Captain America: For Whom the Bell Tolls
(© Robert Denham)
4 May, 1945, Germany; the Third Reich has all but
surrendered. Gotterdammerung is upon the nation. The Allies are victorious in Europe.
In four days the surrender documents will be signed, in the presence of the Allied
High Command, European Theater.
In Berlin, Adolf Hitler is dead, suicide, his corpse and that of his new wife,
Eva (Braun) Hitler, taken by SS bodyguards from the Chancellery bunker to the
garden above, and burned. Their remains are likely pulverized in the constant
barrage of Soviet artillery and air bombardment which pounds the defenseless
Out in Greater Germany, however, there remains the task mopping up the
resistant forces; those remaining fanatics who refuse to surrender.
One such group is a research outpost situated at a mining facility near the
Czech border; a Hydra facility.
Hydra--originally an elite, highly-secret special operations and
intelligence-gathering unit, attached to the OKW/Abwehr--had repurposed, and
was now described as the "Nazi ‘deep science’ division", developing the most
advanced, often arcane wunderwaffen; the vaunted Nazi wonder weapons. But Hydra
research goes beyond the practical, day-to-day application of the war effort.
To Hydra, even the advanced V-weapons programs, which had given new life to the
German war effort in the latter days, are considered ordinary, and even
Of course, Hydra and its leader, Johann Schmidt, had long shed their loyalties
to Hitler and Nazism. Hydra had its own agenda, and Schmidt had acquired his
own resources and facilities.
It was known in certain upper-echelon circles among the Allies, that Hitler’s
personal secretary, Martin Bormann, had subtly replaced the increasingly feeble
and deranged Furher as the true power in Germany. In the last months of the
war, Bormann had isolated Germany’s leader from his former associates; even
such as Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler were unable to obtain a meeting
with Hitler, without first petitioning Bormann.
What was not known was the personal relationship between Bormann and Johann
But all of that was irrelevant, now…or so it seemed.
The shelling had cleared a broad path for the advancing
American force. The research facility had been heavily-armed and well-defended
by its Hydra super-troops.
The heavily-cratered, pocked dirt road to, and the ruined, smoldering forest
surrounding, the camp was now littered with fallen Hydra soldiers; among them,
sadly, were too many American uniforms.
The compound’s gate and fence line were smashed by the three Sherman
tanks—moving abreast—in the lead; the Americans swept inside, spreading
cautiously out, Captain America and his commandos--specially-armed with
captured Hydra energy weapons--paving the way for the company of Rangers—101st
Airborne—and standard infantry behind them.
Cap indicated to an infantry lieutenant to take a squad and sweep the buildings
on the western side of the encampment.
Typically, he noted to himself, there were no visible swastikas here; no Nazi
Party banners or flags; only the red-skulled, eight-armed symbol of Hydra.
Hydra was its own party. Hail, Hydra.
"We’ll take these buildings," he said to one of his men. "Something tells me
we’re not gonna too find much up top, though. I think the guts of this
operation will be underground, in the mine. This building," he indicated a
longish structure to the northeast, "is built over the entrance to the
Cap looked around, and stopped on a Ranger to his right.
"You; take some men and check over there," Cap said to the Ranger Sergeant; the
man’s name, he could see, was Hawken, who complied.
He patted this subordinate on the shoulder. "Be careful," he added,
"You got it," the sergeant said, and waved some men over. Suddenly, bolts of
blue energy engulfed several of the advancing men, and they were vaporized,
screaming. "There!" Cap yelled, pointing.
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