A/N: I do not own Hogan's Heroes, but I do own the DVD set and enjoy watching them. The character of Captain Joseph Milner is mine.
fragging: to intentionally kill or wound(one's superior officer, etc.), esp. with a hand grenade. Warning: Character death.
Chapter 1---The New Prisoner
The new prisoner stood beside Colonel Robert Hogan, Stalag Thirteen's Senior POW officer, in front of Kommandant Wilhelm Klink's desk while the Kommandant thumbed through the new prisoner's file. Hogan hooked his thumbs in the slanted pockets of his bomber jacket, waiting. He glanced for a quick moment at the young prisoner who looked to be about twenty-six years-of-age with brown hair sticking out from under his cap and brown eyes. He was as handsome as Hogan, but a bit shorter than the Colonel. Hogan noticed the young man glance at him nervously. Hogan grinned at the younger man.
Klink, closing the file, looked up at both men before focusing on the prisoner. He clasped his hands atop the folder.
"So," Klink began with a smirk. "You are Captain Joseph Milner."
"Yes, sir," the Captain answered nervously. He kept his hands stuffed in the pockets of his bomber jacket.
"And you were shot down during a bombing raid over Hamburg." Klink slowly got his feet and, walking around his desk, stood face-to-face with the Captain. "Now tell me, Captain, what is your flying group and their location?"
Milner glanced at Hogan who shook his head.
The Captain stood at attention, hands now at his sides. "Milner, Joseph. Captain. Serial number 0873708."
"Captain, I don't want any of that name, rank and serial number rubbish." Klink shook a balled fist at the officer. "I want you to tell me…"
"Kommandant, wait a minute," Hogan interrupted. "He's just a tourist who took the wrong train and ended up here. You can't expect a tourist to remember where he boarded his train."
Klink shook a finger at his Senior POW. "Hogan, if you don't mind, I will conduct this investigation my way and don't need your help."
Hogan shrugged, all the time looking at Klink innocently. "Just trying to keep you from getting into trouble, sir."
"Trouble?" Klink wedged himself between Hogan and the new prisoner and looked in Hogan's face. "What trouble? You've heard something?"
"Well, I can't be certain that he's the one, mind you," Hogan leaned close to Klink, lowering his voice to just above a whisper. "But I'd be careful how you question a Gestapo spy."
Hogan noticed Klink's body stiffen. "Gestapo spy? Captain Milner? Are you sure, Hogan?"
"He's probably one of Hochstetter's men. You know how the Major feels about you, Kommandant. He's always checking your loyalty. I'll bet anything he sent him here to spy on you." Hogan noticed that Klink seemed to shrivel before his eyes. "Why don't you assign him to my barracks."
Klink looked at Hogan suspiciously. "But if he's a Gestapo spy, why would you want him assigned to your barracks? You're up to something, Hogan."
Hogan gave Klink his best 'who me?' look. He sighed. "Look, if you assign him to our barracks, we can keep an eye on him and let you know before hand what he's up to."
Klink nodded excitedly. He smiled at Hogan. "Good thinking, Hogan. This way I'll know what he's up to and be ready."
"You catch on so quickly, sir," Hogan smirked. "You never seek to amaze me with your insight."
Smiling like a Cheshire cat, Klink walked back behind his desk and sat back down. As he did so Hogan glanced at the Captain and winked. Klink smiled nervously at the Captain.
"I don't think we need to pursue this line of questioning any longer," Klink explained. "Colonel Hogan, I'm assigning Captain Milner to your barracks."
"Yes, sir," Hogan replied innocently.
"And I'll hold you responsible, Hogan, if he gets into any trouble," Klink replied wagging a finger at the Senior POW. He saluted. "Diss-missed!"
Hogan and the Captain both saluted before Hogan opened the door and followed the Captain out. As both men walked down the steps of the Kommandantur, Milner looked at Hogan.
"What was that all about, Colonel?" he asked, curious.
"Just wanted to spare you the famous Klink indoctrination," was Hogan's reply. "C'mon, I'll show you to barracks two. It's not much, but we call it home." The Captain followed Hogan across the compound. Milner noticed prisoners in the compound tossing a football around, playing catch with a baseball, while some were sitting around reading. He shuddered realizing this was going to be his home until the end of the war unless he could escape. As he followed the Colonel, he mulled over his opinion of the Senior POW officer.
So far, Hogan was the only officer he had noticed in the entire camp, other than the Kommandant. Also, the Colonel seemed to have the Kommandant wrapped around his finger. Or was he possibly collaborating with the Germans and what he'd just witnessed have all been an act? Milner wasn't sure; but he would keep his eyes open and stay alert. He admitted on the surface, Hogan seemed like a pretty nice guy and was very friendly; it was also apparent he took his duty as Senior POW officer seriously. But that could all be a smokescreen the Captain thought. He decided once he was settled in barracks two, he would discretely ask around and see what he could find out about Colonel Robert Hogan
Reaching barracks two, Hogan opened the door and entered, Milner following. Looking around, he noticed the barracks was, for the most part, empty with the exception of four men who were seated at the table in the common room drinking coffee.
"This is Carter, Newkirk, LeBeau and Kinch. Fellas, this is our new roommate, Captain Joseph Milner. Milner shook hands with each man as he was introduced. Hogan looked at the little Frenchman. "Captain, you'll bunk with me. LeBeau, give him the tour of my den, will you?"
"Oui, mon Colonel," LeBeau replied, getting up. He looked at the officer. "Come with me."
As the two men left, Hogan poured himself a cup of hot coffee and sat down at the table. He handed Kinch the Captain's identification. "Kinch, according to Milner he was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group and was shot down over Hamburg. Contact London and check him out."
"Right away, Colonel," Kinch replied taking the identification from the Colonel, getting up, and heading to the double bunk and striking the hidden mechanism. After he disappeared below, Newkirk hurriedly got up and struck the mechanism again and watched the lower bunk drop down over the tunnel entrance. He then sat back down.
"What do you think, Colonel?" asked Carter.
"We tell him nothing about our operation. Nothing at all until he's been cleared. Newkirk, when he takes a shower, check out his clothing for phony labels."
"Carter, first chance you get, check out his boots and make sure they're made in the US."
"You got it, boy," Carter grinned. He saw Hogan's face. "I mean Colonel."
They all looked around when LeBeau rejoined them. "He's putting away his things, Colonel," he said. Hogan noticed the Frenchman's face appeared troubled.
"What is it, LeBeau?" Hogan asked. "Did something happen?"
"I'm not sure, mon Colonel," LeBeau answered. "As he was unpacking, I noticed he had what looked like a diary or journal of some kind. I picked it up and the Captain became upset. He snatched it out of my hands saying I had no right to touch any of his things. A moment later he apologized saying he didn't mean to blow up. He just doesn't like anybody touching his things."
Hogan's eyes narrowed some. "I've known some people like that. They're just funny that way. But I'll have a talk with him anyway." He noticed LeBeau still appeared concerned. "Is there something else I should know, LeBeau?"
"I can't put my finger on it, Colonel. But there's something about Captain Milner that I do not trust."
Just then, the lower bunk rose and Kinch appeared from below. After stepping over the bed frame and into the common room, he struck the hidden mechanism and waited for the bunk to drop before rejoining the others at the table.
"What'd you find out?" Hogan asked his second-in-command.
"Captain Milner was under the command of Colonel Harry F. Cruver who was the command pilot of the 100th bomb group. It was during a major raid over Hamburg that Cruver lost most of his aircraft. Captain Milner's plane was one that didn't return." (1)
"Okay," Hogan replied. He took the paper from Kinch, and crushing it, tossed it into the stove where it burned to ashes in seconds. "LeBeau, I want you to shake his cage a little, see what falls out."
The sound of a door opening had the men looking around. Captain Milner exited Hogan's quarters and approached the table, watching Hogan. "I'm all unpacked, sir. I hope you don't mind that I took the upper bunk."
"Not at all, Captain. Grab a cup of coffee and join us."
Milner, finding an empty coffee cup on the window sill, poured himself some coffee. He sat down at the table, taking a drink of the hot coffee.
"So, what do you think of our little piece of heaven?" Hogan asked with a smirk.
"I haven't formed an opinion yet, Colonel." Milner bit his lower lip. "Colonel, can I ask you something?"
"You're an officer; the only one I've seen so far other than the Kommandant. How come you're here in a NCO prisoner-of-war camp?"
"The Germans needed someone of authority to babysit these non-coms. I was elected, and here I am," Hogan explained with a lopsided grin. "So, you were with the 100th bomb group?"
"How's Colonel Warren doing? Last I heard he was the commander of the 100th bomb group." Hogan took another sip of coffee, his eyes never leaving Milner's face.
"I don't know any Colonel Warren, sir. Colonel Harry Cruver is the command pilot with the 100th bomb group."
"Oh yeah, yeah. That's right. I forgot old Harry took over. How about Colonel Frank Chappell?"(2)
Milner chuckled. "He's still flying combat missions in North Africa, Germany and other places."
"Frank always enjoyed the wild blue yonder," Hogan chuckled. "Milner, why don't you take a shower while you still can?"
"Yes, sir," Milner replied finishing his coffee and getting up. He walked out of the barracks. Once he was gone, Hogan glanced at Carter and Newkirk.
"You both know what to do," he said.
"On our way, Gov'nor," Newkirk answered as he and Carter headed out the barracks.
Hogan, watching two of his men leave, suddenly knew what the Frenchman meant earlier. There was something about Captain Milner, and while Hogan couldn't put his finger on it, his gut told him something was off. And Hogan always trusted his gut.
(1)Colonel Harry F. Cruver, USAAF, was the command pilot with the 100th bomb group in Europe during WW2. He flew twenty-three missions over Germany in a B-17, including a major raid over Hamburg that resulted in the loss of nearly 1/3 of the 100th bomb group's aircraft. It was a battle that led the group to be known as the 'Bloody 100th.'
(2) Colonel Frank Chappell entered the Army Air Corps in 1941 and during 1942 flew seventy-six combat missions in North Africa, the Mediterranean, Italy, Germany and France.