A/N: I don't own Hogan's Heroes or Rat Patrol, and I don't get paid for this; it is truly a labor of love.

Written as an entry for the Short-Story Speed-Writing Tournament, and featuring a guest character from Rat Patrol.

You do what you can for your country.

Bouncing along the rough unpaved road in the back of a prisoner transport truck, the lean, dark-eyed soldier had plenty of time to ponder these words, and ponder just what he had got himself into. Glancing at his companions in the truck, he saw three Allied prisoners, all of whom seemed impossibly young, and whose faces were blank with shock. The other two occupants were German guards, weary but watchful.

Never had he pictured himself in this situation, as a prisoner of war bound for the toughest camp in all of Germany. But here he was: duty called, and he had answered the call. Hauptmann Hans Dietrich, formerly of the Deutsches Afrikakorps, sighed and waited for his arrival at Stalag 13.


In April of 1943, after being wounded in the shoulder during yet another fruitless encounter with the Rat Patrol, Dietrich had been shipped back to Germany for treatment, too sick and feverish to object. Meanwhile, his men remained in North Africa under another commander, to face almost certain defeat and capture by the Allied forces.

A smoldering infection in his wound kept Dietrich at the military hospital for a few very frustrating weeks, where he had ample time to worry about his men, and the ultimate fate of Germany as well. At the end of that time, he received an unexpected visitor. A middle-aged man with silver hair entered his room, and introduced himself as Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of Abwehr.

Before Dietrich could register his surprise, Canaris came right to the point. "Field Marshal Rommel tells me you are one of his most able officers. However, your command in North Africa is finished, as is all German military activity there. You could be reassigned to a Panzer division in France, or on the Eastern Front, but I believe your country has need of you elsewhere."

Dietrich raised his brows in silent inquiry and waited for Canaris to continue.

Canaris went on grimly, "We are dealing with a serious situation in Germany itself; with an organized resistance effort that has created havoc with sabotage, and, we believe, espionage as well."

Dietrich said, "My apologies, sir, but I don't understand how I can be of use in this situation."

"Allow me to explain. We believe the head of this organization, a person known only to us as Papa Bear, is based in a prisoner of war camp."

"A prisoner of war camp?" Dietrich shook his head. "How is this possible?"

"That is what we wish you to find out." Canaris paused. "You have had experience of impersonating an American non-commissioned officer."

Dietrich winced; it had been one of his less than successful attempts at beating the Rat Patrol at its own game. "That mission failed, however."

"Not because of the quality of your impersonation, I understand. What we require is an intelligent and resourceful officer to infiltrate this camp as an Allied prisoner, and discover who the leader of the resistance effort is. As you are a proven officer, fluent in English and can pass as American, you would be ideal for this assignment."

Canaris rose from his chair and went to the window of the small hospital room. "I believe you are aware of the status of the war at this point. We are not talking of conquering new lands now. We are talking of protecting the homeland, and this threat of which I am telling you is in the heart of Germany."

You do what you can for your country.

"When do I start?"

Canaris turned away from the window and held out his hand to Dietrich. On his palm were a pair of American dog tags on a chain.

"Your mission begins now."

Dietrich took the dog tags and looked up at Canaris. "Where did these come from?"

"From an American airman who died after parachuting from his bomber, which crashed with most of the crew still on board. There are no surviving crew members to refute your appearance as Sergeant Gottschalk."

Dietrich nodded, his eyes on the dog tags, but the fact that the dead airman had a German name jolted him for some reason.

37214617 T42 B

And he wondered about this man, and what kind of person he had been.

Soon afterwards Dietrich was sent to Dulag Luft as a newly captured downed American flier, but his time in solitary was spent learning about Sergeant Gottschalk, his plane, his mission, and his background.

Sergeant Gottschalk had been a couple of years younger than himself, a tail gunner on a B-17, and had seen fifteen missions before his plane was shot down over Kiel. He had come from Greeley Center, Nebraska, and had been drafted in May of 1942, attaining the rank of sergeant later that year.

No family on record. No religion listed. Dietrich wondered if the young man had friends, a sweetheart perhaps, who were waiting for him to come home, but who would never learn his fate. Perhaps there was no one at all to remember him, and grieve for him.

While awaiting his transfer to the POW camp, Dietrich wondered again why he had been chosen, and indeed why he had agreed to this assignment. He was not a Nazi, and in fact had skated on some pretty thin ice with his superiors while in Africa, since he tended to speak his mind with scant regard for consequences. He thought bitterly about one occasion when he had been ordered to pin a yellow Star of David on the robes of a young Jewish boy, and how futile his objections had been when he protested this order.

But Canaris had not made his appeal on behalf of Hitler, or the Nazi party, but rather on behalf of the homeland, the Germany of his youth.

You do what you can for your country.


Now Dietrich sat patiently, waiting for the prisoner transport truck to reach its destination. Eventually it slowed, turned, and stopped abruptly, sending all of its occupants jostling against each other. The canvas flap at the back was flung open and Dietrich blinked at the sunlight. He and the others were roughly ordered out, and as he hopped to the ground he looked around the compound.

So this was Stalag 13. He sincerely hoped the POW camps in the United States were better than this gloomy collection of flimsy shacks and barbed wire, as he thought of the probable fate of the men who had been under his command.

Dietrich and the others were quickly herded into the Kommandantur, where they each underwent an admissions process of sorts with Captain Gruber, and then a brief session with Kommandant Klink. Dietrich's orders were to reveal himself to no one, so his session with Klink was very brief indeed: name, rank, and serial number only. Eventually the new arrivals were turned out into the compound again for barracks assignments.

A very large sergeant of the guard approached Dietrich. "I am Sergeant Schultz, and you will be assigned to Barracks 2. I am the barracks guard there, and I must warn you, there will be no monkey business!"

"Monkey business?" Dietrich asked, intrigued.

"You will find out soon enough," Schultz grumbled. "Carter!" The bellow caught the attention of a prisoner ambling by.

"Hey, Schultz. Who have you got here?" The young man had an innocent boyish face, and he looked Dietrich up and down in a friendly manner.

"This is Sergeant Gottschalk. He is assigned to your barracks, so you will show him around, ja?"

"Sure, Schultz. Hi, I'm Andrew Carter. You got a first name?"


"Nice to meet you, Paul. Come on over here." Carter led Dietrich across the compound to a barracks facing the Kommandantur. He flung the door open and gestured for Dietrich to enter. "It isn't much, but it's home."

Inside Dietrich looked around and saw an interior as bleak as the exterior. Double bunks were lined up crowding the dark space, and there was a woefully inadequate-looking stove in the middle. A sink, a rough table and a few stools completed the decor.

He sighed inwardly.

You do what you can for your country.


Over the next few days Dietrich was subjected to a sort of screening process by the other prisoners. Their security questions and careful surveillance were quite ingenious, really, but Dietrich easily deceived them all. He had learned well the cunning ways of Sergeant Troy and the Rat Patrol, and he used that knowledge to help maintain his masquerade.

He kept a low profile for the first few weeks, speaking mostly only when spoken to, and allowing details of Sergeant Gottschalk's background to surface bit by bit.

And bit by bit, he was entrusted with some of the secrets of Stalag 13, and he volunteered to participate in the covert activities there. At first he was assigned observation duty, which meant he and others surreptitiously watched the guards and alerted the other POWs of any ferreting activity. Eventually he was shown the tunnels and actually met some downed Allied fliers who were being processed for escape to England. From these men he was dismayed to learn that conditions in other POW camps were much worse than at Stalag 13, and he wondered what had happened to Germany's avowed adherence to the Geneva Convention.

There came a day when he was assigned the task of assisting a team to prepare for an operation outside the wire, and he found out the operation involved the sabotage of a munitions train. Dietrich knew that the information he was gathering was precisely what Canaris was looking for, and it only remained for him to conclusively identify the person known as Papa Bear.

And just who was Papa Bear?

Dietrich had been assigned to Barracks 2, where, oddly enough, the Senior POW Officer was also housed. The fact that there was an officer in a camp for noncoms was strange enough. Colonel Hogan himself was like no officer Dietrich had ever known.

Perhaps it was because he was American, but Dietrich felt there was more to it than that. His relaxed manner with his men, his friendly and familiar treatment of the guards, and his flippancy with Kommandant Klink were all behaviors that Dietrich did not expect to see in an officer.

And the men under his command did not seem properly respectful...or did they? On the surface, none of them appeared to take their situation seriously.

But as time went by, Dietrich was able to see the manipulation behind the flippant behavior toward Klink, and how it served Hogan's purposes. He also began to discern the deeply ingrained respect the men in camp had for their commanding officer. And in spite of himself, he was in awe of the ingenuity of the schemes Hogan concocted in order to perform seemingly impossible tasks.

As a fellow commander, Dietrich also recognized the concern and care Hogan had for his men. He watched Hogan pace the floor while a team was on assignment outside the wire. He was amused and impressed by the way Hogan's manipulations of Klink were often directed toward obtaining better treatment for his men. He observed Hogan making the rounds of the camp, checking with each barracks to assess the well-being of the POWs under his command.

And although he had not yet heard him addressed by that name, Dietrich was sure he had found Papa Bear.


"Gottschalk, take this down below to the Colonel. He's in the radio room."

Kinch had just emerged from Hogan's office where he had been monitoring the listening devices in the Kommandantur. He handed Dietrich a blue slip of paper and then disappeared back into the office.

Dietrich made his way across the room to the bunk entrance of the tunnels. It still seemed strange to him that the occupants of Barracks 2 were so nonchalant about the espionage going on in their midst; the other men were all lying on their bunks reading, playing cards, or talking quietly with each other. None of them paid any attention to Dietrich as he hit the sideboard of the upper bunk and then climbed down the ladder below.

In the radio room Hogan was poring over some maps and making notations on them, and Dietrich could tell that some new scheme was in the planning stages. A hissing of static caught Hogan's attention and he flipped a switch and put the headphones on.

"This is Papa Bear. Reading you loud and clear, Mama Bear."

He listened for a few moments, and then signed off. He looked up to see Dietrich staring at him and smiled reassuringly.

"Not to worry, Sergeant. Routine check-in from headquarters."

Dietrich felt his heart pounding as he handed Kinch's slip of paper to Hogan. This was it. This was indeed Papa Bear, the man he had been sent to identify.

Canaris' agent would be making contact with him soon, and Dietrich would be able to positively identify Colonel Robert Hogan as the head of the resistance organization. He would reveal Hogan to the agent, and reveal the entire subterranean operation at Stalag 13, and this persistent threat to Germany would be eliminated.

You do what you can for your country.

Dietrich told himself that all he had to do now was wait for the agent to show up.


And as he waited, life went on at Stalag 13...

One evening Dietrich watched as a grumbling LeBeau pulled his chef's toque from his footlocker. Klink was entertaining again, and LeBeau's culinary expertise was in demand once more. Dietrich, who was already quite fluent in French, found himself learning several choice new bits of profanity from the irate corporal.

"Why do you do it?" he ventured to ask, seizing the opportunity during a pause in LeBeau's flow of invective.


"Why do you cook for them, if you hate it so much?"

"Why? Because we learn things when Klink entertains. Good food and wine loosen the tongues of his guests. I keep my eyes and ears open; Carter and Newkirk do as well, when they wait on table." He shrugged, almost apologetically. "We do what we can, when we can. It all helps. Do I wish I was fighting the Boche, and helping to rid la belle France of their presence? Bien sûr! In the meantime..."

Dietrich nodded; he understood.

You do what you can for your country.


It was late at night in the tunnels and Dietrich poured a mug of coffee from the pot kept warm over a spirit lamp. He made his way to the communications room, where Kinch was maintaining radio watch.

Kinch looked up with a welcoming smile and gladly accepted the coffee.

"Must be exhausting, just waiting for messages," Dietrich said.

"Not the most fun job in the world, but it's vital. You able to operate a wireless?"

"Yeah, I know Morse code."

"Good. You can spell Baker and me."

"I would be happy to do it. Say, Kinch..."


"Have you been outside the wire?"

"Sure." Kinch laughed at the look on Dietrich's face. "In commando garb. Don't have to blacken my face, you see."

"Oh." Dietrich felt inexplicably embarrassed. "But isn't it dangerous? I mean..."

"I could never pass myself off as a German? Well, sure, but all the guys run the risk of exposure during a mission. We're as careful as we can be, you know. The work we do is just too important to risk being caught."


"Yep. Our orders, you know, are to harass and injure the enemy. Once upon a time, before we were taken prisoner, we did it from the air. Now we do it on the ground. It has to be done, you know. Hitler's regime must be destroyed."

You do what you can for your country.


Carter was a bit of a puzzle to Dietrich. He seemed such a gentle, happy-hearted soul; not a person one would picture in the military, much less one capable of wholesale destruction.

One day Dietrich asked a few questions about the different explosives Carter used, and how to decide which ones were best for each job, and he watched as the young sergeant's face glowed with enthusiasm as he described the chemical composition, the fuses, the charges.

But then, unable to help himself, Dietrich asked, "Do you ever think about the people?"

Carter didn't ask him what he meant by that; he just looked at Dietrich with haunted eyes. "Yeah, I think about the people. I think about every one of them. On every train and every bridge, and in every munitions factory we blow up. And sometimes I can't bear to think about it anymore."

He looked down at his gloved hands, and Dietrich wondered if he wore the gloves to help him forget what those hands had done.

Carter looked up again, his eyes still haunted but steady with determination. "But I do what I gotta do, you know? 'Cause if we don't get rid of Hitler, nobody will."

You do what you can for your country.


After roll call one evening the barracks was unusually quiet as most of the POWs had gone to their bunks early, to write letters, read, or just to try to get some extra sleep.

Newkirk was still up, however, smoking a last cigarette and laying out a complicated game of solitaire. He looked up as Dietrich joined him at the common room table.

"Looking for a game of gin, mate?"

Dietrich shook his head. "No, thanks." He watched as Newkirk studied the cards on the table. "Gets a little dull here sometimes, doesn't it?"

"That it does, that it does. But on the other 'and, we like a few quiet times in between jobs. So we can wind down and get our bearings, you know. I wrote me letter to Mavis, so now I'm just passing time."

"Mavis...your sweetheart?"

"Me sister. I worry about 'er, you know. Won't leave Stepney, even though the bloody Krauts keep dropping their bombs on London. Says that's where 'er job is, 'elping the war effort. Says if I can stand bein' in a ruddy POW camp, she can dodge a few bombs." Newkirk's hands trembled a bit as he set down another card.

"But you're more than a POW. You help the effort as well."

"Oh, I do - we all do. You'll find out, though, that the 'ardest part of the job is waiting 'ere in this bloody camp, worrying about your people at 'ome. But this is where I can do the most good, so 'ere I am."

You do what you can for your country.


A continuing cause of puzzlement for Dietrich was the presence of Negro airmen in the camp. He had understood that the American military was strictly segregated, and that Negroes were treated very much as second class citizens in that country. Yet by all appearances these men were accepted, and respected, in this camp.

His bunkmate, Baker, was a case in point. One day they were outside the barracks watching a volleyball game, and after struggling with his curiosity for some time, Dietrich asked Baker, "How do you feel about being here, considering the way our country has treated you?"

Baker looked over at Dietrich, surprised. "What do you mean?"

"Well, it's not like Negroes are given proper respect in the United States, everybody knows that."

Baker considered this, and nodded. "You're right, of course. And I won't deny that the injustice and lack of opportunity make me mad as hell. On top of that I probably would have been drafted eventually, too, but I chose to enlist." He paused, and then said gruffly, "And I'll tell you why. Because I'm an American. Because, like Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address, our country is 'dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal'. Those may be just words for now, but someday they will be true."

Baker watched the game for a moment, and then turned his head to meet Dietrich's eyes squarely. "Right now, the most important thing is defeating the Nazis, because under this regime those words will never be true. For anyone. So I did what I could."

You do what you can for your country.


Later that evening, a game of gin rummy had been proposed and Dietrich was invited to sit in, but he demurred, telling the others he wished to read. He went over to his bunk and stretched out, one of the books from the recreation hall in his hand, but his thoughts were not on the book.

He reached under his uniform shirt, almost unconsciously, and pulled out the dog tags. He didn't need to look at them; the letters and numbers on them were stamped on his heart and mind as surely as they were stamped on the thin metal.

37214617 T42 B

He ran his thumb over the dog tags, lost in thought.

He thought about the Jewish boy in North Africa, labeled as subhuman by Dietrich's own hand with a yellow Star of David.

He thought about Baker and Kinchloe, men of honor who were not honored in their own country, but who fought in her defense anyway.

He thought about Carter's inner torment, Newkirk's fear for his family, and LeBeau's implacable hatred of the Boche invaders.

He thought about the young man whose dog tags these were, and who had lost his life in a strange land.

He thought about what had happened to his homeland since Hitler came to power.

And he thought about Colonel Robert Hogan.

Papa Bear was a deceiver, a schemer, and a manipulator such as Dietrich had never known. Yet all of these traits served a cause to which Hogan was obviously committed, heart and soul. And in that sense Papa Bear was the most honorable man Dietrich had ever met.

You do what you can for your country.

But in the end, there is only one true allegiance. What matters is not what you do for your country, but what you do for the good of all men. And that meant helping Papa Bear, not exposing him.

Dietrich sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bunk. Taking a deep breath, he grasped the chain holding Sergeant Gottschalk's dog tags and pulled it over his head. He cradled the small pieces of metal reverently in his hands for a moment, and then got to his feet and went over to the door of Hogan's office.

When it opened in response to his knock, he held out the dog tags to a mystified Hogan.

"Colonel Hogan, there is something I need to tell you..."