Book Review

Night Soldiers, by Alan Furst

Bulgaria, 1934. A young man is murdered by the local fascists. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and sent to Spain to serve in its civil war. Warned that he is about to become a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris. Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European world of 1934–45: the struggle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the last desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris, and guerrilla operations with the French underground in 1944.

The book is highly recommended. I’m a big fan of Furst’s writing. If you like this blog, you’re also likely to enjoy this book and his other books. His newest book, “Under Occupation” came out last year and it’s my next book to read.

 

 

We have angered Gaia. Bring forth the sacrifice!

Attention all you wicked, western society, fossil fuel burning, climate sinners! To appease our globalist climate God, the United Nations, and assorted scamming socialist elites, you are required to pay ongoing climate indulgences to avoid shame and eternal purgatory. We call this self flagellation, “The Green New Deal“.

 

The Art of the Smear …more here

 

 

Fuel Economy and Satan’s Angels

With additional fuel cells in the J model P-38, Satan’s Angels had been making six and one-half and seven-hour flights. On 1 July Lindbergh flew a third mission with the group, an armed reconnaissance to enemy strips at Nabire, Sagan One and Two, Otawiri, and Ransiki, all on the western shore of Geelvink Bay.

After six and one-half hours flying time, he landed with 210 gallons of fuel remaining in his Lightning’s tanks.

Two missions later, on 3 July, the group covered sixteen B-25’s on a strike against Jefman Island. Lindbergh flew with Hades Squadron’s White Flight, led by Col. MacDonald.

After the attack the Lightnings went barge hunting. First one, then two pilots reported dwindling fuel and broke off for home. MacDonald ordered the squadron back but because Lindbergh had nursed his fuel, he asked for and received permission to continue the hunt with his wingman.

After a few more strafing runs, Lindbergh noticed his wingman’s Lightning circling overhead. Nervously the pilot told Lindbergh that he had only 175 gallons of fuel left. Lindbergh told him to reduce engine rpms, lean out his fuel mixture, and throttle back.

When they landed, Lindbergh’s wingman had seventy gallons left, Lindbergh had 260. They had started the mission with equal amounts of gas.

Lindbergh talked with MacDonald. The colonel then asked the group’s pilots to assemble at the recreation hall that evening. The hall was that in name only, packed dirt floors staring up at a palm thatched roof, one ping pong table and some decks of cards completing the decor. Under the glare of unshaded bulbs, MacDonald got down to business. “Mr. Lindbergh” wanted to explain how to gain more range from the P-38s.

In a pleasant manner Lindbergh explained cruise control techniques he had worked out for the Lightnings: reduce the standard 2,200 rpm to 1,600, set fuel mixtures to “auto-lean,” and slightly increase manifold pressures. This, Lindbergh predicted, would stretch the Lightning’s radius by 400 hundred miles, a nine-hour flight.

The plan of attack called for American fighters to fly over four-hundred miles at extreme low altitude, locate Yamamoto’s flight, and destroy Yamamoto’s aircraft without being detected. The only aircraft that could meet these requirements was the P-38. The only reason the P-38 could make the range was because of Lindbergh. Lindbergh’s advice worked and when the Japanese thought they were out of range, the P38’s attacked and killed Yamamoto.

38 COMMENTS

    • I vaguely recall reading about Lindbergh experimenting with reducing fuel consumption.
      I think that conventional word-of-mouth thinking was that his methods were thought to be hard on engines and would reduce their lifespan. After running that way for a while, he was able to show that there was no increased wear on the engines.
      Where that erroneous thinking came from is anyone’s guess – probably some supply bureaucrat?

      • I’m not an expert on Lucky Lindy. I’m tied to what I’ve read, some of which is reported here. I don’t know how deeply he delved into the actual engineering of the aircraft that he flew or whether he just knew how engines worked, from the pilot end, and experimented with nursing them along on as little fuel as possible.

        There were a number of famous people who put on a uniform and flew well. Jimmy Doolittle was another one. One of the most famous air racers in the world until WW2 came along. Colonel Paul Tibbets was another one, not just picked at random to drop the first atomic bomb.

      • Extremely lean mixtures can make an engine run hot. The risk was burning up plugs (or valve heads) and losing an engine on the way home.

  1. The Art of the Smear – Scumbags. Anyone in Congress supporting “smearing” (meaning “destroy at all cost”), along with their idiot voter supporters, belongs in the basement hot room. This is beyond politics. Morality matters. Bring this to mind from “Shooter” – “You don’t understand, these boys shot my dog…I’m gonna burn their playhouse down.”

    Consequences are an imperative with every one of these losers…ballot box or public shaming or getting run over if hijacking a roadway.

    Pence as Race Bannon. Fits.

    • Imagine if these “journalists” were that; journalists reporting the news instead of propagandists. Some are talented writers. Old joke from the Soviet era. “You Soviet reporters are always lying”, was the accusation. “Nyet”, was the reply. “It is all in the way you write it. Your President and our Premier are in a two car race and your President wins. We report that our glorious leader, racing against the best the West has, finished second while the President could only finish next to last”.

      • Well written, well cited.

        The funnel of journalism in the US is small, controlled by very few, and the shot callers have a common agenda. And if you’re a journalist who doesn’t do what they want you to do, you’re not going to work in a job that pays. Back to supersizing the order at the drive-through window.

        Witness how Fox rallied around RINO Chris Wallace after the first presidential debate. Wallace needs to go work at CNN, but that’s not how it plays out.

      • I do wonder if eventually if the general public will stop giving the overt liars any credence, or are they so ingrained that a course correction back to reason is not achievable?

        Judge Barret’s hearing today showcases the stark contrast between the reasoned and the deluded; R’s cite law and the Constitution and responsibility, D’s trot out every [disproven] lie on the planet, both in despicable rhetoric and pictures. The media outlets are following suit with their pure propaganda push.

  2. I heard that story about Lucky Lindy some years back. I also heard he was credited with shooting down a couple of Japanese planes as well.

    • I think that the credit was “unofficially official” since he was a civilian. Lindy was a controversial figure by by all accounts, one hell of a pilot, earned the medal of honor, first across the Atlantic, and so forth. The government didn’t like him, but they didn’t like Billy Mitchell either.

    • I have heard the same. “Unofficially official” two and a half aerial victories. Can’t recall the source now. Higher-ups were loath to have him put at risk, and I can see their point. Hah, good luck with that. As to the Curtis manual, it’s amazing how often just doing your homework can put you out front.

      Somewhere I have an article that recounts Lindbergh’s return flight to CONUS aboard a Martin flying boat, IIRC a MARS. At one point the crew asked him if he would like to fly left seat for a while. He agreed. While sitting there, he mused that he was flying a ship that had, including him, three pilots, bunks, a galley, and a head.

      • I’ve often had a fantasy (and that’s all it is), of spending a summer in a flying boat, hopping between Alaskan and Canadian lakes, fishing, taking a zodiac to shore and exploring. Flying ship, flying house. My fantasy doesn’t include going to war in one, being set upon by Zeroes.

  3. Nope. Lindy had simply repeated what the engineers at Curtis Wright had told him. From Geo. Braly at Gen’l Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) Ada, OK, I got an original copy of the flight manual used by Curtis Wright since the early 1930s. Everything Lindbergh said was already written a decade before.

      • “When all else fails, read the instructions.”

        Rumor has it that Lindbergh once flew a single engine airplane across the Atlantic, alone and non-stop to Paris, and had previously carried air mail, bad weather and all. Perhaps he had some prior experience at conserving fuel?

  4. I’m also a big fan of Furst.

    In the 80’s I was taking instruction (in a Piper Cub) at Pearson Air Park near Vancouver WA, and saw an old, dilapidated wooden bench in the back of a hangar. I asked an old timer what the story was on the bench. He explained that Lindbergh had flown into Pearson once and sat on the bench, and he had kept it ever since.

    Needless to say, as soon as he wandered off, I sat on it too.

  5. Ha, Race Bannon and Jonny Quest.

    Those were the days, back when people had a clue about the world and what’s good in it.
    -Kle.

  6. I wrote a short poem a long time ago derived from that sniper phrase. Hope you like it.

    From a man they did not see
    Came a sound they did not hear
    Proof of the enemy’s demise
    Still hangs in the air
    As a puff of pink mist

    • As I navigate the grocery aisles, my mind begins to wander. With apologies to the good Captain–

      From a man who was not near
      Came a sound they would never hear
      How could they know their fate
      would be rule 308

      I miss the Burma Shave signs.

      Crap. I hope I didn’t forget the sourdough bread. Again.

  7. I remember reading about how Lindberg got better fuel economy when I was a kid. And I seem to remember that the book/article I read mentioned he’d found the procedure in the flight manual. RTFM in action! I didn’t understand the procedure then, but these days I do.

    And I would have sat on the bench, too….

    • LSP, I have no idea how he stayed awake. There was no auto pilot and he flew low as I recall, close to the boundary layer over the surf. He got more lift from the humid air, but more drag too.

  8. Oh, when I saw the Title Night Soldiers I thought it might have something to do with night letters and their use back in the day.
    I guess we aren’t at that stage of the game, yet.

  9. Re. night letters:
    Subtle is best.
    I know of an incident where an individual found a set of thoroughly smudged fingerprints on the window near his front door when he was leaving his house one morning.
    He was a psychologist who was involved in a long term dispute with another psychologist that had escalated to threats of violence. He was certain his enemy had left him a message.
    He was still freaked out about the fingerprints on his window years after the incident.

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