The Kurland PocketOtto Pfeiffer

There hasn't been a night that I don't see their faces.

a character in “Too Cold For Tears”, as played by Ottoman

Factions, Families, Clans, and Empires

Description

Image
Jesus, Jesus, what's it all about?
Trying to clout these little ingrates into shape.
When I was their age, all the lights went out,
There was no time to whine and mope about!



Otto still bears a rather good figure, despite his emaciation. With wide shoulders and what was, at one point, a barrel chest, one can tell that at some point in his past Pfeiffer was a larger individual than he is today, his urban upbringing echoing even after four years in the Russland. Where exactly it went is probably lost somewhere on the Steppe, and he rarely gives it much thought, save for when he gets a chance at a meal. With a clean shaven, square face, Pfeiffer bears eyes that speak more than any other part of his body, more than even the tarnished badges on his breast and the lone, stained ribbon borne on his chest. They hint at a man that few he now knows have seen, and probably never will, his false aura of command and deceit a front for something he fears to reveal.

He's often clad often now in his greatcoat, a item of clothing that doesn't much favor him, hiding his height. With the wrath of winter having arrived, he rarely displays his tunic. Now accented with silver tress on the field grey collar and the out of place bottle green shoulder boards; his tunic personifying the mismatch that the Wehrmacht now was. Upon it he bears a spartan trio of decorations, unlike so many other colleagues over the years. Almost without heed he wears a dirty, silver infantry assault badge and a scuffed black wound badge, artifacts of a time he would rather forget, but the one piece he never mentions is the ribbon in his tunic's buttonhole. It was probably attractive at one time, now faded and frayed, it looks to be a minor decoration from the design of the ribbon, a miniscule line of black trimmed with white running down the center of a canal of red.

On his shaven head one often finds, while out of danger, his billed field cap, the flaps folded down to shield as much of his face from the wind as possible. At most other times one can find it entombed in a steel helmet, its rim rolled back slightly and the old Heer decal, though faded and scratched, still visible on its left. He refuses, much of the time, to wear any sort of cover on it, its obsolete model a point of pride for him, preferring to look as much of the leader now as he can, being the new Unteroffizier.

Personality

Otto isn't what he appears to be, to put it simply. After four years, even he has a hard time truly understanding who it is he sees looking in the mirror when he shaves. Pfeiffer has multiple fronts that he puts up, it varying from person to person. However, across all of his many visages he is, first and foremost, cowardly. At the mere crack of a rifle he's set on edge, having many a time before failed to react when the day didn't go as planned. Running is nothing new to him, and even at times he fails at such a basic task - fear getting the better of the man, his body refusing to move. That is not to say, however, that he is entirely without discipline; his decorations were legitimately earned, unlike so many sported by others, and so he takes great offense at their possession, especially by rear echelon personnel.

Having only recently attained his position as squad leader, he does his best to convey an aura of stoic confidence, that being something he severely lacks. It was something that he had practiced for a while as assistant squad leader, but never utilized in the shadow of his friend Reinhardt. It's this mock authority that he also shows to his superiors, using what silver tongue he's managed to develop over the years to fool them into a sense of trust. But in this lie there are grains of truth: he pities the replacements that have just arrived, and he sympathizes with those landsers who have endured the war for any length of time, both of whom he does his best to shepherd in the final chapter of the war that has become his life.

To his friends, whoever could still be called that, he has a front of sarcasm and crass humor, hiding the scars of yesteryear behind jokes aimed either at his friends or the opposite sex. It takes a good while to get to this point with Pfeiffer, especially in the wake of friends he had before, as one has to survive long enough for him to actually get to know them. If one's managed to get Otto into a more casual attitude, he'll be more likely to truly speak his mind on matters and even, in some cases, develop a sense of loyalty. Don't expect him to suddenly open up, however, as he harbors a mentality that promotes secrets, especially regarding his past. If someone hasn't suffered the same misery as he has, they can't understand.

They wont understand.

Equipment

Otto bears the trappings of his new office well, but only from observation of those more worthy. His MP-40, which was Reinhardt's until the prior week, still bears some trappings of its previous owner, namely an unknown hint of biological material wedged under the receiver. While not large enough to truly jam the weapon, it's just enough to cause the bolt to stick occasionally once he gets to firing it and for it to emit a rather unpleasant odor. She shoots straight, however, and Pfeiffer was pleased that it wasn't a bad replacement for his old carbine, as faithful as it was.

Over his woolen greatcoat he still bears artifacts of his past, the foremost of them being a worn, field painted buckle. Through the many scratches and scuffs it bears one can glimpse hints of natural metal finish, its silver tone contrasting heavily in the light with the olive drab of the covering coat. A cracked leather equipment belt sags under the weight of his gear, supported only by tan web y-straps hooked into his pouches, surplus that came too late for its campaign in Africa. Two six cell pouches house his weapon's magazines, their weight almost matched by his folding e-tool on his right and breadbag on the back, upon it both his mess-tin and canteen strapped. Accompanied by his old bayonet is his gas mask canister, which he keeps packed full of dried peas in the absence of his gas mask, both of which reside on his left hip. His newest acquisition, however, came again at the cost of his friend Reinhardt; now bearing a mapcase, another symbol of an office he believe he doesn't deserve. Carrying what few maps that Reinhardt possessed, Pfeiffer also keeps his bloated wallet in the case. A lengthy, two-fold design, long devoid of any currency, his wallet now bears only his many undelivered letters and a single photograph, something which, unlike his almost constant scribblings, never comes out. At least not around others.

He wears the later model of trousers, featuring belt loops, but even with the option he continues to utilize suspenders. Despite the best efforts of the reinforcements the knees are beginning to wear, and the garment's crotch bears the scars of field repair. It's been reinforced again, mostly from scraps that Otto has collected in his spare time. His sewing kit, kept safe in the lower right pocket of his tunic, has seen a good deal of work in the past few years and is likely something he wont be keen to lose any time soon. In contrast to their relatively new nature, he still wears his jackboots, worn and weathered from four years of Russian toil. The soles, upon inspection, have obviously been replaced on several occasions, and the cobbler didn't always do a very good job of rearranging the hobnails, but they still serve their purpose. One of the few pieces that Pfeiffer entered the war with, the others being his helmet, buckle and mess-tin, he's both proud and ashamed of them, almost more so than any order or decoration a superior could bestow. They show his experience, his time in the field - that he's a survivor.

A coward.

History

Otto was born to a rather average family in the spring of 1923, the second child of a former soldier and a housewife in the port-city of Bremen, at the tail end of the German Revolution's successor conflicts, long after the fighting had ended locally. No doubt he was a byproduct of his father's safe return from his Freikorps. He spent a great deal of his childhood reading instead of playing, always more fascinated with where his father's books could take him than the silly imaginations of the other children up and down the street, though he did enjoy the occasional game with them. For the most part, one would call it average, with the market collapse of '29 and the subsequent depression his family suffered as much as many other Germans did, hunger and cold claiming two of his siblings, a younger brother and sister he never really got to know. Thus, his parents were rather enamored with the promises of bread and work in the election of 1932, and so they voted for the upstart challenger to Hindenburg, who, in time, became chancellor himself.

With the advent of the new state, Otto watched and waited, still a child, not sure how to take things, but his parents and sister seemed happy enough... so what could be wrong? Everyone seemed to be happier now, especially with food and those dashing soldiers in the streets, the cold winters of before seemed to be gone forever. What truly won him over though, more than the brown soldiers or the jobs that mother and father now worked, was the school. There were so many more programs, his favorite being the Colonial League. Even if he wasn't able to join it officially, as young as he was, he did apply for their youth chapter, being accepted in good time. The thought of far off nations and lands under the German flag appealed to his sense of adventure. However, even as good as life may have become, it was obvious that war was approaching, especially after the occupation of the Rhineland. His father, though still eligible for service, was a worn man, the honor cross weighing heavily on his lapel. If any Pfeiffer were to serve it would be Otto, but his father would have nothing of it, the sounds of the trenches still echoing in his mind.

So he waited, eager for the day to come when he would finally be old enough to follow in his father's footsteps. While he didn't stop living his life, he watched with desperate eyes as Austria was absorbed back into the German Empire, and later as the Sudetenland was claimed by their government. If you asked him about it, he'd likely explain it as anxiety, worrying about the war, but truly he was afraid he would miss on the glory to come. Turning sixteen the same year that the Danzig Corridor was refused to Germany and the Wehrmacht poured into Poland, he couldn't help but yearn. Now there were German men fighting and dying; not simply annexing territory, but actual conquests! There were few things in the world that mattered to him that winter than wearing field grey wool, and to name one of them would be easier than expected: Adelinde.

The two had met each other at gymnasium, the namesake of Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck, and had been good friends for two years after their meeting in 1935 until the two's relationship began to grow into something more. Becoming 'official' in the summer of 1938 at the behest of their friends, and made the relationship public. She was a rather average girl, but average in the sense that she wasn't overly athletic or a sloth, and was, for the most part, very attractive, something that Pfeiffer was willing to attest to. Gradually they grew closer together, the two lovers almost inseparable by the spring of 1940, an ironic thing. The invasion of France came as a surprise to almost everyone, having settled into the sluggish mentality themselves that the French had enjoyed. The Phony War was at an end, and the Low Countries were being swept away in the tide of Blitzkrieg. When May arrived Otto was simply one of thousands who, even more now, felt the call of their country and were taken with 'May Madness'.

So begins...

Otto Pfeiffer's Story