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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shake, Rattle and Roll by RangerElite

Somewhere over the
Manchurian Plain,
Northeast of China

The three squadrons of BT2D Skyraider dive-bombers, accompanied by two squadrons of the latest incarnation of the Corsair, the F2G, crossed the demarcation line, fully aware that they would be facing communist anti-aircraft artillery soon. The U.S. Naval and Marine Corps Aviators manning these aircraft thought it was all routine, except that they were flying their aircraft under a flag of convenience: their aircraft bore the markings of the Free Russian Air Force. In command of this force, flying top-cover in the lead Corsair, was none other than the scourge of the Solomon's Slot, Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington. After all, it was his idea.

They started hearing the familiar “pop, pop, pop” of the ack-ack, but this spread sounded unnervingly close, seemingly well-directed. “Stay sharp, meatheads. Ack-ack is thick here and their gunners look sharp. Remember your targets and make sure that you tear up those airfields real good.”

Meanwhile, the anti-aircraft fire outside only became thicker. All of the sudden, Russian-made Yakovlev and Lavochkin fighters started buzzing up to meet them as the fire slackened, marked in communist Chinese markings, no doubt flown by Russian surrogates, just as they were doing. And the Corsairs roared in, doing their level-best to break up the swarm of Bolshevik fighter planes coming up to go after the Skyraider dive-bombers. After a while, communist discipline broke down, and the dogfight became an all-out melee, and Boyington's Corsairs capitalized on this. They ripped the “Chinese” formations up, at one point, scoring 6 victories in less than 5 minutes. At this point, after losing one Skyraider and one Corsair, Boyington's command proceeded to destroy the two airfields that they had been tasked to knock out, even saving some ordinance to blast some of the anti-aircraft emplacements. Boyington wondered how their ack-ack was so accurate; his gut-feeling was that their gunners weren't better than ours at all. It had to be something else.

So Boyington ordered the force to fly back the same way they came, in order to turkey-shoot the anti-aircraft guns, but he also wanted to take a look at what they might be up against. In order to do that, he'd have to fly low and slow over them, and take pictures of them with his gun-camera. That was a risk that Boyington was used to taking; he'd taken that same risk a thousand times before. So, as they reached the point where they began encountering the anti-aircraft fire again, Boyington broke formation with his wingman and flew down low. As he approached the first set of guns that he could see, he was shocked by what he saw: he noticed this ack-ack cluster was made up of German guns, one Flak-88 88-mm gun with three Flak-43 37-mm guns and six Flak-38 20-mm guns surrounding it, in interlocking fields of fire. There were Chinese communist and Soviet troops manning the guns, reloading them as needed, but it appeared, in the middle of the cluster looked like a portable radar set, it's receiver dish moving in a slow circular motion and appearing to fire the guns. Boyington kept taking pictures while strafing the emplacement, the other Corsairs and Skyraiders following him into the fray, shooting up everything that could shoot back at them, but especially that radar control unit. They shot their way back to the coast over Port Arthur, then across the Straits of Shantung back to the FRAF's airfield at Chefu. Colonel Boyington's mission had been a resounding success, and he had collected invaluable intelligence information. This is the kind performance that kept his commanding officers relatively happy with him. Besides, Pappy got two kills today. Not too bad at all.

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