Erik covered in the wet heather, feeling his clothes slowly going from damp to drenched as he watched the scenery before him.
It was well past curfew, but the early summer nights provided amble light for them. It was the third night in just as many months Erik had been out here, ever since Christian and he had been on the first excursion in the early spring, and he had wrangled a transfer to the nearest naval base, ostensibly to supervise the laid up fleet in the different harbours.
At first it had been a treat, to go into the forest at night, not really worrying about the Germans, only to return in the morning when the curfew lifted. Then as the training was over, and the first real operations had been carried out the game had suddenly become serious. The Germans had not taken lightly on the new situation, the curfew had been rigorously enforced, and patrols had been increased substantially.
The young lieutenant surveyed the open stretch before him, nothing stirred. It was just like the first time, only his nerves seemed unable to settle down. He was here to evaluate the training, and with the operations that had been carried out the last three months, this would be just like the first time, and yet nothing like it.
For the first time he truly felt vulnerable, as if the true nature and import of his actions suddenly all had been revealed to him. This was no game, no easy walk to the ferry to Sweden, with all his secrets stored in his memory. This would be life and death, if discovered he would be shot at, and likely be killed.
He shifted slightly and instantly regretted it as cold water trickled down his sleeve. He looked left to the group commander to see if he had had any signs from the lookouts. The man shook his head slightly and Erik resigned himself to the wait.
Finally he detected a spot of movement up ahead, and again checking with the man next to him he got a slow nod. Slowly he got up on his belly and wormed his way back into the thicket behind them. Once there he carefully stood up, feeling his joints complain over the prolonged immobility. As the rest of the group gradually gathered they began moving along the forest’s edge towards other side of the clearing. Once there they crossed a narrow strip of trees and emerged upon tonight’s target.
The single rail line lay as two thin glittering lines in the dim summer night vanishing around a bend in the distance. The men had already started on the task at hand, efficiently unloading the content of their backpacks and digging into the pebble foundations of the rail.
What seemed like an eternity but probably only spanned a few moments the holes were completed and the designated explosives man started to lay his charges, finishing quickly the commander of the team ordered everyone into the forest again, the last man trailing the deadly, but important copper wire.
The muffled roar filled the quiet forest sending a few birds to the sky and peppering the covering men with small pieces of debris. Erik looked up briefly catching the eye of the leader. The man slowly shook his head to clear it then nodded for Erik and a few others to inspect the hole.
“Hurry up, there is no way of knowing when the Germans show up.”
Erik nodded and stumbled forward, feeling slightly dizzy. The hole in the ditch was impressive, but that was of little interest, what was however was the crooked rods of steel jabbing unceremoniously into the air interrupting the nice even lines of the rail. Erik nodded in satisfaction, the troop transport from Norway scheduled here in a few hours would not get very far, and if the driver overlooked this and derailed the train then the line would be inoperable not only for a few days, but more likely for weeks.
He smiled grimly as he jogged back to the rest, this was the main line through Jutland, and while it likely had little or no impact in the great scheme of the war, it never the less send a signal, and an important boost to the moral. He nodded his thanks to the commander of the group as they all melted back into the woods, slowly dispersing to pass the time and evade patrols until sunrise and the lifting of the curfew.
This was only the start, soon the rails would be blown while the train was on them, denying the Germans not only the passage, but also the use of the equipment.