Death Has Red Wings can be found in






DEATH HAS RED WINGS

By ALEXANDER BLADE

"ONE DOWN!"

Releasing the pressure on the gun lever, Lt. Jim Holzer watched the point Messerschmitt flutter into a flaming dive that'nearly disrupted the entire Nazi formation.

Tightening his stomach muscles against the high-speed belt, he ripped around in a 180-turn that temporarily blacked out the vivid blue sky. As the haze cleared from his eyes, Jim Holzer suddenly saw something which caused him to sit up very straight in the cockpit. Across from him, flying No. 7 position, a British plane was slanting off, cutting back toward the Maginot Line. He took the hand mike off the prong and spoke into it.

"What's wrong, Brown?" he asked.

"Looks like I'd better start carrying a rifle," came Brown's disgusted voice. "Firing gear gone dead on me, again, just when I need it."

The C. O. cut in. "Right-o, Brown. Back to the drome."

The nine Messerschmitts were circling some distance away, preparing for another dive-thrust. Holzer looked around the sky, suddenly let out an oath. Flashing down out of the sun, like a bullet, was a lone Nazi plane! And it was headed straight for Brown's plane!

"Look out, Brown! Above you!"

But the warning came too late. The Nazi struck with the speed of light. The Messerschmitt, with the full outline of the British plane as a target, opened up with its hub cannon. A shell caught the doomed Brown, exploding the tail to bits.

Holzer saw Brown slide back his hatch enclosure and fling himself out of the plane. The white blob of his pilot-chute blossomed out, dragging the big chute from its pack.. But in the split second that Jim Holzer had to see the desperate leap of the Britisher, he caught one horrible fact. Brown's body was being riddled by bullets! Bullets from somewhere in that swirlmg hell of Messerschmitts and Spitfires. Whose bullets? Nazi or British; purposeful or accidental? Holzer knew suddenly they weren't accidental.

Jim Holzer ground his teeth. A rat flew for the Nazi squadron. A rat whom even his mates avoided. Was this Nazi plane that of Von Stapp?

The attacking formation of Nazis were back upon them now, but Jim Holzer was not conscious of it. He had but one thought! Get that cowardly murderer, whoever he was, who picked on cripples. The German was circling some distance belong, and Holzer cut down to intercept him.

His lips were pressed back against his teeth in a snarl of hate. Suddenly his eyes narrowed in blazing slits. The crossed-sword insignia Šn the fuselage of the other plane was plainly visible now. It was Von Stapp! The bloody butcher who revolted even his own command. He rarely fought in the open but always hung back, waiting for cripples, for cold meat. No wonder the carrion had run up a string of victories. That kind of a fiend would shoot his own mother in the back for a couple of medals.

Apparently Von Stapp had not seen the avenging Holzer slicing down on him. The Messerchmitt bloomed in Holzer's sights. Steady fingers tripped the guns. A blast of leaden slugs crashed almost into the leather-coated Nazi. But though the tracer showed fiery streaks licking straight into the cockpit, somehow the German escaped their lethal sting, as the diving Spitfire zoomed past.

The Messerschmitt's nose swung around as if going into a. vertical, and then shot upward in a prop-clawing climb. Eyes narrowed, tensed, Jim Holzer matched the maneuver, waiting for the flashing target to settle down in his rings.

His fingers tightened. The Spitfire bucked with the rattle and recoil of eight Brownings. Out from the wings came eight streams of converged death.

He held the stick in his stomach. His fingers loosened. The Nazi was going up like an express elevator. He pressed down again. The guns took up their deadly chatter for a moment, and then abruptly the pounding weapons went silent. His electrical firing gear had gone wacky too. He was in the same spot as Brown!

HE, edged back the throttle, allowing the N...

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