Time Fall by Tim Ashby
Berlin, present day. Hanno Kasper, Germany’s anti-terrorism czar and unrepentant Nazi apologist, reminisces about the day in April 1945 when as a 12-year-old Hitler Youth he was awarded the Iron Cross by Adolf Hitler.
April 1945. On a secret mission of sabotage and assassination, a six-man US Rangers team prepares to parachute through a severe electrical storm into Nazi Germany, weeks before the end of World War II. The team is led by Art Sutton – a wholesome, college-educated lieutenant – and includes Sergeant Hugo Roth, a German-born Jew with a personal vendetta to kill as many Germans as possible.
During the flight, Sutton shows his good luck charm, a 1930s Roosevelt campaign button, to a crewman.
The Rangers jump–and vanish. Missing in Action for seven decades.
2011. Sutton’s team lands on target in a forested area of Bavaria. Unaware of the passage of time, the men attack a US base and other sites that long ago had been World War II German installations. Believing the Rangers to be terrorists, Kasper leads Germany’s elite counterterrorism unit in a hunt for them. He orders the unit to take no prisoners.
Sutton’s team assaults an abandoned Nazi SS camp that is being used as a staging area for a real terrorist unit planning a massacre at a Youth Congress. During the attack, Sutton is knocked unconscious and one of his men, Sarnoff, is killed. Roth takes command of the surviving Rangers. Carrying Sutton, the Rangers go to a remote mansion where Roth plans to assassinate Major von Scheller, a Luftwaffe hero during the War. Von Scheller’s granddaughter, Paula, a medical student, is staying with him.
Roth spares the octogenarian von Scheller, refusing to believe that he is the young officer he had sought to kill. The Rangers spend the day at the von Scheller home, while Paula tends to the comatose Sutton. Talking to the Rangers who guard them, the von Schellers’ outrage turns to bafflement, then a realization that the young American soldiers are truly visitors from the past. They try to convince the Rangers that 66 years have passed, but Roth furiously intercedes. The Rangers depart, leaving Sutton behind. Roth is determined to wreak vengeance on Germans.
Sutton revives and the von Schellers persuade him that he has landed in a future world very different from 1945.
The corpse of Sarnoff, the Ranger killed at the old SS camp, is found. His autopsy report and military ID are sent to Washington, DC. The case is assigned to Eddie Cassera, a burned out Vietnam veteran working as an investigator for the US government agency that identifies remains of the Missing In Action (MIA).
Aware that Kasper intends to hunt down and exterminate his men, Sutton and Paula set out on a mission to save the surviving Rangers and prevent them from committing more attacks. Romance blossoms between them. Sutton tells Paula about the long lost world of the 1930s and ‘40s, promising to teach her to dance to the Big Band hits that he loves.
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, Cassera uses modern forensics and old-fashioned detective work to establish that the newly deceased Sarnoff was a member of a US Ranger team that had been MIA for 66 years. Realizing that news reports about terrorism in Bavaria are related to the missing Rangers, Cassera flies to Germany and launches his own quest for them.
After more attacks, Roth and the three surviving privates are trapped in a remote cabin by Kasper’s counter-terrorism force. Sutton and Paula are captured while en route to the siege. Kasper prepares to destroy the cabin and what he believes are terrorists within, after which Sutton and Paula will be “shot while trying to escape.”
Cassera arrives, bluffs the Germans into a temporary cease-fire, then rescues Sutton and Paula by holding their guards hostage. Sutton goes to the cabin to convince his men to surrender. Kasper kills Cassera and is shot by one of the Rangers in the cabin.
Sutton makes it to the cabin and finds only Roth alive after the Ranger who shot Kasper is killed by a barrage from the Germans. Sutton tries to convince Roth that the War is long over, and that he must surrender. Roth refuses, runs from the cabin with Thompson submachine gun blazing, and is cut to pieces by the Germans. Sutton slips out of the cabin as darkness descends. Minutes later, the cabin is destroyed by mortar fire.
June 2012. Aboard a “Big Band” cruise, an elderly World War II veteran and his wife observe a young couple jitterbugging to the music of Benny Goodman and Glen Miller. The veteran is the same air crewman who had spoken to Sutton seven decades earlier on the aircraft transporting the Rangers on their mission. The old man thinks the younger male dancer looks familiar. As both couples go to their cabins later, the young man drops something and the veteran picks up a Roosevelt campaign button last seen in 1945. With a shock, he recognizes Sutton.
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