'Here he comes again' said Bob.
Bill looked over to wear Bob was pointing. 'Sod it. I thought he wasn't here today.'
Walking over towards himself and Bob was Hans-Ulrich Rudel. The only winner of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. He had had a remarkable war record, fighting the Russians. Over eight hundred tanks and even a battleship and then became a fighter ace flying FW-190's. And now he was here at Hawkinge to lead Bill and Bob on their first mission to bomb the airfields of France.
Both Bob and Bill didn't think this was going to happen until the next day, but here he was and that only meant one thing. A quick flight over the Channel drop the bombs and away as quick as they could. Rudel had managed to find a FW-190 from somewhere while the two English men both had Spitfire MK21's
'Time for the real thing gentlemen. We will take of just before dusk and be back for supper.' he grinned at the RAF men.
'There's something I don't like about that smile' whispered Bill.
'I know what you mean. Looks like he enjoys this too much' Was the answer.
Rudel looked at them both. 'I have been doing some checking up. You both seem to have good records in the last war' he stopped 'you need to be more ruthless. Kill them all, leave none alive. However that is not our job today.'
'You said we need more training for this kind of thing, I mean the low level stuff. That was Bill again.
'No. I made you think that, I know when men are ready not you. Go and check your machines, we take off in one hour.'
An hour had passed and the rain had started again.
'What do you think Bob?'
'Not a chance, not in this weather. Cloud cover at what? Five hundred feet if that.'
'More like four' said Bob
'Yeah, could be right'
'Are you ready gentlemen?' Rudel was right behind them. 'It is good that the rain has come the Reds would think no one was flying today. You don't needs good sky's when you bomb Reds.'
Twenty minutes later they almost hit the waves they were that low. The cliffs of France less than two miles away. Rudel had started to climb, he cleared the cliffs at what looked like ten feet. Bill and Bob made sure it was at least forty. Less than five miles to go before St Pol-Nunqu, all three took off the safety off their bomb release. Three miles out they climbed to seventy feet and formed up a breast of each other. It was not a good idea to get hit by your friends bomb blast.
The bombs dropped right into the centre of the runway, the three of them pulled up and flew north again. Height didn't matter as much going, as coming.
Back over the Channel, 'Where's he gone? I can't see him anywhere.'
Bill looked around he couldn't see Rudel either. 'Has he done what he told us not to do?'
'As I said. He likes killing too much.'
They both landed safely. As their Spits were being pushed in to their sand bagged hangers, the ground crews and themselves looked up. Rudel was back.
Bill ran over to Rudel. 'What the fuck do you thing you were doing!'
'My job. Killing Stalinist's.' Rudel said calmly
'You trained us, everyone trained us not to go round again' Bob had to restrain Bill.
'Target's of opportunity. As you like to say.' with that Rudel walked towards the C.O.'s office. His office.
The next day, all the flyers were called together.
'Gentlemen. Gentlemen.' There was some calm in a small hall near the base. 'We had done quite well in the last few days, but it is not enough. We will hit them again this afternoon, or just after dawn tomorrow.' said Rudel 'In waves five minutes apart.'
Everyone started to speak at once. Rudel called for silence. He got almost at once. Some hands went up, one of them Bill's.
'Sir, we have always been taught that is the one thing you do not do.'
'And why do you think that.' was Rudels answer.
'The Russians will be ready for us.'
'Not at all. With only five minutes between hitting them they will not be ready. There do not yet have the strength that we had. In airfield defense I mean. Both you, when you took the airbases from us in the last war, and ourselves had, at the same time. That is why 'we' did not bomb the same base twice. It was always the doctrine last time around. So we will change it this time around.'
That seemed to settle them down a little bit. There was still some discontent. Not as much as before. Some could see this working, it had not been tried before. If it had they had not heard about it had others It could work. They were not all happy about it. Orders were orders.
The next day the rain came down harder than the couple day's before. No flying. Or for the day after that. However in the three days after meeting thing were explained more fully. They started to see some logic in the plan.
The first attack went very well. The weather was still not the best. However four fights, each of three planes went in. No losses. The next was not as good. A mix of Spitfires, P-51's and P-47's had taken off from R.A.F. Tangmere. A Thunderbolt had hit another at take off, and two did not make it back. Whether it was due to the weather, or they got shot them down. They did not know.
All together forty five planes had gone across the Channel thirty six had come back. Four pilot's lost to unknown reasons. Of the other five airmen had two had bailed out over England and safely helped one to the base and other to hospital. Two had crashed. One due to an engine fail the other to enemy action, part of the port wing shot to bits. Lucky the P-47 was a tough plane. Bob had been found dead in his cockpit.
Later that day they heard that Bill had died in hospital.