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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Battle Over London

I could see that the Red planes were hunting for us. Looking real hard, flying slow trying to catch a glimpse of something that would give away our position, a mirror catching the right angle of possibly a canopy, things like that. A few were flying so low and slow just inviting us to shoot at them. We knew better. We had heard of other units that maybe even shot down one or two but the vengeance delivered upon them was awful to behold. I curse the inventor of napalm. Wicked stuff and we never should have started using it on the Japs or any other human. No better way to get yourself killed and fried alive than to shoot at a flying commie plane in those days. They had us so outnumbered and seemed to hate any kind of ground fire. They swarmed like bees at this point if you shot at them.

We were planning at least one more go at them just cause we were stubborn. Kind of like those two German fighters that buzzed the D-day landings. Fighter Command was keeping most of us grounded and under cover and spread out, what few of us that remained that is. My squadron was down to 5 Spits. Hell we had a hundred pilots but no planes. When I think of all those planes we dumped in the ocean. I was on the HS Formidable off the coast of Australia when the word came down after VJ Day to just dump all those beautiful Corsair IVs off the flight deck. I pushed my own bird off. If we kept them we would have to pay the Yanks under Lend Lease so it was decided to just dump them. It broke my heart and we could certainly have used them now.

Oh god I wish I had my old bird back. Not that the Spit is so bad but you just got used to all that power of the Corsair. I think if we had all those Corsairs back we could have won this round, but we didn't so we had to make do. We drew straws to see who would get to fly if word came down to gather. Even with having the best air command system in the world it's hard to overcome the odds we were fighting.

That same day we got word that Ivan was attacking the radar stations. We had to scramble for that. That was probably part of their plan. I remember taking the plane out from under the camo and waiting for operations to give the go ahead to take off. We had to do it quick because you never knew if one of those Red bastard medium bombers would show up. Our area seemed to be filled with ones that had sharks mouths painted on the nose. I finally got the word to head for London. Bang-on I thought, it seems they were going to try and gather for a large attack and hoped to catch and isolate some of the attackers.

It took a long time to form up as we were now spread out all over the place in ones and twos so we could hide better. Who would have ever thought that we would have to hide from anyone after defeating the Germans, but hide we did. With only bits and pieces of all these scattered squadrons meeting for the first time it took us a while to form up properly. By that time the word had spread and the Reds came from all over to mix it up. It was utter chaos with planes flying all over with no thought of control or even proper wingman behavior. My wingman thought I was his wingman and both of us took the initiative and lost each other from the get go. It was like something from out of the that movie Wings from the thirties but at four times the speed. Planes cart wheeling out of control and heading for the ground in flames. You had to dodge pieces of flaming wrecks falling all around you.

You hear stories of the first Battle of Britain and Kursk but I can't imagine they were as concentrated or as intense as this one was. It seemed that both sides decided to pull out all the stops and go for it. Units from Groups 10 and 12, even 13 wanted to strap on tanks and make the trip. The Reds were in perfect position for this fight and they knew it. In hindsight they may had lured out our scattered forces and had us committing them piecemeal. They were coming in dribs and drabs as well, but they now had us out numbered 10 to one by all accounts strategically. It was to be our last hurrah or our greatest victory. Instead of a death by a thousand cuts the pilots wanted to put it all in. We were tired of playing "sardine" where one of us found a safe haven and others tried to join in. I guess that's what makes a good fighter pilot. The chance to win it all. Cooler heads tried to prevail but with the Reds attacking our Chain Home towers we needed to do something. Fighter Command blinked first which probably saved many lives that day but would have lost the battle if the Yanks hadn't started their operations elsewhere.

I mean we only had 200 serviceable fighters in all of 10-13 group and they were all on their way to the Battle over London when cooler heads prevailed. Faced with 1000 commie fighters and twin engine attack planes vectoring in from all over the British Isles it was probably a good call. I wasn't involved in that end of the operation and was trying to fend for myself. Somehow I got back safely and had two kills for my days work. I was about to go up again when my squadrons hiding place was uncovered. Swain was trailing smoke from his Spit that could be seen for miles trailing behind him and that led them straight to us. You can't blame him. He claims he couldn't even see it from his viewpoint and I believe him. The light was such that he probably couldn't see it, but Ivan could and hit us hard.

All our serviceable planes were gone in 10 minutes. This kind of thing was happening all over. There were just too many of them. They were tenacious as well. Never quitting combat always attacking. This made them easier to shoot down at times but when there are so many of them and they are always boring in on you it gets to be quite bothersome and eventually deadly. We could have beat them that day if we had even a hundred more planes. As it was we returned home with our tails between our legs and many of us got hammered when we landed. It really is hell to be so outnumbered and the truth of it is that we had plenty of pilots, good pilots. Just no bloody planes for them to fly. It was beer and skittles for us from now on.

Those initial raids on our Maintenance Units really did the trick. Not only did they destroy hundreds of surplus planes but they shot up the mechanics pretty well. A real cock up by the top brass. I can't say as I would have thought those old planes as valuable either. Bloody Reds seem to be one step ahead of us on this one. I would have protected the factories, petrol tanks, munitions and radar myself before even giving a second thought to old Spitfires.

But just like the Japs and Krauts their luck has to run out sooner or later. At least that's what keeps us going. Even near the end of the last war Jerry almost caught us in the Ardennes. I mean we had complete and I mean utterly complete air superiority and yet he managed to sneak 10 divisions under our very noses while being bombed day and night.

In this business you can never let your guard down, never.

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