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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

General Thé by RangerElite

Far East Theater in WWIII 1946

Headquarters, 2nd Combined Army
Vietnamese National Army
Cam Ranh Bay, Republic of Vietnam

As the Australian supply ship was pulling into the military port, the news just came in that the new communist puppet government of France has announced emancipation for all of it's colonies, and in Vietnam in particular, has given it's support and diplomatic recognition to the Viet Minh, something that was not unexpected. What was unexpected was the fact that the People's Democratic Republic of France has offered military assistance to the Viet Minh regime and has offered amnesty to those French soldiers who surrendered at Da Nang to the Vietnamese National Army, in return for their allegiance to the new government. Surprisingly few Frenchmen took up the offer, choosing instead to stay and help their new allies in the Vietnamese National Army.

Here to greet today's shipment from the U.S., via Australia, was none other than the leader of the VNA, General Trinh Minh Thé. Today's shipment included jeeps and a few M-5 “Stuart” light tanks, but more importantly, M-1 Garand rifles and M-1 carbines, M-3 “grease-gun” submachine guns and M-1911 Colt .45 pistols...and Browning .50- and .30-caliber machine guns, along with cases and cases of ammunition, whatever the Americans could spare at this time. General Thé was grateful and this shipment would go a long way toward supplementing the Chinese arms aid they were now receiving, and the captured French and Japanese weapons that they were armed with. This aid, along with the shipment from Australia earlier in the month of used trucks and jeeps, Owen submachine guns, and tons of new uniforms (one of which General Thé was wearing, complete with “digger” hat) was concrete proof of the Allies' commitment to his cause. But he needed more for his army. They were in sore need of artillery, and aircraft for the air wing that was being established at the airfield in Da Nang. Here, in Cam Ranh, he was able to put together an ad hoc squadron of old French and Japanese naval vessels left over from the war, but keeping them supplied with fuel and ammunition was a constant struggle. Training qualified crews was even more of a battle, so that the original French crews, and some Japanese maritime freebooters (some had begun to call these Japanese “rōnin”) were manning these vessels, until they could train enough Vietnamese men to proficiently crew the ships.

For everything that his troops needed, Thé's forces were doing surprisingly well, having taken most of the southern half of the country, stopping to consolidate after taking Hué,  and immediately setting up charitable outposts in every village in the territory, to help the people educate their children, help them with the rice and other crops, helping the people find or purify drinking water. This was all in accordance with his religious beliefs in Cao Dai, which calls for charity, and helping others improve their condition. Thé's religious beliefs went a long way toward garnering support for his cause, everywhere his influence held sway, denying the communists new recruits and a powerful propaganda tool, and solidifying the gains his forces have made and changing minds. There were even defectors from the Viet Minh, who took great risk (the penalty for defection was death) to do so.

General Thé now looked forward to strengthening his forces, to finally push Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap's regime out of power, once and for all time, and advance the cause of liberty and equality for all of the Vietnamese people.

Diary of Burt Post Sept. 23rd, 1946

This may be the last entry and I may have to destroy this diary.

Just about suppertime there was a knock on the door and two guys flashed badges at me. They said they were from the FBI. They were asking about an old college professor of mine. Both Maxine and I had him for economics at Lawrence College as undergraduates.

Hell I barely remember the guy. Apparently the FBI got all of his class rosters and were interviewing us all. The interview got quite heated when I refused to let them talk to Maxine in front of the kids. She sent them to bed. I’m not usually a confrontational sort of guy but when these jerks in their porkie pie hats start to try and force me to falsely testify I got pretty hot under the collar and let them know what I thought of their threats.

And they did threaten me. Threatened to contact my employer and minister if I didn’t rat out my old professor. I couldn’t pick the guy out of a line up much less have any idea if he was a communist or not. What is this country coming to if they can come into your house and threaten you if you don’t provide false testimony in front of some congressional hearing. As soon as it became apparent that they wanted me to lie I showed them the door and then the implied threats came. I slammed the door in their face.

I’m sure there are many communists and former communist in the government etc. but with the Reds attacking I can’t imagine any true American would help them to kill their own people. After all up until the shooting started communism was just another economic system. One that sounds too good to be true so of course it is. It would never work. People are way too selfish. I don’t think that Stalin is a communist anyway from what I’ve read about him. He’s just another Hitler but using another philosophy. I don’t see any difference at all between the two. Both are just brutal dictators like Tojo or Mussolini.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Decisive Blow by RangerElite

On an abandoned Japanese base,
Somewhere in Soviet-Occupied Manchuria

Long Shien had been working day and night on the tanks that the Russians had brought in four days ago under great secrecy, repairing engines and retrofitting new guns on the former German tanks, spoils of the people's war against fascism. Now they will be used, along with surrendered Japanese tanks, in a frontal assault against the Nationalist warmonger pigs. They would be taking the fight to the capitalists for the for the first time since the war with the Japanese had ended. And these deadly technological wonders, built by the oppressed German workers and forced slave labor, will be used as the spearhead of a decisive battle, one that will decide the future of China, and of world communism.

The tank he was currently working on was a King Tiger, with heavier armor and a larger gun than the original Tiger tank, and was being re-engined and re-gunned with Soviet copies of Allison gasoline-turbine engines and Soviet weapons. In the case of this particular tank, it was being re-engined and Long was assisting in re-gunning it with a 122mm anti-tank gun. Long Shien would do his part to advance the People's War, and he would make sure that this gun would destroy the capitalist enemy.

There were already three regiments formed from these tanks, along with Soviet and former Japanese tanks, and they would form the spearhead of the Shock Army that they were forming, as an all-or-nothing gamble, feeling that through all the set-backs in recent months, this could be the action that they needed in order to further their cause. They had been far too lax since the Japanese surrendered late last year, and the Soviets had been increasingly stingy with the new weapons and training since they began their war of Liberation in Western Europe. But now, there was a chance.

Communist workshops have been busy rechambering the captured, mismatched, weapons that they'd been receiving from the Soviets' European campaign. Fortunately, the majority of the weapons were of German manufacture, and the Chinese had been making the 8mm Mauser ammunition for many years now. The problem lay in the mountains of captured British and American weapons, along with smaller quantities of French, Belgian, Dutch and Scandinavian weapons now being supplied. Comrade Long was honored to be contributing in such a great endeavor, to free the people of the world from the oppressive yoke of capitalism.

As Comrade Long went back to focusing on his work, he noticed his work commissar, Hsu Shieng-hwei, had appeared from nowhere with an eternally sour scowl on his face “Comrade Long! You are installing that gun breech wrong! I would be ashamed to show your work to even the worst of our comrade Soviet armorers! Rotate that breech a quarter turn to the right and tighten it up NOW!” Long Shien felt himself get hot with embarrassment and quickly began to make the corrections that his commissar so forcefully instructed him to make. Comrade Commissar Hsu was always so hard on him, insulting him in front of everyone and berating his work. Were it not for the cause they both served, and the fact that Hsu was more equal than he, Long would have slowly painfully murdered him by now. But he did his part to advance the cause, and that meant ignoring the abuse from the commissar and doing his job to the best of his ability, and he would continue to do so until the day of final victory, or his glorious death.

50 Berkeley Square

The noise down in the basement was very unusual. For the last couple of lifetimes things had been very quiet down there. I just had to go down and see what was going on. I chose the usual way and went through the top 3 floors without drawing so much as a glance. One of the women who was making the most noise in the basement suddenly stopped and looked around. I guess she was one of those people who can sense things. Seeing nothing she went back to work.

They had gutted the whole basement and were putting in large tables and huge charts on the wall. I think they were putting in strings for those things they call phones and the noise was deafening.

I was not use to the noise. For a very long time I had the home to myself for the most part. Every once in a while someone would move in but eventually they would leave or die. I’ve had quite a few die in the house over the years. Many seemed to stay despite whatever I could do to dissuade them from remaining. They tried to ignore me for the most part. Children seemed particularly fascinated with me.

This new lot was particularly involved in what they were doing. It had been a long time since any improvements had been done to the home. I did not think what they were doing was an improvement. All these little rooms with a desk and phones…dozens and dozens of phones all connected by those strings or wires I guess you call them. I am learning many new words. Such things as yaks and squadrons, some really interesting terms and names are very intriguing.

The other day they were mentioning Listening Posts. Can you imagine a post with ears? Why would you have such a thing or just now they were talking about Spitfires. That must be a horrible thing: Something that spits fire on the loose and apparently is flying around. From what I can gather there are a lot of things flying around that are not birds out there. I cannot look outside to see for myself.

It seems the basement has been turned into a kind of headquarters for some kind of fighting. They have put down large maps of what I assume is Britain and the women are moving around and listening to something though contraptions they have about their heads. Apparently they can speak and hear something or someone that tells them to move little pieces of wood around on the maps using long thin sticks with a little hoe at the end. They push these wood blocks around and others watch them and then the men rush off to talk into those phones. So far the majority of the blocks have stayed in France from what I can figure out.

I remember another time when what sounded like explosions shook the house. Sometimes for what seemed like hours. Then the sirens would stop and all would be quiet. I wonder if that was going to happen again? I don’t get much excitement in my existence anymore. I had long ago stopped thinking of the reasons for my existence and just continued being.

English is not my native language or I should say this version of English. I can catch some of the words but much of what is said is beyond my comprehension. I believe I have lost the ability to learn. This is most annoying considering that 3 of the upstairs floors are filled with books. I very rarely come down from the 4th floor and even more rarely come out of the room but the noise down the basement was too much of a temptation.

The air shaft provides a convenient passageway down and saves me from the look of horror when I am seen. I can be seen or not seen at my discretion but I prefer not to be touched. So the air shaft is a perfect conduit to the goings on in the basement. I will state most emphatically here and now that I do regret the deaths I have caused. Some were not my fault but one was. You see I can see into the hearts of the sentient beings I come in contact with. That is why I do not like to be touched or to touch anyone.

The person I killed or should I say frightened to death was a monster. Some drunk sailor that has just horribly raped a young girl as he had done many a time before. This time she had died. At the age of 13 she had been used and then strangled and then mutilated by this butcher. Shortly after this horrific deed he ended up stumbling into my room along with his partner. I was so startled by their sudden appearance that I was touched by him. I then saw what he had just done. So I made myself known and he died of fright I guess you would say. His friend escaped.

One of the men down in the basement almost reeked of malevolence. He was an evil man. I was very tempted to make myself known to him down in the basement but for some reason I felt it was against some unwritten rule. He was going or had done something very heinous to the others in the room and also to many others. He was going to cause the deaths of many yet would also save many; an interesting outcome that I did not quite understand. In war one sometimes forgets that there are two or more sides and when one side wins the others lose and the death of one can save the lives of many. This man I would have liked to meet face to face in the room upstairs.

I have overheard and understand that I am quite famous in certain quarters. The current residents in the lower 3 floors do not bother me but run their book business and leave me alone. I do prefer this. I really do not like frightening people. My home is called the most haunted house in London. I suppose I should be flattered but I do not know my role in the grand scheme of things. Why am I trapped here? What is my purpose? Have I been here for decades to just frighten to death that sailor? How do I find release and peace?
My address is 50 Berkeley Square London, England. Do not drop by for a visit. You will most likely be sorely disappointed…or depending on what is in your heart…possibly not.

The Right Man by Tallthinkev

'Come in Keith. Thank you for coming along.' said Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Tedder 'take a seat.'
'It's was no problem Sir' Sir Keith Park said he sat down at the table. The very top of the RAF were sitting around the same table, with Tedder at the head.
'First things first. We must congratulate you again on the success of the raid over France. We had our doubts, but worked better than we had hoped. We gave them a very bloody nose and may have set them back a few weeks.' That was Sir Stanley Vincent, head of Fighter Command.
'Thank you sir. If I may add.'
'If I could hold you there Sir Keith.' that was the voice of another Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sholto Douglas. Sholto Douglas, himself, had been very lucky to get out of Germany when the Russians had attacked 'Do you think we should do something like that again?'

Before he could answer, Douglas continued, 'We think it was very lucky and to do it again would be a big mistake.'

Sir Arthur Harris no longer the head of Bomber Command, but still had his finger very much on the pulse.

'Hit and run a small scale, like the Germans did on the south coast in the last war was and will be again, very hard to stop. We couldn't stop then and neither will the Russians.
'What do you wish me to do now then sirs?'
'We have not yet, formally decided.' was the answer from Stanley Vincent, head of Fighter Command. 'WE have been thinking of giving you the job of coordinating all the parts of RAF in the country. By which we mean each command does not get in each other way.'

Harris almost shouted 'Bomber Command does not get in anyone's way.'

'Calm down Arthur.' that was Tedder 'we know the contribution made by your boys last time round. Your turn will come again.' Harris was clearly not overly happy but kept quiet.
'Maybe I could put it better, Keith' said Tedder 'You know the service inside out from Fighter and Coastal Commands here, as well as what you did in the Med and against the Japs. We would like you to have a think about the ways you can put that knowledge to good use here. What do you think?'
'I'll have to have all the information you can give me. Maybe within the next few days I could work something out. Will that be all right?'
'As long as you can get a preliminary report to us be the end of the week, we then, can look it over.'
'I'll do my best, sir. Is there anything else?' said Sir Keith

Tedder replied 'I believe that is all. Anyone else have anything to add? No. Well thank you for coming and we will see on Friday.'

Sir Leonard Slatter, of Coastal Command, the head in fact, interrupted 'Sorry sir. I forgot to ask Sir Keith about Bader.'

Harris muttered something under his breath. Vincent just rolled his eyes.

'I'm sorry sir, I don't think I'm the best person to ask.'
'Yes we know there has been some history between the two of you, even though you took some of his advice on the large sweep But where do you think he can be put to the best use? The public love him.'


'All I want is him out the way and somewhere where he can't mess things up' said Harris 'the most arrogant man I have ever met. And even worse now he got his promotion. thinks he should be sitting here no doubt.'

A wry smile came across the face of Tedder. 'How about a tour of the Empire? As it has been pointed out the public love him and he loves nothing more than talking about himself.'

They all loved this idea. Out of sight, out of mind.

Sir Keith had been booked into the Savoy Hotel, at a much reduced rate. He wasn't really sure how he felt about this. He had been called a war hero and they want to treat him a such, but he did feel guilty. There were still a lot of Londoners without a home let alone a house. After a light supper he retired to his room, he had a lot of work to do. Lucky for himself he had a telephone in his room. It was just a matter of ringing the hotel operator for an outside line. He rang a number of group and station chiefs that he had known from his time when head of Coastal Command. Some had move on others where only too willing to give him their points of view. He had taken a number of notes during the conversations and was time to put them into some kind of order. He didn't realize in was after one thirty until he had finished.

When he awoke he knew it was time for more work, but not after a good breakfast. By the time he ended breakfast and writing up the last few notes he called up his driver. It was time to get to the real work. Feet on the ground so to speak and talk face to face, to everyone. Maybe even the NAFFI food had got better. Tangmere first then a number of other Kent stations.
On the Friday afternoon Sir Keith met with Tedder alone. Tedder took his time looking over the report that he had been given. It was a lot more detailed then he had expected, in fact it was a little too detailed then he had thought possible in the amount of time he had given him.

'Another cup of tea Keith or something stronger?'
'What ever you’re having sir.'
'Whisky all right?'

'That would be very nice sir.'

'Now tell me in your own words, what is the main problem? As I can make out you surmise most thing are fine, with just a few kinks to be ironed out.'
'I wouldn't put in a simply as that sir. There are quite a few little things that make it a larger problem than when first looked at.'
'Please continue Keith.'
'The way I look at it is some Commands overlap each other, be which I mean they are both doing the same job. For instance, both Fighter and Coastal command are doing the same job on the south coast. Flying patrols, looking out for Russians, if Coastal Command find some they have to radio in fighters, which as you know, is Fighter Commands job in the first place. Now if we can arrange for Fighter command to take the job in the first place this can free Coastal Command for more patrols in the east.'

Tedder nodded.

'Also Home Command, can, but no means at all the time send out pilots to the wrong place. Weather this is the commands fault, which I very much doubt. Or some of the pilots, I wouldn't say lie, but may not tell the whole truth about what they did in the last war. This is one one thing that has to be tighten up. Also ground crews can be sent to stations, to service aircraft that they may have never worked on before.'

The meeting carried on for over another hour. Tedder now thought he had the right man for the job he wanted doing. The right man for the right job.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mao Smiles by RangerElite

Far East Theater in WWIII 1946

In an abandoned coal mine,
Somewhere in
Soviet-occupied Manchuria

This is what now constituted a “People's Congress”, committee meetings in the dark, hunted now more than ever before, with a completely shattered command structure and facing more and more defections to the new Republic of China Armed Forces, with the most devastating being the defection of Xu Haidong's Yennan Route Army. Mao has sworn his revenge on Xu and his traitorous followers, and to all who have abandoned the people's war. How could he have been so blind as to not see the coup that deposed Generalissimo Chiang coming from within his own ranks? But none of that second-guessing did anything to remedy his situation right now...

The issue at hand was the disruption of recruitment of new troops for the army of the new government and blocking the reforms that they are attempting to implement, starting a new propaganda campaign that decried this government as more of the same corruption. This dog Sun was smart, but even a smart dog must be made to heel; bending him and his reforms to Chairman Mao's, and by extension the Chinese Communist Party's, will is a step in that direction. In order to make this happen, Mao must discredit Sun, and his government, first, and that was increasingly becoming an insurmountable task.

On the military front, Mao was becoming increasingly irritated with the Soviets, and their decreasing material support for his war. Though his manpower numbers were decreasing, he was no longer being supplied with first-rate weapons, ammunition and equipment from the Soviets themselves, but with second-rate weapons, ammunition and equipment captured from the Allies in their lightning attack across Europe. This was causing severe logistical hardship on Mao's troops, with the additional issue of hampering his operations because of it. This is another reason why Sun's counter-offensive against his forces have been so successful, so much so that Mao's forces have been pushed back behind the Soviet lines in Manchuria. Comrade General Chou En-lai was working on a new plan of attack, and they were retrofitting some special equipment that the Soviets had just delivered to them, just for this attack. It was sure to be a nasty surprise to the government forces who will no doubt be facing it. Mao Tse-tung smiled at the thought, as the meeting came to order...

Birth Of A Weapon System by RangerElite

Weapons Development in WWIII 1946

Design Workshop of John C. Garand
Springfield Armory
Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

John was once again working late in the workshop, but he was not alone tonight. He was joined by Dieudonne Saive and Ernest Vervier, of the Fabriqué National de Herstal, of Belgium, and by Alex Seidel, formerly of DWM-Mauser AG, now employed by the Springfield Armory. They had been busy experimenting with many ways to improve the T46A1 (what they were now calling the American Sturmgewehr) and they think that they've discovered a way that they can make an important change that would revolutionize this rifle and make it far superior to anything that the Soviets can ever produce.

It all started after the initial trials for the T46A1, when one of Garand's contacts at the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, in the U.K., sent him several thousand rounds of their new .280 caliber ammunition, along with the specs for production. Garand subsequently converted a few M1 rifles to fire the round, and was quite impressed with the ballistics coming out the shortened “intermediate” round (as a matter of metric conversion, the case was 20mm shorter than that of the .30-'06). When Garand proposed the idea to Saive, Vervier and Seidel, they got right to work improving the rifle, incorporating the new British round into its design, and building a new prototype for the testing of the the ammunition to be used by the rifle, and testing the living hell out of it, hoping that they can come up with a battle rifle that is fit for mass-manufacture and can survive and operate under any condition.

As the design and further development continued, it was Ernest Vervier (who was also developing a general purpose machine gun, independently from this project, but using the same ammunition to increase interchangeability) who recommended the design of special versions for use by special troops, such as airborne and amphibious troops, and favored of the use of synthetic materials, such as Bakelite, over natural materials, such as wood. Another question that was debated was for special versions, was a folding stock a necessity? The two Belgians believe so, as does the German, but to a lesser degree, so prototypes were made in different configurations. Carbine sized, for use by tank and air crews? How short can the barrel be before it adversely affects accuracy and range? Soon, there were all sorts of ideas were being knocked around, from full-caliber machine pistols to extended-barreled squad automatic weapons, and every configuration in between, making selection of the best models for a particular purpose a difficult proposition, at best, and a nightmare, at worst.

In the end, four weapons derived and developed from the original T46A1 prototype were selected: the base model being a product-improved version of the prototype battle rifle (T46B3 or XM4), in .280 caliber, along with a longer, heavier-barreled squad automatic weapon (T46D4 or XM6) to replace the BAR, shorter-barreled carbine, with a solid stock or a side-folding stock (T46C2/T46C3 or XM7), to replace the M1/M2/M3 carbine system, and a machine pistol (T46G4/T46G7 or XM8) chambered in 9mm or .45 ACP for tank and air crews, replacing the M3 “Grease Gun” submachine gun . They even developed a 30mm grenade-launching weapon (T48A3 or XM9) to install underneath the barrel of the battle rifle, based on a cross between the Walther flare gun and ammunition from the Rheinmetall 30mm aircraft cannon.

Things got much more interesting when they began some of the other weapons experiments, reverse-engineering and redesigning the Fallschirmjägergewehr-42 as a test machine gun, re-chambering it to fire different ammunition and observing the results. Once the final armory prototype was built, it and its drawings were transferred in deep secrecy up to Saco Manufacturing Corporation, in Maine, for finalization and pre-production, before submitting the weapon for range and combat testing. The weapon had an initial test designation of T50E1, but in service, would be classified as the XM5/M5 general-purpose machine gun.

Garand and the other gentlemen present decided that they should submit all the weapons as an entire system, with fully interchangeable parts and ammunition (except for the machine pistols and, obviously, the grenade launcher), and to this end, they would have Alex Seidel enlist the aid of his friends Edmund Heckler and Theodor Koch. They were both colleagues of his from DWM-Mauser, and now advised the Army's Chief Quartermaster, Lieutenant General Levin Hicks Campbell, and the Army's chief of weapon development and procurement, Colonel Rene Studler, and have them convince the two that it was a wise decision to accept these weapons, and the British ammunition, for the U.S. Army, and in doing so, convince the other branches and other militaries to also adopt the system of weapons, making manufacturing the weapons on a mass-production scale highly likely. And perhaps, they could convince Colonel Studler of further developing the under-slung grenade launcher, as the design was still a bit raw, and explosives, not including smokeless gun powder, was not their fortè.

So now was the moment of truth, where they would learn whether or not their weapons would be mass-produced and win the war for NATO, or they would be relegated to the dustbin of history...

Do unto others (Rudel's Leg) by Tallthinkev

Hans-Ulrich Rudel had been shot in the leg.
He took it off. 
30mm higher and they would have taken the rest of it.

He thought about the last few days. Not as hectic as the Eastern Front in the last weeks of the last war against the Bolsheviks, but interesting never the less.

He couldn't really believe his luck they had found one for him and a good German ground crew as well. 

The canon was, he thought a bit more, just different from what he was used to, 40mm not 37mm but it was what it could do not how did it, that counted. The re-con photographs were better than he was used to as well. High flying Meteor's he was told. Again it didn't matter where they had gotten there from, as long as the information was right. It turned out that it was.

He was sitting outside his tent in the New Forest. That was another thing NATO had taken from us, it worked here just as good as it did back home.

Home. Best not to think about what the arse holes were doing there. The Führer was right we should have swept the whole east clean. Bad luck, incompetent generals and the sheer number of the Russians didn't help. He still had no idea how many he had killed personally, 1200 on that battleship alone, must be.

Again his thoughts went back to the last few days.
The Ju-87 they had got him was a G-2 model a good solid plane, the ground crew knew it inside out. Funny thing to say really.
The canon the British had given his crew was a Vickers 40mm, the type that had done so much damage in North Africa. They were his now. Shooting up the Reds airfields was pleasure, ripping across it at 15 meters. The trill, the exhilaration, it felt good.
It was stupid to go round again but he could not resist it. He got caught by ground fire, the Stuka could take it.
He couldn't.
He'd have to ask about having a gunner the next time. Also the high ups were talking about putting some kind of radar in it. He couldn't fly the 87 and watch that as well. Let alone shot them and dodge the return fire. A radar operator who was also a gunner that could work. The weight might be an issue, one less bomb? Let them worry about it, not him. 

The first time he had beaten up a Red airfield was in a Hurricane IIc the week before. He was able to drop the bombs from 25m but didn't really have the chance to use the canons it was equipped with.
They then gave him another Hurricane, this time a IId. The Vickers 40mm canon worked very well, no wonder the RAF had been so successful in North Africa. It was good, but it still wasn't a Stuka.

He had one now and he was the very best at what he did.
Killing Russians. 

But first things first, he had to get his leg fixed.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

“Recycle and Reuse” by RangerElite

Weapons Development in WWIII 1946

Tank Gunnery Range
Aberdeen Proving Ground
Fort Meade, Maryland, USA

Staff Sergeant Barry Swinton was initially wary of the monstrosity known to him as the XM4G heavy tank, being nothing more than an M4A3 Sherman medium tank, retrofitted with an Allison turbocharged diesel engine and the entire turret assembly of the M26 “Pershing” (the “Pushing”) heavy tank, including its powerful 90mm gun, as the M26 hulls would no longer be needing them. Production had started on the M50 Patton, but not enough of that model was being built yet to satisfy current needs, so a stop-gap measure was needed to fill divisional inventories until enough M50's can be built to fill them. But what to do?

As it turns out, there was a plan before the end of the last war to retrofit older M4A3's the very same way, with excess M26 turrets being built to implement this design. The war ended before it could be done and the plan was shelved. But with the colossal failure of the M26 on the battlefield and the slow build up to full wartime production, the plan was once again considered and now being tested, along with a new gyro-stabilizer, that was supposed to allow the gunner to fire the main gun, while the tank is in motion. Along with the gyro-stabilizer, this tank would also mount a night-vision scope, allowing the tank crew, especially the gunner, to see heat signatures at night. Somebody said that it was something that the Krauts had been working on when the war ended, and our boys had gotten a hold of the research and the prototypes, and a few of the fielded models. That the U.S. had classified the project as “Top Secret” meant that government researchers, perhaps with the help of some the original German engineers on the project, had made a breakthrough in the technology.

Sergeant Swinton knew that he'd had his background thoroughly scoured by the FBI before being cleared for this project, but he knew that he had absolutely nothing to fear, and had an exemplary combat record to boot.

After the war, he was discharged to a life of drudgery, selling women's shoes, until this new war started, and he re-enlisted right away, even getting promoted before his first 60 days back were up. This night test would see how this mid-sized beast (he'd heard someone call it '20 pounds of crap in a 10 pound sack') would do, whether it lived up to it's expectations, especially the gyro and night-sight.

Swinton thought to himself “Here we go” as he started up the tank and peeped up through the night-sight in his periscope, looking at all the blobs in shades of red in the infra-red spectrum, before switching to light-amplification mode, where all the shapes were clearer, but cast in an eerie greenish light. As his eyes quickly adjusted to the greenish hues of the night-sight, he was able to drive the tank as smoothly as if it were daylight. As they reach their first target area, he felt the tank moving through a 30° slope, and he heard the hydraulic-electric servomotor of the turret moving while they were on the move, then heard the deafening CRACK-BOOM of the main gun, and a splash of exploded earth, then another CRACK-BOOM, followed by a KA-BOOOOOM! of a direct hit. This was all accomplished while the tank was still moving. To Swinton, it was a resounding success. He had never heard of a tank, except when it was handled by no less than a veteran crew and gunner, able to drive nearly flawlessly in the dark, let alone be able to fire on and hit it's targets dead-on, all in the dark. It was nothing short of amazing.

The five XM4G tanks of the test platoon did this all night, switching their night-sights from light-amplification to infra-red, and back again, to find their targets, and each other. Their gunnery improved with practice and the ease with which they eliminated their targets became readily apparent as the sun rose at 0657. It had been a long arduous, but they now knew that they had a tank, with some minor adjustments, that could match, or defeat, any tank that the Soviets had in their inventories. Knowing now what this new tank could do, Swinton wanted Soviet blood, and would not be satisfied, until he got it.

The Mouse in the Lion's Den by RangerElite

Far East Theater in WWIII 1946

In an abandoned Japanese military base,
Somewhere in Soviet-Occupied Manchuria

Shao Wong-wei felt exposed here, but not overly so. Dressed as a coolie, he could potentially go anywhere, and potentially listen in on anything, because, let us face facts,  NOBODY pays attention to the hired labor, no matter what your ideology is. And some years ago, he joined the Communist Party to solidify his cover. He had been spying for the Nationalist, no, it was now the Federal Chinese, government for many years now, and now more than ever, he felt that his efforts may finally do some good where it mattered the most.

He had been recruited as a trustworthy Communist laborer for this particular project, and had been present when the three special Soviet trains pulled into this special hidden rail siding, to off-load their very special cargoes of weapons and technicians. He had heard by word of mouth that these were very special weapons of high quality, of European, especially German, manufacture, captured by the Soviets in their invasion of Western Europe. After these first three trains, the trains didn't stop coming for the next 4 days, on average of five trainloads per day. But the last day was the busiest, with seven trainloads to off-load, well into the night. He duly passed this information along to his contact for analysis.

The job wasn't over yet, though. There was labor that was needed to be done in   lieu of the machines and mechanical devices needed to comlpete such tasks. But then, that had always been the Chinese way. As Shao made his appointed round, doing the work required of him, and no more, he would listen to the conversations between the People's Liberation Army troopers and their Soviet “advisors” and technicians. They were planning an offensive and it was to happen soon. He had not been able to arrange a meeting with his contact to pass the new information along, so he had to break cover and disappear, taking the information to straight to the government himself. But escaping the base would be difficult at best, considering the amount of security now being employed in keeping prying eyes out...

As Shao was mulling the problem over in his head, he heard his name being called in the distance “Comrade Shao! Come over here, NOW!” A chill of fear shot up his spine, and he did his best to suppress it, and headed to the man who called him. It turned out to be his supervisor, Comrade Commissar Hwang Li, who asked him, “Tell this Manchu barbarian that he needs to be mindful of fulfilling his quota for the People's War, else he'll find his family's food ration cut!” Shao dutifully translated his Mandarin Chinese overlord's diatribe into Manchu, thinking to himself that such fools should never be placed in positions of authority.

As he was dismissed and walked away, he quickly thought to himself that this was the perfect opportunity, as they had been near a guarded gate from which he could exit. He quickly walked to the gate and was challenged “On who's authority are you leaving the base, Comrade?” “Why of course, on Commissar Hwang's orders, Comrade. Didn't you just see us talking over there a moment ago?” The guard sheepishly nodded “Or would you care to explain to him why you did not allow me to leave to complete the task he assigned to me?” The guard immediately blanched, thought for a moment and let him through. And he was never seen at that base again.

The Acorn

It was on May 12th 1944 at 7:43 am that the big oak came down. Edmond Eyre had been keeping an eye on that tree on Llancadle Farm for over a year. Ian had finally given him permission to harvest the tree and it came down with a resounding crash. It was cut up into proper lengths and hauled off to the lumber mill and turned into a number of large beams. One of which was destined to shore up the thatched roof of the Green Dragon Inn in Llancadle proper. The roof had a tendency to catch fire a couple times a century and the latest owners were looking for some security from previous mishaps.

The tree itself had an interesting history. The acorn it grew from was on its way to be roasted and used for flour by another man named Eyre. This man named Eyre came from Co Galeay, Ireland. His first name is lost to history but he was one of the fortunate few to escape the Irish Potato famine of 1847.

The good ship Wanderer docked in Newport and deposited 113 destitute men, women and children with 20 of them said to be close to death. Our man Eyre was one of them and was foraging far and wide a few months later when he came upon a great store of acorns near Alberthaw. The pile of acorns was on the grounds of what would become the Boys School there. He gathered all he could in his pockets and moved on to find other edible forage to bring back to his family. Acorns could be used for flour if properly treated and many a life was saved during times of famine in Europe. Eyre knew this and was hedging his bets. On the way back to New Port our acorn fell of his pocket and started to germinate that spring on Llancadle Farm.

It was amazing to think that the huge oak just needed sunlight, water and some common nutrients to become the colossus it was. How from a little acorn no bigger than your big toe it turned into the towering shade tree that it had become.  And then in another amazing transformation to the pieces of lumber that kept many a man women and child warm and out of the elements for possibly another century or more.

The tree that Edmond Eyre cut down was close to a hundred years old and was the spawn of our acorn. That 96 year old tree would have taken the life of Edmond Eyre’s distant relative, Commander Anthony Eyre on Saturday 16th, 1946. As fate would have it the huge oak was not there to send the metal rod through Edmonds heart, for all that was left was a stump. Therefore Commander Eyre’s Tempest NV787 had no obstacle to impede its progress as it plowed into the ground after a failure in the sleeve drive mechanism caused the engine to seize after takeoff.

Commander Eyre was an RAF ace with 9 victories before being shot down over France after being married for only 68 days. He was sent to the infamous Stalag Luft III for three years. After the war he was on a routine flight when the incident that should have taken his life occurred. Fate rules all and the tree that he should have crashed into was not there. Parts of it were scattered in places like the Green Dragon and surrounding homes in Llancadle. Anthony Eyre’s distant relative planted the tree that was destined to take his life.  Another of his relatives cut it down thus saving his life. 

Eyre was itching to get into the fight again. He had sat out the last three years of the war in Stalag III and was ready to fly in earnest once more. They offered him one of the Gloster Meteors but he preferred to stay with the Tempest for the upcoming festivities with the Soviets. Something about the roar of a propeller ripping through the air was ingrained in his heart. The high pitched whine of a jet engine just didn’t sound right to him yet just yet. He’d move on to the Meteor or Vampire soon he supposed.

After that close call with his last Tempest and the touchy drive sleeve mechanism he was a little jumpy. He had been told that his most likely opponents would be the Lag 7 and Yak 3. They had the range to fly at low and medium altitude over Group 11 and most of Group 12 with drop tanks. Both were formidable opponents flown by seasoned veterans. This would be interesting if the 5 to 1 odds turned out to be true.

He had of course crashed before, the first time in his first flight in a Gladiator. He never thought he would live that one down. The last war started in earnest and it was readily apparent that the Gladiator was obsolete with only one scoring an air to air victory against the 109. The switch to Hurricanes came just in time for Eyre to get 3 kills in May while his squadron was constantly on the move running from the marauding Panzers in France. During the Battle over Convoy Bosom in the Channel he shot down three more 109s. Being sent to Preswick for a little rest defending Group 13 became an unwelcome reprieve after only a few weeks while the battle raged on over the skies of Britain.

In December, 1941 the now Wing Commander Eyre was flying with the “Circus” and trying to lure German fighters into battle over France when he was shot down. By fighting over enemy territory you lose home field advantage and the pilots that do survive and end up jumping out of a damaged plane also end up in an enemy prison camp. On March 8th, 1944 the newly wed Eyre crashed landed once again but this time near Abbeville in his Spitfire and spent the remainder of the war as a POW.

But that was the last war. All he could do now was to work to prepare his men and their machines. He hated leaving his still newly wedded wife but duty was duty. This 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

“On Desperate Ground” by RangerElite

CIA Offices
U.S. Embassy
Peking (Beijing), Republic of China

Major General David Halderman and Colonel Aaron Bank waited patiently for Brigadier General Archimedes L.A. Patti's attractive assistant, Sergeant Jane Li, to announce them. In the meanwhile, they entertained themselves by drinking coffee and watching Sergeant Li work, until she finally opened the door and announced them. Arch has done quite well for himself, thought Halderman, noting that the CIA's top intelligence officer in China, and General Donovan's personal envoy to Chinese president, Sun Li-jen, had an office that was far larger than the one that they had once shared.

As all the regulation pleasantries were adhered to, the men settled down to talk. “Nice accommodations, Arch. I was thinking that this was nothing compared to our office in the Pentagon” said Halderman. “Well, David, I really didn't have a choice in the matter, but if I had to be shanghaied again, this is exactly the way it should be. By the way, who's the newbie?” Patti was obviously referring to Colonel Bank, whose uniform mostly made sense to him, as an Airborne-trained OSS man, except for the green beret he wore and the crossed-arrow branch-of-service emblem he wore. As an old-school OSS man, Patti was familiar with Aaron Bank's exploits, especially his operation to kill or capture Adolf Hitler, Operation Iron Cross. “This is Colonel Aaron Bank, and we're here to ask for your help, Arch. I worked up a plan for Jedburgh-style drops into Siberia. See, over the past few years, there have been rumors as to what really happens in Stalin's Gulags and to the Jews that he's had transported east, under the pretense of 'protecting' them. As man whose maternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, this hits pretty close to home for me, as chilling memories of stories that my grandparents told me are unfolding before my eyes. Also, there are German and Eastern European prisoners in the camps that could be useful to us. It could be worth our while to free them and use them to sow chaos in Siberia...” as Patti allowed himself to absorb what he was being told, he was already formulating a plan, that he would have to present to President Sun and General Rushenko of the FRAF.

As a hedge, Patti asked “How can I help you, gentlemen?” Halderman and Bank looked at each other, then Halderman nodded to Bank, who said “Well, sir, General Halderman and myself, along with my executive officer, have developed a plan to insert my command, the 10th Special Forces Group, by air and by land, and we will require local help in doing so. Since you have impeccable local contacts, we figured that we could do worse than asking you, sir...” the last comment, Bank delivered with a lop-sided, insouciant, smile. Patti found himself thinking “an irregular commander for an irregular command” and found it difficult to suppress a smile of his own. “David, Aaron, you have my wheels turning and I have a few ideas of my own to add” Patti called into his intercom “Sergeant Li, please put on another pot of coffee for our guests, and pot of oolong tea for us, and then join us when you are ready” “Yes, sir” she replied through the intercom. Halderman and Bank shot concerned looks at Patti, as he replied “Jane Li comes from one of the most prominent families in San Francisco, and has been fighting the communists since before we had entered the world war. She has been vetted many times and holds high security clearances for us, and for the Chinese government. She also happens to be a very meticulous planner. We can use her unique talents”

A few minutes later, Jane Li enters the office, pulls out a couple of small office tables, and serves up coffee and tea, before sitting down to join the brainstorming session. She listens intently, and a few minutes into the session, she speaks up “Sirs – General Halderman and Colonel Bank – I think it would be prudent to hire trustworthy local guides to train your men how to travel through their terrain. There are several native Siberians that I can think of who can be given suitable motivation to defect and help us. From my understanding of the situation, if we do not do something soon, the window of opportunity will close and the Soviets will consolidate their gains everywhere. We will never have this chance again.” They all looked at Sergeant Li in stunned surprise, and agreement. They all knew that she was right. “Here's what I propose should happen: follow the model of the Cabanatuan POW camp raid on four of the gulag camps that Chinese intelligence has identified, near the border. One of those camps has been confirmed as having German and Eastern European POW's from the last war, being 're-educated' for repariation back to their nations of origin. We've had paid assets there for many years, especially after the failed 'Republic of Yakutia' fiasco, during the Russian Civil War” Only General Patti was familiar with what Sergeant Li was talking about, so he explained the local history, giving his guests a better understanding of the regional situation.

Having been thus informed, all four of them set about meticulously planning, and gaming, the first large-scale guerrilla action of the Third World War.

The Swarm Rises

The swarm started to rise on the radar screens all over Britain. Low level and high level radar picked up the now daily activity. It was obvious that the Soviets were trying to intimidate the British government as well as practice for the upcoming hostilities. Thousands of planes climbing for the sky and daily flying off to do practice bombing and strafing runs filled the skies of France and the Low Countries. On the radar screens it sometimes looked like a mayfly swarm rising from the waters of a clear mountain lake. Only it was September and these mayflies had the power to destroy a nation.

Novikov was in his element. Directing and choreographing on a macro level the deadly ballet that he had promised would lay waste to the Royal Air Force of Great Britain. This of course has been tried before and failed. Some say that Goering and the Luftwaffe came within a hairs width of defeating the RAF and some say the issue was never in doubt. By this time in history many a historian and military strategist had waxed eloquently on what the RAF did right and where the Luftwaffe efforts went wrong.

Novikov had read many of these essays and even interviewed a fair number of German and captured British commanders who fought in the first battle for the skies of Britain. He and his staff had immersed themselves in the history and lore of the Battle of Britain. A few very large and significant factors seemed to stand out.
As the Americans and the Germans found out, the range of their fighters must match the range of the bombers if they were to bomb in daylight. They must be escorted to and from the target. This lesson seemed clear.

Sergo and his minions had made sure that the VVS had competitive fighters that could range over the entire British Isles. In addition thousands of the acknowledged best fighters to come out of the last war would have their range extended by the use of drop tanks. The Yak 3s and Lag 7s would swarm the area over Southern England known as 11 Group.  Not as well known in the West, these models were well known to the Germans.

The Yak 3U was a late war model that once the Germans got to know its characteristics the orders came to avoid engaging it below 5000 meters. It was considered too dangerous and they had no plane that could match its performance. It was easily competitive to the best of the US and UK fighters below 5,000 meters.

The Lag 7 had ended the vertical maneuvering superiority of the German fighters and was faster than the FW 190 fighter bombers who plagued the Soviet troops with their hit and run tactics. They could no longer run.

The Luftwaffe failed in the initial Battle of Britain because of situational awareness and lack of basic  intelligence. They had no idea if their attacks were effective, what was working and what was not. Did a second raid need to be made or even the location of the targets themselves? Very often the wrong targets were hit and when the right ones were hit they did not know how effective the strike was. In addition no one of competence was given over-all command.

This would not be the case in this battle. The excellent Soviet spy system had been feeding information to the NKVD and Beria for years. They knew the initial disposition of virtually every fighter squadron and its back up fields as well. Each factory location and what they produced there was carefully plotted. Their destruction carefully planned and their magnitude of importance to keeping the RAF flying carefully projected. The luxury of six months to plan was indeed a welcome change from the war years.

The VVS also had the luxury of not caring about the RAF bomber fleet and its demise. Their only concern was the destruction of Fighter Command. Their bombers were not going to be used for terror raids or shipping attacks. Their sole purpose was to either lure fighters into the air or to destroy them on the ground.
The elimination of the air defense system from the equation was well thought out. The British Anti-Aircraft Command was a formidable foe and the first 4 weeks of the campaign would be critical. The combination of defeating the VT proximity fuse and other planned innovations and tactics should be enough to accomplish the task of leaving the air fields of the RAF helpless for significant periods of time.

  In the lower half of the British Isles this would once again be the time of the Sturmovik. With its range augmented by drop tanks the IL10 would range far and wide in southern England decimating anything that moved around the RAF fighter fields. Eventually it was planned that the regions known to the RAF as Group 11 and 12 would be devoid of safe places to land and gain respite from their relentless pursuers.

The other areas of the British Isles that harbored fighter squadrons would fall to other models of Soviet planes but Group 11 and 12 would be the domain of the Sturmovik and its unrivaled variety of deadly ground attack ordinance. Once the initial attacks began there would be nowhere to hide for the fighters of Group 11 and 12. Every waking hour the skies would be filled with Sturmoviks on the hunt.

They would have to retreat, but where? If they failed to rise to the fight then the VVS had won. If they ran to Iceland or Spain then the VVS had won. The destruction of the British infrastructure would begin just like it had to a helpless and prostrate Germany and Japan. The TU2S held as many pounds of incendiaries as the B17 and Lancaster bombers that fueled a fire storm in Dresden. The TU2S could range all over the British Isles. The Tu2S was significantly faster than the B17.
With the British populace devoid of an air umbrella the Pe 8 and Pe 9 heavy bombers of the VVS could be used with impunity, dropping their full loads of 11,000 lbs of bombs on the helpless populations below.  

If victory was not swift in coming the British would invent counter measures to the ones being practiced overhead. Novikov knew that for his own health and well being, he needed the Second Battle of Britain to be over in less than a month. With 5 to 1 odds it was imperative that he defeat Fighter and Anti-Aircraft Command quickly.

Stalin’s goal was not to invade Great Britain but to take it out of the war effort…to make it a neutral observer. To prevent it from becoming the unsinkable aircraft carrier it became in World War Two. To let the internal communist sentiments rule over the unruly…to assist a nascent communist party in its efforts to gain control over the people of the British Isles…to have them join the workers’ paradise…to throw out the Capitalist dogs that have held sway over the world’s peoples for far too long.

“Golden Dragon Rising” by RangerElite

Research & Development Laboratories
Hanyang Arms Manufacturing Complex
Wuhan City, State of Hupei, Federal Republic of China

Even though this was not in his area of expertise, Dr. Hugo Schmeisser was called into the laboratory to consult, and give his opinion. Though he thought the facilities as cruder than what he was used to, he felt that far more progress was being made, in far less time, than he would have ever hoped for. For his part, it was nice to be treated as an honored guest, rather than being prodded at gunpoint to and from the weapons laboratory at Izhevsk. If those Ukrainian patriots had not spirited him away from there, he surely would have died there, as old as he was.

Dr. Schmeisser was very excited as to what he was about to witness: the Luftfaust and the Luftschreck shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons, having been inproved to increase their range and lethality, were being taken out to the proving ground and test-fired today. It was such a simple premise, the same that had been used on the FlaK 36, to turn it from its intended purpose as an anti-aircraft cannon, into a premier, world-beating, anti-tank gun. The world had Erwin Rommel to thank for that. Had Rommel not been short on PaK's, he would not have even considered using the FlaK's in a direct-fire role. Well, this was a different kind of desperation, with a different set of circumstances, but the results always remained the same: improvisation and innovation.

The weapons themselves were fairly straightforward, but still revolutionary. The Luftfaust came in two different configurations: a 9-barreled 20-mm shoulder-fired projector and a 6-barreled 30-mm shoulder-fired projector. Both were loaded with disposable pre-packaged cartridges from the rear, and had to be fired from a clear area, as the back-blast that issued from the projectors was dangerous to the weapons' operators.  The projectiles were converted 20-mm or 30-mm proximity-fused high-explosive cannon shells, fitted to a tube filled with solid rocket propellant and outfitted with spring-loaded fins, that snapped out as soon as it left the muzzle of the projector. The Luftschreck was a straightforward conversion of the 8.8-cm Panzerschreck, with an anti-aircraft sight adapted from the one used on the MG34 and MG42 machine guns, and ammunition optimized for anti-aircraft use. By virtue of the fact that it still used liquid rocket propellant, and was now fitted with a proximity-fused combination HE/fragmentation warhead, made its manufacture problematic, especially in this area, where there were no mass-production facilities for making the propellant. A problem begging for a solution, thought Dr. Schmeisser. And as soon as the facilities became available for the large-scale manufacture of the liquid rocket propellant, there will be NOWHERE that the bloody Bolsheviks could fly where there wasn't steel shrapnel filling the air.

There were technicians and soldiers ready to conduct the tests, waiting only for the targets to appear overhead. And they appeared on time, huge box-kite targets being towed by Chinese Air Force C-46 tugs on very long tethers. As soon as the targets were released from the tugs into free-flight, and the tugs were safely away, the shooting began. Projectiles were flying all over the place, exploding high up, viciously shredding their hapless wood-and-fabric targets.

One tactic that became apparent to Schmeisser was that massed-fire was being used to destroy the targets. While he was more an advocate of good marksmanship, massed-fire had its place, and it was used to tremendous effect here. He witnessed 3 or 4 gunners concentrate on a target and completely blast it out of the sky. He also noticed the obvious difference in altitude ranges between the Luftschreck weapon, and it's shorter-ranged cousin, the Luftfaust. It was his uninformed opinion that if they were able to increase the range and devise a way to accurately track a jet, the Luftschreck would be the perfect weapon to shoot jets down. As a matter of fact, he would write a letter to the Chinese president to that effect, and let him know his impressions of this test, and inform him of his conclusions and ideas...

Now that this test was finished, he needed to return to his assigned duties, evaluating a new American battle rifle, a direct descendent of the StG-44, placed in his very capable hands by an American benefactor. This was an area of expertise with which he was quite familiar...

Do Unto Others by Tallthinkev

Jack stood at the edge of the apron, at the town end of Cambridge Airport and, really couldn't believe his eyes. He hadn't seen some of the aircraft since the first years of the last war, one of them not since he started at Marshalls 15 years ago.

'What the bloody hell is going on now?' he said to himself.Before him was a number of very out of date planes. 'All they need is a Heyford' he went on.

A few minutes later he was knocking on the door of Arthur Marshall.

'Come in Jack.' Jack did. 'I knew you would be here before long. You want to know what's going on, don't you?'

'Well I erm, was going to ask.'

'No need to ask I'll tell you right now. As you should know the Russian's used small slow planes to cause the very devils havoc to the Germans. Now it's our turn to do it to them.'

'By doing what?' asked Jack

'We need to find the best way to, buzz, I think the Americans call it, the Reds at night.'

Jack nodded, even though he didn't understand

Mr. Marshall carried on. 'We have to find out which of the one the Air

Ministry sent us is the best.'

'What do they mean by that.' Another nod.

'You know what they mean. As long as someone is doing something we can keep them of our backs, for a while at least. But we have to take this seriously. Shall we go and have a good look at what we have here. One thing I do know is one of them was sent by lorry in bits. Best bring young Wilhelm along, he may know what the Russian did.'

Two days later the biplanes they had been sent were ready for flight testing, even the Westland Wapiti. Apart from a few small bits and bobs things went well as expected and all flew.

The next day Jack again was called to the office.

'Right Jack, I want you and some other men to make your way to Wimpole Hall' said Arthur Marshall'

'Erm, why?', was Jack's reply.

'Why? I'll tell you why, because I told you to!' Arthur was not in the best of moods and it showed. Very unlike him in fact. Jack thought it was best to keep his mouth shut.

'I'm sorry Jack, that was uncalled for. We need to get to the hall because of prying eyes.'

Jack started to open his mouth, Arthur held up his hand. 'What I am going to tell you must never leave this office.'

Jack nodded.

'Spy's have been seen and caught in Newmarket Road.'

'Well I do know that, there was the bloke we captured at the Star. He was a wrong'ern.'

'Sorry, again, I had forgotten about that. Well anyway get to the hall and see how flat it is. We will test the planes there.'

After another fifteen minutes talking Jack left to office. He thought he had a hard job, he didn't think that was that bad for Arthur. He's only a few years older than me.

It was the next day,Tuesday, before they got to Wimpole Hall. Coming over Orwell hill took the little Austin van all it had, mainly because it was five up. Jack and Will in the front and another three in the back. Jack was surprised to see a couple of lines of tent set up in the grounds as they got there, and a strip had been marked out along the tree less avenue the ran from the front of the house It only took an hour or so check things over before heading back to Cambridge Airport.

The next day, at Wimpole Hall the small team of airport workers waited for the planes to land. When they had all arrived, they took some time for the sight to sink in, it was strange mix to say the least. From left to right were the six biplanes and one monoplane farthest the right.

First thing first, was to get them undercover. Large tent had been erected for this purpose and each did not look like anything like a place to hide a plane. One even had a field kitchen next to it, the fact that it was a field kitchen certainly helped. The place did look like a small training camp with a shooting range to one side and an cross country course to the other. A small Home guard camp was the idea, something the Russians would not worry about.
Some things were harder to hide, what to do with the fuel tanker was one. Tom was the one who came up with a very novel idea, a muck spreader. With just some bits of pipe added to each side and painted blue, who'd know it wasn't.

Another concern was what to do with the Westland Wallace, with a wing span of nearly fifty feet and length of thirty five it was just too big for a tent which was likely to be used by the army. The fact that it needed a tent height or twenty feet was yet another thing.

The Lysander was even bigger.

'Why wouldn't a Lysander be here anyway.' asked Will

'What do you mean.' said Jack

'It is too big to hide, is it not?'

Jack nodded.

'So why don't we let anybody see it. It would not be out of place at a camp like this, and it would also make the marks on the runway look like one plane.

Jack wouldn't have put it quite like that, but he knew what Will was on about. 'Good lad.' was all he said.

Two days later all the equipment they thought they would need was at the hall, hidden in the six man tents. Machine guns, drop tanks, dummy bombs, amour plate. They all knew that there was going to be stuff they would need that wasn't here.

The Tiger Moth was the first to be worked one and the first one to be discounted. Where to put two 20mm canon was the sticking point. The Gloster Gladiator was next in line, yes canon could be fitted but there was just no place with fixed hard points to carry bombs. It was a fighter after all. It was also too fast, if fast was a bad thing, it was the first time anyone had heard that.

Germany had used the Heinkel He-51 for the same role as Russia, with the Po-2. The trouble was they had no Heinkels. The two things they did have was two Hawker biplanes. A Hind and an Audax

First things first, they were both in very good condition, both very much the same performance.

One thing did stand when just looking at them on the ground. The Hart had a tail wheel and the Audax a skid under the tailplane. Things that you couldn't see were the hard points on the Audax, for a very good reason, it didn't have any. The Hind by contrast did and they decided to start with that.

It took only an hour and a half to look over the Hind. Everything that should be there was..
Thought then turned to the rear seat. Should they keep it? The Po-2 didn't have a gunner, should they do the same. It was late in the day and dusk was coming on. They would leave it until the next day.

Bright and early the next morning, too bright and too early as far as Jack was concerned, they were back. The powers that be had been thinking. Not that they had asked anyone who had to do the works opinion. The Hind was going be turned into a single seater.
'How are we going to do that.' Tom spoke up.

'How would you do it?' was Jack reply.

'Well I would take out the seat, the ring mount for the Lewis gun and then cover with fabric.'

'I never thought I would say it, but you are learning young Tom.'

Jack was pleased how Tom had come along within the space of the last few months.

'Get to it then Tom, you're in charge.'

It took longer than Tom had hoped it would, mostly down to rusted bolts on the ring and the Lewis gun mount. He stuck to it anyway and was not put off by the delay.

'The lad is really getting to be a good worker.' said Arthur.

'Yes I think you well maybe right there.' said Jack standing beside him.

'There is just one thing.'

'What's that?'

'We had to put a fuel tank in there.'

'Where? The place where the gunner was? I wouldn't want to fly it if it was there.'

'That makes two of us Jack. But as luck would have it we will also be putting in armor plate as well as the normal fire wall.

Jack did a bit of adding up. 'That's going to add the best part of 500lb to the all up weight. No, I haven't taken out the gunner.'

A few seconds later.

'Let's say without the gunner, seat, mount and gun and other bits and bobs.' Jack brow creased. 'It's still the best part of 250lb'

'Not quite.' was the answer from Arthur.

'What do you mean?'

'The added armor plate under and besides the pilot, the new tank and fuel, four 20mm canon plus a bomb load of, at least 750lb.'

Jack had to speak up, 'You mean it's going to be, what? 6500-7000lb? How the hell is it going to get of the ground?'

The work started two days later to find out if it could take off, let alone fly.

On the Friday, repair's started on the Hind. There was not too much to do, just where the starboard wing had clipped the ground. Cutting and fitting the tubular framework and then sow on the fabric and dope it. The under carriage somehow survived the 15ft drop from the hop the plane had managed to make before it ran out of runway.

Whilst Jack worked on the wing the rest striped the Hind of the extra fuel tank and took off two of the Hispano canons from under the wing. That already had taken the weight down by, the best part of 800lb, if the fuel was taken in to consideration. Still the Hind weighed more than the 4,650lb it was meant to carry. Jack after finishing the wing pointed, out that observer and his equipment was the best part of 250lb. That was taken off as well. Until Will pointed out that had already been take off when the tank was taken out.

'He's getting too clever by half.' muttered Jack.
On the Saturday afternoon they were visited by Sidney Camm the designer of the Hind. With his help the Hind took to the air.

This time for real.

Sluggish was the word that came to mind, others thought death trap.

It took the best part of 10 minutes to get to 7500ft, over twice as much as normal. This could be a real problem. But as Mr Camm said. 'Does it need to get that high if you want to attack the ground and not be detected by the Reds radar?' Another thing that hadn't been crossed the minds of those there.

Sunday morning was the set time for the mock attacks. The attack started at 15.00hrs along the course of the hundred foot drain, near Earth.
After three days of testing, including a night exercise things were no where as good as hoped.
More than a weeks worth of wasted time.

'A case of if you don't try, you don't know.' said Jack as they headed back to Cambridge.

Back home Jack slept. Then with almost a start he woke, got up and managed to find pencil and paper. This was something so obvious no one had though about.

'It's not what we had in mind, but should work. Why the hell didn't think of this myself.' said Arthur Marshall.

'I don't know why anybody didn't think of it.' said Jack 'Do you know where we can get some from?'

'Not too sure. Warboys might. Could still use one or two as station hacks I'll give them a ring.'

With that Jack left the office and went to collect his pay packet. He took it back a couple of minutes later.

'Anything wrong Jack.' asked Mavis

'There's 15 bob too much.'

'Let me check that, then dear.' Mavis looked in the large ledger. 'no everything seems to be fine. Well that'll mean a little more pocket money for young John won't it.'

'Yes I suppose it will.' and a good bottle of whisky for me thought Jack. It had been a very good day, after the last two weeks, it was about time. A plane for night attacks on the Russians and a pay rise. What's the next thing? They always come in three's.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Better the Devil You Know" by Ranger Elite

Mediterranean Theater in WWIII 1946

Expatriate Force Assembly and Training Centre
RAF Akrotiri
British Crown Colony of Cyprus

It was another warm and humid Mediterranean dawn, and Group Captain Eleftherio Panagakis, of the Royal Hellenic Air Force, has had to face some very hard truths lately. The first truth that Group Captain Panagakis is confronting is the fact that he will have to treat with an ancient mortal enemy in order to defeat a newer and far larger and more insidious one: collaborating with Turkish forces, in order to defeat the Soviets, and their Bulgarian, Yugoslav, and Greek communist allies. Not only will he have to work with the Turks, but he will have to work with people whom he had be at war with in the few years previous, such as non-nationalist Germans, Czechs and Slovaks, as well as Italian, Hungarian, Romanian, Bulgarian Royalists, along with Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosnians and Macedonians. And let's not forget the Albanians, escaping the horror of Enver Hoxha's brand of Stalinist iron rule. They all had something at stake: remain free, or risk liquidation at the hands of the Soviets or their staunchly communist allies.

The irony that the Turks had once ruled most of the people they were now to be allied with was not lost on Group Captain Panagakis. His RHAF Special Air Service Regiment was training to go to war against the Turks, before the Soviets invaded Western Europe, and lit the fuse of communist revolution in Southern Europe. Panagakis was of the realization that most of his fellow Air Force officers were inclined to support the revolutionaries, but he was a Royalist, through and through, and he knew that he would be facing an uphill battle against his own countrymen, and he was fully prepared to accept the role of traitor in the short term. What he was not willing to do was to make his men unwillingly suffer along with him. So, one evening, he secretly summoned the entire regiment into the largest hangar at Larisa air base, and put it to a vote. His unit nearly unanimously voted to join him with a resounding shout of “God save our King!”

As order on the mainland began to crumble, they made the long overland trip down through to Athens, along with as many other Royalist military units as they could muster to them, gathered up the Royal Family and made their way to a Royalist battle flotilla docked in Piræus, and sailed for temporary exile on Crete and Cyprus. When they arrived in Nicosia, they were welcomed joyously by the Greek Cypriot community, as Turkish Cypriots stood by sullenly. As the Commander in Chief of all Greek Armed Forces, King George II, King of all the Hellenes, ordered the SAS Regiment to RAF Akrotiri, to help their short-handed British counterparts help train other Balkan nationals to form their own Commando units and SAS regiments. The Turks, seeing a possible advantage in helping Greek Royalist forces, have allowed overflights by armed RHAF aircraft, in order to carry out air strikes from airfields on Cyprus. They did not need them badly at the moment, because their hold was tight on the island-fortress of Crete, and they had many bases of operation there, but it was nice to know that they had a different direction to attack from.

But today was different, he sensed. Today, decisions would be made that would affect his future, and that of his countrymen, and of all the freedom-loving peoples assembled on this island. He glared at the Germans, who most assuredly had no love for him and his people, and they looked back at him in disdain, especially their commander, a hard-assed Nazi asshole named Joachim Pieper. This was the same man that the Yanks and Brits called “The Butcher of Malmèdy”, who earned that nickname for murdering 86 American POW's during the Battle of the Ardennes Forest, simply because he could not take them with him. A vicious nasty man to be sure. He had already issued orders for his men to watch their contact with the Germans, on penalty of severe punishment...

At the exact moment of that thought, he heard the roaring drone of heavy bomber engines, many, many heavy bomber engines, a sound that he hadn't heard in well over two years, since his days protecting Wheelus airfield in Libya: the United States Army Air Force's heavy bombardment force was landing at Akrotiri.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Evelyn Dick Diary of Burt Post Sept. 22nd, 1946

Thank God they finally charged that women, Evelyn Dick, with murder. I know the Canucks are slow but jeepers. So a bloody torso missing arms, head and legs is found in town by school kids. They find body parts partially burned in the furnace. We have a woman who’s husband is missing, borrows a friend’s car, brings it back with blood all over it, there are bloody clothes in back, claims an “Italian hit man” came to the house, then claims her daughter bled all over the car, then claims that another man made her drive to a dump site with a large bag, has a body of a baby boy encased in concrete in her attic, another guy's wife claims she saw the trunk when her husband yelled at her to get out of the garage where a bloody saw, bullet holes and bloody shoes are found. And they are just now getting around to charging her with murder! The torso was found by the kids in March for god’s sake!

I heard there’s a song the school kids sing as they jump rope.

You cut off his legs...
You cut off his arms...
You cut off his head...
How could you Mrs Dick?
How could you Mrs Dick?

How stupid can you get? Well at least she will not get away with it now. I understand that Canada still hangs people. I hope she gets the noose. What a strange story. I suppose someone will write a book or make a movie about it. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ilyushin Heavy Attack Fighter Chapter 7

One day I was summoned to regimental command post and ordered to lead a flight. I was one of only a handful of experienced pilots that were not killed or wounded.

Many considered it a suicide mission. We were to attack an anti aircraft battery. Not the troops or equipment that they were protecting but the guns themselves. Normally we tried to avoid the ack-ack for obvious reasons. I knew we had to fly around the other flack units so we had to take a broad swing over the Azov Sea. I hate to fly over water. Can’t swim and our life jackets were almost useless. Our target was another flack unit further in the rear. We were to assigned to destroy it.

We leaped over two other lines of flack units and dove on our targets and dropped our bombs then we gained altitude and came back with our cannons blazing. I saw vehicles exploding, infantry running and gun emplacements disappearing in balls of flame. Take that you bastards for everything you had done and for everything we suffered. Paniced vehicle were running over their own men in their haste to find a hiding place.
By hitting a unit so far back from the front it caught them by surprise. We made the best of it strafing again and again until we were out of bullets and bombs. Ah the destruction man can deliver to our fellow man is unnatural. Nothing but a hurricane or wild fire causes such destruction in such a concentrated area.

I looked around and my wingman was nowhere to be found. He had gone down in the marshes. We spotted them when they shot a red flare. I banked my wings and made a steep turn and indicating that I would be back and to sit tight. I marked the spot in my mind and went back to base. After landing I reported to the commander and then I got in a trusty Po-2 and headed back to the marshes and picked Zoubov and his gunner up.

He told us he had been damaged by ack-ack and then was finished off by a fighter. He admitted later that he thought I was bad luck when I first came to the regiment, but no more. “All my doubts disappeared when we saw you above us and you picked us up. I beg your pardon…most sincerely comrade.”

I was forced to go to navigation school. One of my fellow students was V. Kalougin know far and wide for ramming two bombers in two days when he ran out of ammunition. The first one he chopped off its wing with his propeller and the next day took down another by ramming its tail assembly. He of course was a legend.

One of our best weapons for killing tanks was PTABs. These were small armor piercing bombs that each Sturmovik would drop by the hundreds. Each plane could hold up to 250 of these little bomblets and they would easily go through the top armor of any tank on the battle field. We simply flew over them at low level and released the PTABs. They spewed out of their cassettes like a farmer sowing seeds, only these seeds sowed destruction for the Nazi pigs below.

I was still flying a single seater when I went away to navigation school when I came back they convinced me to fly a two seater and I had to choose a gunner. I didn’t fight the change too hard as I had a couple of close calls with fighters in my last few flights. When possible we flew wingtip to wingtip in formation and our gunners were able to repel all but the most ardent of attacking fighters. In one of my last flights I was assigned to bring up the rear in a single seater! Now does this make sense to you? Two Messers saw that I was defenseless and moved in for the kill. After avoiding two such attacks and being hit on both I decided to fly to the front of the formation where I should have been all along. Much to the flight leaders surprise I zoomed ahead of the formation for the rest of the flight. This saved my life.

When we landed I was reproofed in front of the whole squadron and my temper got the better of me. “Why, when you saw I was being attacked, did you not order the group into a defensive circle and then draw the fight over our territory?” He had no answer, as this was the obvious thing to do.

After this incident I was issued a two seater. I was given the choice of choosing my own gunner. This was never done and I was speechless. Just give me one I stammered. “Well we do have only one who is unassigned at the moment but he is kind of a queer duck.”

“I’ll take him.”  I responded.

Personally I would not want to be an IL-2 gunner. It was very frightening. You sat with your back to the pilot in an open cockpit crammed against a heavy machine gun. Basically there was nothing between you and the 6 or so machine guns or cannons of an enemy fighter. You had nothing to hide behind and all the time the pilot is throwing you from side to side while you try to fight back. Imagine if your gun jammed or you ran out of ammunition. You could just watch death coming in the form of a Me 109. No I would not want to be an aerial gunner.

“He” was very young and very awkward. But what a choice I had made! I knew from the very first flight when he shot a flare at an unseen enemy fighter warning the whole flight. Yes I knew from that point on that he was going to be a good one.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Diary of Burt Post September 21st, 1946

Heard there was a big air battle in France with the RAF attacking the Reds. Must have been a hell of a fight. I missed the radio broadcast by Murrow. Sure wish there was a way to record stuff so you could hear it later. I guess I’ll have to wait for the paper tomorrow to find out what exactly happened. The regular broadcasts news sure doesn’t give much information. All they seem to want to do is to sell soap or something instead of informing us what is going on. You’d think we aren’t even in a war the way the big new outfits are acting. It’s like they want us to forget and just ignore it.

Caught a glimpse of Johnny playing ball with the other kids. Those were the days when all you had to worry about was covering the hole between first and second. I remember tossing the bat to determine who would pick first. One guy throws it to the other and then they take turns gripping the bat hand over hand until you reach the top…and no pinkies. In our games we always picked Jackie before Eddie. Jackie was a much better thrower. Heard she won some contest the high school and still holds the girls record to this day for longest thrown. I had a mighty big crush on her. I wonder where Jackie is today?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Novikov Reports

Novikov paced outside the door of the most terrifying man in the world. He knew what game Stalin was playing. Hell he used it himself. He used it because it worked…just like it was working on him. The trouble was he could not control himself.

Novikov thought…It’s the anticipation that does it. You just can’t help thinking about it. He knew what he was going to say. He had all the facts and figures. He had all the justification he needed to put the blame squarely on Beria. That little weasel had been out foxed by the RAF. His pool of spies had failed to alert the VVS of the upcoming attack. Without that advance information things were going to go wrong just like with any military operation. The only reason they had been almost completely successful in intercepting the Capitalist air raids was because of advanced notice. Without it Leningrad would be a smoking pile of radiation and more attacks would have followed on more cities.

What a monstrous invention the atomic bomb was. He actually hoped that the VVS will never be given the opportunity to use one.  He didn’t know if he could sleep at night knowing he had created such wanton destruction. He wondered if the American commanders and pilots who detonated them over those two helpless cities in Japan had any regrets. Snap out of it Novikov … you have to be aggressive and have your facts in order.

Go over them one more time. Despite what the British press is saying we only lost 58 pilots and 116 planes. Out of tens of thousands of pilots that is not many. We lose more pilots per month in training then that. The destruction of facilities and supplies were well with in normal ranges for a day’s worth of combat. A pin prick your Excellency…no …Comrade.

I don’t want to seem too obsequious.

He pretends to like that but in reality that is what gets you killed. He had seen it many times. Many times…

Concentrate Alexander… he is the most dangerous man on earth…yes a pin prick Comrade and easy healed. If Beria had warned us like he contends he can this would have not happened at all. If you will recall Excellency, Comrade Beria is the one who promised to inform us of any major raid by the RAF and USAAF. And I will say that so far he has been doing very well. But to blame me and the VVS for this is beyond reason. If anyone is to blame it is the NKVD under the direction of Lavrentiy Beria.

In his mind he takes a more conciliatory tone.

But do not be too hard on him comrade he has done very well so far and I have confidence in him (because he knows too many of my secrets) and I am sure he will not fail again. This and the attack by the Capitalist battleships were mistakes but correctable ones comrade. Do not go too hard on him.
It does not do any harm to try and soften the blow for Lavrentiy. He is a dangerous man to cross and this is not worthy of his ire.

Ouch…damn…my toe hurts. I must have gout or something. Of all the time for this to happen. Oh damn it …it hurts...god damn it!

The door opens and an aide beckons Novikov inside.

How does he do that? How did he know my foot would be hurting? He must have a witch on his payroll…

“Alexander Novikov, Chief Marshal of Aviation reporting as ordered Comrade.”

The door closes behind the aide as the aide leaves the room without looking back.