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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Friday, October 11, 2013

Hot Times

God it was hot. Damn sand and dust and flies. For god’s sake where did the flies come from. Didn't they need water. Jeezus it was so fucking hot during the day and cold at night. How in the hell did that work. Sure played hell with the engines. Bill checked the master ignition switch all the individual engine switches to make sure they were off. A camel … the the hell was a camel doing on the base much less here on the field. Field that’s a hell of a name for a scraped down, hardened piece of desert with some of that steel matting on top worked just fine for landing and taking off but it sure did nothing for the heat. He signaled Jeff to start the Putt-Putt and get the power they would need going to the engines. He signaled the mechanics to pull the propeller on number one. He checked to make sure the propeller control was set to full low pitch. He checked the turbo boost on the pilots aisle stand to make sure it was off. He set the fuel valves to tank-to-engine position and the throttles to 1100. That seemed to work best for number one. Number two and four liked almost 1200 but one liked 1100 and three 1000. It would change when they changed engines but for now that seemed to be the settings that worked.

Mixture to IDLE CUT-OFF, turn the Master ignition switch but leave the individual engine switched off, energize the starter by holding the switch to START until the voltmeter returns to maximum, push the MESH on the Engineer’s panel and … nothing … fucking nothing. I bet it’s the fucking sand again. It gets in everything.

“Hey Eggs check the lower cylinders for oil while we’re fooling with number one. Maybe that’s the problem again.”

Jeez these engines were a pain. Some super weapon. And when they did start they blew so much blue smoke you’d think you were in Los Angeles during rush hour. It almost looks like they are on fire at first. Amazing they even work. A lot of them don’t and have got crews killed in the Pacific. He heard more died because of engine failure than the Japs shot down. They got some of the bugs worked out now but this was not the super weapon the newsreels tried to make it out to be. Especially here in the desert. What a ridiculous place to fight a war. Nothing to even fight over. No trees, no water nothing except miles and miles of nothing. Well I guess that’s what you need for the largest bomber in the world. Lots and lots of nothing.

They were sure keeping those Silverplates separate. Like it mattered if something went wrong with the atomic bombs stored near them. They were all dead anyway. What difference did a mile or two make. Pretty silly when you think about it. Which he did when he wasn’t thinking about the heat.

He was from Minnesota and sure missed the cool nights of summer and even the -20 below in winter. You could always put on more clothes or burn something but what did you do when it was 110 in the shade. No matter how hard you wanted to you couldn't take off your skin. They told you to drink lots of water. They called this stuff in the tin cans water. It tasted horrible. Now Wisconsin had water worth drinking. Just over the border from where they made Hamms, they made Leinenkugels. Two of the best beers on earth. Man he could go for a cold one now. Hell anything cold would do.

“You ready yet Eggs?”
“Okay then let’s try this again.”

This time the engine sputtered to life with a belch of black then white oily smelling smoke that drifted off like a newly born cloud. God Damn these engines stunk before they warmed up. It took a good 5 seconds before they truly started to sound good. He had heard that the flight crews hated flying these birds. Hard to handle, stiff on the controls, you had to fight them steady all the way to and from the target.

The massive bombs were finally all in one place. After weeks at sea and shipped in parts, the last of the nuclear weapons produced before the third war had reached their assembly point. The airfield outside of Cairo was massive and easily held the fleets of B29 and Lincoln bombers. The preparations are near for one of the riskiest gambles by the NATO forces of the war so far. The British Isles had been allowed to be brought to its knees in an attempt to lure the VVS into committing more and more of its huge air fleet to the Second Battle of Britain. The gamble had worked almost too well and Fighter Command was on its last legs. The British High Command had been incredibly stoic and uncomplaining as their fighting men and civilians had taken the brunt of the attacks so far. The civilian population did not know of the plans that were afoot and was unaware of their sacrifice for the greater good once more. Much like Coventry during the last war the whole of Britain was being sacrificed for the sake of deception.

There is the much argued over story of Coventry being sacrificed to protect the secret of Ultra by Churchill. This time the entire British Isles was to be the fly paper for the VVS. The upcoming raids were on schedule to be a total surprise to Stalin and Novikov, a surprise that will possibly cost them the war. Everything is in place from the fuel to the atomic bombs. All has been kept from the prying eyes of the NKVD and Beria. The NATO bombing fleet lead by the US Strategic Air Command is poised to hammer the soft underbelly of the Soviet Union. It is prepared to hit them where it will hurt the most. The targets are the rich oil fields surrounding the Black and Caspian Sea and the bases for their destruction are in Egypt, Turkey, Cypress and the Isle of Crete. So far all is on track for one of the largest bombing efforts ever attempted at distances never imagined using weapons of devastating power and speed.

The complications have been enormous ranging from parts to worries about the jet stream. It flows very heavy and fast over some of the largest oil fields in the Soviet zone. During the bombing campaign over Japan this was a major factor in the B29 being stripped of its defensive firepower and sent at lower levels to fire bomb instead of the preferred precision bombing used in Europe by the USAAF. In order to even attempt some semblance of precision bombing SAC would have to bomb from altitudes well within the optimal performance height of the majority of the current VVS fighter forces. There would be no coming in at 34.000 feet and being almost immune to the defenses of the Soviet Union. This would have to be a short and devastating campaign that was over and completed before the VVS could shift its forces back from the English Channel. This had to be over before the 10 thousand fighters of the VVS could be re-stationed to defend the targets around the Black Sea. This had to be over before the Ground to Sky missile systems of Wasserfalls could be re-positioned. This had to be over before the VVS showed up with their X4 Air to Air missile. This is precisely why Fighter Command was being sacrificed for the greater good of Europe.

Once again the world would owe so much to so few. Once again the British Empire would give its last full measure to defend freedom. Once again its once mighty empire would be diminished to save the world. Once again the young men of Britain were asked to rise into the skies for King and Country only to have them falling in flames from the skies overhead, and rise they did. The statistics were staggering yet still they rose ever tilting at windmills and falling to the inevitable numbers brought to bear by the Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily.

The gamble was a choice. The USAAF could have joined the fight over Britain and probably after a long and costly fight have pushed back the Soviet air force. By that time the Soviet Army would have passed through the Pyrenees Line and be crushing the last vestiges of capitalism in Eurasia in the Iberian Peninsula. Yes the skies over Britain would have been cleared of Ilyushins and Yaks but the opportunity to strike a decisive blow to the oil producing regions of the Mother Russia would probably have been lost as well. Oil had always been the key to modern warfare. The lack of it and the perceived lack of it ended and started World War Two. It was indeed the lifeblood of any modern industrial state in 1946. You won or lost because you had it or you didn’t. I suspect that many a man and woman will die in the future fighting over its supply until something comes along to supplant it. As of right now it all about oil and who has it and who doesn't, and the world’s leaders know it.

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