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(Let me preface by saying A) There is no intention to portray Nazis in a positive light here. There were kind Germans, and many prisoners sent to work as manual labor experienced great kindness. Most, however, did not. This is about one of the kinder Germans, and if you feel this is an inaccurate portrayal, Part 2 will see a much darker situation for Mr. Gregory. B) There’s a bit of a long introduction here, but this is only Part 1, and this is backstory for ALL of the parts.)
In late 1942, when Warren Gregory joined the Army, he would never have anticipated the events that followed. He was a month away from 18 when he enlisted, still a boy. It was all very exciting, with the events in Europe and the Pacific, and so many young men from his town in Michigan leaving to join the service. His parents were extremely proud of him, though his mother cried terribly on the day he left home.
Warren had wanted to be a pilot, but his vision was too poor. However, he would still get to fly; he would be a waist gunner for a B-17 bomber. His first few months of active duty were relatively uneventful, but in March the squadron was deployed to England to join the air offensive against Germany.
Life at the base was relatively easy, with good meals and plenty of time for recreation. At times, it almost seemed as if Warren was on some sort of extended, paid vacation. Understandably, he quickly got to be quite close with his crew.
Mark Jackson was an energetic 23 year old officer, hailing from the upper crusts of Boston, MA. He was the pilot of their B-17, and was very reassuring. His attitude was always light hearted, and he was always telling jokes or making people laugh some way or another. The Copilot was Henry Sharp, a stoic and at times dour fellow from Chicago. He was only 20, but seemed twenty years older than he was. He was very good natured, and was a brilliant piano player. He had taken a break from college to enlist, and was apparently set to make a big career of his talent when he returned home.
The Navigator, Arthur Schwartz, was the oldest member of the crew, at the age of 25. He apparently had worked for the New York Department of Transportation before enlisting, and hailed from the Bronx.
The Bombardier was a foul mouthed 21 year old named David Sanders. He came from Atlanta, Georgia, and had a terrible temper. He was easy to get along with, however, and rarely got angry with members of the crew.
Will Foster was the Engineer, and was also from New York City. From Queens, a light-hearted rivalry developed between him and Arthur Schwartz over whether Queens or the Bronx was better, largely centered on the Mets and the Yankees.
The Radio Operator was Mark Goddard, the third New Yorker in the crew. From Staten Island, he was the quietist member of the crew. On top of the nice job waiting back home for him in his father’s bank, Goddard had a young wife and 1 year old daughter, who he seemed to miss very much. Whenever he talked about them, his face would light up, and he almost seemed to be a different person.
Richard Eriksson was a good natured young man from Minnesota, he hated his family farm, and joining the USAAF was one of the best ways he could think of to escape from his small town. He was the Tail Gunner.
Manning the Ball Turret was Chris Tinley, an 18 year old from Baltimore, Maryland. He had developed a reputation as a bit of a lady killer, having numerous girls he would meet off the base at any opportunity he could. He was perhaps the kindest member of the crew, never missing an opportunity to lend assistance or thoughtful advice.
And the other tail gunner was a young man from Colorado, Andy Hotchkiss. Serving right next to Warren, the two quickly became close friends. Hotchkiss was an aspiring actor, who had been involved with Radio back home.
These were the men that he lived with. They had all become good friends, and often talked of what they would do together after the War.
As for Warren, he might have been the most boring member of the crew. He had just left High School, and was hoping to one day be a journalist, working as a reporter for the New York Times or another of the big papers. He’d only ever had one girlfriend, who he never kissed, and was most interested in reading and writing.
It wasn’t until late April that their squadron joined the Bomber Offensive. Their first raid was a moderately sized one, apparently, on an industrial target in northwestern Germany. Finally getting into the air on a real mission, there was a great deal of excitement mixed with no small amount of nervousness. The true reality of what they were involved in, however, was about to hit home with enormous force.
The first portion of the flight went well enough, with the English Channel sparkling under them. Warren felt like they were part of some great armada, with the dozens of other bombers around them in formation. The roar of the engines, and the numerous guns protruding from poker oyna the fuselage made him feel as if they were invincible. How could Hitler stop them? No German pilot would stand a chance against them.
It was the flak that first shattered his delusions. The radio went silent as the first small puffs appeared in the distance, further down the line of the bombers. They got closer and closer, until a shell exploded near one of their wing mates. Bits of metal tore into the wing of the other B-17, but no serious damage was done. The explosions became more numerous, however, and soon the black clouds were all around them, and the plane was rocking from the concussions. It became more and more unnerving. Here they were, in this relatively small plane, thousands of feet above the surface of the Earth, and what seemed like innumerable German guns were firing shell after shell at them. They could do nothing but keep going.
It became frightening, however, when one of the planes in the distance took a direct hit. With what looked like a small flash from this distance, one of the plane’s wings flew away from the fuselage, and the bomber took a sharp dive and began to plummet towards the surface. They counted two parachutes; every other member of the crew must have gone all the way down to the ground in what became a tin coffin.
It was at this moment that Warren Gregory’s war changed. It was no longer some great, patriotic adventure. He was involved in a massive, brutal conflict. While the cause he was serving for was just, there was little glorious about this. They made it back from the mission, having dropped their bombs. They would complete five other missions, each one seeming more nerve wracking than the last. The squadron lost several planes. The crews in the squadron stopped spending as much time together, not wanting to know personally the doomed crew of those horrifying, disintegrating damaged bombers. As many guns as were on the plane, they never seemed to do much good against the apparent endless stream of German fighter aircraft. He was furious with them. They weaved and pitched around the bombers, shooting out the engines and raking the fuselage with bullets. They had to remain on course in their formation, a supposed fortress.
Their 7th mission began like the others, with the journey across the English Channel, again heading to northwestern Germany. The flak was nerve wracking, but they made it through okay. Then came the fighters. Beside them, directly in Warren’s field of view, one of the bombers took a great deal of damage from one pass of a fighter. It lurched downwards and directly into the wing of another B-17. The entire squadron watched in horror as the two fell out of the sky, entangled and twisting around in a kind of terrible dance.
Warren fired at every plane he saw. At one point, Chris Tinley, the ball turret gunner, screamed into the radio, “One’s coming at us from below!” He heard the ball turret guns firing, and then bullets began to rip into the plane, the fighter was shooting at them. The ball turret guns suddenly went silent. “Tinley…” Jackson, the pilot, asked hesitatingly. “Tinley, you there?” There was no answer, Tinley had been killed during the pass.
David Sanders burst onto the radio, “That cocksucking kraut! I’m gonna…”
“Shut the fuck up Sanders.” It was Henry Sharp, the copilot. He paused for a moment, “Shit.”
Jackson quickly followed, “Guys, we’ve got a bit of trouble, looks like a couple engines are on fire… a lot of fire, actually.” Warren could hear Jackson say softly, “Christ Almighty.” before the radio went silent for a moment. It must have been on the other side of the plane, on Warren’s side the engines looked fine.
Jackson came back on, “Hold on, guys.”
Jackson threw the plane into a steep dive. It must have been serious, this was a last ditch strategy to save a plane. Diving towards the ground at extreme velocity was very dangerous, but sometimes it could put a fire out and allow a bomber to return home. After a few moments, he heard Sharp say, “Jesus… damnit Jackson, that’s it, we can’t…” before stopping. The plane leveled out, but it was shaking violently.
Jackson spoke up, “You’re right… We can’t make it guys.”
The next few minutes went by a bit like a dream. The crew had to bail out, and both Jackson and Sharp remained in the front to fight to keep the plane level so the rest of them could jump out. As Warren fell from the plane and let loose his parachute, he saw 3 others jump out before the plane began to go into a spin. The wing had begun to disintegrate. 5 men were still on board, but the force of the dive was keeping them pinned to the wall/floor.
Warren couldn’t identify any of the 3 other men falling with him, but he was positive he saw Eriksson and Goddard get out. Warren watched as the plane, with the remaining 5 crew members, plunged down towards the ground. The wind blew the 3 other parachutes far away. He was certain that 1 canlı poker oyna was headed straight for a thick forest. His landing was incredibly strong. He landed in what looked like a cow pasture, and his head hit the ground. He was knocked unconscious.
As he came to, there were half a dozen German soldiers standing over him, looking at him sternly. They gestured for him to get up, which he did slowly. His ankle hurt, but he could use it, it must have only been sprained. He limped along with the soldiers, and so began his life a prisoner.
The first few weeks of captivity were spent in a camp with other PoWs, most of them airmen. There were a handful of Americans, but mostly he was there with downed members of the RAF. After being used for labor on local infrastructure, many of the men in the camp were distributed to German families who needed extra manpower. Warren was sent to join the Hildebrandt family, who worked a farm outside Hamburg.
Herr Werner Hildebrandt was a Major in the Wehrmacht, and was serving on the Eastern Front. His wife, Gerde Hildebrandt, was left in charge of the farm. The Hildebrandts were both in their late 40s. They had a 19 year old son, Willie, who had done work on the farm until just recently, when apparently he had been conscripted into the Wehrmacht. Gerde’s brother, Eugen, lived on the estate, and did most of the field work. A widower, his 7 year old son and 4 year old daughter also lived there. He was in his late 50s. There were other tasks however, such as household repairs, and working with the animals, that Gerde and Eugen could not do on their own.
And so Warren was sent to work on the farm. Frau Hildebrandt was stern, but not malicious, as Warren had feared. Eugen kept mostly to himself, and the children spent most of their time with Gerde. Warren had a small room in the house, with a bed and footlocker. It was sparsely decorated, but much better than the PoW camp he had been in. He was fed, and though he was ordered around as a slave constantly, the family treated him well. Occasionally, the roar of Allied bombers could be heard passing overhead, either flying to or away from a target. Warren got a chill whenever he heard them; to him they represented imminent freedom.
The summer of 1943 passed into fall, and then winter. Warren’s time on the farm was full of hard labor, but ultimately it wasn’t too bad. In December of that year Werner returned to visit his family, and it would be the first, and only, time Warren would meet him. He was surprisingly kind, and Warren sensed that he, in some measure, respected him as a fellow soldier. On Christmas Day, Werner invited Warner to eat with the family at their table. He felt almost like family. Werner departed for the Front just a few days later.
And so life continued, in an almost bizarre dream. He would repair fences, or put new paint on a door, or repair the shingles on the roof. Every day he would milk the cows, and feed the animals. In the evening he would return to his little room, where Gerde would bring him a small meal. Warren wouldn’t see anybody until morning, usually. Before going to sleep, he would usually masturbate.
Here, on the Hildebrandt farm, it became something he looked forward to every day. He was allowed to take a few books into his room, but for the most part had little to do for entertainment. So masturbation became a treasured time for pleasure amid monotonous, hard work and little social contact.
One evening, in late February, after a period of heavy snowfall, it was particularly chilly. He put down the book he was reading, some compilation of German love poems, (He had learned German over the past months, out of necessity, and had been able to borrow a dictionary to give more than a mere basic knowledge, allowing him to look up words from the few books he had.) and decided, as he often did, to masturbate; this time, however, with the added pragmatic benefit of warming him up.
He lay back on his bed, and slid down the brown trousers he was wearing. He began to massage his penis and testicles until he was erect, and then he took his uncircumcised penis into his right hand and began to stroke it. It was all very mechanical, as it usually was for him, as he lay there with his eyes closed.
There was a creak from outside the door, and Warren quickly looked up, frozen. He saw the shadow of somebody under the door; it looked as if they were waiting. He realized he must have been breathing loudly. Was it Frau Hildebrandt? Eugen? Ashamed at the thought of somebody hearing him in the most intimate of moments, Warren whipped on his pants and quickly turned out the light, crawling into his bed. Whoever was at his door lingered for a moment, as if waiting for something, before shuffling off down the hall. It didn’t sound like Eugen’s heavy, deliberate steps. Was it Gerde then?
He had actually never considered Gerde’s looks. She dressed modestly, typically in a long dress, white shirt, and sweater. But her figure internet casino was very trim, and her face was quite pretty. He hadn’t been attracted to older women before, but the thought of Gerde standing there, listening to him masturbate made his cock firmly erect again. Under the sheets, Warren quickly masturbated to a strong orgasm, the semen shooting into his cupped hand with surprising force. He went to sleep, dreaming of Gerde.
A few days later on a cold morning, Warren was outside repairing a broken door on a small shed. Eugen walked out the back door of the house, after breakfast, to head into a small village nearby for the day. A few minutes later he heard Gerde calling for the family cat, Uli, inside. Shortly afterwards, he heard her come outside and start calling for him. He looked up, and she was wearing only a light bathrobe. She called him over.
“Warren… I was in the bath, but I noticed a cold breeze, and came down to find the door open. Eugen must have left it open. Have you seen Uli?” She asked, rather frantically.
He told her he hadn’t, and then looked around the area. He spotted the little orange cat prowling through the snow along the side of the garage. He said, “There he is, let me get him.”
Warren ran over, picked the cat up, and carried him over to Frau Hildebrandt. She smiled at him, the first time he’d seen her smile since he got there, and said, “Danke shoen, Warren. Danke.”
She took Uli, and turned to go back inside. Warren noticed he could make out the outline of her breasts under her robe. They weren’t very large, but were still rather shapely for a woman closer to 50 than 40. She raised the cat up to her chin, and he noticed her nipples were erect. Very erect. Probably because of the temperature, below freezing as it was. Warren noticed his pants were starting to bulge, and quickly turned around and went back to work.
The next day, after a particularly violent wind storm the night before, several windows on the estate’s workshop had been broken. Grabbing a bucket, and a small broom, Warren went to clean up the glass, while Eugen again went into town to try and procure new windows. He seemed to think there would be none available, or that they would be too expensive to even consider, but Gerde insisted that he go.
Warren counted the windows. Three had been broken, and glass was scattered all over the workshop’s floor. In earlier days, this would have been relatively busy, as the Hildebrandt estate had employed dozens of workers. The construction of an airfield on part of the property, and the requirement of millions of soldiers for Hitler’s armies, however, had left the Hildebrandt’s only able to work a small fraction of their former land. The workshop was only used occasionally by Eugen or Warren now.
Warren crouched down to begin the work, sweeping shards of glass into the bucket. The door was ajar, and a light snow began to fall. It was starting to get colder, and Warren was cursing himself for not putting on his gloves before coming outside. That’s when he heard the door creak.
When he looked up, he noticed Gerde watching him from the doorway. She nodded, he nodded back, and he returned to work. For several minutes she stood watching him, and he began to grow more and more nervous. As he finished depositing the last bit of glass into the bucket, Gerde walked slowly into the room.
She spoke, “You’ve… been doing a good job, Warren.”
“Danke Shoen, Frau Hildebrandt.”
She paused for a moment, her eyes moving up and down his body. “You have worked very hard, and you’ve made it much easier for us.”
Warren said nothing, and she continued, “The War has made life difficult for us. Between the rationing, and the rising prices on most things, it’s not easy for the German people, you know.”
Warren answered, “I’m sure, Frau Hildebrandt.”
“I haven’t told you this, because it’s been difficult for the family. But Werner was killed last month, fighting the Communists.” she said. She remained stoic, while Warren was quite surprised.
“I’m very sorry to hear that, Frau Hildebrandt,” he answered, it was all he could think of.
She stared at the floor for a moment, “He was a good man, Warren. Your country may be fighting Germany, but he was a good man. I’ve missed him terribly, but I’ve done my grieving.”
Warren was wondering why she had decided to come outside and tell him this, and she must have been able to gather that from his expression. She said, “Warren, I… I noticed that you’re very lonely, as a young man would be alone on a farm like this, far from his country and his family. I’ve been lonely too, you see. Especially since the news of Werner. I understand what you’re feeling.”
He wondered if she was referring to him masturbating.
“I… I heard you the other night, in your room. I think you noticed me, and stopped. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Now he knew that’s what she was referring to. He felt his face grow warm, he was blushing. Gerde gave him a sympathetic smile, and said, “Oh, I sometimes forget how young you are. Not even 19. You’re a boy. They’re killing all the men, and that’s who they have fighting this war now: boys.”
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