by NWilliams

Coastal Flight

''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 up
unidentified craft moving from the North. Naval craft...'' His words
trailed of as Commander Robbins saw them; fast moving, ack-ack boats...

''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 Ho!''

Alpha Five was first to engage. The Harrier rose to the required height
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 intact.

'' 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 the Cannon.

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 for home...''