DAY NINE: 10 September 1938
TASK FORCE BRAVO
In the early morning hours of 10 September our submarines off the coast of Southern Africa were ready to engage the Martian Patrol Boats in the first purely naval action of the war. At Cape Town and Port Elizabeth the Martians had established small but active port facilities which included our lost Sea Cave Facility Blue 10. They would not be in charge for long. The ten submarines of Task Force Bravo had left Mossal Bay and deployed five each boats at both Martian port facilities. At 03:00 local the submarines attacked. Coming in from two directions at both ports the submarines fired several torpedoes at Martian boats docked as well as the small number which were operating in the area close to where the subs had come in. Continuing to sail towards the bases the submarines surfaced bringing rockets to bear along with deck guns, machine-gun fire and Tesla Heat-Rays on the port and small Martian craft. The attack would last fifteen minutes and was a complete success. For the most part the submarines were underwater and heading back out to sea before the Martians had a chance to return much accurate fire. Most of the enemies’ return fire came from Heat-Rays which had little or no effect on our submerged boats. With little experience available on Mars for ocean operations it would seem the enemy, not surprisingly, was not prepared for battle on the seas. The Martians did not seem to understand how best to deploy their floating resources to any great degree.
In total we would lose only one submarine to enemy airborne attack, while the Martians lost 53 Patrol Boats during the engagement. Most of the firing at our submarines from counterattacking Martian Flying Machines was also ineffective as they could not penetrate the oceans to any great depth. It was the one great flaw in their Heat-Ray capabilities. No matter what the Martians had done so far we still controlled the seas. It was also reported that our submarines had been able to completely destroy the entrance to Blue 10. The Martians would not be able to use it any longer. It would take a good deal of time to clean out before it could be used again.
On this day due to Martian advances ‘Apollo’ ordered the explosive sealing of our mining facilities at Port Radium N.W. Territories and Athabasca Basin, N. Saskatchewan in Canada. The explosives caused entrance tunnels to collapse as well as allowing massive concrete slabs to slide into place blocking the entrances. (We learned that little trick from our Egyptian friends.) There was to be no mistake in these operations. By no means were the Martians to be allowed to enter these critical uranium mining facilities. It was not long before we realized the Martians had known about these facilities for a long time. They would soon be setting up their own mining operations. This was clear evidence they knew exactly how critical these facilities were to both sides of the war. They had brought small tunneling machines to both of these facilities and began work as soon as they overran the mine areas. They needed the uranium very badly. It was the fuel for all of their Heat-Rays! It was felt the Martian supply of uranium must have been critically short if they felt the need to set up mining operations on Earth so quickly. We would soon bomb all of the supporting facilities on the surface of both mines and we would return several times in the next few days.
THE BOMBING OF MOSCOW
As Russian fighters continued their desperate defense of Moscow Stalin gave his ‘permission’ for Committee bombers to aid in the defense of the embattled city. I had spoken to the Russian dictator by cable and as arrogant as ever Stalin informed me that the mighty Soviet Army was “holding off the Martian hordes at several points but if the Committee wanted to bomb them he would not disapprove of the action.”
Bombing a Martian position just outside of Moscow
Our intelligence reports, photo reconnaissance as well as several Ham Radio messages made it clear the Martians had massed a very large ground force just east of Moscow and a bombing attack on that force would be of great value. It was noted that Moscow had little or no air cover at the time and they were being taken apart piece by piece from the air even as thousands of anti-aircraft guns massed their fires on the attacking machines.
Preparing for the attack we staged our bombers at 26 airstrips in and around Warsaw, Poland. In total 522 bombers mostly heavy Whitehead B4s supported by 110 Phoenix IIs and 214 Thunder Jets were set to hit the Martians in force on the eastern edge of Moscow. It was felt that this opportunity should not be passed up as the Martians had been hit hard over Greenland and were not expected to defend the airspace around Moscow in strength. Reports coming in from Moscow as well as sparse radar reports showed Martian air cover was very low. Stalin had indicated no more than 18 Martian Flying Machines were hitting Moscow at the time, mostly from medium altitude.
The aircraft took off at day break to take advantage of any good lighting conditions that may be afforded. Nevertheless, most of the flight was made in dark gray skies obscured by much debris still being pumped into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions and huge fires ongoing world-wide. Rendezvousing over Vitebsk and Kaluga Russia both bomber streams were required to fight off attacks by a dozen or more Martian machines. With strong fighter cover the Martians were only able to down ten bombers and four Phoenix IIs with a loss of three of their machines before breaking off and heading north. Once again the Martians seemed to be holding off on their air attacks.
Coming in from northwest and southwest the bombers were led in by Phoenix IIs flying led and top cover. Thunder Jets lined up on both sides of the bombers also covered the rear of the bomber formations lined up on the bombing run. At that point all hell broke loose.
Dropping out of orbit no fewer than 30 Martian Flying Machines came through the dense high clouds flying straight into the bomber formations firing their deadly Heat-Rays. None of the Martian machines paid any attention to the Phoenix IIs flying past them at high speed. As the Phoenix IIs pulled hard to engage the Martians the Martians hit the bomber stream head on. Within seconds at least twenty bombers had been hit and were on fire. The Martians had lined up on the bombers on the northwest stream attacking each one in line. Seconds later, like a swarm of bees the supporting Thunder Jets banked in firing their machine guns and rockets at the Martians as the bombers continued to fly towards the target area directly ahead on the eastern edge of the city and just beyond. The attack had not broken up the run. The bombers were going to drop their loads on areas engaged in close in fighting. Russians and Martians would be on the receiving end of the raid.
Despite determined Martian efforts most of the bombers got through dropping their deadly loads on the leading edges of the Martian Walker formations. The concentrated Martian formations were hit dead on by both bomber streams with devastating effect. This would be one of the most concentrated and most effective bombing missions of the war. Reports from Russian ground forces indicated the effort had in fact halted the Martian advance even though hundreds of hard pressed Russian troops had been caught and killed in the attack. As the bombers turned for home 50 Phoenix IIs continued the air battle over Moscow causing all of the remaining Martian Flying Machines to break off their air attacks and head north. The Martians had lost six more machines.
As the Martians broke on the east and their remaining ground forces on that front began to move north and south around the city a message came in from a lone Ham Radio operator. “Thank you my friends.” ‘Vodka Drinker’ was still in the fight.
Soviet troops counter attack Martians
By no means did this successful bombing effort stop the overall effort by the Martians to take Moscow, but they would need to come at the fortified city from a new direction. In the meantime, they deployed their considerable ground forces around the city cutting it off from the outside world. The battle continued even as a majority of their ground forces moved on to the next objective. Moscow was still standing and taking what they could from the Martians. By night the Soviet artillery was firing mustard gas on the western front mixed in with high explosives. The wind was in their favor and the cut off Soviet fighters would continue the fight. The Martians would continue to feel the full weight of Soviet firepower.
THE MARTIANS CONTINUE TO ADVANCE
Civilization was still on the run as millions stampeded to areas falsely thought to be safe. As the forests and grasslands continued to burn, cities and towns in too many locations around the world to keep track of continued to fall to the blood thirsty Martians. Martian ground forces supported by light air cover were moving fast in the Southern Hemisphere. No army on Earth could move that fast and with so much destructive power at their disposal.
In southern Africa the Martians had pushed north on a line from Mocameds on the west coast to Salisbury and Quelimane on the east. Pretoria was now a rubble-strewn blackened coffin.
From our COM 11 center in New Deli word came that landings were made at Manja, Madagascar and it was not long before the area was fully under Martian control. Landings were also made for the first time in India at Trivandrum, Mysore, Madras and Mangalore. Hundreds of thousands of Indians fled north as Indian army and air forces engaged the Martians at all points. Individual units fought with ferocity attempting to hold back wave after wave of Martian ground and Walker forces to no avail. Time-after-time Indian forces were routed and had to retreat. As always the price in human lives had been high.
Coastal city completely destroyed by Martians with no survivors
Off the coast of Trivandrum the Indian Navy pounded Martian landing forces before losing fourteen warships to Martian Heat-Ray counter attacks. In central India, far away from any fighting Martian Flying Machines flew over and dropped thousands of Black Smoke bombs on fleeing civilians. Literally millions lost their lives on the Indian plains during the next few days well before any Martian set ‘foot’ in central India. The murderous Martians had located a “soft target.” It would not be the last.
In central Africa a 1000 mile wide area from Cameroun to Ethiopia was now Martian controlled territory. From this extensive area Martian forces moved north and south. Out of their landings in Morocco the Martians were fighting south and north east flanking the Atlas Mountains. Casablanca, Ifni, Oran and Algiers were all in Martian ‘hands’. Losses had been very heavy.
In Australia heavy Martian ground forces continued to push north now in control of half of the country holding and advancing on a line from Meekatharra, Lake Amadeus east to Charleville and Brisbane now in close battle. Word out of our Sea Cave Facility B8 on the Brisbane coast indicated the Martians had not yet discovered the well concealed facility. They were ordered to go radio silent and monitor activity to be reported by secure cable only. Two submarines in place at B8 were making plans to sail out under cover of darkness to engage Martian forces now attacking Brisbane. Front line enemy forces out of northern Australia moving on to New Guinea were fighting in the jungle against local tribes along with re-enforced Aussie troops. New Guinea had gone radio silent with nothing more coming out since the invasion began. My thoughts went to the old head hunter chief who had visited our Committee offices so many years ago. I hoped he and his tribe would find good hunting. Both critical mining facilities at Rum Jungle, Northern Territories and Mary Kathleen, Queensland had been explosively sealed by Committee security teams.
Both were now in Martian occupied territory and it was expected Martian teams would soon be at work attempting to enter the mines. Inside both they would discover more than a few explosive surprises left behind by the Aussies. There were not enough local resources to bomb these facilities.
Out of South America came reports of Martian advances north on a line from Santa Fe east and west to both coasts. Santiago, Rosaria, Montevideo and Buenos Aires had all seen heavy fighting and great destruction. Black Smoke had been extensively used in these areas. Even though the Martians appeared to be ill-prepared to fight in a jungle environment they nevertheless pressed the fight in the demanding terrain. Their remaining populations and few structures were now cut off by advancing Martian forces. The Martians were not wasting any time on these areas staying only long enough to destroy any and all vital infrastructures they could find. Communications with these areas was spotty at best. One of the last reports out of Buenos Aires indicated that Martian Bs and hybrids had been left behind and were actively capturing or killing as many people as possible. Large internment camps had been set-up in both Buenos Aires and Santiago – feeding command As was now ongoing at these camps.
Martian walking machines continued to push north from the tip of South America setting fires to any jungle area they come across. Despite valiant efforts one by one the cities of South America fell leaving behind scattered national and Committee forces now developed into guerrilla warfare fighting out of reinforced bastions of humanity which had been bypassed by the Martians. At many of these fighting points the Martians left Grays and hybrids to finish up the work.
Martian forces were also moving out from their landings at Campinas on the east coast and Cali on the northwest coast of South America. Vast areas were soon overrun. One of the last messages out of Cali indicated the Martians had fielded new transport carriers carrying small tunneling machines. They had also unloaded several small Patrol Boats at Cali. Spotter reports were able to confirm the sightings of Patrol Boats at Campinas as well as Montevideo Harbor. Transport crawlers were moving the Patrol Boats at Campinas to the coast at Rio de Janeiro. Rio was blacked out. Nothing was coming through.
In the northern hemisphere the Martians were moving out of the now fully occupied MLZ south through Guatemala and Honduras moving well despite the local mountains.
Headquarters U.S. Central Command, Fort Worth, Texas
Burst report followed by cable report from Commander U.S. forces to New Washington Center: HEAVY MARTIAN GROUND FORCES SUPPORTED BY MEDIUM AIR FORCES HAVE LAUNCHED SIMUITANEOUS ATTACKS ACROSS NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN BORDERS. ENEMY ENGAGED SOUTH AT SAN DIEGO, TUSCON, EL PASO, CORPUS CHRISTI, NORTH AT TACOMA, SPOKANE, MINOT, DULUTH, GREEN BAY. DEEP PENETRATION BY HEAVY WALKERS TO REAR AREAS WITHOUT AIR OR GROUND SUPPORT. HEAVY FIGHTING ON ALL FRONTS. ENEMY ATTEMPTING TO DEVELOP REAR GUARD ACTION. ALL LINES PRESENTLY HOLDING.
North out of the MLZ Martian assault waves came into contact with several infantry and armor armies of the United States near San Diego, Tucson, El Paso, and Corpus Christi. The Americans fielded well over 400,000 men supported by 4500 tanks, ten thousand pieces of artillery and over 1800 combat aircraft. U.S. Air Forces began their counter attack from the air with 495 Phoenix IIs, 825 Thunder Jets and 560 heavy Whitehead B4 jet bombers. Sea Cave Facility B1 at San Diego was still operational and supplying vital intelligence data to American forces.
On the northern border with Canada Martian forces came across at Tacoma, Spokane, Minot, Duluth and Green Bay. On that battle line they were met by four American Armies numbering 420,000 men supported by 3250 tanks, 8500 artillery pieces and 390 Phoenix IIs, 495 Thunder Jets and 600 Whitehead B4 jet bombers. American forces at Green Bay were also supported by two re-grouped Canadian infantry divisions numbering around 29,000 men. From this point on the Americans would launch continuous bomb runs at the Martian lines until they literally ran out of aircraft! At the start of the battle in the north the Americans fired over 180,000 rounds of artillery at the advancing Martians backed by massive air attacks. The Martians must have known this would be a titanic battle as they led both American attacks with 2500 large Walkers, well over 5000 medium Walkers and at least the same number of small Walkers across both borders. They also fielded no fewer than 6000 armored transport vehicles for the attack. For these attacks close in air support would prove to be critical.
Martian air cover at the south numbered at least 150 flying machines with another 170 supporting the northern attack. It was clear the Martians were beginning to feel the weight of our aerial attacks on their flying machines. Both battle fronts were soon reporting at least 500 large Martian Walkers on both fronts had not engaged American front line units and had flown very low but very fast through and beyond the front lines to positions behind the main American forces and were attacking from a secondary rear position. This tactic had not been reported before. Both American groups were now fighting on two fronts as reserve units quickly entered the fight! Massed bomber wings of 500 or more aircraft began pounding these machines supported by Thunder Jets along several points.
Greenland was now completely occupied by the Martians.
In Asia the Martians now controlled a huge rectangular area bordered on the north on a line from Ayan on the coast of the Sea of Okhotosk west to the Chuna River in the USSR and south on a line from Pyongyang in northern Korea on the east to Anhsi, China on the west. In a small cave just outside Taiyuan top members of the Chinese government met hoping to cobble together an effort to counter attack the swarming Martians. What remained of Tokyo, as well as Seoul and Peking were under heavy attack. The Korean government in Seoul remained in place as the city took great losses in lives and a heavy toll on the Martian invaders.
In England the Martians had fought their way south to Birmingham and south west into Wales. A massive hail storm had formed along the same line and was now moving south east. The great industrial cities of Manchester and Liverpool were burning furiously as strong Martian forces cut off these cities before continuing south towards New London. We had no radio contact with either city for hours. Scottish regiments, joined with British divisions, formed a strong defensive line which was slowly being pushed south. Casualties were heavy as armor and artillery units pounded the mostly medium sized Walkers in combination with ground attacks by fighter bombers of the Royal Air Force. Flanking the British ‘Orange Line’ were two Committee heavy Infantry divisions supported by 65 of our own Walkers. On the eastern end our Walkers were fighting point-to-point with their Martian counterparts. They were hard pressed but were holding the line.
Heat Ray attack on an old section of London
On the mainland of Europe enemy ground forces had landed in Sweden moving east into Finland linking up with their forces which had earlier landed at Petrozavodsk. Finland was now effectively in Martian hands. At the same time advanced elements of that group had crossed over the North and Baltic Sea landing at Amsterdam, Hamburg, Gdansk and Riga. The area had been bombarded continuously for six hours before the landings were made. These areas were now radio silent with no word out since the landings. Word was also received that the Martians had captured intact our massive Grain Storage Facility code named ‘Mercury’ at Bergen, Norway. No further information was coming through from that area.
THE ‘GADGET’ FLYS SOUTH
With Martians advancing so fast on all fronts ‘Poseidon’ flash radioed the Committee submarine CS Tunguska a new order for the delivery of the atomic bomb (the Gadget). The Tunguska was still heading south presently just off the coast of Natal, Brazil. Wanting to waste no time the submarine was ordered to change course and head for the St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks area in mid-Atlantic. The area had seen very little Martian activity and could be easily located by the submarine. There the boat would rendezvous with the American medium carrier USS Independence. The bomb would be loaded on a Whitehead B4 jet bomber and under heavy escort from the carrier (including most of the Phoenix IIs and Thunder Jets on board) to the CS Horizon steaming towards the northern coast of South Georgia Island. As it flew south two full carrier task force groups would launch aircraft on both flanks of its flight path to South Georgia. On the Horizon the bomb would be loaded on a specially constructed Phoenix IIA for its final destination – the South Pole.
Apollo had sent word to Poseidon to be prepared to hit their objective in 72 hours. At the same time as the southern attack Apollo would be prepared to launch an all out attack on the Martian North Pole Command Center. Three east coast American air bases and two west coast American air bases along with two carriers in both the north Atlantic (USS Ranger and USS Wasp) and North Pacific (Zuikaka and Shokaku from Japan) would launch the attack over the North Polar ice. These twin attacks would be made in coordination with an all out bombing attack at the Central Martian Command Center at Giza. It was time to hit their command and control centers as hard as we could all at the same time. The only question was, did we have enough time to pull it off?
Late in the day both north and south radars were reporting a new build-up of enemy forces at both poles. The Martians appeared to be sending in new machines and new ground troops to their command areas. Giza was also re-enforced by de-orbiting Martian machines. As far as our radars could tell us the Martians now had fewer than 100 craft in orbit around the Earth. It was thought this indicated the Martians had lost a greater portion of their ground and air forces than they had anticipated. They seemed to be sending in their reserve forces.
By no means were we winning this war as we continued to suffer heavy losses of men and equipment as we were being pushed back at most points on the ground. However, we had forced the Martians to surrounded and cut off cities without capturing them and we still had command of the seas. We had also fought them to a standstill in the skies over Earth even though our air losses had been substantial. We could still hit them hard and they knew it. Only on the ground were they still vastly superior and still advancing but even then we had not given up an inch of ground without inflicting heavy casualties on their forces. They must have known even with their superior weapons of war their capabilities had their limits. They must have wondered if they had deployed sufficient forces to take our planet. Whatever they thought by this ninth day of the war it must have been clear that Earth was going to continue to fight like hell and there would be no surrender.
Our intelligence group at the Committee openly debated if the Martians were capable of sending a second fleet of spacecraft to support their invasion forces. With our Mars Watch capabilities effectively destroyed we had no way of ascertaining the answer to that question until they entered Earth orbit. We knew they would eventually be sending large craft to colonize the Earth but increasing their military presence was another matter.
Martian primary attacks and occupied territories – 11 September 1938
[END PART 67]
Copyright © R. Michael Gordon, 2020
[Next week: Part 68: New London calling, the bomb at Los Alamos and Operation Mars Prime.]