DAY SEVEN: 8 September 1938
On this day it snowed in Cairo. At the heart of the snow was a black greasy ash. It had the sweat smell of rotting death. There were no clear skies reported over Earth on that day. In higher latitudes digging out after one of the daily snowstorms was becoming the norm. It was a situation the Martians found difficult to operate in as there was very little snow falling on Mars despite the continuous cold temperatures. Snow drifts on Mars are practically non-existent.
All around the world along with reports of air combat and Martian ground movements came word of strange and violent weather. Our planet’s atmosphere was clearly under great stress as snow and hail began falling in areas which had never before seen such events. Hurricane force winds were pushing along great mountain ranges while cold desert winds pushed dust and sand thousands of miles along equatorial regions. Tremendously powerful storms in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans generating cyclonic winds upwards of 200 miles per hour and greater were driving destructive waves across much of these open areas, many now moving towards populated coastal areas. Torrential sheets of muddy rain were hitting the vast plains of North and South America as well as the great plains of Russia and China.
In some areas the great fires had been exhausted by those torrential rains where other areas were being greatly expanded by huge wind storms. As strange dark reddish sunsets marked much of our wounded world, those who could still see dust covered sunsets reported high altitude lightening appearing to cross horizontally for hundreds of miles at energy levels not thought possible. Lightning strikes in many northern areas were hitting at energies and numbers never before experienced as great amounts of energy injected into the atmosphere by massive volcanic events was being discharged back into the Earth. Some reports spoke of loud claps of thunder going off for days at a time like some continuous roar of distress. At New Madrid in the American State of Illinois an ancient fault in the Earth broke with a force of 9.1 on the Thomas Scale ringing church bells 1000 miles away in Boston. One writer would later recall it was as if “the very Earth was screaming in pain.” It would be difficult to disagree with that observation by anyone who was lucky enough to live through these unprecedented events. Many lower lying areas around the world were now being flooded by the massive melting of glacial ices and torrential rains. Most deltas such as the Mississippi and Mekong were already under water as was 50% of the American state of Florida.
THE GREAT AIR ATTACKS ON THE COMMAND CITIES
Despite the tremendous activity in the atmosphere this day saw Martians returning to aerial attacks on selected large population centers undercover of very bad weather. This time however the Martians would not only attack in mass a limited number of cities they would do so from mid and low altitudes expecting to lose more than a few of their flying machines but also expecting to do a great deal of damage to their selected targets. On this seventh day of the war the Martians concentrated these attacks on New London, New York City, Sydney and New Washington Center in order to soften up the defenses of our prime cities. We had advanced warning of their attacks from intercepted and de-coded Martian radio traffic. It was clear they understood our strategic command centers were located in these cities. They were in fact attacking the Committee itself and they damn well knew where to find us!
It goes without saying the Martians had decided to attack the most heavily defended points on Planet Earth. Each of these cities were built with great strength and ringed with layer after layer of weapons designed to defend against any type of attack the Martians would bring to them either on the ground or from the air. As an example in New London we had deployed nearly 4000 anti-aircraft guns, 445 solid rocket firing platforms, 153 ground and building level Tesla Heat-Rays, over 25,000 barrage balloons, over 800 high beam spotlights to blind the Martians and thousands of high intensity radio speakers (for use against ground forces), thousands of metallic balloons for release to confuse the enemies electronic equipment backed up by radio and radar jammers and one full Army Group numbering 179,000 combat troops with 2000 tanks and 6000 artillery pieces. These forces also held 52 of our own small Walkers taken directly from Martian plans and all of them had small Heat-Rays. (They were deployed underground.)
Solid rocket firing platform
New London was also ringed by thousands of minefields, Black Smoke burn platforms, fire trenches and over 9000 Martian Walker Traps. In the air we could still launch 82 Phoenix IIs and 287 jet fighters (a very small defensive air force to be sure), not to mention the six submarines under the Thames River ready to engage the enemy. And that was just what we had deployed on the surface! New York City, Sydney and New Washington Center all had similar forces prepared to defend their ground. (There was no attack submarine at New Washington Center with one command submarine, CS Tiger Fish, prepared to evacuate leadership standing by submerged beneath the Potomac River.) For the most part, considering the strength of our enemy it was pretty much an even fight. At least we had hopes it was.
As soon as we understood where the Martians planned to attack, New York City deployed eight rocket capable submarines in a circle around the city (two were left off shore as reserves and to insure a communication link to outside forces). Sydney formed their submarines in an arch just off shore again deploying eight of the ten. At New London we ‘parked’ six of our submarines in a line under the Thames River cutting across the city. They would be prepared to “pop up” and fire before going back underwater. They were also prepared to sail into Lower-London to evacuate the command group if the need should arise. I was determined to not let that happen.
As the Martians continued to press their ground attacks around the world, mostly supported by limited air cover eight hundred Martian Flying Machines came out of the north flying south towards New York City, New London and New Washington Center. Out of the South Pole flew 300 flyers heading for Sydney. We estimated that was just about as many Martian flyers as they could put in the air at the time. The great air battle for our command cities had begun. The fifth of September had seen the greatest use of Martian air power during the war on a wide range of targets around the world. This day would see the most concentrated air power of the war played out on only four populated targets.
Committee and national forces engage Martian Flying Machines over Western Europe
The first fighters to engage the enemy were launched from six carriers stationed in the North Atlantic. Of the 142 jets sent up to engage the enemy only 22 returned to their ships. Six Martian Flying Machines had been destroyed. Once again costs had been high but once again our forces did not pause in giving battle to the bloody Martians.
I was in our Lower-London Command Center when the first wave arrived over the capital. By our radar count (not fully reliable by this time due to loss of some facilities and general atmospheric conditions) around 280 enemy flyers were on the way to pound this city into the ground. My orders were clear to our air forces. Any available combat aircraft along Martian flight paths were ordered to attack in strength but to engage in hit-and-run tactics only. Phoenix IIs were ordered to stay with the Martian formations all the way to London. This order naturally left several areas with little or no air coverage but considering the number of Martian Flying Machines assigned to these attacks there was not much more expected from the enemy in the air at other nearby locations. Confirmation came when battle reports around the world spoke of Martian ground attacks operating with little or no air cover. This was an opportunity we took full advantage of as commands around the world sent in wave after wave of high altitude bombers to attack the leading edges of Martian fronts. At several points these bomber attacks actually halted the Martians for upwards of half a day! Martian air resources were beginning to thin out a bit. They had clearly underestimated our strength and capabilities in the air. I felt then as I do now they had also underestimated our determination to fight them at all costs.
These fighter efforts brought down only eight of the inbound Martian flyers with three returning to their arctic base damaged. Our pilots were having a very difficult time trying to locate the enemies’ aircraft in this miserable weather. Their onboard radars were not working all that well either. All combat aircraft assigned to New London were then ordered up to attack the inbound Martians and destroy as many as they could before they could reach London. However, they were not to engage the enemy over the city. New London itself would fight the Martians. There would be far too many munitions going into the air to allow safe over-flight by our jets. After doing what they could the jets were ordered to fly off to reserve holding areas in order to be available if and when the Martians attacked on the ground. We would need them at a later time, although some fighters disobeyed orders and stayed to help fight off the Martians. Phoenix IIs flying high cover would remain in the fight but only at higher altitudes.
Before dawn, not that we could see it, the Martians made their first run at New London from medium altitude. This group came in firing their Heat-Rays while simultaneously dropping seismic devices and Black Smoke canisters. It did not take long for black greasy smoke to begin moving across large areas of Upper-London. Once again burn paths and anti smoke incineration teams went after the smoke to very good effect. The seismic devices did much better this time as hundreds of already damaged buildings fell to these devices. With this second seismic attack on the city we did experience a few tunnel collapses but nothing larger than 100 feet in any one area and only one major collapse south of the Thames which did reach into the top street level in Lower-London. Repair teams were soon building holding walls around both ends of the collapse to seal it off. This was to ensure that surface Black Smoke attacks could not filter into Lower-London. By their attack pattern it was clear the Martians had pretty much been able to map out the city. Their hybrid spies had done a good job. Although the Heat-Ray attacks were directed on the surface it was clear their true targets must have been situated in Lower-London.
One group of enemy flyers concentrated their attacks on our surface defense systems including our Heat-Ray towers, high intensity speakers, powerful spotlights and rocket platforms while the second group pounded the surface directly above our command areas, power control areas and Committee offices. They had hit the surface areas above our Command Center, Communications Center, Radar Control Center, SAGED computer facility, Tango Operations Group, 1 and 2, CAIG Headquarters, the Cabinet Security Service facility and at least 52 entrance way facilities. (These hits must have been in preparation for ground attacks.) They had even hit ‘Tea Drinker’s’ area but missed hitting his command train directly under the reinforced railroad tunnel he and his command staff were in. My backup, ‘Tea Drinker’, ordered his command train to move with caution to a secondary location. And while the surface of these areas would have the appearance of blackened melted deserts – devoid of any life or structure – by the end of the day our layer-upon-layer construction over our most critical underground facilities all held. To take these areas the Martians would need to knock on the door and come in! We would be giving them a very ‘warm welcome’ when they did.
Before the attacks began every single barrage balloon was launched and every radio and radar jammer was activated. To be honest the balloons did not seem to have much effect on low flying Martians but we did see a marked difficulty in controlling their flying machines anytime they came within close range of our radio/radar jammers. Some of Tesla’s magic was having an effect.
Mid-way through the air battle over London the Martians began to pay special attention to radio areas – that would cost them. We knew of course the Martians honed in on any type of radio transmission and had expected these facilities to come under attack which is why we matched many of them with Tesla’s radar controlled Heat-Rays and rocket platforms as well as many of our anti-aircraft batteries which themselves were mated with our high beam spotlights to blind the enemy. In total the low flying Martians were able to destroy 82 of our Heat-Rays and several radar stations but it cost the Martians 69 of their flying machines. After these attacks we would be forced to reposition the remaining Heat-Rays and spotlights, but that force had kept the Martians from doing greater damage than they could have done if they were not there as our defense forces had taken the measure of the Martians with their own technology.
Martian Heat-Ray attack
By the end of the day the Martians headed back towards the high ice leaving at least one-third of New London burning but very little damage had been inflicted on Lower-London. We had lost another 106 jet fighters and 18 Phoenix IIs. For the time being we had saved hundreds of thousands of lives and on this day had beaten back the Martians in the air at least to a draw at one location. However, we also knew their ground forces which landed in Ireland were still sweeping south. It would not be long before those Martian Walkers lined up to attack New London in force. This time we were ready.
NEW YORK CITY
Within minutes of New London coming under air attack the first wave of what would total 310 Martian Flying Machines began to hit in and around Upper-New York City with pulsed Heat-Rays. United States and Committee fighters from both ground and carrier locations slammed into the Martians from three directions well away from the city and battled them all the way in. Now their air crews would engage the enemy at every level in the air as massive thunder storms once again pounded the city. Their Heat-Rays would do a good deal of damage but the storms they had caused became an enemy to them perhaps more powerful than man could ever be. Time and time again as the Martians fought off our determined fighters, they continued to hit targets on the ground with their deadly Heat-Rays and time-after-time in places the torrent of rain put out the fires almost as fast as the Martians could set them. The Martians could hit and destroy buildings and even small areas but for massive destructive power they needed their melted steel and concrete to spread the flames. Seemingly the “Sky gods” over New York City were fighting back!
Within a few minutes the Martians began dropping their seismic devices; dozens of them turning away from their Heat-Ray operations for a time. It was then our own ground and tower based radar controlled Heat-Rays opened up on the Martians who had finally come into range. It was clear we were giving as good as we were getting but only at point black range as the weather situation had done much to cut down on the effectiveness of our Heat-Rays as well. This would soon become a point-to-point slug fest between the Martians and the men on these weapons. By the end of the day 49 of our Heat-Rays and crews were destroyed but they were able to take down 39 of the enemies’ aircraft. The Heat-Ray at the top of the Empire State Building and ten floors below it no longer existed. Before they evaporated it was noted this one team had taken the measure of no less than three enemy craft destroying two and leaving one flying off trailing heavy black smoke. The fact that a majority of the building was still standing amazed me when I read the reports coming out of Lower-New York City.
The people of New York City could report one small victory when they cabled our headquarters in New London that at least one Martian Flying Machine had been luckless enough to fly over Liberty Island. This long held Martian Trap ‘removed itself from the map’ along with one Martian Flying Machine.
Street fighting against the Martians
For two hours the air battle and air to ground attacks continued even as the seismic devices went off. As with London this second seismic attack brought down hundreds of buildings most of which had been damaged by earlier attacks. Due to the storms the Martian Heat-Ray attacks had not done nearly the amount of damage one would have expected considering the number of flyers which had attacked the city. Nevertheless, at least fifteen openings into Lower-New York City were hit and damage to these points was considerable. It was clear Lower-New York City had also been mapped out by the Martians and as with London, the surface areas above Committee Command and Control Centers were hit very hard leaving not one structure left standing above these critical points. Destruction in these areas had been complete. Those surfaces were now covered with glowing black glass! (This combination of melted building materials mixed with melted rock and soil would later be called ‘Martianite.) In several areas images of people sired into nearby walls, streets and large rocks were scattered about like ghosts. All that remained were the shadows. In some areas one could count hundreds of these reminders of people who had once called these areas home.
One difference was noted when no Black Smoke canisters were dropped on the city. It was thought that the weather may have played a part in that decision.
NEW WASHINGTON CENTER
When the Americans rebuilt their capital after the First Martian War government officials (re: Teddy) quickly decided to rebuild most major federal buildings on their original sites but only as structural facades. None of the buildings including the Supreme Court, the Houses of Congress, and much of the White House and many more were in fact not real inhabited structures. All of the working offices of government were built deep underground. They had been interconnected by a vast network of reinforced tunnels which included roads and rail lines. President Roosevelt had insisted that at the very least the President’s Oval Office would be built above ground to “demonstrate a connection to the people”. (There was of course another much larger office for the President well protected underground.) All other working and living areas of the White House were underground reachable by several stairways and elevators including one very large one which could accommodate at least two cars at the same time.
When compared to other above ground cities around the world New Washington Center had the fewest actual real above ground government buildings than anywhere else. It was indeed a false city of the people. Many of these false buildings however took advantage of this fact and did have anti-aircraft units, rocket platforms and Heat-Ray weapons hidden inside. Locally New Washington Center was known as the ‘Hollow City’. Hollow or not when the Martians flew by they were greeted with a tremendous welcome of defensive weapons not to be outdone anywhere. The Americans were determined to defend their ‘Capital’ even if most of its surface construction was a false one. As with most governmental faces there was much to be found under its wide surface streets and false fronts.
Rocket fired at incoming Martian craft from rocket platform
The attack on New Washington Center came from the east flying out of a huge bank of black clouds which had hidden the Martian force nearly to the edge of the city. The intensity of the energy discharges of these storms was playing hell with our radars. The storm would hit the city at almost the same time as the Martians. The fact the Martians used the storm as cover indicated they knew they needed it. It also meant our air attacks were having an effect they had perhaps not expected. Every available fighter the Americans could field in the area was in on the fight.
APOLLO FLASH: TO ALL COMMANDS: MARTIANS NOW USING STORM FRONTS AS COVER – EARTH AIR ATTACKS APPEAR TO BE EFFECTIVE – CONTINUE AIR OPS IN MASS AS MUCH AS FEASIBLE – CONTINUE TO WEAR THEM DOWN.
Coming in from medium altitude the Martians sent in six waves all of which dropped hundreds of Black Smoke canisters and dozens of seismic devices, while their Heat-Rays were used to clear a path in the air for their flying machines. It was noted this was the first time in the air war they had used their deadly rays as cover rather than attack.
On the ground defense forces were firing volley after volley of solid rocket and anti-aircraft fire at the passing Martians but most of our Tesla Heat-Rays focused on burning pathways through the thick black smoke being laid down by the enemy. The Martians had not yet flown low enough for effective use of our Heat-Rays or high intensity lights against their aircraft. The Americans however were taking out a few of their flyers with intensive ground fire.
In the air both Phoenix IIs and Thunder Jets were engaging enemy aircraft in what can only be described as an all out effort to attack and destroy as many of the 200 Martian Flying Machines as they could. This was a massed dog fight at low, medium and high altitudes which was keeping most, but not all, of the Martians busy and thus many were unable to focus on attacking the city. After only fifteen minutes a second wave of fighters was able to join the battle over New Washington Center but these were not Martian machines these were American fighters coming off the USS Lexington, USS Concord and the USS Philadelphia numbering 53 first line Phoenix II fighters. They too had come in out of the Atlantic storm front now beginning to hit the city with sleet and torrential rains. This time however, the Martians, paying close attention to the aircraft already engaged, did not see them coming as the Americans flew directly at the massed fighters at two levels downing an incredible ten Martian Flying Machines in the first two minutes engaging the enemy with new air-to-air missiles, pin point Heat-Rays and machine-gun fire. One pilot yelled over the radio that “the Martians are dropping like flies. Keep going. Hit the squid bastards as hard as you can.”
Seeing the new air action anti-aircraft batteries stopped firing at higher altitudes to lessen the odds of hitting one of our own aircraft. However, they did continue firing on numbers of low flying Martians several of which were still making Heat-Ray and seismic runs on the city. Fighting for only fifteen minutes longer with only moderate damage to the city the Martians broke off the fight and headed north. For the first time in the war the Martians had actually been forced to disengage and retreat from an air battle! In total they lost 43 of their flying machines with several more limping away trailing black smoke. Our forces lost 19 Phoenix IIs and 39 Thunder Jets. As the Martians headed north every available Phoenix II in the area went up to meet them causing the loss of six more of our aircraft but costing the Martians eight more of their machines. (Most of these had been damaged during the attack on Washington and were picked off as the Americans and Canadians attacked the stream of Martian Flying Machines heading towards the Arctic ice fields.) It had been costly but the Americans had finally won a hard fought air battle! More over they had prevented the city from being widely damaged along with what would have been a great loss of life. It would however be a short lived victory as the Martians would soon return.
By the time 300 Martian Flying Machines were in position to attack Sydney from the air, Martian ground forces had fought their way north and were stationed just outside our Southern Command Center. This would be the first time such a massive enemy air force had attacked a fortified city while at the same time attacking with strong ground forces. This would be a determined well supplied and well armed attack.
When word came that such a large number of Martian Flying Machines were headed for Sydney flash orders were sent out by ‘Titan’ calling in every available fighter within a 100 mile radius to converge on the city. Expecting to receive this titanic blow ‘Whisky Drinker’ pulled his armored Command Rail Car into Lower-Sydney. He had been stationed just outside the city in an area now in the ‘hands’ of the Martians. Titan had sent out an earlier VLF message to Triton onboard the submarine CS Pacific requesting additional missile firing submarines to come to the aid of Sydney. Fifteen submarines were soon on their way to take positions off shore. Titan had also sent an urgent flash message to the commander of the southern Pacific fleet for battleships and aircraft carrier support. Titan was informed four battleships had already been sent steaming his way for several days in anticipation of an attack on Sydney based upon earlier radar landing data and the attack on Melbourne. Six aircraft carriers were also steaming his way and their jets and Phoenix IIs would be available for action over the city in less than eight hours.
Responding to requests Brisbane, located just north of the city, sent in fifteen Phoenix IIs which represented nearly half of their compliment of advanced fighters. The government of New Zealand out of Auckland sent in four cruisers and a medium size aircraft carrier the RNZ Nelson. They were also prepared to send in a bomber wing of 48 aircraft if an appropriate target could be designated by Titan. Just as the first Martian flew over Sydney the sky became clear for the first time in days.
In series the Martians came at Sydney on the ground from three directions with large Walkers leading the way. These were followed by medium sized Walkers who were themselves followed by Martian B combat forces riding for the first time in what must be called armored troop carriers, but these were on tracks not wheels. All of these elements came straight in firing Heat-Rays as forward cover and releasing thick greasy Black Smoke. Low flying Martians covering the assault swept in front of the Walkers pumping Heat-Rays into the ground which set off several but not all of our mines. Some were deeply buried and could not be detonated in this manner. At the edge of the first mine fields the large Walkers stopped and as one rose into the air and began pouring fire into the mine fields and beyond. Behind this wall of fire the armored Martians simply drove into the field. Dozens of these armored vehicles sacrificed themselves exploding into the air as they came into contact with the mines. As far as equipment and ‘manpower’ were concerned this was a very expensive way to attack a heavily defended mine field. It was clear the Martians could not have cared less. Despite their losses the murderous hordes of Martians continued to advance. The Martians clearly understood the value of Sydney.
The Martians were detonating lanes in the field which would allow the smaller Walkers, follow up armor and Martian B infantry to move towards the city. As the fields erupted with explosives the large Walkers once again pulled their legs up and coasted over the field. This time however the Aussies were ready. Using Melbourne as an example the Australians deployed tanks, artillery and Heat-Rays into large teams (combat packages) behind the mine fields ready to pour fire on the large Walkers as they passed over the mines. The moving wall of 57 large Walkers was met with a massive volley of fire from the 450 Aussie guns. The fire was so thick at times the air appeared to turn gray as Walker after Walker took hit after hit. Even then it would take several direct hits to even stop a Walker let alone destroy one. These were very well armored machines. To be sure they were the kings of the battlefield but they were by no means invincible. It was estimated Aussie gunners fired at least 20,000 rounds at the advancing Heat-Ray firing enemy. In the “Battle for the Mine Fields” the Martians would eventually lose 39 large Walkers before they were able to fire point blank on the Australian gun crews. When the Australians were finally forced to retreat the enemy was still moving forward but at a decidedly slower pace having left an additional 4500 Martian Bs, several dozen armored vehicles and at least 27 smaller Walkers on the field. There was no time to celebrate – the Martians had fought their way inside Upper-Sydney!
Committee battleship firing on Martian positions
Attacking from the north and south of the city the Martians entered the western edge of Sydney. Destroyers and cruisers, which had steamed full ahead to the aid of Sydney, began firing from their off shore positions on the Martians. As the battleships arrived off the coast they immediately began firing directly over the city on to Martian forces moving in a deep line from the west. The Martians would lose 26 flyers over Sydney and many more Walkers on this day. The battle for Sydney had begun and would continue for days as bombing and strafing runs from both Australian and New Zealand air forces pressed hard as the ground fighters continued to press hard on the Martians.
TITAN FLASH: TO ALL COMMANDS: MARTIANS NOW FIELDING SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED TRACKED ARMORED VEHICLES FOR TROOP TRANSPORT – HAVE HEAT-RAYS – TRACKS VULNERABLE.
THE MARTIANS CONTINUE TO ADVANCE
With essential close in air support Martian ground forces continued to press forward on all fronts. They had made their way south from their Scottish landing zones all the way to Edinburgh where Scottish regiments met them with heavy tank and artillery fire holding a line backed by mostly prop-driven fighters for a few hours until a wave of medium and large Walkers simply walked over their own dead to push the determined Scots back to a line formed ten miles south of Edinburgh. There they linked up with a re-enforced British army group posed to slam into the Martians. It was at this line that thousands of lightly armed Scots, mostly civilians, would wait for the machines to pass over their positions before coming up to engage the first wave of Martian B foot soldiers in bloody hand-to-hand combat. 1200 Scots under their colors flying and with the pipes calling threw themselves at the heavily armed Martians. This two hour “Battle for the Pastures” would go down in Scottish history. When it was all over no more than fifty Scots were able to walk off the field. The Martians however had lost at least 2500 of their own. By the end of the day the Scottish flag still held the ground even though they were now completely cut off from other Earth forces. They had not given up a single yard of the ‘Pasture’. After the war the proudest boast heard from a Scot was “I fought at the Pastures.”
Aftermath of the “Battle for the Pastures”
By this time most of Sweden was now Martian occupied territory as the Martians pressed west into Norway but not before the Swedish Navy pounded Martian ground forces with gunfire off of Sundsvall. The redoubtable Swedes would continue the fight with guerrilla warfare aided by Tango Special Forces troops who had landed by submarine along their west coast. Their task was to organize local stay-behind units and with these units attack and destroy any supporting Martian rear forces. In other words, kill as many Martian Bs as they could find. The Bs were the weak link in the Martian chain even though they were still tough fighters.
From their landings in Russia the Martians had pushed in every direction towards Kotlas, Perm, Yaroslavl, Ryazan, and soon on to the outskirts of Moscow. Stalin would not be just waiting. From Moscow he sent out ten divisions of armor and infantry to attack the first line of Martian machines. Many of these forces did not make it back to the city but they took many Martians with them and did slow the Martian advance. Few cable reports were coming out of Russia from any area. Without up to date information it would be difficult to send Committee forces into the area to help any Russian efforts. Cable lines however were still operational. Several urgent messages were sent requesting updates from ‘Vodka Drinker’.
Along a line from Kamloops in the west to Hearst in the east the Martians held a wide plain of Canada preparing to move south into the United States. The ruins of Moose Jaw, Regina and Winnipeg were now Martian controlled areas. Specially trained cold weather troops, mostly tough well equipped Eskimos, had been held back in order to spearhead stay behind operations. Now was the time to attack. They would search out and destroy supply depots and “any stray Martians we can find”.
From Cairo the Martians had swept into Libya west and south into northern Sudan. The north end of the Nile was now held by the Martians. They patrolled the river with small patrol craft armed with mounted Heat-Rays.
In the south of Africa the enemy was moving north on a line from Walvis Bay on the west coast to Mbabane on the east, cutting through Mafeking driving deep into their secondary lines of defense. Our facility at Johannesburg had gone radio silent. Nothing more was coming through even on secure cable. We should have been able to keep in contact with our Underground Military Base MB5 code named ‘Epsilon’ at Johannesburg. We would continue to monitor their frequencies. So far nothing was stopping Martian advances in southern Africa as they continued to push north. There was very little in the way of combat forces in the area to stop them or even slow them down. The Martians were picking their spots attacking one area and leaving others untouched. They seemed to have a clear idea of where our communications and power facilities were to be found. They had mapped out exactly when and where they needed to attack for the greatest effect. They were not wasting any efforts in this war as they passed up areas less developed than others.
On the tip of South America the Martian front had spread from Concepcion on the west coast across to Bahia Blanca on the east. South of this line came the first reports of humans being taken for food. Disturbing reports were now coming in from Africa and Asia as well that the Martians had begun gathering people up and herding them into enclosures. We knew they would be using these people to feed on and there was little to be done. Stay-behind forces were ordered to do what they could. Waves of terrified people running for their lives from the deadly Black Smoke and frightful Heat-Rays became the norm in front of every line of Martian advance. Heavy snow was reported.
New landings were reported in Brazil just north of Rio de Janeiro, south of Cali Columbia, south of Casablanca Morocco and Derby Australia. Not unexpectedly due to ongoing air battles in other areas air cover by the Martians over these new landings was reported as light. They were all met with air and ground attacks by local forces within two hours of each of these landings. Casualties inflicted upon our first units to attack these new landing zones were once again very heavy. It was not long before regular combat units would take over the task of battling these newly landed enemy forces.
By this time we were receiving some very disturbing reports on the organization of Martian ground forces. Difficult as it was to believe it was possible that humans, breed on Mars, had come as part of the invasion army and were now fighting alongside the Martians (Martian humans). We would soon have proof they were being used as decoys as well as guards for the Martians in their camps. When these reports were verified radio instructions were sent out to stay-behind-forces to attempt to capture any full humans fighting for the Martians. We needed to interrogate some of these people. What they could tell us about Martians would be invaluable.
South east of Cali Columbia
Ham Radio report WP6AZ (unconfirmed): Several large Martian airships have landed and are sending out their Walkers and thousands of combat troops. Some of the troops appear to be human but I can’t be sure. Many small Walkers are moving with them. Whiskey Papa 6 Alpha Zulu – out.
Taking note on how the Martians were fighting it was clear our forces had gotten their attention. More and more the Martians were turning their efforts away from attacking the Earth. Their major focus on this seventh day of combat was now directed towards the humans who were making it decidedly difficult for them to obtain their many objectives. Whatever the Martians may have learned from combat with humans so far in the war it must have been clear to them that Earth forces were not about to surrender in any area no matter the cost and Martian losses to their flying machines as well as ground forces were going to be considerable. My thoughts were they probably understood human determination to fight at all costs since they seemed to have the same determination. They should have known this since the massive self-destruction during the Great Earth War which they had closely watched.
By preliminary count our forces world-wide had brought down at least 817 of their powerful front line combat flying machines. We estimated they still had around 900 more in the fight (some 53%). Even with these losses the enemy still fielded thousands of Walkers and supporting equipment and a great many ground combat forces and at no point in contact with Martian forces was the enemy being pushed back. It was clear we were wearing them down and they were slowing their advances at many locations but we were not winning at any point on Earth – at least not yet! Our costs in lives and equipment was still very high.
This day also brought news that some of the medium Walkers (perhaps all) were capable of floating across rivers and lakes. They could not float over great distances such as large lakes or oceans, but they did have even more formidable capabilities than the last time we had seen them in combat back in ’01. The Martians had spent the time between war improving their war fighting machines.
Martian primary attacks and occupied territories – 8 September 1938
Mars Radio Traps MRT-9 AND MRT-10 in Kotlas and Sunton Russia had both gone off and had taken one each Martian Flying Machine with them. By this late date I was surprised these traps were still effective. The single minded Martians did not yet seem to understand these traps. Here was proof once again the Martians were not super beings just damned well armed with a far superior technology than man.
How they could have developed that high level of technology we still could not figure out. Even if they had not developed their weapons themselves it was very clear they certainly knew how to use them. But if they had not developed them how did they acquire such destructive devices and from who? These were questions for a later time – if we were indeed lucky enough to have that privilege.
[END PART 65]
Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020