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Book One World War Three 1946

Book One World War Three 1946
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Friday, October 17, 2014

LeMay Chews on it

The room was bright and airy, with an actual plant in the corner. No one knew what kind of plant it was but it really didn’t matter. It might have been the first green and growing thing in a high ranking SAC or possibly the USAAF officers’ quarters ever and LeMay hated it. He also hated the ideas that were being proposed and he as much said so in his diary entries later.

What was being discussed were two things designed to bring the Soviet oil production to its knees. One was to bring in the shorter range B17s and P51s from the USAAF into the bases in Turkey, Crete and Rhodes to beef up SACs capabilities. The arguments were as follows…

1. The need for absolute secrecy was over

a. The atomic bombs had been dropped

b. Their bases were known to the VVS

2. The B17s would bring added resources to the fight

a. More targets attacked daily

b. Greater pressure on the VVS

c. Add destructive capabilities to the fight to shut down the oil facilities and keep them shut.

3. Cause the Red Army to invade Turkey to eliminate these bases thus further drawing them into the trap being set by the US Army.

The other discussion which he really didn’t like was to let the last bomber squadron in the next raid to do some unorthodox formation flying in an attempt to reduce the chances of a missile strike while at the same time keeping the squadron together and able to reform with the larger group when over the target. They were actually going to try and out maneuver a ground to air missile or surface to air missile or SAM as they were quickly being called by the flight crews.

Jimmy Doolittle was behind this corker of an idea and so it had to be considered carefully before he rejected it. At this point all they were asking for was a demonstration or a try out. Let the last squadron in raid 1004 try a few things and then see if they can keep up with the larger forces after pulling a few formation flying irregularities. He was most unhappy to find out that a squadron or two had secretly been developing a set of formation flying maneuvers on their own time. He was tired and decided “what the hell” on both suggestions.

The army and navy had promised to provide the additional needed supplies for the B17 and P51s and they had been damn good at supplying him with what he needed, so what the hell. This was the kind of seat of the pants decision they paid him to make and he made it with a couple of warnings.

“Do not under any circumstances divert my supplies to the Army. Two…if there are any midair collisions caused by this … formation flying gimmick, it will be terminated forthwith. And three … get that god damn plant out of this office!”

He stormed out of the room knowing that all three would be accomplished and went on the search for a new cigar to chew on or another major, which ever came by first.

According to his diary he was angry at Doolittle for putting his nose in where it didn’t belong. That jerk was 9 days from retiring when the Reds attacked. He was heading up the “Doolittle Board” or “Gripes Board” as some were calling it. Both names were appropriate in his mind. Imagine doing away with the off duty salute and letting enlisted personnel mingle socially with officers. You can’t democratize the military. What an ass. Well this war put an end to that. What’s next mustaches for God’s sake?

There was another reason he was in a bad mood. His officers had convinced him that the crews needed a day of rest. Two days in a row of 16 hour flights was too much. In the end he had seen their point. There was no element of surprise in this fight any more. Now it was a contest of stamina. Whom every blinked first would give the other guy the breathing room needed to recover and the Soviet supply line was much shorter than his. Hell supplying the 8th Air Force in England had been a piece of cake compared to this nightmare.

Who in the hell knows maybe this experiment could lead to something and maybe those extra bombers will take the load off his babies and let them do the job they were built for. It was ironic that the B-29 Superfortress was designed to fly fast and high yet it had spent most of its combat career flying low over Japan. That cursed wind was to blame. Why did God give them that wind? Even in this war he was regulated to keeping below 25,000 feet. Shit the B17 can do that. I guess that’s why Doolittle made the suggestion. He had to find a way to predict by at least a day where that God Damn wind was going to be. Maybe we send the B-17s in first and they can make some kind of measurements and the eggheads can devise some kind of forecast.

Maybe we have to become a more tactical air force like the Soviets and adapt from our strategic bombing role. The politicians are not going to sit idly by while we use the most costly weapons system for anything but strategic bombing. Those pinheads think we can just fly to Moscow whenever we want and put an end to this. Didn’t happen when we finally raided Berlin or Tokyo and burned them to the ground. They just kept on fighting until they had nothing to fight with. He had to admit that his beloved SAC was fast becoming the next shiny object to dangle in front of Stalin to distract him from what was to come. The real haymakers wouldn’t come until spring he was told.

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