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RE: The little ship that could.

 
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RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2014 10:07:57 AM   
1275psi

 

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It is the 15th of March, 1945.

Hosho, and his Division have reached the front
For three exhausting days, they have battled the ever rising road, and the mud

For three days , it has rained. Not your gentle English rain, but rain the Somme would know.
It has rained, and rained, and rained, water flowing, running, churning the poor excuse of a trail that 55th Division's maps call a road

It has not taken long for 15000 men to churn what surface there was into a treacle, boot sucking morass.
But they have not let it slow them down.
The Kokoda track, the burma road. The march to dadjangas..............epics now of endurance, of perserverance, of pain.
They have cursed the rain. Cursed it bitterly.
But now, now perched here on the ridge, this treeless, rocky barren moonscape, with the sun beating down, they wish for its return

For the rain, is of course water. And up here, shags on a rock, in the blazing sun, there is already pitifully little.
And there is also this.
The rain has hid them
They try to dig in, as the droning grows louder in the sky overhead

The bombers are coming.

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RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2014 10:12:23 AM   
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Ogowa curses the rain too.
It pours at tacolaban still, great sheets, beating at the canvas of his tent.

he stares at the map on the table, water dripping down in a dozen places, his feet literally underwater, the streams of water gurgling through this "HQ".
It rains.
here, at dajangas, every bloody where. Little in three days has flown, what has, has bombed blindly.

But rain does not stop bulldozers.

If the field is repaired.............

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Post #: 3122
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2014 10:15:45 AM   
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Destroyer Susuzuki , with eight companions, sails

3 CVE, 20 escorts, 24 tankers.

Not since the golden galleons of the Spanish main's sailing, has such a glittering, precious prize sailed.

men have died many a time for the allure of gold

Now, perhaps, many will die for the liquid, black one

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Post #: 3123
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2014 10:27:18 AM   
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Some of you dear readers, may know of Garden island naval base in Sydney
Its a bussling place now, the great dockyard is complete. The new workshops hum. The many wrecks of Zuiho's triumph so long ago, are long salvaged and removed.

Its a busy, but quiet place

The island nestles at the bottom of a long point, a steep road winding down nearly a mile to the gates from Sydneys red light area, - Kings cross.
A more disreputable place cannot be found in all of australia, especially since darwin lost its last pub.
Every evening, swams of sailors stride purposedly up that hill, and many hours later, weave unsteadily back down it.

few sailors escape the clutches of the Cross.
In the middle of the cross, is a fountain. A large fountain, a place where you sit, smoke, drink, avoid the police, drink some more.
Its the gateway to the strip.

The time is 9PM, and two world weary airmen stand at the gates of GI, and wonder about that hill ahead
A delivery truck pulls past, its a laundry van, wardroom whites, no doubt.......
"want a lift mates?"
"Why yes, old man, that would be wonderful" Bigglesworth answers
"No worries, hope in the back, don't mind the sheets, they aint that smelly"

The two men climb in. With a clater, a grating of gears, a whine of transmission, the van begins the slow climb up the hill

"hey bigglesworth"
'Yes, Longpig........."
'What are you sitting on?'
'
"i think its a bag of detergent powder old boy"

Long pig grins, and eyes glint

'I have an evil plan....you in?"

For a moment Bigglesworth considers the obvious no..............but has that ever stopped him?"

"In for what?"

"never you mind, just make sure when we get to the top, you bring it with you.................."

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Post #: 3124
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2014 11:33:14 PM   
kaleun

 

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I remember just such an evil plan, long, long time ago....

_____________________________

Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Sun Tzu

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Post #: 3125
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/22/2014 10:33:26 AM   
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16/3/45

Ogowas eagles are waiting, blades already spinning, the mud splattered on wings, when the word flashes through from HQ
"Mission scrubbed, stand down"
The steady roar of 100m plus engines fades away, splutters to a stop.
Annoyed, actually, beyond annoyed Ogowa strides to the tents.
Commander Kuri, Nominal commander of this air war in the southern phillipines answers his phone call.
'I was expecting you, Ogowa!"
"This is shameful!...............you do know how quickly the allies repair fields do you?"
Over the crackle, hiss of the phone, the reply almost radiates confidence "that is not the issue.........we are hitting even as we speak"
The voice hardens
"The enemy fleet approaches.............a resupply effort no doubt..........carriers, lots of carriers"

And hellcats, and corsairs, no doubt..................

"I understand"

Carefully Ogowa replaces the phone. Diogowa chooses this moment to enter the tent 'And?"

Ogowa merely shakes his head
Its always a game to you isn't it my friend...............God, I wish i could think that way.

(in reply to kaleun)
Post #: 3126
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/24/2014 10:28:45 PM   
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25 kilograms of laundry powder
One fountain


Drunken sailors, drunken women, foam everybloody where
And two jaded airmen, grinning at the madness of it all.

Life, is always worth living.

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Post #: 3127
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/24/2014 10:33:49 PM   
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17/3/45

Tacolaban again, is socked in.
Thunderstorms over Dajangas, where a growing CAP, plays lethal tag with the nimble oscars and light bombers amongst the towering mountains of cloud, the curtains of rain.

The fleet does not advance past Sangi, and several squadrons of TBD's valiantly impale themselves upon them, or so it is assumed, for none return...........

This, it seems, is a resupply effort, transports, fleets of light landing craft can be expected in the bay tomorrow.

Trite words must follow
'They must be stopped"
Late in the evening, the sun finally breaks over Ogowa's soggy, soggy field.
Tomorrow, they will fly.


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Post #: 3128
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/24/2014 10:40:13 PM   
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18/3/45

The ridge Hosho's men occupy, is getting satisfactorily crowded. 109th division arrives, much artillery arrives.
The allies are passive below them, although daily the sounds of armour can be heard.

The bombers have bombed, but not here, not effectively.
The days have been quiet, digging into the hard earth and rock, keeping ones head down, doing what soldiers must do, staying alive, trying to kill the other barsted........

Today, there is a brief action, japanese mortars try a barrage, seeking some sort of counter battery, testing the strength of the marines, the aussies, the dogfaces opposing them.

There is none.

Alright then. Tomorrow, all guns will fire. If you want to be pounded, good.

(my AV now 2653 to his 1280)

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Post #: 3129
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/24/2014 10:47:54 PM   
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18/3/45

DD Susuzuki and all her friends ride steadily south, smack in the middle at the moment of the south China sea.
The watches pass steadily for Hirate and Okano, 4 hours down below, 2 hours in the damage control station number 1 and three (Hirate FWD, Okano aft), 6 hours off.
OPf course, many of those 6 hours off are not theirs, there is cleaning, maintenance, and drills. daily Susuzuki slips away from the convoy, then when at 30000 yards range, turns back in, and builds to full speed, .
At 10000 yards, she "launches" a spread of her deadly fish, and the men race to "reload".........running the fish out of the tubes, running them on the trolley to the storage, running them back, "reloading them"
They have to be ready for a second salvo before the tankers, the "targets", are at 5000 yards.

They are good at this, are the men of Susuzuki.


Its a pity that radar controlled gunnery means 5000, maybe even 10000 yards is suicide................

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Post #: 3130
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/24/2014 11:00:44 PM   
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18/3/45

Pre dawn

Calm, cool. Quiet. The insects have not begun their song.
Ogowa's eagles sit around the camp ovens, the camp rice boilers, sipping tea, finishing their breakfasts.

Already they are fully kitted out, flying suits, parachutes, clipboards.
A wide and very interesting range of small arms decorate every hip. The natives, outside the wire boundries of the base, are now beyond restless.
And no man here, will ever submit to capture.

Ogowa studies his map,, refreshing land marks, rally points, alternative fields in his mind
Diogowa sits beside him, wistfully eyeing Ogowa's half finished, and now forgotten breakfast.

'Don't you know the way to the bloody place yet Ogowa, we have been there enough times"
Ogowa nods in agreement. "Hiei!..but.........its not getting there that worries me, its getting back"

"Oh for Truk sake, thats easy, open the bloody cockpit and sniff, the stink of this place will lead you home"
There is no reply to that, its a painfully true comment.

Casually Diogowa steals Ogowa's unfinished breakfast , such a common occurance that Ogowa barely notices."In all seriousness though, I would hate to get lost out there, I am told its where the wild things are............."

Ogowa stands, folds his map. Checks the time. 0355 hours.
"Time to go men...good hunting"


In the silence, somewhere beyond the wire, the faint sound of shooting...........partisans, no doubt

No, it would not be a good idea to get lost at all.
No more than they are now................

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Post #: 3131
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2014 8:13:16 AM   
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People faced with stark realities, adopt, or die

Miori, Mioko, Uzuwa, adopt.
In fact, many about them, are taking life into there very own hands, and to hell with "the system"

There is no fuel to be had in japan, no buses, empty shelves, no coal............
The boat, that little thing, keeps many alive.

There is no fuel.................or is there?
Their neirbours husband may be of the Kempati...............but even he needs to eat. And the Kempati know almost everything.
And one
Weekly now , in the deep of the night, an army truck pauses briefly...........and fuel arrives, beaten up jerry cans maybe, but preciuos liquid gold nevertheless

The boat sails.
Fish are distributed, and vegatables grown in many hidden places, are exchanged................

They have adopted. They cannot work (for so many factories now lie quiet, starved of fuel and materials), but they work nevertheless, work at the only thing that matters.

Staying alive.

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Post #: 3132
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2014 8:24:29 AM   
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401st sentai , 27 eagles strong, snarls towards Dajangas

The clouds still climb high, they weave about them, seeking the enemy

The enemy find them


They are out numbered , these enemy, but emboldened maybe by the easy kills against the oscars, the zeros they have had these last days, , they turn into the attack.


401st accept the challenge, and soon, so soon, the sky is filled with the wheeling, circling fighters, the chatter of guns, the deeper thudding of cannons.
Ogowa wheels in amongst them, straining hard, a 51 dancing, dancing maddingly just out of range, just out of his aiming ring...
The 51 weaves , he weaves.
he fires, the 51 screws itself, he misses.
A hellcat fills his miror..there is no time for another shot, now Ogowa has to waeve, and dance, the tracer passing harmlessly past.
he out climbs the shining blue hunter, corkscrews, fires again at a fleeting 51.........and his guns hiss empty

hauling about, taking in the bay below..burning ships..again..........

And the shells rip into his plane with stupifying violence...............shattering the canopy, ripping holes ahead of him, through the cowling...........
Smoke fills, briefly the cockpit, instinct flings the rudder, the stick, he is alive............

But his bird is not..........

The engine shudders, shudders, and stops, the great blade frozen


In stunned silence, the eagle stalls, and ogowa falls from the sky

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Post #: 3133
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/27/2014 9:57:35 AM   
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The george is a great fighter, powerful, strong, much like a brick in strength
Without power, it flies much like one

Ogowa does not hesitate, he steadies the spin into a steep dive, swiftly (more haste, less speed my friend) releases the straps, rolls her onto its back, and falls free

he tumbles down,, down, , to float down from here under silk is to invite a dozen vulures to the feast.
The ground is rushing up , horribly close before he pulls, he has almost misjudged it............

The descent under silk is but 1000 feet long, it sounds a long way, unless you have ever had the pleasure of descending it under silk

The ground rushes up that last twenty feet.............he hits, and hits hard...and blackness claims him

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Post #: 3134
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/27/2014 10:10:55 AM   
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19/3/45
The B-29's are over Singapore daily now, small in numbers still, but operating almost obliviosly to the Tonies vainly trying to stop them.

Singapore is no longer safe, not for the tankers approaching it now across the south china sea.
Butwar calls for desperate acts.
The tankers have to go elsewhere. the troop carriers risk it.

This is the great, great gamble. Near Georgetown, the allied steam roller, dinted, bashed up, is creaking back into gear, threatening to come crashing south.

How to stop it?

Every man that can be spared, which in reality, is almost all of them, are being stripped now from Soerabaya, maccassar, kendari.
We went to war over these islands, these lands, now we risk them all, merely to buy time in Malaya.

The men of Susuzuki are coming south , barely aware, I am sure, at just how desperate things may become....................

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Post #: 3135
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/31/2014 12:03:53 AM   
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Hi guys, page 2 purgatory, visitors at home, but writing at the moment!

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RE: The little ship that could. - 5/31/2014 12:15:11 AM   
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Ogowa awakens lying upon his back, conscious immediately that whatever he is lying on iss moving, and hard.

The sky above is bright blue, and for a moment he remains still, taking in the world
Clatter of hooves, the creak of wheels. he is lying on a cart.

Alarmed, he attempts to rise, his vision is filled with a Fillipino face, old, care worn....
Ogowas action is immediate, he reaches for his gun, ............a steady hand siezes it, surprisingly strong for such a face
And ten startling, the man speaks in Japanese......'easy my friend...........you are not in danger, but you will be if some one see's you"

"Who are you?" croaks Ogowa..............gods, my head...........

But the man turns away, and speaks to a second man who sits ahead, guiding the mule that pulls them down the dusty, jungle lined track..........the language is foriegn........
The second man turns, .....a priest................a large cross dangles, bright in the sun
the face turns back to him.........."It does not matter who I am, its the priest who found you..........."

Ogowa falls back..............he feels aches, pains, everywhere.............
The man leans down, fiddles with something on his head............a bandage?
"You have recieved a nasty gash............'
"Where am I?
The priest, with out turning speaks again, the Fillipino song like

The man smiles, replaces the bandage, and sweet heavens, presents a canteen to Ogowa.
"The priest says you are lost, like many of his sheep, but not to worry, the shepherd has found you.............."

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Post #: 3137
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/31/2014 12:40:26 AM   
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South China sea

Just after midnight

Hirate and Okano are sitting under the starboard bridge wing, on what the men of Susuzuki call the starboard veranda.
They are both of them, utterly exhausted.
Sweat is slowly cooling on their bodies, and burning limbs are are slowly recovering.

Its been a brutal watch. Boiler swings, soot blows, bottom blows. The whole kit and caboodle

"This is no bloody way to earn a living brother"
"Agreed'

"After the war, I am getting an office job"

Hirate turns to Okano, takes his shoulder, and stares intently into his face

"No you are not"
'I'm not"

No, your are not. We are going to russia my friend, you and I........north...........for that bloody gold"

"You are joking"
"I am not..............think about it......who else in the bloody world remains with knowledge of those crates.............no one came back, the Chiburi is sunk, (and I got rid of that barsted herbiesan)..........its still out there, you know it"

Okano stares out over the mirror calm sea, at the half moon, the faint shadows of the convoy about them.

Its a thought, isn't it?

But we have to survive the war first, yes?

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Post #: 3138
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/31/2014 12:46:46 AM   
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20/3/45

Fighters sweep Singapore, twin tailed devils, shining glittering P 51's

Clearing the skies, sweeping away the Tonies

The bombers follow.


Palembang is bombed, the first raid, only 12 strong, with 5 downed by the swarms of fighters that rise enraged.

The allied carrier fleet returns to south of dajangas, japan does not take the bait

So the carriers strike the armies around Hosho, 230 bombers strong, straffing, bombing, bombing, a nightmarish day of snarling engines, screaming iron, thudding explosions, of dust, of eating dirt, of keeping down and hidden.

Its a furious day..............

But japan loses just 20 men..........carrier pilots are not skilled in this art it seems.............

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Post #: 3139
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/1/2014 1:59:42 PM   
PaxMondo


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Still pumping oil from the DEI in '45 ... fantasitc job ...



_____________________________

Pax

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Post #: 3140
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/3/2014 8:40:57 AM   
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Hi pax, nice to hear from you. To still have 30 plus tankers left is even better!

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Post #: 3141
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/3/2014 8:49:26 AM   
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21/3/45

The cart rattles along a hot dirt trail for quite some time, the priest and the second man casually nodding, waving, acknowledging the occasional person passing by. Each time this occurs however, the second man gently draws a tarp of canvas across Ogowa, hiding him

Ogowas' mind races. It goes around and around in an endless loop. To be captured is unthinkable, but has he been?
If he is being delivered into the hands of the allies, how will he overpower these men?, or even manage to kill himself?
To be captured is unthinkable.........

The cart stops. He is hustled into a small white washed home. Fleeting glimpses, palm roof, a church in the background, children, dogs everywhere...
A burst of fillipino language............women
The priest hisses, the chatter falls away.
Chairs, a table...............and heavens food!

The second man gestures."Please eat, there is little to be had, but what there is, is good"
Ogowa hesitates.............'Why?".he gestures

The man smiles. ""You are the priests now, my friend. And this is Gods house. Here there are no enemies. Only the sheep..........and the goats"

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Post #: 3142
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/3/2014 8:56:38 AM   
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The carrier's launch a second day of fury over the Japanese positions. This time, they bite deeper. But 33rd division will arrive tomorrow, undamaged, completing 15th Armies deployment.
Dajangas is repairing.................

53rd division unloads at cagayan.
But this is it.......the cupboard is bare .........

Japan cannot just sit in its holes, and wait.
It is not the Japanese way.

They will sweep these white devils of the hills, and back into the sea..............

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Post #: 3143
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/3/2014 9:02:01 AM   
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The palua islands have been evacuated..............another division smuggled out under those Buka's very noses.....
Siapan is almost empty
As are the DEI, borneo, the celebes are all but empty
Only the phillipines, only malaya recieve men

Japan, of course, groans under the wieght of frantic defence building
100's of new planes are being commisioned for front line duty. Not the modern fighter or bomber, but elderly biplanes, ancient Nates.
Useless for anything, unless of course, they can be slammed into the sides of troop packed ships..........


Armageddon is being prepared.

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Post #: 3144
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/5/2014 9:41:36 AM   
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"why are you doing this?"

Ogowa speaks directly to the priest, but its the second man who interprets. But first, the second man answers for himself " truelly I tell you, japanese man, if it was just I that found you, I or many of my friends, before our priest came to here, you would be dead . Even now, it is hard...........hard not to sin .

But I, like you, was once lost. .............I will ask him for you"

he does.
The priest smiles, comes over, rests a steady hand upon Ogowa's shoulder. His eyes, thinks Ogowa, have no bottom...........

The Fillipino language is gentle, and deep, and is obviously a question

"he asks, have you ever heard of the song, Amazing grace?"

'No, should I have?

"A task, perhaps............for better times................come, we must go, there are friends of yours but a mile from here"


An hour later, under a hot sun, Ogowa's adventure, this baffling journey, ends at a small sentry post, ironically at a Japanese field

He stares, still bewildered, perplexed, as the two men trundle away, back down the road



He does not understand. Not now, anyway. They have given him his life, his honour.
And in his hands, a small book.


And a million questions to answer.

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Post #: 3145
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/5/2014 9:53:11 AM   
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22/3/45

Susuzuki approaches palembang.
Today the enemy bombers have struck tarakan, Oosthaven to the south of palembang..............the reach of the mighty bombers is terrifying.
But they do little harm this day.

Dadjangas is fully repaired.and 100 plus fighters are reported there.
The enemy fleet, again approaches.


There is only one possible action to take
If it flies, if it carries the rising sun, it will , it must attack.


On nearly a dozen airfields, hundreds upon hundreds of young men prepare for the morrow..............for battle, for death.

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Post #: 3146
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/9/2014 8:34:29 AM   
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3rd attempt to post................


(intermittent internet here at the moment)


Battleship Yamato lies at anchor, still in the waters of Hiroshima bay.

From the outside, from the water, for those ashore, she remains still that awe inspiring vessel. For her Admiral, for Yamamato, all but trapped aboard, she is 70000 tons of gently rusting, useless junk.

Below decks, echoes. Darkness. Silence. few, very few man walk her darkened passageways, visit her tomb like compartments. Only one boiler is flashed, one boiler, one generator. Only the absolute essential equipment recieves power, there is no fuel, and thus power, to keep the rest of this great beast alive.

The bulk of her crew is ashore in barracks, waiting for the word to sail.

Sailing will not occur, until fuel arrives.

Yamamato sometimes prowls her empty passageways, her clear decks. He notes with almost horror, the rust, the fading paint, the disorder.
It fills him with dismay.

'Hang in their old girl", he whispers "I will not let you slip so silently into the night............the tankers will come..........I promise"

The tankers will come...............they must..............they have to................

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Post #: 3147
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/9/2014 8:50:56 AM   
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23/3/45

The great fuel convoy disperses. A dozen or so medium tankers divert towards Palembang, the larger ones, still escorted bu the 3 CVE's, by the 6 destroyer task group that contains Susuzuki maintain course for Batavia.
It is not know if that port is in B-29 range.
But it is known that palembang, Singaopre definately are.

Singapore is being bombed almost daily now.............

Other tankers, and what are the last of Japans large merchants, are running for Soerabaya, balikapapan, Tarakan, Miri.
These ports still bulge with excess fuel.


It must be harvested.


It is, in every sense, the great gamble. Manilla, Takao still have vast amounts of fuel and oil. We could ship it , not risk the tankers.
There is barely a military unit, plane, soldier, warship, left in the entire DEI's.................

But the allies do not know that.............cannot know that.

We hope

So, we risk it. If it can cart fuel, we expose it to this last great gamble................and hope ships remain enough for those last precious drops in Manilla and takao.

After all, all of war is risk, yes?

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 3148
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/9/2014 8:55:35 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6568
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Ogowas eagles snarl south again.

S201st sentai, fully thirty six strong, lead the rest by some fifteen minutes towards the hell pit of Dadjangas bay.

They burst through cloud and rain...............and spot the wildcats wheeling about, 6000 feet below.
Without hesitation, the stubby wings go vertical, go past, great noses fall, and eagles stoop, claws extended.

But from even further above...............60 strong

The vee shaped Vultures. The whistling deaths.
Corsairs.

With time, space, and hieght.

The veterans of 201st enter the fight of their lives..................

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 3149
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/9/2014 2:05:25 PM   
british exil


Posts: 1521
Joined: 5/4/2006
From: Lower Saxony Germany
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

Ogowas eagles snarl south again.

S201st sentai, fully thirty six strong, lead the rest by some fifteen minutes towards the hell pit of Dadjangas bay.

They burst through cloud and rain...............and spot the wildcats wheeling about, 6000 feet below.
Without hesitation, the stubby wings go vertical, go past, great noses fall, and eagles stoop, claws extended.

But from even further above...............60 strong

The vee shaped Vultures. The whistling deaths.
Corsairs.

With time, space, and hieght.

The veterans of 201st enter the fight of their lives..................



The veterans of 201st enter the fight of their lives or the fight for their lives?

I hope not the latter.

Mat



_____________________________

"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill

WitE,UV,AT,ATG,FoF,FPCRS

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 3150
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