Project MUSE Chapter 1: First Encounter

Project MUSE Chapter 1: First Encounter

By adminMonday - October 4th, 2010Categories: Story Post

Chapter 1: First Encounter

 

The Tower Frontier
German-Polish Border
05 January 1940

 

Wilhelmina peered through the binoculars at the farm in the distance. Recreating the map from memory, her eyes found the road. Tracing the road southwards, past a rise, she spotted the convoy of trucks, lazily kicking up a cloud of dust as they drove along the old country road. Doing a quick count, she made out 12 trucks. Flipping to a higher magnification, she took a very close look at the lead truck.

 

Wilhelmina was taken aback for a moment. The enemy used German trucks. Blitzes were an American design produced under license in the German Union by Opel. Wilhelmina actually knew a bit about the trucks since the Schwarzenberg group actually was an important subcontractor for Opel, making a number of parts for the truck. In fact, she had even toured the Opel factory with Father…

 

Shaking off the memory, she called out over the radio. “Ada, Hildy, it appears the intelligence was correct. The convoy is right on time. No need to adjust the plan, let’s do it exactly as we discussed. Dive on my mark, one…two…three…four…now!”

 

With ballet precision the three Messerschmidt JagerLuftritter 109A dived on the convoy below. Moving in nearly perfect synchronization, the two large engine nacelles on each of the slender JagerLuftritter swiveled in unison. The roar of the engines and the howl of the wind formed a nearly impenetrable wall of sound as the three aircraft picked up speed. The thick smell of burning B4 aviation gasoline filled Wilhelmina’s nostrils as she rushed towards the ground.

 

On cue, the brunette riding next to Wilhelmina leaned to the right and enters a sharp banking turn, engines twisting and turning in perfect harmony with her body motions. Adawolfa swooped across the rear of the convoy in an instant, unleashing a hellish salvo of 20mm cannon fire, causing the rear truck to explode in a giant fireball.

 

Wilhelmina, timing her own attack to arrive only moments after Adawolfa’s, emerged from the sun to destroy the lead vehicle in the convoy. The lead truck disintegrated as a barrage of 20mm HEAT rounds smashed into the truck.

 

[Note:  HEAT = High Explosive Anti-Tank]

 

The convoy of trucks, now pinned between the two burning wrecks, grinded to a halt. Troops began to pour out of the vehicles.

 

As Wilhelmina began turning around for another pass, she quickly transmitted to the third figure. “Hildy, your turn, but be careful, they know we’re coming!”

 

“Roger!” responded the blonde enthusiastically.

 

Quietly Adawolfa corrected her, “We’re not English Brunhilde. You should use ‘verstanden’ over the radio.”

 

The third of the JagerLuftritter descended upon the convoy, like a predator hungry for prey. Following along the road, Brunhilde strafed the convoy with merciless efficiency, her eyes rapidly designating targets for her MG34 as it spitted out deadly bursts. One by one her targets fell to 7.92mm fire.

 

Recovering from the arial onslaught, troops in the convoy began to return fire. A lone soldier raised a tube to his shoulder, firing an anti-aircraft rocket at Brunhilde. The rocket followed Brunhilde as she flew past the convoy, languidly at first, then rapidly accelerating as it trailed a plume of smoke.

 

“Hildy, rocket on your tail!” Wilhelmina shouted into the radio.

 

Without responding, Brunhilde reacted, putting her Luftritter into a sharp climb. The engines of her Luftritter strained as she pirouetted into a full vertical climb, slowing her speed. To Wilhelmina, for an agonizing second it appeared as if the two shapes would collide. Brunhilde then made an impossible twist, turning to face the rocket head on, machinegun blazing. Wilhelmina gasped as Brunhilde is enveloped by the fireball from the exploding rocket. A moment later Brunhilde emerged from the smoke, smiling ear to ear and waving to Wilhelmina.

 

“Brunhilde!” chided Wilhelmina, “Stop taking risks!”

 

Brunhilde, stung by the rebuke from Wilhelmina, responded with a meek “verstanden,” sheepishly flying back towards the group.

 

Adalwolfa made a quick second pass of the convoy, making quick work of the soldier with the missile launcher. She then hovered over the convoy, pulling out her Mauser 98k bolt action rifle, ready to finish off any survivors. Enemy silenced, Adawolfa began to speak. “It was a classic Immelmann , except she then used a retrograde movement at the end,” observed Adalwolfa with a deadpan expression. “I don’t think there is a name for the maneuver.”

 

A little irritated, Wilhelmina cleared her throat.

 

Undaunted, Adawolfa continued her analysis, “She used the climb to shed the energy she had from her dive, then she used the retrograde movement to get into a fire position on the guided rocket as it approached, quite amazing if you think about it…that would have required very precise calculations.”

 

Brunhilde energetically bursted in, “Actually I just made it up. I read about the Immelmann in this romance novel about an English pilot shot down during the Russian Civ…”

 

Wilhelmina cleared her throat again, even more irritated.

 

Brunhilde, sensing Wilhelmina’s anger, resumed a guilty face.

 

Deciding to change her tone, Wilhelmina calmly gave out new orders. “Hildy, cover Ada while she checks out the wreckage, ok?”

 

Cheering up slightly, Brunhilde acknowledged with a firm “verstanden.”

 

Brunhilde and Adalwolfa both parked their Luftritter on the road near the debris of the lead truck. Adawolfa unslung her Mauser, while Hildy brandished her MP-38 submachine gun. Both began to gingerly probe the wreckage of the convoy, Brunhilde’s eyes scanning the wreckage as Ada moved about.

 

Wilhelmina, who was watching the skies from overhead, called in over the radio, “Ada, what is the status of the convoy? Any signs of the enemy?”

 

Holding her rifle in front of her, Adalwolfa began to examine the debris up close. Ada approached a body of a now still soldier, metal and plastic parts are visible through the uniform. As she went from body to body, the same telltale debris was scattered about.

 

“Just as reported, these soldiers are just machines. There doesn’t appear to be any live drivers or troops.” reported Adawolfa.

 

Radar Station B-1121
The German-Polish Border

 

Felicia struggled to stay awake, gulping down yet another cup of hot tea. The scalding hot tea helped to wake her up, but it dawned upon her that now she might have to use the bathroom. Staring at the radar screen hour after hour was a mind numbing task, and even worrying about having to use the bathroom helped pass the time she decided. Felicia had no intent of slacking off; she was determined to stick to her mission. She had relatives that were wounded in the Tower attack against Berlin, and she swore she would do anything to get back at the Tower. For weeks now there had been very little air movement in her zone. Every day she stared at the same screen and the same squiggly lines. Every few days she might see shapes for a few seconds, but today it was the typical random pattern dancing across her screen. Thankfully she had made it through her shift without falling asleep. Glancing at the clock on the wall, she reached over to the phone to call in her shift change. Suddenly a single peak appeared on the screen, getting stronger and stronger. She rubbed her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. A fraction of a second later she picked up a different phone. The Tower was active again.

 

Luftlotte 1 Air Fleet Command
Berlin, German Union

 

“Station B1121 detecting one fast-moving object approaching Schwarzenberg Evaulation Flight.”
“Deploy Jagdgeschwader 20 to intercept.”

 

A woman wearing the uniform of the German Union Luftwaffe Signal Support Corps puts an “unidentified” marker on the giant map in the center of the room. A woman with a long stick pushed the marker forward. An electric sign changed the status of JG20 to “Intercept.”

 

Döberitz Airfield
Near Berlin, German Union

 

The peaceful quiet of the afternoon is interrupted by the loud wail of an air raid siren. Pilots lounging in the midday sun scrambled from their seats to their waiting aircraft, cups of tea and newspapers tossed aside.

 

Hauptmann Hannes Trautloft, commander of JG20, called in using the radio from the cockpit of his Messerschmidt 109E3, “This is JG20, responding to intercept call. Scrambling 14 aircraft to intercept.”

 

“JG20, this is Luftflotte 1 Air Fleet Command, be advised that intercept has been identified as Tower aircraft, fighter type. Advise waiting for two full staffeln strength before advancing. JG1 is now being scrambled.”

 

[Note: A full Staffel would have 12 aircraft each, so Air Fleet Command is calling for an attack with 24 aircraft]

 

Trautloft, already taxiing down the runway, struggled to hide the irritation in his voice. “Fighter Command, if we wait, the intercept will be gone. JG20 intercepting Tower craft with Trautloft Flight and Knopff Squadron.”

 

Breaking into the command radio frequency, Wilhelimna interjected, “Luftflotte 1 Air Fleet Command, Schwarzberg Flight requesting permission to join JG20.”

 

Unfamiliar with the new voice, Trautloft listened intently as Air Fleet Command responded. “Schawarzberg Evaluation Flight, permission denied. RTB. I repeat, your orders are to RTB.”

 

[Note: RTB = Return to Base]

 

The 14 Me109E3 of JG20 rapidly took to the air, vectored to intercept the predicted path of the Tower aircraft. Off in the distance, the thin Tower stretched from the ground upwards towards the heavens until it became invisible.

 

Trautloft called in on his radio, “Air Fleet Command, this is JG20. We have arrived at intercept point, please confirm…”

 

Hauptmann Trautloft was interrupted mid-sentence as two of his fighters simply exploded without warning, followed by a plane flying by at extraordinary speed.

 

“Break, break! Climb and bank into his turn! Try and box him in!”

 

JG20 planes break in all directions, wildly jinxing and climbing as the Tower fighter swoops by again, destroying another Me109E3 in an incredible high-speed pass.

 

“Hans, break left…harder! No!”

 

“Aaaaaaghhh!”

 

“Where is it, where is it? Its too damn fast!”

 

“I’m hit, I’m hit! Bailing, bailing, sorry sir!”

 

“I hit it! I hit it! No effect!”

 

“It’s a monster!”

 

Wilhelmina spotted a pilot floating in the sky under a parachute in her binoculars. Turning to the girls, she calmly spoke, “come on girls, we have one more job to do today.” With that, the three valkyries took to the sky.

 

[Prologue] [Next Chapter]