E-text prepared by Mark C. Orton, Mary Meehan,
and the Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team
A YANKEE FLIER OVER BERLIN
BY AL AVERY
ILLUSTRATED BY Paul Laune
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS : : NEW YORK
Copyright, 1944, by
GROSSET & DUNLAP, INC.
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America
THE SPITFIRE STAYED WITH STAN UNTIL THE SPEEDBOAT PULLED ALONGSIDE.
BOOKS ARE WEAPONS IN THE WAR OF IDEAS
A WARTIME BOOK
THIS COMPLETE EDITION IS PRODUCED IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT’S REGULATIONS FOR CONSERVING PAPER AND OTHER ESSENTIAL MATERIALS.
CHAPTER I Rugged Going
CHAPTER II Action
CHAPTER III Huls
CHAPTER IV Scouting Mission
CHAPTER V Hidden Dromes
CHAPTER VI Prisoner
CHAPTER VII Escape
CHAPTER VIII Flight
CHAPTER IX Trapped
CHAPTER X Spy
CHAPTER XI Mustang
CHAPTER XII Zero Hour
CHAPTER XIII Spy Hunt
A YANKEE FLIER OVER BERLIN
The Commanding Colonel stared at the big map with its red ribbons marking air trails to and from targets. He was spotting the exact point where his Third Fighter group would have to turn back and leave the big Fortresses and Liberators to go it alone into the concentrated defenses of Germany.
Weather Officer Miller looked glumly at the map as Colonel Holt placed his finger on a spot.
“6/10 cloud over station six.” Station six was a Luftwaffe fighter field.
The colonel scowled and shook his head. “Are the big boys going out?”
“Yes, sir. Conditions over target are very good.” Weather grinned when he said it.
“We won’t get much of a whack at the Jerries,” the colonel said rather testily.
“The Forts and Libs will make it through,” Weather said with a lot of cockiness. He was beginning to act like the rest of the gang around headquarters who believed that the Forts and the Libs could go it alone all the way and shoot down any number of fighters the Germans could send up. Colonel Holt was a strong supporter for fighter cover. He was battling for a flock of longer-range fighters that could accompany the big fellows all the way to Berlin. The way things were going he might not be escorting at all within a few weeks. His Third Fighter Command might be on scouting duty.
“We’ll see what can be done about it,” he said as he turned away.
The colonel walked out of the high-ceilinged room which was buried under thirty feet of steel reinforced concrete. He came up out of the building into a drab night. A raw wind stabbed at him, and sent light clouds scudding across the face of the moon. Overhead, a night fighter growled its way through the lonely sky. The country spread around the base was flat with only a few hills to break the sameness.
Out on the dispersal area Colonel Holt could see guards watching the shadowy forms of the Thunderbolts. A jeep came chugging up a muddy street and turned off toward the mess barracks. At one-five in the morning the base looked peaceful enough. Sheltered by darkness, its mud ruts and half-finished buildings were softened by the gloom. Still scowling, the colonel strode away.
Several hours later, in a tunnel-shaped hut with a corrugated iron roof and a cement floor, two fliers sat near a wood stove. Stan Wilson was poking wood into the stove.
“I wonder if anyone ever kept one of these gadgets burning all night,” he said sourly.
“Sure, an’ ’tis against the rules,” Lieutenant O’Malley said and grinned.
“I’m beginning to think Allison showed good sense in running out on us and joining a bomber outfit,” Stan growled. “Here we are sitting up all night keeping this stove poked full of wood.”
“That big bum,” O’Malley snorted. “Only today he said that he’s livin’ in a palace with a sure-enough butler to buttle.” O’Malley shook his head sadly. “The spalpeen says that butler can sure bake a foine pie.”
“On top of that we get to fly Thunderbolts for the fun of it.” Stan jabbed a slab of wood into the stove and slammed the door.
“We’ve jest been havin’ bad luck,” O’Malley said. “I can stand a Nissen hut jest to be flyin’ one o’ them babies. We’ll meet up with plenty o’ Jerries.” O’Malley grinned eagerly, his homely face lighting up. “Remember how we used to mix it with them Jerry bandits tryin’ to blitz London?”
“That was a long time ago, as wars count time,” Stan answered. “We’ve been away a long time. The Jerries don’t get near London any more, and I heard a rumor that the Forts and Libs are able to shoot down ten fighters for every one the Thunderbolts get.”
O’Malley snorted. “Bombers shoot down Me 109’s and FW 190’s! ‘Tis jest propaganda put out by the brass hats to fool the Germans. I’ll have to see it done, me b’y.”
“From what I hear we’ll probably have a reserved seat for the show. We sit up there and watch.” Stan smiled. “But we can always elbow in and fly a Fortress or a Liberator.”
“Not me,” O’Malley declared. “I’m no good at flying a milk wagon. I’ll handle me own guns.”
“Tomorrow will tell the tale. We’re to get our first whack at Jerry in this new job,” Stan said.
“Sure, an’ I’d go to bed an’ forget it, but the minnit I get me eyes closed this stove goes out an’ I’m freezin’,” O’Malley growled. “I don’t think we’ll be goin’ any place. Them brass hats meet at Operation Headquarters an’ the generals call in Weather. Weather squints out through a porthole an’ says, ‘6/10 cloud over target.’ Then the generals up an’ go back to bed.”