However, one of the things Dowding was good at was organization. Another was remaining calm. In the final years of peace, Dowding had already begun putting together what would later be called an integrated air defense system IADS. That being said, the Germans found out a few things very quickly. One, while the RAF would still have village idiot squadron commanders flying in vics throughout the battle, self-preservation and attrition helped weed many of these men out. Ergo, it started becoming harder and harder to find quacking fighters with roundels.
Helping this process was the innate advantage of fighting over home turn. This fact underscores another point—the Luftwaffe , for the first time, found itself in an even fight. However, only recently have folks started taking into account things like German pilot fatigue, high engine hours, and the operational wear and tear of operating very far forward from their depots into account.
As June turned to July, the Jagdwaffe was sucking wind like a welterweight that had been throwing nothing but haymakers for ten rounds. This analogy is particularly apt when one looks back at the map above. Like most bomber disciples, Hermann Goering and his chief of aircraft development, Ernst Udet, had not invested in the development of a long-range, single-engine fighter. Once the red light started glowing, it was time to head for home…or figure out how long one could tread water. In the last blog post you told us there were two German fighters. What about the Bf?! At that point, things like slashing attacks from upsun become problematic, and people end up having to actually dogfight.
The , which had seemed quite capable on the continent, quickly found itself the equivalent of a station wagon in an Indy race. Although it still occasionally managed to surprise an unwary RAF fighter or two, by June it became apparent the could not even look after itself, much less escort German bombers. Speaking of escorting, also hindering the Jagdwaffe were tactical decisions forced upon them by higher headquarters.
This would be a common bomber refrain throughout the war for all sides. The Luftwaffe head shed, horrified at their losses, were the first to make the critical error of tying their fighter pilots to within visual range of the bombers as opposed to giving them free rein. As opposed to Goering, Dowding managed his end of the Battle of Britain like a maestro. Ever cognizant of the fact that he just had to keep the issue in doubt until September 30th at the latest, Dowding conducted an aerial economy of force operation.
Squadrons were committed as they became available, with the initial combatants wearing down the s so that later entries had free runs at bomber formations. Despite the temptation to meddle in squadron tactics, Dowding let leaders figure their own methods. To follow our earlier analogy, the hard swinging welterweight found out that their opponent not only had one hell of a corner man, but had somehow put on 20 pounds in between bells. Hitler, not having really wanted to force England to the negotiating table through invasion, began to look east.
Great Britain, bloodied and battered, had a brief moment where the cabinet once more suggested that the nation seek the best deal possible. Churchill, as was his wont, quickly squashed this idea. Possibly with physical violence. Air Marshal Dowding, despite having overseen the first successful defense of Britain proper in centuries, was forced out against his will in favor of the former commander of No.
Nor did Leigh-Mallory address the fact that said big wings, by virtue of being easier to spot, would likely have suffered mightily at the hands of even the bomber-bound German escorts. Better wrap this up before I kill someone through rhetorical bludgeoning. For the first time, radar changed the course of a campaign. The was arguably superior to both of the British front line fighters and had its way against just about everything else e.
As the British would find out when they went on the offensive, gaining air supremacy required range. The devil is in the pilot and airframe replacement program. Whether one believes that Fighter Command was on the ropes or not a topic of much recent debate , the fact remains that the Jagdwaffe could not regenerate fighters nearly as fast as the RAF could. Firepower improvement was relative. As mentioned above, aircrew being wounded but alive to kvetch about poor fighter protection ultimately led to German errors…yet the RAF expedited cannon armaments after the Battle of Britain for a reason.
Overclaiming influenced the course of the campaign. This one is borderline between a book for the masses versus the monkhood. Duel of Eagles by Peter Townsend. Fighter by Len Deighton. Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Michael Spick. You read the last blog post on aerial combat and liked it. When last we left the aerial arena, people were flying around in biplanes blazing away at one another.
The Allies had been preparing to unleash a massive aerial armada, the Germans were going to valiantly try to stop it, and the war was going to end in bloody street fighting burg by burg. Except…the Germans, their resolve weakened by the blockade and the realization that Americans apparently liked to make babies circa , tossed in the towel on 11 November People who had no business driving, much less flying a plane, plunked down good money to go break their necks. Permissiveness was the rule of the day, and lots of people who had no business flying quickly found out Sir Isaac Newton holds veto power over all matters aeronautical.
Thus even in the midst of the Great Depression, people were still finding funds to press the proverbial envelope faster and higher. However, in no way was this progression universal nor necessarily embraced by military establishments. Ergo, when Great European Rematch began in September , combatants had both single seat, high speed monoplanes in their inventory…and poor bastards who were puttering around in the sky in biplanes.
As in, if you flew fighters for the Royal Air Force or Fleet Air Arm, your war potentially started off with this beauty as you primary mount:. Thankfully for many British pilots, the Germans went east Poland then north Norway before coming west. First, without having the ability to really have an air force thanks to the Treaty of Versailles, they largely skipped bomber barons stifling fighter development to the degree that Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Corps later United States Army Air Force did.
Each leader could choose a target, with the wingman making sure no one showed up and disturbed the leader while he went about his killing. Given the high closing speeds brought about by the advances in air technology, the Germans discovered that this was the best blend between not having a bunch of yahoos throwing themselves around the sky and formations so rigid they were basically a squadron leader looking for stuff to kill and his eleven subordinates trying not to run into him.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Royal Air Force.
When the Germans turned west in May , the standard Royal Air Force tactics were to fly around in squadron formation. In practice, this was supposed to mean that the squadron technically had four groups by which to attack opposing bombers. Upon seeing the enemy, RAF squadron leaders were expected to call out a target, then a numbered attack. At this point, the vics would then proceed to attack said target in a proscribed, organized manner in sequence.
To be fair, in September this was a reasonable supposition. Fighters, at least to the RAF, were not supposed to be a primary concern. At least, not more than once. British pilots had danced with their German counterparts during the so-called Phony War as well as in Norway prior to the storm breaking over France in May Instead, the RAF and their French counterparts got an aerial skull dragging. Almost as importantly, it allowed the maximum visual coverage of a given airspace, meaning that if everyone was doing their job it was very hard to surprise German fighters.
The , even with its flaw such as poor landing characteristics, limited firepower, and short range, was proven to be more than capable to defeating anything it ran into. The , although not quite as effective as they had hoped, was also capable of conducting effective slashing attacks and escaping French and British fighters attempts to get it into a dogfight. France fell so quickly and decisively that it took the Chamberlain government with it. Maaaaayyyybeee not the best idea. As noted in the last post, most kills were by surprise. At the end of World War I, fighters topped out at miles an hour.
At the beginning of World War II, most fighters were either at or right around miles per hour. Conversely, this meant that combats took place over a much wider area. Firepower relative to World War I made a massive increase. Not only did fighters now have to worry about bringing down heavily armored bombers, but the speed of combat meant a maneuvering target was only in the sights for a fleeting moment.
Whether it was the 8 x. Things would only get heavier as the war went on. Deflection shooting became a thing. This was not totally different than World War I. However, the amount of lead to blast someone crossing front to left at a relative velocity of miles per hour is a whole different world than that of mph. Only if he pulls lead am I in danger. Or more correctly, if he was so close that he would be able to actually to hit without pulling the necessary lead, you needed to worry less about machine guns and more about the imminent collision.
Although some services e. Despite heavier armament, most kills still happened at short range. How short is short? In ground combat, the average machine gun was capable of shooting out to meters, with most shooting taking place at meters depending on line of sight. This fact did not change even when engaging with 20mm cannon versus the British. Overall, fighter combat was largely taking up where it had left off in World War I, just faster, more lethal, and with new formations. However, as will be shown in my next post, there was something to be said for playing a home versus away game when it came to vying for air superiority.
Me by Martin Caidin. Horrido by Trevor J. Fighter Tactics and Strategy, by Edward H. To put this in perspective, from say , the basic mechanics of ground warfare did not change all that much. So why should people care about fighters? There are myriad accounts of reconnaissance pilots from both sides during the Battle of the Marne waving at each other as they went about their trade. Many pilots likely felt that it was dangerous enough getting from Point A to Point B that it would not be prudent to add the degree of difficulty of, you know, kill each other.
I imagine it was like seeing a rival cabbie at the gas station:. Initial attempts were pretty much improvised, as pilots and observers started shooting pistols, unloading shotguns, and even tossing bricks at one another. It was like a big gang fight in the sky until…well, until someone brought a machine gun to the party. This, in retrospect, likely took a bit longer than it should have, even given how heavy and unwieldy machine guns were at this point. This meant most of your early fighters were two seater, open air types in which one bloke flew, and the other blazed.
The problem with the above set up was that two seat aircraft were far less maneuverable than single seat aircraft. Moreover, a well-handled single seater could get someplace far faster than a two seater. Depending on what account you read, the following events occurred between April-July in this general sequence:. Regardless of the exact timing or veracity of the above, the end result is not in dispute. By July the Germans were able to put interruptor gear and forward mounted machine guns on their fighters.
As you can see from the above painting, early pilots hunted prey the same way George Thorogood drank: On top of that, aircraft mass production still had not hit its stride. These were still machines that, by and large, a bunch of folks were putting together with canvas and glue in a glorified garage. That translated to not that many numbers at the front line. Combine this with the large amount of frontage from the North Sea to the Swiss Border, and you start to understand why men could fly for literally hours without seeing anything.
Because, hey, blasting holes in one another until someone hits a powerplant, ignites a fuel tank, or incapacitates the other pilot is way cooler than…. Lest there be any confusion, parachutes in fighter aircraft were not a thing until , and then only for the Germans. In some ways, catching a volley of. All too often, bullets cut a fuel line, petrol caught a hot engine, and the unlucky pilot became the next contestant on Mr. Less common, but not at all apocryphal, were reports of men who decided to blow their brains out rather than wait around to see rather kinetic or thermal energy would be their undoing.
Around the winter of , as the Fokker Scourge started to wind down, this solitary or extremely small group method of hunting started to change. Just know that by the Battle of Verdun, both sides were operating in at least ship formations. As the numbers increased on both sides, committing flying manslaughter started to get complicated. The old hands, like Oswald Boelcke and Max Immelmann had previously noted patterns to their engagements.
A similar movement was started on the Allied side, and in this manner the first attempts at professionalization rather than just flying around shooting were begun. This is critical, as this tactical thinking soon led to operational theory. Complementing these individual attempts and theorizing were decisions made about unit organizations. The German Imperial Air Arm, due to the growing discrepancy in numbers between the Allies and Central Powers, started to organize into squadrons Jastas. These Jastas , in turn, began being shuffled from one point to another along the line like a traveling carnage troupe, with each unit having distinctive color schemes.
In any case, rather than the blundering street fights or serial murders of the earlier phases, by aerial forces were often being employed to create certain operational effects in support of ground operations. Send a squadron of Camels to get it done. Royal Flying Corps getting a little uppity in your sector?
Jasta 2 will be on the next train. Some eternal truths began to emerge as the war wore on. The majority of folks who got shot down never knew what hit them. While this extreme was frowned upon in later wars, the fact remained many, many pilots got to see St. Peter before seeing their assailant. A majority of the killing was done by a minority of the pilots. Michael Spick, a noted aviation author, made lots of money off a book called The Ace Factor in which he tried to explain this phenomenon.
Basically SA as situational awareness is often shortened to was the ability to keep track of the moving chess pieces of an aerial flight much better than the guy who may be doing well to keep from ramming someone else in his own formation. Spick is both right and wrong. As in, Aaron Burr crossed with Elmer Fudd terrible shots. Aiming in three dimensions at speeds the human body was not designed to attain while simultaneously being stalked oneself is not a recipe for accurate shooting. In aerial combat, it is better to carry through a miscalculated action with great zeal than to have the slightest hesitation under optimal circumstances.
Get in, get blasting, and get out is a mindset that would carry through to the next few European contretemps and beyond. It was armed with a single machine gun and had a top speed of 86 mph. The Allied fighter pilot having to fight him? Tooling around in a SPAD fighter with a top speed of mph and similar armament. Combat had become massive furballs and often involved bombers running around in large formations. Sometimes the poor bastard at the controls would be expected to do his job at night and versus large airships at altitudes where breathing was difficult.
By the last six months of , aerial encounters were occurring in numbers that presaged future events. When the guns finally fell silent in November of that year, all parties involved recognized how far all aircraft had come and how far they could potentially go. There will be three books for the casual reader on the topic, followed by one you probably only want to read if this is something you really love.
The Canvas Falcons by Stephen Longstreet. They Fought for the Sky by Quentin Reynolds. Aces Falling by Peter Hart. The title pretty much says it all. Let the dogfighting begin…. James saw two MiG Foxbat fighters descend on a damaged B like hyenas on a carcass and cursed, unable to do anything at the moment.
One of the fighters pressed its firing run too close, and ate a storm of 20mm gatling fire from the Bs tail gun. But the other closed to the minimum range for its monstrous AA-6 missiles and fired two heat-seekers. The big missiles lanced into the B and exploded its bomb bays, debris scattering for a quarter mile radius, some of it slamming into a neighboring Stratofortress. Everywhere in the sky it seemed Bs were dying.
Russian fighters ran through the bomber stream with suicidal courage, some even colliding with their targets. The bomber tail gunners were doing all that they could, but their weapons were too short-ranged to be of much good. It was the friendly fighters, and only the friendly fighters, that would be able to defend the bombers. At the moment, the friendly fighters had problems of their own.
His fighters were grossly outnumbered, two to one odds not good when you were dueling with MiGs and Sus for the most part. These fighters were only slightly less advanced than his own Tomcat, and arguably just as maneuverable. There were going to be a bunch of empty bunks back at the N. James wrenched the stick over, rolling through the final maneuver of his Immelmann and turning viciously after the Su that had dropped onto his tail.
For a brief moment, his wings lost lift and his fighter was simply a guided rocket. Then once more they bit air, and he finished the maneuver. The Su pilot suddenly saw that he was a dead man and dived. James followed vengefully, knowing this would be one less man they had to shoot down later. He was out of Sidewinders, and flicked on the radar. He squeezed off a Sparrow. The medium range missile streaked off the rail, going towards its target. The Russian pilot dumped chaff and wracked his aircraft to the left, but the missile was not fooled.
Its warhead expanded into the enemy fighter, blowing off a wing. The Flanker went into a flat spin, trapping the pilot. James felt the sweat running off his body, knowing he had just put in a virtuoso performance and shot down his fifth kill. Only three pilots in the whole of N. But now he was almost out of missiles and fuel, and the fight had just begun.
Amazon switched the frequency of the jammers and banged down the chaff button of her HOTAS, a cloud of the metallic debris spilling out behind them to create a false radar image. The missile saved their life. A stream of tracers streaked by their joint canopy, close enough to touch. James looked in his rearview mirror and felt his stomach drop, and his blood turn to ice. Ivan felt the dark rage well up in him. He was going to kill some feces eating, rat screwing, half-aborted SAM battery commander! The all black F had been right in his sights, hanging there ready for the kill. Now he was going to have to take some time to kill the American.
Ilvanyich saw this maneuver as he hurtled past, his body already reacting into a tight turn without having to think about it. He was sure of it. Today would be the day the American died. The stage was set. Both the leading aces of the primary warring nations had met each other, high in the Soviet sky that had been witness to so much killing already. Neither had the advantage or a wingman to interfere.
Both had an axe to grind. As the two fighters orbited around, circling warily, Ilvanyich thought of his dead wife, blown apart by a VF Tomcat over Argentina. She had been lost instantly in a rush of people, the war being only hours away. The thought about her terrible and sudden death still haunted him.
It simply disintegrated aircraft. After the war, the insignia for Warrant Officer I changed from the Royal coat of arms to the Canadian coat of arms. The air militia was dissolved. The stall warnings were screaming in his ear, but he coaxed what little airspeed he had left into maneuvering energy. Luftwaffe Fighter Aces by Michael Spick. But my last bus home was
And he had become a fighter pilot, just like all three of his older brothers. His mind wandered briefly to Max and Sheen, both in the skies with him. If Ilvanyich should kill him this day, he hoped it was one of them or one of his squadronmates that avenged him.
The two pilots, both sick of the circling, simply turned towards each other and charged, neither one having any missiles. At the extreme limit of his monstrous 30mm cannon, James opened fire, the vibration of the gun coming through his feet and shaking his whole body. Ilvanyich pitched his nose up to fly over the stream, then rolled to his right and pitched down to come at the F from an angle, firing his own 30mm cannon.
The weapon sprayed its shells over a wide area. James felt the F shudder and cursed, rolling away. A hole the size of his fist had appeared in the fuselage of the F, and he had just lost contact with the fire control computer. So now it was about to become dead reckoning fire. The two pilots shoved their throttles forward. Amazon grabbed her armrests and held on for the ride, her only job as an RIO to look out for other enemy fighters trying to crash the party. She had utter faith in her husband and pilot. He had steered them through sixty-one kills up to this point, and she had only had to go into the drink twice.
James turned to go after the hard turning and climbing Fulcrum. His heavier fighter would never have been able to hang with the lighter, nimbler Fulcrum under normal circumstances, but the thrust vectoring engines and canards that had been added to the FD before the war had turned it into the nimblest, most powerful fighter in the world. James felt the advantage was his as he turned after the Russian.
The American had climbed into a yo-yo after him, and was now sliding into the kill position a mile back. It was time for desperate measures, as his Fulcrum was losing energy and getting hard to control. Loftman had unconsciously made the mistake most pilots flying powerful fighters did—He had added too much speed. Ilvanyich slapped the nose back down, going into a slight dive to gain airspeed as he shoved his throttle forwards.
Ilvanyich had been given a brand new MiG as a gift. This now showed, the fighter responding like a thoroughbred and leaping after the Tomcat like a barracuda after a fat, juicy fish. James broke just as Ilvanyich opened fire. The Tomcat groaned dangerously, as he felt the G-forces kick him in the gut.
Sweat was running in rivers down his body. He felt a slight twinge of doubt on whether he was going to make it, the tracers coming closer and closer to his fighter. Ilvanyich had lessened his turn, unable to hold it with the Tomcat. James reversed the turn, expecting Ilvanyich to try and go the other way and snap onto his tail. Ivan was proud of himself. He had fired the last burst then snapped his MiG into a vertical turn. He was now coming at the Tomcat from and angle Loftman could do nothing about. He depressed the cannon tit.
Someone always has to lose in war. If it was not for the fact that thousands of people die in war, man would probably have one every day. A certain competitive spirit, a total channeling of the being seldom achieved except by Zen masters, overtakes the normal civilized psyche of everyday man during the war. Man craves the adrenaline rush. The electronic fly by wire system that gave the fighter part of its amazing agility, was knocked out temporarily.
And, most horrible of all, a shell entered the rear cockpit of the F The shell hit Amazon dead center, right in her chest. She never even realized she was dead. Ilvanyich had exchanged life for life, wife for wife. James heard the bang behind him and the sudden silence over the intercom as his F went into a spin. His will to live left his body.
Amazon had been his rock, his salvation. It had been her shoulder he had cried on when he found out his brothers Andy and Luke were dead. She had been the one that forced him to keep his honor and his humanity intact by not killing Ilvanyich in his chute. She had kept him sane after having to tell his parents they had lost another son. He remembered once again the happiness that had coursed through his soul when they had been married on that small hill just outside the town of Derwin, Texas, where he had been raised.
No, life was not worth living without her. So he did not try to eject. Ilvanyich followed the blazing Tomcat down, ready to add his last twenty shells to the damage if necessary. This was the trump to what he was sure had been a great victory. Two Bs had fallen to him personally. If the other pilots had done as well as he had, there probably would be no more B raids. They probably had not stopped the bombers from getting through, but they had probably made sure they would not be back. Loftman had not even made an attempt to bail out.
Ivan could see the hole in the canopy. Perhaps he had got lucky and gotten both Loftman and his hussy with one shot. He would circle closer. James saw the yellow MiG coming in almost contemptously towards him, the Russian bastard probably trying to make sure he had killed him. This thought suddenly galvanized him. A dark, evil, rage seized him. If he only lived for the next few seconds, he would know he had died trying to avenge her. He waited until he could clearly see the Russian, and brought his right hand up in a gesture of defiance, one finger extended.
He then slammed down his flaps and hauled hard on the stick, putting extra effort into the move. The F responded as if it also wanted revenge on the man that had defiled its beautiful lines and ended the life of one crewmember before ruining the heart of the other. The nose snapped sharply around, drawing towards the MiG. The stall warnings were screaming in his ear, but he coaxed what little airspeed he had left into maneuvering energy.
The MiG hung in his sight. James felt his rage released in an explosion of unearthyly force as he pressed the trigger. He held the button down, the 30mm cannon emptying the remaining rounds in its drum. Every single round hit home. Ilvanyich knew he was dead, even as he tried desperately to get up some speed after the slow pass. His life passed before his eyes as he saw the twinkle of the 30mm gatling.
Then the slugs smashed through the canopy and killed the favorite son of the Soviet Air Force, turning him, his seat, and his cockpit console into inseperable junk. James felt very much like an old time Western gunslinger as he turned away with grim satisfaction. He checked all around him for any threats. The sky was clear, except for a rising smoke pall to the east. He turned the battered old Tomcat for home, and let the tears and grief come out, sobbing as he piloted the F Upper Heyford was a beehive as activity as James started to come in for a landing.
He had been forced to wait while bombers with injured crewmen had landed. After all, he only had cold meat in his rear cockpit. He did not feel human anymore, his emotions simply gone. He felt perhaps it might be shock. To a man, they had decided to re-enter combat. Most of them had not lived to regret it. He hated to think of some squadron such as VF-1, the Wolfpack, that had not been in combat the entire war, going up against Ilvanyich and his veterans.
No, the thirty-six men and women that had made that decision had made the right choice, even if there were now only five of them still living. James brought the F in slowly, feeling it want to get away from him. He had come all this way to ensure Amazon got buried in her home state of Missouri. A trip to the town of St. Joseph would be in order. James felt another tear start its track down his face as he touched down and began his taxi roll. Certainly the F looked like a plane from Hell, but that was too bad. After he buried his wife, he would try to sort out his life and feelings. A group of crash crewmen rushed towards his fighter.
James saw the look of worry on all their faces as he raised the canopy. He simply sat in the front seat, drained. The first fireman up the ladder to the rear cockpit lost his lunch, adding this to the fluid already swilling in the bottom of the cockpit. His partner, a much more experienced hand, called for a bodybag.
The man never got to finish. James vaulted out of the front cockpit, a killing rage about him, lending him energy. James was far from done. Only his Crew Chief, Jeff Jones, stepping in front of him and grabbing him stopped him from killing the man. James got a hold of himself. One more death would not bring Amazon or anyone else who had died in this war back. Loftman turned and started to head for the ready room.
A newshawk, eager for a story, started to run after him.
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The man had been with Commander Loftman for the duration. Jeff just hoped he did it quick, because he had more bad news coming. Sheen Loftman, out of missiles and ammo, had used the only weapon he had left: Jeff hoped the government somehow recognized the sacrifice that the Loftman family had given for their country. The bombing strike had indeed served its purpose.
Moscow had been gutted almost in its entirety. Every major monument, artifact, and government building had burnt to the ground. More than a million people had died in the horrible firestorm. The provisional government had sued for peace. It was a good thing. Cassin Downes had been left with a mere Bs and 75 fighters to continue his campaign. Frontal Aviation, the aircraft that fought over the front lines, had lost a further thirty-six aircraft trying to prevent aid from getting to the bomber fight, an effort that had ultimately failed.
There, in a quiet ceremony that was not disturbed by any newsman upon penalty of death. An order that raised much hue and cry, but was not challenged because troops of the st Airborne had personally entrusted themselves to enforce this to the letter. They had let the newspeople know that they could sue them later if they stayed away, but it would be kind of hard to sue if you were dead. Even the most idiotic newshawks knew better than to test the airborne.
It has been said that he left a way to contact him with his brother Max and his wife Amee in case his country should want his services in time of peril again. Rumor has it that he went to the Arctic to simply live out an existence. Twenty years after the end of the war, the United States Navy, which was now a space going organization, was ready to launch its newest cruiser. On hand for the christening of the vessel was Max Loftman. James Loftman put in a surprise appearance, as the battlecruiser U. Loftmans exited its space dock. An older, wiser newsman came up to apologize for being such an idiot on a cold day back in December.
James accepted his apology, and introduced the man to his new wife, Sarah. The newsman got the interview that he had wanted twenty years before, and since that he was the new owner of the New York Times syndicate, the interview was beamed to houses galaxywide as front page news.
Loftman, his red hair greying at the temples, sat in thought for a moment.
He thought of friends and loves lost, of the pain and exhilarations of combat, and the ideal that he had helped defend, that had grown into a true democracy where all decisions were made by popular vote and law was in common language. And he thought of a certain redhead that had died in his backseat. As his wife squeezed his hand to bring him out of his reverie, he answered.
Yes, in the fact that I ensured my little nephews and nieces, and the two children Sarah and I have, are living free. No, in the fact that I lost a woman that I loved and still do in a small part of me. No, in the fact that all I have to remember of five brothers is simply memories and old photographs. And no, in the fact that I am not the same man that I once was. I still wake up in the night seeing the men I killed, and the friends that I led to their deaths. Vietnam vets, those few still alive, know what I am talking about. But it is not just a symptom of lost wars.
Its a symptom of all wars. And this is something we need to remember as we explore the stars. Or else my children will be forced to fight and die, much like their forefathers have. All in all, this one was not that bad. But it is definitely something I would seriously modify if I did it all over again. I do blame this one on my Martin Caidin, et. Very ss history account in its style, but not so much suited to fiction. I still do modern military fiction. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the read. In various electronic files. However, in a few cases, stuff has survived in electronic form. Looking back at it now, I realize I made a multitude of sins.
Of course, I also had to read the whole thing, cursing and all, in front of the Superintendent of cadets. You know, the three star who could banish one to Siberia…or Fort Drum. Ever dropped an F-bomb in front of a flag officer? Anyway, this will be two parts. Commentary at the end:. The Third World War had been going on for six months.
The forces of the Commonwealth of Independent Soviet States had been pushed back to the frontiers of the ex-U. The nations of N. But the war was not over yet. The dying continued at the front, up to five thousand men dying a day. The strategic campaign continued, young men and women of all the warring nations continuing to die in the air. The only solution in sight seemed to fight the way to Moscow and rip the heart out of the Soviet government, no matter what the cost in lives.
Lieutenant General Cassin Downes, hero of Hamburg, Frankfurt, and the defense of Germany, thought there was a better way. He felt that the strategic air campaing needed to be stepped up another notch. So far, the allied bombers had stayed away from Moscow. Cassin felt that the Soviet leaders did not yet see that they would be ultimately defeated.
A massive strike to Moscow would accomplish this purpose, not to mention the fact that it would draw up the remainder of the Soviet Air Force to fight. Cassin thought long and hard about this decision. The historical precedent was not good for this sort of action.
In , when Hitler had switched from attacking fighter airfields to attacking London, he had succeeded in drawing up the entire RAF. He also succeeded in giving the beleagured fighting force a break from constant air attacks and scrambles on their airfields.
The Luftwaffe, in the opinion of many historians, had lost the battle, if not the entire war, right there. Even worse was the fact that the Russian leaders, after having their capital city turned to rubble, might feel that it was time to go to the nuclear option and end all life on this Earth. President Clinton had given him the go ahead to do whatever was necessary. He had a blank check, as long as he ended the dying and the suffering, and let the world try to build a better community from the ashes and rubble of the old.
Cassin was rightly known as a man of decision. On December 5, , he gave the orders for Operation Sodom, the mass bombing of Moscow. The Bs were to be loaded with a mix of high-explosive 1,lb bombs to smash the buildings into rubble, cluster minelets to deter firemen, and napalm to start fires. Cassin hoped it would start a firestorm that would send a singular message to the Soviet leaders that the war was over.
Enter the two protagonists of this story. He is to be commander of the escort fighters for this massive strike.
This regiment is one of the few regiments to have survived the entire war without crippling losses. The greatest MiG aces still alive are in this unit, no man having less than 5 kills. Currently, after the bloody battles of December 3rd, the unit is down to 14 aircraft. The Soviet government has entrusted Ivan Ilvanyich to command the fighters left that will be forced to face the next American attack.
His orders are to forget defending the target, but to rip apart as many Bs as possible. Only of the big bombers remain serviceable in the European theater. If his pilots can destroy sixty-five of them, this may convince Cassin Downes to cease the bombing offensive after losing twenty percent of the force over Murmansk on the 3rd. The duel between these two men is already legendary. The battle had been indecisive—an errant Soviet missile had knocked down Ilvanyich.
Loftman had come close to shooting down the parachuting Soviet pilot, but had broken off at the last moment. Three weeks after this battle, over Murmansk, the Guards and Jolly Rogers had clashed again.
This combat had lasted six minutes most dogfights only last thirty seconds , but Joghnson was not a Loftman and had been shot down in flames. A clash between the two fighter pilots was fully expected on this day. Loftman had already ordered his pilots to call out if they started to engage Ilvanyich. He wanted the man for himself.
Ilvanyich had told his pilots to mob Loftman if they found him, waiting until he got there to finish the job. This short story begins at hours, when the B stream crosses the Russian frontier and the fight begins. Amazon cursed, looking over her radar. With the enemy fighters closing at M. By the time their radar burned through the Soviet jamming the MiGs and Sukhois would be in their jockstraps. He shoved the throttle forward against the stops. If the enemy wanted to get in close, that was fine with him.
The 30mm cannon was designed for A Warthogs, the tank-killing aircraft of the Air Force. It worked great against tanks. It simply disintegrated aircraft. Just run the countermeasures! Ivan Ilvanyich allowed himself a small smile. Loftman and the hot-blooded pilots of the U. The Americans figured his eighty-nine fighters to be the ill-trained students that had been appearing over the Central Front as of late.
Well, they were in for a nasty shock. Every instructor, ace, and experienced pilot he could find he had put in this first group of fighters, to open the way for the inexperienced pilots massing in the second wave behind them. The ninety-six FDs were in for a nasty surprise.
Ivan began chuckling as he imagined the trap drawing closed. It was a good thing he had talked the Moscow air-defense commander into letting him use some of the limited electrical power for ground based jammers. This had kept the damn Tomcats and their Phoenix missiles from decimating his fighters at more than a hundred miles range.
His blue eyes took on a gleeful tint as he thought of what he would do to the enemy fighters with his eight AA Archers. Ivan Ilvanyich might die on that day, but he would sell his life dearly. He got five symbols on his HUD, the small screen that was just on the inside edge of his cockpit. He reached down and flicked a small switch, jettisoning the defective Sidewinder. The two forces sighted each other at eleven miles.
In the first mass exchange, twelve Tomcats and fifteen MiGs died. The one mission they were supposed to have in life was to land on a bouncing postage stamp in the middle of the sea. My family were all from Folkestone. I've been researching our family and found my GGgran mother at 1 Battery Terrace in the Census but I can not find any trace of this road.
Was it by The Bayle? Paul Seward Sunday, 2 April Bayle Terrace was to the north of the town ditch, which ran into the Bayle Pond. From the Folkestone Herald But soon after the pickaxes set to work the Lady of the Priory the late Mrs. Napier Sturt , through a representative, caused the work to stopped.
The gun stood, and still stands on private property. Had this not been the case the piece of ordnance would probably have had a place amongst the old iron at the dust destructor. Perhaps this particular gun was once included in the armament of the Battery, which once had place on The Bayle. This battery, the site of it.
Hence Battery Terrace and Battery Gardens. Sonia Warren Sunday, 2 April I'll have to see if I can find an old map on-line. It's been fun tracing the family history through Folkestone and looking at the streets now and still finding the houses the family lived in. Can't find any trace of them in But the search will continue.
Mark Hourahane Sunday, 2 April There's a 50 feet to the mile OS map that's quite old in the library - that'll have your terrace. I will check next time I'm there. I suspect it is where Bayle Court is now in Bayle Parade. That was marked as "Misn. It is definitely on The Bayle as there's reference to it online. Christine Tuesday, 4 April We are not sure if the building itself has been replaced, and I do feel it had to have been longer originally, as we have found addresses from No.
I had to put it onto a web page, because each time I tried to post the pictures here, it accused me of using a bad word! Sonia Warren nee Johnson Thursday, 6 April Thank you so much guys for your sleuthing and pictures. So interesting to be able to put the pieces together. I wish I had started this when my parents were alive. My Dad played for Folkestone FC too.
Makes me want to come home for another visit. Is it possible to get copies of the the pictures and map on the website? Mark Hourahane Sunday, 30 April Battery Terrace runs from the pond to the corner opposite the British Lion. It's possible they were there when the change occurred, so The Bayle address and the Battery Terrace address are one and the same. It is now The Bayle, numbered evenly I guess two of them had been sold in Paul's discovered announcement above.
It's in the left cabinet. You can ask them to copy an A4 section for 10p, although it'll just be on a photocopier so not that great a copy. They're huge, old maps As you can see, it's right on the edge of one sheet. Friday, 10 March With regards to the garden, unfortunately when we bought it, it was so overgrown we had to have 28 trees cut down and clear everything except trees with TPO's, give me a few years and I promise I will start to make it look like a garden again!
Still renovating the house Two years in, hopefully be finished by the end of this year. Tuesday, 7 March Its the footpath where the old tram used to run from Sandgate Hill which closed around the end of the second world war if that helps. Be great if anyone has any history for me. Paul Seward Wednesday, 8 March Leas Crag was built for Alderman R. Wood, sometime Mayor of Folkestone. He was, ex officio, a Justice of the Peace and the proprietor of a Gents' Outfitters at the top end of Tontine Street.
The house was built in the southwest corner of a Sports Ground stretching all the way to the Metropole. It incorporated a nine-hole golf course. The railway ran from the end of the Leas on the opposite side of the path. The bridge abutments on Radnor Cliff Crescent are still in situ. All I can find out from the local paper is that he had trouble with the heron visiting the pond at the bottom of your garden.
From personal memory I believe that the property may have offered residential accommodation to elderly people in the early 70s. Christine- website owner Wednesday, 8 March Seems to me I remember R. Wood, and the shop, do you know the years he was in office? I was looking at the area on Google Street View yesterday, and was looking closely at those abutments, they almost look like castle walls. I didn't know that the railway had gone across a bridge there. I love days when I learn more about my home town - thank you, and thank you Caroline for asking the question. I should have made clear that the Sports Ground had the Golf Course and not the house!
The course was roughly where Cliff Road is now. Good pix on Britain from Above. Christine Wednesday, 8 March I have come across his name many times though. My husband is delighted, yet sad that there was a golf course at the rear of the house, but not longer there!! Have tried to find deeds but they no longer exist. Also, there is a strange concrete bunker about four feet to the side of the house, have asked structural engineers, architects, the council, we are all bemused, even a friend of mine who is very interested in strange structures Be great if anyone has any ideas, almost looks like a pigsty but walls are very thick and have a ramp leading up to the??
Am so delighted that I have heard back from you, thank you so so much!! Christine Thursday, 9 March No idea about the bunker, does it have a top on it? Is it big enough for people to get inside? Wondering if he had his own air raid shelter built. I absolutely love this site, both you and Paul have been so helpful, I finally have some history for the house!
Thank you, be great if there is any more info out there! Christine Friday, 10 March Unfortunately, the photo is sold, and the listing ended, but this is probably how it looked when first built, I imagine the garden looks a lot nicer these days with maturity. It looks to be a beautiful home, I am very envious of you Caroline! The listing is here: Paul Seward Sunday, 12 March I'm very interested in Caroline's mention of a bunker as I know that there is a similar construction not far away.
More anon on that one. Paul Seward Friday, 17 March It has a six-inch thick concrete roof, with the entrance facing the house. Being built on sloping ground, Leas Crag was probably not suitable for an Anderson. The construction close by has been blocked off but I have arranged with the owner to open it up again at some stage. It is boarded up at the end but the accessible sides are constructed of railway sleeper interspersed with brick, so probably another homemade shelter. Christine Friday, 17 March Nicola dyos Wednesday, 14 February Greetings from sunny Canberra in Australia.
Two of my siblings and their families remain residents in the area. I have many fond memories of this school especially travelling to school by steam train from Folkestone West to Sandling. Jack Setterfield was the Principal at the time. Christopher Jack Cooper Sunday, 2 July Thought you might be interested. Wednesday, 1 March Looking at the photos, have realised that dad's best friend was Ted Sellen, son of Jesse. Paul Seward Wednesday, 1 March Tim Sharp Friday, 19 May His best friend was Jesse Sellen, the butcher, and we would visit him when we came to Folkestone to stay with my aunt in Ingoldsby Road each year.