The characters and backgrounds of the Rat Patrol are the intellectual properties of its creators.
The Eastern Front: a Rat Patrol Story. Capt. Dietrich does a tour on the Russian Front, and continues his journey toward the plot to kill Hitler. This story is more graphic, and grim. I have used real events and characters to tell this story.
The aid station in Kiev was filled with the dead and dying. The screams of the injured brought Capt. Hans Dietrich back to awareness. Dietrich had been assigned to the 16th Panzer division, after his service in North Africa. He had quickly discovered that this was a far different war then in the desert.
He had commanded a Panther company that had engaged a brigade of T-34's successfully but with a hard price. All but 5 of his tanks had been knocked out He had barely escaped from his own tank before it has exploded. Most of his crew was not that lucky.
The orderly came over to his cot. "How goes it, Captain?"
Dietrich grimaced "Better then it could have been." The orderly nodded. Gesturing down the ward. "You have a visitor, sir."
Dietrich looked down the way and saw General Henning Von Tresckow waiting.
Dietrich got to his feet and went down to greet the General. "General." He said "This is unexpected."
Von Tresckow smiled "Glad to see that you are in one piece Hans. I need you come with me."
Both men left the aid station and climbed into the General's Kubelwagen and drove off into the night.
"You did a good job, Hans. Stopped Ivan in his tracks." Von Tresckow told him. Dietrich just stared into the night. "Yes sir, I also managed to kill off 85% of my command as well."
"That is how things work here on Ostfront. You were lucky."
"Yes Sir, I feel lucky." Dietrich said flatly. They continued to drive into the night. They came to a stop at a road block. There were S.S. men there. One came up to the car. "Papers, gentlemen." He said
Von Tresckow and Dietrich produced their orders. The S.S. man read them and snapped to attention.
"Your pardon, General just a short delay."
Dietrich was curious "What is going on Sergeant?" he asks
The S.S. Sergeant gesture to what appeared to be several vans unloading. "Just unloading some trash."
The two officers looked on as there were bodies being loaded from the vans.
"Trash!" Dietrich said "They are people!"
"Not people, Captain, just Jews." The S.S. man said happily
Dietrich was about to throw himself at the S.S. man, when Von Tresckow intervined "We are in a hurry Sergeant."
The barricade was removed, and they drove on. A little way down the road they stopped again as Dietrich rushed from the car and vomited along the road.
Von Tresckow walked over to him "Now you have seen the Third Reich at its finest."
He gestured back to where the S.S. was. "They call the vans, the Soul Stealers. They fill them with Jews or anyone else that they consider a threat. And drive them. The exhaust from the engine is redirected into the back and the occupants are killed by carbon monoxide."
Dietrich stands back up "And how in God's name can you allow this!" he snarls
"It's not in God's name that this is happening." Von Tresckow snaps back "It is in Hitler's name!"
"What did we do?" Dietrich said quietly "We unleashed this madness on the world"
Looking to Von Tresckow "How can we stop it?"
"A while back. I told a young officer." Von Tresckow said "Much like you Hans, That we had to show the world that we were all not like him."
Dietrich spoke "Is this even possible now?"
"Possibly." Von Tresckow said. "You are going back to France, Paris to be precise."
"Why?" he asked
"Well you are about to become chief of staff for Army Group B. Field Marshall Rommel personally requested you."
"And the real reason?" Dietrich asked.
"You will be working with Heinrich Von Stulpnagle. He will be in charge of Paris when things start to happen."
And that will be?" Dietrich asked.
"Not yet?" Von Tresckow said
Dietrich looked down the road, staring into the night. He looked back to the General.
"I'm with you, Sir." He said as he shook Von Tresckow hand.
To be continued: