man to the unknown person on the phone.
“U X will not complete its mission” added the man as he closed the radio when he heard some footsteps.
The night was spent to load the U X with the final supply before it leaves to the Far East for the mission. Among the supply items were also the scientists’ bags and equipments. As the men were busy loading the U X’s essential items, the pile of the scientist’s items was left on the dock to be uploaded later. The atmosphere at the dock was quiet by this hour. Two sentries who were on routine patrol of the dock stopped by the U X’s loading area for a smoke. It has been a long day and once U X leaves the base, the men at the base can breathe more easily. Security has been very tight in the last few months and everyone is feeling the impact of it, including the sentries who been ordered to patrol around the clock basis.
“I can’t wait for U X to leave the base” said one of the sentries
“Ya, me too” said the other
“What’s this” pointed the first sentry at the pile of bags and equipments on the side of the dock, waiting to be uploaded into the U X.
“Oh, it is just the scientists’ things – bags, equipments, bags, stuff. We will upload them soon” said the dock worker as he waits for the green light from the men in the U X to start his work.
Having nothing much to do, the sentry started to wade through the scientists things but was careful not to disturb it.
“Do you hear that?” asked the sentry to his friend.
“Something like a clock ticking?” replied the other, unsure.
They found one bag where the sound was coming from. At first, the sentries thought that one of the scientists has left a clock in his bag and there was nothing to worry about. However, as part of the security measures and unknown to most of the men of U X, every item to be boarded into U X has been carefully marked with the owner’s ID. The sentries checked the bag where the sound is emitting from but failed to find any tags. Did anyone made a mistake of missing the ID? Were the sentries getting worried on something trivial?
The sentries who are very meticulous in their work decided to check with their superiors. If there is something that need to be checked but if they have decided not to check it and something goes wrong, the sentries will be punished severely and the sentries know about it too. However, if it turns out as nothing serious, at the most they will get is scolding from some scientists.
The sentries isolated the bag from the rest and called on their superiors. The bag was checked on the outside, there was no owner ID anywhere on the bag. The bag was sealed tight but a faint clock ticking can be heard. A bomb specialist was called in and the bag was opened. What they saw in it shocked them!
The saw a small timer resting on a large pack of explosive. The timer had initially been packed tightly so that the clock ticks silently but the dock workers must have thrown the bag and this seal was broken and caused the ticking sound to be heard. It was a mere luck that this bomb was found. If the seal have not broken, the sentries would not have noticed this bag and it would been loaded into U X. It was also luck that the loading of other items had taken a longer time and the scientists bags was left on the dock. The bomb was more than enough to sink U X and cause considerable damage to the dock.
The disarming of the bomb was not too difficult for the bomb specialist as the bomb was constructed too crudely. The explosives were removed and a dummy weight was placed to maintain the weight of the bag. The bag was sealed back and placed back in the dock area together with the other scientists’ bags.
The security head was taking a risk here. He was not sure whether the person who placed the bag in the first bag had seen the sentries discovering the bag and the bomb diffused. If the person has seen it, then he will be more careful in future and less likely to make any more mistakes. It will be more difficult to catch the traitor if this is the case. The captain and the senior officers need to be alerted and keep an eye on this. But if the person did not see the discovery of the bag, then there was still a chance to catch the traitor. Who is the one, was the thoughts on many of the persons in the security room.
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