An Alternative History Affair
An Unusual Encounter
I had acquired a new Kübelwagen since mine’s destruction, and Rhiley had just finished driving us to the airfield outside of the city of Bordeaux. We had hurriedly left headquarters and sped to the airfield at the special request that was received from the Führer’s Headquarters. A gut wrenching feeling occurred once reading the news; I was to report immediately to the bunker to discuss the delay in the offensive aimed at capturing Madrid. Being in Hitler’s presence is a necessary evil that I am extremely hesitant to carry out. However; if I am to disobey a direct order from the Führer at this point my sacred mission will end without the intended results.
I dislike the notion of flying, a complete opposite of the younger generation of Schnacks. I have never flown in an airplane before. I had been on a Zeppelin before the war, celebrating our fifteenth wedding anniversary in 1935. I was nervous even riding the airship. I subdued my fears as I have done numerous times and enjoyed the festivities that the special moment brought. The time in the airship was my first and only time flying before the war. I have not flown since the beginning of hostilities. From what I had read to that point, it was dangerous flying especially with sporadic air superiority of the Luftwaffe over the occupied territories.
Flying has become safer I’ve been assured from numerous people, most notably my nephew-in-laws Adolf and Erick Bopp. The aircraft they have been trained to fly, the Messerschmitt Me 262, has helped slowly turn the tide of war – costing the Allied bombers substantial losses. Both Adolf and Erick had last wrote me in May of 1944 to advise they had both become confirmed aces, Adolf having shot down a total of nine aircraft, and Erick shooting down seven – all over the skies of Berlin. I hadn’t received news of any additional confirmed kills since then.
After stopping the vehicle a dozen meters before the plane, Rhiley and I both simply stared at the plane. Though not an expert at planes, I understood the significance of the plane that was serving as transport to Berlin. On the front nose the Die Fliegerstaffel des Führers insignia stood out. This was Hitler’s private transport. This mission was that important. Behind the plane designated 26+00 stood two Messerschmitt Me 262s; whose pilots I had not yet located, but presumed they would serve as our escort.
“Uncle Tristan!” rang out a male from the right, ruling out Rhiley as the speaker. Turning my head to the voice, I smiled.
“Erick!” I said; which quickly turned the nephews face from smile to disappointment. “Adolf!” I quickly said correcting myself, returning a smile to his face.
“Yes, Uncle,” Adolf said as his brother then came into view. “After all these years, you still cannot get our names right.” I was a bit embarrassed. My wife, Christina was always able to get their names correct without a thought about it. I had yet to master, and have never mastered that gift of recognizing which twin was which.
Both Adolf and Erick were now standing next to the Kübelwagen, joyful of the reunion. These fine young pilots who were to escort me were a year younger than Rhiley and Philipp. “Since when has our honorable uncle become a member of the Waffen SS?” questioned Erick, the younger by thirteen minutes twin.
I had completely forgotten. In such a short amount of days I had become accustomed to wearing the uniform of the Schutzstaffel. “Two weeks ago if I recall correctly, is that not correct Rhiley?”
Rumbled from his daze, Rhiley spoke after five seconds. “Yes, yes is.” He went back to gazing over the Führer’s plane. His excitement was noticeable, but in his defense at the time, I would have been doing the same thing if not for the sight of my nephew-in-laws.
“Yes, two weeks ago,” I said smiling, noticing the insignia on Adolf’s collar. “You have been promoted also? The last time you wrote you signed the letter as Feldwebel (Technical Sergeant). When did this happen?”
Adolf smiled while Erick had a grimace on his face, as if he had heard the story one too many times. “It was after shooting down four aircraft in a single day over Berlin, Reichsmarschall Goring personally offered me the promotion to Oberleutnant; and to Erick, who declined a promotion to officer, was promoted to Hauptfeldwebel (Master Sergeant).”
I had a feeling Adolf only included the word about his brother, because he was standing next to him and the grimace on his face while ever slight was noticeable. “Quite I tale,” I said, knowing that it was the shortened version. “I believe we should be going, the Führer has requested my presence.”
Adolf and Erick both backed up away from the Kübelwagen, smiling. “We know,” they said.