World War Three 1946 - The Red Tide - Stalin Strikes First

World War Three 1946 - The Red Tide - Stalin Strikes First
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Friday, October 17, 2014

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LeMay Chews on it

The room was bright and airy, with an actual plant in the corner. No one knew what kind of plant it was but it really didn’t matter. It might have been the first green and growing thing in a high ranking SAC or possibly the USAAF officers’ quarters ever and LeMay hated it. He also hated the ideas that were being proposed and he as much said so in his diary entries later.

What was being discussed were two things designed to bring the Soviet oil production to its knees. One was to bring in the shorter range B17s and P51s from the USAAF into the bases in Turkey, Crete and Rhodes to beef up SACs capabilities. The arguments were as follows…

1. The need for absolute secrecy was over

a. The atomic bombs had been dropped

b. Their bases were known to the VVS

2. The B17s would bring added resources to the fight

a. More targets attacked daily

b. Greater pressure on the VVS

c. Add destructive capabilities to the fight to shut down the oil facilities and keep them shut.

3. Cause the Red Army to invade Turkey to eliminate these bases thus further drawing them into the trap being set by the US Army.


The other discussion which he really didn’t like was to let the last bomber squadron in the next raid to do some unorthodox formation flying in an attempt to reduce the chances of a missile strike while at the same time keeping the squadron together and able to reform with the larger group when over the target. They were actually going to try and out maneuver a ground to air missile or surface to air missile or SAM as they were quickly being called by the flight crews.

Jimmy Doolittle was behind this corker of an idea and so it had to be considered carefully before he rejected it. At this point all they were asking for was a demonstration or a try out. Let the last squadron in raid 1004 try a few things and then see if they can keep up with the larger forces after pulling a few formation flying irregularities. He was most unhappy to find out that a squadron or two had secretly been developing a set of formation flying maneuvers on their own time. He was tired and decided “what the hell” on both suggestions.

The army and navy had promised to provide the additional needed supplies for the B17 and P51s and they had been damn good at supplying him with what he needed, so what the hell. This was the kind of seat of the pants decision they paid him to make and he made it with a couple of warnings.

“Do not under any circumstances divert my supplies to the Army. Two…if there are any midair collisions caused by this … formation flying gimmick, it will be terminated forthwith. And three … get that god damn plant out of this office!”

He stormed out of the room knowing that all three would be accomplished and went on the search for a new cigar to chew on or another major, which ever came by first.

According to his diary he was angry at Doolittle for putting his nose in where it didn’t belong. That jerk was 9 days from retiring when the Reds attacked. He was heading up the “Doolittle Board” or “Gripes Board” as some were calling it. Both names were appropriate in his mind. Imagine doing away with the off duty salute and letting enlisted personnel mingle socially with officers. You can’t democratize the military. What an ass. Well this war put an end to that. What’s next mustaches for God’s sake?

There was another reason he was in a bad mood. His officers had convinced him that the crews needed a day of rest. Two days in a row of 16 hour flights was too much. In the end he had seen their point. There was no element of surprise in this fight any more. Now it was a contest of stamina. Whom every blinked first would give the other guy the breathing room needed to recover and the Soviet supply line was much shorter than his. Hell supplying the 8th Air Force in England had been a piece of cake compared to this nightmare.

Who in the hell knows maybe this experiment could lead to something and maybe those extra bombers will take the load off his babies and let them do the job they were built for. It was ironic that the B-29 Superfortress was designed to fly fast and high yet it had spent most of its combat career flying low over Japan. That cursed wind was to blame. Why did God give them that wind? Even in this war he was regulated to keeping below 25,000 feet. Shit the B17 can do that. I guess that’s why Doolittle made the suggestion. He had to find a way to predict by at least a day where that God Damn wind was going to be. Maybe we send the B-17s in first and they can make some kind of measurements and the eggheads can devise some kind of forecast.


Maybe we have to become a more tactical air force like the Soviets and adapt from our strategic bombing role. The politicians are not going to sit idly by while we use the most costly weapons system for anything but strategic bombing. Those pinheads think we can just fly to Moscow whenever we want and put an end to this. Didn’t happen when we finally raided Berlin or Tokyo and burned them to the ground. They just kept on fighting until they had nothing to fight with. He had to admit that his beloved SAC was fast becoming the next shiny object to dangle in front of Stalin to distract him from what was to come. The real haymakers wouldn’t come until spring he was told.

The Report Card



REport And After action
of raid 1003 on the soviet oil facility at baku
Oct. 2nd 1946

USE OF Uncle Cat

It became apparent early in the B-29 bomber offensive against Baku that P-80 escort fighters flying from Turkey, Cyprus and Rhodes would be needed to counter the Soviet jet fighters among others. In order for the Shooting Stars to fly the long distance from Turkey and the islands and return safely, some kind of electronic navigation system would be needed to:

a. find the B-29’s they were escorting; and,

b. find their way back. A VHF beacon system would eliminate the problems associated with the MF beacons thus providing greater reliability and accuracy.

Beacons were established. It was used aboard B-29’s equipped with Uncle Cat transmitters specifically tasked with serving as navigation aircraft for the fighter escorts. This signal, when received on a fighter’s SCR-522 VHF communication set (equipped with an AN/ARA-8 homing adapter and MD-34 modulator keying unit), allowed the fighters to meet the bombers at a specific predetermined location in order to ensure maximum fuel efficiency. The Uncle Cat was an improved version of the Uncle Dog.

Pilot Fatigue


The flights were almost as long as in the Pacific and many a fighter pilot looked like an old man after climbing out of the cockpit and hitting the ground. A few had to be helped out because of cramps. It paid to be of small stature on these kinds of flights.

It became apparent that the perils of such long flights caused as many losses as the enemy. On the first two raids as many planes went down over enemy and Turkish territory from engine or battle damage as were shot down outright over the Baku area. This had the effect of doubling the loss rate from these missions.

Soviet Proximity Fuse Improvement


It was clear that the Soviet rockets now had a much better proximity fuse solution. Their rockets while still erratic, were now exploding at a far greater rate than before, when near a target. Previously more than half of the missiles that were able to reach the target without failure, passed harmlessly by and exploded above the intended target. It was observed on the last two raids that there was at least a 3 fold increase in the missile exploding at the proper altitude if it was able to get within a kill radius. It is speculated that some improvement had been made and is the most likely cause for this increase in accuracy.

A number of bombers had active jamming units scanning and three of these were shot down. We can only conclude that the current jammers are not accomplishing their task or the Soviets have developed a way to circumvent our capabilities in this area.

Conversely the anti-aircraft shells did seem to be effected by the jammer aircraft. It appears that the VVS is using a combination of proximity fused ammunition and conventionally fused shells. With half exploding a thousand feet from the jammer aircraft while others exploded in a manner that would suggest they were set for a certain altitude and fired in the general direction of the bombers.

The three fold improvement in the missile detonations is very troubling. We estimate that the bomber losses on the two raids launched to date were increased by a full 5% because of this addition or improvement of the Soviet proximity fuse technology.

Increase in Missile Launches


The VVS has increased the number of launches both from the ground and the air by a factor of 30% observed between the two raids. This 30% increase has happen in a 24 hour period. Some combination of factors has made this dramatic increase. Possibly a security leak forewarned the Stavka and they were able to marshal their missile forces faster than anticipated or the Soviet industry has increased their manufacturing process dramatically from earlier estimates.

The end result is close to a 7% increase in the bomber fleets losses and is unsustainable for no more than a period of 12 days at which time a temporary halt will have to be ordered due to lack of bomber replacements. Currently the supply of replacement bombers and crews is 47 a month. The number of units damaged beyond repair or lost has been 108 in two days of raids with fully 32 being shot down by what can only be called a guided missile, with the others succumbing to fighter aircraft either by cannon fire or ramming.

Bomber Losses


The loss rate is a sustainable 9% over two raids but with the increase in losses by missile fire this may not stay true. The fourth raid on the Baku area should give us a clearer picture as to the viability of launching multiple raids on the same target in the age of guided missiles.
Oil Production Losses

Overflight suggest that between a large bomb dispersion rate and the prevailing strong winds over the target that bombing from above 25,000 is not economical. After only on true bombing raid on Baku it is too early to draw any hard and fast conclusions. The circular error was calculated to be over 1500 ft.

With 24 hour repair operations we estimate a net 3% loss of oil production daily at the current rate. With Baku estimated to be a 30% capacity it will take 30 days to bring production to a halt. In the intervening time the other production facilities bombed by atomic bomb are being repaired at a rate of 7% a week. The Baku facility does represent 47% of the pre-attack oil production capacity of the Soviet Union.

At the damage rate, the Soviet oil production facilities will continue to increase and reach 80% capacity in 7 months despite the air campaign currently being waged.

Recommendations


Continue the Baku raids until the production levels are down to 10% with the caveat that weekly unit losses do not exceed 15%. If the weekly losses exceed 15% it is recommended that other oil production facilities in be targeted in a random rotation. If these raids experience a higher than 10% attrition rate then the strategic bombing campaign against these facilities should be suspended until improved tactics are developed.

Possible Tactical Improvement to be explored:


1 Improved anti-missile defenses


a. Dropping flares

i. If it is determined that heat seeking guidance is being used

b. Improved jammer capability

c. Physical destruction of missile by counter fire before they are in range of bombers

i. High rate of fire 50 cal or larger rounds at 1000 feet or more in a shot gun manner


2 Maneuver


a. Develop ways to defeat the missiles by maneuver

i. Bombers must stay in formation

ii. Bombers must stay at altitude

iii. Must reconstitute formation over target at time of release of bombs

iv. Avoid collisions

b. This may diminish the bombers ability to defend from fighter attack

c. Maneuver unit should be no less than squadron size



Escort Service


October 2nd, 1946

CAPTAIN NICLAUST M. PAUST JR., 475TH fighter Squadron: 

“I was weaving back and forth trying to save fuel and yet still stay with the bombers. We were in a loose finger four[1].

I was leading Blue Flight in the second section of our squadron in the Baku area when six bogies were called out at nine o’clock low. I called my section to drop their tanks and we peeled off low on a flight of six Fleas (name given by NATO for Stalin’s Dart). I made almost a head on pass at their number one man and gave him about a two or three second quirt around the cockpit and he broke away to his right. As I turned to the left I was almost on top of another. I split-S with him and got hits with a three second or more burst around the engine and cockpit area. After I passed him my flight saw him bail out.

Than everything changed and I was in a world of swirling missiles and fighters with the bombers almost a forgotten piece of the fight. It was every man and wing man for themselves. I never did get another good shot at one of those red bastards but they sure messed up my ride. A 30 mm cannon round makes a big hole in your stabilizer. I’m surprised it didn’t fall off. Luckily it must have been a tracer because it basically just went through without the usual HE explosion. That’s probably what saved me, every fourth round being a tracer.

I could only take quick glances at the bomber stream and they seemed to be getting the brunt of the missile action. Big ones coming from the ground and little ones coming from those medium bombers we called Bats. I really didn't believe the stories of those bastards turning but I saw it with my own eyes…out of the corner of my eyes anyway. Those missiles of both kinds seemed to be controlled and honed in on the lead bombers. Those bomber jockeys have some balls. They just hung in there and took the hits rather than try and dodge those missiles.

One of the missiles did seem to be coming my way and when I made a slight turn if follow so I decided to try something more drastic that we had all talked about. I turned hard right waited for the missile to commit and then reversed and dove to my left. The missile just kept on going. They were pretty easy to dodge if you were flying a nimble fighter but you had to hang in there if you were a bomber in formation.

As we got closer to the target the flak started and man was it intense. The missiles seemed to be more in number as well but the fighters kind of backed off. Many of the Fleas seemed to be out of fuel and were making their way back to lower altitude but then we saw the contrails high above us. I spotted the first bunch of Fargos sliding on down to take a crack at the bombers. Those B-29s normally don’t have to worry about betting attacked from high and to the front. The MiG 9s would come almost straight in, shoot a burst and then slide over the top of the bomber they just attacked and would spit-ess and dive to do it again.

We had to gain altitude fast and help our big brothers so we burned the candle at both ends and broke up a good number of future passes before they could get into position. All we could do was to frustrate them and make them give up their attack and I got no hits that I observed.

Captain Abraham, leading Red flight got permission to tangle with the missile firing bombers. The big ones (Pe-9 Beaches) we called Bitches seemed to be the easiest targets and were firing the most missiles so Bill headed for them. He was going to have to fight his way through a couple of squadrons of what looked like Yak 9s who were pretty much useless but could not be ignored especially during the first pass when they were head to head. From the looks of things we got twice as many as they got. Red flight started with 12 planes and came out the other side with 9 while 6 Yaks were smoking or exploded. They then tore into the big bombers and that pretty much stopped their action for a while as 4 of them went down real fast with loss to Red. The rest of the flight was a milk run for me as I had the hole in my tail and had to take it easy to get back home.”

CAPTAIN WILLIAM P. WALLACE, 475TH fighter Squadron:


“I was wing to Sam in Red Flight. We were ordered to stay high and with the bombers. While the other flights were mixing it up with those Stalin’s Dart, Fleas, we were to stay in formation to intercept any other threats to the big boys and man did they come. There was nothing we could do about the bigger missiles coming from the ground but when those old Bitches (Pe-9 Beaches) showed up we were ordered to take them out. Those smaller missiles they launched were much more deadly than the ones coming from below.

Our Flight Leader, Bill Abraham, did a wing over and we dove on the Red bombers. They were escorted by some old prop jobs with some big ass cannons in their nose. We found out the hard way that making a head on pass probably was not a good tactic. I got one but they got Bill. Torn him up real bad…stop the tape for a second…”

A minute passed.

“Yeah, I’m ok now. I took over the lead and we tore into those Red bomber-missile launching assholes real good. We lost another… Yost as I recall, but we broke up their little party before some of their jet jobs curtailed our fun. Not much to describe after that as it was a swirling mass of fighters and missiles streaking in from all over towards our bombers. I got no more hits but kept the most of the Red fighters off the bombers.

Lieutenant Scott Walton, 457Th Fighter Squadron:



I dove on a Yak 9 and as I pulled up another was almost in front of me and as I closed in on him he split-S and I followed him. I was getting hits all the way through and I finished up with a burst into the cockpit and I believe that I killed the pilot because he went straight into the clouds. As I pulled up another was coming almost head on and I fired a burst into his engine and he split-S and I followed. I closed in on him and got hits in the right wing root and cockpit and he started smoking and burning in the right wing and fuselage, as he went straight into the clouds. We pulled off this one and I was almost behind another. As I closed in he split-S and I followed him and he went into a dive. I got hits in the root of the left wing and before he went into the clouds I saw smoke coming out of the wing. I fired all my remaining ammunition at him and followed him down into the clouds to about 350 or 375 mph and elevation of the ground was about 1,000 feet. He was going almost straight down and made no move to shake us. I don’t believe he could have pulled out.

I got into deep shit for following that plane all the way down but I got carried away and I was just kind of transfixed (that’s what the shrink said). Didn’t take long to get back up to altitude and catch up to the bombers with that P-80. They don’t call it a Shooting Star for nothing. The rest of the flight was a series of dog fights and near misses. Since I had no ammo left I just spent my time scaring the piss out of commie pilots by getting on their tail. Luckily they didn’t notice I never fired. ”



[1] - Case Studies in the Achievement of Air Superiority pg. 568

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Sea Hunt

The SS Columbia Victory took the torpedo amidships and broke in two within minutes and slid beneath the waves in 15 more. She was the first of too many good ships and crews now being hunted in the Mediterranean Sea by the Soviet version of the German Midget submarine the Seehund. The ships being hunted were plying the Mediterranean and supplying the American forces in Crete, Rhodes, Turkey and Egypt. Their destruction started off the coasts of Italy and Greece. A slightly larger version with fuel tanks that could be jettisoned after they were empty increased their range from 300 to 600 miles similar to wing tanks on a fighter plane.

This new model had not been ready for the Second Battle of Britain but was ready for this mission. The NATO Allies were not. It was very similar to when the U-boats first started to sink US ships off of the East coast. Sometimes In full view of American lovers walking the beaches in New Jersey. And the reaction of the navy was much the same. First denial and then grudging actions taken to deal with the new threat. In the meantime SAC supplies were being blown up on the way to SAC.

At first the effect of the Small Ones did not seem to be that great but the months ahead would prove otherwise. On this fine day it seemed more of an inconvenience similar to what the Royal Navy had been able to have dealt with in the Channel.  But these newer versions were going to be a different. Quality control had finally taken hold in the Red Navy and this new set of mini subs were the first weapons to be party to this revolution.

Previously the Soviet weapons were made to last just long enough to do the job. It was a case of planned obsolescence that was actually taught the Soviets by the Americans. If a T-34 was only going to last a few weeks before it was blown apart by a German 88 shell why make it so it would last for a year? All sorts of time and resource saving methods had been devised that just took the American ideas of manufacturing to the next level. Now Sergo had convinced Stalin that trained men are more valuable than cannon fodder and a have a much higher moral as well.

The Mini-subs could be easily transported by truck and launched from any small port and they were. All along the Greek and Italian coast Seehunds were sliding into the water for a 2 week run out in the Mediterranean. Looking for the choke points that would become their killing ground during the early days of this assault on NATO shipping going and coming from Rhodes, Cyprus and Egypt. Between Tunis and Sicily, Benghazi and Tobruk they could cut off the routes that the freighters were using to supply LeMay’s air force. SAC was about to lose its own months’ worth of supplies and there was nothing LeMay could do about it. Eventually the navy would either take care of the problem or it would just take much longer for his supplies to reach him by going around the Horn and up the Suez. Until the danger was discovered and identified the eggs were all in the Seehunds basket.

Fifty six of the almost undetectable mini-subs were waiting at the choke points. With the Red Navy bottled up in the Black Sea it was deemed unnecessary to patrol both day and night with aircraft. They were using a convoy system which saved many a ship but the damage would be done in a matter of days as Liberty Ship after Liberty Ship ran out of luck. This virtually undetectable underwater killing machine was finally going to get its chance and because of the new emphasis on quality the submariners inside their submerged coffins would get the chance they had been trained for.

Remember Seehund #28 or Malyshka #2 as it was renamed. It had gone through a total refit and was waiting off the coast of Benghazi when the chance of a life time for a midget submarine, came sliding into view. It was a convoy made up of big fat Victory ships. The larger descendent of the Liberty ships. At 15200 tons a piece they were a submariner’s ultimate target in cargo ships. Malyshka #2 had two torpedoes and was going to make good use of them this day.

After the Columbia was hit another Victory ship was staggered by another torpedo. The SS Arcadia Victory was luckier than its cousin. The explosion only took off her bow but the water tight bulkheads did their job and she would stay afloat long enough to rescue her crew and beach her off shore. The Columbia was full of replacement parts for the B-29s of SAC and the Arcadia ammunition. Again luck was with the Arcadia and the bow compartment was full of spare engine parts as well and not explosives or she would have gone up like an atomic bomb. The loss was equally devastating as the spares were sorely needed and would be missed by SAC.

“Quiet Victor I will tell you when I know more than you. Now let me concentrate you great oaf. How did they let you in the naval service in submarines?”
“I was not let anything Captain I was forced to choose the navy and specifically these Malyshkas. Who would choose such a fate comrade? Who in their right mind?”
“Once again be silent! I cannot get into a conversation with you at this time. Just a few more meters and we loose the first one…”

The mini-sub is pushed to the right as the left torpedo leaves for its intersection with the SS Columbia Victory and tiny space is filled with the whine of a small extremely fast speed propeller. The Doppler Effect was in full evidence as the sound changed by second and gradually faded. The captain fought for control of the sub and to line it up for the second shot at the SS Arcadia Victory and 3 minutes later he send the second and last of their torpedoes towards the freighter. These torpedoes ran at 1000 meters a minute or 31 knots. The Columbia was 4905 meters away and the Arcadia was 1912 meters away and was temporarily shielded by a destroyer traveling at high speed towards Malyshka #2 at a high rate of speed. The result was that both torpedoes almost hit at the same time due to the lag of the Captain lining up his second target.

He of course didn't know who or what was on the Victory ships but he found out what the Columbia Victory was carrying soon after the 533 mm ET-46 torpedo hit squarely amidships. The ship surprisingly did not explode due to the cargo but she did sink rather suddenly. The Arcadia was staggered and lost speed rapidly and was down in bow.

That was all he could see in the time he had allotted before he crashed dove to avoid the explosives about to rain down on he and his shipmate from the destroyers Hedgehogs. These modified mortar rounds were shot ahead of the destroyer in groups and then sank straight down until there contact fuses hit something and then exploded. They were not as satisfying to the destroyer as the depth charge but they worked over three times better and this was death to most submarines if used properly.


Malyshka #2 as all Malyshkas were, was very hard to detect so the Hedgehog volley was sent blindly to a spot where the destroyer first spotted the torpedoes. That was all they had to go on as the small sub did not reflect a sonar ping and was almost useless in combating the Malyshka.

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The Choice

They could hear footsteps above their heads. Somehow Sasha was keeping her baby quiet. The soldiers of the NKVD were searching the village and surrounding countryside for this group of people. We don’t exactly know why or what they were searching for but we knew what the results would be as they had demonstrated in the village 5 miles south of us. The villagers were found, shot and buried in a mass grave. No explanation was given. The theory was that one of them was a relative of Lavrentiy Beria and he was convinced that somehow, something this person knew would harm him and that all the others who he or she knew might have been told as well. Beria was not one to sort out the wheat from the chaff. His preferred method was to burn the whole field, then salt the soil so nothing could ever grow there again. Now he was searching for the wheat field that he thought required such treatment and this brought the boots above their heads to this exact location.

Just as they closed the trap door to their hiding place Sasha’s newborn daughter started to whimper. No doubt her feelings of discomfort were caused by sensing her mother’s growing terror at the situation that was unfolding over their heads. In addition the soldiers were smashing and breaking things in their haste to find this group now hiding beneath their feet. Yet somehow the baby was being kept quiet. From past experience with this particular child Victor was prepare to smother the baby if need be to save the rest of the group from slaughter. One sickly baby, compared to a dozen others, was not a hard choice for him to make.

It was completely dark as the hiding place was well insulated from light and prying eyes. They had been very careful in both designing and building the space and had actually been through this type of search before and had not been caught. It would seem that the village to the South was constantly renouncing them and slandering them to whatever authority happened to be “investigating” this or that. One easy way to save your life in this day and age was to deflect the insanity that had gripped the world onto someone else. Show the NKVD a shiny object and they left you along. Today they were that shiny object and they had no idea why; all they knew was that they had to hide. Before they let Sasha and the baby into the hiding place they had all agreed that if the baby started to cry it would be killed to save them all. Even Sasha agreed. She might have agreed as an attempt to save herself and daughter but it wouldn’t have mattered. If the baby even started to cry is would be smothered.

Everything was proceeding well. Then just as the soldiers were making the most noise the baby made a fussing noise. One little utterance but you knew what was coming and nothing could stop it. But it had stopped immediately and was not heard by the troops over their heads. It was utterly dark so most did not know what had happened to make the child be quiet. Had it been smothered? Had it stopped on its own? A couple of the women were struggling to hold back tears for they knew that you cannot stop a baby from crying once they started fussing in that manner. Sasha or someone, had done something drastic and immediate, to quiet the child and they feared the worst. There was no groping sounds for a nipple no cooing or sucking sounds, just complete silence; utter and devastating silence.

It seemed like hours before the soldiers left. No one made a sound and they stayed still for another hour after the soldiers had left. As the leader raised the opening a little the others were amazed at what they saw. Sasha had her mouth over her child’s face. It covered both nose and mouth and she was breathing for them both. You could tell the baby was fit to be tide but her mother had matched her exhales with her own and no sound was forthcoming. She then sent a small puff of air from her lungs into the baby’s mouth and nose thus providing the needed oxygen. Then she would suck it out again and in essence exhale for the child as well. You could tell she was exhausted but would not stop until everyone had exited the space.

It seems that Sasha was a member of the Young Pioneers and before the first war a British delegation from the Royal Humane Society Campaign Group for first aid and resuscitation had put on a demonstration of a technique they had been using and advocating since the turn of the century. It was used in many of the swimming beaches and pools of Great Britain. Sasha had been fascinated by the demonstration and had even become an instructor in this life saving technique. She had even saved a boy’s life at Young Pioneer Camp who, had for all intents and purposes, died of drowning. Yet to the amazement of all involved she brought him back to life.


No one knew what this technique was called and no one mentioned it again. Some kind of witchcraft was obviously performed. But the days of witches was over. Was that why the soldiers came? No one really thought so but one never knew. Sasha disappeared in the night with her baby so nothing had to be done anyway.