[PART 66]

DAY EIGHT: 9 September 1938

MOSCOW

It was just past midnight local time when the first wave of Martian Walkers struck the outskirts of Moscow from the east behind heavy snow and gale force winds as they continued to use weather as a weapon of war. Unlike most cities much of Moscow had been built above ground but nearly all of these structures were heavily reinforced concrete and steel encased buildings and each and every one was built as a fighting position. Most were best described as re-enforced bunkers and they looked like it. If Moscow’s defenses were to be described one would have to say the city had the most extensive trenches, the most extensive fire and tar pits and the most Martian Walker Traps than anywhere else on Earth. The Soviets also made certain that Moscow and many of their most important cities were well mined and well defended with tanks, massed artillery and anti-aircraft towers. Taking Moscow was going to be a very bloody affair – on both sides.

This is not to say the Soviet capital did not have an extensive underground – it did. But underground Moscow was at most no more than a tenth as extensive as New York City, New London or even Paris. Much of these underground facilities were built for communist government officials and their families and staff. For the most part the battle for Moscow would be fought on the surface streets of the city in close combat and it would be fought without any aid from other nations or the Committee. Stalin and millions of dead Soviets would see to that. For the most part win or lose it would be their fight. First “the man of steel” had a ‘problem’ to deal with. Just before the battle began Stalin ordered the execution of nearly 20,000 hybrids. He would be taking no chances with, as he would state, “those kind.”

Soviet troops attack Martians outside of Moscow – “Stalin had unleashed his Siberians”

 

To everyone’s surprise the lead Martian elements to strike the outskirts of Moscow had the distinctive look of turtles. The Martians had deployed low lying tanks moving on treads. Each of these vehicles were firing pulsed Heat-Rays and belching out Black Smoke. As this first ground assault made its way forward to what looked like open ground a signal from the team responsible for this area’s defense ignited the four mile long, 50 yard wide gasoline and tar pits into a massive wall of flame. Well over 200 of the enemies ‘tanks’ found themselves rolling over wooden supports which had instantly become a raging infernal. It was not long before much of these temporary support structures collapsed taking many of the Martian tanks with them. The Martians did not even pause for a moment. Forty large Martian Walkers floated over the trenches through the flames and began placing well aimed Heat-Ray pulses on the structures just ahead of them as flames continued to consume the luckless Martians below. The Martians were now inside of Moscow firing point blank at the tanks and artillery which were themselves firing with every gun at their disposal. The Soviets did not have any Tesla Heat-Rays nut they did have solid rockets. As they came to the edge of the city Stalin ordered his artillery to begin firing mustard gas at the advancing Martians. It had no effect on any of the Walkers but the follow on Martian B forces were about to pay a frightful price for their attack – and so were the people of Moscow. As they closed in dozens of troops used grappling hooks to pull themselves up the Walkers. It was nothing but suicide but they were able to bring down several of these deadly machines with planted explosives before these heroes were eviscerated by Heat-Rays.

House-to-house fighting in Moscow

 

In the dirty sky above Moscow the citizens could see a great number of prop-driven Soviet fighters engaged in a death struggle with 40 Martian Flying Machines. The Soviets had sent up 410 fighters to swarm the enemy even as the skies over Moscow became clogged with thousands of anti-aircraft rounds. More than a few Soviet aircraft were shot out of the sky by their own gunners. By morning there would be 18 fewer Martian Flying Machines raining terror over Moscow. There would also be no Soviet fighters to combat the remaining twenty-two still attacking their capital. The entire force had been annihilated.

NORTH TO THE ARCTIC

At dawn a group of six Phoenix IIAs with advanced radar took off from Fairbanks, Alaska on a reconnaissance mission towards the Northern Martian Command Center generally suspected to be located at the North Pole. In point of fact we pretty much knew it was there based on years of information, radar tracking as well as Peary’s and other reconnaissance north but we needed to confirm this ‘fact’ and we needed to photograph the area. In order to attack this center we had to discover how extensive it was, how it was laid out and how much equipment and combat forces the Martians had deployed at the pole. The compliment of aircraft, two each from the Committee, Canada and the United States, would fly in two teams. The Canadian flyers would link up with a specially equipped Committee photo reconnaissance model and fly cover to the pole as would the two American flyers who also linked up with a Committee Phoenix IIA. The reconnaissance Phoenix IIAs would avoid air combat if possible as the escort Phoenix IIAs, battled any Martians which happened their way. Considering the reconnaissance target and the distance to that target this seemed likely.

We were able to give these aircraft at least one advantage over all other Phoenix IIs. They had recently been spray painted with the same black radar absorbing coating covering the Command Aircraft CP Magic which was presently flying a tight circle over the mid-Atlantic. The Martians had yet to spot that aircraft and we hoped they would not spot our reconnaissance flights. Bad weather along most of the flight path was also expected to be of great help in hiding this reconnaissance mission.

The second part of the plan involved the return leg of the mission from the pole after the flight had taken infrared night optics photos. As the flight was returning south it would be met by a squadron of 15 Phoenix IIs and 121 Thunder Jets prepared to fight off any pursuing Martian fighters. If they were still operational the four escorting Phoenix IIAs would join the fight with the rest of the fighters against any Martian machines as the two photo reconnaissance Phoenix IIAs continued south with their critical photos heading for Fairbanks.

In an effort to distract the Martians two separate groups of ‘decoy’ Phoenix IIs were sent north from the opposite side of the pole. Thirty-eight Phoenix IIs out of east coast American and Canadian Air Force bases joined with aircraft launched from carriers on duty in the North Atlantic sent to attack Martian Flying Machines over the Davis Strait between Greenland and Baffin Island. At the same time a wing of twenty-four Phoenix IIs originating from bases in Germany, Finland and France landed and re-fueled at Hammerfest, Norway (soon to be under Martian control) to continue on to attack any Martian machines flying around the Greenland Sea area heading as far north as 80 degrees hoping to draw as many Martian aircraft as possible to that side of the pole. If the plan worked it was just possible the Martians would be too busy fighting off an attack heading towards their ‘suspected’ base from that direction to notice the small flight of fast moving and low flying Phoenix IIAs coming at the pole from the opposite direction. To say the least it was a very risky plan at long odds even though this was to be a fast hit-and-run mission to bring them out not a long term slugfest. The added advantage was that our forces would be bringing the fight to the enemy and any flyers they shot down would be a plus.

It would be a dark winter night all the way in and all the way out – just as the Martians liked it! Nevertheless, our weather people believed that due to expected wind patterns and rather scattered reports the skies over the pole would be relatively clear of atmospheric debris – relatively.

Our lead Phoenix IIs on the ‘decoy mission’ were soon picking up radar and ‘radio noise’ coming from the direction of the pole well before they came into range of any Martian machines. It was clear there was much going on at the North Pole. It was possible that our flight had also picked up the carrier signal we suspected was being sent to Martian craft still in Earth orbit from their polar base. This was valuable information.

It did not take long for our North Polar Defense Line radars to confirm the Martians had spotted our fighters winging their way north along both sides of Greenland. They had taken the bait perhaps a bit too much and were coming south with at least 144 machines. (Our radars were still not completely reliable.) With those numbers our fighters were going to be out numbered better than three to one. One slight advantage we did have was the continuing terrible weather in the area around Greenland which would make it difficult for both sides to engage in air combat. Nevertheless, with this new radar information the Canadians sent up another twenty-two Phoenix IIs and twenty-nine Thunder Jets while the British sent out ten additional Phoenix IIs they badly needed in their fight with the Martians over central England. The lead decoy aircraft were ordered to slow their approach to draw additional time for contact and engage the enemy as far south and as far away from the pole as possible.

Orders were sent to the fighters to engage the Martians only as long as necessary but to continue to draw them south to keep them busy while the reconnaissance group was heading towards the pole. When we had verification their flight to the pole was over and they were headed back south our fighters were to break off as best they could and return to their bases. The good news was that as far as we could tell the NPDL had not detected any large flights of Martian machines anywhere near the Reconnaissance Phoenix IIAs. So far our luck was holding. We could use a little right about then.

 

SYDNEY

On the second day of intense fighting in the skies above Upper-Sydney once again the weather became a factor as unusual rain coming down in heavy black sheets hampering the effectiveness of Martian Heat-Rays. The weather also had a dampening effect on our Heat-Rays and high energy spotlights. However, this weather did nothing to lessen the quality of Australian artillery and tank fire ‘packets’ centered to concentrate their firepower on the large Walkers continuing to sweep in from the west. Despite this juggernaut the Martians had yet to make their way into Lower-Sydney which was now 100% sealed off. Despite the desperate battle going on just above them our Committee Command Center continued coordinating every scrap of information they could in defense of the city as well as other points of combat in and around the southern area of our planet. Re-enforcement of units on the surface were sent by tunnels which were temporarily opened in the north and south of the city. These reinforcements included the ten rebuilt Martian Walkers we had deployed to Sydney.

The only major surprise out of Sydney on this day came when dozens of hybrids in Lower-Sydney took up arms and attacked government and Committee facilities in an effort to aid the Martians attacking on the surface. They came far too close to ‘taking out’ members of the command staff who had to defend themselves with side arms along with security and Tango forces. At least 180 hybrids in groups of five to twenty formed into fighting units, but despite the surprise attacks and the loss of dozens of lives these hybrid traitors did not last long. Most were soon cut down by rifle fire held mostly in the hands of enraged civilians. Without any leadership input all captured hybrids were executed on the spot. In at least one incident four badly wounded hybrids were hacked to death by machetes. Our Aborigine friends were also ‘displeased’ with the treasonous hybrids. This would not be the last time hybrids in our cities would turn on their neighbors. In many areas they became nothing less than a fifth column for the Martians – and most would pay a fearsome price for such treason. Firing squads were becoming very active.

TITAN FLASH: TO ALL COMMANDS: MARTIANS NOW SWEEPING ACROSS UPPER-SYDNEY – SITUATION CRITICAL – LOWER-SYDNEY UNDER ATTACK BY SQUADS OF HYBRIDS – CHECK 6 – ZULU – GOD SAVE THE KING.

From New Zealand, as requested by Titan, a full wing of Whitehead B4 heavy jet bombers out of Auckland came in from the east to hit Martian ground forces pushing hard on Sydney from the south. The bombers led in by 22 fighters were able to drop their loads on target as several warships pounded the same formations from off shore positions. Artillery inside Sydney added their weight to the effort which slowed the advance of medium sized Walkers being supported by Hear-Ray firing armored vehicles. After the bomb run the bombers were jumped by several Martian machines who had broken away from our fighters sending the bombers back towards New Zealand but not before our New Zealanders lost ten aircraft. The Martians did not chase the bombers opting to continue their air attacks on Upper-Sydney now better than half controlled by Martian ground forces.

Late in the day advanced Martian ground forces (special assault troops) backed by small Walkers broke into Lower-Sydney at the extreme north end of the city. The small Walkers had hit the security doors with Heat-Rays until the metal melted. When they entered the first tunnel the floors dropped out sending several of the small Walkers crashing into fire pit Walker Traps. The Martians continued moving over the traps until it was full with machines and bodies once again walking over their own dead and wounded. With this report Titan gave orders to explosively seal the Vaults for Mankind tunnels in Sydney (code named Silver) in order to prevent their falling into Martian ‘hands’. Southern CAIG Command Center ‘Star Light’ sent out a final report by secure cable on UFO activity that had been spotted over Sydney just before the air attack before evacuating their facility also sealing off their records area with explosives. (This final report indicated unidentified craft not of Martian origin had been spotted over the city. These craft had not engaged Martian or Earth craft. They had simply flown by to observe the fight.) Titan had ordered them to remove their backup set of Most-Secret files to a submarine stationed at the underground Sydney port along with all of the Mars War Room back-up files. Titan then ordered Tango units to break out of Sydney and allow Martian forces to by-pass so they would be set in place to organize stay behind forces to attack the Martian’s rear formations. Tango members were not happy to leave the embattled city but reluctantly followed Titan’s orders. Under cover of darkness they would fight their way out to the south to begin gorilla operations.

Titan also requested that ‘Whiskey Drinker’ and his staff evacuate Sydney and board one of the two submarines that had been standing by. He reluctantly agreed. Shaking hands he told Titan “We will see you in Auckland.” Titan had decided to stay in Sydney to coordinate the fight as long as he could. If Sydney fell, command would immediately transfer to ‘Whisky Drinker’ who would reestablish his southern command in Auckland as the new Titan.

Underground fire & tar pits and Martian Traps were now fully manned and fighting several lines of Martians. In areas where they were needed Sydney’s fire suppression systems worked well until power was lost. Backups worked a while longer. Within hours the forces of Sydney would be in a desperate hand-to-hand struggle with Martian forces in Lower-Sydney backed by small Walkers as much of Upper-Sydney lay in ruin. Several tunnels and main passageways had collapsed under intense Heat-Ray attacks. The main Martian force had now by-passed Sydney, continuing north up the coast with smaller forces headed inland. Sydney had proven to be too tough a nut to fully crack.

From the underground docks not yet in Martian ‘hands’ numerous boats of every description were making their way out of Sydney to the east. Attempting to give these vessels as much cover as possible the flotilla of warships were firing every gun they had at the Martians who were trying to sink as many of these small craft as they could. Once again this was not war this was simply murder on the part of the Martians. It would cost the Martians three more flying machines taken out by rockets. By the end of the day Sydney had downed another 13 Martian Flying Machines.

One third of Lower-Sydney, including the underground docks was still under human control. Titan had ordered several tunnels at multiple levels dynamited in an effort to stop the Martians from taking the rest of Lower-Sydney. Everyone who could shoulder a weapon was on the line determined to inflict a heavy price on the Martians for every inch of Lower-Sydney. The Committee member formally known as ‘Titan’ was now manning a machinegun! By nightfall this area, to which thousands had fled, was still fighting the Martians to a standstill. Evacuations from the dock to New Zealand would continue all night despite heavy waves hitting the coast from two storm fronts east of Australia. As the main electrical power plants had been destroyed back-up generators and battery power were mostly up and operational. In areas not under human control small teams of Australian forces continued to do battle with Martian Bs and hybrids.

Australian troops go over the top advancing on the Martians

 

NEW ADVANCES

Out of the CLZ Martian forces had pushed west and were now occupying the coast near Rio Muni. To the east they had fought their way across the White Nile and were poised on the border of Ethiopia which was itself now fully Martian territory. New reports of humans being gathered up were coming in from numerous areas. Ham Radio reports indicated the Martians were feeding! From Ethiopia came the first confirmed report of humans from Mars fighting for the Martians. A single human, fighting alongside Martian Bs was captured by Ethiopian Special Forces troops. His interrogation was said to be very ‘brisk’ before he was executed by firing squad. The captive ‘stated’ there were thousands of humans brought from Mars to fight. When this information was forwarded to Committee command centers orders were issued to all commands to take as many of these so-called ‘Martian humans’ alive if at all possible. The information they held was priceless. The point was also well made that the Martians had made an error in bringing humans back to Earth and if we could save at least some of them we would. They were after all hopefully still ‘human’.

Egypt was now fully under Martian control as a five pronged Martian attack east across the occupied Red Sea invaded the Arabian Peninsula at Tabuk, Medina, Mecca, Al Qunfidhah and Sana. Close air support for Martian ground forces was being launched from newly won air fields in Egypt. Heavy fighting was reported across the windswept desert sands as combined Egyptian and Arabian Tank Divisions lined up against the Martians in the middle of the country. Our Committee Secret Service Communication Center (COM 9) under the rubble of a bombed out Riyadh was now being used by the Arabian government as a Command/Control center coordinating the defense of their country. The only data coming out was by secure cable. All other communication links had been severed.

Moscow now under attack from three sides was expected to be completely cut off in less than a day. Petrozavoilsk had already been taken and Martian forces were now fighting in the outskirts of Leningrad which had been surrounded by a link-up of Martian forces attacking from the north, west and east. Radio and cable reports coming out of the area indicated bloody hand-to-hand fighting and great losses from Heat-Rays and Black Smoke. Medium sized Walkers and small ‘turtle’ tanks were doing much of the work there. Leningrad was able to report by radio their massive Martian Trap pits were slowing the Martians down. Casualties were in the hundreds of thousands.

In northern Asia the Martians were pushing south through northern Korea and had fought as far south as the Imjim River moving slowly towards Seoul. Fighter/bombers hitting the leading edges of the Martian advance were being supported by massed artillery and tank fire from across the river. Once again large Martian Walkers were sent south floating over the river valley. Seoul was soon coming under Heat-Ray attacks. The expanded and reinforced army assigned to protect the city was ready to “bleed ever drop of Martian blood they find.” The massive protective rings of Seoul were about to be tested. The “land of the morning calm” was giving the Martians as good as they were getting. The Koreans immediately began a series of raids behind the front lines.

Japan’s northern main island was well under Martian control by this time as the enemies’ ground forces crossed over to land at Aomori to continue their attacks south towards Tokyo. The enemy used small patrol boats during the landings at Aomori coming in under heavy fire by Japanese Defense Forces on land and in the air.

By this day the enemy had moved east from their landing areas in Canada towards Ottawa and Montreal. These cities had combined their defensive combat units and combat aircraft with local regular infantry and armor divisions stationed nearby in a massive counter attack supported by their remaining jets and heavy bombers against a ten mile line of Martian Walkers. This counter attack had proved costly on both sides which slowed the advance but did not stop it. To be sure the Canadians had stunned the Martians but it was not enough. Both cities were now reported to be in direct contact with advanced Martian ground forces. Heavy losses were reported as many civilians were heading across the border to the United States. It was a cold area best used by the Martians so they had sprayed Red Weed along every avenue of approach. The real fight for Canada would begin when stay behind forces organized and attacked the secondary Martian forces. The Martians had yet to face Canadian Special Winter Forces made up mostly of hearty Eskimo infantry. Their job was to attack enemy supply points and rear area forces across the snow covered plains of Canada. They were eager to get to work.

Canadian air forces launch their last anti-Martian rocket at two inbound

Martian Flying Machines destroying one and damaging a second

 

Surviving Canadian military units were ordered south to linkup with the Americans to continue the fight. The Canadian government seated in Ottawa was now conducting its activities out of a ten car train parked in a well-stocked and reinforced tunnel somewhere in central Ontario. Contact would be by secure cable only. Two jets were standing by in covered hangers for emergency communications if the cable went dark.

UNITED STATES SOUTHERN BORDER

The overall Martian military organization acted as one. For the enemy it was nature itself. For mankind it was a trait some had yet to learn even as the entire planet was in grave danger.

United States forces braced for an attack from Martians occupying Mexican territory in the MLZ were shocked when the attack finally came. American special agents had infiltrated the MLZ reporting the Mexicans had formed several armed groups thought to be preparing to defend the area against Martian attack. Reports were sent on to the Committee in New York City and London as well as New Washington Center. These reports however proved to be inaccurate. As difficult as it was to believe or even understand the Mexicans were indeed formed to do battle but their target was not the invading Martians – they were preparing to attack north against the Americans! When they came across the border the Americans, still expecting an attack from the Martians, simply could not believe their eyes. However, it did not take long for the ‘Yanks’ to understand what was happening and begin defending themselves against the invading Mexicans. (The Americans had attempted to contact the Mexican forces by wireless and when they received no answer sent in a five man team to directly contact the Mexicans. When this small envoy flying a white flag was fired upon the Americans returned fire.) It is well to understand that the Americans were enraged to see humans, for whatever reason, attacking them even as the planet was under brutal attack from an invading army from Mars. It is perhaps understandable at least at some level to note that no mercy was given – none.

US/MLZ Border near San Antonio, Texas

Secure cable report from Commander US forces Texas to New Washington Center: MEXICAN FORCES, REPEAT MEXICAN FORCES, NOT MARTIAN FORCES ARE ATTACKING IN FORCE NORTH ACROSS THE MLZ BORDER NEAR SECTOR TANGO 18 BRAVO. NOW ENGAGING ‘ENEMY FORCES’ WITH HEAVY ARMS. REPEAT MEXICAN FORCES ARE ATTACKING NORTH ACROSS THE US/MLZ BORDER IN STRENGTH. HAVE FULLY ENGAGED.

 

For the most part the well armed massed human wave attack from the Mexican Lawless Zone across the U.S. border was wiped out by United States Army and Committee forces in a few hours. United States Marines were soon called in to reinforce and engage the invading Mexicans along the east Texas border area. Heavy artillery backed by Thunder Jets and fighter/bombers did much of the work as Phoenix IIs flew high cover on the lookout for Martians. During the initial stages of the fighting it was expected the Mexicans would be backed by Martians having struck some type of private deal with the enemy. But no Martians were spotted during the Mexican attack even though it was felt they must have been well aware of this battle due to their known positions south of the border in the MLZ.

It was not known at the time if the Mexicans were working with the Martians or just attempting to take advantage of the situation. That question was never fully answered. No matter what the reason of affiliation it can be reported of the over 18,000 Mexicans who attacked the defending United States and Committee forces that day fewer than 400 would survive. American and Committee losses added up to over 1200 killed and some 2400 wounded. It was later reported (and confirmed by the Committee) that over 1200 Mexicans were taken alive during the fighting, all of whom were summarily executed by firing squads. (No one responsible for that American action against the Mexicans would ever stand trial.) The 400 who survived were to be counted among the wounded hours later as secondary units swept the area for survivors.

In the rubble of the Second Martian War as the people of the world asked for an accountability of recent events this MLZ military action against the people of Earth would be remembered more than any other as the single greatest treasonous act committed upon humanity by any group during the entire war. This unprovoked attack would be the final betrayal recalled during hearings by the Committee after the war leading directly to the break-up and dismantling of Mexico as a nation. It would become occupied territory for decades; finally broken up into eight new individual nations all of which would be allowed to speak Spanish but only as a second language. All of these areas would be converted into English speaking nations and their histories would begin at their formation and not before. The ‘general’ who had ordered the attack was captured weeks after the end of hostilities and was put to death after his trial. Several other MLZ leaders were also put on trial, found “guilty of planetary crimes against humanity” and put to death. When Churchill heard of this betrayal he said, ‘They must be taught a lesson that they and the world will never forget.”

Most of the surviving 280 (120 died of their wounds) were given 20 year sentences at hard labor mostly at work clearing the debris of war and on the three layer electrified wall built between the MLZ and the United States. The Americans were determined to never again allow an invasion across their southern border by man or Martian.

HEADING SOUTH

The Phoenix IIAs had made it all the way to the North Pole and apparently had not been spotted by Martian radars or Martian Flying Machines as they went in. The Martians had been taken by surprise (a rare thing indeed) so much so that no Martian Flying Machine was even overflying the area when the Phoenix IIAs arrived. Both teams were able to photograph the extensive area held by the Martians which commanded nearly five miles on each side of a triangle. What these images showed was extraordinary. The Martians had dozens of flying machines lined up next to what appeared to be temporary buildings (all round for some reason), a large radar dish on each corner of the triangle area and a 100 foot tower in the center of the area. The tower was thought to be the electronic homing beacon built to bring in their orbital craft to that exact spot.

The images also showed areas set aside for other equipment and row after row of all sizes of Walkers along with dozens of Heat-Ray surface-to-air units. Most disturbing were several relatively open air enclosures which were filled with approximately 20,000 people huddled under small circular cloth covered tent-like structures. This was thought to be the feeding area. No matter what we would have wanted to do there was no way our military forces could launch any type of rescue mission on such an area with any chance of success. It was clear that these people were already as good as lost. Rescue would not be an option. The command center had to be destroyed.

TITAN FLASH: TO ALL COMMANDS: SYDNEY NO LONGER VIABLE – MARTIANS NOW CONTROL ALL OF UPPER CITY AND 75% OF LOWER CITY – HEAVY CAUSALTIES – FIGHTING CONTINUES – WILL HOLD OUT AS LONG AS POSSIBLE – COMMAND NOW TRANSFERRED – GOOD LUCK TO ALL – CONTINUE THE FIGHT – GOD SAVE THE KING.

As the reconnaissance mission was heading south from the pole a signal was sent informing command that the Phoenix IIAs were heading home “Red Light On”. It was time to break off contact with the Martians in air combat now centered over much of southern Greenland. Despite the mission being dubbed a ‘decoy’ it did in fact turn out to be a real heavy dog-fight as more and more of our fighters were drawn into the battle. Our forces were soon trying to pull back to the south but the Martians were having none of it. They were ready to fight – perhaps more than we were as each side began pouring more and more fighters into the air battle. This was developing into one of the great air battles of the war. For the next two hours in the dead of night wave after wave of Earth and Martian fighters did battle to control the skies over the darkened ice of Greenland. At the height of the massed dogfight the Martians had deployed at least 400 Martian Flying Machines many of which must have been over our northern command cities the day before. Earth forces numbered no fewer than 158 Phoenix IIs and 640 Thunder Jets as well as 125 prop-driven fighters sent in from over 45 land bases and carriers. Coordinating all of this action was ‘Uranus’ on board our Airborne Magic Command Post ‘CP Magic’. By now Magic was joined by ten Phoenix IIAs as cover from any surprise Martian attacks.

Near the end of the battle a group of unmanned drone aircraft (Unmanned Gyro Stabilized Biplanes USGB), developed by Whitehead, Tesla and Lester Barlow (Barlow developed what he called his ‘aerial’ torpedoes in 1919) were closing in, sent from Committee air bases near Boston. Our fighters were told to be on the lookout as the drones were on the way. As they neared the dogfight area almost as a group dozens of our fighters flew directly at the drones expecting to be followed by several Martian machines – they were. The Earth fighters flying past the “square box” formation of 125 unmanned aircraft dove to near sea level. In the bad light they were able to see the Martians engage the new air threat. As they began their attacks all 125 drones exploded; set off by radio signals sent by the control fighter several thousand feet behind the formation. The explosions rocked the area as each craft holding 2000 lbs of high explosives went off. Nineteen Martian Flying Machines were soon heading towards a fast death in the waters of the icy Atlantic. For the most part this event explosively ended the air battle. The Martians headed ‘home’.

On the other side of the pole the reconnaissance team continued flying south. Contact with the intercepting escort Phoenix IIs and Thunder Jets had just been made and the mission appeared to have gone off as planned. Nevertheless, they began to feel uneasy for despite the fact there had been dozens of Martian Flyers parked on the runways at the pole and several spotted in the general area of their flight path none of them seemed interested in fighting the Phoenix IIAs, or even following our aircraft south. Something was thought to be very wrong. And it was.

Without warning one of the Phoenix IIA reconnaissance planes suddenly exploded in mid-air! There were no Martian Flying Machines anywhere in sight and no craft had come out of orbit to attack. The aircraft had simply been destroyed without being attacked from the air or the ground. It was instantly clear that some type of explosive device had been placed on the aircraft and there could be others.

The flight commander immediately ordered the group to fly over nearby Banks Island. As the island came into view a second Phoenix IIA which had been flying escort for the destroyed photo recon Phoenix IIA also exploded. With that the bail-out order was given as all four remaining pilots punched out of their aircraft sending their craft south on auto-pilot. Before the men were on the ground a third explosion was heard. All three of the Phoenix IIAs sent up in the American group had been destroyed. There was no way to know what happened to the Canadian aircraft as they continued to fly pilotless out of sight to the south.

Despite the loss of all six reconnaissance aircraft the team did in fact have one full set of photographs with them. This information was flash radioed to Committee forces in Alaska by the Commander of the escort flight who sent out the SOS and location of the surviving recon pilots. ‘Poseidon’ relayed the message and a Committee submarine standing by with Tango forces on board near Banks Island was soon on the way to pick up the surviving reconnaissance team members along with their hard earned cargo of images. These were ‘faxed’ by secure VLW submarine radio after the team was picked up.

Poseidon relayed the information by burst transmission about the planted explosions along with a verbal description of what the team had seen at the pole. Two hybrids who planted the explosives were later found at the air base. They had hung themselves.

By now the battle over the ice of Greenland was trailing off. In total Earth forces had shot down 114 Martian Flying Machines with at least 25 others reported heading north trailing smoke. Our losses included 112 Phoenix IIs, 381 Thunder Jets and all but two of the 125 prop-driven fighters. Most of our losses could not be easily replaced, but none of the Martian losses were retrievable. We were however able to rescue 43 of our downed pilots who had managed to survive a crash landing or bailed out for later recovery. We were most grateful for that. To my growing surprise the Martians did not yet own the skies of Earth. We might actually have a chance of winning!

It was quickly decided not to send a reconnaissance mission to the South Pole. As the radar traffic logged in around the general southern pole area was about identical to the traffic in the north we expected their base at the South Pole should pretty much reflect the one we had just imaged at the North Pole. Plans were now being completed to attack both bases at the same time by two completely different methods. We had to hit these polar command centers hard coordinating with a massive attack being planned for Giza.

That evening word came down that the area which held our Salt Mine Grain Facility – code named ‘Wind’ at Sifto Mine in Goderich, Ontario, Canada had been overrun by Martians. There was no direct information on the condition of the facility at Wind. Radio contact had been lost.

By this point it was becoming very difficult to receive wireless including burst radio and Ham Radio reports. The Martian orbiting and local ground jamming devices were doing a superb job. Adding to these problems several cable links had been discovered and destroyed but we had constructed so many back-ups messages were still getting through – at least many of them. Keeping track of the situation in Ontario the Americans launched dozens of photo reconnaissance missions covering large stretches of the front lines in North America.

[END PART 66]

Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020

[NEXT WEEK: PART 67: MARTIAN GROUND ATTACKS, THE GADGET FLIES; INVASION MAPS 2 & 3.]