Profile Photo
Kyle Koppos
25 articles

The Paw Sunday Massacre

April 29, 2022 · in Aviation · · 8 · 1.2K

On the fifth of April, the Empire of Nyappon launched it's surprise multi-pronged assaults throughout the Eastern Archipelagoes, simultaneously striking key targets in order to neuter opposition from its island neighbors as quickly as possible. One of those nation's under the Imperial sights was the recently chartered Duncheon League.

By the fourth day after the initial strikes, the League was in dire straits; great palls of smoke bled from its harborages and its primary airfields were crops of burning, twisted wreckage. Worst of all, its modest Navy was in shambles. Hobbled by the surprise attacks, it nevertheless bared the brunt of the assault and engaged the pending invasion head on. Defiant but crippled, the branch fought to nearly the last vessel in a series of gallant but withering battles. At the close of day on the 9th, the Duncheon Navy had been rendered functionally extinct.

As the sun set on the island chain that evening and the Nyappon invasion force gathered a few miles off the coast, the weight of responsibility fell solely upon the shoulders of the Provincial Army Aero Service. After the Navy had suffered the worst of the action so far, up to including the sinking of it's sole aircraft carrier Amstead, whatever air power the League had left remained under the Army, and the task was now theirs alone.

Under the grim pressure mounting beneath the looming threat of Imperial landing forces, the Army Aero Command considered their options. The bulk of their strategic bombers had been taken out, caught on the ground during the first days of fighting. The majority of their fighter wings, those that still survived, were entangled with interception duty over the few remaining airfields and the League capital, Pannadang. The one untapped resource they had left, were the assault wings currently based on the western island of Mocha.

Equipped with the bumpkin GeB-3 "Kameel" medium bomber, the wings had yet to see fighting in the conflict: the slow and ungainly ground attack craft were not designed to engage ships out over open water at distance, and up until this point the war had remained a battle of the skies. Circumstance pressed necessity, however, and Command set to their plans.

In the waning light, the GeB-3 squadrons would fly East to the main island of Dyeneo to regroup and equip for an early morning strike against the Imperial fleet. The plan was for a retaliatory preemptive low level strike against the gathering ships, utilizing the cover of nascent dawn to negate the aircraft's sluggishness and vulnerability. As it was, the effectiveness of the theoretical mission was questionable: the light payload of the GeB-3 throwing doubt on the credibility of the operation. With their homes and likelihoods in question, caution lost out to duty and the attack was green lit.

Even as the Kameels lifted off from their airfields in the west and made their dusk flights east, heads continued to percolate and plans evolved. The Navy, with ordinance left but no aircraft to carry them, suggested the use of torpedoes for the operation. Since the mission was already low-level and against shipping, it was a logical progression, as it was argued.

When the GeB-3s landed on crater-pocked forward airfields in the East, the pilots discovered they were to be given torpedoes instead of bombs. In the few hours before the sun was to rise, groundcrews were to juryrig the long ordinance underneath the Army aircraft, before continuing on their way to their targets. It was a tight margin: not only did the maintenance teams have to come up with a way to sling the torpedoes under the Kameels on the spot, but the pilots had to "train" how to release their new payloads through verbal and paper instruction alone with no time to practice. Regardless, the attempt was made.

Difficulties began in adapting the Naval ordinance to the medium bomber, the groundcrews struggling to devise a capable mount in the little time they had before dawn. As the pilots stood by and watched their nighttime advantage slip by, the armament teams sweated through their best attempt. By the time the torpedoes were tentatively equipped, the sun had begun to break the horizon with its ominous light. Gambling on the murky early morning light being cover enough, the decision was made to proceed with the operation and the pilots boarded their charges and took off into destiny.

Problems arose immediately. The medium bombers struggled under the weight of the unsuited ordinance, and barely cleared the palms at the end of the runway. Airspeed was severely cut, and any maneuverability was negated: the bombers now took a lethargic, direct course over the coast towards the fleet.

Command had severely underestimated how long it would take to adapt the torpedoes to the Army airframes: by the time the GeB-3s were over water and approaching the Imperial fleet, dawn was well on its way and the bombers were silhouetted against the shining waters below. They were soon spotted by Nyappon CAP, the fighters having been sortied early for dual coastal harassment and preemptive fleet warning. Having seen the slow-moving bombers from up high, they swooped down to engage, and the slaughter began.

Two squadrons worth of fourteen Kameels had departed, yet none returned, the operation turning into an unmitigated disaster. Only one serviceman survived, the radio/gunner from aircraft 12, his pilot managing to ditch into the sea as his engine quit. The pilot was unable to disengage from his rapidly sinking craft, the design naturally having no precautions against water landings. The gunner was fished from the sea by a Duncheon trawler that had witnessed the debacle unfold overhead, and eventually made his way back to headquarters. In tears as bitter as the ocean he had foundered in, the gunner related how the Kameels stood no chance against the Nyapponese fighters, making easy, overloaded lumbering targets.

The Duncheon League would only hold out a few more days, before the island chain would capitulate on the 13th. Even as Pannadang fell, the anti-colonial pamphlets were flying off their underground presses, zealously decrying the debacle that was the Duncheon forces handling of the defense of the islands. 'Witness how the fat privileged few squander and waste the lives of twenty seven of our young and talented,' the partisan paper referenced the Kameel attack directly. 'Our lifeblood is on their mitts. So easy it is for them to deal, commit and forget, this Paw Sunday Massacre.'

Hi. Thanks for getting this far. I hope you enjoyed an excerpt from my "historical fiction" book idea I am currently playing with. Think something along the lines of animator Miyazaki but with real world elements. The "GeB-3 Kameel" is a Frankenplane, assembled with a sheet styrene fuselage and random parts from my "model graveyard" spares and junk bin. You may recognize some parts cannibalized from other aircraft. It may be fun to try and pick them out. The idea of the day was 'pedestrian;' it had to look simple and basic as possible. I am also not an engineer, this was simply a case of "rule of cool." Would it actually fly? Probably not.

It might be a little grim, but drama is one of the seasonings of life, no?

Thanks again for looking (and reading).

Reader reactions:
12  Awesome

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses

  1. Bloody cool Kyle! ? I love your backstory and what-if model! ? Well done sir and right up my alley as well.
    Like yourself, I have a vivid imagination at times too. Here's one I thought up a long time ago; there is no political statement made I assure you, just playing "fast and loose" with history! ?

  2. Really cool and very nice, Kyle!
    Excellent write up as well!

  3. Definitely creative! Nice way to burn through the parts box!

  4. Love the whole concept! Reminds me of The Duchy of Grand Fenwick in the Mouse that Roared satirical novels.

  5. Some serious originality has somehow slipped past the locked door here.

  6. Superb build and article, Kyle @kopperhed
    Great scratchbuilding.

  7. This is pretty cool, I love it! Nice job on the build too.

  8. Great reading, Kyle.
    Impressive reading and viewing! Really like the scratch building and the design work.

Leave a Reply