Friday, October 15, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Eye witness report
Bombardier Sergeant Matt Henley in a pathfinder B29
USAAF Raid #1 of WWIII
Target Leningrad, USSR
Raid composed of 224 B29, 2 B29 Silverplates, 52 P51 escorts. A Mark III atomic bomb was loaded on one of the Silverplates.
The beginning of the raid was uneventful. We took off from Lechars and made our way east to Swedish airspace near Stockholm. The pre-placed fighters took off from the airfield in Sweden were waiting at altitude and everything was nominal. Radio silence is maintained.
We formed up with the fighter escort and headed East over the Black Sea and observed bogies forming as we hit the Gulf of Findland.
Near Gogland Island, what looked like V2 rockets, started to launch from the island.
I know what a V2 looks like because I had seen them launch in the last war.
These rockets appeared to be smaller and in addition they seemed to be vectoring in towards our bomber formation. A number seemed to be purposely being directed towards individual bombers. Kind of like they were…guided by someone. I caught a glimpse what seemed to be a wire coming out the rear of the rockets yet when they got close the wires fell off. This did not seem to divert the missiles trajectory and they just keep on coming and even seemed to be compensating for lead just like someone shooting ducks.
It was the damndest thing I’ve ever seen.
I counted about 30 of these coming up from the island. About 10 of these exploded on or near the B29s near the middle of the formation. I saw Pete’s plane Knickers explode with no survivors and Jim Sheppard lost both engines on the port side and went straight down. I counted 3 chutes until they disappeared into a cloud.
The other 20 or so missiles seemed to have missed their targets and just continued on through the formation and detonated at a higher altitude. One took out 5 of the escorts who were too close.
The whole event was so unreal that no one reacted and the remaining bombers continued on their way as if nothing had happened. I think we were all in shock and just couldn’t react.
Then I noticed that about a hundred twin engine medium bombers were closing in from below and at about a 45% angle. They pointed their noses in our direction and launched a volley of a hundred of smaller missiles at our formation again from below. I just happened to get thrown to the side and caught a glimpse of some fighter sized bogies kind of mixed in with the medium bombers kind of off at another angle also launching missiles at us.
The escorts were going crazy chasing those medium bombers but as they dived on them Yak 9’s and Lagg 7’s would be in perfect position to engage them and if they followed the bombers lower they were dragged into flack traps from what I heard.
Mean while the new volley of missiles where getting closer and again a good number of them seemed to be steering themselves towards the bombers. Another 15 or so were hit by the first wave of missiles including the two Silverplates who were supposed to keep flying to Leningrad with a heavy escort to drop the Abomb. The rest of us were just kind of decoys and were supposed to turn back before Leningrad and run for it. The Abomb was supposed to do the job we came for.
Anyway this was too much for the remainder of the formation and when the next volley of missiles from those medium bombers and those single engine jobs were launched the boxes broke up and it was every man for himself.
I hate to say it but we panicked. I saw at least 10 mid-air collisions as every B29 dodged and weaved trying to shake off those missiles that in our minds where being steered right to us. Thinking back on it now most of the missiles came nowhere close to us but just the horrifying sight of those missiles zeroing in on those ships who bought it scared the crap out of us.
As the bomber formation broke up and with all the maneuvering we lost both altitude and speed. The Reds were on us with hundreds of conventional fighters in no time flat and the flight degenerated into a series of individual fights between one or two B29s being engaged by 5 or more fighters and even some 2 engine heavy fighters at lower levels.
All resemblance of a formation ceased to exist and we ran with our tails between our legs for home. I saw at least 20 more B29s drop from the sky. We made it to Sweden on two engines but then had to ditch and 6 of the crew were rescued.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Area 12, Training Area Z
Camp Atterbury Military Reservation
Meeting Room #6
August 9th, 1946
JC: Okay Frank you’ve had the tour. The training ranges are ready. The barracks are ready. The air field is ready. What do you think?
FW: It looks good to me, John. How is the first class coming?
JC: It’s only the second week, but so far everything is going well. We recruited heavily from former military elites; Rangers, Marine Raiders, Airborne, Navy UDT, so the basic pool is fairly hardened already. Thankfully we don’t have to teach them the basics like land navigation, shooting or hand to hand. Hell one of the UDT guys turned out to be so good with a knife we have him teaching that period of instruction. The training is mainly focusing on foreign and special weapons right now. The second half is all about communications, language and special skills like demolitions and once the aircraft arrive parachuting.
FW: When will the first teams be ready to deploy?
JC: End of September, maybe first of October. It depends on how well the Germans, Poles, and work out.
FW: Well the bases in Italy will be ready about that time also. I brief the General that to plan on October for the first missions. So what problems do we have?
JC: Well main problem areas are equipment and weapons. John Kelly may have solved the pilot shortage problem last week.
FW: Really, how?
JC: Kelly had a friend who told him about a place in Maryland called the Columbia Air Center. He contracted the staff there that put him in touch with a large pool of unemployed pilots. So he was able to hire 20 trained pilots, and 4 flight surgeons through the Center. Most of them, it seems are former combat fighter pilots, with a few bomber pilots so they all have to be checked out on the cargo plane types we will be using. But thankfully for us it seems the War Department hasn’t been recruiting black pilots so far. They will make up about half our pilot assets for now.
FW: Blacks, huh? Well we’re not part of the military anymore so it should be alright. I’ll brief it at the next staff meeting and see. What we are doing on the weapons issue?
JC: Well it’s simple really. While we still have access to the War Department's stockpiles we needed a way to purchase and design new weapons directly from the manufactures. In the end it was decided that it wouldn’t be acceptable for the CIA to sign easily traced contracts with major manufacturers. So we took an idea from the Russians, and started front companies to be the face of our business dealings. So far we are funding two companies, one to build new designs, and the other to import/export arms worldwide. The first is up and running in a plant in Indianapolis, it being run by a young guy named Bill Ruger. He worked for the Ordnance Department during the war designing machineguns. Bill’s got a great idea for a new .22 to replace the all the HDMs the Army lost. He says to expect prototypes of that gun in a month or so. Also Bill’s the guy that designed the new suppressor for the 9mm M3A1s we have. We’ve built him a very experience team, Ruger Manufacturing is wh!
ere we put those Mauser engineers and all those prototype weapons we got out of France, so we expect good things out of that company. We got them working on a couple of interesting designs using that 8x33 mm short round the Nazis were using the last few years of the war. The second company is called “Interarms,” so far we’ve got Jack Miller running the show out of Memphis. Through them we are buying as many foreign weapons as we can get our hands on in Britain, Canada, and the US. Also Interarms is the front through which we have issued the contracts with GM for the T24 light machine guns, and the M2 carbines. Also Jack set up the deal to begin production of our copies of the German Panzer faust rockets.
FW: Sounds good, I’ll brief the staff on your progress. How about some lunch?