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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Friday, January 20, 2012

“As Heart And Blood” Episode 8 – PART II by Christopher Marcus

The man who until moments ago had been Marcel Carstagnol, lay still on the floor. A pool of dark blood slowly spread under him.

Had he had connections to Communist partisans or not? Did he even know about the weapons cache   – that it had been buried on the grounds behind his house? He never had a chance to fully answer before Jäger had killed him.

It was as if answers did not matter to Jäger, Javier thought. Was it the same for everyone else who had been fighting in a war for too long now? Since when? 1940? 1939?

Javier’s grim reverie were broken off, when somebody began screaming inside the bedroom which was adjacent to the house’s dining room. It was Marcel’s wife – Charlotte. They had locked her in there with the children:

“Marcel – Marcel – qu'est-ce qu'il passe? Qu'est-ce qu'il passe? Marcel!!”

Now Javier also heard crying – it was Jean and Marie, the children.

“Tell her to shut up – and to shut them up,” Jäger said to Javier “ – or I will have the brats shot.”

Javier felt like throwing up. Still he went into the room and did his best to try to calm down the woman. He knew a few phrases of French from school but he found out that Charlotte, who had been born in France, understood enough Spanish to be clear about Jäger’s sincerity.

And when it was clear to her what had happened – that Marcel was dead – and what she was expected to do now, she simply dropped back on the bed, but in an awkward sitting position, like a puppet whose strings had been cut. All she cut manage to do was huddle Jean and Marie.

They all looked very pitiful and Javier felt deeply sorry for them. But he knew that he could not – would not be allowed to – say anything comforting to. Nothing. He was, after all, responsible.

He went back into the dining room because he could not stand being in there with them anymore. He closed the door behind him.

Jäger was standing at the big dining table, inspecting the catch:

“Five Tokarev SVT40 semi-automatic rifles, three Model 1891/30 bolt-action rifles, and a DP28 Dyegtarov light machine gun," he noted with some satisfaction. "Not bad – not bad at all." He then looked at Javier:

"Quite an inventory to have buried behind once’s outhouse if we are only talking about left-overs from the Spanish Civil War, wouldn’t you say?"

Javier said nothing. He felt like a ghost.

One of the men who had held Marcel down grinned loudly. It was the big Swede – Larsson – who had also been in the Waffen-SS Division Nordland – just as Jäger. He was standing over Marcel’s corpse, and, after having lit a cigarette, he threw part of the ash on it.

“Well,” Jäger sighed “ – this is not usable for sniping, obviously, but I suspect far worse. Mendoza’s people have picked up weapons, air dropped here and there by the Bolshies … then he has handed them on to the locals on both sides of the border – locals he felt he could trust enough to help him, when the Bolshevik offensive finally came.”

“Good thing we came here first, sir,” Larsson said.

“Yes,” Jäger agreed. “It is our job, after all – too find the enemy before he finds us.”


Some hours later, Javier met up with Miguel at the partisan hunters’ camp. In the weeks they had been together since the ambush on their old regiment, they had not particularly come to like each other – which would probably have been against all odds anyway. But now at least it felt like there was a mutual understanding of the necessity of respecting each other – for the sake of survival, if nothing else.

Miguel smoked a cigarette, looking on disinterestedly as the men – some former SS, some odd Wehrmacht soldiers left over from Blaskowitz’ evacuation of Southern France when Operation Dragoon hit in August ‘44, and some Javier had no idea where came from.

A bunch of fucking mercenaries .... And he and Miguel and Dominic were now part of that bunch. But they had also sworn to fight on the same side as those mercenaries. Or whatever they were.

“You look like shit,” Miguel said, not making fun.

“I feel like shit, too,” Javier said.

“Was it rough down there?”

“Jäger shot the village leader – the man I had lodged with. At least he let the wife and kids live … ”


“God only knows … ”

“No, you idiot,” Miguel spat and threw away his cigarette, “Why did Colonel Fascist shoot that man? I thought you said the village was clear.”

“I thought it was but … perhaps Jäger had guessed something I hadn’t. We found a weapon – several in fact.”

“So there was a reason,” Miguel said flatly.

“That doesn’t make it any less wrong,” Javier said and looked at him, ready for another challenge. He was no longer afraid of Miguel. There were far worse things to be afraid of than the big Cuban ox.

But Miguel had apparently made up his mind about something, too. For he came over and put his big paw on Javier’s shoulder. For a second Javier wished that Miguel had not been big, and ugly and Cuban … then at least it might have mattered.

“You know, Gonzales,” Miguel said, “you’re all right. The way you killed that partisan-shithead … and I had you pegged out for a fag, or a coward – or both … from the beginning. I was wrong. I mean it.”

“Maybe I am still a fag … ” Javier said, too tired to guard his words.

Miguel thought it was a joke. He laughed heartily: “Maybe, amigo – but you sure as hell are no coward.”

Javier was about to say something, but then he saw the look in Miguel’s eyes: Miguel had heard it too … the hum of airplanes. Many, many airplanes.

They kept staring at the gray mid-day sky for a few minutes and that was enough.

Coming in over the mountain was a swarm of Soviet planes – the largest Javier had ever seen. After only a few minutes the gray sky turned into black – so many were there.

“Jesus – ” Miguel burst out ” – they cover the whole goddamn sky. There must be at least five hundred … ”

“At least five hundred …” Javier whispered.

Someone in the camp behind them shouted orders frantically – in German and Spanish. Movement erupted all around, as men struggled to pack their things, get their weapons and be ready for anything. Suddenly the distant thunder of artillery which had for a week now been a strange habitual background noise grew in intensity, and the earth trembled and they could feel it with absolute certainty; it was not imagination.

Javier started back for the camp. They had been standing in a small clearing about a hundred meters away, but those hundred meters felt very far now – a long stretch to run for cover, or to jump onto a wagon –

Miguel caught his arm: “Now – ” he whispered hoarsely. “Now we go – away from that shit, Jäger and his Nazis. I don’t care if we are shot as deserters. And I know you don’t care. Now – ”

Javier looked back at the tents that were rapidly being pulled down.

“But Dominic … ” he said. The Haitian was still there, only a few hundred meters away – but inside the tent of their Croatian doctor, Mihailovic, and he did not seem to get any better. Many days he could barely walk. Jäger had kept him with the unit out of goodwill, for aside from his wounds he was also a Negro, which wasn’t exactly an advantage around here.

Out of goodwill … or so Javier had thought.

“Dominic was always as good as dead anyway – ” Miguel hissed, still holding Javier’s arm – “they only kept him here so Jäger had some kind of guarantee we would not split.”

Javier tore his arm away from Miguel’s grip.

“I’m not leaving Dominic.”

“Christ … you sound like Theresa of Avila, man – ”

“I’m not leaving him,” Javier said, firmly. “You can go, Miguel.”

“What is this, Javi-boy – some kind of martyr-thing? – Or is it because you feel guilty for all those people Jäger shot while you looked on – ”

Javier’s fist hit Miguel square in the face. The Cuban did not fall, though. He just looked surprised at Javier, then felt his nose and the trickling, warm blood. All around them there was a whirl of thunder now, as if the artillery barrages themselves had been aimed upwards – up towards their mountain and not straight forward at the Spanish and American bunkers in the valley.

“You can go,” Javier said, determined. Maybe Miguel was right, but he just knew that he could not leave Dominic. Maybe it was stupid. But he had had enough. He had had enough of being that other thing Miguel had called him, again …

… a coward.

But above the sky burst into a hissing, flaming inferno as the first jets of the RAF and USAAF engaged – Below, in the narrow valley leading from Laruns towards the Spanish border, the ground shook under a massive artillery barrage and plumes of smoke and debris unfolded themselves like flowers of death.

Javier shuddered too, involuntarily. If this really was the Soviet’s final offensive ... soon there might be no one left alive in these mountains to call him anything ever again.


Next episode: All hell breaks loose as the Soviets finally smash through the Pyrenees Line at Laruns, their goal to capture Spain once and for all. ‘Nuff said.


Comment from the author: I’ve made a printer-friendly compilation available containing of all episodes in “As Heart And Blood” so far. You can also read my own short stories at , including a companion story to World War III 1946 – set in the present. – Chris

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sergo and Georgy

Georgy received the usual memo passed through the slot and ran to do the bidding of his unseen master.

He marveled that this fellow Sergo had ability to place the exact right person in the exact right job. He had heard that he didn’t know people’s names but just looked at the tests he had designed and each of the 50,000 workers was just a number, just another cog to be placed into the machine of the Soviet aerospace effort. He looked at the test results and then categorized each worker/slave and put them in those file drawers of his, according to some system he had in his head.

They had tried to get him help with some kind of assistance to help him with his job or just something to ease his burdens as well as to spy on him, but he wouldn’t hear of it. They even tried getting him one of the most beautiful women he as every seen to be his assistant and when he rejected her they got him a young man who liked other men, but that didn’t work either.

Since late in 1943 Sergo’s operation has been right behind the German, US and British research and development efforts  in four main areas, jet engines, rockets, heavy bombers and high octane gas. He saw early the need for each of these particular elements. Along the way he had to find people to delve into metallurgy, organic chemistry, physics etc. He personally knew nothing about any of these scientific disciplines but his tests had identified hundreds of prodigies in each of these disciplines and dozens more. When he needed an organic chemist to work on cracking oil and producing high octane gas, he pulled his files and found the right one for the job. He was even allowing some the foremost minds, still alive after the purges, to teach promising prisoners.

Sergo started parallel programs to the German, British and United States efforts. As Beria’s intelligence machine fed in new data and documents Sergo’s operation used it to full advantage. Great strides were accomplished in the development in what were basically copies of the German, British and even American jet engines. Georgy had heard that Beria had a spy, William Mutterperl, who was on the design team of the Yankees P80 jet fighter. As a consequence of these efforts in replicating his former allies and enemies work the Soviet war machine was from 3 to 4 months behind in these critical areas. In a few areas they were ahead because of Sero’s emphasis and insistence. The ground to air missile system was such an example. Georgy was responsible for seeing that his unseen master’s wishes came to fruition and he was very good at it.

Right now high octane gas was being produced to keep the VVS fighters competitive with NATOs aircraft. The first month of the war they had to use hoarded stocks of Lend Lease fuel but now their own production had come on line. It’s interesting to note that Russians have been leaders in organic chemistry since the 1890s when Vladimir Shukhov first “cracked” oil.

A former student of Shukohov had defected to the US in 1930 but the secrets he took with him came from the USSR. The defector named Vladimir Ipatieff was given credit for finding an economical way to create high octane gas in 1930 for the capitalist war mongers, yet he was educated in the Soviet Union and much of his research remained behind when he defected. That research was put to good use and little Anna Mezhlumova reproduced his process. Now high octane gas was being stockpiled for future use.

Another example would be when the MiG Design Bureau became aware of the German Ta 183 project in 1944 and emulating the parallel process Sergo pioneered for copying and improving others designs. They started work on what would become the MiG 15. This ground breaking jet fighter could be operational in May, 1947. A frightening  thought for the US bombing effort.

The jet engine that would be paired with MiG 15 was itself a product of this parallel process along with the Wasserfal missile and it’s guidance system.  These were incredible feats of intellectual theft but all is fair in love and war and this was definitely not love.

Sergo had tried to convince Stalin that the B29 program should be emulated as well but he was not convinced. The resources were not there for all of these projects and defensive weapons systems took precedence over offensive systems such as the atomic bomb and the B29. For now the Stalin’s emphasis was on keeping what he had gained and using the resources of Western Europe to rebuild the motherland. Time and time again it was the motherland and its peoples who paid for the actions of the West. This time it would be different.

Georgy was a big part of this undertaking. Georgy was something of a prodigy in his own right. He was a fixer and could scrounge for anything and strong armed anyone to get the job done and more importantly to get the job done right.

Beria produced the secrets. Sergo produced the vision, ideas, qualified people and the process. Georgy produced results. Together they made a very strange but effective cabal.

A cabal that Joseph Stalin seemed to be comfortable with…for the moment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Charlie Briggs, Chapter 3 by Roisterer


It didn't take long. I'd just finished school and was starting to help out with the newly formed ARP, checking the blackout. I only did it for a couple of weeks. Joyce had finished her first year at Uni and volunteered for training as a nurse.

Mum was the first to see it. I got home late one night, and she'd waited up for me. Dad was working extra shifts, and had taken to staying over in central London some nights. I immediately knew it was something serious.

She was sitting with a small light in the kitchen, staring at the table. There was a brown envelope there.

"Came for you in the second post.

She looked at me, and I saw that she was holding back tears. "They're going to take both of my boys."

We hugged, and I looked at the envelope over her shoulder. I didn't understand. Peter was six months older than me, and he got his envelope only a month ago. I'd been thinking that I wouldn't get anything until the Autumn, and by then all this bad business might be over. I was a bit young then.

"Well, no use waiting," I said, and opened it.

She gave me a moment, then asked, "So what's it going to be?"

I read it again. Under all the official notices, I was told to report to Bristol. Yet I was to be joining the RAF.

It took a while to sink in. Me, in a plane? I'd never been in an aircraft before. I spent a restless night. I only had a fortnight to get ready.

Dad seemed to have more of a clue.

"Not all RAF jobs involve flying. You might be stuck on the ground crew or ground defence. You'll be seventeen and a half when you report in. That's the new policy. You'll get six months training."

Then when Mum was busy with housework, Dad took me for a walk. Again we started about the weather, and I waited for him to get to the main course.

"You're growing up fast, but you're still a young man," he said. "Don't worry about the training. It'll be hard, but they want you to succeed. You'll make friends there, but then you'll all be split up again once you get into action."

He looked me in the eye, "don't be a bloody fool, and try to be a hero. Just do what you must. You'll get orders that make no sense, but you'll have to do your best to carry them out. Be somebody your chums can depend on - they'll pay you back the same way."

He stared into the middle distance, and continued quietly, "war isn't like in the films. Men don't die cleanly or easily." His voice went low. "You lose pals and friends all too soon."

Then he smiled. "When you get leave, I'll buy you your first pint." He squeezed my shoulder.

I didn't have the heart to say that he was a bit late on that one, but I was glad for his advice. He was treating me like a grown up all of a sudden. I wondered if he'd said the same thing to Joe.

The day approached. Joyce was busy in the hospital, Mum was getting all her old pots and pans ready for the metal drive, and Dad was working lots of hours. The day before I left we got a letter from Joe: He'd received his commission. This at least made us all a little more cheerful for my last home supper.

I had one more thing to do before I left - I had to say goodbye to Eve. We'd been seeing each other for a year, and she was a sweet thing. She showed me just how sweet the last time I saw her. She whispered in my ear, "come back to me."

"I promise," I replied.

I tried to keep a stiff upper lip when I departed. Dad and Joyce said goodbye when they left for work; Mum walked me to the train station. I took the train into town, then the underground, and then caught a Great Western train from Paddington. The ministry were kind enough to provide me with a ticket (second class) to Bristol. I saw several other lads on the train, but wasn't sure that they were heading for the same place.

I got off and headed to the main building. The letter had given me an address, which turned out to be a large set of low brick buildings with corrugated iron roofs.

Once inside we waited until individual names were called. I was issued with two uniforms, boots and a hat. No sign of any guns yet.

Then we gathered together to listen to a man in a grey blue uniform. He looked really old to us, but looking back I suspect that he was about twenty-one.

"Right, you lot. You passed the initial physical, which means that you're the cream of the new intake. God help the milk."

Chorus of sniggering.

"Oi, quiet. Now, being the cream and ready for some training, you're all off to Canada."

There was some intake of breath at this. Canada? I'd never been further than Scotland.

"You'll be leaving in two days. Tomorrow you help us move some equipment. From now on you are to refer to me as sir. Are there any questions?"

...and that was it. No marching or saluting at all. We had a dinner in a big hall, and were then sent to a row of bunk beds in another room.

The next day was tough. An NCO rang a bell at six, and we worked all day. Every time we finished one job, another was given to us. My arms and legs ached by the end of the day.

This was life in the forces: hard work followed by a lot of waiting around. Ah well, per ardua ad astra and all that.

The voyage was murder. Not literally, you understand, as this was before the submarine scare really got underway, but for me it was hell. I got seasick. I threw up, lay down, ate, then threw up again. There was a little band of the afflicted, and the rest of the lads gave us hell. They were relentless, making motions when they went past my bunk, or ordering something greasy as soon as I got to the galley. I couldn't work out whether it was worse below decks, or up above. The constant smell of diesel turned my stomach. I did make a few friends out of fellow sufferers. At the end of it I wondered if flying was going to be so bad.

Yet no sooner had we reached harbour than I felt much better. There was no time to hang around, as we disembarked, then boarded a train, where it was eight to a car. I was used to bunks by now, and the train motion was fine. It took two days, and then we changed on to a smaller train. We went through Montreal at night, so the only thing I can tell you is that there are a lot of trees in Canada.

The smaller train still took several hours, and we only saw the occasional farm from the windows. I really felt like we were going to the back of beyond.

We all got off the train with our kit, and lined up. Everyone looked nervous, but nobody spoke.

"Welcome to RCAF Station Borden," bellowed a voice from the front.

The Hunter and the Hunted completed novel

A Slice of Life short story (horror)

Monday, January 16, 2012

As Heart And Blood - continues by Christopher Marcus Episode 8

"As Heart And Blood”

– a story from the Third World War ... that erupted in 1946

by Christopher Marcus

Previously: Javier, Miguel and Dominic were Latin American volunteers for NATO’s expeditionary force in Spain. But since their regiment was destroyed in a Soviet attack they have been drafted – more or less unwillingly – into NATO’ elite partisan hunters, composed of former Waffen-SS men. Expecting an imminent renewal of the Soviet offensive, their leader, Colonel Jäger, decides to ‘secure’ the mountain villages behind NATO’s Sherman Line … in the way of the SS.

Episode 8

October 1946


"This is the last time I will ask! Where – did – he – get – those – weapons?"

Colonel Jäger’s steel-gray eyes gazed at the man before him:

Marcel Carstagnol shook his head again. As he was there in front of them all, held firmly down by Larsson and Berg in the diminutive dining room of the cottage, muttering and being generally incoherent – he came off more like a drunkard than ‘le maire’ of the small community of Pont d’Enfer – or what remained of it.

Most of the dozen or so inhabitants had already fled the small collection of houses that were nestled on the slopes leading down to the river which wiggled through the borderland of the Pyrenees. But some remained …

… potential enemies.

Jäger hit Marcel again. He spit blood again.

“Answer me! – These are Soviet weapons! Were you going to arm the remaining villagers – select some snipers – join the partisans – what?!”

Lieutenant Diego Estevez tried to keep up with the translation to German, but even he had trouble now. And worse: The man apparently spoke only Catalan, which was not Diego’s forte. That, and the fact that he did not speak it particularly clearly:

"Answer me!!” Jäger howled again. And hit Marcel again – and again. But Marcel just kep on mumbling – as if he was praying.

Jäger looked at the man in disgust. Marcel was not looking at anyone now; his head drooped ... but he was not unconscious from all the beatings. He was also still held firm by Jäger’s two men, of course, but he hardly appeared as if he had any plans of trying to resist, let alone assault the ex-SS officer who had been screaming at him for half an hour now.

And who had finally exhausted his patience …

"You had your chance," Jäger said curtly. He pulled his gun from his belt holster ...


Standing near the cottage door, behind the SS-men, was private Javier Gonzales. Something cold – like needles dipped in ice – pricked in his stomach and around his heart.

He had seen these executions five times now, in the days and weeks that he and his fellow soldiers of the now extinct 5th Overseas Regiment had been ‘drafted’ as local scouts by Colonel Franz Jäger. He never got used to it. In fact, he felt like vomiting each time. But it was not so much the killings that made him feel this way, he knew, as the fact that he felt powerless to prevent it – and more and more ashamed each time it happened.

But this time it was worse. Only half an hour ago he had had dinner with Marcel and his wife and two children.


Yes, Javier had been invited into Marcel Carstagnol’s house as an honored guest. He had come to the nearly deserted village on the French side of the old border last evening, telling the first man he met – a goat shepherd who understood a little Spanish but spoke none – that he had been separated from his regiment, after an air attack – which was not far from the truth. The shepherd had led him to Marcel’s house and he had been welcomed, albeit with some skepticism at first, but then given food and drink.

They were ‘peace-loving people’, Marcel had explained in Catalan – his native tongue, while Javier struggled to follow. It resembled a mix between Spanish and French, and yet none of them. Marcel’s French wife, Charlotte, was not of much help, but she smiled and kept pouring him warm soup. At least he understood as much as Marcel’s insistence that they did not like the Soviet invaders any more than the German and ‘would do everything to help him get back to his regiment’.

Tomorrow he would get a ride with Marcel himself, in the village’s only motorized vehicle – another old truck. NATO troops were continually striding up and down the valley, to get to the fortifications south of Laruns, Marcel explained. He would meet fellow comrades and be back with his own in no time. The two children, Jean aged 5 and Marie aged 8, stared at Javier without daring to say anything – they were obviously wary of strangers; – to which Marcel proudly commented several times how well-behaved they were. Javier had said as little as possible that evening.

In the morning he had excused himself and gone for a brief walk, reported to lieutenant Diego Estevez who was waiting nearby, and then returned to the village. He had told the lieutenant that he had experienced nothing out of the ordinary while being there, and that there was nothing in the manner of the village ‘maire’, as Marcel titled himself, which suggested anything would ever be out of the ordinary. The remaining villagers just wanted to ride out the storm.

Presumably the hoped that whenever the Soviets came – and they seemed to expect this – they would be so high up the mountain that the battle would hardly touch them. At least Javier could think of no other explanation for why a man like Marcel had not brought his family to safety elsewhere, since the front was so close.

Javier had been sure that that was that, after talking to Estevez. Nothing would come off it; after all – what could possibly be to find in this small, nearly empty village? Shouldn’t they be more concerned about what happened at the front – at the Sherman Line itself – less than 10 kilometers away?

The thunder from the Soviet artillery seemed like it went on around the clock now, instead of just intervals. Many of the Waffen SS-men, experienced combat veterans from the Eastern Front and Berlin, had looked at each other with the ‘yeah-it’s-going-to-break-loose-any-moment’-look, but said nothing to their commander.

There were rumors that Kesselring himself had been dug out of one of the VIP-prison camps to act as a consultant for the NATO field commanders who frantically tried to build line upon line of bunkers, mine-fields and trenches in the few passable valleys between the mountains. But what would it help?

Their men were tired, resources were few, the terrain was hideous, and Stalin had plundered half of France to feed new hordes of soldiers, recruited from the seemingly unending reservoir – further and further east from the steppes of the Soviet Union, from the new Communist ‘allies’ in the Balkans, even many volunteers from the countries that had switched the Nazi occupation force for Soviet troops.

It would have to stop soon, though. The Soviets could not go on. And yet, Javier had thought grimly, as he had made his way back to the village, what if it could? What if everybody had been wrong about the Soviets? He had been wrong himself about a great many things – including the role he had imagined for himself in this war. He was glad when he finally reached Marcel’s house. He did not really like to think too much about what a big, bloody failure his decision to go to Europe and fight may have been.

Javier had been ordered to return for breakfast at Marcel’s and one more ‘reconaissance’ and so he had, coming back to the house as if he had just been on an extended walk.

And then – suddenly – the door had burst open, and Jäger and his men hade made their entrance, and Javier finally understood. He had not been there to scout – but to keep the family occupied, while some of the stealthier amongst Jäger’s small anti-partisan unit had searched the surrounding area.

And they had found weapons, buried – not far from the main house.

Nobody had needed to translate the horrified looks in the faces of Marcel’s family, and then the darkening of those same faces, as they looked upon Javier with something that could only resemble hatred, when his ‘comrades’ entered the house and immediately seized Marcel for interrogation … and worse.

They had given Javier shelter, trusted him, but he …


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

It started once again at 4:00 hours in pitch dark all over the French, Benelux and Danish coast. The engines coughed to life, men shouting warnings and instructions, creatures of the night scurrying for cover and flocks of birds being disturbed into unwelcome flight. I had become a very recent but pervasive chain of events for the last several weeks. It also a most unwelcome daily even to most of the native inhabitants both wild and tame.

Bomber Command had run some very successful raids with night flying mosquitoes but this hardly made a dent in masses of Soviet aircraft and crews that were practicing daily for the massive onslaught that would soon wash over the Island of Britannia as well as the rest of the British Isles. In lieu of this event “Bomber” Harris had made a proposal and it was accepted.

Today 500 Lincoln and Lancaster heavy bombers, escorted by 500 Spitfires, were going to attempt to carpet bomb 4 of the largest Soviet airfields along the French and Benelux coast. Intelligence reported the presence of hundreds of ground to air missiles spread out in the area near the airfields along with the usual thousands of AAA guns. Harris knew that many of his bomber crews would be lost but he was convinced that it was a chance worth taking. In his mind the bomber forces currently under his command would either prove itself as a relevant weapons system or it would die a slow death along with the battleship.

This was the last and possibly final test of the relevance of the current stable of RAF heavy bombers and their survivability in WWIII. To heighten his chances he had marshaled every single Mosquito, Typhoon, Tempest, Hornet and Beaufighter that could be put in the air. They were assigned to weather the metal wall sure to be present consisting of 85mm, 37mm, 25mm anti-aircraft shells thrown up by the guns around the known Surface to Air Missile sites. Their purpose was to suppress the Wasserfal missiles hopefully minutes before the bombers where in range. In addition the Soviets did have an estimated one million VT fuses. In preparation for the Raid, daily flights of chaff laden aircraft dropped their curtains of foil at various times of the day to confuse, blind and lull the crude Soviets radar sets into ineffectiveness.

The Tu2s code named Bat, Pe 2s code named Buck, IL-4 named Bob and what seemed to be their mothership, the B25J code named Bank took off and all formed as usual in pods around the Banks.  There was no indication of what the purposes of the B25 Banks were. There were plenty of local spies and such that reported on the unusual formation being practiced incessantly by the VVS. At least 5 attempts had been made at measuring for any kind of electronic, radioactive or biological activity. They all had come back negative except for a brief interlude of 5 seconds recorded when some kind of electronic activity came from one Bank. This seemed more like a fluke than a planned event, which in reality it was. One of the operators on a Jammer Bank accidentally hit the switch but immediately turned it off. Thereafter all critical switches had safety guards installed by welding two nails over the offending switch. Crude but effective as the Soviets are wont to do.

The pods dutifully navigated their way inland after forming up, to various target areas set up around France. The VVS seemed to have figured out a way to navigate quite well in the early morning hours and arrived at their intended targets just as the visual conditions were right for ground attack.

It is believed that they were using celestial navigation and that’s why no amount of jamming done to their radio compasses would be of use. The British themselves had become quite adept at this method of navigation before they moved on to the radio compass. The Soviets were attempting to take it even further.

Today was the day for bomber command’s first 1000 plane raid of WWII and it would be in daylight at high altitude counting on surprise and the suppression of the Wasserfal missile systems by the tactical bombers and fighter bombers. Only time would tell if all the resources spent on creating and then resurrecting the heavy bomber fleet of Bomber Command was worth the effort and great expense. A number of leading officers and tacticians advocated strongly for an increase in fighters at the expense of resurrecting the bomber fleet but much like Hitler, “Bomber” Harris and his cabal advocated offensive action over defensive reaction.

In normal times it might have worked.  Unfortunately The Cambridge 5 and others in the service of Lavrentiy Beria had changed the rules of the game much like the British Ultra program had changed it in their favor in WWII. This time the shoe was on the other foot and it was going to pinch quite a bit before it had run its course.