The tank in question was Kammanded by a member of the OberstGruppenFuhrer being punished for a clumsy pass at Eva Braun. The fuhrer wanted to have him executed, but his mistress interceded on behalf of her sometime escort, Karl-Heinz Schumacher, convincing Hitler to place him instead "in a rolling box covered in guns and metal." It is supposed that the same logic which drove Hitler to repeatedly bomb art academies likewise drove him to accept this bizarre pronouncment as a reasonable punishment for Schumacher.
Schumaker eventually fled Germany during an onslaught of allied arrests following the war. As his former colleagues and superiors were being hunted, wrangled, chased, harangued and otherwise brought to heel, Schumaker escaped detection in one of the very allied tanks he had spent his career attempting to shatter. He drove, without opposition or inspection, into France, walked to an airport with a trunk of valuables, boarded a ship for the U.S. and was gone.
No pictures of Schumaker survived the post-war scourge, so tracing him proved nearly impossible. The only tangible remnant of his illustrious career in the Wehrmacht is an intercepted radio transmission. What follows is an excerpt from the broadcast. Schumacher is upset about the renaming of the tank division and is voicing his displeasure via radio with another tank commander, Helmut Schrechtlich.
|[intermittent static and garbled voices--whistlers, as the radio operator/hull gunner focuses on the signal more successfully]|
Schumacher:We have your position. Surrender your vehicle and your men will be spared.
Schrechtlich:What?! We have your position as well, American Dogs. (to gunner) Fire at your convenience.
Schumacher:Psyche! What's up, dude! It's Heinz-Karl.
Schrechtlich:(laughing) You dirty (garbled--partial reference to feet and prostitutes). (To gunner) Fire anyway. (laughter from both tanks) What is it that I can do you for? Need help with a love letter for you know who? (audible wink--the sound of an origamist making a crucial fold in a piece of notepad paper.)
Schumacher:Very funny. So funny in fact that the need for laughter is presently escaping me. I have a question.
Schrechtlich:Shoot. (laughter from both tanks)
Schumacher:Have you heard about the new tanks?
Schrechtlich:The Henschel & Porches? I have heard about them. The next round of Tiger Panzerkampfwagens.
Schumacher:Correction, my friend and colleague. The first round of the Elephant Panzerjagers.
Schumacher:You heard right, my man. The newest weapons in the great Wehrmacht are called the Elephants.
Schrechtlich:You're joking. The Elephants? That sounds ridiculous. "Get a load of us! We're big, slow, and when herding, can deforest 10 acres a day." Pretty fearsome.
Schumacher: That's what I'm screaming.
Schrechtlich:Do the allies know?
Schumacher:I would guess, they intercept almost everything we broadcast (stated without trace of irony)
Schrechtlich:Oh man, they'll laugh themselves silly at the front.
Unidentified voice on radio, presumably in Schr.'s tank:(angrily) The americans will only laugh until...[he is interrupted by Schrechtlich]
Schrechtlich:Until what, they get showered by debris from the Elephant they just ramrodded with a shell. This is pitiful.
Schumacher:I hear you, my men are saying the same stuff. Idiots.
Schrechtlich:A tiger is tough to deal with. You get to close to a tiger and your shit gets...
Schumacher:...cut up. shredded. mangled. mauled.
Schrechtlich:Yeah! mauled. That's it. I guess the ministry of armaments expects the allies' fear of being sprayed with water to help the war effort prevail.
Schumacher:Woops. Sorry to cut out so quickly, but I see this great church I am going to liberate.
Schrechtlich:Liberate the hell out of it, then. (laughter)