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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hearing





The examination met at 9 a. m.


General Thomas C. Smart, U. S. Army, Retired, examining officer and his counsel and assistant counsel.

Major Charles O. Manner. U. S. Army Reserve, took seat as reporter and was warned that the oath previously taken was still binding.

The examining officer decided to postpone the reading of the record of proceedings of the eighteenth day of the examination until such time as it shall be reported ready, and in the meantime to proceed with the examination.

No witnesses not otherwise connected with the examination were present. 

A witness called by the examining officer entered and was informed of the subject matter of the examination as set forth in the preface to the testimony of Col. W. W. Smith,

Record Page 32.

The witness was duly sworn.

Examined by the examining officer:

1. Q. What is your name, rank, and present station?

A. Major Charles O. Manner. U. S. Army Reserve.

2. Q. What duties were you performing during early 1946?

A. Performing the duties of Aviation Aide to the General, Fourteenth Army District West German.

3. Q. That was General Poch?

A. Yes sir.

4. Q. Did the Commander-in-Chief, Occupation Forces German, at that time, feel that the units of his Command were ready to carry out their tasks?

A. He undoubtedly recognized many weaknesses and strenuous efforts were being made to improve the efficiency of both materiel and personnel. Perhaps no Commander is ever completely satisfied of his complete readiness to fight, but certainly he felt that a fairly high standard of efficiency was being developed. There were large numbers of green officers and men, and the complements of most, if not all, units were lower than was to be desired. The anti-aircraft batteries were, in general, far weaker than we desired, and they were being improved as rapidly as material could be made available. There was much concern over lack of radars and the requisite skill in their use. There was also weaknesses in certain aircraft and some difficulties were experienced with patrol planes; engines, I believe. The lack of skilled crews in the patrol planes and the lack of replacement crews was very keenly felt. Transports and artillery were lacking; and there were disturbing deficiencies in armor and in some materials. Notwithstanding matters of this sort, however, it was felt that the handicaps were not too great to cope with such situations, as were envisaged as arising if war commenced.

13. Q. Did you, at that time, sir, concur in the views of the Commander-in-Chief as you have expressed them?

A. Yes, and it may be that in answering the preceding questions that I have erred somewhat toward giving my own views rather than those of General Poch, although they were probably substantially in accord. He was inclined to be somewhat more pessimistic in that regard than myself.
14. Q. Did you, at the time, feel that everything was being done, either locally or by making recommendations to higher authority, to correct the deficiencies and weaknesses that you referred to?

A. We certainly felt that there was much to be done and all hands were working very hard to overcome deficiencies. I believe that, in general, suitable representations had been made to higher authority and that the Commander-in-Chief and his subordinates were taking all corrective measures that they felt within their own power to accomplish. It is doubtful if any were entirely satisfied with the rapidity of progress.

15. Q. Major, going back to the basic Pincher war plan, what was your opinion at the time as to how that plan contemplated that war with the Soviet Union would start?

A. The plan itself may not, probably did not, directly give such an indication, but it certainly must have contemplated that such a war would probably not have been preceded by a formal declaration but rather that it would arise from such hostile attack on the part of the Soviets.

16. Q. In estimating the situation with respect to the West Germany, was a surprise air attack on what are now the NATO forces considered as a course of action available to the Soviets to initiate such a war?

A. Probably not. At least, I, as War Plans Officer, did not hold such a view with respect to Western Germany, although I did consider such an act possible in Iran or even against Korea. It may have been that such a possibility was discussed with the Commander-in-Chief or with other members of the Staff. Probably some such discussions may have taken place, although I have no specific recollection of such a one.

17. Q. Do you recall that during this planning period any consideration was given to the efficiency of the Soviet ground and air forces?

A. Yes. While specific data was lacking, I, and I believe others within the Staff, felt that there was a rather high degree of proficiency in Soviet air organization on a tactical level.

18. Q. Do you recall any discussion as to the ability of the Soviet air forces to conduct such an attack as they did on the 2nd of May?

A. I think perhaps some such discussions, informal discussions, took place. I do remember giving consideration to dangers of ground attacks to the major airfields, particularly after the Soviets attack in Manchuria in 1945; but even though some thought and consideration was given to the possibility of an attack, I personally, never considered it as more than a remote possibility.

19. Q. Major, are you able to state the views that the Commander-in-Chief, West Germany, held at that time in this respect?

A. I feel that if he had entertained the idea that there was serious danger of that nature, I would have heard of it in every emphatic terms. I am certain that he was not anticipating any such attack.

20. Q. General, in your thinking and planning at that time, that is the six months leading up to the attack, do you recall what consideration was given to the characteristics of the Soviet Army leaders particularly Marshal Alexandr Vasilevskij?

A. The leadership in the Soviet Army was discussed from time to time between General Smart, myself, his Chief of Staff, his Operations Officer, his Intelligence Officer, and perhaps others. As I recall now, the general impression that obtained was that in case of war we would have to contend with rather capable and aggressive leadership on the part of the enemy.

21. Q. Were you, at that time, familiar with the character of Marshal Alexandr Vasilevskij?

A. Not especially so, but I did consider him capable and bold.

22. Q. Do you recall discussing him with Commander Roche, while you were serving together on the Staff of the Commander, Scouting Force?

A. While I have no specific recollection of such discussion, I feel that it is almost certain that a number of such discussions did take place; not only when Roche and I were serving together in the Scouting Force, but also after I came to General Smart’s Staff and Roche was serving with the Intelligence unit in the Fourteenth Division.

23. Q. General, during this planning period leading up to the attack, do you recall occasions on which the Commander-in-Chief communicated with army aviators with respect to the ability of Soviet air forces and the possibility of such attack as occurred on May 2nd?

A. No, although it is quite possible that I was present at some such discussion with General Hall and General Bellinger or perhaps other aviation personnel, including Captain Davis, the Staff Aviation Officer; but I have no recollection of any discussion with any of them with the particular idea in view that we should have to contend with such an attack.

24. Q. Did you have knowledge of any aviator whatever who really foresaw the attack of 2 May and so expressed himself before that time?

A. No, sir.

25. Q. General, in the preparation of the Commander-in-Chief's Contributory Pincher War Plan, was it contemplated, at the time, that it might be placed in effect either in its entirety or in part by order of the Commander-in-Chief, prior to the start of actual war?

A. I believe it was not contemplated that the plan be placed into effect, either in whole or in part, by the Commander-in-Chief without reference to higher authority, because of the rapidity of communications; but, on the other hand, I do not believe that that plan circumscribed the Commander-in-Chief's in any way toward taking any suitable action to meet whatever circumstances that might arise.
26. Q. At that time, then, what methods did you contemplate using for alerting army units, should the international situation so require and before actual start of war?

A. By preparatory or warning message.

27. Q. General, as I understand your previous testimony, it was your estimate, as well as the estimate of practically all of General Smart's Staff, that a surprise attack on West Gemany was a remote possibility. Will you state the basis for that conclusion?

A. For us to make an attack on the Soviet Union would have massive troop movements easily detected. We felt that the Soviets would find the same considerations would deter them from making such an effort against us. It also seemed highly probable that more attractive targets could be found where their units could be more profitably employed there. We felt that even should such an attack be launched, that the defenses in depth would be sufficient to make the damage inflicted small and that the attacking forces would suffer heavy casualties quite disproportionate to the damage they might inflict.

28 Q. Do you recall that your thinking along those lines gave due value to the power of initiative if employed by the enemy in a surprise attack?

A. I don't think so now; I did think so then. We did anticipate that heavy armored concentrations would be encountered in this area and had considered it quite possible, if not probable, that a mass air attack about the time that considerable forces were on training exercises might be the commencement of the war.

29. Q. Admiral, under the Joint Action, what service was primarily responsible for the defense of West Germany?

A. The Army.
30. Q. Were you, in the months preceding the attack on West Germany, familiar with the Army's ability to fulfill its commitments prescribed by that document?

A. In a general way, yes. I had made a tour of the front lines with the Commanding General and some members of his Staff to see the defenses, and, as a part of that tour, attended a short presentation at Fort Rhone with particular reference to AA defenses. With my limited knowledge of the Army requirements and methods of defense, I, personally, felt they were good and adequate, although I knew, and the Army authorities too felt that certain improvements should be made, particularly as to AA.

31. Q. Were you familiar with General Smart’s opinions with respect to the ability of the Army to defend West Germany?

A. I believe that he felt that there was some deficiencies, particularly in the area of troop quality and training. Not to mention the lack of heavy artillery and anti tank guns.

33. Q. General, were you familiar with this letter 2CL-41 (Revised), which is Exhibit 4 before this examination?

A. Yes, I remember this letter. Although it was prepared by the Operations Section of the Staff, I had opportunity to review it and recall having initiated some minor changes in the earlier drafts; although, at this time, I have no particular recollection of what those changes were.

34. Q. Were there, so far as you can recollect, any other directives of a general nature affecting the security or providing for the security of units in West Germany in effect in the months preceding the attack?

A. I do not now recall whether or not there were. In general, such directives, if there were any, were prepared by the Operations Section and I would have seen them and had opportunity to comment before their issuance.

35. Q. Do you recall whether, at the time, that is, in the months preceding the attack, you considered this letter, Exhibit 4, to adequately provide for the security of Army and had the instructions therein been fully complied with?

A. I recall that we were not entirely satisfied with the arrangements for coordinating air warnings, air operations from the different services, and anti-aircraft and the like, and that some discussions and conferences to better perfect arrangements were in progress under the general guidance of Captain DeLany, the Operations Officer. On the whole, however, I must have thought that the security arrangements set forth in this letter were satisfactory, else I would have initiated action to effect a change.

"What's this hearing about Joe?"

"They're trying to find a scapegoat for losing Germany."

"Damn who they zeroing in on?"

"General Smart."

"I wouldn't want to be in his shoes."

"Amen brother"


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What Happened in Calais Novikov?

"New travels fast comrade Beria. But of course you should be one of the first to hear any kind of news. It appears that a rouge squadron of RAF night fighter bombers caught one of our airfield practicing night operations. In order to take off they needed the air field lights on and that must have attracted the enemy like a moth to a flame. I'm sure it was an isolated incident but we will keep track of the trends."

"And why were they practicing at night comrade?"

"We have some surprises in store for the RAF. We will never catch them by surprise with their advanced radar and ground spotting system and they will always be able to choose the time of attack. There is no way to hide our presents so we will have to disguise our intentions before they can react. We have a few things in our favor. The most critical is our numerical advantage.

We will use this to catch them landing, fueling and taking off. Each one of our raids will be equal to their entire air force. I seriously doubt that they will concentrate all their fighters in a small enough geographical area where they can all be available at the same time. If they do so much the better as the next wave will catch them landing, re-arming and refueling.

Even a Pe 2 can shoot down a landing Spitfire or destroy it on the ground. The few jets they have are regulated to a few landing fields whose location is well known. They will be destroyed taking off, land or refueling just like our former allies did to the German jets. It is quite wonderful to have such great odds on your side.

So to answer your question more directly we will be over British skies from dawn till dusk and our pilots should have precise in taking off and landing at night. There will be no respite for the first week of combat for the British. If they rise up to meet us then they will die in the air. If they cower in their bunkers they will die on the ground it is the same to me. In the end they will die."

"Ambitious plan Novikov. Where are the supplies coming from?"

"Unlike the Germans in 1940 we have plenty of fuel and replacement pilots. We have had 9 months to prepare and 3 months to move the supplies we needed from the border. These supplies have been hoarded for the last 6 months and stored just for this battle. It was hoped that the British would see that Comrade Stalin's offer was the best choice but they seem to have chosen otherwise. So now the long time it took to gather our supplies together will be upon us and they will be used to take away the skies of Britain from Atlee and the deluded leaders of that small island.

True the planes will not be the newest and one on one the English will be better for the most part but they will not be 5 times better and they will not be any better when they are the most vulnerable. We know their loiter times and we know when they need to land. All we have to do is stay alive until they are the most vulnerable. They will not expect our extended loiter times. We will time our sorties so as to coincide with their landings and refueling times. First comes the bait then the fly swatter.

We are training our crews how to react to a surprise attack from the rear. It will always come from the rear and above or below so we are concentrating on how to best defeat that tactic. They will always come in from above as they see height being an advantage.”

"Thank goodness that unlike Hitler our glorious leader Stalin does not let ideology get in the way of practicality. I was amazed when he let that worm Sergo empty the gulags of useful individuals. Stalin saw the inescapable logic of using that workforce for noble means and not just killing them by working them to death digging holes. I've always thought that was a waste. If you're going to kill someone then just kill them...unless they have something to hide. Is that not so Novikov?"

"I am a fighting man Beria. I would not know of such things. I kill men who are trying to kill me and leave the rest to fellows like you."

"Quite right Novikov...fellows like me."

Episode 4 "As Heart And Blood by Christopher Marcus

Previously: Javier Gonzales never had much to fight for except a dreary job in his father's small business in provincial Bolivia ... but then world war continued with the Soviet surprise attack and subsequent throttling of the weak Allied forces in May 1946, leaving his grandfather's Spain as the final country to be crushed by the red juggernaut. And Javier had finally found something he would die for ... and soon he may get his wish.

September 6th, 1946

“Why aren’t you answering, Javi-boy? I want to know why you didn’t go with any of those fine lookin’ chicas?”

Javier tried not to directly look at Miguel. It was difficult since they were sitting less than two meters from each other in the already overstuffed truck, bumbling its way up from the lowlands towards purple-hazed Pyrenees, towards the last front in Europe.

A push – on the shoulder. Hard. “You gonna fuckin’ answer now, Javi-boy.”

Javier gritted his teeth. He would not let this Cuban ox, Private Miguel Sanchez, get to him.

He would not.

And the others would see that he was not going to let Miguel get to him. Yes, they would.

If it mattered ... For now, the only ‘response’ Javier heard to Miguel’s challenge were the vaguely repressed chuckle from Corporal Espinoza, who had made himself comfy down in the back, closest to the rations boxes.

Most of the other men in the platoon merely stared down into the dusty planks that only just covered the axles of the worn-out American truck. A few of them stared stiffly ahead, into nothing; as if the single thing they could concentrate on was the sound of half-deflated rubber tires grinding into the gravel road

That … and the occasional distant booming thunder that sounded too unnatural to come from a clear sky. It kept growing in strength for each mile they closed to the mountains.

Javier almost jolted when he felt both Miguel’s heavy paws land hard on his knees, as if this would then force Javier to look straight ahead. When it did not, Miguel leaned even closer across the small aisle.

Look,” Miguel said, something cold glinting in his dark eyes. “I just want to know why you didn’t come with us and had a piece of those fine Basque girls, my friend. I mean, what if you’re a … fag? I wouldn’t want to have you to watch my back, then, against the Reds.”

By this remark Corporal Espinoza roared with laughter. Most of the others joined in.

So, Javi-boy,” Miguel said with finality. “What’s the verdict – can we trust you to watch our backs?”

More chuckles and laughter from all around him.

Javier swallowed, and slowly turned his gaze to meet Miguel’s:

“You can count on me,” he said.

Another roar, with Miguel laughing the loudest – ugliest – of them all.

That’s good, Javi! Very good!” he said in mock approval.

“ - Maybe you should watch your own back?”

Javier stared at the very young Argentinean with the jet-black hair who was seated to his right. The Argentinean had not muttered a word since they left Bilbao, but now he had, and there was a tone in them that was sharp as a bayonet. Challenging …

Miguel stared at the Argentinean, too, sizing him up. He could be no more than 18. Perhaps he had lied about his age. Miguel had a good 5 years on him, at least. Javier knew he was older than both of them, but in this bunch age, didn't matter. Only grit.

Don’t you like girls either, de la Serna?” Miguel said, slowly – very slowly.

de la Serna just stared back at Miguel, and for a few seconds complete silence seemed to reign in the back of the truck.

“All right, you two – cut it out!” Corporal Espinoza finally intervened. “Sanchez – you shut the fuck up from now on. And de la Serna – you keep the fuck shut up, just like before. I liked that better.”

Miguel breathed deeply, then leaned back. His lips seemed to be mouthing something like: ‘I’ll remember this, Argentinean … ‘ ... but Javier could hardly be sure.

The only thing he could be sure of was that he felt more like putting a bullet in Miguel’s head now, than in the head of one of the enemies. He stared at the black muzzle of his carbine. That bullet - and many others - would be reserved, though, for some of the few hundreds of thousands of Ivans making out the Soviet 1st South-Western Front stretching from Bordeaux to Andorra.

– How could Stalin keep up finding men to feed into that meat-grinder? Perhaps he couldn’t. That’s what General Diaz (with an eagerly nodding Yankee colonel at his side) had made clear, as they were briefed on the first day after the arrival in Bilbao. An air raid had cut short the General’s speech, however, just as he was in the middle of expounding on how the Soviets had completely exhausted their manpower and compromised their supply lines in swarming from the Elbe to the Bay go Biscay over a couple of months.

“You llooking forward to it?”

de la Serna, apparently, had chosen to forget Corporal Espinoza’s belated call to shut up. His voice was low, but not whispering or anything. He looked intensely at Javier. There was a fire in the younger man's eyes, Javier, had to admit that would either consume him or anyone who got in his way. No, age didn't matter much here ...

“I am,” Javier said, trying to keep low as well. “looking forward to finally … making a difference. I am ... ”

I thought so,” de la Serna replied. “I myself have wanted to make a difference for a long time – to fight for something real. And this is it. There is nothing greater to fight for right now.”

Javier nodded.

The other men had begun mumbling amongst themselves again, and Espinoza had picked up another bottle of something from the ration boxes. Miguel just stared out the rear, arms crossed, as if he was trying to count each truck in the long column behind them.

You sound Argentinean, too,” de la Serna said.

“Of course. I’m from Tarija.”

Ah – in southern Bolivia. Well, close enough, che.”

Hearing the friendly term that was also used extensively in Tarija, so close to the border with Argentina, was almost enough to make Javier forget the near-humiliation from before.

He smiled slightly to de la Serna. “I think we will fight just fine against those commie bastards.”

“Yes,” de la Serna said, albeit a bit hesitantly. “You know, I admired them a little at first … the Communists ... But now – after that treason they pulled, after attacking those who had bled with them to take down Hitler, and after threatening Spain ... Heck, now I would fight even for Franco’s skinny ass!”

You are fighting for Franco’s skinny ass!” spat Salterra – a small, compact Chilean, sitting next to de la Serna. “Was that what you dreamt about all the way from Buenos Aires, de la Serna?”

Hey - don't be jealous, Salterra," Javier returned before de la Serna coud: "You can have Franco’s ass - as long as the rest of us are too busy protecting the old land.”

Everybody laughed again. Even Miguel grunted a little, but kept his arms tightly crossed.

“Hey - you girls want it in the ass?” Espinoza barked from down the back. “That’s fine, but you give Ivan a bullet in his – first. Then you've earned it.”

Hell yeah!” blurted Dominic, the Haitian – and only negro. He was sitting next to Miguel. More laughter, then.

The mood had almost shifted …

Perhaps, Javier thought, these men – his comrades in the 5th Overseas Volunteer Regiment -  would die for each other without a second thought?

He had just allowed himself to find in his heart a strange warmth by that particular prospect ... when the world exploded around him.


He thought that he heard somebody shout “landmines!” – or was it: “Commie partisans” - ?

It didn’t matter, really, because the next explosion which disintegrated the truck behind them, also disintegrated the rest of his hearing.

So he didn’t hear the rifle fire from the wooded hills above the road.

He didn’t hear the single bullet that tore through the rough canvas cover on the truck’s back, and ripped out through the side of de la Serna’s throat, pulling jets of wildly spurting, dark-red blood after it.

But as Javier scrambled to get to cover - to get his weapon - to get de la Serna’s body out of the way ... even that which he could still sense – which was mostly what he could see - even that did no longer matter.

Only a single, haunting thought:

‘No, it can’t be over … not already …’



You can read Chris’ own short stories at

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Buzz

Sept. 7th, 1946

We came in hot and heavy flying at tree top level. I don't think they even looked up until the first few explosions started to register in their uncomprehending brains. I can't say that I would have reacted any differently. Mosquito engines at full throttle, guns firing, rockets launching then the explosions. Oh what explosions. We must have hit something big.

Believe it or not I thought I caught a glimpse of an owl surrounded by explosions and chaos dodging and weaving his way through the noise and bright flashes that were once Soviet Tu2 medium bombers. I lost sight of him almost right away but I'm pretty sure it was an owl just like we use to have out in the old barn. Great creatures for keeping the mouse population in check. I bet he was surprised by all the mayhem around him.

As I climbed to gain a little altitude some tracers flashed by but not from the ground. At first I thought it was friendly fire but then I saw the Tu2's rear gunner plugging away at us from way too far away. I guess he was pretty upset at what we had done to his buddies and was trying to take some revenge. I hit the right rudder and the nose came around and when lead was right I squeezed the trigger and was blinded by the flash. Even with those suppressors it still can be pretty bright in the pitch black of the night.

Basically my 2 second burst cut the bomber in half. The tail gunner was still firing as he plunged out of sight. I guess he was so pissed or scared that he just couldn't think of anything else to do even as he spiraled through the air separated from the rest of the aircraft. It didn't take him long to hit the ground. Not much of an explosion because there was not much fuel in the back end. The front half made quite a dent and lit up nicely.

Against the Skippers expressed orders Wilkins in Number 4 went back for seconds. This time some gunner with a 35mm `was ready for him or just got in a lucky shot. I caught a glimpse of him going down as the radar picked up a blip about 2 km to our south. I notified the Old Man and he sent out Reynolds and Hardt in numbers 5 and 6 to track it down. Minutes later the sky was lit up by a ball of flame that seconds ago was a perfectly good Tu2.

What I want to know is why the Reds were messing around at night with the landing field lights on? It was obvious that they were not night fighters but just regular schlub bombers. What the hell were they taking off for a full three hours before dawn? I sure hope the Skipper remember to tell someone about this. It certainly made it easy for us but why would they do that?

The end results are we lost one and pretty much wiped out that whole squadron an accompanying support personnel. Not much will be taking off from that field for a while. I would say it's a resounding success.

Hopefully HQ with authorize more of these raids. I mean if Ivan is going to keep the lights on for us it would be rude of us to not drop in. Leaving the porch lights on is always an invitation in times of war.