Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Imagine your in a spotter plane flying the length of the Pyrenees Mountain Range from East to West. Within 30 miles of the East coast not much is happening. The Soviets avoid the area because of the potential for naval bombardment. It seems the old battle wagons and their 16” guns can still dictate a virtual no mans land if given proper air support. An expensive use of oil but an effective one.
Just a little beyond the 30 mile mark you start to get a real feel of what the fighting is all about. A typical battle will start will intensive artillery and rocket bombardment almost as devastating per mile as the 22 battleships demonstrated in Louisville Slugger. Tens of thousands of rounds of rockets and shells concentrating on this or that hill or mountain top.
The unlucky mountaintop that is the recipient of the title “critical” to the current offensive is just the most recent recipient of a technique used in modern coal mining. In modern times they have started to mine coal by using a method called mountain top removal. Tons of flying metal and explosive give the term new meaning.
If the defenders are lucky they retreat to the other side of the mountain until the worst of the barrage is over they return to fill the massive craters with their living bodies in an attempt to prevent other living bodies from entering their now critical crater.
The air war is pretty much a stand off with local victories giving the ground forces a leg up for a short time until the other side manages to gain air superiority and drop some of the most hideous inventions man has ever created to kill other men down on their respective heads.
Then there is the lack of water. This is probably the worst malady that plaques the defenders and attackers alike. It’s almost impossible to get water supplies to soldiers fighting in mountains while under attack. It is more critical to the battle than ammunition.
No one knows who started it first but a kind of dirty little secret started to become evident among the frontline soldiers. Caravans of water supplies on both sides seemed to live a charmed life. All of a sudden over the last couple of weeks, for whatever reason, both sides stopped targeting each others water supply deliveries.
It seems that despite the brutalities that each side rendered onto each other it was somehow mutually decided that thirst, was not going to be one of them. A line had been draw in the dirt and it became sacrosanct that no one would die for lack of water. That of all the different hideous ways each side could devise to kill each other, thirst would not be one of them.
Fierce hand to hand combat was the norm with units often dying to the last man. Men still tore at each other’s faces in brutal fighting where your hands turned into claws raking at your enemies eyes and nose. The fighting was still as intense as ever yet somehow the water supplies managed to get through unharmed as if by magic.
There was an un-substantiated rumor of a Russian soldier being publicly executed by his own comrades in full sight of a Spanish platoon. His crime was shooting a donkey carrying water to the Spanish position. According to the rumor the Red Army troops made it very clear what his crime was and the Spanish officer acknowledged their act of contrition.
There were a lot of volunteers for the water supply caravans.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
September 15th, 1946
Royal Air Force HQ
‘So how far did they penetrate our air space?”
‘Three flights flew as far as Ireland before turning back.’
‘Did MI 6 have any indication that they had this capability?’
Yes we knew that both the Yak 15 Feather and the Mig 9 Fargo were capable of over flights at 13,000 meters but without knowing their destinations or targets it is virtually impossible for us to intercept them. Conversely we should be able to do the same thing to them. However they have infinitely more territory to hide their secrets in and we have to fly much longer flights in order to reach anything of value. We knew about the Yak 9 DD because they helped escort in Romania and we were aware of their range. The appearance of those Yak 9PD were an unpleasant surprise. We think their flights were attempts to intimidate us with their range and altitude capabilities and quite frankly they are an eye opener old boy. It is now confirmed that they can fly at very high altitude and have the range to escort their bombers throughout the whole of the British Isles. Something we didn’t have to worry about and was greatly to our advantage during the first Battle of Britain.
‘How were they able to skirt our defenses?’
‘The interceptions were based on old presumptions of their capabilities. We thought we knew their maximum range and altitude restrictions. It turns out we were wrong on all counts. They can fly higher and farther than we ever dreamed and that left our interceptors too low and out of position. They definitely got all the pictures they want of everything they wanted. We have to assume that they now know everything they need to launch an all out attack. We did get a few mainly by luck but estimates are that over 5 dozen of their recon flights were successful.
In addition they amply demonstrated to all that the whole of the British isles are vulnerable to attack. I’m sure we won’t publicize today’s events but I have a feeling they will. ’
‘Yes this is food for thought. Not to mention that the shoe is on the other foot as far as intelligence is concerned. Against the Germans we had Ultra. Conversely we are now blind and they have what appears to be one of the largest spy rings we have ever encountered. My God man ordinary citizens are turning on their own government following a pipe dream of a workers paradise that can’t possibly work.’
‘You have to realize old boy that for the most part the late 20s and 30s were hell for the average person. The Great Depression, starvation of thousands, the greed of the wealthy, the almost utter failure of the worlds governments. It’s no wonder that new and untried ideas are popular. America seems to be humming along but our empire is on the verge of being lost and the rest of Europe now is under new management. To the average Englishmen things aren’t looking too rosy an now they are being asked to do it again and to once again sacrifice everything without major changes to society as a whole’
‘But how can you turn on your own people? Your own government that you have just fought for? To me it is beyond comprehension.’
‘I would concur old boy. I’m just trying to give you all the facts. But we wander too far a field. Our task is to see that these over flights do not happen again.’
‘Of course you are right. So the Meteor can reach their altitude but lacks the range to…”