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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catch a Falling Star

Finally the bombers could be heard coming from the South. A clever direction if the Soviets did not have advanced knowledge of their target and scheduled route. The dozen missiles were ready for launch as soon as the direction was confirmed and it was determined that the timing was right. Too soon and the missiles would be out in front of the bombers when the guidance system was activated. Too late and the guidance system would never "see" the bombers exhaust as the angle would be wrong. 

Quite frankly without the fore knowledge of where and when the bombers were going to attack the system would not work. Unfortunately for the RAF that was not the case and the Soviets knew exactly where and when the raid was to occur. 

The sound of the bombers started to become loud enough to be heard with the unaided ear. The acoustical range finder had picked them up long ago. It was time to launch and one by one the missiles ignited and streaked towards the ink black sky in the estimated direction of the incoming bombers. The listening posts estimated the height and type of bombers. Lincolns by the sound of them. This made sense as this model had become the replacement for the venerable Lanks.

The bombers droned on confident that they could see in the night and that the enemy was blind. Blinded by their jamming and aided by their radar. The first sighting of the missiles reaching for them with tongues of flame must have come as something of a shock but they had supreme confidence in their electronic wizards who were jamming and spoofing the Soviet night fighters who were foolish enough to be in the air.  Their own escorting night fighters beginning to have a field day against the primitive attempts at night fighting the Soviets were reduced to. Just the same they released chaff as extra insurance that the enemy had not learned any new tricks.

At first to their amazement and then to their horror the missiles stopped their random assent and seemed to be guided to their formations. What kind of invisible hand could be behind such behavior? How could these backward peasants design something that their technicians could not counter? They had no idea that invisible hot gases venting from their exhaust systems spelled doom for some of their number. 

They continued to drone on towards their target even when the first missile streaked through their formation without hitting a bomber. Then all hell broke loose as the second missile exploded near Red flight one and instantly destroyed 2 Lincolns and sent them spiraling towards the earth in flaming torches. 2 more bombers were hit by debris and fell out of formation. They next 2 missiles seemed to veer towards the explosions and appeared to malfunction. 

Meanwhile the Soviet night fighters now had an excellent idea of where their targets were and by using the mark one eyeball started to score hits on some of the other bombers who had become visible due to the pyrotechnics emanating from the explosions and flaming bombers. Each flaming bomber that tried to hold formation illuminated his neighbors. Each flaming bomber drew Soviet night fighters like moths to a flame. 

Panicked gunners started to try and shoot at phantoms in the night and the demonic missiles. This added to the panic and in turn gave even more targets for the mark one eyeball to zero in on. More bombers started to fall. Not necessary due to any more missile strikes but to old fashioned cannon fire aided by more and more flaming Lincolns and their own muzzle flashes from their own defensive machine guns. Once the convoy was located a number of Pe3s fired missiles into the formations. Missiles designed to illuminate the target rich environment further. Missiles designed to light up the night and spell the doom of more RAF bombers. 

The ground to air missiles had been sighted along the expected path of the bomber stream and where launched at intervals so as to locate the bomber stream as it ponderously flew to its intended target. They were used as a kind of pathfinder for the more conventional night fighters of the Red Air Force. The missiles actually shot down only 6 bombers with only three of the 12 fired working as designed. These three missiles effectively marked the targets for the hoards of night fighters prowling the skies. These night fighters did the real damage aided by all the old forms of night fighting. Counter measures such as search lights, illumination shells, the human eye etc. All designed to light up the sky around the bomber flights and to help detect their location just long enough for the cannon shell to find its mark.   

AA guns were much more accurate when the exact altitude is known. Search lights are able to pick up targets much easier when one of the neighboring bombers is a flaming torch directing your aim. A night fighter pilots aim is much better when his target is visible.  All in all the more conventional means of the night fighters and AA ground fire shot down the vast majority of the bombers. 

The final tally was 13% of the bomber force missing in action. This was not an acceptable loss rate. The Soviet night fighters also lost many of their numbers. The Soviets are used to such losses.  This was to be considered a major victory over night bombing in World War Three. This shocked Bomber Command. This shocked NATO. This delayed the RAF bombing campaign for months. A handful of missiles may have altered the course of the war.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seehund 243

The back of his head was bathed in condensation. They had just missed colliding with a fishing trawler. "Close call eh Matvey? Another meter and we would have been in bad trouble."

"It was a close call Luka. Not a heroic way to die all tangled up in fishing gear. I'm glad he was not trawling when we slid by him. I wonder what they saw and what stories they will tell?"

"Perhaps we are the lucky ones comrade. The ones who will sink some British battleship and return home to tell about it. That would be nice. I suppose all it will reward us with is another mission at sea. Damn this boat is cold. Are the heaters working?" He reaches for a valve and checks to make sure it is closed as the little submarine glides effortlessly beneath the churning water above.

They are two days out and headed for unfriendly waters filled with targets. Nice fat targets. Their midget submarine is the most sophisticated model ever built and the design was well tested by the Germans in the English Channel just 6 months ago. A little confusion was normal as the gauges were still in German and tape with new labels had been positioned at strategic locations.

Now the dripping condensation was really starting to irritate him. Each drop slowly dribbling down his back bringing the cold of the surrounding ocean close to his warm body. His little boat was very agile and pretty easy to use. The German builders had done quite well for themselves. He had heard that new built models did not fare so well as the earlier ones. Parts not fitting and tolerances off. In a submarine this could be the difference between life and death. Between submerging then again reaching the surface or ending up in a watery grave.

Damn this dripping. "Time to take a look. I'm raising the periscope. Keep your fingers crossed." The periscope slide up in its oily tube till the eye piece reached a comfortable level.

"Well what do you see?"

"Shut up and let me concentrate"

Scanning 360 degrees he almost missed the smudge on the horizon. "We have a target Comrade and it is heading our way. If we hold this course and they hold theirs we should be in position in less than an hour."

"Excellent news comrade." He reaches out and slaps his partner in stealth on the back making a wet squishing sound. "My god do we have a leak Luka?"
"No just condensation you twit."

"Do we have time to surface and air out our steel coffin comrade?"

"Yes let's do just that Matvey and get rid of some of this stale air. The dripping is getting on my nerves and we will make better time on the surface and met our quarry sooner."

"The sooner the better. Once we shoot these torpedoes the sooner we can return home the heroes we are sure to be hailed eh comrade."

"Prepare to surface. You can practice your hero's welcoming wave when we open the hatch. Careful the sea is running a little rough and we do not have that much time to waste."

"Shifting the weights now. Prepare to surface...valve three closed...vents open."

Valves and levers are turned and pulled in a complicated dance that will take midget sub 243 on its rendezvous with the smudge on the horizon. The little bow cuts easily through the 3 foot waves and the two torpedoes look as deadly as they are in the afternoon sun.

243 will go on to make history. Not many of the Seehunds will. Almost impossible to detect yet large enough to weather the ocean currents the little boats are a deadly surprise just waiting to use their two torpedoes to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting passing ship. Accidents, incompetence, poor workmanship, bad luck will claim many of the Seehunds but some will fulfill their mission and many tons of precious cargo will never make its intended destination.

Seehund 243 will rendezvous with that smudge on the horizon. 243 will alter the course of the war in an unexpected way.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Wiggle

Sept. 5th
5:00 hours
Report submitted by LT. Brisbane
HMS DD Craysforth

Interrogated French fishing vessel off Dunkirk.
Crew of three.
Two French and one Italian male.
35 foot trawler.
2 days out with a quarter of their hold full of their catch.

The Captain reported the following:

We were 10 miles from shore on a nice sunny day. The Channel was calm and we were on the lookout for sea birds hoping they would guide us to our prize. The wind was from the English and was about 5 knots. We could see forever. Pretty rare for September ... no?

We were keeping our eyes on a flock of gulls that were on were on the surface hoping that they would take flight and guide us to a catch. Fish are hard to find in the Channel this time of year but with the food shortage we can get good money for our catch even if it is small. It is definitely worth the risk of a sudden storm. Such is the life of a fisherman no?

All of a sudden the birds took off like something had startled them. They were flying in every direction with no organization. I have never seen this before except in warmer waters when a shark passes by. The time for big fish in the Channel was over so we were very curious. Curiosity killed the cat eh? We moved closer to investigate. I did not see the thing but Mario did. Tell them what you saw Mario.

Of course Capitan. It was a shaped likeada whale. A little darker than the water, it was. It did not have a tail anda glided pass and underneathada boat without a ripple. It was just abouta the size of our boat and was going at about 4 knots but again without any wake or ripples. It looka to be going deeper as it passed almost underneath our boat.   It wasa pregnant whale because it was fatter then the whales I have seen off da Spain. The really strange thing to me sirs, was that it did notta ... how you say... swish back and forth. It did notta wiggle and I could notta see a tail of any akind.

When pressed for more information none of the crew could add any more details of the event. They were rewarded and sent on their way.

Filed at 0623 hours.