Author Topic: Die Staudammbrecher  (Read 2848 times)

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Die Staudammbrecher
« on: December 17, 2011, 07:03:24 AM »
Die Staudammbrecher

Major Kepler walked out of his tent, “Mein Gott, this weather is incredible!  Much better than being back in Germany or heaven forbid, the Russian front!” he thought to himself.  As he walked over to where the mechanics were already preparing his aircraft he thought back to how he got here.

It was early November 1944 when he was called to the office of Oberst Baumbach’s KG200 headquarters.  After being sworn to secrecy, he was told of the planned Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein against the western allies.  Expecting to play some role in this, he was speechless when told of what his role would actually be…

First the night time flight across occupied France into Spain.  Thankfully all the aircraft (six in all – three of the new Ta-152s and three of the equally impressive Ju 388 K-3s – “Oh, to have had these aircraft even 12 months earlier!”) arrived successfully.  The ground crews (flown out earlier in one of the unit’s Ju 290s) set to work quickly dismantling the aircraft for their trip by road to the Port of Santander.  Here, under the cover of darkness, the aircraft were loaded onto the fast Spanish freighter.

During the trip, the mechanics stripped the aircraft of all their German markings and applied new fresh Mexican ones.  By the time, the ship arrived in the Mexican port of Tampico this was all complete - how odd it looked to see the bright red, white and green triangles and associated rudder stripes in place of the familiar black crosses and swastika. 

After yet another night time unloading, they were on their way again.  By the time, they had arrived, the attack in the Ardennes had already begun.  By the translated news reports it seemed as though the attack had gone as planned.  The Americans especially were panicking.

After travelling throughout the early hours of the morning, they pulled off the road into a large field surrounded by trees - some sort of Orchard, Kepler guessed.  Here they met Señor Weiss, who it turned out was their local contact.  German by descent, though with a distinctly Mexican influence, he was a fervent Nazi, something Kepler found amusing given his obvious mixed heritage.. 

Over the next few days, the aircraft were reassembled and all their systems checked and rechecked.  Finally, after 2 days it was time to fly to their operating “base” – really just a simple dirt airstrip in the north west of the country.  This had been prepared earlier by Weiss’s workers with tents, fuel and all the other necessities of modern war.  It was good to be in the air again, even if those markings still looked odd.

Arriving in the late afternoon, the aircraft were quickly pulled off the strip and put under cover of netting.  The mechanics then once again set to work on the aircraft.  This time it was the Ju 388s ("the Störtebeker nickname suited them for this operation", thought Kepler) that received most of the attention.  Over the next week, the front cockpit section of all three was removed.  This was made all the easier by special modifications made to the aircraft back in Germany before this whole endeavour began.  Once all that was complete, they waited for Senor Weiss’s trucks to once again arrive, this time with the special explosive noses that were to be fitted (these too had been shipped out on the freighter from Spain.  Accompanying the trucks was a crane - it looked to have been sourced from a construction site.  This would be especially important if the planned Mistel joining of fighter to “missile” was to be made.

That was three days ago.  Now as Kepler reached the area where the mechanics were making the final preparations, he looked up impressed.  They had worked a miracle just to get this far.  “If only their luck could continue a little longer.”  The reports from Europe weren’t as good – it seemed as though the offensive had ground to a halt…

Two hours later he strapped himself in with the aid of one of the mechanics.  Behind him were the two other aircraft.  The pilots had drawn straws to see who the other pilots would be – these were the lucky ones (or unlucky ones, depending upon your view point).  Once strapped in, he signalled ground crew to start the engines of the Ju 388 “missile” below and then once they were going smoothly, started his own engine.  Behind him the other pilots did the same.  Once all was ready he moved the throttle and slowly moved forward.  This was always the difficult part.  Reaching the end of their small strip, he gunned the engines and started his takeoff run.  Slowly at first and then more quickly, the unwieldy looking contraption gained speed.  Then finally, as it looked as if he would run out of room, the joined aircraft left the ground.  Good, that part was over.  As he gained height, the other two Mistelen formatted with him.

As they climbed, he looked at his map and compass.  He needed to head almost due north.  Normally, the idea of undertaking a mission of this sort without the usual reconnaissance or other support would be daunting, but all seemed to be going well.  The sky was largely clear with only a few clouds about.  It should be relatively easy to navigate.  Hopefully, they wouldn’t run into any American aircraft.  If they did, all they could really rely on for defence was the Mexican markings (the Mexicans, were after all the American’s allies) and the confusion caused by the odd looking Mistel arrangement (not too many Luftwaffe crews had seen a Mistel, so hopefully any Americans encountered wouldn’t have either).

Some time later, they finally came within sight of their target:  The larger Hoover or Boulder Dam (depending on your viewpoint).  The plan might well work!

Worked out months before, “the plan” had been to cause maximum confusion in the minds of the American leaders and population.  In conjunction with the offensive in the Ardennes aimed at throwing back the invading armies, an attack on the American homeland would force greater emphasis to be placed on “defending the home front”.  It was even hoped the apparent “Mexican attack” might cause America to declare war on one of its allies.  The target for the attack was to be the large Hoover Dam.  Apart from the significance of destroying such a large, well know landmark, the destruction was also help to reduce the production capacity of the weapons plants in the California region, through the loss of electrical generating capacity of the Dam.

Now it all seemed to be coming to fruition.  Entering a shallow dive, Kepler lined up on the Dam.  Behind him the other Mistelen did the same.  Releasing the Ju388 missile, his Ta-152 suddenly leapt forward.  He now entered a gentle turn to watch the Ju388 head on its way.  Slowly the seconds ticked by – “Surely it couldn’t be this easy?”  Then as he watched, a perfect hit dead centre!  Followed shortly by two more, as the other missiles also hit.  With no time to waste watching to see the results, the three Ta-152s turned South and headed at maximum speed back to Mexico. 

By the time they landed, word of their successful attack had already beaten them – the radio was alive with reports of the collapse of the Hoover Dam.  The reports were confused though.  Some spoke of an accident where a plane crashed into it, others mentioned a Japanese bombing attack.  One even mentioned a possible earthquake!  Nothing however mentioned Mexico or even Germany.   All Kepler could ponder though was “What a pity, they hadn’t tried this operation much earlier in the war when it might have had an effect on the outcome…” followed shortly by “I wonder what options for a pilot there may be in Mexico?”



Thank you John for the profile.

Regards,

Greg

 




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