''This is Alpha Leader, ETA 4 minutes.'' said Wing Commander
Robbins into his radio to the other pilots of Alpha Squadron.
The squadron of Harriers had flown at low level since their
take-off from HMS Peregrine. Their mission: to spike the
Anti-Ship Guns set into the cliffs at Murmansk. The destruction
of the guns would open the door for an amphibious landing
to take the area.
The mission was unorthodox, but the Allies had called upon
the Royal Navy to take out the guns with their modified
Harriers and their modified bombs. A heavier warhead with
an armor piercing capability. In this case, the bombs could
penetrate the slate cliffs if need be.
But trouble brewed: ''Leader, this is Alpha Four, picking
unidentified craft moving from the North. Naval craft...''
trailed of as Commander Robbins saw them; fast moving, ack-ack
''SCORPIONS!'' Robbins called, ''Keep your height boys!
We'll try to
outmaneuver them!'' The Harriers split into two groups as
they tried to
judge the Scorpion fleet's movement. As they moved closer,
they opened up with punishing AA salvos. The coughing sounds
of flak bursts filled the air around Alpha Squadron, throwing
out shrapnel chunks. The radio was alive with chatter: ''This
is Alpha Two! Port wing's chewed up! C-can't maneuver..''
A second later, the second salvo set Two's plane into a
fireball as the flak destroyed the jet engines. Robbins
was hit, a hunk of flak punched a hole in his tail fin.
Another burst of radio-chatter: ''Alpha Six here, terminal
damage. SEE YOU IN HELL, YOU COMMIE BA-'' the chatter cut
of as Six's plane engaged and hit the lead Scorpion. Six
gave his life to help the Squadron. The flak was not repeated,
''either their ammo's up or Wilson's kamikaze got them scared!''
piped Alpha Three. Robbins looked at the interface in the
cockpit. The guns were in range. ''OK, boys. Raise to target
height,'' and to rouse the pilots, Robbins quipped, ''Tally
Alpha Five was first to engage. The Harrier rose to the
to level with the gun emplacement. ''Leader, Alpha Five
here. In range in three, two, one... BOMB'S GONE!'' The
missile roared from the belly of the Harrier and shot toward
the gaping cavern of the gun emplacement. The bomb impacted,
and exploded. But to the left side of the cavern, chunks
of slate were blown up into the air, but the guns remained
'' Alpha Three in range. BOMB'S G-'' his plane destroyed
by the cliff's
flak gun. However, the missile was fired, knocked slightly
by the debris and tailed toward the top of the cliff. Vengeance.
The missile scattered slate over the cliff top, and the
heat set of the flak shot still inside the breach, killing
Alpha Leader's turn ''OK boys... BOMB'S GONE!'' A perfect
shot. The missile was swallowed by the cave. The payload
setting off the ammo in the cave, and a huge explosion rocked
the cliff. The cavern caved in, and the guns were dead...
''OK, Alpha Squadron. We're done here, let's set course