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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Friday, August 24, 2012

Ilyushin Heavy Attack Fighter Pilot # 6

Our training continued and we were ground pounding day after day. We learned to navigate and patched our flight maps together until they became as big as bed sheets. We had a very long flight to the front.

Finally we received our brand new silvery-painted planes with seats for gunners. The innovation was a much welcome sight. We can now defend ourselves from the rear and the 109s will not be able to attack us with impunity from the stern. If they did they would have to deal with a large caliber machine gun reaching out to shoot them down.

On the way to the front our second part of the route took us to Saratov-Borisoglebsk. My left undercarriage refused to come down and I was ordered to belly land my new plane. I decided to land on just the right wheel only. I kept the plane level until there was no more lift and when my left wing tip touched the ground I was spun around. I drew a half circle in the ground before my plane finally stops. There is no more fuel.

People mobbed the plane and I was in kind of a stupor. My beautiful plane was now dented and bent. I was very distraught. That very day my ground crew replaced the prop, painted and fixed up the wing and my plane looked no different than the others in a matter of hours.

The next morning we landed in the little Cosak town of Kuban. The same town where a woman still lived that has sent off 9 boys to war. Alexander, Nikolay, Vasilly, Filipp, Fedor, Ivan, Ilya, Pavel and the youngest Sash, who became a Hero of the Soviet Union in 1943…posthumously. None of her sons came back home alive. Nine sons give to the cause of defending the motherland.

The next day my only thought was of my upcoming first combat flight in a Surmovik. I was not scared. I was a Sturmovic pilot! There were five regiments of our 230th Ground Attack Aviation Division: four of ground attack and one fighter.

We were sitting in our planes waiting for the green flare. My mechanic asked one more time if there was anything he could do and I responded “No I need to be alone with my thoughts.” I thank him and just as he had jumped off my plane the green flare shot into the air.

I was given the honor of being the wingman of the flight leader. During the flight I did my best to stay in formation. When he made a maneuver I followed. When he dived, I followed. We he shot, I shot. When he dropped his bombs I dropped mine yet after the fourth pass I lost him as well as the rest of the group. I turned into our territory and found myself witnessing a huge aerial fight with dozens of planes. Planes were falling from the skies, pilots hanging from parachutes and all landing in the water of the Tsemesskaya Bay. It was not easy for a novice to make sense of the melee taking place over the Taman Peninsula.

Two fighters dashed towards me like black vultures. For some reason I took them for our Yaks until their machine guns started spitting tracers. The Germans were extremely insolent and took no care for their own defense. They attacked from different directions without effect. One of them overshot and filled my sights. I pressed the firing triggers and nothing happened. I was out of ammunition. I was saved by my fighter cover who even shot one of the bastards down.

A few missions later we witnessed a heroic sight. It was during a dogfight with the Hitlerites that pilot Rykhlin put on quite a show. He was hit by a tank shell, his own fault for flying too low. As he turned towards Glendzhik he was pounced on by 4 Messerschmitts. He had no chance to but to accept combat. Knowing the power of the front firing guns of the Sturmovik two of the Messers slowed down to attack from the rear. They were so confident that they even lowered their landing gear to slow down even more.

Rykhlin put his plane in a tight turn and unexpectedly they found themselves facing those guns. Both fell very quickly from the fire power display that tore their planes apart. The other two were driven off smoking by the already wounded aerial gunner Efremenko. This victory was won by a pilot who was only flying his second combat mission.

We flew mission after mission from then on and it was exhausting. We had many losses. We hit airfields, ammo dumps, trains, railway junctions, enemy troops in trucks and trains and even bombed ships on the Black Sea. This kind of pace was only possible with preparation by us and the supply section.

Soon we lost our flight leader, a fearless pilot and an honest and gallant man, Tit Kirillovich Pokrovskiy. Why him we wondered? But on we flew with the second in command taking over. He just exploded in mid-air from a lucky shot by some anti-aircraft barge probably manned by some heartless Nazi pig. By the time he became our flight leader he had been shot down 9 times by 1941. Once we started to get the two seaters and were assigned gunners our survival rate went up dramatically.

We flew on stunned and we lost our fighter cover as they became embroiled in a fight at higher altitude. Then we say them…Messerschmitts trying to take off lined up oh so nicely right in front of us. “Smash the bastards!” Pasha was yelling into the air over and over again. We poured every piece of lead and anything that would explode into them. We lost five of our own but that squadron was no more…just piles of smoking rubble and stinking Nazi flesh. For the second sortie that day we were led by the Moscovite Timofeevich Karev. There was no better leader and he had instigated a change.

His idea was to maneuver within the flight. We were now constantly changing positions and altitudes within certain limits. This kept us more alert and hindered the attacking fighters and ack ack gunners. No more strict formations and easy pickings. With our constant changing of speed and altitude it made life hell for the gunners on the ground and for the stalking fighters above. Once again our survival rate increased.

This is our little secret, but on the way back I still had two bombs. We were not supposed to land with bombs and there were some fighters on our tail. I saw a barge below and just couldn’t help myself. I pulled the emergency release and wiggled my wings back and forth to make sure the bombs fell. Mostly by chance I hit the barge squarely. Only then did I start to think that for all I knew it might not be an enemy barge I had just sunk and decided to tell no one.

One of the fighters radioed that I had sunk a barge full of soldiers and tanks so my secret was out and I received a decoration. I was never so glad in my life that it was an enemy barge and not one of ours.

At the end of 1943 the Regimental Commander lined us up and asked for volunteers. We all stepped forward. “No, no that won’t work he laughed.” I was one that was eventually picked. Our mission was to lay a smoke screen just in front of the German lines. No bombs no rear gunner just smoke cylinders. We had to fly for 7 kilometers in strict formation at low altitude. After the General had briefed us on the plan we were offered a chance to refuse the mission. Not one of the 19 did.

A sea of fire met us. Shells were bursting all around and I pressed myself into my armored seat back. The seconds counted down so slowly. Finally the plane ahead of me began to smoke. Thankfully it was only the smoke canister doing its job. I counted to three and turned mine on. It took so long to fly that 7 kilometers. Finally our mission was done.

As we were landing a call came from the commanding General. “Attention Hunchbacks!”

“Hunchbacks” meant us- it was the frontline name given to the Sturmovik.

“All pilots who flew the mission are awarded the Order of the Red Banner.”

Our hearts were bursting with pride as we landed and to the cheers of our comrades.

Later we found out that the smoke screen had worked and we had broken through the Blue Line. Moving towards the enemy it made him blind and allowed our troops to advance unmolested until they were virtually on top of the enemy. The Hitlerites fled in panic. The German does not like to fight close in. The Soviet loves it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Diary of Burt Post September 18th, 1946

Heard from Maxine’s brother… my brother in-law. I guess he’s coming to visit. Says he’s going to head out to Alaska and take up commercial fishing. Some place named Cordova. Right now he’s in Hurley as a logger. I wonder how he’s staying out of the army? Kind of like John Wayne. The guy is pretty much of a jerk.

Gets drunk all the time and starts fights in the bars. I only went with him once and that was it. Reminds me of a John Wayne movie where Wayne goes into a bar and picks a fight and the two fighters become best friends after they beat the tar out of each other.

People don’t realize that a punch in the face from a 6’4” 200lb man is a devastating thing. Breaks a lot of stuff in the other guys face as well as your hand. The only time I hit a guy it really busted my hand up. Hurt like hell. The movies are far from accurate. Two big grown men throwing haymakers at each other is not funny.

Anyway he’s coming and I have to figure out a way to not go out drinking. I guess I have a good excuse with a new baby in the house. The guys a maniac when he gets drunk. He belongs in Alaska far from women and children. I wonder how that part will work out. The women seem to love him for some reason.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ilyushin Heavy Attack Fighter Pilot Chapter 5

II choose the I-16 to do my combat training and basic combat maneuvers. I had no problem with what most people called a difficult plane to fly. Fuel was plentiful and we flew anytime we wanted. Many mock dog fights were played out over the airfield. The only thing in short supply was food. Very unnerving to be flying on an empty stomach. I almost fainted once from lack of food while flying.

It came time for my final interview to see if I qualified for the IL 2 flying tank. Question after question then finally the Colonel looked up and noticed my Order of the Red Banner on my chest. 

"Well in the first year of the war they did not give many of those."
"I suppose not sir."
After what seemed like an eternity I was assigned to the 805th Ground Attack Regiment of the 230th Division.
"In three days we are heading to ready."

My training commander tried once more to convince me to stay up high with the fighter planes but I would have none of it. I wanted to be down near the ground dealing death to the enemies of the motherland. I wanted to be close in. To see their faces as I tore into them with cannon and rocket. No...ground attack was for me. I made myself a promise that no matter what I would not fire on anyone who was helpless. Too many times being chased by 109s while running from my damaged plane I supposed. No strafing women and children for me. But if you try and shoot me down, I will kill you where you stand. I have fulfilled that promise too many times to count. That is war.

I found out that the new Regiment I was joining had just lost 80% of it's planes in the latest fighting over Gezel village. Even though our planes were armor plated they still were shot down in greater numbers than any other plane. Of course there were more of us by far as well. Stalin did love his Sturmoviks. We were given 2 days to learn the Sturmovik before our final exam. I was sent to the 3rd Squadron.

The Regimental Engineer asked questions about the Mikoulin Engine (the most power engine of its time and developed especially for the Sturmovik), what kind of armament, how to aim etc. All practical questions designed to find out if you knew how to use the machine to it's utmost before you got into combat.

Finally we were assigned to UI1-2 or 2 seat trainer Sturmovik with dual controls. I couldn't get my fill of it. Such a fine machine with cannons, bomb bays, external racks for rockets and bombs. It was not a plane but a flying cruiser. Every vital piece was covered by armor. My instructor took me up and when we landed he said I was ready for solo flight. I protested that it was only my second flight but he insisted that I take it up again...and then again. On the third solo flight the engine sputtered and stalled...I was over the Azov Sea and I could not swim. I now had a very heavy glider on my hands but my only thought was to get to dry land. My speed and altitude were falling very fast and I knew that I couldn't make to the landing field. At least I would make it to land. Somehow I managed to come to a stop just before a very large ravine filled with skeletons of animals who had not seen the edge in time.

The training flights became more and more complex. Shooting at white Xs on the ground. Bombing old trucks, dummy tanks and railroad cars exploded under our withering fire. Some of us more withering than others of course but all in all a good Squadron. The Squadron Lieutenant Andrianov stated that whomever learned the fastest and shot the straightest would be his wingman. To become the wingman of and experienced combat leader, what more could we dream of. The German pigs knew how valuable the leaders of the Squadrons were. It was not easy to pick out targets in the bomb cratered moon scape and how to avoid the ack ack and screening fighters in order to drive home your attack. If the leader fell then the attack could often times not be carried out. In order to learn the craft of leader you had to be the wingman of a leader. A wingman repeated the maneuvers of his flight leader in order to survive. Most Sturmovik pilots died within their first 10 sorties because there was so much to learn while staying in formation. A good leader watched out for the entire flight as well as himself.

My comrade Valintine was sure to become the leader’s wingman when one day he confused his levers and retracted his landing gear while parked setting his plane down flat and creating ram horns with his prop blades. He had tears in his eyes but no one had to reprimand him or scold him. He was his worse critic. He was a very sad man from the beginning and later I found out why. His whole family was dying from tuberculosis while he was fighting for them in the only way he knew how.

The news from the front was good. We were finally advancing from Stalingrad. The Hun had been stopped. Now it was time to rid our land of the Nazi pigs. We missed the fighting around Stalingrad but there was plenty more before the wars end and we would be in the thick of it. It was February, 1943.

Perl of Wisdom

Well here he was in the Worker’s Paradise on the other side of the Ural Mountains. Not much but it beat a jail of firing squad back in the good old USA. It was early Fall so the cold had not set in yet. He heard it was much colder here than Cleveland even at its worse.

William Perl was in his element. The jet engine he was examining was close to the ones he had worked on for months at the NACA Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory. And now he was in Russia for god’s sake. Well it was his own fault for listening to Barr and Sobell. Maybe he should regain his real name of Mutterperl. It might be easier to hide his past.

He’ll let the NKVD worry about that. He spent most of his time translating the English instructions so that they could follow the schematics he has provided over the years. He helped out with the metallurgy as well even though that was not his expertise. He made it become one…along with many others he dreamed of doing in the US. He was free here to do what he wanted just as long as he got results, and results he got.

He was unleashed here. Not held back by the older engineers in Ohio. Here he was the big shot and they listened to him. Maybe that’s what he wanted all along…to be the big shot. Is that why he became a Communist? Seems strange to pine for what was supposed to be an egalitarian society so that you could finally be in charge.

Compared to the average worker he was treated like a king here, which wasn’t saying much. He did have a great looking wife. He suspected that she was an agent sent to spy on him but she was a good actress and it was easy to believe she loved him. Man was she good in bed. He didn’t know such things could be done. And those legs went on for miles. He was head over heels and an egghead like him would never get a girl like that in the states or any girl for that matter. So yeah she had to be a spy. But what the hell, He had nothing to hide here.

He estimated that within 6 months they would be cranking out these engines on an industrial scale with that spooky Sergo guy working the angles. He only saw him once. Weird looking little guy to have all this power. I guess Stalin saw the potential and let the guy loose. His henchman Georgie was a another matter. That guy got things done like no man he had ever seen even better than Boeing or Ford he bet. Certainly he was bigger. The guy was 6’ 6” and 300lbs. His voice was the loudest thing he ever heard besides this jet engine.
Most of the time he didn’t have to yell at all or even speak. He would just look and point and whatever it was it was fixed right away. No you did not… want to piss him off.

Sticking these engines in the Mig 9 was not the best solution but it would do until Mig came up with that swept wing beauty he had seen. Kind of looked like that German plane he examined…what was that number…oh yeah… the TA 183. That swept back tail that NACA developed should come in real handy on whatever number Mig put on their new creation. It would be a real Shooting Star and Super Fortress killer that’s all he knew.

Hell when the US turned Communist he could go back and be king of the aerospace industry. He’d show those assholes who was in charge alright. It would almost make up for that trip through Mexico to this god forsaken place. God what a disaster of a trip that was. He still didn’t know why he didn’t get caught. He suspected that the Reds had someone on the inside in the OSS.

He’d better get his mind back to work so he could get home quick. Zoya had promised him something special for tonight and he couldn’t wait to get between her long legs once more. Yeah who needed Coca Cola and a Ford when you had a pair of legs like that wrapped around you every night? It was more than an even trade.

Shit if he ever got tired of Zoya I bet they would set him up with a new one. As long as he produced they would provide. He was sure of it.