The total superiority of the Spitfire Mark XIV was evident immediately. They could out turn, out accelerate and just plain out-maneuver any of the Yak and Lag models. They could boom and zoom or burn and turn with impunity. It was like the Marianas Turkey shoot the US experienced in the Pacific in the last war. The Tu2 bombers were sitting ducks a full 100 kph slower than the Spits and lumbering along at medium altitude in formations that stretched from horizon to horizon. It was like shooting ducks in the preverbal barrel. The .23mm cannons firing from the dorsal and tail guns seemed to have no effect. The Soviet gunners were so bad you could come right up behind the Tu2s and blow them to hell.
Hell you could throttle back and weave through the waves of bombers and just jink to the left or right and take down another bomber. When the Yaks finally got into the fight it was child’s play. The would scream into defend their bombers and end up in front of your Hispano cannons and just a touch of your trigger and they would explode faster than the Zero fighters in the Pacific. It was surprising how easy the exploded. It got so easy that he switched to just his machine guns to save cannon rounds for the bombers.
He was getting 3 kills a mission. Larry was getting 5. It was insane.
He had to take a break on Wednesday when his plane was grounded for much needed maintenance. He hung out with a 3.7” AA gun crew just to see how things were going. When the first raid of the day was detected the crew started to pile up the shells and performed some minor tweaking of the sights, adjust the radar, lubricate the gears, test out the loading mechanism etc. HQ past word down that it looked like their airfield was going to be the target. The radar stations were getting so accurate that they could tell what kind of planes were coming. The Soviets had tried a few fighter sweeps but they were detected and ignored for the most part. The tension started to mount as they did the hardest thing you do in a combat situation…wait.
Then they heard it. The drone of internal combustion engines power propellers tearing through the air towards you. Thrilling in one sense and ominous in another. Then the dots start to appear. Next came the flaming wrecks dropping from the sky as the dots got bigger you could see the RAF dots tearing into the flights of bombers. Each followed by a black contrail leading to the ground. You could start to see the tracers from the Spitfires and a few Tempests reaching out into the hapless Soviet machines. Then the RAF fighters had to turn back as they entered the zone set aside for the flack traps. The Soviet squadrons came straight for them and straight to their deaths. The 3.7” guns reached out guided by radar and the aided by the proximity fuse. Once again it was a slaughter. The bombers just kept on coming. They didn’t even make to the airfield. The 3.7” guns reached out and swatted them down at long range. Then the Bofors 40mm started to reach out on the surviving planes and more fell as the almost continuous firing of the Bofors defended anyone within close range. Then the 20mm started in.
The bombers were like a flock of drunken birds hitting a clean window. It was as if they hit a wall and dropped piling up on each other on the ground. It was sickening even if you were on the winning side to see so many beautiful planes being slaughtered one after another.
Bomber after bomber played follow the leader and followed their leaders in dropping from the sky. Not one made it through the explosive curtain put up by the flack trap surrounding the airfield. It was as if a force field from the science fiction books had been placed over the field and plane after plane hit it and slide to the ground. Only the fact that the smoke from the burning wrecks started to waft over the field made it clear that there was no force field.
Just as the last bomber fell from the sky and the guns fell silent they heard a kind of roaring and swooshing sound coming from far away and more dots started to appear. These dots were closer than the previous for two reasons. They were much faster than the others and they were shaped different. So different that coming head on they had to be very close before their distinct shape could be discerned. Even the radar didn’t pick them up until too late. When the 3.7” anti-aircraft guns finally started to fire something seemed wrong. Their shells that had shot down the other bombers like magic didn’t seem to work very well. Oh sure a few of the bats were hit and fell in flames but nowhere near the numbers need to stave off an attack of this magnitude. And bats are what they reminded you of. They were the oddest planes he had ever seen. No tails and no rudders. Just wings…swept back wings. Then he remembered he had seen photos of these apparitions before. They were that German plane found near the end of the war, the Horton Flying Wing. Nasty creations with 30mm guns and an internal bomb rack. And here came those bombs. By the hundreds he could see them coming down through the whiffs of smoke caused by their dead brothers in arms. He could see the bomb that was coming for him. It seemed to be coming straight for his forehead and going to hit him right between the eyes.
Then he heard the warning sirens going off from far away, getting louder and louder until he couldn’t ignore them and he woke up with a start. Damn, the sheets were all bunched up and he had started to sweat. What had been a nice dream had turned into a nightmare. He guessed by all the commotion, that another raid was spotted by the radar forming over France. They always had plenty of warning and for the last two weeks they had all been for nothing. The VVS just seemed to be practicing…constantly practicing. He started to put on his clothes and knew he had to get to the bomb shelter. Unlike his dream, he was a mechanic. Just as necessary for the war effort as the pilots, but without the guts or glory involved. At least he hoped he saw no guts especially his. His place during a real raid was in the bomb shelter getting ready to help out with the wounded. Again not very glamorous, but needed just the same.