"It was a close call Luka. Not a heroic way to die all tangled up in fishing gear. I'm glad he was not trawling when we slid by him. I wonder what they saw and what stories they will tell?"
"Perhaps we are the lucky ones comrade. The ones who will sink some British battleship and return home to tell about it. That would be nice. I suppose all it will reward us with is another mission at sea. Damn this boat is cold. Are the heaters working?" He reaches for a valve and checks to make sure it is closed as the little submarine glides effortlessly beneath the churning water above.
They are two days out and headed for unfriendly waters filled with targets. Nice fat targets. Their midget submarine is the most sophisticated model ever built and the design was well tested by the Germans in the English Channel just 6 months ago. A little confusion was normal as the gauges were still in German and tape with new labels had been positioned at strategic locations.
Now the dripping condensation was really starting to irritate him. Each drop slowly dribbling down his back bringing the cold of the surrounding ocean close to his warm body. His little boat was very agile and pretty easy to use. The German builders had done quite well for themselves. He had heard that new built models did not fare so well as the earlier ones. Parts not fitting and tolerances off. In a submarine this could be the difference between life and death. Between submerging then again reaching the surface or ending up in a watery grave.
Damn this dripping. "Time to take a look. I'm raising the periscope. Keep your fingers crossed." The periscope slide up in its oily tube till the eye piece reached a comfortable level.
"Well what do you see?"
"Shut up and let me concentrate"
Scanning 360 degrees he almost missed the smudge on the horizon. "We have a target Comrade and it is heading our way. If we hold this course and they hold theirs we should be in position in less than an hour."
"Excellent news comrade." He reaches out and slaps his partner in stealth on the back making a wet squishing sound. "My god do we have a leak Luka?"
"No just condensation you twit."
"Do we have time to surface and air out our steel coffin comrade?"
"Yes let's do just that Matvey and get rid of some of this stale air. The dripping is getting on my nerves and we will make better time on the surface and met our quarry sooner."
"The sooner the better. Once we shoot these torpedoes the sooner we can return home the heroes we are sure to be hailed eh comrade."
"Prepare to surface. You can practice your hero's welcoming wave when we open the hatch. Careful the sea is running a little rough and we do not have that much time to waste."
"Shifting the weights now. Prepare to surface...valve three closed...vents open."
Valves and levers are turned and pulled in a complicated dance that will take midget sub 243 on its rendezvous with the smudge on the horizon. The little bow cuts easily through the 3 foot waves and the two torpedoes look as deadly as they are in the afternoon sun.
243 will go on to make history. Not many of the Seehunds will. Almost impossible to detect yet large enough to weather the ocean currents the little boats are a deadly surprise just waiting to use their two torpedoes to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting passing ship. Accidents, incompetence, poor workmanship, bad luck will claim many of the Seehunds but some will fulfill their mission and many tons of precious cargo will never make its intended destination.
Seehund 243 will rendezvous with that smudge on the horizon. 243 will alter the course of the war in an unexpected way.