Volume 3, Chapter 46
“Colonel Hans, the British are coming.”
Randolph called out. Looking excitedly towards Hans who stood nearby.
“Oh? Is that right? Let me see.”
Hans was standing in the trenches chatting happily with Major Guth, commander of the 7th Infantry Regiment. However, hearing the news, Hans hurriedly grabbed his binoculars and looked at the distance positions.
“It seems that the British are on time. Major, have you ordered your troops to stand down? Don’t let your soldiers get out of hand. Otherwise, even if the General doesn’t punish you, Muller will swallow you up for tossing his victory.”
“Haha, do not worry, Colonel Hans. All soldiers have been reminded. They know full well to control themselves.”
As he talked, Hans was still stared at the military car that approached. It was four-doored and looked to be quite the high-class car. Or at least, the suspension system was very advanced. Hans watched attentively as the driver weaved around the craters and barrier piles. Practically flying towards the German positions, fluttering on the hood of the car were two white flags.
Within a short while, the car passed through and reached the front of the German lines. Several German military police had been waiting there. Waving their flags to guide the car to its destination. Hans, Randolph, and Guth all jumped into an officer’s vehicle and followed behind.
In front of the command post, Muller, his staff, and a group of commanders from the various units were waiting for the British delegation. Waiting as the car parked, four armed guards hurried and opened the doors from the occupants to exit. The first was the driver, a middle-aged Colonel. Followed by a Major General sitting beside him. Then, there were two more generals in the back. One was a Lieutenant General and the other, a full General.
“Welcome, General Gort.”
Muller stepped forward and saluted as he welcomed the negotiators.
“Yes, I’m Lord Gort, Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force. May I ask who you are?” He looked curiously at the young colonel who had stepped forward. From the pile of medals on Muller’s chest and his entourage of subordinates, he must be quite a high-leveled commander.
“Forgive me, I am Stirling Muller, under the command of General Reinhardt von Straud, commander of the Cerberus Corps. The General is waiting for you inside. Please follow me.” Muller nodded and then turned and walked towards the headquarters.
“The Cerberus Corps. The German unit under the direct control of the Nazis. General, the ones that have been pressing us into such a corner.” The Lieutenant General whispered into General Gort’s ear. “I didn’t think that its commander would only be a colonel.”
“Don’t say those useless things, Henry. We are not qualified to comment on that right now. Let’s go quickly. Remember, no matter the circumstance. We cannot lose the honor and spirit of the Army. “
The four British officers, under the sharp eyes of the German officers, walked with their chins raised and with an air of proudness.
The venue for the negotiations was located in the large conference room. The new decorations per Xu Jun’s orders were already completed. The military maps along the walls were all removed. Replaced with the flags of the individual regiments. In the middle was a dramatic portrait of Hitler along with the Party flag. Xu Jun was sitting at the conference table chatting with Colonel Weiler. At that moment, Muller came in.
“General, the British negotiators have arrived.”
“Oh, invite them in quickly.” Xu Jun quickly stood up and waited at the door. Pulling the general’s uniform straight, adjusting the collar, checking for imperfections.
General Gort then entered and at a glance saw Xu Jun standing at the door. Although he had seen the young Deputy Fuhrer on more than one occasion from intelligence photos, he was still surprised. It was really hard to believe that such a vicious and cunning man was standing in front of him. Someone that could snare two hundred thousand soldiers in the palm of his hand, wipe out the main force of the Royal Navy, and even slap down the Royal Air Force at the same time. All while the military genius looked like a newly graduated university student.
Gort was still making preparations for the negotiation in his head. However, he still did not dare forget basic mannerisms. Quickly standing in a standard British salute towards the German general many years younger than him. The other three British officers also followed suit.
After completing the formalities, Xu Jun walked up and reached out to Gort. “General Reinhardt, German Army.”
“British Army General, Lord Gort.”
“Yes, I’ve been looking forward to seeing you, Lord Gort. If only we were not on hostile parties, I would have liked to ask some military questions of you.” Xu Jun said in fluent English.
“Oh, no such thing. The General’s tactics and strategies are the embodiment of war. Not something that I can comment upon. However, I’ve also longed to see you as well.” Gort said unenthusiastically as he took Xu Jun’s hand.
“First, let us take a seat. We can put aside the unneeded courtesy, let’s the start the negotiations.” Xu Jun made a gesture of invitation to the conference table. Before sitting down at his end with Gort and his men sitting at the other end of the table.
“First of all, you have seen Colonel Muller. This is Colonel Weiler, my chief of staff, and Colonel Hans, my assistant chief of staff. This is my aide Lieutenant Colonel Dorgen. The one next to him is also an aide of mine, Captain Randolph. He will also be recording the contents of this meeting.”
Gott also promptly introduced his men to Xu Jun: “This is Henry Pownall, my chief of staff of the British Expeditionary Force. And this is Sir Dirk, Commander of the 1st Corps of the Expeditionary Force. Finally, this is my aide, Colonel Sullivan.”
“Well, since everyone has made their introductions, we can start negotiations. “General Gort, when will your army drop its weapons and surrender?” Xu Jun said casually as he poured himself a cup of water.
Gort never imagined that the negotiations would begin so quickly. Nor did he think that the German general would address it so directly. Gott froze for a few moments. After making his mind and calculating his options. He coldly replied. “That depends on if you accept our proposed conditions.”
“Conditions? What conditions? Did you submit any conditions to our army?” Xu Jun gave a confused expression. After a moment, he cast a doubtful look at his own men. At this, the German officers also shook their heads.
“Did you not see my letter that I sent you via your subordinates? Wouldn’t that be exactly what we’re here to negotiate?” Gort wrinkled his brow and asked with visible agitation.
“Oh, the letter you sent, I indeed saw it. But I was under the impression that they were mere jokes, not conditions. So, I didn’t pay much attention. Can you reiterate the details to me and my officers?” Xu Jun gave an expression of realization. With a slight smirk, he poured himself another glass of water.
This German kid was obviously speaking nonsense. But this also seems that he cannot underestimate him. Gort was almost fuming but after thinking about the hundreds of thousands of soldiers relying on him, he quelled his anger. Nodding at his chief of staff to answer Xu Jun’s question.
Lieutenant General Henry Pownall also felt that Germans were stirring up trouble. Anyone can tell that the Germans were not sincere about the conditions proposed by the British Army. But it was still hard for him to see Gort endure this farce. Henry took out a document from the briefcase and said loudly to Xu Jun. “On this document are the conditions for our surrender. If you agree to these conditions, we will immediately have the British Expeditionary Force lay down its arms.”
Then Henry started reading the document aloud.
“Section I: After the surrender, the German troops must ensure the personal safety of the British officers and the soldiers. The officers and soldiers also will not be prosecuted for their participation in the war.
Section II: After the surrender, the German military must ensure that the personal possessions and property of the British officers and soldiers will not be infringed upon.
Section III: After the surrender, all officers and soldiers will receive treatment as designated by their ranks. Or at least the German equivalent.
Section IV: After the surrender, the British officers and soldiers will be placed under the supervision of the German Army. Under no circumstances can any British fall under the management of the SS or Gestapo.
Section V: After the surrender, the British troops will be detained in accordance of their original units. The management of which shall fall to the former officers of that unit.
Xu Jun coldly interrupted the British general’s reading. “Do you think we will agree with these conditions?”
“I think you will. If you want to prevent your army from suffering a significant loss, you will agree to our request.”
“Hoh, you’re threatening me, General Gort. You should know that you are betting on a gamble that cannot be won.”
“I know we are doomed, but we can still fight. The infinite loyalty to the British Empire will make my soldiers fight to the last man. Although you have enough strength to completely destroy me, troops, your army will pay its price as well. I’m confident that you don’t wish to see that. I’m putting forward these conditions so that my soldiers will not have to shed unnecessary blood once more. I am willing to support this will the honor of a British officer.
“Oh, your army is still capable of a war? That’s unexpected, Hans, did you hear that? Haha, it seems we can still have a final battle then.” Xu Jun said with a scoff.
He continued: “Did you not think we would know your current situation? Did you really think that your current troops could deal us a huge loss? Oh, General Gort, you British officers are just too fond of unrealistic dreams. Why else would you send four infantry divisions to attack one of our armored clusters? Why else would you send your main naval force over to bombard us? Yet what was the result?”
“No! It was all your tricks, only your scheming traps. But now, we will not fall so easily. We will fight to the end. We will drain your soldiers until there is not a British still alive. We still have hundreds of thousands of loyal soldiers who would fight to the last breath for Britain!” Gort almost cried out.
“Do not be so agitated, General Gort. Indeed, they were tricks, merely tricks. Haha, But I still find it ridiculous that you British would so eagerly jump in even while you understood that.
Anyhow, let’s not talk about that. We still have that decisive battle that you mentioned. Do you still have enough food for your troops to have a last supper? I may seem cruel to have your men die hungry. Oh, do you still have shells to fight us? Your artillery positions have been annihilated by ours. Oh, let’s see, your tanks used up the last liter of fuel the day before yesterday. I would think that the car you used to drive here was the last one still operable. Your medicine is all used up, your wounded are constantly dying even as we speak here. Your infantry has consumed your final ammunition reserves. Now the remaining bullets are not even enough for your soldiers to commit suicide. Although I would be happy to finish the job for you.
[MD: That Burn…]
Let me remind you that I have been given authority to freely control the Air Force and the Army. And so, their well-being is my responsibility. In regards to the German prisoners that you’ve captured, I will warn you that if a German pilot or Army officer were to be harmed while in your capture. I will bury them along with the corpses of ten British officers.
Well, anyways, I do not agree with your terms. You can go back, let’s prepare for the final battle. I can give you two hours to prepare. At least it will give you enough time to write a suicide note, haha.” Xu Jun and the men on the German side gave a hearty chuckle.
As Gort and his men, all sat dejectedly in their chairs. Looking at the young German general in front of him in fear. He finally realized that his final bluff completely failed. The Germans have mastered the current situation of the British Expeditionary Force. Gort was still fantasizing in his head the situation of this Nazi deputy-head meeting his blackmail and in turn, preserve the last of the Expeditionary Force’s honor. At least the idiotic German politicians could not see through the trick.
But unexpectedly, this little Nazi, just like his Fuhrer, was a madman. But because Gort didn’t relent then he would witness the start of a massacre. Just looking at the German general’s eyes, full of evil and bloodthirst, it sent chills down his back. Finally, he realized that his previous judgment was correct. He was indeed defeated by the devil. No, this young man in front of him was a thousand times more shameless than even the slyest devil. If only he had quickly surrendered, if only it was not for his stubbornness. Ah, if the Germans really started the massacre, what could he do? He had pushed his army into a bottomless abyss.
No, it cannot end like this, Gort wanted to give another last-ditch effort. He was willing to pay any price, so long as his men can safely surrender. Lowing his arrogant head, he looked at Xu Jun with an awkward gaze. “General Reinhardt, I admit everything you said was true. We really are in no shape to continue fighting. Please forgive me for my rudeness and deception. I withdraw my words from before. I am willing to surrender to you unconditionally.”
Finished, Gort looked for the German general’s response. However, the General’s expression changed almost suddenly. The bloodthirsty eyes disappeared without a trace. Replacing it was a look of satisfaction.
Xu Jun smiled and turned to Randolph: “Done writing?”
“Then ask General Gort to sign it. I accept your unconditional surrender. All those captured will be treated fairly in accordance with the terms of the Geneva Conventions. Your rights of property will be upheld and will receive treatment in accordance with your military ranks. We will also provide treatment for your sick and wounded. You will be placed in a POW Camp under the direct management of the Army. However, you cannot retain the military’s organizational system while under imprisonment. The prisoners of war will be grouped based upon their physical needs and conditions. I truly hope you can stay there at ease until the end of the war. That is all. Sign it, General Gort.”
Gort looked at Xu Jun who was giving a slight grin. Unable to speak, he found himself being defeated both militarily and mentally. Being played around like a toy in that man’s hand. No, a devil’s hand.
Gort slowly pulled a pen out of his pocket and with trembled hands went to sign his name on the document.
On the late afternoon of June 3, 1940, German troops began to enter the previous British-controlled defenses. And so, ended the British Expeditionary Corps. Leaving the mainland to be guarded by the hands of minimally-trained conscripts. The news quickly made waves across the whole world.
The German Army soon became an immortal myth. Heralded as invincible. And as part of this myth, came a new military god. The German Deputy Fuhrer, the youngest general, Reinhardt von Straud.
Xu Jun left in his plane early the next morning after the Expeditionary Force’s surrender. But he never would have imagined that he would be roped into another battle. One that would be the most sinister and dangerous in his life.
End of Volume 3
Next, Volume 4: Weeping, The Bloody Scepter