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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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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?

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