My mind has been going back to the bunkers a lot here the past few days. I guess you could say they were the bunkers us kids played in; I was a child, less than 13 or so – about 12 in my mind. And these were German bunkers and they were overseas on a ‘secret’ base that the German’s had . . .
here’s what I’ve written for my wife thus far based on those memories as a kid . . .
“Depants! Depants!” The cries echoed through the ruined bunker. I was only slightly annoyed; this whole game bothered me. Why would some kid want to ‘depants’ another kid? I didn’t understand it. And they never tried to depants me. I would’ve whipped their asses for doing it – even threatening to try was enough to get a hard warning look at my buddies, my fists balled. I wouldn’t run anywhere when it came to a fight though I didn’t like fighting anymore.
The lights where scattered and yellow, hidden behind glass domes protected by armor shields which were supposed to keep them protected in case of a blast. Loose rubble lay here and there in the corridors; this was the ‘abandoned’ side of the bunker complex we were in – there was a firing gallery somewhere, complete with sand banks and lots of bullets us kids would dig out some of the time. However on the ‘other’ side the Army was still using things . . .
It extended 7 levels down, though only three of them were useful. It was said the other ones were flooded by the Germans when the Americans took over the base during the final days of WWII. It was rumored there were German airplanes down there; Junker bombers, Stukkas and tanks. Maybe some of it was usable being underwater for so long, for as the Allies were coming the Germans had stored all their equipment down ‘there’, down in the deepest levels, booby trapped the place, then opened the valves between them and the river – allowing water to rush in. It filled the bunkers up to level with the river sometimes. Which was about three stories down.
You see, supposedly the Germans had this plan. They’d built this base in the basin of a shallow field, digging down (again, supposedly 7 stories down) – and putting an airfield there. When the Allies would send over their bombers, the Germans would flood the base, making it appear as a lake – and the Allies would just fly on, hopefully missing it that way. As the Allies would fly on, they would drain the ‘lake’ (apparently it was just a few feet deep), roll out some fighters to chase the American planes while sending some bombers out on their own. That way they could surprise the Allied pilots on both ends – as they were approaching their targets they could come up from behind – while the bomber had his sight laid on and couldn’t move anything. The bombardier would be the one driving – locked on his path, not straying – not one fraction of a degree one way or another, sighting those bombs in (using the Norton sight, I suppose) – and the fighters could rake them on the way there, or on the way back (when their guns were empty from fighting some fighters over the target area) – and then arriving at their home bases to find that their airports had gotten bombed – depriving them of a place to land, and (hopefully) causing many of them to crash . . . or at least wrecking some landing gear and propellors (no quick turn-around time for them guys!) . . .
Anyway, I’m reckoning that was ‘the plan’, based on what’s been told to me, history lessons that I’ve read, stategic training (as in “what I would do if I was them” – and the Germans always said I’d make a damn fine German as well . . .)
Didn’t matter in the end anyway: their bases got found out; they got bombed to hellanback, and then the Allies just kept going, seizing what assets they could (ever hear of one called “Operation Paperclip”? It was a good one . . . but kinda makes me sick . . .)
However, the Allies couldn’t shake the secret from the last man alive who knew about those booby traps and things, and he wouldn’t reveal the intake on the pipe. Pump as they might, the mighty Army (supposedly; this was the tale that was told) – couldn’t pump those lower levels dry. So they sealed them up and left them alone . . .
And they made it a base of their own, complete with spy planes and the like – mostly Mohawks, which were an ugly twin turboprop that looked somewhat similar to the Warthogs of today – flying these big old mothballs (or meatballs, depending on how you were looking at them) – over the paths of our enemy, doing some electronic snooping on them and lots of photographs. (I know; I got to look at quite a lot of them, but for different reasons in a different way.)
The truth of it was, several somebodies probably knew quite a lot about what was ‘down there’ in that hidden darkness, and the military was still using several of the underground bunkers while I was there. This was right underneath the airfield and the hanger wings – a maze of light bubbles, gas tight doors, concrete walls, and an endlessly oppressive atmosphere that seemed to weigh down on you and make you feel safe, both at the same time . . .
It was there that we met some of the time, us kids and some of ‘the guys’. The guys were a couple of G.I.’s.
That’s all I’m going to say for this about now . . .
except that we played in them and they were dark sometimes.
Now the thing is . . . this connects to some other memories of mine . . . only they seem to belong to ‘the child’ and not the ‘person’ I was becoming. They are hidden memories to me, as hidden as ‘this child’ (words in my mind).
There’s this thing about standing in one place, looking
okay, that one’s hard. That’s the thing – I can’t seem to be able to talk about them, write . . . anything. Just that – lots of hard laffs – I can ‘see’ this place, visualize it – know what’s going on there! (In some ways, and some ways not, a voice warns me as I’m typing on this) – but it’s like sidestepping around a shadow being – no matter which way you step or ‘shine’ the light . . . the shadow’s still there, stepping around in the darkness. I know what lays upon the table (there! it’s out) – it’s some maps and things . .
but I’m still a young child in my mind back there; an even littler one than before – perhaps it is ‘little Mikie’ and the young soldier he was becoming, or reinforcing ‘it’ a bit more . . .
Sooo . . . (rationalizing this madness out right here on the screen as I go by) . . .
Apparently it was something to do with some training? something about map reading and knowing terrain . . . a dimly lit room; one of those concrete ones they had off ‘back there’ into the darkness . . .
Well, anyway, LOL’ing – enough of that ‘stuff’.
time to move on.
and BTW: I’m thinking it was “little Mikie” and “the Soldier (child)” he created when he was 7 plus ‘another one’ – #13 . . . which tends to follow up on my 3-on-top rule when it comes to ‘surviving’ as a DID child and ‘stuff.