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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Finnegan's Wake

The flight over the East Mediterranean was uneventful. Nick was amazed at how comfortable this beauty was compare to the B17s he had started out in. He couldn't imagine being at this altitude going for this distance in any other aircraft. He could actually stretch out a little and he had a view from the gunner position. The only gunner position that still had a gun was the tail gunner. All of the other guns had been stripped and the aircraft filled with machines for measuring all that was necessary to determine how to drop an atomic bomb from as high as possible while passing through what might be a 200 mph stream of air who knows how thick.

That wind at high altitudes had first raised its ugly head over Japan. That was why LeMay had decided to come in under it and use fire bombs. Of course this negated all the features that made the B29 a special plane. The Japanese where helpless by that time, against any kind of bomber. Their fighters had been decimated in various battles over the Pacific and their anti-aircraft guns and radar were not that formidable. Oh they did get lucky far too often but not enough to deter LeMay.

The wind over Japan was at 25,000 ft and their job was to find it over Baku in time to calculate how fast it was and how much it would affect a 10,000 lb atomic bomb. They had 20 minutes to drop their dummy bombs and then make the calculations. He was there basically as an observer as no one expected any kind of Red plane to be able to make it up to 32,000 where they were going to drop their instruments and the dummy bomb from. The other planes were going to do most of the measuring as they had the actual fake bomb that everyone would be measuring, which took up enormous amounts of space in their Silverplate.

For most of the trip they were over friendly territory in Turkey. Friendly was a relative term in his mind. As a boy he had read many a story of about the Ottoman Empire and blood thirsty pirates etc. associated with Turkey. For now they were secret allies but as soon as the Soviets discovered where the fighters were coming from in later raids there would be no hiding the fact that the Turks had been with us all along. He wondered how the Reds would react. He had heard that the Turkish army was not in any shape to stand up against any concerted Red attack.

At 10,000 feet he had to retire from the relative comfort of the main area where he could be with the other crew members. At that point the majority of the plane had to be pressurized, all but the station for the rear gunner that is. That is why he had to make his way to the back and close the hatch so that the rest of the crew could enjoy relative comfort while he was regulated to the tribulations of non-pressurized flight. It was not anywhere near as bad as the B17 mind you but still not the luxury his crew mates enjoyed.

As they passed over the Caucuses he really felt far from home. Without knowing it he was nearer his ancestral home than ever before. His grandfather and grandmother had come from Grozny. The very city his mission was about to eradicate from the earth. Had he hoped all his relatives had move on long ago. He had not brought up this fact when he was questioned about joining SAC. His Grandparents had lived in France for 20 years before coming to the US so he didn't feel the need to bring up the fact that they were originally from Grozny. He barely knew them for God’s sake. He was third generation American and his relatives had run away from the coming revolution and to avoid fighting in the previous wars as well.

The highest peaks Caucus Mountains were about 15,000 feet or so but even at 32,000 they looked pretty formidable. He was looking for the highest peak they would see on their flight path and it should be off to his left or the Southeast as they were getting close to the target since he was looking backwards. When he could see that peak they were getting very close.
As he was staring intently trying to find the mountain a very small movement caught his eye. It had a contrail coming from it!

"Skipper, we have company! over"
"What the hell are you talking about Tail?! over"
“At about 4 o'clock high there is a small bogie that has a contrail, and he's coming right for us. over"
"Holy shit. One of those guided rockets? over."
"Can't make it out Skipper, but its closing fast. We should be able to drop the package before he gets here. over"
"Copy that. Let us know of its location and distance. We have to drop the dummy or the mission is scrubbed. over"
"We should be okay. I estimate he or it is closing at 100 mph. over"
"We are 12 minutes from target. Keep us informed and you’re our only defense Nick. Do what you can. over"
"That's a roger Skipper. over"
"Flight leader to flight, we have a bogie closing in from our 5 o'clock high. We should be able to accomplish our mission before it arrives. It appears to be a rocket or jet and it's faster than we are. Over"

Nick notices that the radio chatter heated up until the Skipper toned it down. That sucker was moving and would be here shortly after we dropped the dummy. It was not fooling around and it was coming straight in with no deviations on a perfect interception course. Damn this was going to be close. The Skipper loosened up the formation a bit just in case it was a rocket and the blast of a hit was big enough to take us all out. He had heard this had happened a few times at Leningrad and to the RAF. A thought went through his head that rockets were not a very manly way to fight but then neither was a bomb, especially an atomic bomb. "We're all becoming chicken shits" he thought to himself. Whatever happened to facing each other with swords? Now that's the way to go if you had to die in combat.

He could see it better now. It has wings. That probably meant that it's a plane of some kind. A very small one that was moving very fast. He informed the Skipper. He responded with just a roger. Probably too fixed on the bombing run to even worry about it. It's a jet all right. Weird looking thing and small.

"Skipper, I'm going to take some long range shots at it just to make him think twice and give us some more time. over"
"Roger that."

Come on you little bugger, just a little closer. Then he felt the bomb bay doors opening and shortly thereafter he could feel the bombardier taking over control of the plane. It was just a slight change in the flight path but he could always tell. It was very rare of the pilot to be right on target. He fired a few rounds as the jet was just out of range and the fighter pilot flinched for just a second but it was long enough. The plane lurched up as the 10,000 lb dummy left the bomb bay and the Skipper put us into a tight port turn. The other two planes had to fly straight and true in order to get the best readings from, and of the dummy bomb as it dropped. The Skipper was hoping that the fighter jet would come after us because we were now going it alone. The fighter pilot would have none of it and bore straight in for Finnegan's Wake and with a few shots from what looked like twin 30 mm cannons, Finnegan and his crew exploded before Nick’s eyes. He was horrified and knew that they were virtually helpless against this small fighter.

"I know, I know! over"

They were now going away from the other planes and he could see everything that was happening. The flaming debris from Finnegan's Wake left an ugly smudge of debris, fire and smoke in a classic waterfall type arrangement that cut through the beautiful blue sky. It reached down from the heavens in a horrible curve falling towards the ground. Then he noticed a disturbance in the trail of destructions and smoke as it hit an unseen wall of air rushing from Northwest to South East. There is was! What they had been sent to find. Damn it looked strong.

The scientists were going nuts over the radio trying to measure this and that and get the information back to the real deal, the Silverplate named Three Feathers. That's what this mission is all about. Getting the information that Three Feathers needed to drop the bomb accurately. Nothing else mattered. Both of the other B29s with the scientists aboard were duplicates just in case. That case had just happened. Willy Nun and his bunch were flying along like nothing had happened and ignored the carnage of Finnegan's Wake except for when it hit the river of air. That's what they needed. That gave them some of the most accurate readings they acquired.

He learned later that this stream was 3000 miles deep and moved at 176 mph. Estimates were it was 400 mile wide and thousands of miles long. It covered all four of their targets it was later discovered. This actually turned out to be ideal. It was sustained and predictable and over every target the same. God works in mysterious ways some would say.

Nick located the fighter. It appeared to be gliding, losing altitude and disappearing fast far below.

"I think the bogie ran out of fuel Skipper. over"
"Thank God for that. We were not prepared to deal with whatever the hell that was! Maybe you nicked him. over"
"I don't think so Skipper. over"
"Roger that."

Nick noticed that he was shaking and all he did was watch. The others had died and been in the crosshairs of whatever that jet was. God, Finnegan's went down fast. What the hell are we going to do if they have more of those jets?

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