The little ship that could. (Full Version)

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1275psi -> The little ship that could. (8/29/2010 9:21:54 AM)


new game
herbiesan verses cantona.............


Dec 4, 1941
Hiroshima naval base

East wharf


“I am too old for this”
Captain Kiichi Hasegawa stiffly alights from the creaking saloon.
The air is cool –a wet breeze coming across the bay –seeping into his bones, his soul.
Yes. He is too old. But not, apparently its seems, to First fleet command. The old dog is going to have to learn a few new tricks………


He stands, faces his new command, contemplating her strange, foreign shape.
So this, it seems, is what a carrier looks like close up.
And again that feeling of bitter disappointment wells up inside –reluctantly he pushes it back down.
So this is the weapon that will replace the battleship…….
And somehow, he just cannot believe it..

CVL Zuiho rides easily against the wharf –low, grey, ugly. Her crew man the rails, stand in formation on her flight deck, awaiting that moment so critical to any warships future.
Kiichi grasps his sword, taking comfort from its familiar feel, its power, its strength.
Time for him to meet his crew, his new ship. And, of course, them to meet him.

He strides up the gangway with purpose –keen, as always to show his authority. First fleet may have let him down, but he knows his duty.
The pipes shrill.
Salutes.
A tall man, thin, heavy braid.
His Executive officer.
Formal greetings
Salutes
And the process begins…………………

He is led to the flight deck – eyes quickly assessing everything –the fresh new paint, the slight movement beneath his feet –if she moves here, alongside –what will this little thing be like at sea?

A ladder.
Narrow passageways.
Eyes picking out a hose reel – incorrectly stowed……
Another ladder.

The flight deck

He takes his place –process, process.
Paper given to him.
The formal words.
The navy regulations.
He must read them with authority……………
And yet –the wind conspires against him, and he knows too many on this deck cannot hear him, hear his high pitched voice……..
Damn
That did not go well.

A thunderous voice – a coxswain who knows his business it seems.
Good
The men crash to attention, erect. White, still, swaying slightly in the breeze, on the swell
And now he must inspect them………..these , what does the Emperor call them ? –his human bullets?

Kiichi takes his time –he knows too well the importance that they see him, that they see he watches, and notices. Battleship, or not – command will be the same ney?

‘Your engineer sir”
Short, squat. And suffering a hangover it seems……….
‘Your name?’
“LCDR Minobe sir”
“Your last posting?’
‘Juyo sir”
‘She suffered a major fire last year didn’t she?’
A hesitation.
You can read a lot in a hesitation………
“yes sir”

move on, enough has been said………

The faces flow past.
“Po Okano sir”
‘Been long on board PO?”

“Almost from the beginning sir”
‘and the engines?”
“they are good sir”

Grunt agreement. He is hardly going to tell you they are not is he?

“ PO Hirate sir”
‘long onboard sailor?’
“two days sir”
“Still getting lost then?”
A smile. Good. Honest too. “yes sir”
‘You are not the only one”

The parade takes some time……..
He makes his decision
“Who is the flight commander?”
‘Lt Hidaka sir. They are down in the hanger, awaiting your pleasure”
So – aircraft and ship –two separate identities on Zuiho it seems.
Something he will change piority.
“Dismiss the parade.” Get the men back to work., we must be ready to sail December 6th. Take me to the airmen please gentlemen”


The hanger
Narrow.
Crowded.
But bright.
Glaringly bright.
A new mixture of smells assaults him –strange, new, foreign. No gun oil here, no wiff of cordite. No, new smells. Dope. Aviation fuel. Paint. Grease. Oil.

The planes look new –sparkling even.
Bewildering. How in the hell did they get them all in here……………

Besides each one –crews.
And here –the pilots, the flight crew.

Faces. So many new faces. All young. So young.
A few faces stick
Flight LT Hidaka.
Hard
Yes –he will be hard

Po Nashiguchi.
Amusing to hear one suffers seasickness as a pilot.

Po Ogawa
What had that man done to his boots?

So many

I am too old.
But here I am.
War is coming, and a lifetime on battleships is for naught………
I have much to learn, and learn quickly……………









aprezto -> RE: The little ship that could. (8/29/2010 9:33:47 PM)

Congrats on getting back on the horse again old sparing partner.

Will follow with keeness.




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (8/30/2010 8:26:37 AM)

Hi Wobbly!
I've just finished a CHS against cantona - have a checkers of its AAR - huge and fairly well recieved I think.
Anyway...........




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (8/30/2010 8:52:54 AM)

December 5th
Its been a long and exciting day for many on Zuiho –exciting for a select few –long for everyone else.
The little ship has today received, stowed, and commenced commissioning the final batch of her new outfit of type O fighters, and the newer TBDs.
They are a tight fit, and one plane has already been slightly damaged by some fool mis judging a wing span.
Even now the hanger deck stinks of new paint smell – yellow outlines marking parking positions.
New Torpedo trolleys have arrived, new tool kits, and on the wharf –a mountain of spares –yet to be stowed –along with the tons of items that a ship re commissioning needs to stow.

The lights will burn brightly on Zuiho tonight –word is now definite –the little carrier must be ready for sea by dusk on the 6th.
Rumors fill the ship –and talk , depressingly of war, fills the air.




Flt Lt Hidaka enters the ready room –refuge and final of all scoundrels and skulking pilots attached to “The happy Phoenix”.

He is a short man –stocky – narrow face –a tiny moustache in the popular fashion, and he is on the hunt.
He makes a kill.
PO1 Diagowa is here –as usual – and so is the rest of the team he expected to find.
PO1 Okura, LtJG Kamisaka, and his right hand villain – Kurihama.

The fighter pilot leading the bomber boys astray again………
The four men look up from the papers they are reading – and a battered copy of the navy list.
“Ah, gentlemen – a question? –those charts for PNG –have they been updated yet?
No, he did not think so………..
“By midnight men –no later!”
he turns to go –a million things on his mind –but a sudden thought drags him back.
He points to the battered copy of the Navy list –“what does it say about him?’

Him, of course, can be only one man –that old , old man who so slowly climbed the gangway yesterday.

Okura bends and reads the already open page “Not too good I’m afraid sir. Kiichi Hasegawa joined 1900 –destroyers WW1.
Some time in the states apparently -, aaah –he spent some time on naval Staff, gunnery officer Nagato – Ex on Mutsu – command Tone 1938”

Hidaka nods –“Ah yes –now I know where I heard the name. Tone hit a DD didn’t it?”
Another thought “ can he fly?”
“No”
‘Brilliant!’ scowls Diogawa “just what this scowl of a ship needs – a battleship man”
Hidaka frowns ‘Oh, what does that matter. May work to our advantage even. Let the tail wag the dog and all that”
“oh good. Woof Woof!’
“enough of that, now –charts – and by the gods –I want to hear progress on the new birds by tomorrow!”



He tramps away.
Hidaka is troubled. War is coming –that is so obvious. A new carrier. New pilots. New planes. A new captain. And little time to whip any into shape. What a mess.






1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (8/31/2010 8:03:37 AM)

December 6th

Hiroshima naval base

Basin trial

Po Hirate carefuuly makes his way down the ladder into the dimness below.
It is quiet, and surprisingly cold down here at the moment, the machinery around him currently dead, or indifferent.
Silently he address the two boilers, the masses of auxiliary machinery about him “Ok you bitches –who’s going to give me trouble today?’
The machinery, of course does not answer –he will find out he is sure in his own time.

He takes his position before the two boilers, and takes up the machinery running log. It is clean, virginal at the moment. In time –if they are lucky, these pages will tell a story of their own. But for now, the date, the time will suffice.

Others clatter down the ladder to join him –his two sprayer punchers, his leading seaman water tender, another trainee, wide eyed and plainly apprehensive.
Hirate gives him the first, and most important task.
“5 teas -and don’t come back with out some breakfast!”
He scuttles back up the stairs, Hirate is sure he will work it out……….

The work begins.
Systems to be aligned. Boiler to be topped up. Feed regulators to be stroked. It takes time, but there is plenty available – the rest of the ship sleeps, they will be finished, if all goes well, well before dawn.

The tea, the sweet rolls arrive – ahh, the lad has promise. Breakfast is good , helps the work.

Small electrical pumps, fans whir into life.
Hirate has done this a million times – he gives the pleasure to the newbie. Under careful eyes, the oil soaked rag is lit, allowed to flare, thrust under the ventilation blower .
It remains lit.
Good.
He nods.
The small port in the boiler is opened –the flame thrust in. frantic flapping of boiler flaps –‘Come on you bitch!”
CRRUMMMPTH! –the whoosh – and the universal cry –repeated over all the steam ships that have ever sailed –‘Light under 1A boiler! –got the F#@%^&R”

It will take time –but eventually the pressure guage starts to creep upwards. A man races to the uptakes, closes the steam cocks –and the whistle is killed.
Circulation, good.
Level. Good.
Temperature? –a tickle less fuel, ………….

150 psi
Hirate nods to the two boys – they disappear upstairs –and soon the roar of steam drains opened fills the space.
Another, another.
Then, off –as the whine of the first blower rises slowly to life.
Secure the motor driven, now for the fuel pump.

It’s a bitch -of course – reluctant to begin stroking –but Hirate is irresistible –soon it too is plunging up and down steadily.

All is good.
Feed pumps coming online –the water tender needs no supervision, he is a old hand..
And by dawn, he is done –the stops are open, the steam steadily flowing unseen, silently, next door. So far, so good.

LCDR Minobe climbs the gangway, heavily, and slowly.
A bad night –not yet really finished……………

A large plume of steam –exhaust, is roaring from a relief pipe on the edge of the curved funnel –it curls over the flight deck, dissipates in the early air.
Some bloody flier blocks his path.
“from Hidaka- can you please attend to the steam –he cannot spot all his planes with us getting half cooked”
Minobe growls “half cooked hey?. Tell Hidake that Japanese food is either fully raw, or completely charred –which would he prefer?”
The messager stares at him , and internally Minobe is pleased. Ignorant barsteds.
“tell him I will attend to it as soon as I can”

And with that, Zuiho’s engineer disappears forward to his cabin, closes the door, and crashes onto his bunk.
He is asleep in seconds.



Po Okano, in the other boiler room, does not have it nearly as easy. He forgets a valve, lifts a relief – flames out once, and takes nearly twice as long to “get online”
What he does not know, and cannot see, is that the relief never resets –the source of the plume now totally pissing Hidake off.

It does not appear much, this stream of steam –but every second, another litre of water disappears into the air.
Zuiho’s little engine plant is quietly bleeding to death…………..




Midday
Captain Hasegawa enters the bridge –searching for the executive officer. He has been stodgily wading through the hand over paperwork, and updating the captains ships book –and becoming more and more dismayed as the day goes on. An Ex tanker for heavens sake!
What standards do tankers get built too?
But now there are bigger issues .Far bigger. Sailing orders. War orders in all but name.
The executive officer is there, busy with one of the midshipmen.
‘Progress EX?”
“Progress sir?”
“On the basin trial?”
“Oh –sorry sir, haven’t turned mains yet – not sure why’
Hasegawa spots the lie immediately. Should he challenge it? Or is it something minor that they don’t want me to fret over. After all –this is the first day under power.
Let it pass.
“All officers wardroom- 1300”
“Sir”


And as he departs – he overhears the quiet command –“for gods sake find Minobe –and lets get this done”



1245
Minobe grunts.
The great throttle turns easily, and at his fingertips, power surges through Zuiho’s simple little turbines……………
“Basin trial complete”
There –the bitch goes. No problems. On our arse again in feed water. Never mind..
Fixable.
Happy, but slightly ignorant, he makes his way to the wardroom.




Little Zuiho will be ready to sail by dawn tomorrow.
Her engineering crew, unseen, will work all night repairing the reluctant valve, and all night vapping to make up the lost feed water. She will top her tanks of fuel, of oil, of fresh water..
Final spares will be stowed, decks scrubbed, and the ship secured for sea. There will be no final nights leave thanks to that valve………….
Zuiho rests easily at the pier, a stiff breeze pushing against her side. Around her, japan sleeps, a million lights shining in the dark. Her duty watch will prowl, her gangway crew will pace the decks, and envy the few that do have permission to go ashore.
The night will be peaceful.
And there will be absolutely no indication this night, for what is to come.



(awaiting first turn back! good luck Cantona !)




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/1/2010 6:46:18 AM)

UNCLASSIFIED
Hiroshima naval depot


Dawn
December 7

Captain Kichii Hasegawa paces the claustrophobic bridge of his new command. It cannot be but this –the way the flight deck carries on over his head towards the exposed bow is a little unnerving –especially to one used to walking out to a battleship bridge wing that commandeers the entire sky and ship.

Here –under here –he feels trapped.
“tugs are standing by sir’
“very good” Not that he, Hasegawa would ever use one………..

He paces to the port wing –feels the stiff breeze on his face, paces across the crowded bridge – glances down the starboard side. Zuiho is ready –singled up.
‘Bridge, Engine room – ready to obey telegraphs, 4 boilers online, ship closed up to special duty stations”
“very good”
Now for the test. How will the little girl handle? How will they judge him?. A defining moment this –the first manoeuvres.

He has done this enough times not to be nervous……….
“let go Aft!’
The stern of Zuiho bursts into action, the great cable is drawn aboard.
‘Slow ahead port, slow astern starboard, 20 of starboard wheel down!

He stands, judging, waiting for her fat arse to kick out, the forward cable to strain.
Nothing happens
A glance at the telegraphs –yes, they are right.
A walk to the wing, yes, the foam kicks at the stern –a stern that stubbornly remains against the wharf.
Come on, damn you.
‘half ahead port!, half astern starboard!
Now you cow……..

At last the stern begins to kick out –but the breeze, strong and firm, is pushing his ship up its arse, caught under the damn flight deck.
Its all going wrong……………
With a terrible slowness, the ships stern begins to swing back into the wharf.

Damn, damn. Its getting away from him.
Wheel amidships! Full astern both! –let go forward!”
Desperate actions.
Below, a rumble –and the funnel spew's clouds of heavy, heavy smoke.
But good enough. Zuiho slips slowly backwards down the Warf, her bow agonisingly close to dragging along it –inches to spare.
But inches enough.
Hit –and much in the future may go differently.
But it does not.
By these little things, careers may hang…………….



Midday

Zibo slides south, Japan falling into the haze behind. Excitement ripples through her, around her the great mountains of the main battle fleet steam majestically . Few know their destination –but many will guess.

The news of the war has passed like a giant ripple through the Ship, and this news will take many days to digest yet.
The announcement has been short, and non committal.
“This is the Captain. A state of war has been declared between the Empire of Japan and The Netherlands, great Britain and Australia. The situation in regards to America remains unclear –although fighting has occurred in the Philippines already. I am confident you will do your duty.”
“That is all”


‘that is all”
That is all?
He announces we are going to war –no reason why, no explanation how –and that is all?
You cannot help it. A wave of doubt , is it fear sweeps through you –but you will not show it –as the men about you will not either.
A few grins in the corridors.
And why not?
War is adventure……………….


2pm

Another significant moment in Zuiho’s life.

Po Nashiguchi sits in the cockpit –the little radial bubbling ahead of him.
Visibility is not good over the nose of the type 0 –but he knows her tail will come up soon enough.
The Flight deck officer gives him the nod –‘away you go”!
He waits –trying to judge the gentle dance of the flight deck as it rides the swell.
It begins to plunge down, and now steadies, begins……………..
Throttle full –and the engine growls into life.
Stick forward a tad, tail is coming up –damn, creeping right –left counter rudder, slight skid here, wheels already clearing….deck gone, ocean below, and , beautiful! –he is away!

The zero climbs steadily, actually, she climbs stunningly well, and he joins little Hosho’s stubby CAP, arcing over the delightful blue sea.

All eyes are on him –especially Hidaka’s –so no mucking about! –not today!
The fleet looks impressive –powerful. Ahh, to be Japanese today!.

And the war does not matter, not now, just the flying……….





LCDR Minobe growls
‘Present!’
“Hie!”
PO Hirate raises his arms –stands still
“Arse out you useless heap of S#$t!’
‘Hie!”
The weapon –a plank fully two inches thick, and three wide –is smooth from use…….. and lands on Hirate with force enough to make him stagger. He emits no cry, gritting his teeth
’When I want a smoke screen –I will ask for one! – never do that to me again!’”
“Hie!”

Deep in the bowels of Zuiho –naval discipline, is being maintained.






Quite a crowd watches his return –after all, his is the first type 0 to land on the little deck, but Nashiguchi does it with style.
Such style that he gets to do it it twice in the one day.
Near Dusk Hidaka manages to launch a Kate away – establishing a ASW patrol that will continue -he is sure –for many days yet.

Five of his fighters are ready by dusk, 3 of the bombers. Not an ideal situation to begin a war , but it could be worse.
For a moment he wonders what the big boys are doing – then dismisses the thought –he cannot effect that anyway –so why worry?
No planes damaged. No one killed. No one hurt. Day one.
Good enough.


Captains log
Dec 7

Sailed from Hiroshima
Task force *### formed – steady sailing to objective#####
Commenced CAP operations, bomber training missions.
Exercised guns, damage control

Am satisfied with state of ship – but she handles poorly
Gunnery disappointing in speed/accuracy.
War declared –word of sinking of British battlewagons Repulse/ Prince of Wales
By aircraft (hard to believe –by aircraft!)
The flight crews seem enthusiastic –the new fighter they say –‘is good”
Ship remains low on feed water –water restrictions in place –unpleasant indeed.






Whipple -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/2/2010 12:07:04 AM)

Finally an AAR mostly from a snipes point of view. Well written you knuckle dragger.

Whipple




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/2/2010 9:09:06 AM)

Thank you sir!

(waiting for cantona to get his first turn done)


Zuiho’s first day at sea in this war has been a long one, the last damage control drills completing near 2300.
And although this is war, and many will find it hard to sleep, minds full of what lies ahead, many will go to their hammocks, and try to take rest.

Ships, of course never rest.
Lookouts remain. The bridge continues. The communications remain humming. Guns remain minimally manned.
A great number of men will spend hours simply waiting –crash boat crews, prowling damage control men, many others. War has disrupted many routines through out her length.
But some will not change too much.
The cooks continue, their watches and shifts continue ceasingly – men must eat.
In the Hanger, and in the shops the next deck down, men still sweat over getting all her birds ready – and all night various planes will be brought aloft –and engines run.

For Hirate, the real working day will now begin. He has the middles –that watch cursed by so many of his brethren through out the world. He has spent all day at drills –leading a damage control pump and flood party – training , learning her rather simple pumping arrangements.
An hours snatched sleep, some even quicker snatched food, and now he descends for what he sincerely prays will be a quiet watch.

His arse still throbs –but he gives it no thought –punishment from that barsted he is used to.
No ,his mind is tuned to the work ahead, and his machinery.

Kapong boilers are simple beasts – inject water , heat –take the steam –it’s the ancillaries that make life so hard.
Reciprocating fuel pumps –they are so so –if one does not let the seals dry out on the thrusting rams.
The feed pumps are solid, the blowers too.
It’s the fuel pipes, the flaps, and the feed regulator he hates.
And then, there is the evaporator.
Beast.
Bloody beast of a machine.

But tonight, he will get his wish – Zuiho steams with out a revolution change for the next four hours –allowing many cups of Char, a cooked bun, conversation, and many thoughts of home.
They will be relieved at 0350, and if lucky, it is still 2 hours at least, to dawn action stations…………




aprezto -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/2/2010 9:39:36 PM)

this is excellent stuff Herb. Congrats.




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/3/2010 9:22:21 AM)

Dec 8th

Dawn
Captain Hasegawa stand erect on the port wing, wishing the sun could reach them here under this damn flight deck

It has been a long, long night, and his back already aches indominably.
Various heavy fleet units have joined them overnight –and its been one damn formation change after another.
The task force had now settled down –and with luck a few days of steady steaming lay before them…….
For a moment he stares whistfully at the battleship of his Port bow, and compares the pathetic guns he has to the mighty rifles pointing proudly south besides them.

Leut Hidaka approaches
Damn, what the hell does he want now?
‘Sir, I must request that we cancel the gunnery shoot”
Cancel? –what the hell?
‘Excuse me lieutenant? –cancel?”
“Sir, with respect- I have nearly 20 pilots to deck qualify on the new planes yet…….”

My god –the captain doesn’t really even know what that means. Who have they sent us? Who is this old wreck?

Deck qualify?. No gunnery shoot.? How dare he push for changes in My program so early in the voyage –I’ve barely been here two days and……….

“Sir –I must insist we begin flight deck operations immediately”
There is a hardness to this request –and as tired as Hasegawa is –he notes it. He is also not blind to the sudden hush over the bridge. Whatever this is, it must be, must be very important to this man.
He smiles –gracious under fire. And wary. ‘very well Lieutenant - the ship is yours – for flight deck training. Let me know when it is completed”
It is a wise decision

He will stand, quietly guiding the little carrier as it maneuvers to Hidaka’s requests all day, as they chase the wind, and struggle at time to not stray from the cover of the escorts .
Carrier operations may be foreign to him –but handling a ship –any ship –is deep in his bones.

And for Hidaka on his behalf – there is the silent thanks that he can simply get on with his job
Its a day for gaining mutual respect.........something The japanese are fortunately very good at.


Po Okano has the forenoon and first –the best watch in his opinion. Its what they call the fat watch – you get breakfast, you get the midday meal, and you get the evening meal. And if you want –there is the “midnighters” –meant to be for the Gutz watch –but you know…………..

If Hirate had a quiet watch, his will be the opposite – soon after hand over –the word comes down “ Connect all boilers – commencing flight operations”
It will be a busy four hours – Zuiho will have to steam hard to make wind over the deck on this windless day………..
And on top of that –1 Alpha boiler main stop is already pissing a steady whistle of steam –its going to need work before the week is out for sure. And Repacking it is going to be a barsted.


Unseen above him, as the day brightens into beautiful blueness.

Only PO Diigawa provides any real entertainment for the inevitable crowd of goofers that keenly follow the progess of Zuiho’s little lance.

He gets away Ok on this his qualifying flight –climbing away steadily enough.
Getting back on the other hand…………

Its been a good flight –the maneuverability –the sheer delight of this little fighter –heavens –if he encounters an enemy!
But now its time to return
‘woof woof, young man, lets get the dog home ………..
Gear down, speed set, on circuit, and lets crush the nerves hey.
But the nerves won’t be crushed, they fill him with treacle –stiffening arms, legs, the grip on the stick.
Movements, once so smooth –now abrupt –overcorrecting………..

The little fighter dances, up, down, skids slightly………


On the deck below and ahead – older wiser men exchange glances. They have seen this before………….

Turning in, heavens –the deck! –so small…………….

6 degree decent!
Not bloody seven!
Where are the lights!
There.
Get the green above the red you idiot!
Above them!
Come on –throttle up!

Too low!
Damn!
Abort!
Wave away –the signals Seibiin waves him away!–and damn, damn, damn –He can feel the breath of Hidake on his neck even from here……….

The type O peels away, red balls exposed on the wings.
The group of goofers grows……………as on any carrier anywhere in the world -news of flight deck drama travels faster than any fighter.

Sweat now soaks him, and runs freely over his face.
Now there is more than nerves. There is a touch of fear. Fear of failure. Fear for face.
And fear that this could get very, very bad.
Again, descent…………
This time he gets the green lights nicely above the red, and totally screws up the alignment –he is drifting right, drifting right - kicking in too much rudder, drifting in sideways, left wing down, left wing down, and speed sliding away, sliding away –and

………….
Down –down hard and bouncing and thank the gods! –caught!

He has, as Hidake will not hesitate to tell him “with full vigour” avoided a lethal stall by mere knots and metres………..


Operations report
Zuiho flight groups

At sea
Weather good
No enemy contacts or reports
Flight deck qualifications /ASW patrol
Po Nashiguchi now 3 missions
Po Ogawa 2
Po Doigawa 2
Po Okura 2
LTJG Kurihama 1
LT JG Kamisaka yet to fly

Seven zeros operational
5 kates operational

Consider both flight groups incredibly rusty. Do not consider either group combat ready. But for urgent operational requirements would not recommend this ship for operations for at least three months.
On other hand, flight deck operations very, very good.. Operations in task group need greater co operation from task force Commander –who seems totally aloof to this ships needs.
Karma I suppose.
Lt Hidake



Captains Log
8 Dec

Task force continues to steam steadily south, Zuiho in support of capital ships.
Crew performing well. Air group performing well.
No gunnery practice today.

War news – landings of our troops in Malaya. Reports of air battles over Phillipines. .Strangely quiet start to such a conflict. American Congress apparently in debate over whether to “come in”










bspeer -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/3/2010 3:57:22 PM)

Great stuff, love reading the reports. Thanks!




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/4/2010 1:02:42 AM)

Dec 9th

At sea, location ?
Dusk

(An absolute mystery to most of the crew, but then most have been so damn busy they have had precious little time to consider the question)

Zuiho has settled in-mostly to her routine. In damage Control central the daily de brief is about to take place.
Damage Control central is a surprisingly small compartment almost dead admidships under the hanger deck –it is also not square –but L shaped, on the opposite Bulkhead to it a large gunnery computer (if you could call it that) occupies the next door compartment.

The Damage Control room also doubles as the main Engineering regulating office – its walls are lined with benches, and rows upon rows of Engineering manuals, regulations, log boks –the entire set of Junk , bits and pieces every ship always finds essential to run.

Lining the walls –large diagrams of the ship – and rows of sound powered phones.
China graph pens.
Magazine sprays
Essential keys in the key board
Remote operated valves for critical pieces of kit
A cramped, comforting compartment –always manned, always busy.
Always noisy –2A, boilers Forced draft blowers beat just below

Little Zuihos Engineering department runs thus – at the top – LCDR Minobe –a rare figure –lurking in his cabin –or the passageways –always ready it seems to deal out ‘discipline” with his fists or his plank.
He does not attend these meetings every evening.

Below him –a bevy of Officer Engineers –from snotties to a crusty deputy – for most of the men in this room tonight these figures range from a mystery(just what in the world does that damn deputy do?) to absolute pain in the necks- (that f@#$ing middy almost wrecked the pump today –don’t they know anything!)

They too do not attend these meetings

The meeting, this brief brief ( are you stuck in endless board meetings today my friends –endless meetings where some one sprouts endless crap? – let one of these men run your meeting –and be free again!) is run by THE CHARGE.

THE CHARGE
A wiry little man –a CPO – a man of indeterminate age, of slightly dirty overalls, of the endless frown, of the little tinkering shifter, of the quick smile and encouragement –of the ready answer.
The man who KNOWS ALL – the man who answers all your questions, and takes all the responsibility –the man who loves his machinery –and curses it.
He was probably forged with the ships keel –and its impossible to think of the ship with out him.
God to some young stokers – the very devil to most.

He reports to Minobe –and in a few words every day lets him know the true state of the ship.
When things go wrong, its his job to fix it.
There are various levels of ‘wrong’ for the charge
‘Its F%$#ed’ –fixable in five minutes
‘Its F$#@#ing F&^%$#ed” fixed in a day at the most
And the dreaded –‘its totally fu$#@ed -meaning they can fix it –but don’t plan your wedding yet.
He runs the meeting, listening with practiced ear. Today they tell him that most things are just Fu&^%ed” – a few leaks here and there – that damn 1A main stop is slightly worse –and chemistry in 1B boiler is still ****e

His regulator (king of this rabbit hole) complains about some of todays damage control drills –comms again were crap

The space OIC’s report –little to say today from these four CPO’s –The Charge already knows the state of play himself for the main spaces.
Outsides CPO has little too – some damn fool forgot to order laundry powder enough – they will all stink by the end of this trip………..

Today, most attention is on pumping, the movement of Zuiho’s fuels, water, oils, and most vitally –aviation fuel.
The little carrier has been very busy today –a constant passage of fighters on and off her decks –interspaced with the Kates –and fuel consumption has been heavy. At anywhere between 180 to 240 gallons a go – his pumping party has been very busy indeed.
Concerns about condensation in the fuel dominate discussions –the ship is passing rapidly from cold to hot climes –and The Charges words on the matter will be short –sharp, fruity –and correct.
The meeting concludes –and the Cpo’s disperse, The Charge to conduct one more prowl about the spaces –before the serious work (the next refit) can be re tackled…….)

Later a night orders book will be produced by him – full of notes and comments from the meeting –it will be this that will dominate much of PO’s Okano’s and Hirate’s night.
Okano to locate packing for the stop –hirate to conduct soot blows…










Another meeting is taking place
Po Okura, LTJG Kamisaka and Kurihama are in the ready room –sharing a quiet drink. (totally illegal – but today essential)
They have all today successfully gotten their Kates of the decks (un armed admittably) –and most importantly –gotten them down again.
It is –and we must emphasize this –on little Zuihos tiny deck –a very significant achievement

Now, they can relax –flight suits loose, and come down from the high of this achievement
‘Almost makes one wish for China again” reflects Kurihama
‘But you tell us” notes Kamisaka ‘endlessly I may note –how you hated the place”
‘I hated the flies, the dust, and the damn Chinese -but there one did not have to worry about the strip being so bloody small!’

‘What was China like?” Okura asks, quietly. He has not shared the drink –in fact –does he drink? – a quiet man, new, and green to the ship
“Kurihama does not think at all, the answer emphatic ‘Bloody good. Get up, fly, bomb the Chinese –Shanghia mostly- land –drink, whore on, repeat. Bloody good”
“And now?”

And now?
What sort of question is that? – Strange man this Okura. But hang on –a good question. Less flying – up until today, cramped quarters –but now a chance for real action, to impale a fish into some Britishers fat belly………

“Too early to say my friend – lets see how it pans out ney?”
‘One thing” observes Kamisaka as he finishes his drink –carefully cleans the cup “ it’s a more dangerous world for us now – impaling a fish is going to be considerably more difficult than bombing helpless Chines grunts…………….”


Captains Log
Dec 9

At sea in formation
Continued deck operations/qualifications.
Ship performing well
Destination still unknown to me.

War news: Khota bahru reported taken
No word on American response to air battles over Phillipines
Naval action reported south of Hong Kong
1st SS report today –attacked.
Killed our first whale I suspect


Operations report
Completed qualifications
Dis satisfied with aircraft availability –8/12, and 7/12
Ordered TBD to stand down ready for naval strikes





Whipple -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/4/2010 9:09:16 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi
A wiry little man –a CPO – a man of indeterminate age, of slightly dirty overalls, of the endless frown, of the little tinkering shifter, of the quick smile and encouragement –of the ready answer.
The man who KNOWS ALL – the man who answers all your questions, and takes all the responsibility –the man who loves his machinery –and curses it.
He was probably forged with the ships keel –and its impossible to think of the ship with out him.
God to some young stokers – the very devil to most.


Nice description of a CPO. Could have only been written by a squid.

quote:

He reports to Minobe –and in a few words every day lets him know the true state of the ship.
When things go wrong, its his job to fix it.
There are various levels of ‘wrong’ for the charge
‘Its F%$#ed’ –fixable in five minutes
‘Its F$#@#ing F&^%$#ed” fixed in a day at the most
And the dreaded –‘its totally fu$#@ed -meaning they can fix it –but don’t plan your wedding yet.


I love it. Had me laughing from the memories! In fact I"m still giggling over it. Amazing how a combination of repetative similiar sounds can convey so much meaning. I miss it so now that I'm in the civilian world again. God to have a conversation like that with one of my co-workers again! *Sigh* It's not gonna happen.

Whipple




vettim89 -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/4/2010 3:19:51 PM)

Herb,

Love the format of your AAR. Also, from the level of detail here I am guessing you have spent some time below decks. For all I know you could be making it all up but it sure rings true

(If this is based on your true knowledge of naval boilers, I am going to wager a guess. Your profile does not say your nationality but I am going to guess USN. IF so that puts you aboard either a Belknap class CG (my first choice) or one of the pre-nuclear CV's - I'll guess USS Midway. Am I close at all?)




bbbf -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/5/2010 7:05:04 AM)

Vettim,

I'll let Herbie tell you more, but I think the ships he served on were a tad smaller....




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/5/2010 11:15:00 AM)

I think I will let you guys keep guessing for a while………..[8D]


Dec 10th

Satisfied that his air group is qualified for deck operations, Lt Hidaka reverts to standard doctrine – the kates now cease flying, and are made ready as possible for any potential naval strikes
Little Hosho –gamely hanging in there with this task group, takes the weight today –her Claudes and Mk 1 mabels taking the load.

No other ships are sighted at all this day –and the formation plows steadily towards its objective over beautiful mirror calm seas.
The work below continues never the less. 1a main stop remains simpleF%^&^%ed –getting no worse, or no better –hissing merrily away to itself, at the moment a mere nuisance to the men who must operate it.

LCDR Minobe makes a rare appearance on the bridge –and gets permission to undertake todays essential task.

No easy permission to gain this –floating safety valves requires long periods of very steady steaming – and for a carrier –this normally precludes flying operations.
So for once –the planets align –Hidake, and Minobe get what they want.

For Po Okano –its an interesting exercise –both seeing how its done –and watching the charge -who he barely knows yet –at work.

All four boilers are online –the process is simple.
Climb to the top of the boiler –and “gag” the safety valves –all except one. Gagging (not that thing that you shove in her mouth when she just gets too loud –as LTJG Kurihama would automatically think) is a simple clamp you screw into place.
Raise the boiler pressure –note the pressure the un gagged valve erupts at and reseats at –and viola!.
Done

If of course it goes of at the right setting, resets at the same………….
Its hot, bloody f iing hot work, and Okano and the Charge will be sleek with sweat by works end.
Three months ago Okano was working in a small factory –his reserve time a happy memory – today he is brutally reminded what , who he works for.
Two bravo boiler becomes -in the charges wonderful color –‘a real ****!” –one safety bluntly refusing to set.
A string of curses flow –and at one stage a very untechnical skill is tried –hitting the bloody thing with a hammer.
But they don’t give up.
Pressure –from above, begins to flow down from the bridge. When, pray tell –would he be finished?








Captain Hasegawa considers the flashing light from the grey battlewagon

“ Suspected SS sighting 30 miles dead ahead. Can you spare a patrol?”
“get me Hidaka please”
A patrol – 30 miles –and as far as he knew – nothing ready below. How long did it take to get a bird into the air?”

Hidaka arrives – considers the message but a moment.. “I need an hour to bomb up –warm up, get one away –and in this state”- he points at the windless sea about them’ we are going to have to push the girl hard”

As if to remind them –all conversation is momentarily drowned out as yet again the white plume of escaping steam shrieks out from her funnel –curling up and over her flight deck. “How long does Minobe need?”……………..




In the end, no flights are launched. Zuiho continues to drill, continues to steam south, and the sun settles into the ocean, a horizon emblazoned in red.
And from the battleship ‘new course @#$%$# -task group to battle speed one”


Captains LOG
DEC 10
Calm seas.
Nil flight ops
Ship still performing well.
Increased speed to 26 knots at dusk to approach first objective.
War reports –USA declares war on Empire –damn cheek –did we attack them? –NO!, but they war on us!
Landings Aparri, fighting in Hong Kong. Combined Fleet where abouts unknown


Operations report
Nil flights today.
Nil contacts
Totally unsatisfied with availability numbers -especially of the new type 0 –our deck crews are struggling with them I fear.

From the LOG of the Charge
A good day to begin
Set safeties –2 b a barsted
Conducted Engineering caso’s Engine rooms –loss of vacuum’s
Amazingly mostly defect free!
Quietest war I have ever heard of.
Company moral good so far!



New course –battle speed one.

Po Hirate in his boiler room easily has the boys insert the extra burners, wrings a few turns out of his Forced draft blower throttles –tweeks the fuel.
Lights a smoke
Leans back, watches the feed. Pressure barely twitching as the throttles begin to drive them faster.

The engine room, as the telegraphs, the repeaters clang –is a tad busier.
On the second Lube oil pump!
On the main circ pump
You! –the second condensate!
And bring on the second ejector.
Vacuum good –pressure is rising, , swinging on the great wheels –and the turbine hum gets busy…………..


And many decks above – in the ready room, the game of cards pauses –for all pilots know that high speed on a carrier can mean……………..

But the tanoy remains silent
“What do you think is up?”LTJG Kurihama wonders – wondering if the other Ace is where he thinks it is –it would be good to be called at this moment…………
“More Subs I think?” Kamisaka guesses. See you…………….”
“damn”



Little zuiho plows on. Its 3 am, and in the red glow of his tiny cabin, Captain Hasegawa( kiichi ) sleeps. His room is bare of most things you would usually find, he is deeply dry, conservative man –not prone to ostentation.
A single picture decorates the room –a family portrait, his wife, his two teenage daughters – all, well, all quite beautiful.
He sleeps well tonight – three days down –and although he still really does not know his ship yet –he no longer hates it.
And that, for him, is no small step.



PS Hi BBF! –go swaniees (that’s why no turn tonight –sorry!)






bbbf -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/5/2010 11:23:22 AM)

No worries mate - you must have been awfully worried!




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/6/2010 11:13:23 AM)

Dec 11th

(The Charges birthday –not that that will make any difference to his day)

Captain Hasegawa stares anxiously ahead – getting into this tight anchorage has already been a nightmare –now, in the gathering dusk, he tries desperately to sight the bouy he has been assigned to – here he must anchor.

His navigator points it out –a lone little thing, bobbing merrily in the chop.
Ah good.
“port ten, slow ahead both”


Shes not coming around.
Heavens –this bloody ship is a pig!

“Port 20! –half astern Port!”

better

‘Admidships”

better –coming up nicely.
“Stop both”
“Half astern both”
And again, for captain Hasegawa –a harsh lesson –Zuiho has the stopping power of runa away elephant on a down ward slope –ie absolutely none at all. The little bouy disappears -still bobbing merrily down her port side, the anchor party –the jumper dismayed at its progress away from the them………..

On the bridge –stoney silence –and this is more than enough – The Captain now is under judgment –unfamiliar or not –this is his second stuff up……………

It takes a further 20 minutes to secure to the bouy –to finish with the main engines.
Almost immediately a fuelling barge arrives, black hoses snake across –and now the deputy engineer will earn his keep – its his job to supervise this critical task.

This anchorage is crowded – troop ships –rails packed with goofing soldiers –ride heavily –the future invasion ships Zuiho almost certainly will be escorting.
Small ships boats will traverse the harbour all night, bearing all the Captains to the Commanding battleship –the briefings will continue for many hours.

Hasegawa, Hidaka will attend –the flagship may well have been aloof so far, but they leave this briefing confident in the plan presented.
The Americans have at least 2 task groups in this area – The plan will deal with them…………….






Minobe stares at his cabin door.
The bottle in his hand is half empty –yet he feels nothing. Once again, who ever is on the other side of the locked door gently knocks. He knows that knock – “go away charge’ he thinks ‘ I really cannot face you taday”
His cabin is dark –the port hole bolted shut, the light of. Dark. Like his mind.
He cannot help it –once again, that night comes into his mind.
Swiftly he drinks from the bottle –desperate to drown that thought, to wash that memory, the blood, away……………..



Charges do not fuel. In fact –they don’t give a fig for it - is it clean? –is it clear? –do we have enough?
That’s all.
Oil? –oh yes –that he thinks about, frets over –for oil is life.
He has had a cruddy day –one of his fool stokers has walked straight into a piece of projecting machinery –and re arranged his nose all over his face –so some one will have to be moved to cover for him.

Some other fool has “it just broke in my hand Chief” – over tightened a gland follower on the main feed tank gauge glass –and broken the glass of course. And of course there is no spare onboard……..
All this before lunch –and the day only half done………..



PO1 Ogawa paces the flight deck –counting each pace. It really is so short –so narrow.
Deep in his belly, the nerves jangle. So many ships –so many carriers. Action must soon be pending –must be.
And he is very, very afraid.
Afraid to show his fear, to be seen afraid
Afraid to let his comrades down, this ship down, the Empire down.
Afraid.
If he walks –just walks –it is easier.
But the knot remains in his belly..












Captains LOG

Arrived #$%^& -rendezvous with main first fleet units
Very poor anchorage –and ship responds poorly to helm and engine orders.
Am dissatisfied with reaction to my engine orders, and have ordered a Captains investigation.
Task force to sail in escort invasion fleet –objective $%^&^
Am confident we will engage enemy in next two to three days.
Ship is ready for action.

war news today - landings kavieg, brunie - advances reported in malaya.
Enemy bombers bombed takao!!!!


Operations report

Nil flights today
Naval strike spotted and armed on deck in anticipation of action in next two days –weather is good, and I will risk a/c exposure to elements.
Availability nearing 100% at last.

From Charges diary

Ship fuelled –the deputy gets that right at least!
Today – Gyro failure, and a smell of rotten egg gas down in the bosuns store .
1A main feed pump packing failure –bloody cloth finger stokers!
Following defects –main feed tank guage glass-BAKA! –main circ pump governor, LO pump governor, a few small leaks
My sense of humour………….





1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/7/2010 9:36:05 AM)


Dec 12

Po Hirate is in that happy daze, the one that comes around three Am in the morning –the machinery is humming, the boiler pressure is just right…….

The tremendous clang of a close -frightingly close underwater explosion has the adrenalin dumpimg into him..
Still alive!
Zuiho has not been hit –yet!
Even as the carriers claxon calls the ship to action stations , he is busy –directing his two pale burner men to their places –inserting the extra burner.
Above them, the clang, the thud, the doom of the heavy water tight door slamming tightly into place.
Now, now you can only pray……………


It is the task groups first action –conducted under a bright moon, on a shiny sea.
On the Fuso, some seaman has done very, very well indeed – keen eyes shouting a warning in plenty of time.
Three destroyers will counter attack – with out apparent success.

As dawn springs –Zuiho gains speed.
They have been spotted now – now war must come.




To
CVL Zuiho
From task force Commander

‘many enemy ships spotted due west – south by south west of Jolo island.
“Attack”

war news today
Tulgia, Shortlands, Jolo, Guam, Kavieg, Hollandia occupied today

Operatiopns LOG
Nil flights today – at immediate notice for offensive action.

Charges diary

Good day. All space I/C’s submitted refit lists. Feed pump repaired. Gauage glass repaired – thanks to Hosho.
Ship ordered to be checked again clear and ready for action.
I was not happy…………




Two seamen Stokers stand rigidly at attention.
Their space –the forward emergency diesel room,, rattles and clanks as the ship rises and falls over the swells.

“So, is the room secure Juni?”
“Hie!”
‘Are you sure?”
Hie! –but there is doubt now.
Charges, the CPO, do this you know –one look –and you doubt…………….
Terror stalks the room.
“let us see then”

Swift, careful, penetrating eyes sweep the room. Check the lashings, the hatch, the fire hose.
There are no loose objectives, no pumping hazards.
“very good men, very good”
terror departs

Our two stokers breath again
The Charge may , or may not know them very well. It is better that he does not.
Only the ones who are truly in trouble does he really know this far down the ranks…….






1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/8/2010 9:03:57 AM)

Dec 13
Dawn

Hasegawa cannot believe it. 6 hours old! How in the hell can a naval battle take place only 300 miles away – and it take six hours to get the news to them!
Damnation!
“Get Hidaka here ASAP!’ the order barks.
Action, action is beckoning Suddenly he does not feel quite so old after all…….

His Flight Commander arrives in quick time, breathless –and obviously excited.
“Have you heard LT?”
“Only sketchy details sir –a naval engagement near Jolo island”
“Yes” – Chokia has a few holes punched in her apparently. Enemy ships identified as Boise and Houston.”
He hands the signal to his airman –who immediately frowns. “This is 6 hours old sir –they could be anywhere!’
“But, if we sight them –can we deal with them?”
Hidaka grins. “Sir –anything to give me a chance to show you that this is how warfare will be fought!’
‘Hmmmmph” We shall see young man, we shall see”

And then, on the horizon – the dull thud of naval guns.
“message from Myoko sir! –am engaging enemy cruisers!”
Hasegawa turns to his swordsman, but he is already gone –eager to get the birds away….



1000 hrs

Po Okura sits ready. Ahead of him his engine rumbles, the propeller a blur. It is time.
A last look around the cockpit, over the instruments, and now the hand settles onto the throttle, and fingers flex one last time around the stick.
He can almost feel the weight of the fish nestled under his belly, and this deck is so short………
Kurihara clears the deck –dipping down, down out of sight, and then agonizingly slowly, coming up again.
Throttle eases forward, forward, now on the stop –and the rumble is now a bellow, a gigantic vibrating bellowing beast that shakes your teeth, defeats the world………
He barely hears it –every fibre of being concentrating on that final foot of deck.

She is rolling now, rolling, slowly, slowly, swallowing the distance –and the tail only now comes up –a bit of slip, no problems, she flies clear, brilliant blue, dolphins!, and naow the gentle, gentle task of coaxing her into the air, and now we are rolling OK –now she is flying , the speed coming up, coming up –gear s up –good, and we climb now men, climb, and follow Kurihara into a sweeping, gentle bank, and now, 5000 feet.

And breathe again

It all happens quickly, the formation –just 6 strong , wheels to the west –towards the two columns of fire, and Kamisaka fills the air with curses.

The Boise is already going down, pummeled into a horror of flame and destruction, and even as they approach, two great columns rise against Houstons side –Ryujo’s kates have gotten in first.

But both ships have fought well – at least one of Empires cruisers burns too …………

They circle –watching in silence the final plunges, the spreading slicks, the small shapes bobbing in the water. A destroyer already moves in, survivors will be picked up it seems…………
The radio crackles again
‘Kurihara here. Enemy ships 40 miles due north. We are to attack”
Attack.
He wears the uniform
He has been trained
He will do his duty………

They descend to 1000 feet –swaying, bobbing in the warm air, spreading into finger threes, standard attack…….
The target looms –a great fat British tanker –and she is helpless against them.
300 feet, water passing swiftly below, looming in the sight, coming on, coming on –and the hand savagely pulls the lever –and his bird leaps free……..

images –images –a superstructure –a white man, in a white coat –fist shaking at him –and now the blue , blue sky –and a cry “A hit!’ from behind him……….as if they could miss from here against that!

And now they circle – and there is flak –tiny little puffs – so few –and Kamisaka has shown him what he always suspected –he will go in to the very last moment..
The small PC –the source of the flack –is no more now than a patch of oily disturbed water…………

Barely 30 minutes after take off, and he makes the catch, slamming again into his straps.
The engine returns to an idle, and they slam the canopies back. Okura’s mechanics gather around –and all grin as he nods in the affirmative. His fish has struck……….

Hidaka comes over –offers his hand “Well done. We are no longer virgins it seems. But the war calls still. Lets get the birds below again before …………….

Too the south –again the crack of guns. This time to draws attention.
From the south –the first attack comes………..






Again Hasegawa curses the poor view from this excuse of a bridge. This is no damn place to maneuver a ship in battle!
For the next ten minutes he will race from one side to the other –hoping to gain a sighting on the attackers, attempting to understand the stream of reports from the lookouts.
It will be –to be blunt –a crap fight.
Only 4 hudsons attack –and mercifully none pay them any attention, going for transports to the rear – Hosho’s fighters downing two – and it is a good thing.
In these ten minutes, Zuiho finds out much about herself.
Attack she can do –and do well.
Defence, on the other hand……….








Captains LOG
Dec 13
Covering central thrust invasions
Naval battle to our north- escorting cruisers sink two allied cruisers –some damage to ourselves.
Task force air attacked –nil damage, two enemy shot down
Our airgroup sank 1 tanker, one pc today
Our air defence is terrible –we must come up with some better way to do this!
We will continue to cover invasion fleet


Operations LOG
6 Kate sorties flew
1 kate damaged slightly
1 Tanker sunk –2 hits scored – PO Okura, LTJG Kurihara
1 PC sunk – LTJG Kamisaka

From Diary of Charge
Action stations for most of the day
Department running well .
Comms continue to be a problem between repair bases/parties.











1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/9/2010 10:19:32 AM)

Dec 14th

In peace time, it’s a routine operation
But this is war –and Zuiho is deep in enemy territory –twice already today martin bombers have probed the task force perimeter –and although her aircraft remain on deck, tension is very high through out the ship.
To the north, manando is being invaded, to the south, troops land on ternate.
Zuiho marks her piece of ocean at a steady rate –her plant at instant readiness.

But now, a tense discussion is taking place in the Double bottoms bin.
Boilers operate on pure, pure water – salt, any salinity is an enemy more deadly than anything short of shell or shot –it eats at the tubes, it forms scale, it can cause sudden, catastrophic losses of water level – or worse, cause complete tube failure.
Three times a day on Zuiho the Charge has his small team of double bottom sailors sample and test the waters chemistry –now, after two days of hard steaming, chloride is climbing too high.

He has to do a “blow down”
Another simple process – raise the water level artificially –then release through valves a lot of it out the bottom of the ship –replacing the contents with new, claen water, dropping the salinity to safer levels.

In peace time –a routine operation..
In war –major problems.
You raise the level –hold for 5 minutes –and blow –wait, repeat.

NO Maneuvering allowed.
Tell that to a CVL skipper in a hostile sea –with a deck full of aircraft waiting to launch.
You blow a huge , roaring blast out through the bottom of the ship – simply screaming your position to every submarine in the area.
Tell that to a skipper in confined waters, crawling with those hidden killers………….

So the charge views the results. Licks his lips, considers.
“We have to wait, “test every hour”
He will have to find LCDR Minobe –let that barsted tell the captain the happy news..



PO Nashiguchi paces the ready room, his suit stained with sweat.
The ready room is today humid hell – all day they have waited either here, cooking, or on the flight deck –baking-waiting for the word to board their zero’s.
It has not come. Dusk falls, and he could easily ………..heavens –something, anything to relieve the tension!
When will he see combat?
When will he get to prove himself?

And then the Tanoy crackles into life



“Captain speaking”
A silence as the crew gathers, in passageways, in small store rooms, in the busy hangers, around the pointing guns.
‘I have received a message from Yamamoto –commander Combined fleet.
It reads

Have engaged enemy task force in Tarawa area.
Following enemy ships confirmed sunk
CV Enterprise
CV Lexington
CA Salt lake city
CA Chester
CA Chicago
CA Astoria
CA Northhampton
CA Portland
CA Penescola

Our losses, 10 a/c
That is all”

And even as the ship bursts into an excited roar – the news for Nashiguchi just makes it worse.


Captains LOG

Supporting landing operations
Light opposition
Ship still performing well

Operations LOG
Nil flights, at immediate notice

Charges diary

Concern over 1 A boiler chemistry –no word from the Engineer. Might be able to kill two birds one stone here – main stop is now getting worse.
No major defects reported today!





1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/10/2010 3:58:04 AM)

15 December

Ogawa peers intently through the canopy – rain beeding and beating down against it.
Around him the skies are grey, clouded, and again and again the ocean below disappears into the murk.
In short –flying conditions are terrible.
Again his head swivels –searching, searching, hand resting easily on the stick, other comfortably on his thigh.
He takes the fighter into a gentle turn port, somewhere below, the invasion fleet lies anchored.
The world vanishes again into grey soup – momentarily, and the fighter emerges into a gap –grey skies above –rippled waters below –clouds ahead, all around
And three bombers in neat vee vanishing below under the clouds………

There is no hesitation, the stick is slammed hard over , the world inverting as he dives down, pulling her upright again now –diving steep –and the buggars vanish into the cloud ahead, and he dives in –rain beating again heavily against him….

Another gap- and the Hudson is there! –right there only 50 yarrds away, and he rolls into her in one swift movement, cutting across and behind and down her tail –and the cannons, everything happening on automatic now –crash , thump, thump, thump, -deliberate, decisive..
And the cloud swallows him up –but not before that last vital image –port wing separating, fire flaring…………..

He swings her hard left –dancing on wingtip –and emerges again –now in bright sunshine –and the next Hudson is there too – and he slashes in from the side – fighter, bomber almost colliding, metal filling the air –and now he is coming hard around, curling over inverted –Heavens what this plane can do! –grunting with the effort –and diving on the third bomber even as the second impacts into the sea…..

Cannons hiss empty – but it doesn’t matter –tracer reaches out, and smashes the cockpit into a red spray ruin

And the sky is empty –but for the damn rain



Surprisingly, little Zuiho sits in the sun – an island in a sea of bad weather –creasing the ocean with a pretty wake.
Ogawa turns in, circuits, and lands with out fuss.
He is a short man really – and already his crew have nicknamed him bulldog.
They gather around, begin the task of refuelling, re arming –the little deck clear today –the kates below
His crew chief reaches in –eyebrow cocked enquiringly.
“Three –Hudsons”
Smiles, and grins. Zuiho’s first fighter skills belong to them!
“Woof Woof!’ Ogawa laughs –with out pretension –but with much humour, the new killer climbs down, and goes hunting for some lunch.





1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/12/2010 3:28:08 AM)

Dec 16
Once again the crash of depth charges hammers against Zuiho’s hull.
Once again the men below can do little except glance at each other, grit teeth, and continue on.

And continue on…………..
While on the upper decks , and in the wardroom, men celebrate the recent successes, life continues below.
Boiler Chloride levels continue to climb, and climb….

“Sir, we must conduct blows” The Charge is almost pleading now –face glistening with sweat.
LCDR Minobe grimaces equally in return. ‘At the moment –you must know that they” he savagely points a finger forward towards the bridge area “ won’t countenance it –flying ops continue”
“Oh crap to that –they are all sitting on their arse right now – go and have a look”
‘I know that Charge…………..look, what is the level now?
‘Too bloody high –sir –there will be pitifully little flight ops if we blow a boiler tube!’
“calm down Charge – I will do my best”

“Bottom blows?”
“yes sir”
Hasegawa considers the sea –the quiet flight deck. He looks at the figure again. Damn high –why has Minobe waited so long?
“I see no problem with this Engines –get it done as quick as you can please”

Just like that.

The task group marches across the ocean, skies again clear today –the flight deck a desert –hot, baking.
The war seems far away –as far away as the ever present thunder heads on the hazy horizon
Over there –just behind view –the troops are going in, first objectives in 16th Armies planned advance.
On schedule.



From the Captains LOG
Continue to cover invasion forces. Multiple SS contacts today –but nil flight ops.
First phase operations nearly complete

Operations log
We have had a quiet day. Spent time in serious discussion with command over torpedo situation, although not yet crippling, I consider it essential before next planned operations that we have full magazines.
Am not yet sure if Palua is capable of re stocking us!
Congratulated PO1 Ogawa on his recent kills.
May there be many more

From the diary of the Charge

Cruddy, crappy, God awful day!
Although blows conducted –am afraid we were over safe limits vis a vis Chloride for nearly 6 hours today.
Developed defects main circ pump governor , L/O pump Governor Port ME, that damn 150 reducer is hunting again, and a pin hole leak has developed in the dosing tank –again!
Feedwater, freshwater expenditure today exceeded production –have once again initiated water waster patrols……………..



(if any knuckle draggers are rading this - I wonder if you can see whats coming............not sure how to replicate this in the game yet!)




Whipple -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/12/2010 12:05:11 PM)

quote:

(if any knuckle draggers are rading this - I wonder if you can see whats coming............not sure how to replicate this in the game yet!)

The casualty possibilities are numerous (and fun to generate as any drill team member can tell you)

- ME LLO causing a SnL
- Low Vac in the MC caused by LO SW press
- Loss of 150# steam caused by the reducer
- DFT steam blanket loss

Just to name a few.

Then there are the cascade casualties you can initiate with these issues that would be just plum evil for those poor snipes. Can't wait to see when and how you initiate them. [sm=00000622.gif][sm=00000613.gif][sm=00000612.gif]

Whipple




Local Yokel -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 3:38:39 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Whipple

quote:

(if any knuckle draggers are rading this - I wonder if you can see whats coming............not sure how to replicate this in the game yet!)

The casualty possibilities are numerous (and fun to generate as any drill team member can tell you)

- ME LLO causing a SnL
- Low Vac in the MC caused by LO SW press
- Loss of 150# steam caused by the reducer
- DFT steam blanket loss

Just to name a few.

Then there are the cascade casualties you can initiate with these issues that would be just plum evil for those poor snipes. Can't wait to see when and how you initiate them. [sm=00000622.gif][sm=00000613.gif][sm=00000612.gif]

Whipple


Most of this looked like double dutch to me at first (and some still does!) What's 'SnL'? Shaft non-lubrication? Seizure of something?

Potential loss of 150 psi steam sounds like particularly bad news if that's what's powering your auxiliaries e.g. oil and circ. pumps. And repeated pinholing of the dosing tank suggests there's something very active and nasty at work there.

Actually, I think what's coming as part of the fallout is a posting of Lt Cdr Minobe to the vital task of supervising the boilerhouse on Paramushiro. Whatever happened in the fire on Junyo must have been traumatic for him, but clearly he's not currently fit to run a carrier's engineering department. I'll bet Junyo's skipper was only too happy to recommend him for Zuiho when the request for drafts came through.

I think I'll stick to firetube boilers. Simple and straightforward. Worst case: if you see me running try to keep up. [X(]




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 8:58:25 AM)

Hi Yokel!
Thanks for the comments

The Minobe story will unfold over time i am sure (unless Zuiho gets sunk first!!!)
Oh -and we will turn you guys into stokers yet!


17 December

Sorry Cantona -, can you exit please –too many secrets about to be given away!








Zuiho enters the small lagoon area that masquerades as a port facility, comes to a gentle stop at its designated boy –(Captain Hasegawa may finally be getting the hang of just how little stopping power she actually has).
Soon, as the ship falls out from defence watches – they begin to line her guard rails, and the flight decks –agog at the chaos around them..

Other than the Combined fleet units, the great bulk of First fleet is trying to squeeze into the anchorage with them.
Two classes of ships dominate the area -6 great battlewagons, and a vast number of transports –still stately and aloof despite the hastily slapped on grey paint.
Zuiho may have anchored, but if anything the work is ramping up.

Nashiguchi, Ogawa and Diogawa, our three zero pilots lean on a guard rail on the Stbd side, one level below the flight deck –the ready room is behind them.
“So now we know whats up” notes Nashiguchi ‘so many troop ships………”
“Ahhhhhh, the young man recovers somewhat” laughs Ogawa “you emerge at last”
Nashiguchi is a good pilot –it appears - but the last 6 hours of increasing swell have shown he has no sea legs at all .
“Give it over Ogawa – the only reason you don’t get sick is your arse is so close to the deck –no lofty frame like mine to sway about”

(Ogawa is only 5 ft 5, Nashiguchi 5 ft 6 )

“So what do you think is being planned?” Diogawa wonders aloud –‘So many troop ships, so many battle ships”
‘An invasion of something big I suspect –some one told me that we have 4 divisions here”
Ogawa laughs “I wish I could meet the “someone one day –they always seem remarkably well informed!”
“Whatever”, replies Diogawa –“we will be busy I suspect –anyone know where our esteemed leader is?”
“Hunting for torpedoes I suspect”
PO Diogawa surveys the packed anchorage –and a seasoned eye compares it to the less than impressive Port facilities “personally, I think he will be s#$t out of luck”


Captain Hasegawa climbs Mutsu’s gangway, not with out some conflicting emotions
This should have been his new Command. This should have been his career pinnacle.
Ahh, karma.
Damn it.
He keeps a neutral face as he is lead to the wardroom – totally unneeded of course, but he notes carefully many things –as XO he left this ship immaculate –now his eagle eyes can see that the last few years may have not been so kind to her.
But then again, stripped bare of anything that can burn –any comforting contrast to hard steel cannot help her look he supposes.

The wardroom is packed –and he notes immediately the large numbers of Army Officers here as well.
At one end –large maps, diagrams, piles of orders, everything that such a massive operation will demand.
The room falls silent
The Admiral speaks “ Gentlemen. First fleet, in conjunction with Southern Army command, has been charged with seizing the following objectives (Smack goes the pointer onto the map) . This objective in particular. (Smack!) . Today –how we will go about it……”

Two hours later, Hasegawa emerges into the baking heat of the day. Two things clear to him. “All, or nothing” And little Zuiho would be smack in the middle of it.


Lt Hidaka grinds his teeth –again.
Before him stands the immovable object –a First Fleet supply officer.
It also appears that not only is he the immovable object –he is also the un solvable problem
“Lt –the facts are this. You need, demand Torpedos. I don’t have any”
‘But you are First fleet HQ for heavens sake!”
‘No –first fleet HQ resides out there –on one of those transports. If it has any torpedos with it –they are out there too”
Hell.
Hell in a hand basket.
How in the hell do I operate as a strike group with just ten fish left?
‘And how long before First Fleet gets ashore?’

The immovable object shrugs its shoulders –then shows a bit of Humanity “ Its FUBAR my friend. 40 transports all trying to unload, then re load into amphib assault mode, all at once –at this little piss hole. Your guess is as good as mine……….”


Below decks, the happy phoenix, is not so happy.
Three boilers have been shut down, and she steams auxiliary. In the Port Boiler room 1A boiler is “being killed” – the pressure being removed from it as quickly as possible – steam now plumes out her stack, as soon as humanly possible men will be attacking the main stop , re packing it again
Other men work rapidly on still hot machinery in all the spaces –repacking minor leaks here – welding there – dismantling, rebuilding, adjusting there.
The 150 reducer comes out –it will need to be rebuilt – for the rest of the crew this means no hot water today –for the galley –no hot food.
Critically –for as long as it is out –there will be no gland steam available for the Starboard main engine –meaning no vacuum, meaning no engine at all.
The Charge watches this work with a critical eye – the leading seamen however, he knows will do this job in good order.
The ship fuels, the ship remains alive.
During the night, a spiral will blow, and the ship will have to swing boilers, shut down the leaking boiler- and attempt to kill it too.
LCDR Minobe will know of this defect –know that for at least another twelve hours, Zuiho will not be able to exceed 18 knots –too few to fly.
He also knows that Hidaka waits for torps. Twelve hours -more then enough time…….

Captains LOG
At Anchor Palua
Fuelled -600 tons
At 12 hours notice, awaiting delivery (or not) of new torpedos. Command briefings for future offensive operations on Mutsu.
Majority of First fleet here.

War news
Advance in Malaya – Georgetown taken
Slow advance in Phillipines – enemy B17 bombers have twice hit Takao now
Ambon invasion underway.
Naval engagement near Shortlands –enemy AMC sunk


Operations LOG
Air groups stowed below – availability 90%
Attempts to obtain new weapons futile -we may have to sail with only ten fish –unsatisfactory in the extreme.
First Fleet unable to unload torps here at this time –although I remain in hope!


From Diary of the Charge

Oh the joys of auxiliary steaming!
Forced swing 2A to 2B –blown spiral steam drum vent valve
Work on 1A main stop overnight.
Majority of defects rectified overnight.
Fuelled.
And of course –was abused by everybody in the mess –where is the hot water!
grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr







1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 8:59:39 AM)

18 December
Steady tropical rain pounds down on the anchorage
It turns the surface of the sea into soup, churning it into billions of tiny little ripples. It pours of the ships in streams, running of scuppers, water falling of decks.
It brings welcome coolness (but not much) to the ships, and hides the anchorage nicely from anything that prowl above –or –as yesterdays sinking of a AP showed –anything that prowls unwanted outside.
It also brings Chaos

The 33rd, the 21st, the 4th, and soon, the 38th Division are gathering here –all loaded nicely for further deployments.
That is:
All uselessly loaded for combat unloading –for what is now assumed will be an opposed landing.
The troops must be landed, and the combat stores as well –and then, all carefully reloaded again.

The rain, of course, spells chaos to anything cardboard, anything not waterproof, to any hold open to the weather………..
Japanese Soldiers, sailors, even airmen are known for being stoic under any circumstance –they live confident that nothing the enemy throws at them will disturb their moral. This, this chaos, however, goes against everything they live for…….

As the rain continues to fall, as barges get lost, as cargos get drowned, as communications foul up –LT Hidake has to admit defeat –First Fleet, and First air division HQ will not be able to help them. Ten torps it is then…………

There is little to report today –no stirring descriptions of action, of glory.
Yet, today reveals much – this Chaos, this collapse of logistics –was most definitely not in the plan.
With out an allied unit firing a shot, Japanese plans are being derailed…………




herwin -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 9:36:15 AM)

Just curious. American air-groups usually flew ashore when their carrier entered an anchorage. Was Palau so small that it could not host the Zuihos' air-group? Or did Japanese air-groups stay on their carriers?




1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 12:02:23 PM)

Hi herwin
Answer to that - herbiesan make mistake -and stand down airgoup!
Also -other great mistake - all his "invasion" troops -loaded as transport-duh!
AAR will reflect herbiesans war -victories, defeats, and cockups - no ego here!
Also, he has mis understood port limits ect for torp replenishment -so I think I need an AKE to give me some -or a bigger port!
(LOTS to learn in this game isn't there!LOL)




CV Zuikaku -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 1:51:49 PM)

You need an AD to replenish torps.




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