Well, Blackadder wasn't far wrong. The Germans were curious about the device, but for the moment unable to get in. So, they devised cruel psychological warfare. They started playing a band and singing all their favorite drinking songs such as, 'Oompah, oompah, we all drink beer! Lager, Lager, Lager, Flap all our nipples,' or their particular favorite, 'Gasses from our bottoms in the air!' Naturally, it is also possible as some have argued that the Germans were simply singing some of their favorite tunes to amuse themselves, but the effect of hour after hour of Bavarian drinking songs is enough to turn the strongest minds into despair.
Blackadder nearly cracked for example. He stood up in the Tank, saliva dribbling from his mouth. He attempted to open the hatch. 'I can't bear it, I can't bear it!' he screamed. 'One more round of Germans slapping there nipples to their band! I'm getting out of here. Hang the consequences. ' raved he, his head spinning around in some despair at the music he was listening to.
'No, sir, no, no,no!' George cried in horror. Without knowing how to restrain his hysterical Captain, George resorted to slapping Blackadder around the face. Blackadder was very hysterical so George had to slap the Captain many times. He wasn't sure if Blackadder appreciated this, so George said to him, 'Sorry, Sir, but I have to be brutal. It's this or Baldrick will have to kiss you!' and so he punched Blackadder in the nose. 'Come on, help me!' he cried to Professor N and Baldrick.
'It's all right, I think I am fine now!' said Blackadder but he was ignored for a while.
'Calm down sir!' said Baldrick, hitting Blackadder very hard. Perhaps all the years of Blackadder treating him as a dogsbody, scorning upon him and stamping down hard upon any intelligent ideas that Baldrick might have suggested caused Baldrick to take out his frustrations in one moment and Blackadder's face stung. Professor N joined in and also gave Blackadder slap although by now Blackadder was recovering though perhaps his companions hadn't realized this.
'All right, all right, thank you all, but theres no need to overdo it!' snarled Blackadder. Though either because he hadn't heard or any excuse to hit Blackadder was a good one, Baldrick managed to get in one last slap. After he had fallen down, Blackadder dusted himself of and looked out of the Tank's telescope. 'Better get a look at what the Jerries are up to. They seem to have gone a bit quiet,' he said.
Looking over at the tank curiously were a patrol of German soldiers. They themselves were standing in the mud, worrying about death, been annoyed by rats in much the same manner of their English enemies. One said, 'Hans, vot is zat contraption? Ve have heard strange rumours of ze enemies weaponry recently. Is zer any way we can get to it?'
'Once ze 'evy machinery gets 'ere ve vill be able to enter and find out. But for the moment ve vatch.'
'Zat von't be long. I feel a bit sorry for ze fate of ze Britishers inside!'
One German offered another a cigarette. Well in some ways the attitude of the Germans were similar to that of the Tommy's. But war been war, things could get brutal and the Prussian at the time could be cruel to their prisoners. 'But ze machinery should have been here. Ve are losing time and time is short! Give me ze phone. Someone get me ze Fuhrer!'
'Ve do not have ze Fuhrer. You are in ze wong war, we have ze Kaiser! And time isn't short ve have plenty!'
'Vell, someone get me ze Kaiser!' This didn't have the same effect. The soldier asked his comrade as the rain dripped upon him, 'By ze way. Wy does some domkopf of ze fanfiction writer think that by having a few ze's replacing some w's with v's ve are somehow talking German? This is not any type of German zat I am aware of some type of language of ze very wierd type!'
'Because ze author can't speak proper German and subtitilies are hard to do in the printed word!'
'Oh, another thing, I don't know anyone called Hans! You're Karl, I'm Johann, he is Heinz!'
'Ze Britishers eh? Let us look forward to all of those football matches against zem in the future were we alvays vin! Vell, after 66 anyway!'
The top of the Tank was screwed of. A face of a German Colonel looked down upon Blackadder. He at least could speak a form of English. 'You will surrender to us. Or you will die. And then you will appreciate our Prussian hospitality!' The German Colonel started to laugh. But the 4 were taken to a car and then transported to a nearby prison and thrown into a cell.
After a while left to themselves, the Colonel appeared again 'Now then, you prisoners have a choice. You can tell us what you know and spare yourselves pain. Or you can suffer cruel torture.' The Colonel then smiled at the 4 in that way that many prison guards do when confronted with their prisoners. He did click his heels of his very smart German uniform.
'No, never will I betray my country!' nobly said George.
'You will get nothing out of me!' said Professor N bravely.
'I will not say a word!' Baldrick declared heroically but wrongly.
'All right, what do you want to know?' said Blackadder happy to betray the English for a better time.
'Very interesting, but I don't think you know much, you simple Captain of the English. Neither does your Lieutenant.' the Colonel came to Professor N and massaged his back. 'You are pretty indeed. But this is how do you say too obvious. But you are in Civilian clothing and clearly a Spy. We Germans strictly observe the rules of war and according to this, you will be shot. However, the English have given us a man with very bad social skill, thinking we will be fooled into thinking he is a top Scientist. No.'
'When it comes to bad social skills, you Germans excell yourselves,' thought Blackadder.
But the Colonel's next statement did surprise Blackadder. He came to Baldrick who looked back up at the German. 'This is the man. Cunningly disguised as an idiot. Yes?' The Colonel paused and walked around the cell a bit, but then stood behind Baldrick and massaged Baldrick's shoulders. 'We will interrogate this prisoner to see if we can find any intelligence out of him!'
Blackadder gave the Colonel a long look. 'I wish you luck, I haven't in 3 years! said he.
'But as for the rest of you! What do you think becomes of those we Germans take prisoner?'
'Allowed to go free and entry to the next round of the Soldier's talent contest?' suggested Blackadder.
'Wrong!' said the Colonel.
'Given a formal written warning, then allowed to go free!'
'Wrong!' said the Colonel.
'I give up!'
'Once we have found any use out of you, you will be used as our will and then be handed a consignment of German sausage and after that if any of you are still alive you will according to the strict rules of war be shot!'
'I thought the rules of war was that those that surrendered were taken prisoner?' Professor N asked.
'The rules of war are whatever we want them to be!' explained the Colonel. Baldrick was taken away.
'Nice of them to give us some sausage, I like a bit of frankfurter!' Lieutenant George chipped.
'I think George, that you might not like their sauce!' Blackadder sighed.
For a time Blackadder was left in the cell. He had to admit that he was getting a bit scared. Well, to be honest, fear had been a constant companion of his from about eight weeks since the start of the War. A war that was supposed to have been over by Christmas 1914. Seen as it was now spring 1917 Blackadder thought that the military mind had cocked up over that one! Blackadder often tried to hide his true feelings in a midst of humour and general fedupness but underneath he was scared stiff.
Also, the prospect of been a plaything of the Prussian soldiery was also not appealling. The Germans were possibly the worst nation in Europe to be a prisoner of in a no-holds barred conflict. Their military did have a habbit of been pointlessly brutal combined with a logical application of rules if brutality was involved. Though to be fair he was sure that been a prisoner of the English wasn't much fun either.
The door opened. 'Here is your comrade. The intelligence information is cunningly hidden with him!' laughed the German Colonel. Behind him were around 40 burly, well-armed Germans. There didn't seem to be much hope of jumping them although George looked like he could be mad enough to try. 'Well, then, my Englisher friends. It's sausage time!' the Germans laughed. It was probably fortunate, therefore, that at that precise moment that a shell from the push from the British landed on the chateau, causing the walls to cave in.
Smoke bellowed. Blackadder seized his chance. 'Now!' he cried and everyone ran out.
'Stop them, stop them!' cried someone and fired shots at them but it was too late. Just, which didn't do anything to help Blackadder's nerves any.
Blackadder ran to the muddy fields beyond the trenches. The British push had begun in earnest. Other tanks had punched through the German lines. From their guns the tanks launched shells of fire at the Germans. Many hit and sliced German soldiers in half. But many more German troops simply hid away from the line of fire. If one looked at the battlefield from above one could have seen lines of Tanks moving forward as shells and explosions rocketed around them. The British soldiers including horse-ridden cavalry, behind the Tanks moved forward, but then they received a shock as they found they were still targets and many mown down in machine gun bullets.
The Germans were also organizing themsleves, captains barking orders, comapanies forming together, many soldiers leaned on top of their trenches firing at the British. The corpses of dead soldiery on both sides lay in the mud and dust, some been trampled on by tanks or burned by shells and above, naturally crows flyed to take there pick at the end of the battle. Many local buildings had been hit and burned or collapsed around creating rubble.
'You know, this is a sight a bit more expensive than the BBC comedy department in the late eighties is normally capable of producing!' said George looking around at the panorama and the fighting. Although George was a little on the thick side, he did occasionally have flashes of insight into the future, he had this strange knack, although he rarely understood what he saw!
'Indeed!' thought Blackadder but then cried, 'Down!' as a shell landed nearby and he and George dived in one large puddle of cold water and Baldrick and Professor N in another. A sniper fired at them, as Blackadder and George dived deep into the water showing only their heads the sniper missed them, but Baldrick and Professor N were not so fortunate.
Both were hit. Professor N was hit in the small of the back and died in some pain, but in terms of warfare relatively quickly after around half an hour. Many deaths in this war were longer than that! Baldrick was hit right between the eyes and fell with a splash in the water. But Blackadder was more concerned with his own problems. It looked like he was trapped in this cold, muddy, smelly and very possibly toxic water for the duration of the battle, without been able to stand up either. He was right, and this took around 14 hours!
With Lieutenant Geroge. But Lieutenant George did try his best. He amused his Captain with another of his flashes of insight. 'Captain, there are those in this war that do think that it is been fought a little unwisely and that it is just needless slaughter! But in the future there are those that will look back at this, indeed very learned fellows and write books saying that in fact, this was a noteworthy and often unrecognizied triumph against an expansionist Germany!'
Actually this didn't cheer up Blackadder that much. 'Well, all that goes to show, George, is that sometimes people might have letters after there name, write 100s of pages of a book with very long words, some of which I don't even know, but prove that they are really not much smarter than even Baldrick over there. I might point out that the British Empire covers around a third of the globe. We are the dominant power of the seas and jealously guard that privilege. Indeed once we tried to dictate to the Germans the size of their fleet!
'Only in the past decade we tried to virtually annex an independent country!' In his last statement Blackadder was referring to the Boer War and he wasn't far wrong. Read it up! 'So, in expansionism, we Brits aren't really innocent, and in some ways we can't blame Germany for been ever so slightly suspicious about us!' Blackadder finished.
The rest of the time in the pond was spend in relative silence. Blackadder spend his time listening to the battle with only George, cold water, rats and possible Pneumonia for company. The night spent a long time passing. But as morning dawned and after a while the sounds of battle lessened, Blackadder decided it was time to make a cautious way out. As he crawled over, he saw the body of Professor N and incredibly, Baldrick stood up and was still alive.
'Baldrick, I saw a bullet go straight between your eyes, how did you survive?'
'Don't worry skip, missed my brain by about 10 feet!' Baldrick replied.
'Figures!' Blackadder thought.
But Baldrick said to him, 'Oh, what a bloody, terrible war this is, full of mindless slaughter,' Baldrick did have time to think a little in his spell in the puddle. 'This just goes to show what a savage race Mankind can be to each other. My only hope is that in the future we can find a better way to sort out our problems, around a table perhaps!' A surprisingly perceptive comment from Baldrick.
Then Blackadder had a vision of the future. He had one too! This must have been something to do with the field-mushrooms Baldrick had found and cooked for the company recently! He had a vision of another time, another country. Around 100 years in the future. But the British army were still there and still fighting another bloody war. In Afghanistan. All right, so it wasn't as bloody at least for the British as WW1 was, but it was still a war and still involved killing people.
Baldrick stepped out of an armoured car that he and Blackadder were travelling in. He had a little look at the dusty roadside in the burning Afghan sun. 'Oh, Sir, theres a little wire down here, it could trip someone up, I wonder what would happen if I should happen to pull it!' he said and reached down and snapped the wire up to inspect it, despite Blackadder's frantic calls of No!
In the resulting explosion, as it was a roadside bomb, Baldrick was killed and his name mentioned nobly in dispatches for some strange reason. But Blackadder lossed the use of one of his legs in the bang. 'Thanks a lot, Baldrick, I now have to be retired from the Army, with little prospect of work and only the meagre army pension to keep me without the use of my legs!' Blackadder sighed.
Back in WW1 Blackadder shook his head from the vision. 'Not for a while yet, I think, Balders!' he said.
Tired, hungry and scared, Captain Blackadder made his way back to the British trenches. Some German territory had been captured. Around half a mile at the cost of 25 000 lives in total on both sides. Half a mile! That's optimistic, try 100 ft! Blackadder had to take a look at some dispatches about the battle. George was still cheerful after eating and commented, 'Well, what a jolly jape, no harm done, lucky about the rescue, Bladders, something to write home about!'
Blackadder was not in a good mood and snapped back, 'A jolly jape, George? In case you didn't read it, thousands of men have lost their lives in that push. Also, by the way, you remember those chaps we past on our way to the push? They were one of the first wave. All dead now, I've just read that they were amongst the first to be mowed down in machine-gun fire. How jolly do you fine that?'
'Not so much really I suppose. Even that nice Lieutenant Tolkien?'
'Yes, even he!' said Blackadder.
''No, he hasn't according to this he was invalided out to Bighty for desintry!' George contradicted.
Blackadder took another look. 'Oh, yes so he was. Well that writer is a luckier bugger than me!' Blackadder had a bad feeling that this war would in the end be the death of him. He would have frankly done anything within reason to get out of it and he was deeply jealous of anyone that managed to fortunately acquire some kind of illness to get back home no matter how good there tales were. A bit unfair perhaps, but understandable.
The next day, Captain Blackadder and Baldrick were back in General Melchett's chateou for debriefing. Melchett seemed in a rather cheerful mood, though that did not necessarily mean happy news for Captain Blackadder. 'Ha, ha, I must say that was clever of you!'
'What was?' growled Blackadder.
'Well, figuring out that that Tank we gave you was a dud and playing along with the Jerries in your interrogation. That'll confuse 'em, reading false designs! It was supposed to collapse like that! We deliberately gave you a wrong type of Tank, knowing it would be captured and knowing that the Jerries would therefore get wrong information. Cagey, cagey eh? Counter-intelligence eh? What a wezz!'
'You actually sent us over the top with a deliberately wrongly designed tank? said Blackadder disbeliveingly.
'All part of our cunning plan!' said Captain Darling looking across at Blackadder.
'But we were nearly killed. Your weapons expert, Professor N was killed!' cried Blackadder.
'A little risk, perhaps, but necessary!' smiled Melchett with a rather calous lack of emotion. He seemed to dismiss the deaths thousands of his own men as nothing worse than a 'bad show!' Remember, this was the General that recently howled in despair, simply because his college had lost a drinking game. Such was the priorities of the English upper-class at the time.
Blackadder risked another question, 'So how did the Tanks push go?'
'Well, fine for a start. The tanks did manage to punch through enemy lines. Although then, they were at a bit of a loss for what to do as many of the enemy simply dodged 'em. So, we decided that the best thing would be to send in the Cavalry as a support.' Melchett explained. Blackadder had a horrid feeling in his stomach as what happened then. 'And then sadly, the Cavalry were cut down by machine gun bullets and the Tanks ran out of fuel and had to return! But then I'm sure we will figure out a way of using them!' smiled Melchett.
Blackadder thought he would never in his life understand the workings of the military mind.
'Still to business. Blackadder it is my pleasure to award those who's heroic and cunning mind successfully foiled the Jerries.' Melchett pulled out a draw and took out a medal with a ribbon around it. 'I therefore am delighted to award this Victoria Cross for Valour!' Melchett smiled and handed the medal towards Captain Blackadder who naturally assumed it was for him.
'Thank you very much sir!'
'Well, give it to Baldrick then!'
'Private Baldrick! His great heroism under interrogation deserves recognition. Hand him the medal. In fact, I've a better. I'm sure that the citizens of his local town will appreciate the hero they have. Smokeshop, I believe from the west riding. Lets send him home for leave to receive the award.'
Blackadder was therefore treated to a trip to Smokeshop were Baldrick was treated as a hero. Blackadder wasn't sure that Baldrick really understood what was happening or that the citizens of Smokeshop really knew him, but he had to endure the Major and local MP handing Baldrick the medal and praising the Private to the skies with praise that had little to do with the Private in question.
But at the time Blackadder and Baldrick were dismissed. But Darling then choked on his Coffee. He turned to Blackadder. 'By the way, Captain, I've been meaning to ask. The quality of our meals has declined a little of late, your Coffee does not seem as full of flavour as it has been. Maybe you should allow it to brew for a bit longer!' Darling knew a little of how to make Coffee.
'Darling, we have had very short supplies of Coffee now for over a year. What we call Coffee around here is in fact, hot mud. Straight from the trenches!' he explained.
'Oh, but the stake seems to be fine!'
'How many cows do you see? Your stake is finest rat!'
Darling did look a bit put out by this information. Captain Blackadder was about to leave, but he was forced to ask. 'Captain, I don't think we have had much chocolate delivered either. I know, I have seen the list, but haven't thought about it. How, how does Baldrick make his Chocolate fudge cakes?' With a wicked grin of delight, Captain Blackadder told him whispering in Darling's ear. The information received was enough to make Darling quickly throw up!