Volume 3, Chapter 32
Ten o’clock on May 28, 1940. Field airport, Luftwaffe task room.
Colonel Wolfe was holding a pointer and displaying Reinhardt’s new formation on the blackboard behind him.
“Be quiet! Be quiet! This is not your time to express your opinion. Listen to me first!”
Colonel Wolfe glared at the pilot who started to interrupt his explanation. General Reinhardt secured a really decent position for himself. He even got a promotion from lieutenant colonel to a fully-fledged colonel. However, he did think that he’d even get his own wing. Moreover, a veteran flight wing. Although veteran they were not well disciplined.
“Hey, don’t discuss it right now! Listen to me! What’s the problem with you?”
Wolfe felt as if he was a teacher stuck with the runt of the class.
“Colonel! I have a question.” A pilot stood up and raised his arm.
“Ah, what’s the problem?” Wolfe said with a slight satisfaction. “Finally, someone that has some communication skills, unlike that Blonde.”
“I’m not sure about the flight plan. The way it’s described is not suitable for us fighters. For example, how do we keep a distance from the enemy?” The pilot said somewhat angrily. “We are fighter pilots, the closer we are to the enemy the better. How do we fight yet maintain defensive position?”
Wolfe, in fact, was also confused why the General would develop such strange rules. This left him in a bind as to how to answer. Then he heard a voice entering the room.
“Ah, it seems we don’t fully understand the plan. I guess it’s up to me to explain it.” Xu Jun said as he walked in slowly.
With Wolfe’s cry, the pilots shot up like a spring. Their previous smirks disappearing into nothingness. Xu Jun gave a quick military salute and the pilots neatly returned with a salute also.
Xu Jun then went in front of Wolfe and asked. “Wolfe, how does the position feel?”
“General, it feels great.”
“Haha, it seems you have not tamed these pilots. You have to remember as the leader, the pilots look to you for their duties.”
Xu Jun turned to look towards the group of pilots. With a quick glance, he could tell that they were elite troops. Full of their own personality and pride. From the conversations outside he could gather this much. Their apparent lack of discipline wasn’t a large issue in the Luftwaffe as much as it would be in the Army. This was actually normal in people who stood at the top of their fields.
“I heard that you don’t really understand the plan. Allow me to explain your questions. However, this is not the right place to do it. Gentlemen, grab a chair and come with me outside. I have prepared some new toys for you to play with. Hopefully, after seeing them, you’ll understand the plan better.” Then Xu Jun walked out of the task room.
The pilots followed him until they reached a large open field. Where several aircraft were usually parked, however, three heavy trucks replaced them. All piled high with cargo, however, it was all covered with a tarp. From the contours, they could see that it should be boxes underneath.
Xu Jun went next to one of the trucks and nodded to Hans. Xu Jun looked back at the pilots who had arranged themselves into three groups. In accordance with their squadrons.
“Gentlemen, relax, you are the elite that I have personally chosen from the entire Luftwaffe. The time for battle has not arrived, this is just a good talk. Just sit down, I don’t want you to always stand there as you listen to me.” Xu Jun said with a smile.
The pilots laughed and put down their chairs. Xu Jun also sat in a chair that Wolfe brought over. Grabbing a document that Hans prepared, he started to speak.
“I have to apologize for not explaining it to Colonel Wolfe correctly. These things behind me had not arrived so it was hard for me to explain it to him. But now that these things are here, I can personally detail it to all of you.”
Xu Jun stood up and started to walk back and forth in front of the pilots.
“So, the British have been blocked into the port city of Dunkirk by us. Our Army has firmly trapped the two hundred thousand British, Belgian, and French army. We have another two hundred thousand enemy troops surrounded in other areas as well. You could say that our victory is in sight.”
Listening to Xu Jun, the pilots almost let out a burst of exclamation. They were somewhat aware of the scale of the operation but they did not expect that a whole four hundred thousand enemies were surrounded. And the person directing this was General Reinhardt himself. Not to mention that he was also the acting commander of the Luftwaffe. Leaving the pilots with a sense of pride and admiration.
“However, because of the vast number of enemies, it would be too costly for the Army to destroy them by force. I would never allow my soldiers to die in vain. So, I decided to take advantage of the fact that the enemy is exhausted, and force them to surrender. This way, we take only minimal losses to conquer an already defeated army.
Rather, now we’re facing a serious problem. The British would never willingly give up on their soldiers. They have prepared to flee from our grasp by the sea. They know that our navy is not strong enough to completely block the passage.
So, I have prepared a strategy to make up for that. Your job is to keep the troops from ever entering the ships.”
Hearing this, the pilots grew excited and murmured to each other. To perform such an important task would surely grant them great prestige and honor. Xu Jun smiled, he was quite satisfied with the excitement of the men.
“Yes, your task now is to completely cut off the British retreat. I have trust that the elite of the Luftwaffe can do this. However, do not think too lightly of this operation. This will be a big test for the Luftwaffe.
The British would never sit idly for us to bomb them. They still have anti-air capabilities. Plenty of anti-aircraft guns and ammunition. Rather, one of the few things they still have adequate amounts of. Furthermore, the terrain in that region is very complex, there are many areas that they can access the ships by. Especially in the three kilometers of soft sand, our heavy bombs will be unable to display their power.
We can also assume that the British sends the elite of their Royal Air Force to provide cover. You will encounter never-before-seen airplane fighters and greater resistance than you have ever witnessed. If you are not fully prepared, I can guarantee that you will pay a heavy price for your negligence. If the lives of my brave fighters are sacrificed to attain victory, it cannot be considered a victory to me.”
Realizing the difficulty of the plan, they fell into some contemplation and thought. Pilots continued to sit there quietly, waiting for Xu Jun to continue explaining. Considering their commander, he must have prepared suitable countermeasures.
“It was because of these problems that I designed an entirely new flight plan. I’ve also prepared the suitable weapons for you. Now then, let’s take a look at the first toy I’ve prepared for everyone.”
Xu Jun nodded to Hans. Hans along with some Luftwaffe soldiers pulled down the tarp cover on the first truck. A row of brand-new ammunition boxes. Several of the soldiers carried the boxes in front of Xu Jun.
The ammunition box was opened, and a strange bomb appeared in front of the pilots.
“A butterfly bomb.” A pilot said, recognizing the bomb in a single glance. “I used these in Spain, it was quite effective.”
“Yes, this is indeed a butterfly bomb. However, I like to call it the devil’s eggs.” Xu Jun the reached in and pulled one out.
“The destructive power of this cluster bomb, granted, is less than that of heavy bombs. However, against the enemy gathered on the beaches, it is the most potent weapon. Furthermore, these bombs in front of you have been modified by my request. They are to be the first to be thrown into Dunkirk. Their task is not to destroy but to hinder.”
“General, as you said, this bomb is not to destroy buildings. But how does it hinder the enemy?” A pilot could not help but ask.
“What is your name?” Xu Jun smiled and asked.
“Second Lieutenant Bob Hans, General.”
“Fifty-four fighter wing?”
“Haha, that’s good… Bob, catch.”
Xu Jun then casually tossed the bomb to him. Shocked at the suddenness, he quickly leapt forward to catch it.
“General… that was too dangerous. Please don’t throw the bombs so casually.” Bob complained. “I was nearly scared to death.”
“Haha, Second Lieutenant Bob. I’ve already extracted the fuse, it shouldn’t explode. However, this demonstrates my next point. The most frightening thing is not the explosion. But the fact that it has not exploded. Or rather, the fear of not knowing when it will explode.”
Xu Jun paused and glanced at the pilots who nodded in agreement.
“And the upcoming operation is to drop these bombs. The most frightening series of bombs.” Xu Jun made a gesture for Bob to throw back the butterfly bomb. Holding those grotesque little things, he walked back to the crates.
“There have been some special modifications made. In fact, there are four different fuses.
The first is the air burst variant. It detonates in the air five meters above the ground. Enough to increase the damage to as large of a range as possible.
The second is an irregular timer fuse. The set time is random, ranging from two minutes to two days. Even those installing the fuses had no idea how long it was set as. Its role is to scare the British away from the beaches. I don’t believe the soldiers nor engineers would like standing next to a ticking time bomb.
The third is to deal with those brave British engineers. It is a mechanical fuse. Quite a sophisticated design, it will become active ten seconds after it lands. Then, if it is moved or taken from the ground then it will immediately explode. There is no way to tell which fuse a bomb has without it exploding.”
“What is the last one, General?” Wolfe asked.
“Haha, don’t worry. This is the most interesting one. Even if you hit it with a hammer it would not explode. It is equipped with a radio remote-control fuse. It will only explode when we want it to explode. All we would need to do is have a plane fly over and press a button.”
Those pilots all thought that it was a very interesting weapon. However, it’s sinister nature also sent a chill down their spines. Rather, it was too sinister.
But after Xu Jun’s explanation, they started to understand why the general would use this weapon. As long as the coast of Dunkirk was blanketed with this bomb. No matter if it was the pier or beach, it would become a dead zone. Anyone that entered it would be risking their lives. Even trained engineers could not guarantee their safety. It would take some time for the British to figure out how the bomb operates. Furthermore, if they tried to blast all of the bombs, it would still be difficult to completely dispose of all of them.
Then Wolfe raised a popular concern, “General, why would we use this bomb when our bombers control the skies?”
“Haha, two reasons.” Xu Jun nodded in satisfaction with Wolfe and the rest of the pilots.
First, we have no idea as to the future weather. If the British retreat in the fog or storms, the Luftwaffe can do little about it. Currently, we are shrouded with relatively dense clouds and fog cover. It is unlikely to clear up until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. Thus, until then we cannot do any precision bombings the next two days.
Second, it’s no issue if we blindly bombard the area with these things. We just need to drop them on or near the beach. Hence, it’s okay even if we cannot see the enemy.
Not only you but the entire 2nd Luftwaffe Bomber Wing will be participating in this attack as well.
Your mission is to carry out the task of protecting the bombers. Besides the bombs, there is something else you should be made aware of. The Royal Air Force may be unleashing a new toy of theirs. So, I have a second thing for you.
Then Xu Jun signaled for Hans to pull down the tarp on the second truck.