[PART 62]

The First Wave – Martian Geologic Attacks


“I think the bloody Martians just moved the whole god damn Pacific Ocean!”

Submarine VLW Radio Message

The Martian invasion plan called for the planet itself to be attacked first. At 05:27 a.m. GMT eighty-one Martian Flying Machines came out of polar orbit in twelve groups of six and seven spacecraft each dropping off along a lateral line heading south. Beginning their decent over the North Pole they were tracked by NPDL radars and were soon flying a pattern which would place all twelve Martian groups along a 4000 mile long line at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. Committee and other world military forces were immediately notified that the machines were heading for the Western Pacific as several squadrons of national and Committee fighter aircraft from both land and carriers were scrambled to engage the enemy. The air war had begun.

Before the First Martian War mankind had yet to fly further than a few dozen yards. During the Great Earth War we had advanced to fight in the air but only at a very primitive level. Before this war humanity had developed craft which would for the first time bring the air war to the enemy and hopefully somewhat equal the odds over the skies of Earth.

Both Phoenix IIs (originally named Phoenix Alpha II) and Whitehead Thunder Jets were soon screaming towards the edge of the Pacific from several directions ready to face the first Martian attackers. Several old prop-driven fighters were also headed into the fight. Most of the Thunder Jets had been launched from Japanese aircraft carriers Kaga, Hiryu, Zubkaku, Shokaku, and Zuikaku, the British carrier HMS Resolution, the American carrier USS Enterprise, and Committee carriers CS Alliance, and CS Resolve as well as land based jets mostly stationed at Yokohama, and Manila as well as other bases. The first five Phoenix II attack craft to make contact were launched from CS Resolve. This would be the first full ocean war fought by mankind with extensive use of submarines and aircraft carriers and the learning curve would be very steep.

In total these Martians would face 495 Earth fighters. What we did not do was send up every fighter we could in the event this was a bluff to pull our resources away from other critical defense points. We knew that this was going to be a long hard slugfest and no one could predict where on Earth the Martians would attack next. We had to be ready for anything. As it turned out we were nowhere near as ready as we had hoped.

The first new development of this Martian invasion not seen before which had become clear as soon as the attacks began was that the Martians were now able to go into Earth orbit to prepare for their attacks rather than first landing on Earth, and they were not using the old cylinders of 1901. One large craft could launch several Martian Flying Machines from orbit. For the most part these new machines were fully prepared to do battle from the moment they left Mars. The Martians it seemed had indeed improved their equipment and methods of warfare. The time required to deploy their flying and walking machines of war had gone from hours to mere minutes. We would need to adapt to that new reality – and fast!

As the Martian Flying Machines dropped out of orbit and into the proper atmosphere they formed a huge fan pattern over the Western Pacific Ocean. Over much of that portion of the Pacific thunder storms had commanded the skies. Now they would be replaced by a much more destructive wind. The fan pattern seen on radar indicated these machines were pushing towards five separate points with nine each machines in the lead with six more flying machines trailing the first nine. These were thought to be the first and second waves of the attack force but what were the targets? We did not yet know where their targets could possibly be as none of the five fan lines pointed directly at any primary population or military centers. It was a much wider area. In fact they did not seem to be heading towards any heavily populated areas at all.

As the first and second waves flew on they formed a large double diamond formation still heading towards the Western Pacific. Behind the twin attack groups flew twelve trailing Martian flyer groups roughly spread out along the 4000 mile wide attack line. This was a very thin rear defense; typical of the Martian war methods and the Earth fighters were about to hit that group along several points with around 95 jet fighters each.

At the same time the first five Phoenix II attack craft made radar contact with the northern group of Martian Flying Machines in the first wave and were closing in fast. Well behind the Phoenix IIs were 36 Thunder Jets closing in as fast as they could. As the first Earth fighters came in six of the Martian machines peeled away from the formation and headed directly at the Phoenix II attack craft. The Phoenix IIs pulled left, right, top, and bottom in a precision movement which seemed to momentarily confuse the Martian flyers. This distraction allowed the fifth Phoenix II now flying at top speed “on the deck” to fly right past the Martian machines without being fired on. The pilot flew straight towards the lead Martian group. Pulling back to engage the Martian flyers the four remaining Phoenix IIs began to line up on the Martians sending in ten air-to-air missiles at the Martians now turning hard to face the four Earth built fighters. Clearly they had not expected to face such an aggressive attack by Earth forces in combat flying machines which closely resembled their own. It was to cost them, as no fewer than six of the air-to-air missiles were on target, four hitting the first and two hitting the second Martian Flying Machines. Both Martian craft trailed smoke but they still had a good deal of fight left in them as they opened up with their Heat-Rays. The powerful beams caught three of the Phoenix IIs instantly tearing into the closest two, both of which exploded as the third less affected jet began to trail smoke. However, this shot missed the fourth Phoenix II which dove hard to the deck. Pulling up hard and closing in fast the Phoenix II flew under two of the Martian Flying Machines pumping machinegun fire and four rockets into the first Martian and incredibly rammed the second!

Seeing the ongoing fight and closing fast the Thunder Jets now fanned out like a pack of wolves going after the remaining Martian Flying Machine. However, only half of the jets engaged as 18 of the fighters went through the local battle without firing in order to go after the waves of Martian Flying Machines still heading towards the Western Pacific. They would be joined by the single operational Phoenix II in the area.

It would not be long before this Earth fighter force as well as several others came into contact with several Martian craft. And although this group would eventually bring down four more of the Martians they could not stop any of the forward group of enemy machines from dropping their devastating payloads on their targets. In the end none of these Earth fighters in the first group returned to their bases as all were eventually lost in air-to-air combat. These results were generally repeated along the full line of air-combat over the Western Pacific as our losses continued to climb. Even though our air forces were taking out some of the enemies fighting machines it would not be enough.

The fusion rocket-bombs were launched by the forward Martian Flying Machines at the Marianas Trench, Aleutian Trench, Japan Trench, Kuril-Kamchatka Trench and the Kermadec-Tongo Trench. Radio burst and spot reports were soon coming in that strong ‘S’ and ‘P’ shockwaves had been registered across the entire Pacific emanating from the Western edge of the ocean. The floor of the Pacific Ocean, the largest area on Earth covering some 70 million square miles, had been attacked!


Two of the Super-bomb blasts from the Martian first strike attack on Earth


Somewhere near the Kuril Islands


Five separate pulses closely timed together were registered on radio receivers indicating a massive release of some type of very high pulse energy. Initial reports coming in from the Cook Islands, Mariana Islands, Hiroshima, Japan, Kamchatka peninsula and Kodiak, Alaska, were all reporting massive mushroom-like clouds in the direction of the trenches preceded by a huge fireball reaching the surface which seemed to have exploded from deep underwater. Reports were starting to come in of massive volcanic eruptions around the entire western edge of the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’. We did not need these reports to know a massive event had occurred as several monitoring stations were wiring reports that the enemy pulses had set up a line of earthquakes of historic magnitude – some as energetic as 10.6 on the Thomas Scale! The entire floor of the Western Pacific had come alive as a large section of the ocean floor simply dropped dozens of feet.

All communications with our base at Lower-Upola had been cut and had gone silent since we first began receiving these reports. The Central Pacific cable had also been cut and was no longer operational. North and south Pacific cables were still operational as were the backups.

Eruptions were soon ongoing at Aleutian Range, Kamchatka Russia, Kuril Islands, Sakota Japan, Ryukyu Islands, Baguio Philippines and the Mariana Islands. Seismic sea wave warnings were issued for the entire Pacific region. Casualties were expected to be extensive throughout the entire area.

Seismic sea waves were soon moving across the Pacific from several points traveling east and west at an incredible 400 miles per hour. Asia was hit first with great devastation on every facing shore line. When these waves hit Hawaii they impacted the islands at an estimated 140 miles per hour at a height of 80 feet! The last message out of Hawaii that day had come from our Kazumura Cave facility at Hilo shortly before the first waves hit the island. Scientists would later discover the whole Western Pacific Ocean Basin had moved both down and sideways! Incredible as it sounds that movement was so powerful it actually slowed the Earth’s rotation, adding an estimated 2-1/2 seconds to the year! They would later calculate that one of these super bombs equaled five times the amount of explosive energy mankind had used during our entire history on planet Earth and our world had just been hit by five of them! These were much more powerful than the super bomb we had built by a very large margin. If they had any more of these devices we were in deep trouble.

This opening Martian attack on the Pacific basin sank many islands including much of the underground command facility at Upola Island, Samoa. At the time we feared it was a complete loss which included the loss of one of our primary cities and most of its population numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Upola Island held one of our newer primary ‘Vaults for Mankind’ facilities as well as one of our Committee Secret Service Communications Centers (COM 4) and it had taken only minutes to destroy the entire facility. It was feared that several million people across the Pacific had been killed during this first Martian attack of the war.

The Pacific Ocean shift had dropped many island areas some 40 feet. It was the massive energy impacted on the area by the sea waves which did the rest of the damage. After the waves passed there was little recognizable remaining on the surface of any Samoan island. Other islands later confirmed to have been partly or fully destroyed were spread across the entire Pacific area, but these were only the tip of the iceberg which included most of the land masses comprising the Hawaiian Islands now showing only the top two-thirds of three shield volcanoes showing any type of vegetation which were then undergoing massive eruptive events. The islands would soon be mostly free of vegetation. Ancient natural tunnels were also greatly damaged.

We had lost contact with our Vaults for Mankind facility at Midway Island (a mixed facility code named Gray) which was also feared lost. However, despite major damage we later discovered that much of the facility had survived – barely.

Despite the massive destruction on land including much damage to port facilities most of the military ships in the Pacific were still in fighting condition which included all of our carriers and submarines.

Reports from the opposite side of the Earth soon told of strange and powerful earthquakes never before reported in several areas including Algeria, Libya, Niger, Mali, Southern Africa and the Belgium Congo. Landslides, debris flows, and new cracks in the Earth with mud flows from major thunder storms were also being reported. Thousands were killed as panicked populations scrambled away from the hardest hit areas. The planet had been given a devastating blow and it had seemingly come alive! The Martians had found a way to use our own world to kill across a wide expanse of the planet.

Hour’s later seismic sea waves generated by the bombs and the movement of the Pacific Basin slammed into the west coast of America with devastating results. Every major city along the coast from Alaska to the tip of Argentina was hit hard as wave after wave pushed on shore. Hundreds of thousands were killed and millions more were left homeless. Within days numerous earthquakes would begin to hit these areas once thought to be dormant as several fault lines and volcanoes came alive causing even more devastation. It was not long before the Pacific skies were clogged with debris heading east from dozens of volcanic eruptions.

The major port facilities at Tacoma, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose and Lima suffered major damage as did the Sea Cave Facility at Portland (code named Blue 5). Blue 5 was now out of action. The Pacific end of the Panama Canal was moderately damaged, but was not put out of action. Committee Secret Service Communication Center (Com 8) near Panama City was still operational. However, because of its protected location the major port facility at Vancouver suffered very little damage other than some minor flooding. It would continue to operate including, despite some damage, our Vancouver Committee Secret Service Communication Center (Com 7). Our Sea Cave Facility at Santiago, Chile (Blue 9) suffered only minor damage. The massive ‘sea doors’ had taken a good deal of punishment but held. The same type of protective doors also saved our Sea Cave Facility at San Diego, California (Blue 1). These communication centers would still be able to service our submarines and monitor Martian radio transmissions.


Despite the vast amount of damage done to man-made facilities in and around the Pacific region it took a while for us to understand why the Martians would use such a powerful group of weapons to disrupt the planet rather than use such powerful weapons to destroy four or five of our largest cities or even some of our largest military facilities. We soon realized their strategic plan and whom or rather what they were at war with. They were not at war with human’s per-say; they were at war with Planet Earth! With that realization it became clear the Martians, with their very long view of most things, were never at war with mere humans. Humans in their minds were nothing more than a convenient food supply or at worse a secondary ‘infection’ of the planet they would eventually need to deal with before they could secure their new Mars. (For some reason they referred to their home world, in their language of course as “Mars Prime”.)

That was a clear indication of how little they regarded humanity and our ability to defend ourselves. It must be remembered from the Martian point of view they had not been defeated by humans – which was absolutely correct – they had been delivered a setback by a disease they had originally failed to take into account from which they had now fully recovered. It was now time to simply take what in their way of thinking was already theirs and that included the source of food, which was still plentiful and making at lot of noise walking around on two feet!

The planet itself would continue to be their primary target for a while longer as they built up their needed supplies to deal with the ‘human problem.’ Four hundred more Martian spacecraft dropped out of orbit near the end of the day split between both poles. These were thought to have been large cargo and troop ships, sent down to expand and re-enforce their two suspected main Earth battle command centers at the North and South Poles. That strategy at least had not changed since 1901.

With these next Martian craft came the final attack on that first day. Almost simultaneously Martian Flying Machines attacked the Deep Space Radio telescope network destroying the primary dishes at Goldstone California, Canberra, Australia, and Robledo de Charela, Spain. For the most part we had lost our ability to ‘listen in’ on Mars. That task now fell to several much smaller dishes. They would have a great deal of difficulty doing any work with all the lightning discharges and debris in the atmosphere.

DAY TWO: 3 September 1938


As large numbers of terrified people not unexpectedly continued to leave major population centers especially along coastal areas clogging up the roads, world-wide tracking radars were picking up more Martian Flying Machines dropping out of Earth orbit. Martian machines were once again being tracked and with the massive attack on the Pacific Ocean the day before most in Lower-New York City Command Headquarters speculated this would be another “super bomb” attack possibly on population centers or perhaps other earthquake prone areas. Thunder Jet interceptors and Phoenix II aircraft as well as thousands of National jet fighters on runways and aircraft carriers around the world were ready to counter-attack any of the Martian machines if they made a run at our major cities or military facilities. However, these did not seem to be the targets the Martians were interested in, at least not yet. Once again they were not de-orbiting near major cities. Even seeing this we were not about to pull our defense fighters away from our major population centers for hit-and-run missions. We soon had our answer as to their next target areas as the next wave made their low orbit run and on into the lower atmosphere.

The machines coming in high over the North Pole dropped down and flew directly towards the Caribbean area. Before long the first group came to a halt near Mount Pelee even as fighter jets, many from our carriers, closed in on the Martian craft. From this oversight position witnesses saw the first giant craft fire three bright blue rockets into the ground in a triangular pattern around the volcano. When the first radio reports came in we knew at once the Martians were going to set off volcanoes with their seismic devices just as they had in the past. It soon became clear that they were going to set off as many as possible in as short a time as they could.

The first machines continued their targeting runs flying over and rocketing seismic devices around Purace volcano in Colombia, Arenal volcano in Costa Rica, Izalco volcano in El Salvador, Fuego volcano in Guatemala, Cosequina volcano in Nicaragua and finally Popocatepell volcano in the Mexican Lawless Zone as our fighters did their best to engage the enemy craft with rockets and machine-gun fire. Radio reports were flashed to military units in all of these areas except the Mexican Lawless Zone. For the most part the Martians seemed to be playing a hit-and-run game. Unless necessary they did not openly engage our fighters. Even this earlier in the war it was becoming clear they had become concerned that even with our great losses in the air they could ill afford to lose too many of their flying machines. They had a long way to go with limited resources. It must also be noted the Martians had flown over thousands of our anti-aircraft guns in the process of these attacks which despite the massing of fires by our gun crews we had not done a great deal of damage. Nevertheless, our forces were able to shoot down a few of the Martian Flying Machines. In my view we had only gotten lucky and not skilled with this method considering the massive effort and low shoot down count. We had to do a hell of a lot better.

Volcano going off after Martian attack


Using eyewitness spotter reports relayed in by Ham Radio operators and last known position radar tracking, teams were sent out to find and if possible destroy as many of these seismic devices as they could before they could be set off. There would be very little time before it would be too late to disarm them. This was the new job for the seismic “Cobra Teams” as they were called. These small elite military units (283 teams spread around the world) had been originally tasked to locate Martian Flying Machines as they landed and destroy them as soon as possible prior to being assembled for war. With these war machines no longer requiring such work the Cobra Team’s original job had become obsolete. Now they would attempt to locate and destroy their seismic devices. There would be no effort to disarm or remove these devices. Destroy in place no matter where they were found was their only job.

The Second Martian group to drop out of orbit on this day was only 25 minutes behind the first. This group was clearly headed for Indonesia, a prime location for strato-volcanoes including some of the deadliest ones on Earth. It did not take long for the machines to drop their deadly seismic devices around Agung, Kelut, Krakatoa, Peak of Ternate and Tambora volcanoes in and around Indonesia. We knew with that many volcanoes being attacked in such a small geographic area we were in deep trouble in Indonesia. There were nowhere near enough military “Cobra” units in the area to cover all of those volcanoes and there were not nearly enough safe havens in the area, nor ships available to evacuate the population. The plain truth was hundreds of thousands more were going to die and there was not a damn thing anyone could do about it. Nevertheless, fourteen Cobra teams went in to do what they could. Most of them would not survive the job.

For days after these attacks unseasonably heavy rains poured down on a population already devastated. The planet itself was beginning to respond to these attacks! Weather patterns all over the world were scrambled as never before. Climate histories were becoming obsolete.

As more and more volcanic material entered the lower and mid levels of the atmosphere it was becoming difficult for our aircraft to stay up for extended periods of time. It would not take long for engines to begin to malfunction as this material was sucked into their air intakes. Lightning strikes were becoming common as eruptions continued to pump great amounts of extra energy into the atmosphere. Several of our jets were being hit by lightening each hour that passed and some with such heavy energy they became disabled sending them to the ground. The only aircraft which seemed to come through this electronic field were our Phoenix II s and naturally the Martian Flying Machines.

The atmosphere was also becoming cooler as the Sun’s rays continued to reflect off of the massive amount of volcanic ash now floating over much of the Earth. The Martian’s plans were succeeding all too well.


South of Tambora Indonesia


One hour after the first machines dropped out of orbit two more groups of flying machines came down. One group flew north to the Icelandic rift zone near Laki Fissure and according to eyewitnesses delivered some 30 seismic devices along a 25 mile line. This was the first time we had seen these devices laid out in such a long series rather than in a cluster of three. We needed to take note of this. Within hours a 30 mile long fissure had opened up with at least 30 separate eruptive zones. The tremendous amount of gas and dust was lit up by huge electrical discharges as black ash fell over vast areas of the island. Strong winds pushed the debris towards Northern Europe. As the clouds moved across Europe torrential acid rains began to fall in a band of at least 500 miles wide. Darkness fell during mid-day over much of Europe. This one eruptive fissure would continue to pump material into the atmosphere for the next eight months. By then it would be clear that there would be no summer for the next year! It was far too cold. These Icelandic eruptions would cause the loss of 85% of the population of Iceland. In the end the entire island nation would need to be abandoned.

The next group headed for Japan and was soon spotted over Sakura-zima volcano. Thirty minutes later, their work done, they headed north following the other Martian machines, which had also deployed their devices. To counter this attack the Japanese were able to send up nearly 150 prop-driven fighters in an effort to swarm the Martian machines. Most never got close, hit by the deadly Heat-Rays, but two of the old fighters incredibly fought through and once again one of our pilots whose name we will never know rammed a Martian bringing it to the ground. The Martians were learning just how determined we humans were when it came to defending our planet even when the costs were very high.

We were soon receiving spot and wireless reports that Reventador in the Andes, Santorini in Greece, Volcano in Italy, Lamington in New Guinea and Bezymianny Volcano in Kamchatka were all erupting and at levels never before seen in historic times. Dozens of giant Martian machines had dropped out of orbit to deliver their deadly seismic devices in these areas before heading out towards the North and South Poles. With all of this volcanic activity it did not take long for the skies over much of the Earth to become clogged with volcanic debris from these eruptions which were now adding their material to the already massive amount of debris sent into the atmosphere by the initial attack on the Pacific Ocean basin (the Ring of Fire).

At our headquarters in Lower-London’s Mars War Room (as well as other command centers) staffs were co-coordinating dozens of air attacks by Committee and national forces over European skies. At the same time massed air engagements were occurring at hundreds of other locations around the world. And even though Earth forces were having an effect by shooting down dozens of these machines our losses were closing in on 30 percent. We were losing some 35 fighters for every Martian Flying Machine our forces were able to destroy. Their Heat-Rays were taking a terrible toll on our flyers even as our air forces continued to engage each and every enemy craft they could find. Throughout the war carrier and land based fighters would keep up the pressure on enemy forces on land, sea and over the embattled skies.

A reporter from the New-London Daily Mail assigned to the central west coast of Italy reported by shortwave before his broadcast went off the air.

What I see is an unbroken wall of fire, two miles long; against this curtain of fire, which blocks out the sky, are silhouetted the towers of the churches and the flat square roofs of the houses. The sea glows a deep copper- red, and worst of all from the densely packed mob of thousands of refugees huddled on the narrow quay, between the advancing fiery death behind and the deep waters in front, comes continuously such a frantic screaming of sheer terror as can be heard miles away…

Radio jamming devices beamed from low Earth orbit began to interfere with radio transmissions both civilian and military. The Martians had set up a series of small orbital craft over much of the Earth designed to eventually jam most but not all of our wireless radio transmissions. (We still had some local wireless in use.) They had planned well but if they had expected these jammers to completely cripple our communication networks they had miscalculated. Nevertheless, for the most part the only long range radio traffic getting through were the new burst transmissions and even those needed to be sent two or three times to insure they were properly received. Most cable systems were still in working order and had at this point not been attacked. (Since most were buried and some deeply the hope was they could not be found.) That old but reliable system soon became our best and most secure method of communication. The Central Pacific cable itself had not been the primary target when it was lost and of course we had no word out of Hawaii or most other Pacific islands including our primary city base at Upola since the initial attack. All had gone quiet. We were expecting a flash report or perhaps a long wave underwater radio report from one or more of our submarines in the general area before long. Submarine radio traffic was unaffected at the time so messages continued to come in from those sources.

At the same time radars tracked dozens more Martian machines de-orbiting on flight paths which eventually led to the North Pole where the Martians were thought to be assembling their northern ground attack forces. Simultaneously the South Polar Defense Line (SPDL) radars were tracking some 214 Martian Flying Machines heading out of orbit towards the South Pole in central Antarctica. Our spotty Antarctic weather stations were reporting high surface winds and much greater snow fall than normal – it was an estimated minus 90 degrees at the pole. We knew it would not be long before these machines began their deadly ground attacks. The Martians must have thought, knowing our history, they could not be attacked if they staged their invasion from or near the poles. We were planning to prove them wrong.


Off the western coast of central Italy


Sub launched surface to air missile

By this time most major population centers above and below ground had been placed under local martial law and naturally all reserve forces had been called up. Our primary underground cities and military facilities were now, for the most part, completely closed off and heavily defended. Populations in large cities above ground were continuing the move to off-set areas prepared for just such a purpose. One of our primary goals in the Committee was to keep people out of the way of the Martians if it was at all possible. It was a task we damn well knew we could not accomplish but we had to do our best. By now of course all underground tunnels natural or man-made would be filled to capacity and more. This was high stakes “hide and seek’ from the Martians and no one knew if it would be successful.

As these events were occurring individual attacks had been made against several observatories which had been part of our Mars Watch Program. On that day we lost the Link Observatory, the Mount Wilson Observatory, as well as the Berlin and Osaka Observatories. The Martians seemed to understand these facilities were critical to our understanding of their home planet. It was at the Berlin Observatory we lost Dr. Tsiolkovsky who had stayed at the facility in order to co-ordinate some last minute observation data. The Committee had lost a very good friend.

Hours later we received a spot radio report indicating at least one and possibly two Martian Flying Machines had flown over Mars Radio Trap 4 in Phoenix, Arizona, and had been destroyed by ground launched rockets and anti-aircraft fire. The Martian craft had flown in close probably in response to their picking up the radio and radiation signals the trap was putting out. The first machine had been hit by ground fire and was seen flying north trailing smoke. The second had been destroyed when the explosives set into the trap itself detonated taking the Martian with it.


Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[Next week: Part 63: Martian geologic attacks continue as the air attacks begin.]