Many had heard that the Yankee jet carried jellied gas called napalm and many had loaded their own IL10 Beasts with a similar substance. No, a building was not where you wanted to be during the coming storm. A storm made by man to kill other men. A storm of destruction only rivaled by the atomic bomb, earthquake and volcano. Some has seen the remains of Toulouse and a few has seen what had happened in Caen to the Germans. Hopefully they had gotten out in time because if they hadn’t they were dead men who were still breathing but only their last few breaths.
As the engine sounds grew louder and louder you can almost see the bomb bay doors opening and the great silver bombers start to disgorge their explosive filled metal jacketed pills into the sky. Each bomber was carrying forty 500 pound bombs and when they started to fall you could hear them. The men and women on the ground knew what was coming. Most had experienced some kind of massive barrage of high explosives either from German rockets or artillery and even some from bombs but all knew that this would be off the scale compared to those.
The first string of bombs hit a few seconds before the rest and must have been a mistake by an excited bombardier. It landed by happenstance in a grove of trees far from the intended target but right amongst a few of the crews that serviced the Tartan ramming squadrons killing three. And then all hell broke loose on the former airfield complex as 500 lb bomb after bomb after bomb after bomb started to explode in a rolling thunderstorm only rivaled by nature herself. It was one massive explosion that knocked anyone off their feet for miles around the affected area. A constant explosion as one gave way to another. Many of the ground crew went temporarily mad with some running around screaming at the top of their lungs.
One crewmen had gone back to retrieve a picture of his girl. All he could do is watch as the rolling barrage came towards him like something of out of a Cecil B. DeMille movie. A parting of the Red Sea as it were only with great gobs of earth, cement, buildings and a few trees mixed in with exploding gasoline and diesel fuel. By the time the bombs were 100 feet from him he was deaf and as he knelt to await his fate he was fascinated by all the flying debris from the milk cow they kept out back to the replacement engine of a Pe-8 heavy bomber lifting into the sky and falling lazily down with in feet of him. Soon he was unconscious but not dead. He in fact would survive in an oasis of untouched earth caused by the premature release of those early bombs. Everything else was obliterated in an instant from fuel to songbirds flying overhead. 1 months’ worth of supplies for over 5,000 planes was destroyed in 15 minutes at both massive air complexes that were hastily constructed and completed just last week. Life truly is a game of inches at times.
Perun is the Slavic god of thunder and he was certainly there during the attack. He is described as a rugged man with a copper beard. He rides in a chariot pulled by a goat buck and carries a mighty axe, or sometimes a hammer. The axe is hurled at evil people and spirits and will always return to his hand and he was in his element today. Hammer blow after hammer blow rained down on the forgiving earth and opened up gaping wounds in the former grass covered airfields. The term moon scape comes to mind when viewing the results. Just a gray pockmarked desecrated piece of earth still burning in many places from many sources.
Countless craters swallowed the burning wrecks of planes, parts and much needed equipment. Tires burned in black cauldrons of fire belching smoke the covered the area for days. Wildlife ceased to exist as did flowers and trees. What was a massive well-kept area that could launch a thousand planes a day was now a churning, boiling scene of utter chaos and destruction.
A pocket watch fell to the ground and landed quite delicately on a piece of sod that was green side up. It had been flung in the air almost straight up and was blow higher by another series of explosions and traveled a few hundred feet from the tent it was left in. It lay there still ticking and marking time without a scratch on it. A curious souvenir someone would collect probably in a few hours. Inside the cover was a picture of a pretty girl taken circa 1920 or so. A lovely person still who would never see the watch again nor the man who used to own it. It would disappear into a pawn shop in a few years and lay there for a few more before another young man would purchase it and put it in his pocket never knowing where it came from or the history of its former owner.
Such was the life of well-made precious things. Destined to be passed from person to person or even taken from a dead man’s hands. There was not even a scratch to reveal the living hell it had been through on that day in October 1946. Not one single scratch or dent. Just a small piece of grass in the spring of the front cover and now one would ever even find that piece of grass much less figure it was from one of the greatest carpet bombing raids in history.
A raid that destroyed 234 Soviet planes, a month’s worth of supplies and fuel, killed 389 grounds crew and almost got Novikov killed. The fact that Baku was not touched and that it was still producing a good amount of oil for another day is what saved him. The planes, parts, fuel and even grounds crew could be replaced fairly quickly if there was oil and there still was oil at least for another 36 hours.