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, July 25, 2014

William Perl at Home



For the first time since he was married he did not want to go home. Maybe it was because he had just finished the last piece and solved the last challenge to the newest jet engine of the USSR. Maybe it was because he was feeling a little guilty knowing what this engine in the excellent MiG 15 fighter design would do to his former country’s B-29s. It would not be pretty. The P-80 didn’t stand a chance. The swept back wing was the key to more speed and his engine gave it more speed.

As heartless as it sounded he didn’t want to see his wife. She was still the most gorgeous women he had ever imagined being with but now he wanted more. He wanted conversation and real feelings. Oh she was a good actress but she was not smart. Not even a bad conversationalist about normal matters but he wanted to talk about abnormal matters. Oh he didn’t know what he wanted. He just wanted change. He was sure he could get what he wanted but he was hesitant to approach anyone with the ultimate solution.

He wanted Jill Stone. He was in love with her from the get go. She was smart and pretty enough to satisfy his every need. They talked for hours that summer they spent together, but she was not here in Siberia with him. She was in Pittsburg waiting tables the last he heard because no one hired a female physicist.

But here…who knew. There were plenty of female scientists working with him. Maybe here she could be happy at what she wanted to do. As he recalled it was particle physics. He was so busy telling her what he was doing he had not listened to her when she had talked about her own dreams. He had just watched her face light up and how her body has moved when she got up and paced around the room. She was one of those women who did not know how good she looked or cared.

He had not been able to reach her when he decided to make a run for it. She might have come. She was as a committed communist as he was; possibly more so. He wanted to be with her in the worst way. He wanted to talk with her like he did that summer for hours and hours on end.

But how did one approach someone to inquire about getting rid of his current wife and replacing her with another that was still in America? Who do you call for that kind of thing? That had not been covered in his orientation to the Workers’ Paradise here on the other side of the world. He had to have someone approach her and convince her to leave the capitalist life behind and to work for a better world and as a bonus she could be his wife.

He needed a distraction. Maybe he should volunteer to work on that anti-ship missile that the Red Navy keeps bugging Sergo for. He heard that Sergo didn’t want to let the guidance system be used in uncontrolled circumstances. Circumstances where the enemy could get its hands on an unexploded missile or more importantly it’s guidance system. He certainly understood that thinking. The US has not wanted to us the proximity fuse in Europe for fear the Germans would get a hold of some. Funny thing was that they did capture a couple of hundred thousand during the Battle of the Bulge but apparently didn’t understand their significance. Barr and Sobel had delivered a fully functional prototype to Beria in 1944 but Sergo concentrated on the Wasserfal and X4 instead. Again the irony is that now the Soviets had millions of American made VT fuses thanks to the overrunning of the storage depots and Barr and Sobel buying millions and shipping them to the Soviets before the war. American capitalists sure are greedy, but then again so were the leaders he had contact with here. Possibly it was just a part of the human condition that nothing could be done about it. The only way to control it was for other humans to control the more greedy ones.

Enough philosophizing and time to think about Jill. Maybe he would go home and screw his “wife” while thinking of Jill. That could work for a while anyway. Come to think of it she did look similar if she had light brown hair. Maybe if he had her dye it from the blond she pretended to be. They were about the same size and if he could just have her not talk during sex. She had a very slight accent that distracted from his Jill fantasy. How do you tell your wife to shut up and screw?

Perun

First it was the noise of the bombers engines that made everyone start to move a little faster. It was like a storm on the horizon. You could hear the distant thunder before you saw the clouds and felt the rain. Most of the ground crews had made it out of the kill zone and had started to spread out as ordered so as not to make an attractive mass target for the expected marauding Amerikosi jet fighters. They got out of their vehicles and started to move towards cover; ditches, trees, bushes, rocks but not buildings. Buildings were as much of a target as their vehicles and many had recalled enduring the same type of event that was about to befall them from the previous war only this time it was not the Stuka but something much faster and deadly.

Many had heard that the Yankee jet carried jellied gas called napalm and many had loaded their own IL10 Beasts with a similar substance. No, a building was not where you wanted to be during the coming storm. A storm made by man to kill other men. A storm of destruction only rivaled by the atomic bomb, earthquake and volcano. Some has seen the remains of Toulouse and a few has seen what had happened in Caen to the Germans. Hopefully they had gotten out in time because if they hadn’t they were dead men who were still breathing but only their last few breaths.

As the engine sounds grew louder and louder you can almost see the bomb bay doors opening and the great silver bombers start to disgorge their explosive filled metal jacketed pills into the sky. Each bomber was carrying forty 500 pound bombs and when they started to fall you could hear them. The men and women on the ground knew what was coming. Most had experienced some kind of massive barrage of high explosives either from German rockets or artillery and even some from bombs but all knew that this would be off the scale compared to those.

The first string of bombs hit a few seconds before the rest and must have been a mistake by an excited bombardier. It landed by happenstance in a grove of trees far from the intended target but right amongst a few of the crews that serviced the Tartan ramming squadrons killing three. And then all hell broke loose on the former airfield complex as 500 lb bomb after bomb after bomb after bomb started to explode in a rolling thunderstorm only rivaled by nature herself. It was one massive explosion that knocked anyone off their feet for miles around the affected area. A constant explosion as one gave way to another. Many of the ground crew went temporarily mad with some running around screaming at the top of their lungs.

One crewmen had gone back to retrieve a picture of his girl. All he could do is watch as the rolling barrage came towards him like something of out of a Cecil B. DeMille movie. A parting of the Red Sea as it were only with great gobs of earth, cement, buildings and a few trees mixed in with exploding gasoline and diesel fuel. By the time the bombs were 100 feet from him he was deaf and as he knelt to await his fate he was fascinated by all the flying debris from the milk cow they kept out back to the replacement engine of a Pe-8 heavy bomber lifting into the sky and falling lazily down with in feet of him. Soon he was unconscious but not dead. He in fact would survive in an oasis of untouched earth caused by the premature release of those early bombs. Everything else was obliterated in an instant from fuel to songbirds flying overhead. 1 months’ worth of supplies for over 5,000 planes was destroyed in 15 minutes at both massive air complexes that were hastily constructed and completed just last week. Life truly is a game of inches at times.

Perun is the Slavic god of thunder and he was certainly there during the attack. He is described as a rugged man with a copper beard. He rides in a chariot pulled by a goat buck and carries a mighty axe, or sometimes a hammer. The axe is hurled at evil people and spirits and will always return to his hand and he was in his element today. Hammer blow after hammer blow rained down on the forgiving earth and opened up gaping wounds in the former grass covered airfields. The term moon scape comes to mind when viewing the results. Just a gray pockmarked desecrated piece of earth still burning in many places from many sources.

Countless craters swallowed the burning wrecks of planes, parts and much needed equipment. Tires burned in black cauldrons of fire belching smoke the covered the area for days. Wildlife ceased to exist as did flowers and trees. What was a massive well-kept area that could launch a thousand planes a day was now a churning, boiling scene of utter chaos and destruction.

A pocket watch fell to the ground and landed quite delicately on a piece of sod that was green side up. It had been flung in the air almost straight up and was blow higher by another series of explosions and traveled a few hundred feet from the tent it was left in. It lay there still ticking and marking time without a scratch on it. A curious souvenir someone would collect probably in a few hours. Inside the cover was a picture of a pretty girl taken circa 1920 or so. A lovely person still who would never see the watch again nor the man who used to own it. It would disappear into a pawn shop in a few years and lay there for a few more before another young man would purchase it and put it in his pocket never knowing where it came from or the history of its former owner.

Such was the life of well-made precious things. Destined to be passed from person to person or even taken from a dead man’s hands. There was not even a scratch to reveal the living hell it had been through on that day in October 1946. Not one single scratch or dent. Just a small piece of grass in the spring of the front cover and now one would ever even find that piece of grass much less figure it was from one of the greatest carpet bombing raids in history.

A raid that destroyed 234 Soviet planes, a month’s worth of supplies and fuel, killed 389 grounds crew and almost got Novikov killed. The fact that Baku was not touched and that it was still producing a good amount of oil for another day is what saved him. The planes, parts, fuel and even grounds crew could be replaced fairly quickly if there was oil and there still was oil at least for another 36 hours.

***
Why did I write about the watch you might ask? It’s because I have it in my collection. How did I know where it came from? Because the picture was of my sister and it was his watch. He died in that bombing raid in 1946. Possibly you're thinking how long did it take for me to once again bring that watch back into the families possession. How long is this story going to last. If you are reading this and it is before the turn of the century then for another 40 years at least. We have a long way to go before we reach the year you are currently living in. 
***

Taran

Taran is the Soviet version of a ramming attack. Boris Kobzan was the best in the world at this tactic. He survived 3 such attacks during the last war. His La 7 was built to ram the B-29. His unit has been practicing for almost a year against the big bomber. Practice run after practice run using plywood targets and even the German Gigant glider towed behind dual TU2S to get the speed needed to duplicate the American bomber. The VVS Tarans were as ready they could be and as luck would have it they were in position to give it a go. The Reinforced La 7 Fin was much faster than its much heavier gun carrying brothers. It was lighter in every way except where it counted. Reinforced to withstand a massive air to air collision with a much heavier opponent. It was designed to cut like a knife through the tail sections of the B-29. Some of which were almost as big as the whole Fin itself.

Boris was not a good shot but then again he didn’t have to be, did he? He was probably the best pilot in the world. He flew with such precision that he could put his plane closing in on the target at sometimes at a combined speed of over 600 miles an hour, in precisely the place and angle he needed. In his last ram attack he actually was able to land his plane quite nicely after taking down a Ju 88. It really was a remarkable skill to be able to crash into and opponent and live, at the kind of speeds that modern planes had to obtain to stay in the air.

The formations of Amerikosi bombers were in a shallow dive to gain speed and to get out of range of most of the Soviet fighters and interceptors. The tactic had worked very well and the Tarans where the only conventional Red Air Force planes in contention for an attack at the moment. The MiG 9s had got a few but not anywhere near enough. A number of the Fargos had gone down in flames to the guns of the P-80 jet fighters who found themselves in the enviable position of being in the majority for once in this war.
What this decrease in altitude did mean, was that the Fins were in their element. At 15,000 feet the La 7 had no equal outside of a jet fighter. They gained speed on the pack and had the best angle of attack on the bombers imaginable. Luck plays such a big part in the art of war and for once in this bombing raid, it was with the Soviets. The American jet fighters were still consumed with dealing with the MiG 9 Fargos and the Tartan squadron following Boris each had time to pick their targets. They were not harassed and came boring straight in. This allowed them the luxury of lining up their attacks and then side slipping to throw off the aim of the big bombers gunners.

It’s hard enough trying to hit a small fighter plane coming in from the front quarter high and low. Add in a slide-slip and you're pretty much untouchable. The reason that fighters weren’t successful more often in this kind of attack was twofold. The escorting fighters usually prevented you from taking the time to line the attack up and second it was even harder to hit a target with your own shells when you were side-slipping towards it.
If you are trying to collide with a target it didn’t matter so much; in fact if you were practiced, it was the only way to miss the wings and hit the tail area. Once past the wing a quick flick and you could hit the aileron with the heavily reinforced wing root of the La 7 Fin in a slicing maneuver that the Fin should win 9 times out of ten. And Boris’s squadron did. 9 hits with 8 outright kills and the Tartan surviving. Another slow motion death of a bomber and an outright miss and an easy kill for a trailing P-80 on the 10th member of the squadron.

Boris got his fourth ramming kill with a absolutely perfect strike on the Winnie May that barely damaged his wings. His prop was gone but he could glide with ease towards a possible easy landing in some farmer’s field. 6 of the other Tartans fared as well with 3 going down with their intended victims. All were able to get out of their damaged planes and complete their trip to earth beneath a stark white canopy of silk destined to fly again. Nikolai Zelenko died as he bled out with a piece of the Milk Maids rudder in his neck.

The other Tartans took down another 14 bombers in twenty more semi controlled collisions and 7 Soviet pilots died along with 84 American crewmen in a matter of 2 minutes of utter chaos and horror for the bomber crews. The US had never seen this kind of attack in such a controlled and obviously choreographed manner. Some has seen the odd Kamikaze but never such a organized dance of death. It profoundly affected the thought processes of the surviving crews. This was of course, one of the main reasons to keep such a primitive form of attack in the Soviet arsenal and it was amply demonstrated here. This attack would stay in the minds of perhaps a thousand American flyers for the rest of their lives and profoundly affect every one of them forever. This was real war. No killing from afar, no shooting some machine out of the sky but physically ramming your opponent. This was personal, and this was how the Slav fought the Germans, Napoleon, the Golden Hoard and now the Americans.

Head Shot

Alexander Pokryshkin found himself once again in a fighter plane on his way to a one sided fight with a supposedly superior enemy. So many times before that had been the case and so many times before he had triumphed. He has over 500 sorties and some say close to 100 kills in the last war with a not so insignificant number of them being Nazi aces. He wondered to himself that if you shot down another ace do you get to keep his score and add it to yours? In that case he had well over 300 kills.

During the latter part of the war he actually would announce that he was flying a mission over an open channel and those missions had not been intercepted. He was known as “one hundred” or Sotka and when he announced he was in the air there was no opposition to his missions. He personally shot down four 50 plus kill German aces in individual combat while flying inferior aircraft. On one occasion in 1942 two German aces jumped his Yak 1 flying the far superior Me 109 G2s. He barrel rolled on both of them and shot them down one by one. Nobody in 1942 did barrel rolls anymore, maybe that's why they worked. Barda had 46 kills to his name at that time and lived to get another 110. Keiser died with 9 to his name.

Pokryshkin was known to give away a significant number of his kills to fallen comrades. The Soviet VVS monetarily rewarded pilots for every plane shot down. Most other Soviet aces, also engaged in this common practice of giving his kills to fallen comrades. Each kill was rewarded with a substantial monetary bonus, and on the day of a pilot's death all regiment kills would often be credited to him in order to give his family some support. Many other Soviet pilots were getting killed in 1941 and 1942 when Pokryshkin was in the thick of the fighting and no one knows how many he gave to his fallen comrades.

He did however have one glaring error in his emotional makeup; He did not suffer fools lightly and that was constantly getting him demoted and denounced by good communists so he never obtained the rank he deserved. Oh he won metals and praise but more often than not, he was demoted shortly after or even just before he got his latest medal. He is the only one to win Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union 3 times for combat actions. He shot down more German multiple aces than any other pilot. He seemed to be able to find them like magic and best them in one on one combat; many times in front of multiple witnesses. Experte Feldwebel Hans Dammers and his wingman UnteroffizierKurt Keiser (7./JG 52) fell to his guns along with, 9-kill ace Unteroffizier Heinz Scholze (4./JG 52), Leutnant Helmut Haberda (an experte of 5./JG 52 with 58 victories to his credit, on 23 July 1943 Pokryshkin shot down the 56-kills experte Uffz, Hans Ellendt, of 4./JG 52, and one of his last victories was Hauptmann Rudolf-Heinz Ruffer, credited with 80 tank-kills in Stukas and HS 129s. 

To make his feats even more incredible he flew much of the war in the US P-39 Aircobra that despite its formidable name was not regarded as even in the top twenty fighters of World War II. Somehow it didn’t seem to matter. America’s top 3 out of four Aces flew the twin boom P-38 lightning which many uniformed historians dismiss when compared to the P-51 Mustang. In the right hands a P-39 or P-38 could fly circles around an unskilled pilot. America’s Ace of Aces Richard Bong made a fool of the leading P-47 ace in front of huge crowd when on leave in Australia and Pokryshkin bested Germany’s experten regularly throughout the war in what was by any measure a decidedly inferior aircraft.

Pokryshkin was flying a MiG 9 jet fighter with drop tanks and was closing in on the last of the B-29 bombers that had just bombed his airfield. He was not in a good mood and the last time he was this angry he had shot down 3 Ju 88s in a single pass and two more Ju 87s that same day. He didn’t know if he was so angry because of the idiots at HQ were fooled by the Amerikosi or by the fact that his long time mechanic had been wounded in the raid. Whatever the reason he was going to seek revenge and god help anything that got in the way of his 30mm cannon shells.

The escorting P-80 Shooting Stars were out of position when he started his first pass and a short burst of 5 rounds tore the B-29 named Wet Willy in two. The shot was a brilliant deflection shot and the bombers gunners could not follow his jet fighter fast enough to get a good shot at him. He then barrel rolled and dove on another bomber who’s gunner did get a good shot at the now slower jet fighter and nicked his left aileron and threw his aim off a bit. Only three of the six 30 mm cannon rounds hit the outside port engine and sent the giant bomber on a death spiral towards the earth spewing its crew behind hanging from their parachutes. All got out but the plane made quite a splash as it pancaked and broke apart after falling 20,000 feet.

It takes a long time to fall from 20,000 feet and by the time the second bomber hit the water Pokryshkin himself was dead. An SAC jet fighter pounced on the MiG 9 named One Hundred as he was lining up on his third victim. The first burst of 50 cal bullets from the Shooting Star missed and Pokryshkin might have been able to maneuver out of harm’s way, but so intent was he on decimating his prey, that he chose to finish his own kill and that was his last mistake. The last burst of his cannons did hit home and killed 3 crewmen of the B-29 named the Lucky Strike but the plane itself survived and made it back to make an emergency landing.

The second burst from the American jet took Pokryshkin head off. No need to say much more than that. He died instantly feeling no pain. Ironically his MiG 9 kept flying straight and true for another 15 minutes in a shallow dive that outpaced any pursuer. It finally broke apart when it hit the sound barrier and Pokryshkin was unceremoniously buried at sea with his head landing 49 miles west southwest from the remaining pieces of his body.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Carpet to Em

Everything was in place and the trap was set. Novikov brought in every jet in the Soviet arsenal even the 53 AR234s jet bombers who only had rear fighting 20 mm cannons. The plan was to distract the P-80 Shooting stars as much as they could and let the conventional fighters and the ramming squadrons deal death blows outside of the range of the close to a thousand 90mm anti-aircraft guns complete with hundreds of thousands of captured VT proximity fused munitions. These deadly fuses were the ones that increase the hit rate by a factor of seven of the US 90mm guns that devastated the Kamikaze attacks near the end of the last war. The program that developed these fuses was the third most costly program of World War Two, just behind the atomic bomb and the B-29 bomber. A hundred and twenty three Wasserfal, Stalin’s Fire missile sites surrounded Baku and the Pe-9 Beach with 8 X4 air to air missiles each was now augmented by newly retrofitted Tu2Ss carrying 4 air to air missiles each. 93 Pe-9 Beaches and 167 Tu2S Bats were stationed in a massive air field complex west north west of Baku at a distance of 245 km. These massive airfield complexes could cover both Baku and the oil fields to the northwest for the longer ranged aircraft. They were built over 6 months ago and had just received their hundreds of planes over the last few days.  


Supplies were strewn all about as the hasty placement of fuel drums, bombs, spare parts and ammunition lay in the open fields in huge piles. It was also a staging area complete with train unloading facilities for the Stalin’s Fire SAM missile and hundreds were lying about or were just being off loaded from the trains that were coming in hourly. As soon as the US bombers were spotted on the radar the longer ranged bombers launched as fast as possible to be in position over the expected approach avenue to Baku.

Baku itself was like a porcupine bristling with SAM missiles and close to five hundred anti-aircraft guns of all ranges and stopping power. All oiled and waiting to receive the deadly shells that could mean death to many a bomber crew. The remaining oil production facilities that missed the first atomic bomb attack had been hardened as much as possible. There was still close to 25 square miles of oil production facilities and wells that the errant atomic bomb had missed and Baku was running at 30% efficiency still. It was also being repaired 24 hours a day despite the horrors of radiation.

Many of the interceptor squadrons were fairly close to Baku because of their short ranges. The jet fighters in particular were grouped around the area outside of the nuclear radiation zone of course. Many were based to the southwest to intercept bombers on the ingress and to the northwest to intercept them after they left the flak and missile killing zone planned for them.  

Ground spotters picked up the massive raid coming from the south before the radar did. The communication lines and radios were heating up with every minute. Counts of the bomber stream and circling jet fighters came pouring in. Many were wild guesses but some were pretty accurate. There was no way to hide this massive moving carpet in the sky droning on towards Baku.

The area around Baku was as ready as it ever will be. More jet fighters would have been nice but their shortage was not critical. The older liquid fuel Stalin’s Fire missiles started to be fueled and the solid fuel models got ready for launch as well. By now all the malcontents among the Chechen women had been weeded out. They were now a compliant bunch and ready to do their Soviet masters bidding. There formidable skills were crucial in the initial stages of launch. The first few minutes of wire guided flight set the missiles up for success if place at the best angle for the internal missile guidance system to take over and hone in on the lead bombers.

They always went for the lead bombers for two reasons. One was to cripple the leadership of the raid; this had worked brilliantly in the first big raid attempted on Leningrad, and the other was to disrupt the formations and to possibly destroy the moral of the following crews. Crews who could find themselves thrown into the position of prime target by becoming the lead bombers by attrition. It would certainly be unnerving to see your leaders picked off one by one and then you become the object of attention for a guided missile coming unerringly towards your bomber. There would be nothing you could do but pray.

The formation that created and made carpet bombing effective would also increase the havoc of an exploding SAM missile with a warhead of a quarter ton of high explosives. These warhead have already demonstrate the ability to take down as many as 4 bombers with each explosion in other attacks. I would not be too hard to predict that any number of bombers would start to distance themselves from the lead bombers no matter how brave the crews.

Carpet bombing had only been tried on a helpless and prostrate opponent. The Soviets were far from helpless as has been amply demonstrated. The possible addition of proximity fuses of American make, in the warheads of the Stalin’s Fire missiles was also a major concern. Jammers had been placed in bombers spread throughout the formations, but who knew what counter measures the Soviets and their pet German scientists had cooked up for this defense in depth of their last remaining major oil field and production facility.

Each of the bomber formation knew who the bombers were that had the jammers aboard and were sure to try and get as close to this unit as possible. No one had any true idea of the range of the jammer or if it would even work. The VVS had made it work over Great Britain but once again the US was playing catchup. Do you show élan and strength and just bore in, or do you test the waters first. With LeMay in charge, you bore right in. Damn the missiles full speed ahead, as it were.

And it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen. The formations of bombers headed straight for the untouched streets and oil production facilities of Baku. The missile crews checked and re-check their equipment and the short range jets started to launch as the B-29s and P80 jet fighters closed in, climbing in breath taking speed compared to their propeller driven ancestors. This was sure to be an epic battle fought on the enemies turf by SAC against the best the VVS had to offer. Novikov had done an outstanding job of putting a hasty defense together and LeMay had done the same with his attack.

At about 125 miles out from Baku the bomber stream took a 45 degree turn to the Northwest.  They were now headed almost due north in a classic dogleg to the left. It took over 15 minutes before someone figured out what was going on and rushed in to inform the Stavka and more importantly Novikov. Normally he would have left the tactics to his staff but this was too important to leave to others. In that 15 minutes the lead planes traveled 55 miles closer to the target. Those 55 miles meant that the short range He 162 Stalin’s Dart jet interceptor was out of position. That 55 miles meant that the vast majority of the Stalin’s Fire SAMs would not be in position as well for optimal interception and if the course of the bombers held, they would not be in range. The conventional Yak 9s, Yak 3s and the La 7s along with the Pe 9 and Tu2S bats armed with the X4 missile could make the adjustment but hundreds of AA guns could not. But of course, neither would the remaining oil fields of Baku which would remain untouched this day.

Within a minute of being told about the course change Novikov knew what LeMay was up to. He was after the massive air fields newly built near Barda and Yeviakh. More importantly the real target was the supplies and grounds crews there. LeMay was doing the same thing to him that he had done to the British. Everyone was so confident that LeMay would go for the jugular, that no thought of what a truly tempting target the supply depots were had been broached in any meeting or briefing. As the Brits gave no thought to their bone yards so the VVS brain trust gave no thoughts to their true weakness. The months of supplies uprooted from the English Channel area and hastily move to undefended depots easily observed from the air.

All that could reach though the steady stream of orders he boomed out was the thought of what Stalin would do when he found out, and how he could blame this on Beria. Novikov knew what was coming. He had seen the aftermath of a carpet bombing mission in Toulouse. Nothing of value would be left for miles around each of his depots and no appreciable amount of supplies would survive.  More importantly his valued ground crews and mechanics would be blown to bits. He immediately ordered an evacuation of the two air complexes as his first priority. There was nothing he could do about the supplies. They would be gone in a matter of minutes in billowing columns of smoke and monstrous explosions.

He ordered his men to use the fastest evacuation route available leading away from the areas that were sure to be devastated in a matter of 15 minutes of less. Luckily the areas that could effectively be carpet bombed were fairly small in square kilometers so that 15 minutes should get most away from the kill zone. Now if he were LeMay he would send his fighters to track down any surviving personnel, so he further ordered that the ground crews to disperse after they traveled 15 km from the presumed target area.

Victor whispered in his ear that they should move all fighters capable of mounting a threat to the area over the evacuation sites to defend the troops from strafing P-80 Shooting Stars. Even a Yak 9 if flown properly had a chance of catching a jet going low and slow searching for human targets. If nothing else they would provide a distraction to the much faster US jet fighters and prevent them from doing their murderous business. It would do no good to move the shorter legged Soviet jets to the area. He suggested it was best to keep them over Baku as CAP just in case.  Novikov was a master at knowing a good idea when he heard one and then rewarding those who suggested them.

And so the orders were given and now all he could do was to wait. Wait to see his fate. Wait to hear if all he lost was a few weeks of supplies and spare parts or if he would lose the years of experience and knowledge stored in the fragile craniums of his men. Had he lost the incredible advantage that Beria had provided to him with the foreknowledge of what the enemy was planning? Did he finally have to truly match wits with the man who destroyed Japan from the air? So far he was losing and losing badly. Stalin would not let that continue for long he was sure.

ENOUGH! He thought to himself. Get off your ass and save those men! Plenty of time to face the grim prospects of being tortured or making the choice to use his fancy pistol on himself.  He really did care for the ground crews and mechanics more than the arrogant pilots.

“Tell Klokov to move the Pe-9s Southwest at all speed. They may be able to catch some Amerikosi cripples. Have the MiG 9s with the drop tanks cover them. If nothing else maybe we can draw some blood and gain some experience against the Amerikosi jets. Have him use the AR 234 as well to draw off some more fighters. Send some Yak 9DDs to see if they can pinpoint the bases for the fighters. I suspect they have to be based in Turkey and the Red Army will have to attend to that.”


Now to prepare my personal defense, he thought. Will the attacks come from Beria or directly from the Kremlin at the behest of Stalin? Beria has as much to lose as I do if it is fully discovered what really happened so I believe it is going to come from Stalin...if anyone. 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

$2 Switch

The activity on what had locally become known as King Tut Field increased dramatically. The tempo was causing accidents at an alarming rate. The increased activity combined with the fact that many of the ground crew were relative rookies due to the weeding out that occurred when SAC was created, made for a deadly combination. Some hands arms and feet were crushed and just plain chopped off and lives were lost. Too many collisions occurred but it was all deemed necessary by the demands LeMay had place on the accelerated timetable for the next raid and the raid after that.

At the same time Novikov was having a race of his own. LeMay did not have his life on the line in this case, whereas the Marshal of the VVS did. The commander of SAC did not have to answer to the world’s greatest murder like his opponent did. It is amazing how focused Novikov became when under pressure. Much like LeMay they both could drive men to produce more than thought humanly possible and both had done so many times in the past. Novikov still held the record of the greatest number of sorties in one day during the Second Battle of Britain but LeMay was going for the title of most destructive conventional attack on a military target.

The fire raids on Japan come in a close second for the record number of civilian deaths and are only outpaced by the atomic bomb raids on Japan. By his calculations he had a week or less to destroy the remainder of the Baku oil productions facilities. The attacker usually has the advantage in that they can choose where to attack. In this case it was rather obvious where the attack had to occur and Novikov was rushing every asset that could potentially destroy or even distract a B-29 bomber. His goal was to place a blanket of lead over Baku. Whether it came from in the form of a vertical attack from the ground up or high altitude fighters diving down or on the horizontal plain caused by other fighter craft firing lead or the X4 missile, his goal was to keep the skies clear over Baku.

Novikov’s ace in the hole was the Stalin’s Fire missile system and the Pe 9 and now Tu2S launched X4 air to air missile. They just plain wreaked havoc when fired at tight bomber formations. The explosions of even near misses took down up to four aircraft at a time and they were getting even more deadly as the war raged on. He would have 200 Stalin’s Fire setup in a ring around Baku in 3 more days with another 600 on the way coming in at about a hundred a week. There were 45 Pe 9s that could fire 8 missiles each and were being serviced on a huge base that was prepared months ago. In addition 35 Tu2s were being fitted with the X4 and would carry 4 each. He also had 75 of the Stalin’s Dart short range jet fighters and 150 MiG 9 Fargos and 134 Yak 15 Feathers and they would be in position in two more days to help the defense. 290 Yak 3 and 9 PDs called High Franks, would be in the area in a week and 1097 more conventional Yak 9 Franks, and La 7s were there now. Normally the conventional fighters would be out of the fight given the height advantage of the the B29 and F80 Shooting Stars. However the jet stream over Baku would force the B-29s below 24,000 ft. Well within the effective ceiling of these more conventional Yaks and the La 7. This meant that the fighters would be able to reach and over take the B29s at their usual cruise speed.

The VVS had all the advantages and Novikov knew how to use them. His pilots had a chance of being rescued and could fly again. The Amerikanski would be killed or captured if shot down and would not fly again. His crippled planes would have a chance of landing and being repaired. The Amerikanski would crash a long time before they reached friendly territory where they could be repaired. His supply lines were shorter. The Americans had to ship everything from thousands of miles away by ship. He now knew where their bases were and could retaliate against them. SAC still did not have a clear idea of where the real prize lay in the deepest parts of Eurasia. They had no idea of where the factories where hidden or where the true choke points were. All they knew was where Baku was and that was rapidly being defended while the other oil production facilities would be repaired.

It appeared that there was only one thing LeMay could do and he would have to take it on the chin if he wanted to attack Baku again. Sometimes you have only one choice in war...or do you?

LeMay’s choice of targets had increased due to a far sighted Colonel who jammed some high speed cameras into 10 modified P-80 Shooting Stars. It was hoped that the high flyers would be overlooked in the aftermath of the nuclear explosions and it appears as though they had. One of the planes had trouble turning off it’s cameras. Three chance photos had widened the target choices for this first raid. Chance has so often determined whose gods would claim victory in many of man’s battles and wars. Had the god the American’s prayed to caused the camera to malfunction or had the lack of a god in the Soviet Union been the cause? Who do you curse when there is no god to blame for bad luck or fate? Was Stalin trying to take the place of god and was that the reason why the American god had worked a miracle or in the end, was it just a faulty switch?