Disclaimer: Hogan's Heroes is owned by Bing Crosby Productions. No copyright infringement is intended. I would like to thank Janet (Bits and Pieces) for the beta.
After a bit of a slip-up, a German spy disguised as a prisoner is informed of Hogan's operation. Hogan and his men decide to give the plant a tour of their operation. Of course, their scheme to make the guy look insane is a success. In the ensuing chaos, the not yet promoted to General, Colonel Burkhalter gets soaked and almost gets his face shot off with a luger that was supposed to be a cigarette lighter. Klink actually comes out looking good in the process. Meanwhile, our Lieutenant Carter, who has been bunking at the Stalag 13 spa and resort after escaping Stalag 5, is smuggled out in Schnitzer's dog truck. (But not before he receives his manicure from Helga, a stint in the steam room, and of course a shave and a haircut in the barber shop) Hopefully, his getaway to the coast goes smoothly.
And now, brought to you in living color: the conclusion of "The Informer."
A day earlier, Hogan and his men had easily spotted a German spy masquerading as a prisoner. It could have been disastrous when he was told about their operation, but things worked out fine. The plant was made a fool of and he was now probably on the way to the Russian Front. Life at Stalag 13 was now back to normal; whatever normal was when you were running a rescue operation out of a POW camp.
Newkirk, LeBeau and Kinch were hanging around the barracks doing some laundry, when they spotted Oscar Schnitzer's truck heading toward the front gate. "That's odd," noted Newkirk, "He's not due back until tomorrow."
"He may have something or someone for us," replied Kinch. "I'll get the Colonel."
Newkirk and LeBeau slowly meandered their way towards the dog kennel. Schnitzer always signaled when he had someone in the back of the truck. They quietly waited a few yards away to see what he would do. Today, Schnitzer touched the front of his cap.
Knowing that this meant an important message, LeBeau moved towards the truck and started razzing the veterinarian. Newkirk waited for the guard to pull LeBeau away and then quickly came up along Schnitzer's side.
"I have a wounded cub," Schnitzer told Newkirk quietly. "The kid I took out of here yesterday. We ran into a patrol."
"Let's have a look." Newkirk checked to make sure no one was watching and hopped into the back of the truck. Schnitzer followed.
"I got the bullet out and cleaned it as best as I could, but he needs more attention." Carter was unconscious. Schnitzer had laid him down on a stack of blankets.
"We're going to need a real diversion to get him into the tunnels. Has he woken up at all?" Schnitzer shook his head. "Hang on then, I'll need to speak to Colonel Hogan. You'd better make yourself look busy." Newkirk carefully hopped out of the truck and motioned for LeBeau and Hogan to come over so he could explain the situation.
The engineers had been working on extending a tunnel entrance into all of the barracks. They were close, but unfortunately, none of them had been completed. That would have made moving an injured man a heck of a lot easier, thought Hogan. They could have just driven the truck in front of the barracks and snuck Carter into the hut. They could still do that, but it would be too risky. Carter could be discovered, and there would be no explanation for his presence or injury. Schultz would only overlook things for a little while. No, they had to get him down to the tunnels.
"We can carry him down, Colonel, but we need the time. We'll have to go slow, or we could make him worse." Kinch had joined the quick planning session.
"Have Oscar wrap Carter in the clean dog blankets. We'll have to sneak him in the pen that way. LeBeau, go over to the other side of the compound and have some men in another barracks start a fight. That should give us about five minutes."
"Right away, Colonel." LeBeau took off and the rest of the men waited. Miraculously, the plan worked like a charm. The fight started, and the guards took off. Schnitzer had Carter wrapped up nicely in the blankets and Newkirk, Kinch and Hogan managed to gently lower him down into the tunnel without drawing attention. It occurred to Kinch that Hogan was getting better and better at predicting the reaction of the guards.
Wilson, the camp medic, arrived in the tunnels shortly afterwards. He began checking out the injured Lieutenant. "Is he going to be okay, Joe?" Hogan looked with concern at the young man lying on the cot.
"I think he'll be fine. It's a good thing Oscar was there when it happened. He won't be ready to travel for a while, though."
"We'll take care of him. Let me know when he wakes up, okay?"
"Will do, Colonel."
It was a short time later that Carter awoke to find himself back where he had started. Newkirk, who had grown fond of the young Lieutenant during the short time he was hiding at Stalag 13, was the first to notice that he was awake.
"Hey, how you feeling Lieutenant? Looks like you had a bloody time of it with the Jerries a few miles out."
"How'd I get back here?" Carter looked around, somewhat confused at his surroundings.
"Oscar brought you back. Lucky for you he's a vet. Probably saved your life."
"We ran into a patrol." Carter was beginning to remember what had happened. "It was just before I was supposed to transfer to an underground unit." Now agitated, Carter tried to sit up. "They're all right, aren't they? And the vet?"
"Easy, Lieutenant, you'll tear your stitches. Everyone got away, don't worry. Hey, I have to get the Colonel; he wanted to see you when you woke up. Don't go away!" Newkirk winked at Carter and left to get Hogan.
Hogan strolled over to the cot. "Welcome back, Lieutenant. Looks like you'll be our guest for a little while longer."
"Sorry for all of the trouble, Sir."
Hogan shrugged. "It happens. I'm just glad you're okay. Listen, when the medic gives the go-ahead, you can come upstairs; just check with someone first. Oh, and you're free to move around the tunnels."
"When can I get out, Sir?"
"Not until you're fully mobile, and then we have to wait for a pick-up time. It could be a few days or not for several weeks."
Carter nodded. "Thank you, Sir."
"Get some rest," Hogan replied.
Within a few days, Carter was feeling a lot better and was getting bored. He had offered to help sew, but he was rather clumsy with a needle. Forgery was out. His artistic ability consisted of drawing stick figures. There were enough volunteers working in the metal shop, and counterfeiting and digging were out of the question due to his injury. So Carter spent most of his time observing and learning everything he could about Hogan's operation.
He was amazed at how far the operation had come in so short a time. Disrupting the German economy by flooding it with counterfeit money and fake lugers was the easy part. The hard part, and what astonished him the most, was the elaborate tunnel system. Engineers were still working out the details, but he'd been told that eventually Hogan planned to have the tunnels extend to all the barracks, Klink's quarters, and out past the wires. The tunnel to Barracks two, and an emergency tunnel that connected to a hollowed out tree stump were nearly finished.
One afternoon, Carter was keeping Newkirk company down in the sewing room. He had complained to his new friend of his boredom, and Newkirk was racking his brain trying to figure out a way to keep the officer busy.
"There's got to be something you're good at. I know. What did you do in civilian life?"
"Oh," Carter became enthusiastic. "I helped run a pharmacy. You know, I was studying for a license at a local college."
Newkirk ripped out a seam and then threaded a needle. "So you get to play around with medicine and chemicals; stuff like that?"
"I couldn't touch the medicine. Not yet, anyway. But I do know a lot about chemicals. I can mix them; make things explode."
Newkirk stopped what he was doing. "What do you mean, make things explode?"
"Oh, I can get a hold of almost anything, and with the right ingredients, make it go BOOM!"
"You did this back in the states?"
"Uh, huh," Carter replied. "I almost blew up my high school."
"But you were a gunner on a plane. The army didn't assign you to ordinance?"
"Nope, I told them, but you know the army. They didn't listen."
Newkirk went back to his sewing. "Don't worry, Lieutenant. I'll find you something to keep you busy until we can get you out of here. Now, tell me more about explosives."
Newkirk thought about what Carter had told him and decided the Lieutenant's hidden talents should not remain hidden for long.
"Trust the army to assign a demolitions expert to something else," said Kinch.
"I knew someone who was an actual chef," LeBeau added. "He got assigned to the infantry." (1)
"What do you think, Colonel?" Newkirk had explained Carter's experience to Hogan. The men were meeting in his office to discuss if they could take advantage of his talents. "He seems a nice enough chap, I'd bet he'd help us."
"It's a thought." Hogan was interested in expanding their operation, and causing damage to the German infrastructure was appealing. He was sure London would be really, really pleased. "But it's not that easy. We would have to get in more supplies, set up a lab, and then actually go outside and set the explosives…"
LeBeau was also thinking of the possibilities, but tried to temper his enthusiasm. "There's also the fact that Carter may be leaving us in a few days, Colonel."
"I still think it's worth a shot, Colonel. Just talk to him; see what he says." For some reason, Newkirk just had an instinctively good feeling about the prospect. "I mean, even one sabotage operation will be worth something."
Hogan agreed. "You're right. Have someone bring Carter up here."
"You want me to do what? Oh, I'm sorry, Sir." Carter looked at Hogan. "I'd like to help you, but there's no lab, no supplies."
"What if we get you what you need? Do you think you can come up with something, Lieutenant?"
"I guess I could try. But then what? I mean, what are you planning on doing with it?"
"We would like to blow up a bridge, about three miles away from here." Hogan had a map of the area out and pointed to the location.
"Well, Sir, I would need to know the size of the bridge. You could have a huge mess on your hands if you don't use the right explosives."
"We can get you that information," replied Hogan. "Can you do it?"
Carter thought long and hard. "I'll get you a list of what I need." (2)
Within a day of providing Hogan with his list of needed supplies, Carter found himself working in a makeshift lab underneath the barracks.
"I really think it would be much safer if you guys would, uh, wait somewhere else." Several of the men were hanging over the Lieutenant's shoulder and it was making him nervous. "I mean, if something goes wrong, well, you know, I don't want anyone else to get hurt." The men moved back. "Eh, huh. Yeah, no, that can't be right." The men moved back a little further. This back and forth continued until Carter was basically left alone to complete his work.
Finally, he was satisfied and ready to have Colonel Hogan inspect the explosives. "Now, Sir, all you have to do is set this timer, here. I've given you an option of five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes…well you decide. Then make sure you're far enough away, and BOOM! Up she goes!"
"Good." Hogan was impressed. He turned to LeBeau, Kinch and Newkirk. "You remember how to lay the wires? I don't need any slip-ups. Any questions, ask them now." None of them had any questions. They all seemed pretty confident.
"Um, Sir," Carter raised his hand, "I was wondering if I could go out with the guys and help them set the wires. I mean, if something doesn't go right, I would feel responsible."
Hogan shook his head. "Carter, that's a nice gesture, but you're still not in tip-top shape. No, I have faith in my men. They can handle it."
"No, Carter. That's an order."
Carter responded half-heartedly, "Yes, Sir."
Carter, Hogan and the rest of the boys in Barracks two spent a long and anxious night waiting for their three comrades to return from their mission. Every so often, one would slip outside in hopes of hearing the explosion. Finally, their patience was rewarded. Several hours after the three had snuck under the wire, a large BOOM could be heard in the distance. Hogan looked at Carter and said. "Carter, my boy, we're in business."
Kinch, Newkirk and LeBeau were clearly on cloud nine when they snuck back into camp and returned to the barracks. They couldn't stop talking about how easy it was to sneak out, find the bridge and set the wires and timers.
"You should have seen the sky light up, Colonel!" Newkirk was still shaking from the excitement.
"It was like music to my ears," said LeBeau.
"Everything worked perfectly, according to plan," Kinch added.
"Well, if I had champagne here, I'd make a toast." Hogan was extremely pleased. He just loved creating chaos. "But we don't, and besides we have roll call in twenty minutes." The crowd in the barracks started to grumble. "All right, quiet down. I think we need to thank the man responsible for our success this evening; Lieutenant Carter." Whistles and applause filled the room. Carter murmured a shy thanks and then excused himself to hide in Hogan's office.
1. What a coincidence! This happened to Ed Begley in a MASH episode.
2. It's a great thing that Olsen is their outside man, isn't it? Not that they know what he does or where he goes! But he is awfully resourceful, particularly at shopping.