Meet the New Enemy. Same As The Old Enemy
This short story of the Second World War was first published in The Propagandist on July 7, 2010. It is republished here on Memorial Day to illustrate how we conduct ourselves against the enemy today compared with in the past. Our soldiers and those back home did not give up the fight in the face of the enemy's war crimes.
Today in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the enemy's targeted killing of civilians are presented as our own defeats, while innefectual strikes against our brave forces are presented as overwhelming victories for theocratic thugs. We will beat the enemy if we can keep a clear eye on the battlefield and plan strategically for what will come after victory. Confusion to our enemies!
“Herr Major, the Americans are sighted in the valley!” the wild-eyed German Army lieutenant blurted to the ranking officer crouched next to the scorched and hollowed-out carcass of a Tiger tank. “What are your orders?”
“Lieutenant, you are aware of our operational situation?” the major replied calmly, smoking a cigarette. Despite his grease-soiled uniform and black-crusted bandages hinting at the onset of gangrene, he had kept some semblance of his practiced Prussian haughtiness.
The lieutenant nodded with a downward look. The situation was grim.
The hated Americans and their allies owned the skies over the Reich’s ever-shrinking territory. The Luftwaffe was no more. There was no fuel or ammunition for tanks; no vehicles of any kind available, for that matter.
The lieutenant’s sunken cheeks were a testament to the lack of food for the men. As bad, no one had seen a working radio for months. The last time he’d seen a radio in use, the operator has mysteriously vanished in a red mist, the victim of a precisely-targeted artillery shell.
In every single open engagement, the Americans used overwhelming firepower to eliminate German soldiers at will. Approaching within 500 meters of the enemy was suicide. The lieutenant’s own platoon was reduced to a single squad of half-dead soldiers and a Hitler Youth recruit named Hans they’d picked up in the forest.
The major placed his hand on the demoralized officer’s shoulder.
“This is what you will do, herr lieutenant. First, Hans will go into the town at the edge of the valley with a belt of dynamite. He has a young face, so it will be easier for him to recruit a younger child to wear this vest. Hans will tell the child to go to the GIs so he can get some candy. When the child gets close enough, Hans will detonate the explosives.”
The lieutenant nodded. “All is permitted against the enemies of National Socialism. It will be done.”
The major smiled broadly. “Next, you will divide your squad into two fire teams. The first team will set up our machine gun in the church steeple. If our men find anyone taking shelter in the church, they must shoot them. Even if they work for the Red Cross. Wait… especially if they work for the Red Cross. They are agents of Jewish capitalism.” Again, the lieutenant nodded.
“You will lead your second team within range of the American position and fire our mortar on them,” the major finished.
“But herr Major, we only have two mortar shells left,” the lieutenant protested. “And the Americans will surely kill all of us before we can even fire the second round. Is this not a waste of resources?”
“Lieutenant, you will obey my order,” the Major insisted. “When the American media learn of this engagement, it will strike fear in their population and persuade their leaders to withdraw their forces from Europe. The Wermacht will rush into this vacuum and once more, the continent will be ours. You do still have faith in our Fuhrer’s leadership, don’t you?”
The Lieutenant stiffened his spine and gave a parade-quality salute to his commanding officer. “Heil Hitler,” he said. And he was off.
Over the next five hours, the Major’s plan was carried out. Hans succeeded in getting a child to wear the explosives vest. But the vest went off prematurely, only injuring the American soldiers.
The explosion also killed ten innocent civilians. Hans managed to sneak away amidst the chaos.
The first fire team set up their machine gun at the top of the church after summarily executing seventy refugees taking shelter amongst the pews. They actually managed to kill a woman at the far end of their range who they mistook for an American ranger. Soon after, they succumbed to a pinpoint airstrike that exploded the steeple.
The lieutenant’s got off their two mortar rounds, which impacted harmlessly one hundred yards from the nearest infantryman. With the exception of one German soldier who emerged from the fray with a neatly amputated leg, the team met a grisly end from the return fire.
But the Major’s costly gamble paid off. The next day, headlines in the USA, Canada and elsewhere reported the engagement:
- “Nazi stormtroopers ambush US army”
- “Allies take more casualties. Time to end the war?”
- “France considers ‘reconciliation’ with Nazis at peace conference”
- “President sets withdrawal deadline. Says ‘Time for Europe to stand on its own’”
The history that might have been; the future that might yet be – in another distant battlefield.
Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist