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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Second Day

The day after atomic bombs rained on the Soviet Union and it’s oil production facilities; the sun came up clear and bright in Egypt. Much like the light from the bombs the day before. LeMay was ready and so were 647 B-29s and 715 P-80 Shooting Stars. The jet fighters were stationed in Rhodes, Crete and bases in Turkey in order to increase their loiter time and time in high speed combat. Hundreds of other more conventional fighters were to stay behind to supply a massive combat air patrol or CAP over the fighter bases that were in range of the VVS fighters and the very effective Tu2S Bats that had plagued the RAF.

The load outs of the B29s suggested a pattern bombing or carpet bombing mission. The briefing was done just minutes before the engines of over 3400 jet and Wright Cyclone engines started to roar disrupting the air. As they loaded the B29s with conventional 500 lb bombs, the armorers were speculating, just what was the target? It didn’t seem the right load out for an oil field but what did they know.

In addition to the bombs, they finished replacing all of the defensive guns on all of the bombers days ago. The B29s were going to give up the major advantage that had made them the most costly weapons system in the world. They would have to come in below 25,000 feet due to the discovery of the stream of fast moving wind over the target areas of the Southern USSR. It was hardly as fast as a jet but was rapidly getting the moniker Jet Stream as some futurists predicted that it would be used by peaceful jet powered airliners in the future to save on time and fuel. But for now it was a barrier that had to be flown below if you wanted to carpet bomb or bomb with any kind of accuracy. The atomic bomb did not need much accuracy and was dropped from such a great height which also allowed for the safe escape of the bomber.

The other advantage the B29 had, over other bombers of it’s time, was speed. Empty and in a shallow dive it could reach 350 mph for a couple of hundred miles. This was only 60 mph slower than a Yak 9 Frank. This would hopefully mean that most of the attacks by conventional propeller driven Soviet fighters would be from behind and not the more devastating frontal and side frontal attacks the Germans had perfected and the Soviets copied in earlier encounters.

The B29s would use their range to reach a point where the VVS fighters would start to appear then they would increase their speed to the maximum allowed and still stay in formation. After the bomb run they would go into a shallow dive while still staying in formation and hightail it for home. The most devastating of the airborne attackers; the missile firing heavy and medium bombers, would be left behind fairly quickly. The plan was for the bombers to literally fight their way through the initial screen and then to outrun the more conventional fighters and air to air attack aircraft.

Having over 600 of the finest jet fighters in the world as escorts didn't hurt either. P 80 Shooting Star was a marvelous plane. It outclassed anything the Soviets had to this point even if they dragged up some German made Me 262s. A full 30 mph faster than the MiG 9 Fargo and over a hundred mph over the Feather. The Feather could easily out turn the Shooting Star and would probably play the part of the Spitfire trying to lure SAC pilots into a turning fight while the Fargos boomed and zoomed. It would probably be a frustrating day for the P80 pilots with just fleeting chances of a deflection shot at their much more slower but nimble opponents while at the same time trying to keep the bombers safe and driving off attack after attack without the satisfaction of driving home their own attacks.

The change in tactics by the USAAF in 1944 had set the fighters loose from escort duty to take the fight to the Germans and had won the air war in the West. This was probably was not an option in this case until the odds changed. Even at this early stage and with the element of surprise there was still a possibility of being outnumbered by a two to one margin with greater odds to come. The Soviets had another advantage in knowing exactly what had to be defended to the death. The Germans never had that luxury and were forced to spread their forces thin until the bombers show their true targets.

The same sun came up just as bright over the three newly finished fighter and air defense bases that had been built in the last few months. A hundred miles Northwest of Baku, they were to be the home to about thirty percent of the defensive force that was to enter the area within a week. Novikov was a master at moving large numbers of aircraft thousands of miles in a short amount of time. In fact no one was his equal.

What he did in Operation August Storm against the Japanese in Manchuria in 1945 was only rivaled by what he was now doing. Within 10 days he would have over 5,210 defensive aircraft in the Baku area. The weather was cooperating wonderfully and Beria’s agents had obtained information that the Amerikanski knew about the high winds and would be coming in below 7500 meters. This was the killing zone for his conventional fighters of which he had almost 10,000 still left in active service despite Sergo’s efficient pivoting of manufacturing towards jet fighters.

The conventional fighters were expected to ram the bombers if need be, counting on being able to parachute over friendly territory and to survive. Some had actually practiced shearing off the ailerons of the B-29 using towed targets and large kites last winter. They had 3 real B-29s to study that were impounded in WW 2 and had calculated where best to strike the tail parts for maximum damage and still be able to control your own crippled fighter to the ground or at least to be able to jump out and use your parachute. Meanwhile the cripple giants would be spiraling to earth without a hope of rescue.

About 100 La 7Rs had even been reinforced near the wing roots and leading edges similar to previous attempts by the Luftwaffe’s Sonderkommando Elbe. This was seen more as a terror weapon than a real threat to Amerikanski bombers but it was pursued before the advent of Stalin’s Fire and the X4 rockets. The La 7R had a rocket booster embedded in the body of a regular La 7. This rocket motor increased the speed of the La 7R to 490 mph for over 3 minutes. more than enough time to catch and ram a B-29 going 300 mph.

But the B-29 was something out of the ordinary and so the taran unit had stayed in service and continued to train for their deadly mission. Ramming attacks had been somewhat frequent in the beginning of the War in the East but had subsided as the Soviet fighters became better and then finally surpassed the Germans. The unit had been stationed in the South near Baku and it was ready to do it’s duty for the Motherland. It had temporarily been re-based during the first attack yesterday but was in position to defend the remainder of the Baku oil fields today if need be.

Stalin was aware that the US was out of atomic bombs but the remainder of the VVS did not. The would be highly motivate, to say the least, to destroy every single bomber. They would use any means at their disposal to accomplish this goal. For all they knew every bomber carried certain death to hundreds of thousands.

Would the American crews be as willing to die? They had aboard just 10 tons of conventional bombs. Hardly the stuff of mass murder that modern war had made us immune to and now seemed to demand. 10 tons of bombs was a pin prick compared to what was unleashed yesterday. Would the bomber crews be willing to press home their bombing run knowing that their bomb load was such a small part of what was needed to win?

Thousands had willing done it just 8 months ago. Yes they would do it because their loyalty was to their unit, their wing, their crew. They would all do their duty to the fullest extent. Man was amazing at convincing other men to die. Sometimes it was only a piece of brightly colored cloth and sometimes it was an idea. No other animal died for an idea or even a flag. No other animal asked others to die for a vague threat.

“What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!”

“The paragon of animals” says Shakespeare. God help the world says me.

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