| The Hot War |
POD: November, 1950
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
In January 1951, Gribkov and his crew, including Lavrov, were transferred to an airbase in Provideniya, a location relatively close to the American west coast. On 23 January, the U.S. dropped several atomic bombs in Manchuria. Joseph Stalin ordered retaliatory attacks in Europe on 1 February. The U.S. destroyed Pechenga on 4 February. In response, Soviet flyers destroyed Elmendorf Air Force Base on 7 February.
Another round of American bombs prompted the USSR to invade West Germany on 17 February. After the Soviets launched a successful drive, the U.S. was able to disrupt Soviet supply lines with atom bombs a week later. In response, on 1 March, the flyers at the Provideniya base were sent west in Tu-4s painted to look like B-29s. With tremendous luck the attacks were mostly successful. Lavrov released the atomic bomb onto the Seattle area on Gribkov's order.
After a successful bombing run, the crew turned the plane back to the Pacific Ocean. Despite a tense flight that saw the fuel gauge fall into the red, the bomber flew to the area of the Red Fleet ships tasked with picking up the crew. Lavrov was the first to spot the ships, having the best view as bombardier. They landed the plane in water with the entire crew surviving the trip and the landing. They were taken aboard a destroyer called the Stalin.