By now, another cold front had moved in, and rain was falling as well as the temperature. It was perfect weather for intelligence gathering. The enemy would not have the alertness they would normally have if the weather were clear and sunny. German sentries would be more concerned about staying dry and keeping warm than keeping a lookout. The temperature was now in the teens. Plus, the Germans had a tight ring around the beachhead.
They wouldn’t suspect a fifth element behind their lines gathering intel on them so soon after a landing. It wasn’t until shortly after daylight that the two resistance fighters returned with a slightly injured German officer.
“We caught him taking a crap away from his unit. After he pulled his pants up, we attacked and knocked him out. He may have a slight concussion,” the leader said.
They brought the German officer into the house. His hands were still bound and he had dried blood on his head and face. They bound his hands and legs to a chair in the kitchen. Since Sean spoke fluent German, without an accent, he began interrogating the prisoner. For two hours, Major Armond Hoffmann only revealed his name, rank, and serial number, in accordance with the Geneva Convention. He was not going to cooperate. But because of the urgent need for current intel, Sean pulled out a silenced High Standard .22-caliber pistol and shot the major in his right leg.
Jon had to gag the major until he stopped hollering. O’Brien told the major that he would put a bullet in his knee next if he didn’t answer the questions; then he would be crippled for life.
The major still stalled. It wasn’t until Sean pulled out a pair of pliers and ripped out one of the major’s fingernails that he became cooperative. He was told he would be given morphine to kill the pain after he provided information that they needed.
Major Hoffmann told them that he was the senior officer in charge of a divisional communications unit belonging to the Third Panzer Grenadier Division. They had arrived from Rome late last night and stationed two miles south of Valmontone.
He provided detailed information on the 114th Light Infantry, the 715th Infantry Division, and the Twenty-Sixth Panzers and Twenty-Ninth Panzer Grenadiers being held in reserve. The major was married and had two daughters and a son living in Konstanz, close to the Swiss border. He was terrified by the brutal interrogation techniques and didn’t want to die.