A Russian shell exploded next to a few members of the "Charlemagne Legion," Waffen-SS volunteers from the streets of Paris. They cursed in French as shrapnel and debris rained down on them.

Erich Mayer, a Volksgrenadier, watched as the devoted shoulders ignored their wounds and continued their task, aiming and firing their Panzershrek rocket launcher. Their aim was true, a Soviet T-34 abruptly halted as the rocket tore though the weak armor on its side, fire and smoke escaping through the opening.

Shamus Kerney, a long-time friend of Erich's, cheered as the tank was destroyed then began to swear as three more took its place. Soviet infantry charged, almost as if suicidal at the commands of their officers, to cover the armor.

It was April 24th, 1945, and the Thousand Year Reich was no more. Berlin, the once proud capitol of Nazi Germany, was now being overwhelmed by National Socialism's most hated enemy, the Communists. Only one small pocket of resistance remained, in and around the Reichstag, a symbol of the Reich's former political power. Volunteers from all over Europe manned the defenses, their fighting desperate and frenzied, for they had no where left to go.

The last remaining King Tiger tank in existence rumbled forward from the base of the Reichstag's entrance. A few T-34 shells ricocheted off of its armor harmlessly as it slowly took aim and fired, blowing the turret off of one of the smaller Russian tanks. MG-42 heavy machine guns fired from sandbag barricades, gunning down waves of the approaching soldiers.

Anti-tank weaponry knocked out several more of the Russian war machines as they attempted to maneuver around flaming wreckage.

"Now, now, we must push them back! Push the Bolsheviks back!" An SS commander shouted fanatically over the raising sounds of the battle.

Regardless of how many Russians were killed, there were always more to take their place. Within a quarter of an hour, the outer defenses were overrun and Soviet armor bared down on the surviving defenders.

The King Tiger, billowing massive gouts of smoke from several hits, made one final kill before it was overwhelmed, its death ignited in a blinding white light. Shortly afterwards, the machine guns fell silent, their ammo depleted, allowing Russian infantry to move in even closer.

Mayer waited as the first wave reached the barricades. He fired his MP-40 sub-machine gun directly into a soldier's face as he began to climb over the quickly assembled wall. All around him was a bloody melee. Bayonets and E-tools tore into exposed flesh accompanied by muffled rifle blasts and bursts of machine gun fire. A sharp pain ran up one side of his body; he felt himself drop his weapon as he stumbled against the barricade wall. A rifle round had forced its way into his shoulder.

"Fall back! Inside, inside!" Came the call from the same commander as earlier in the battle, this time his voice laced with panic.

"They're as good as dead, come on...we have to get ourselves out of here," Mayer recognized the voice as Shamus'.

The young Irishman reached down and helped Mayer up, pulling him forward as he began to run towards the sewers nearby. As they escaped, Mayer watched as an endless mass of Soviet soldiers began to surround the massive building.

Erich Mayer had served in the Wehrmacht for two years. A veteran of the Ostfront, he had experienced what the Red Army was capable of.

During the collapse of "Army Group Center", he had been wounded in battle, a Russian rifle round taking out his right eye. He had been in Berlin for medical leave when the siege began. He was brought into the Volksstrum only two days before the city fell. He was only eighteen.

"A bit of a mess we're in now, isn't it?" Kerney said quietly, dropping himself against the sewer wall.

Shamus, an Irish Nationalist originally from Dublin, had lived in Germany for most of his life. The two had served briefly on the Eastern Front together.

"How do you suppose we-"

"Shh, listen," Kerney cut Erich off as he motioned to the street above them.

A large number of voices seemed to stop in the area.

"What is it? What are they saying?" Erich whispered.

Kerney remained silent for a moment, listening to the Russian soldiers above. "They're coming down...move!"

Several patrols came into the sewers, forcing the two soldiers to remain hidden for several hours. They had been forced further into the sewers over what seemed like miles, finally finding a spot where they could rest.

"This looks good enough for now," Kerney said, taking a seat on the cold ground as he stripped off most of his equipment.

"Well, what do we do now?" Erich asked, drawing a cigarette from his uniform as he struck a match along the wall, battered fingers nursing his bandaged shoulder.

"We'll have to wait for nightfall, then we can move. Leave the city...then maybe we'll head north, try to make it to the sea."

"What do you mean?"

"What do you mean, what do I mean? We're going to get the hell out of this city."

"What? How can you say that? You want to run away?!" Erich stepped towards Shamus, pushing himself off of the wall.

"Do you have any better ideas? We're as good as dead if we stay here!" Kerney calmed himself down somewhat as he took a swig from his canteen. "The war's over, in case you didn't know."

"No, this isn't over...this isn't over until we have achieved our empire...how can you think of escape while Russian soldiers are on German soil? It is our duty to do everything we can to repel the invaders."

"Erich, we've done enough."

"How selfish are you? Can you think of what will happen to our families if the Soviets get their hands on them? You say just what they were capable of! You saw what they did to their own people! It's our job to protect the innocents, and as long as I still draw breath I will do just that." Mayer paused for a moment, the light of his cigarette slightly illuminating his features. "Can you think of the greater good this time, instead of just yourself?"

Shamus ran a shaky hand through his matted hair, looking up towards Erich for a moment. "What are you suggesting, Erich?" He asked.

"We resist."

The street was deserted. A row of apartments, devastated by artillery and house-to-house fighting, was all that remained. Debris lined the pavement.

Erich and Shamus carefully made their way out of the sewer.

"Here, take this," Kerney said, handing his Mauser to Erich as he un-holstered his service Luger.

"We're going to need some weapons if we plan on doing any damage," Erich said as he took the rifle. "What is that?" He added.

"Sounds like a car," Shamus quickly moved off of the road and took cover, moving Erich along with him as he listened to the sound of the approaching vehicle. He surveyed the area and then dropped his gaze onto something across the street. "I've got an idea, stay here."

Kerney got up and sprinted across the street, stopping by an old piano that had fallen from one of the apartments during the fighting. He brushed off some of the debris that covered the instrument and reached into the casing, tearing something away. He quickly produced a long strand of wire.

"Here, fix this to that lamppost," He whispered as he tossed one end to Erich.

The two fixed the wire across the street between the two posts, suspending it at about the chest level of a man. A staff car came into view from around a corner further down the road. An NCO was driving the vehicle, a Commissar in the passenger's seat. Erich readied himself and aimed his rifle, watching patiently as the car approached. Shamus quickly tightened the wire one last time and jumped behind cover to hide himself.

Suddenly, the windshield erupted in a sea of glass, a horrible screeching sound resonating as the wire tore though the exposed sections of the convertible, brakes attempting to grind the vehicle to a halt. The car banked sharply to the left and ran straight into a wall. The driver had been completely decapitated. The passenger side door flung open and the Commissar stumbled out, his hands clutching at the massive wound in his throat as blood poured onto his uniform. Kerney raised his pistol and fired one aimed shot, dropping him to the ground.

Erich looked over the scene in shock; he had never truly seen the extent of his comrade's "skills." "Where did you learn that?" He managed to choke out.

"Back in Ireland...'s something to use against the Limeys. Come on now, we better get moving, someone is sure to come looking with all this noise."

The Bolsheviks' flag now flew over the Reichstag, the hammer and sickle flapping lazily in the breeze. It looked like it was all finally over.

Erich listened to the occasional rifle reports and the whine of Commissars' whistles, possible signs that resistance still continued in parts of the city.

Erich and Shamus had been hiding out for two days now, occasionally killing a lone sentry or a courier who lost his way. Fires were blazing in the direction of the Führer's bunker; Erich didn't want to think about what would happen to him if he was captured.

"Oi, Mayer, I've got a plan," Kerney broke Mayer's moment of quiet contemplation as he stepped inside the bombed out building they had been hiding in.

"Jesus, I almost shot you," Erich lowered his rifle as Kerney dropped a crate onto the floor. "What's that?"

"TNT, we're going to use it to rig the depot I spotted a little ways up north."

"Don't you think that's a bit dangerous?"

"Nonsense," Shamus said with a smile. "Now grab your stuff and let's go."

The Soviets had massed a good amount of supplies at a four-way intersection. Several trucks were ready to haul it off to the different districts of the city. The two German partisans sat concealed further down the street, waiting to maker their move.

"We've got enough for a couple of targets, I'll go for the trucks...you get the ammo stockpile over there."

Before Erich could respond, the Irishman was already out from behind cover and running towards the trucks. Mayer crouched down and slowly made his way towards the ammo crates, ducking behind any objects to hide him from the sentries every chance he got. Kerney had reached the trucks and was now laying under one, stringing blocks of TNT between the axles. When Erich was about to move a Soviet sentry walked into his area and stopped directly in front of him. He could see Kerney motioning to him, dragging his finger along his neck to indicate that he would have to kill him if they were going to succeed. The guard turned away from Erich, his back turned to him as he drew a large Russian cigarette and a match. Mayer waited patiently, working up his nerve as he un-sheathed his bayonet, gripping it close to his chest. The guard began to slowly walk away, giving his attacker the perfect opportunity. Erich quickly jumped towards the sentry, throwing an arm around him and pulling him close. He covered his mouth with one of his hands as he plunged the bayonet into his chest, holding him in place as he spasmodically thrashed and kicked. Erich withdrew the knife and pushed it back into the soldier several more times, continuing until he finally stopped moving. The Russian's blood was everywhere, staining the front of Mayer's uniform as well as his hands and face. It was the first time he had ever killed someone up close, and the first time he had experienced such violence first hand. He dropped the body to the ground behind a stack of crates and moved towards the ammo bins, dragging his satchel full of TNT behind him. Shamus was finished and un-raveling a bundle of wire to attach the detonator.

"Hurry up," He said quietly as he moved past him.

Erich un-zipped the bag and pulled out his few blocks of explosives, placing them around the ammo crates and wrapping the fuses with detonator wire. Just as he finished a group of Soviet soldiers came around the corner, spotting the dead body. It didn't take long before they saw him. Mayer could hear them shouting and screaming as he ran as fast as he could in Kerney's direction.

"Get down you fool!" Shouted Kerney.

Erich jumped to the ground and covered his head as Shamus toggled the detonator. The charges went off, starting a chain reaction that leveled most of the area. The nearby soldiers were enveloped in the flames as pieces of glass and metal fell from the sky in all directions. Overheated rounds began to discharge as stray ammo bins were set ablaze.

"What now?" Erich said, exhaustion apparent in his voice, as he turned towards a new commotion.

From one of the side streets, kicking up a massive cloud of dust and grime, came a Josef Stalin, the pride of the Soviet tank corps. Infantry rode atop its massive form, firing their weapons at the two German soldiers as they ran for shelter. Kerney cried out as he was hit in the shoulder.

"We're dead if we stay out here, quickly, inside!" Erich shouted over the immense roar of the tank's diesel engines as he kicked in a store's door, dragging Shamus inside.

Heavy caliber rounds from the tank's hull-gun raked the side of the building and continued on up most of the block, tearing large chunks out of the walls and foundation. Erich dropped to the ground, covering his head as debris cascaded fell from the walls on top of the two. He looked for an exit from the building, desperately trying to find some sort of escape, all of the noise almost making it impossible for him to think. Then, the Stalin's main cannon fired, the shell taking away the entire storefront. Kerney screamed, blood seeping forth from burst eardrums as Erich fumbled with a burning piece of shrapnel in his leg.

"Gott, not like this...I've done too much to die like this," He thought to himself.

Erich's prayers were interrupted as something pierced the air, striking the side of the Russian tank. He could hear the gears stalling and the treads lumbering to a slow stop. Shamus dragged himself forward, managing to peek around the corner of the debris-ridden storefront.

The tank had been hit by a rocket, the tread link slipping off of the wheels and rendering the vehicle immobile. Suddenly, from one of the windows above, a bottle fell onto the hull, exploding and engulfing the tank riders in flames. The men screamed and cried as they struggled, their entire bodies disappearing in the dazzling fire. They fell from the Stalin, some trying to put out the flames by rolling on the ground; all of their attempts were futile. Thick black smoke began to pour from the driver and commander's hatches. Then, a second rocket was fired, its force rocking the tank slightly as it tore through the weakened armor on its side. The piercing screams of the crew indicated that it had hit its mark as the payload of shells within was detonated, the entire frame seeming to implode on itself, before blowing apart.

Erich could see them now, up in the buildings around them. Boys, wielding Panzerfausts and grenades, cheering their victory. He couldn't believe it, a soldier trained in one of the best armies in the world had been saved by a bunch of kids. He had been saved by the Hitler Jugend.

"We were called into action when it was apparent that the Reds were going to make a move for Berlin, we've been fighting since they got here."

Erich looked over the teenager who was speaking to him. He was wearing the basic uniform of the Hitler Youth, with a few slight modifications. He was still very young, probably around sixteen or seventeen; however, the scars covering his face showed just how deeply the conflict had affected him. He had an MP-40 slung around his shoulder and a stick grenade tucked into his belt.

"Where'd you get all of these weapons?" Asked Shamus.

"They're mostly from the old stockpiles...that's where we got most of the heavy things...MG-34s and some machine guns from the early days of the war. The rest was provided to us by the SS."

"How many of you are left?" Erich asked, drawing a cigarette from his satchel, stained with his own blood.

"Thirteen," The boy stopped for a moment, thinking of something, quite possibly the original number the group had started off with. "I'm sorry, I haven't even asked you your names yet."

"I'm Erich, this is Shamus," He replied, pointing to the Irishman with his thumb. "And you?"

"You can just call me Riker. Your unit?"

"We were with the Waffen-SS at the Reichstag," Mayer replied.

The other boys in the room fell silent, their gaze now falling upon the two new arrivals. Erich could see the disgust in their faces.

"We say something?" Asked Shamus.

Riker shook his head after taking a quick look at the assembled children. "I'm sure they do not appreciate your cowardice."

"Our cowardice?" Kerney took a step forward, Erich managed to hold him back.

"All the defenders of the Reichstag are dead, they perished while doing their duty, as should all German soldiers," Riker paused and looked Erich in the eyes for a moment. "I'm sure the others are wondering how you managed to survive."

"I'm not going to be insulted by a kid!" Shamus shouted.

Riker was un-moved by his change in attitude.

Erich quickly tried to change the subject. "What are you planning on doing? Surely you can't go on taking out random tanks forever."

"We have something in mind, come this way..." Riker led the two to a table propped up in the back of the small apartment; a map was sprawled out on its stained surface, held in place by a knife and surrounded by small scraps of paper and documents. "You arrived just in time for the big show; we managed to get some documents off of an officer that stumbled our way the other day. According to them, a Soviet tank column, with supporting infantry and armored vehicles, will be coming from the direction of the Victory Column right down the Strage des 17 towards the Brandenburg Gate. We've acquired enough explosives, mines, rockets, and ammo to do a significant amount of damage. We plan on taking as many of them down with us when we go."

"I don't understand what you are saying..." Erich cut in.

"Are you familiar with the anthem of the Hitler Youth, sir?"

"I've heard it once or twice, yes, what's that have to do with this?"

"Deütschland, du wirst leuchtend stehn, moegen wir auch untergehn..." Riker said, turning to look at the two.

"Germany, you may shine brightly, though we may perish..." Kerney repeated.

"Our duty was to the Führer and the Väterland, now they are no more. We no longer have any bearing in life; it is our duty to regain the Fatherland's honor...and there is only one way to do it. We will not be coming back tomorrow."

The rest of the room listened intently; a few of the boys nodding in agreement, others prepared their weapons in anticipation.

"You do not have to come with us, we don't expect you to...it is your choice," Riker added.

"I'll do it..." Shamus said suddenly, his voice without emotion.

"Shamus?" Erich asked, questioning his motive.

"It's not like I'll ever make it back to bloody Ireland anyway...we don't have anywhere left to go, Erich."

"The final hurrah," Riker said with a slight smile.

Erich Mayer sat in the doorway of an office building facing one of the busiest roads in Berlin. He gripped his rifle tightly, his gaze traveling over the Jugend des Führer as they went about their tasks, planting trip-wires and burying mines. Across the street, two MG-34s were being set up in the windows of another building. Directly above him, the rocket teams readied themselves. Riker paced nervously in front of him, glancing at his watch every few seconds.

"Five minutes!" He yelled.

Shamus made his way across the street, carrying his new sub-machine gun.

"Are you ready for this?" He asked, placing a hand on Erich's shoulder.

"As ready as I'm going to-"

"Here they come!"

The group scattered to their places, as the ominous shapes appeared further down the road, the sound of their engines drowning out all noise. Mayer and Kerney slipped back into the building, watching cautiously from the doorway as the tanks approached. Time seemed to drag on forever as they waited, the tanks coming closer and closer ever so slowly. A few trucks rumbled by, shaking the debris that was scattered throughout the front of the room.

"Almost," Riker said from behind them, watching as the vehicles neared the first row of traps.

The demolitionists on the other side of the road waited for the sign from Riker, a rifle blast that would allow them to trigger the charges, destroying the first column of vehicles.

"Mayer, your rifle, now!"

Erich aimed his rifle out the door and fired, the report almost deafening the three in the cramped confines of the room.

The signal was heard, and the trap went into motion. Demo charges set up alongside the road began to go off, destroying a few vehicles and stopping others in their tracks. The column began to break and panic, leaving their organized ranks and moving towards side streets and offshoots to escape. The rocket teams in the room above began to fire, targeting the tanks at the front and end of the column. They succeeded, boxing the remaining vehicles into the area. Tank crews dragged themselves out of their vehicles as they emitted clouds of smoke, some leaking oil and fuel, spreading flames onto others nearby.

"Now the mines...now the mines..." Riker said to himself, the first vehicles beginning to pass over the mined area of the street.

Erich could barely hear himself think, all of the sounds were so tremendous. Mines went off in the street, sending bits of shrapnel and debris into the air as supply trucks and light tanks were lifted from the ground. The MG-34s began to fire, cutting down clustered groups of infantry as they tried to escape from their burning transports. Then, the unit's luck ran out.

A Russian shell impacted against the building the machine guns were set up in. Part of the wall crumbled away, most of the second floor eventually coming down with it. Erich watched as the lifeless body of one of the gunners fell from the building, hitting the ground below. A T-34 broke from the mass of destroyed vehicles and moved towards Erich's building, its hull-gun firing rapidly. Riker released a hideous scream as one of the rounds tore through the wall, and into his face. He stumbled backwards and fell to the floor, trashing violently.

"Christ, move to the next building..." Shamus managed to shout over the sounds of the battle, pushing Erich towards the adjoining doorway as they moved into the next room.

The rocket teams in the rooms above continued to fire, reducing another vehicle to nothing more than scrap as the Russian tankers attempted to get close to the buildings. Erich could hear small-arms fire and grenades going off from across the street; the demolitionists were beginning to repel the first waves of infantry. Erich then felt himself falling to the floor, knocked to the ground by the force of an explosion. He watched as the ceiling gave way, the corpses of the rocket team falling into the room with them as their perch was destroyed.

"They're coming," Shamus choked out, grasping his wounded chest as it bled profusely.

The shooting from across the street had stopped; they were the only ones left. Russian rifles began to fire, rounds tearing through the walls and sending splinters into the room as infantrymen tried to hit the remaining defenders. Kerney reached around the doorframe, firing blindly with his machine gun, emptying an entire magazine into the adjacent room. He tried to reload with only one hand, his other rendered useless by yet another wound.

"They haven't beaten us yet, Erich...we're still in this..." He said, fighting back the pain as he pulled back the bolt on his weapon.

Erich watched as something rolled into the room between them, a grenade.

Shamus was dead, lying against the wall with a dozen pieces of shrapnel in his chest and his face. Erich tried to stand, his entire body felt like it was on fire. As he put pressure on his feet he fell to the ground in extreme pain. He looked down to discover that he was missing everything below his left knee. There was nothing else he could do. A Soviet soldier stepped into the room slowly, aiming his rifle at Erich as he approached carefully. Erich felt something hard under his chest, pressing against him. He reached one hand underneath and grabbed it, a stick grenade. The Russian began to shout as he stood over Erich. He kicked him hard in the side, rolling him over onto his back.

Erich looked up at him and smiled, and then he pulled the pin.