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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Part VI; Three men against Japan.

After a good night sleep, the three of them bathed in the clear brooklet and rinsed their clothes.The Pimpel and the Tall guy took out their fish nets and set themselves down on a bank of a small river. The Pimpel who had not slept that night soon fell asleep.The small river was loaded with fish, and it promised to be a good meal. In the meantime Jan would check out the power station; a pistol and two hand grenades were the only ballast he took with him on his search on this difficult terrain.

When he reached the top from a nearby hill, he could see in the distance the power station, although very vaguely.He walked through a ravine and climbed another hill top. The power station was hidden behind a row of trees, but the above cables Jan could see very clearly. Again he had to go down into a deep ravine; when he had reached the top from this ravine he could see below a few humble dwellings of a native village.

Jan did not wanted to be seen by the natives, even if he walked around the village he still had a chance that one of them would notice him. He was not going to take that risk, and choose to take a different route. At first he made a mistake, and took a wrong turn in the ravine. Finally he reached a spot where he could clearly see the whole installation of the power station.To be able to see the buildings and find out more of the situation of the guards ,Jan had to go at least another kilometer to get closer.For fear to walk into a patrol of Japanese soldiers, he slithered like a snake through the brush.Sometimes he stopped, to see if he saw any movement. Finally he reached one of the first buildings; the thick brush gave him enough cover. He could see the buildings very clearly now, and could not discover any sign of life.
Suddenly he noticed above the enclosure of sand bags the head of a Japanese, spying to all sides. Jan laid down flat on the ground and kept making notes in his mind.Heavy barbwire was placed around the building and the windows from the first floor were all barricaded with wood and sand bags.There was no way they could raid the building through the windows.In his mind he kept making notes, crawling along in a half circle, he went around the building.On this side of the building he saw Japanese uniforms hanging on a wash line; the guards existed of Japanese soldiers and Hei-Ho-soldiers, native young boys, trained by the Japanese and wearing their uniforms.This was valuable information because you could not make game with Japanese soldiers, while the Hei-Ho's had proven to be very bad soldiers,wavering of every threat of danger.He stayed where he was, flat on the ground, hoping to see if there were more guards in his field of vision.While waiting he took mental notice of all details of the energy building.The main building was large and build as a square. The part below was build from basalt stone. Here and there he noticed a small window.The large transformers were located around this building, from which the railroad track from Batavia and Buitenzorg was getting energy.In the building itself he noticed the large black and white of the switch-boards including the important precision-instruments. The large insulators were gleaming in the sun and from where Jan was laying on the ground , he was able to read the names in large black letters from the transformers: Bogor 1, Bogor II, Bogor 111, Depok, Kedoeng Badak etc.He now knew in which direction the cables were running. Every where on these grounds, tall masts with high voltage cables were pointing in every direction.The energy station was running on large water works.From huge pipes water plunged with a thundering sound into the turbines, which makes the generators move.Jan studied this whole process and again made mental notes.Suddenly he heard a different sound a rhythm sound like military marching.Around the corner of the building appeared a group of soldiers, in rows of two. They stopped right in Jan's view, as if they liked to make it easy for him. He counted twelve men; when he looked closer he noticed that they were all natives; Hei-Ho- soldiers.It pleased him and at the same time he was very surprised. One man stepped forwards from the group, he looked like a Japanese, but a tall, and masculine build man, very unusual for a Japanese.He seemed to be the commander, and shrieked and shouted at the group. The group of Hei-Ho-soldiers looked very nervous.Suddenly from the roofs sounded commando's. Jan looked up and saw two soldiers, who presented their riffles and it looked like they were relieved from their post.Jan was not able to make out their nationality.So far he had counted fifteen military soldiers, of which at least one was Japanese.The soldiers marched into a small wooden shack, which stood against the side of the main building.This was probably their shelter; they stripped themselves from their uniforms, their carbines and klewangs(swords), walked to some large barrels filled with water and started to wash themselves while laughing and talking loud.
Japanese uniforms, during World War II.

The commander had entered the main building.Jan noticed some natives dressed in their native clothes, who probably were the civilian employees, who belonged to the power station.These men had no weapons. Now Jan had to find out of the power station had telephone contact with the outside world.He searched for telephone wires but did not spotted any of them.Still he thought it strange that such an important installation was without a telephone connection.This was the only thing he was not able to figure out. But he knew that reinforcement troops had to come from at least 20 kilometers far, over very bad passable roads.If they got themselves into trouble they would have time enough to escape.This he took all in consideration. When the Hei-Ho's had disappeared, Jan quickly sneaked away in the direction of the ravine and returned to his two friends. The two welcomed him with relief; they had waited a long time and their joy to see their leader again in one piece was overwhelming. Around their bivouac it smelled like delicious fried fish.

Jan was exhausted, and told them he needed a rest before he would tell what he had seen. But first we have to think about our safety.He told them that the Japanese are closer then they at first had thought! We should build an out-look post.If they suddenly take us by surprise,then all is lost. He climbed a tall tree and started to make a seat from some branches, where they could oversee the whole surroundings if by any chance somebody would come near.When this was done he told the Pimpel to take his first turn from their out look post in the tree.Jan liked to take no risks.The Pimpel took his food up the tree and sat himself down.The two others sat them selves down under a palm tree in the shade. When they had finished they too climbed the tree, where Jan started to tell them what he had seen at the power plant.He told them about his plans, and would like to do the attack on the power plant this very same night.They had to surprise the guards, take their weapons,and if necessary kill them. Destroy the power plant in such way, that it would be impossible to repair it for a long time.Jan and the Tall guy climbed down again and started to boil water for their canteens. The weapons had to be checked,make sure they had enough ammo, and hand grenades.By the time they had everything prepared it was past mid day.They had to take a couple of hours of rest, before they would be on their way.Late afternoon they refreshed in the clear water of the brooklet and the Tall guy climbed the tree to make sure that the Pimpel would have a couple of hours of sleep.When dust fell over the forest, they ate a small meal and went on their way.This up to now was the most dangerous they had done so far.The closer they came to the power plant, the less they would talk.They arrived at the spot where Jan had stopped early in the morning,and they decided that the Pimpel should stay here and warn them when there was trouble in sight.He also had to watch what was going on at this side of the building.Jan and the Tall guy sneaked to the other side of the power plant,and the Pimpel crouched between the bushes.They continued to crawl, until they reached the barbwire, where Jan knew a ladder was against the building. The ladder was used for the guards when the guards were relieved from duty on the roof. He too laid down on the grass between the high grasses.The Pimpel from where he was, could not see much. There was darkness and total stillness.He could only see the guard on the roof, a vague silhouette against the dark, tropical night sky.But he stayed at the place like they had discussed,and made sure the weapons were ready for use.The Tall guy in the meantime kept crawling inch by inch forwards and was now very close to the gate, where the enormous transformers were standing. Suddenly he saw a shadow close in front of him. Each muscle in his body tensed; he stood motionless holding his breath.He heard footsteps coming closer and closer, and suddenly he saw a man in Japanese uniform,who walked strait towards him.As a statue the Tall guy stood in the shadows of the gate. The man passed him, walked passed the transformers and stood still; the Tall guy could only see the outline of a shape. Where the guard was looking at, he had no idea. Did the man see him?Did they watch each other? Maybe the barrel of a gun was aimed at him; his shape looked probably like a shadow in the dark as well.Slowly very slowly the Tall guy squatted down and was laying stretched out on the ground in front of the gate and hoped this way there was less of a chance he could be seen.The insects were making low buzzing sounds in the stillness of the night.Then suddenly there was the sound of footsteps on the cement. The guard returned and disappeared again between the transformers.Jan had not told him about this guard, which probably only took place during the night.It was a serious miscalculation.The guard had to be made innocuous. But the fence seemed too high to climb, too much of a chance that he would be seen.Jan in the meantime; where he was, had not seen much.Everything seemed the same as what he had seen this morning.It was quiet at the emplacement;the Hei-Ho's were sitting in their barrack, where they had taken off their uniforms in the morning, and were listening to a monotonous-droning voice, which probably belonged to the same Japanese commandant from this morning.The door to the power station was open.The circumstances could not be better, Jan thought.Ten minutes later the three were sitting at the place they had said they would meet, and whispered to each other what they had seen.They quickly made decisions about what they had discussed before;make a move all at the same time.The Tall guy would take out the guard at the gate near the transformers, Jan would take care of the guard on the roof and the Pimpel would take care of the barrack.They shook each others hand, and without a word, they each went their way, to do what they had to do.Jan and the Pimpel worked themselves through the barbwire.There in front of him, Jan sees the ladder.Rung by rung he climbs up the ladder, without making a sound. One hand holding the ladder and in the other hand a pistol. His head reaches the roof top and he sees a shadow of a figure in the light of the stars; the man is looking the other way. As a cat he clambers over the edge. Without a sound step by step he closes in at the enemy.He turns his pistol around. With the butt of the pistol, he hit the man with all his strength on the head, and the man falls without a sound to the ground.At the same moment the Tall guy at a speed, he himself did not think was possible, climbed over the high fence near the transformers. Crouched down he is waiting for the guard to pass.He sees a shadow,and hears the sound of heavy boots. The figure passes. With a jump the Tall guy is on the figure and hits him over the head with the butt of his pistol.And there is Jan, already off the roof, running around the corner of the building with the Tall guy on his heels.Without a word they join the Pimpel, who already is in front of the barrack,where the Hei-Ho's are still being lectured. After a short whisper Jan and the Pimpel run to the barrack, while the Tall guy runs alone to the entrance of the central building. Jan is standing in front of one of the windows with two pistols in his hands.The Pimpel has in one hand a grenade and in the other one his pistol. He opens with an unexpected kick the door,and stands there in the door opening as a mighty angel of vengeance. The Hei-Ho's look at him speechless from fear and consternation. The Pimpel orders them:" Hands up!" But the Japanese makes a suspicious move to his hip. The Pimpel shoots him, and the tall Japanese falls to the ground. The Hei-Ho's hands are flying into the air, and the Pimpel has them all under control. Jan looks quickly inside and sees that the Pimpel does'nt need him and runs to the Tall guy, who just at that moment comes around the corner with a couple of natives in front of him. He orders the prisoners into the barrack, where the Pimpel takes over.One of them tried to escape but runs right into Jan who grasped him by the neck and threw him into the barrack.Jan and the Tall guy gather all weapons, including the one from the Japanese, who is laying dead on the floor.Then in a feverish tempo, the destruction of the power plant start.They throw hand grenades into the room where the switch-boards are hanging. Blue and green flames sizzle through the room.Every where around them is noise of crackles from the electric wires, which now short-circuiting.A few hand grenades are tied together, and they put them under the large transformers, the explosion is unbelievable; the steel wall of the transformer ripped open like a tin.

The oil is streaming out and catches fire, the whole environs are lighted up.The heat from the flames melts the conducting-wires.Lights have gone out everywhere.The prisoners panic, but the Pimpel has a couple of flashlights and keeps them all in check.They find more weapons and ammo and a huge amount of money. They have a problem how to carry it all. Jan asked the natives which ones are willing to join the Dutch patrol and promised to pay them well.Two men immediately put up their hands, and they each getting a large bag to carry. In the meantime the others are tied up to heavy posts.They don't like to do this but they can't take the risk that they will pursue them.It will take hours before the prisoners will be able to free themselves.The next step is to make sure that the weapons they have to leave behind can not be used again.The bolts are removed from the riffles and these will disappear into the effervescent foam of the roaring river.The ammo is piled up and a hand grenade brings it to a thundering explosion.The dead Japanese is buried by the two natives who are hired by the Dutch men.After a short inspection, the group leaves . In quick tempo they return to their bivouac, which they take down with the help of the two natives.They leave the same night and march deeper into the mountains; they have a map and a compass. In the morning they stop at a small place between high bushes, and set up a new bivouac. Jan will be the first one to stand guard. Soon the other four are fast asleep, while Jan keeps an eye on everything what moves, and listen to every strange sound, coming from the jungle.

Will continue:
next; On their way to Wijnkoopsbaai. A tiger close to their bivak. A very dangerous meeting. An attack on a Japanese guard.

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