Operation Aphrodite: Joe’s Mission

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on August 12th, 1944, Joe, a young American military pilot, emerged from his quarters at the England base where he was stationed.

Upon stepping outside, he immediately ignited a cigarette to soothe his frayed nerves. With each drag, he proceeded towards the expansive hangar situated across the base, where his awaiting aircraft awaited him.

For weeks, Joe had dedicated himself to readying for this crucial night. Alongside his co-pilot, a 35-year-old Lieutenant known as Bud, he stood poised to embark on the clandestine military endeavor known as Operation Aphrodite.

This clandestine operation wasn’t just classified; it was deemed incredibly perilous to the extent that anyone privy to its details viewed it as a near-certain suicide mission.

As Joe made his way towards the hangar, he made a conscious effort to push aside any unsettling thoughts. Instead, he focused on the purpose that brought him here in the first instance – his motivation for enlisting in the military.

Their mission? To crush the Nazis. What lay ahead for him and his co-pilot, Operation Aphrodite, would prove pivotal in the fight against the Nazis.

Approximately five years into World War II, the tide was turning against the Nazis. Paradoxically, their increasing desperation was rendering them more perilous rather than weakening their threat.

They initiated these audacious assaults primarily due to having nothing to risk. Meanwhile, the Nazis were perpetrating appalling acts by deploying what they termed “Vengeance weapons.”

Hitler dubbed them “Vengeance weapons.” Essentially, they were massive bombs deployed indiscriminately by the Nazis over key population centers across the United Kingdom.

By this stage of the conflict, the Vengeance weapons had claimed the lives of more than 5,000 civilians. At that precise moment, on this very night as Joe made his way toward the hangar, the Nazis possessed a cache of Vengeance weapons pointed straight at London.

Their upcoming objective was set to be the next target. Thus, Joe and his co-pilot, Bud, geared up for Operation Aphrodite, their mission aimed at neutralizing the Vengeance weapons to safeguard London.

Despite his considerable nervousness about the mission, Joe was also filled with excitement. In fact, he had eagerly volunteered for it, unlike many other pilots who had actively avoided the assignment.

Joe had accumulated a sufficient number of missions during the course of the war, rendering further flights unnecessary. He could simply return home.

He opted to volunteer for this mission instead. Joe’s decision likely stems from the upbringing he received within his family.

Joe hailed from a family of remarkable success and achievement. His father fervently urged both Joe and his younger brother to excel in their endeavors, fostering a spirit of intense competition between them.

Joe and his younger brother shared a deep bond, their relationship was tinged with a strong sense of competition. It was evident for some time that Joe’s father had a preference for him.

Joe was always the golden child. His father would often declare, “Joe’s destined for the presidency. He’s got such remarkable talent.” However, following the Pearl Harbor attack which thrust the United States into World War II, both Joe and his younger brother enlisted in the military.

Joe’s younger sibling received recognition for their heroism. They bravely rescued their entire platoon, earning numerous accolades and gaining widespread media attention.

Joe sensed a shift in his relationship with his dad, feeling as though he had fallen out of favor and that his dad now favored his younger brother as the preferred child.

Joe began to feel increasingly insecure and felt a strong urge to prove himself, particularly to his father. When Operation Aphrodite was proposed, Joe eagerly volunteered, driven by his desire to become a hero.

He yearned to demonstrate to his father that he possessed the capability to accomplish something monumental and alter the trajectory of history. However, his impact on history would unfold in an unexpected manner.

Joe pressed on with his cigarette in hand, briskly making his way across the base toward the hangar. With each step, he noticed himself quickening his pace, driven by an eagerness to arrive and dive into his tasks.

Joe had been entrusted with a special code by his superiors, to be transmitted over the radio upon the successful completion of the mission. This code, “Spade flush,” would be his message broadcasted to signify success.

As Joe hurried towards the hangar, he couldn’t help but envision the exhilaration of proclaiming “Spade flush” over the radio. It felt like just 30 minutes separated him from that thrilling moment. Indeed, this mission was brief.

Joe arrived at the hangar. Glancing skyward once more, he ensured the weather was favorable. Operation Aphrodite had been postponed a few days prior due to dense fog, so now, thorough weather checks were imperative.

Joe surveyed his surroundings, noting the favorable weather conditions. With confidence, he determined it was a green light. Discarding his cigarette butt, he entered the hangar.

Within the confines of the hangar lay a vast expanse, with ample room stretching out before the eye. Positioned squarely at its heart, resting upon the hangar floor, stood the imposing figure of a colossal aircraft known as a B24 Liberator.

Naturally, this was Joe’s aircraft for the night. Without hesitation, Joe strode towards the plane to conduct his inspection. It happened to be the same model he had been piloting for the last three years.

He had logged numerous combat missions aboard similar aircraft, making him well-versed in its operations. However, this specific B24 differed significantly from any other B-24 Joe had piloted before.

This aircraft was exceptionally distinctive, unlike any other flown by American military pilots. It truly stood alone as a singular creation.

As Joe strolled along the exterior of the aircraft, he couldn’t help but observe the distinctive alterations the mechanics had implemented. Among these, the most striking was undoubtedly the revamped cockpit.

Typically, the cockpit boasted windows encircling it, enabling the pilot to observe in every direction. However, it was essential for these windows to be shielded from the elements.

In this B24, all the glass had been removed except for a single pane positioned directly in front of Joe, resembling a solitary windshield. Consequently, the cockpit felt akin to a convertible aircraft, with open air surrounding him.

The alteration occurred because Joe and his co-pilot, engaged in the clandestine operation known as Operation Aphrodite, were required to parachute to the ground during the mission. Hence, the decision to keep everything open was made to facilitate their descent.

A significant alteration to the B24 involved the removal of the guns typically situated on the aircraft’s exterior, which were substituted with black-painted broomsticks to mimic the appearance of guns from afar.

The outward alterations of this specific B24 paled in comparison to the extensive modifications concealed within the aircraft. It was this particular plane that harbored the clandestine essence of Operation Aphrodite.

The aircraft wasn’t just an ordinary plane; it resembled more of an immense airborne explosive device. Military engineers effectively gutted the entire structure, stripping away all non-essential components and replacing them with a massive payload of explosives. We’re talking about ten tons of explosives here— an astonishing quantity beyond belief.

Several minutes elapsed, nearing 5:55 p.m., when Joe and his co-pilot Bud completed their exterior inspection of the aircraft inside the hangar. Subsequently, they ascended into the cockpit, with Joe settling into the pilot’s seat while Bud occupied the co-pilot’s seat. Despite the coolness of the evening, both men were visibly perspiring.

After receiving clearance to commence the mission, Joe initiated ignition on the first engine before glancing at the ground crew encircling them. He couldn’t help but observe the gravity etched on their faces; it was clear they fully grasped the perilous nature of the task at hand.

The reality was that there was a possibility the pilots wouldn’t return home. As they gazed up at them, there was a sense of empathy in their eyes, conveying, “I regret that you’re faced with this task.” However, Joe, he surveyed the situation and grasped the gravity of it all.

He put on a grand display, waving and smiling at them, projecting confidence as if he had everything under control and would be alright. However, deep down, Joe was truly terrified.

At 5:59 p.m., Joe had successfully set all four propellers into motion on the aircraft. With the brake released, he commenced taxiing towards the runway. As they proceeded, Joe and Bud couldn’t help but notice the substantial weight of the aircraft due to the explosives it carried.

With every bump, this plane jerks up and down, creaking and making all sorts of noises. It’s really unnerving. I mean, this situation feels quite precarious.

Joe accelerated to full speed, and together they hurtled down the runway. Eventually, the aircraft gained enough lift and soared into the sky.

There were six other planes that had recently taken off. Their purpose was to escort Joe and Bud to their destination area.

After Joe leveled the plane at its cruising altitude, he and Bud took a moment to unwind and brace themselves for the impending events.

They enjoyed approximately 15 minutes of relaxed flying before the serious business of the mission commenced.

Joe and Bud were tasked with destroying the Vengeance weapons as part of Operation Aphrodite, situated approximately 120 miles south, just beyond a small town nestled in the northernmost tip of France.

Obliterating these weapons wouldn’t be as straightforward as Joe and Bud simply flying over, releasing their explosives, and returning home.

The Vengeance weapons, concealed by the Nazis deep within the hills of this town in northern France, were impervious to conventional bombs.

They needed to approach it differently, so Joe and Bud planned to fly their plane straight into the hills.

They accomplished this by maneuvering their aircraft as near to the target area as feasible. At that juncture, one of the pilots from the escort planes would assume remote control of the B24 flying bomb.

Armed with remote control, Joe and Bud, rendered idle by their newfound automation, would leap out and descend via parachutes to the ground.

The remote pilot of the unmanned B24 flying bomb would simply engage autopilot to direct it towards the hills for impact.

Around 6:15 p.m., as the English Channel came into sight, Joe flicked a switch on his control panel. Subsequently, he and Bud anxiously awaited the outcome, holding their breath for a moment.

A brief tremor passed through the plane before it stabilized. Moments later, a message crackled over the radio from one of the pilots in the escort planes, informing Joe and Bud that they had effectively assumed remote control of the B24. At this juncture, Joe and Bud found themselves merely passengers within this airborne vessel, relinquishing control to others.

Joe and Bud had just two tasks remaining before they could evacuate safely. They had to equip the plane, essentially priming the explosives and ensuring they were prepared to detonate.

Following the completion of their task, they would proceed to broadcast over the radio, “Spade flush,” the designated code provided to Joe. This communication would indicate to all others that the aircraft was prepared, and Joe and Bud were ready to parachute out.

Joe and Bud exchanged nods, silently affirming their agreement to tackle the final segment of the mission, Joe swiveled in his seat to face the control panel situated directly behind him.

The arming switch rested on this panel. Once Joe activated it, he and Bud would only have a brief moment to safely exit the aircraft.

It resembled swiftly flipping the switch, issuing the radio call, and swiftly exiting the scene. However, Joe and Bud had diligently rehearsed this scenario countless times, ensuring they were well-prepared for the moment.

In due time, Joe toggled the switch, snatched his radio, and exclaimed, “Spade flush.”

Joe and Bud were unaware at the time the mechanics were making various modifications to the B24 that one of them had inadvertently crossed some wires while installing explosives.

Moments after Joe armed the explosives, they unexpectedly detonated, resulting in the instantaneous demise of both Joe and Bud, who had just called out “Spade flush.”

The catastrophic failure of Operation Aphrodite ultimately had no bearing on World War II. Indeed, Operation Aphrodite ought never to have been initiated, as it was entirely superfluous.

Joe, Bud, and the rest of the American Military were unaware that five weeks prior, the British Royal Air Force had deployed a significant number of ground-penetrating bombs across the hills in northern France.

These bombs effectively obliterated all the Vengeance weapons. Therefore, when Joe and Bud embarked on their ill-fated mission, there was no longer any threat to London whatsoever.

The pivotal moment in the narrative isn’t confined to this, as Operation Aphrodite significantly altered the trajectory of American history in a highly precise and monumental manner.

This is due to Joe, whose complete name was Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., being a part of the renowned Kennedy family, a prominent political dynasty in America.

The Kennedys were confidently asserting that Joseph would become the next President of the United States, and their conviction was widely shared. He was seen as the inevitable choice for the role.

Everything shifted with Operation Aphrodite when Joseph met his demise. Subsequently, about a year later, the war concluded. In its aftermath, John F. Kennedy, Joseph’s younger brother, emerged as a war hero, having earned accolades for heroism and receiving a Purple Heart early in the conflict. This spurred Joe to volunteer for Operation Aphrodite.

John embarked on an extraordinary political ascent, culminating in his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States in 1960, under the iconic moniker JFK, despite not being the expected candidate. He stood as the second choice; the presumed frontrunner was Joe.

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