Tag: Nigel Walpole

Author Guest Post: Nigel Walpole

COMPARING THE LIVES OF RAF AND EAST GERMAN PILOTS IN THE COLD WAR

My wife held up the barbed wire for me to crawl under and into the once highly secret Warsaw Pact airfield at Zerbst, in East Germany, which in the Cold War had thundered to the sound of Russian fighter-bombers, and so was a target of interest to me as a NATO fast-jet pilot. Now a sinister silence pervaded the deserted guard posts, crumbling runways and rusting hangars; it was 1998, and the Cold War was over.

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Author Guest Post: Nigel Walpole

AIRBORNE WITH THE ‘BEST OF BREED’

An eerie silence seemed to have descended over the North German Plain, on that crystal clear Christmas morning of 1955, as we patrolled the Inner German Border (IGB) at 50,000 ft in our brand new Hunter Mk 4s, our guns loaded, looking for any suspicious activity in the air above the forbidden land of East Germany. Other than the gentle purring of our jet engines, and sporadic checks on our radios to keep us alert, our world seemed to be at peace – but this was the Cold War.

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Guest Post: Nigel Walpole – A Virtual War

We felt at peace with the world on that quiet Sunday in February 1978 at RAF Brüggen, our biggest strike/attack base in North Germany; there was no sign of life in the four corners of the airfield, each with a squadron of 15 Jaguar fighter-bombers, hidden in their Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS). Rows of Bloodhound surface-to-air missiles (SAM) pointed silently but menacingly to the east, but little could be seen of our mobile Rapier SAM squadron in their compound to the west, nor the squadron of Royal Engineers which cared for our infrastructure.

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Guest Post: Nigel Walpole – War in the Balkans

In that quiet corner of Germany on the Dutch border, the tranquil calm of Easter Sunday, 4 April 1999, was shattered by the roar of six RAF Tornados launching into the night. They were loaded with Paveway Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) and Thermal Imaging Laser Designators (TIALDs), armed with Sidewinder Missiles and Mauser Cannon and equipped with a defensive suite of Boz chaff dispensers and Skyshadow Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) pods; they were bound for Serbian targets in Kosovo. This was Operation Engadine – and the risks were high.

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