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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Attack on the Airfields

First they flew over in those weird ball shaped formations. We laid into them with our massed 3.7 inchers. 3.7 inchers armed with VT fuses. There was no shortage of fuses now. Fire, eject, load aim fire, load eject aim fire…his crew were like robots in in a Charlie Chaplain movie. Shot after shot left his muzzle. Something was wrong. The shells seemed to be exploding much too soon and way below the massed balls of bombers. He could see as they passed overhead that it was not a true ball but more like a semi sphere with well-defined spaces for the bombs to fall and not hit the planes below. Pretty clever these Ivans. The semi spheres were staggered and some of the bombs that dropped were slowed down by parachutes. Others fell straight and were dropped from a lower altitude.

He braced for the impacts. As the first bombs hit the ground they exploded as expected but the ones attached to parachutes hit and formed huge clouds of smoke. They were 1000 pounders and spewed a lot of smoke for what turned out to be a longtime. Everyone scramble for their gas masks.

The ones who forgot or couldn’t find theirs waited for death to come and watched in terror as the clouds reach out for them. Fingers of dense smoke marched towards them carried on the weak winds of the day. Everyone held their breath and a few of the unfortunate ones without gas masks panicked and started to run. Everyone expected the worst as the clouds reached their stumbling mates…The worst didn’t happen. Their mates kept running even after breathing in lungful’s of what appeared to be poisoned gas.

It was a smoke screen… just an old fashioned smoke screen! A few of the runners shouted for joy as the others in in their gas masks yelled as best they could with the contraptions attached to their faces. A few of the runners sheepishly started to feel their way back to their duty stations. They had no fear that their fellow crew mates would be angry or consider them cowards. They would however get a real ribbing for not having their gas masks along.

Then they heard the next wave of planes approaching. These were low and fast. Single engine planes from the sound of them. They couldn’t see shit. The radar directors where pretty much useless at this altitude and the 20 mm and heavy machine guns were not tied to them for the most part. Eric remembered thinking that if he couldn’t see them, then they couldn’t see him. The 3.7” could still fire at the higher flying bomber stream because of the radar and were ordered to fire blind with their aim being controlled.

Before the smoke blotted out the sun he could see that the only planes that were being damaged and shot down by the 3.7“ shells were the ones that had strayed or were on the very edge of the formations and even then they were few and far between.

He had noticed that the fuses were not in the best of shape. Some smelled moldy and musty like his grandmothers basement. He couldn’t worry about that now … fire, eject, load, fire…no aiming anymore… fire, eject, load, fire. Then the other planes were on top of them. The 40mm, 20mm and heavy machine guns fired blindly in the general direction of the noise. He vaguely wondered about the engines of the Russian planes. They definitely had a different sound to them. Not anymore powerful or even weaker sounding, just different.

Then he felt the first heat wave coming from his left. Something had exploded and was pouring out heat like a ship on fire. Must have been a fuel storage unit, but there were none that close by. The engineers wouldn’t be that stupid. Damn that was hot. He had never felt anything that hot. Then the radar director link malfunctions. The smoke was still blinding and he sent Billy to see where the cable had been cut. Billy never came back. He never even found Billy or his body. He did hear him scream when another explosion and heat wave swept over them.

More explosions and waves of heat all around him. What he thought was a human being came rushing at them totally aflame from head to foot. It was not making a sound just walking fast, it’s flesh dripping off it as it was slowly consumed in fire. After about 5 more steps it collapsed and a new horror caught his attention. A small bomblet bounced around at his feet. This one did not explode but the ones farther to the right did, cutting Ferguson in half, Jones’s legs off and causing Williams to lose his head.

The shock of what was happening was complete all he could do was to stand there paralyzed as horror after horror appeared out of the smoke and flames. One after another they appear, the headless this, an armless that, a screaming torch of fire, a whimpering legless head and torso dragging itself with one arm. Horror after horror struck his all-seeing eyes. He didn’t even think he blinked for what seemed like hours. He couldn’t move and he couldn’t look away. He always remembered thinking that he should be at least helping some of these apparitions. Helping to drag them to where ever they were going or at least attempting to put out the fires immolating them. I was like your standard nightmare where you can’t move as the monster or horror comes running at you. All you can do is watch. Watch with unblinking eyes. Watch as your friends die horrible deaths all around you. Deaths that only Dante could imagine or that only humans invent for each other. Nothing else in nature could do this to any other creature much less to its own species. Any other species would be wiped out by Darwin’s law if they did this to each other but not homo sapiens.

More small explosions and shrapnel everywhere as those smaller bomblets exploded by the thousands then he caught a glimpse through the smoke of what was causing the heat he was feeling. About a hundred yards to his right he had a fleeting yet perfect view of a hunched back ugly looking Russian plane spewing liquid flame from twin pods on either wing. He remembered thinking…So the bastards have their own form of napalm. Napalm a horrible invention by the Yanks if you were on the receiving end.

This thought brought him back to his senses and got him running. Running for his life. As he looked back at what had been a mighty flack trap all he saw was flames and smoke, Nothing moved except the boiling pillars of flames appearing here and there above the clocking clouds of smoke. He never did see the cessation of the smoke screen. He just ran and ran and ran. He finally ended up miles away in a ditch next to a stream bed. That gradually turned from pink to red. The stream ran through part of the air field complex. Right near where his gun emplacement was. He knew things were getting bad when he actually started to fill his canteen with the reddest of trickles with the full intent of going back and putting it back into the lifeless body of Roger. Roger who he watched slowly bleed to death from a very small wound in his belly. Very small from the front but when Roger finally fell over from his kneeling position, it was very large from the back. Here you go old Roger, all you need is a little fill me up. Drink up now and all will be right. Drink up and we’ll go have that pint I owe you. Drink up and we’ll talk about the Williams sisters and how we’re going to get them drunk and screw them. Drink up and all will be right with the world.

They eventually did find him near the creek walking back and forth between a body and the creek pouring blood tinted water down it’s throat. The pink colored water would go down through the mouth and out a large hole in the back of the body of Roger Peters. Eric must have poured a hundred gallons of water through the body before they found him.

Next Spring what would become the largest willow tree currently in Amesbury proper took root on the exact spot where all that pink colored water had made a small puddle. The airfield at Boscombe Down ceased to function. Without anti-aircraft defenses it became a death trap for any RAF plane attempting to land. Anything that moved in the area was slaughtered that day and for the following weeks. It might as well have been an ancient field of battle full of the dead and dying.

The willow that grew created shade for the cemetery that eventually appeared. Unofficially a number of unidentifiable bodies were laid to rest over the coming weeks and months. Never again was the air field used to launch planes into the air. Although many other fields were hit that day this one was damaged the worst and was continuously attacked when attempts were made to use it again. Over the course of the Second Battle of Britain it was visited almost daily by the VVS and anything that was put in place to defend the area was immediately attacked. In large parts of Britain the RAF had lost control of their skies much like the Luftwaffe lost control of German skies.

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