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It’s been a week since we took out the Nazi train. We’re now laying low in the city of Paris, teaming up with the French Resistance to end the occupation. Arthur Crowley lays out the plan. “Using the documents we obtained from the train, Rousseau and I will pose as Nazi officers to infiltrate the garrison.”
Madame Rousseau leads the men to a rooftop patio overlooking the city. It has a clear sight to the objective. “The garrison is run by SS officer Polizeifuhrer Heinrich. When he couldn’t find me he came for my parents, my husband and finally my son. Tonight everything we’ve lost, everything we’ve fought for will mean something. Tonight we take back our city.”
Crowley points to the objective. A large structure adorned with Nazi banners lit up like a beacon of the occupation. “The garrison, our contact there will supply us with the explosives and when we blow the gates that will be your signal to approach.”
“We are counting on you,” she implores.
Zussman tells you, “These Krauts aren’t going to give up easy.”
You reply, “If we can survive Pierson we can survive anything.”
Arthur Crowley interrupts you, “I fought alongside him at Kasserine. We should all be so brave.”
Before departing Rousseau reassures you, “It won’t be long mes amis, but first we enter the lion’s den. See you there.”
The sound of the rain pelting the car’s metal roof is nearly loud enough to drown out the doubts and second guessing echoing through Rousseau’s mind. The car comes to a stop at a German checkpoint. “Nazi fucks,” Crowley mutters.
Rousseau grasps a concealed blade cleverly disguised as a pen before the soldiers wave the car through. “Soon this nightmare will be over.”
Crowley hands her a dossier and explains, “If you get stopped, your cover story has to be ironclad. Let’s go over it again. You are Gerda Schneider, a military attaché. You were sent by foreign intelligence for Heinrich’s safe evacuation to Berlin.” As she looks over the paperwork Crowley emphasizes, “This is our one chance. Recruiting our inside man came at a terrible price. You are to find him and exchange your briefcase for his. Hopefully he’s obtained the explosives we need.”
“You worry too much Major,” Rousseau says.
“That’s my job,” he replies as they exit the vehicle. “Who sent you?”
“Good. Whatever happens, you must maintain possession of the briefcase at all times.”
“I’ve come this far, I’ll be damn sure I’m going to finish it.”
Crowley heads in first and passes through the security checkpoint without any issues. When Rousseau approaches, she’s stopped by a Nazi officer and questioned. She explains she has travel documents for the Polizeifuhrer and after inspecting them she is granted access. Before opening the door for her Crowley offers one last bit of advice, “Now remember your contact’s name is Fischer. He’s wearing a grey officer’s uniform. Tell me the passphrase.”
“Good luck,” he tells her.
The Lions Den
Once inside Rousseau finds herself in a beautiful open foyer filled with German soldiers and Nazis. She looks around and attempts to identify her contact. She finds a German officer and tells him she’s supposed to meet someone named Fischer. He tells her that Fischer is probably playing cards with the soldiers in the basement. She thanks him and proceeds downstairs. At the card game she speaks to another officer who tells her Fischer has just left for a meeting and is probably somewhere on the second floor. Rousseau returns to the main foyer and heads up a wide set of stairs towards the second floor offices. At the top of the stairs she is stopped by a Nazi officer who informs her she doesn’t have the clearance to be up here and sends her back to the main floor.
Unable to proceed up the main stairs she locates a set of service stairs near the back of the building and uses them to avoid the guard. Fischer is in a busy office and when Rousseau utters the code word Verlaine, he directs her somewhere quieter where they can speak privately. “We must be brief,” he says.
“Are you ready for the exchange?” She asks.
“No you’re early and I’m late for a meeting. I’ll have the explosives in a case matching yours. We’ll have to make the swap in the war room.”
“Lead the way.”
“No. They’re watching me. Use your cover to get into Heinrich’s office on the third floor. From there you can cut across to the north wing where you can avoid the checkpoints. We shouldn’t be seen together. Go now and I’ll meet you in the war room.”
Best Laid Plans
Heinrich’s secretary says the Polizeifuhrer is currently in a meeting but will allow Rousseau to wait in his office. While inside she notices a memo on the desk implicating Fischer in the missing explosives. Spotting a large window leading to the north wing she checks and finds that it’s unlocked. As she begins to open the window Heinrich enters the room and in German he asks, “What are you doing at my window?”
“Excuse me, Herr Kommandant. I just wanted some fresh air. I am Gerda Schneider. I’ve come from Berlin to bring you your travel papers.”
As he moves to his desk he questions, “Fraulein Schneider. I believe you studied abroad. It was Cambridge, right?” Taking a decanter from his desk he begins to pour two glasses.
“Yes, that’s right. If you’re ready, I can show you your travel papers.”
“We’ll get to that,” he says as he hands her a glass. She accepts the glass and thanks him. “Don’t thank me yet, Fraulein Schneider. Now if you’ll indulge me, perhaps we can converse in English. For as you know, I’m sure, practice makes perfect. Please have a seat,” he says as he directs her to a chair in front of his desk. “So Herr Gruber sent you to arrange for my departure. I am flattered.”
Rousseau corrects him, “It was Herr Kommander Spiegel.” She’ll have to thank Crowley for drilling her so hard on the cover story details.
“Very good, one cannot be too careful these days,” he grins. “You look so serious. Let us drink.” He raises his glass, “To my return to the fatherland. The French deserve each other,” he mocks. “But my god I will miss the cuisine!” He remarks as he walks to the fireplace to pick up a cast iron poker and begin poking in the fire.
“Take the ortolan; that tiny delicate songbird. Its eyes poked out so that it can gorge. And then it’s drowned in cognac. It’s ingenious,” he continues as he begins walking around with the poker still in hand, the tip red hot. “I’m not sure what I will miss more, savoring the sweet flesh or watching it thrash to death.” Placing the poker back on the rack he continues, “But there is one thing which I am certain. Watching your son flail as he drowned under my boot gave me the greatest pleasure of all. Rousseau!” He yells as he lunges forth knocking her back out of the chair hands wrapped around her throat.
Gasping for air she tries to push free but he is too strong. She spots a broken piece of the glass decanter on the ground and reaches for it. She stabs him in the ribcage and he falls back with a shocked look splashed across his face.
“This is for my comrades,” she pants as she stabs him in the chest. “This is for my son,” she shouts as she stabs him again. “And this is for me!” She yells as she impales it through his throat, “Vive la resistance.” She wipes the blood from her hands on his Nazi uniform and picks up her briefcase. She quickly readies herself and proceeds to the still open window.
Out on the rooftop Rousseau can hear Heinrich’s secretary knocking at the door and calling his name. She had to have heard the commotion. It won’t be long until the entire garrison is on alert. Quickly she makes her way across the rooftop to a window on the north wing. Climbing through the window she finds herself in what appears to be an officer’s lounge. Luckily it’s near to the war room where Fischer awaits. Rousseau approaches him and makes contact. “Sir, those reports you wanted just came in from Berlin.”
“Thank you,” he says. “I will attend to them as soon as possible.” She notices he’s looking intently at a group of soldiers out in the hallway. He’s apprehensive about something. “Leave now,” he whispers as he kicks over a briefcase he has on the floor.
“Very good, sir,” she says as she swaps briefcases and heads back out to the hallway.
And not a moment too soon, just then the soldiers in the hallway enter the war room and one shouts, “Seize that spy!”
Fischer demands, “What is the meaning of this?”
The soldiers approach him and begin searching through his things, “Explosives are missing from the munitions storage. You were the last one seen in that area.”
“This is absurd,” Fischer responds.
Rousseau feels terrible for him but there is nothing that can be none now, she has to stay on mission. As she walks out of the war room she hears the soldiers say they didn’t find anything. Hurriedly she proceeds downstairs, there’s no time to spare.
A Nazi soldier spots her near a checkpoint and demands to see her papers. “Is that blood on your sleeve?” He inquires.
“Ink I’m afraid. One of those days.”
“Place your briefcase on the table for inspection,” he says.
In a bind Rousseau attempts to talk her way out of this, “They checked my bag downstairs.”
This only serves to anger the soldier and he draws his rifle, “Fraulein, your bag now.”
Now or Never
Just then a figure lurking in the background approaches the guard. It’s Crowley. He grabs the soldier from behind clasping his hand over his mouth and stabs him through the heart, killing him instantly. He drags the body to a side room and closes the door. “We’ve been compromised,” he says. “The whole bloody place is on alert. Tell me you made the switch?”
“Yes I have the explosives,” Rousseau says.
“Then we are staying on mission. We’ll rendezvous in the courtyard after you plant the charges,” he continues.
A patio door in the office leads to a balcony overlooking the courtyard. Equipping her pistol with a silencer she heads outside. A soldier stands on a patio in the distance. She fires one clean head shot and moves across a stone ledge to his position. Moving to the ground floor of the building she spots Fischer, he’s being interrogated at gun point by a Nazi officer. She moves in fast and quiet and dispatches the soldier. She unties Fischer but he’s in no shape to leave. He says he’ll wait here.
Rousseau sneaks out a window to the courtyard and methodically moves towards her objective taking out anyone she meets with precision and stealth. She reaches one of the main gateways to the courtyard and places a set of explosive charges on it. Almost there she grins, “Only one more.” The last charge to be set is for another large wooden door on the opposite end of the courtyard.
She ducks back inside of the building and heads upstairs. There are too many guards patrolling the courtyard and too many spotlights to take the direct approach. She moves fast but smart and is able to reach the final location undetected. She sets the explosives and whispers, “Now it’s up to you and your team Daniels.”
In the streets of Paris, you and your team await Rousseau’s signal. You’ve taken up position behind a line of parked cars just across the Seine River from the Garrison. Any closer and you’d surely have been spotted. A German patrol stands only meters away in the street unaware of anything out of the ordinary. Impatiently you check your pocket watch, “They’re late you say. We should go now.”
“Hold your fire until they blow the gates,” Pierson orders. Seconds later, a fiery flash lights the sky as a deafening blast rattles the street. “Alright, that’s our signal. Let em have it!” He yells.
The squad opens fire on the unsuspecting German patrol, now turned towards the explosion. A lot of enemy troops still stand between you and the garrison and now they know you’re coming. Car by car, storefront by storefront, street by street you advance under heavy fire until you reach the Seine.
The river cuts across the city and you have no other option but to cross a heavily defended bridge. The bridge leaves you highly exposed with the German garrison directly across of it. The enemy has the positional advantage and you suffer heavy casualties as you slowly push across the bridge. As you reach the other side a German APC is positioned in the square outside the garrison. The machine-gunner aided by a dozen soldiers firing from the second floor has you pinned down. Lt. Turner calls for smoke grenades to be deployed. With the enemy blinded you grab a panzerschreck and fire towards the APC disabling it.
Picking a sniper rifle from the street you take cover behind a cement half wall near the square. Taking aim you clear out the machine-gunner and the remaining soldiers on the second floor. “They’re thinning out keep firing!” Lieutenant Turner shouts. As the enemy opposition weakens Lt. Turner hollers, “We have to meet with Crowley and set up defensive positions. The Germans will fight like hell to hold the garrison.”
The Germans fall back to the garrison and you press forward. Crowley and Rousseau are holding the courtyard with a rag tag group of French Resistance fighters. He tells you to follow him, “Gerry’s still inside we have to take him out.” Before entering the building he hands you a shotgun and orders Rousseau to throw in a smoke grenade. “Clear the lobby and then sweep the building. Enemy reinforcements are coming.”
Zussman kicks open the lobby doors and you head in shooting anything that moves in the thick smoke. With the lobby clear Daniels orders you and Zussman to clear out the second floor. You meet only minimal resistance as most of the German’s have already abandoned the garrison or died defending it.
Zussman suggests setting up defenses in preparation for the inevitable counter attack. “German’s will be coming soon, we’ll see them coming from here,” he suggests looking down from a blown out section of wall overlooking the bridge. “If they get close use the Molotov’s,” he says pointing to a crate the French Resistance fighters have brought along. In the distance you can hear muffled explosions and gunfire. “The whole city is fighting back, we’re almost there,” Zussman hopes.
It’s not long until the German counter offensive is upon you. It’s relentless and overwhelming but you fight on. A mortar round slams into the building and the explosion knocks you to the ground. Dazed you see one of the Resistance soldiers take a bullet while holding a lit Molotov. The bottle smashes to the floor and engulfs him and the room in flame. Zussman yells at you, “We’ve got to get out of here, come on Daniels!” He jumps to the street from the gaping hole in the wall and you follow him down.
Your bell was rung pretty good and you’re not a hundred percent yet. You can barely hear someone yelling out “Halftrack approaching!” Vision still blurred you see the machine-gunner open fire as the APC screams into the square. A panzerschrek lay in the street not more than a few feet away. You can hardly stand but you pick it up and take aim. As the machine-gunner turns towards you, you fire. A well placed shot disintegrates the vehicle and the explosion engulfs the square killing most of the remaining troops.
With their numbers dwindling and their advantage destroyed, the German offensive breaks. “They’re retreating!” Pierson shouts. Cheers of Vive la Resistance fill the air as French flags are displayed in the street.
You head over to meet with your squad mates. Turner congratulates everyone for outstanding work. Rousseau beams, “We did it, De Gaulle’s forces are entering the city!”
Pierson almost smiles when he says, “Looks like we might get that champagne and caviar after all.”
“Hey Daniels, do you still think there’s a young gal looking for a handsome GI?” Zussman jokes as he strikes a pose.
“Sorry buddy. That was just to boost your morale” you tell him. Just then a series of loud bangs and flashes make everyone flinch. It takes a moment until you realize it’s only fireworks. Paris, the city of light, is celebrating its liberation.
Crowley says, “There’s no turning back, France has reclaimed Paris.”
Pierson cautions him, “Well this ain’t exactly over yet, the war’s not done.”
“Oh come on Pierson. Let them have this,” Crowley protests.
“That’s what Turner’s for,” scoffs Pierson.