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RE: The little ship that could.

 
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RE: The little ship that could. - 6/25/2011 5:14:41 AM   
1275psi

 

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Joined: 4/17/2005
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19 Aug 42


In a small restaurant in the back streets of Tokyo, a small Birthday dinner is being held

Guest of honour, LGEN Yakuda Takeo, Commander of Eastern Army
It is a small quiet affair…………and the guests do not stay long
One, Admiral Yamamoto, however, does not.

They talk quietly deep into the night.

Dawn, the next day, and 52nd Division, eastern Army, abruptly cancels its training , and prepares to entrain for Tokyo……….




Liberator bombers bomb Rabual. Again..Impervious to Japanes efforts to stop them.




This is Petty Officers Edo’s moment
The tiny island of Kusaiie has a Japanese outpost . A garrison
Of two men
Himself, an Able seaman
It also has a radio, and an observation tower, a lot of sand, 6 pairs of mutton birds, 3 pelicans, some seagulls…..and more sand.
It is maybe 100 metres across, has no lagoon, and there is nowhere you can go and not see the endless ocean

Some times Petty Officer Edo thinks he has died, and this is the purgatory that those Catholics warn about.
It certainly has sent his Able seaman…………..strange.

The only good shade, and escape from the heat, is paradoxically, in the tower.

But PO Edo will have his moment, before the war forgets him again.
Today,, he never gets to settle into the tower.
For there, on the horizon, the unmistakable outline of carriers, American carriers. moving west.
And unlike the movies, or some book, yes, the radio does work……….




Captain Hara is back onboard his Beloved Akagi, steel helmet once again at hand
Again he stares over the ocean to Kaga, and wonders what Yamaguchi will do.

All of yesterday the enemy carriers have steamed west through the gilberts, striking at will.
But now, with the sun setting, it has been confirmed.

They are still coming west…………
“will you succeed this time Yamaguchi, where Yamamoto so nearly did ?’ he thinks.
Was it almost three months since they were here in these waters, trying to lure the enemy?
Yes.
Maybe second time around……..

“Our Officers are here Sir”
‘very good”
He turns to his Command team, crisp, white, straight.
His friends.
Comrades
Responsibility
‘There is chance of battle men……….I wish to brief you.”

“Gather round”
Hara’s stubby finger stabs at the map, landing on a point 40 miles North east of Kusaie island, 320 miles south east of Ponope.
‘The enemy fleet –steaming West – possibly aiming for a strike on Truk”

Murmurs……..unthinkable……….

‘Our position, 120- miles west Narau.. Almost in range, almost….”

‘Do you think Yamaguchi will race us North?’
Hara shakes his head. ‘No –last time we did this, our small boys ran out of fuel..’
His Finger moves again, taps a spot 440 miles due west of the enemy carriers.
‘However men………another piece for the chess board. CVE Taiyo – aircraft ferry.
She is racing straight across their bows, heading straight to us, if they chase her, react to her………”

“We will be in range”
‘Yes”

‘We are ready Captain………….”
‘Yes, yes, I know you are. Let us hope tomorrow brings us battle…….”

And silently…….and that I don’t need my helmet

A light flashes on Kaga, right on cue.
‘new course, 010, battle speed two. Execute. Prepare for carrier action’






(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 511
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/27/2011 8:03:04 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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20th August 1942


Zuiho rushes on. There is something new today. They slowly emerge from the tropical mist, fat ugly, rusting. Heavily loaded, smoke shovelling from ugly funnels.
A great convoy, tankers exclusively.

They race past them, two worlds apart. The crisp white uniforms stare and observe the
Stained, dirty one of the merchant men, and do their best to express the disdain they feel for those “inferior’ types.

Swift eagles commander deems it not even in his interest to reply to the brief greeting flashed from the small escort.

It is a small incident in the day.
It says everything about why Japan will lose this war……………………



Ndeni.
Midnight.

Totally un observed, five Heavy Japanese cruisers, Tanaka in command , sweep into Ndeni waters.
Surprise is complete
The action is , again, absolutely nothing like Pre war thought said naval combat will be like.
A new war, a new set of rules………..

Fire is opened at the impossibly close range of 2000 yards…announced without starshell or search lights.
He who fires firstest with mostest…………wins.

The engagement ends 6 brutal minutes later, 3 allied DDs sunk, an AK, an Ap as well.
A single damaged Japanese DD in return
Round one to Japan………




Mobile Fleet.

“Enemy are hitting Eniwetok sir”
Yamaguchi’s grip on the binnacle hardens, knuckles whiten.
It is the only reaction he visibly gives.
‘And their position?
‘North east of the island………..’

Damnation.

Damnation to hell!
Another bust.

To far away, obviously heading home.
‘What to do now?”
Concentrate. Rule number one………..
‘Order all detached units back to Truk, we will refuel, then………..”
Then, then what?



21 Aug 1942

Minobes cabin

Seated, side by side, Minobe, the Charge, the CPO shipwright.
Between them, a table.
On it, a sketch book.
Opposite them, PO Okano.

Examination. Oral. Engine room ticket

Halfway through this most vital of hours of any stokers career……..

Minobe clears his throat. His question.
‘PO Okano, we have taken some damage in the Port engine room..and the water is, to be crude, pissing in…………. What actions can you take?

Po Okano answers. The trick is –of course, is to appear confident, to be accurate, and to be able to think on your feet…….
“Fast flood sir? Or something remotely controllable?”

Minobe shifts in his seat, obviously annoyed. What in the world did did he think pissing in mean? –something you plugged up with your thumb?
‘If it was uncontrollable Petty officer –you have already drowned…………lets just tackle the flood yes?”
‘yes sir…….Sir –immediate report of a fast flood to central. Start bilge pump, start eductor system. ………fast flood, open main circ pump emergency bilge suction …”
The charge interrupts ‘and what might that effect PO?’
‘I probably am going to have vacuum problems charge –if we start to beat the flood…..not enough water for cooling………”
“Too much, and we sink yes?” The Chippee interjects……….. “Anything else PO”

‘Portable pump Chief………and of course., lets try to plug the hole?
‘How?”
“I’d stuff Lurch into it”
‘Laughter.
Laughter is good.
Po Okano is going to achieve his ticket……………

Ndeni
Directly over the still oil leaking remains of DD Express, CA Aoba races into the sound

Behind her, cruiser squadron two, Kinsugura , Furataka, Kako, cls Yura, and the elderly tenryu, Tatsuta..

A thousand yards ahead, destroyers Inazmo, Oboro, , easily discernable in this good moonlight…….
They hunt for the yet unseen prey .

To starboard, the dark.
To port, blankness, utter darkness, a tropical downpour, visibility zero.


Battle ship Warspite has been tracking them for nearly 15 minutes now……..radar.
A weapon beyond comprehension of the men on Aoba.

Inter navy Co operation between Allies is still not the best, CA’s Helena, Quincy alter course, masking the great ships guns.
It makes little difference

Range 2000 yards, another knife fight, short, sharp brutal.
He who fires firstest, with mostest…..wins

DD Inazuma staggers under the first salvo, and the column is hauled hard to port, for the shelter of the storm.
CA Kako is hammered………….multiple hits, but none as devastating as the one that strikes her Long Lance launcher………..the explosion shatters her into two,..and she is gone

DD Grayson follows her…… a long lance gutz her like a fish.

Aoba, uppers works blazing, leads the battered Japanese into the storm….



Round two to the allies.







They emerge, and Helena follows, Quincy, the DDs following.
Again, Warspite unable to bear
Helena eats a fish, loses hre bow.
The battle ends

SS-32 sinks her fangs on the retiring Kinugasa.

Round three-a draw.



Yamaguchi reads, with disbelief, the report
Kako sunk
Kinugusa.crippled, expected to sink
Aoba –broken
Furatuka burning still

An entire cruiser division broken
For what?
What in the world was first fleet thinking?
But deep inside, he knows the answer.
Politicians –no- dictators need victories. Even hollow ones………



(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 512
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/28/2011 8:18:21 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hasegawa lowers his glasses
“that is one damn ugly ship”
Tone has rejoined the task group. As ugly as she is, she makes a welcome addition in search and gun power.

Swift eagle passes palua today, destination obvious. Truk
But then what?
Hasegawa needs a chance. Soon. He feels it. Time is running out for him……..



Charge knocks on Minobes door.
‘enter”
Awkward. ……is hardly the word for it. Yet duty must continue. “daily report sir……things are going well. We need to blow soot again tonight’
‘And that is all?”
“yes sir”
Minobe hesitates….goes to speak. Decides not to.
“very well…….I will inform the CO”

Zuiho continues to function. To the book. But by nothing more.







Hosho leads his patrol. Fifty men spread over nearly 3 miles, carefully following the rail line to Myrintinkya –or whatever the hell you call it..
For the last few weeks this has been their war….patrols. patrols, more patrols.

The British continue to try to break out to the south – but they are not going to.
Disease, starvation is doing its job too well.

His men move along the tree line, careful of the threat from the air, but even this has fallen away. After a week of night bombing, the british bombers have swung abruptly back to day raids on the oil fields.
36 fall today……….. 3rd Air was waiting.
No, Hosho fights an easy war at the moment…….

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 513
RE: The little ship that could. - 6/29/2011 7:40:52 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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August 23rd

Zuiho is approaching Truk, arrival –all going well-in two days
On the stern of the carrier, in the shadow of the flight deck, the charge stands, watching the white wake flow out endlessly astern.

For the hundredth time, he pulls the creased and stained chit from his pocket, stares at the signature

Minobe is a fool, a buffoon, a bully.
Yes, he is all these things, and more.
But he is , also, human.
There is more to this problem, more than the dilemma of the chit.

Culture, a thousand years of it, stands here with him on this deck, and its great weight bears down upon him.
The Emperor rules, and to him, all swear fidelity-even unto death.
Under him, herbiesan, and his government.
They obey –and will be obeyed.

Then, the hierarchy, the Navy, from High command, to Hasegawa, to…….Minobe.
A mere 100 years ago, Minobe would have been his Fief Lord…….demanding, and getting, absolute obedience
Obedience, loyalty…….trust……..above all. Above life itself.

Honour in obedience
Honour in loyalty
This is the warriors code
Bushido

And with out that? –what is Japan?
What is he?


And yet, tomorrow, they put on trial his ‘servant, his vassal’ if you will-Leader Tan.
And where is the honour, the truth in that?

The ocean slides on past.
It offers no answers





Leading seaman Tan sits
He sits at the hatch, now bolted down, clean, secure, offering nary a hint of what occurred below.
As if his friends, the friends, he killed……..never existed

Tomorrow.
Courtmartial
Words like hammers striking his soul.
The Courtmartial of Leading seaman tan…………



It has taken three days, but the fires on Aoba are finally out.
The battered remains of cruiser div 2 and 3 approach home waters……more than aware of the sharks that circle, unseen, waiting.









Zuiho, 2330 hours

Lurch finishes cleaning the last fuel burner, assembling the sprayer tip carefully. He presents it to Hirate, who pushes its valve plate with his thumb. A mis aligned plate, or worse, a loose plate guarantees a poor flame, heavy smoke –or worse
“Shakes Petty Officer?”
Hirate notes the time..nods his head – “via the galley Lurch, see if you can steal something good eh?”

You cannot, of course, have an alarm clock in your mess. With watch keeping, that would be madness. Oh, its time I got up – Oh, so sorry 110 other members of the mess, did I wake you up too?

So, 30 minutes prior to watch change (your ships mileage may vary on the time), one man goes through the darkened mess, and does “shakes’
It is – how do we say this? –an individual task.
How do you sleep?. How do you react to being abruptly woken?
Do you go straight back to sleep?
Do you require another shake in 5 minutes time?
Do you leap straight up –or do you lie still, gathering your thoughts, until the shake man comes around again?

There are no secrets in a mess –and when you sleep –believe me –you reveal more about yourself than you will ever know.

Lurch does shakes, silently, assuredly, displaying diplomacy and tact politicians will never know…..
Sometimes, especially for the gutz watch, men do not bother going to bed, so Lurch does not think twice at the empty hammocks, the watch is up –and that is good enough

He returns (via the galley GOOD man!) to the boiler room, conducts his rounds, is relieved.
Another watch done.
Within 5 minutes, he is in his hammock……..and then out again.
An Engineroom boy is shaking him.
‘Did he shake Leading seaman Tan?
No
Did he see him?
No
Damnation ………….he is missing, over due for his watch



The alarm bells ring
“Hands to action stations, hands to action stations, make all reports to Damage central”
Ship closed up sir.
One man reported missing sir
Search the ship
They will search…………and find nothing

LS Tan is gone.
The ocean slides on past.
It offers no answers


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 514
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/1/2011 12:15:02 PM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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Zuiho arrives at Truk
It is raining, a grey horrible drizzle.

It matches her mood
Only Okano gives voice to what many now feel
“This is a cursed ship”



‘And the trial Chief petty officer coxswain?”
“there is no one to prosecute Sir, and no evidence to continue any investigation”
‘I see’ Hasegawa contemplates the lagoon, the ships about him.
Grey skies, grey mood.
“I would hazard a bet that a certain Engineer is happy then?”
The Coxswains face barely twitches. But twitch it does “Not my job to comment on that Sir”
‘No………I suppose not. Alright Chief, we let it drop. We have enough to do…”


‘Fuel state Charge?”
Fifty percent sir……………is it right, there is no fuel ?”
Minobe snorts……”Oh, there is plenty, just none for us it seems. Its due soon.”
That silence .again
‘I am sorry for Leader Tan”
The Charge does not answer.
‘They say the enemy has delivered a serious defeat down south………….I believe we must soon fight. If we fight……..we must fight together yes?’
Sir, I………I will do my duty”
Minobe smiles. ‘then that will have to be good enough then………..”


25/August

Extract from Shattering the sword, a cantona production……

…………..another nibble at the edge of the empire . In the Indian Ocean, emboldened by the absence of the Japanese Carriers, a British task force raids Akyab, its swordfish bombers surprising, and sinking the CL Tama and Jintsu- both caught unloading supplies .
In one week, no less than 10 Japanese cruisers had been sunk, or heavily damaged, for very little loss..
September would see few in the Allied camp doubting that the initiative now rested with them.
Ironically, this is how the Japanese camp still saw it. That the initiative still rested with them.
But who would act first?







26 th August

Nashaguchi circles Truk at 10000 feet, less a combat air patrol, than a joy flight.
The cockpit is now more than an office. It is his refuge, his home. His retreat.

Up here, one did not have to hide behind a mask.
And , of course, there is the sheer joy of the flight .

He flings the zero around the sky, trying to imagine an enemy fighter attacking from here, or there.
Or, there is a bomber –how in the hell do you tackle a B17 any way?

The little zero cartwheels across the sky, earth and sea and sky whirling about him.
Ah, to fly..just to fly.

An hour later, he lands, the usual neat 2nd cable.
Hidaka greets him as he disembarks. ‘Enjoy yourself Nashiguchi?”
“Hie!” yes, yes he did
“Next time won’t be so enjoyable I would think. Next time I think the enemy will be very, very real”
The Smile becomes a grin. And the hunter flashes across Nashiguchi’s face……..
“not soon enough Sir, not soon enough”

He has been on a score of 4 for too long now, far too long.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 515
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/4/2011 7:45:29 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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Sorry cantona, AAR closed again to you...........so no peeking! LOL

(he knows this means trouble brewing)






Here is the trouble:

27th august

Zuiho sits at anchor, a minnow amongst giants
Around her, virtually the entire strength of Mobile fleet also lies at anchor, and the blue waters of the lagoon are churned by the wakes of dozens upon dozens of ships boats, support vessels attending to the fleet.

She lies smack in the middle, on auxiliary steaming, almost again defect free, her airgroup at 100%.
The fuel barge has departed, as has the stores ships.
In all respects, she is again ready for war.

Onboard, however, few, if any minds are thinking of the war, from Hasegawa down, only one think occupies the fore front of thought.
Finally……..finally, it arrives


“Mail, mail is now ready for collection.”

If you are reading this, and served, .served before the internet, the mobile phone, or even the international call………you understand.
Nothing, nothing is more important than that canvas bag, those envelopes, the anticipation of opening them, the dread, the joy of what they may contain.

They contain………………life.
Life itself, the world not of Zuiho…that other world of family, of friends, of love.
A quiet settles through out the ship………….


28th august

Hasegawa wearily collapses into his chair. Soon the discreet knock, it is Hidaka, his Executive Officer.
“come in gentlemen, let me share the news.”

‘we are under command of a certain Captain Abe –who I have known for many a year. An aggressive little ****e if I have ever met one. We are assigned to his Battle group Mutsu, Nagato, some new battle wagon when it arrives……….the rumoured super ship Yamato. (and to have commanded that!)
Swift eagle basically will accompany them.
Mobile fleet, Yamaguchi is another group.
A Captain Tanaka – whom I have never heard of, has the cruisers, Battle group Hyuga.
Yamaguchi has replaced a dozen captains in the last 12 hours……….its been brutal on Kaga –let me tell you”
“And the mission sir?’ Hidaka cannot hold himself. Surely, surely, action at last?

‘You will be pleased I think Hidaka. 144th regiment is going to try again. Target is Tarawa ,”
The executive Officer speaks “They must know we are coming”
Hasegawa contemplates the truth in that. Yes. Yes, they must. A grand battle yes?, a chance to die in glory perhaps, not slowly, rotting away…………
“Oh yes, undoubtedly…I think actually, Yamaguchi desires it…………”




(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 516
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/5/2011 8:23:52 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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30th August


‘Congratulations Hosho…..a field commission is a very rare thing”
It is a dream
Is this me?
Is this true?

As if in a dream, he feels himself stiffen to full attention, his arm swing to rigid salute
And the Co hands him the single small bar……….2nd Lt…….1st company 112th regiment, 15th army.
The Co’s face breaks into a wan smile…
“You will lead them into battle, and win victory….or death Hosho…….remember that. It is no light responsibility”

The bars weigh little in his hand, yet they weigh very much indeed………


112th and now second Lt Hosho, have entrained to Myitkyna, with orders to complete the destruction of the Burma division still trapped to the south.






They are departing now, the low gray sharks. Ten yesterday, another ten today.
Japans SS core sail –eager, determined to do better than they have so far in this war.
All but three have new commanders, the old, cautious men are gone. New, aggressive killers, true Hunters are in their place.
Yamaguchi’s orders to them are simple.
Kill anything that comes their way.
Glory forever to any who get a carrier.



“All hands, clear lower deck, clear lower deck, clear lower decks, muster hanger deck.”

Zuiho gather, all but the few below who tend the boiler and generators. They gather in the mass, packing the hanger, shoulder to shoulder. How many there are!. In tribes they gather, stokers, dirty, stained men, on the port side, greenies beside them. Cooks opposite. Gunners in their gaggle…..brass work shining. The pilots, who have never been good on this shipboard discipline stuff, wander in, self conscious to the front.

Zuiho packs in, shoulder to shoulder we stand.
This is our ship.
We are her men.
And the invisible bonds are very strong indeed, watered by the blood of war.

We gather, and the noise is loud, echoing in the hanger, a great pre football buzz…..
And the rumours are thick. A clear lower deck………what does it mean?

There is a small square clear, a dias, and the coxswain enters it

And his voice barks;

“ZUIHO!...ATTENTION!”

And silence crashes down.

Hasegawa enters. And when , crewman, did you see him last?. Was it at the wars beginning?. Yes. Yes, it was.
How he has……………shrunk.

An old man, bending slightly, uniform loose on a frame that is really too thin, enters.
But he wears a uniform
Your captains uniform.
And he has taken you to battle, and brought you back – and gained victories.
He has your trust.

And with trust, anything can be achieved………


Hasegawa takes the dias, the salute
“Your crew is ready sir”
‘”very good………stand them at ease please”


He takes them in the eye.
This great mass of men, so many he does not know………but so many he does.

His body is weak.
The mind, is strong. The voice powerful too……….it will take far more than cancer to remove that.

“Men. We have travelled far. Seen much. Been frustrated at so many missed chances.
There have been problems, and we have suffered self inflicted losses.
There has been , disconcertingly, lack of harmony, lack of spirit .
These, I suppose, are things that the strain of war, of so long from home bring about.

But now , all disharmony, must and will end

We go to fight. The enemy will be waiting, and I intend to go into harms way.
Therefore, we must banish all that distracts us, that slows us, that hinders us.

We stand, shoulder to shoulder
Shoulder to shoulder, we will fight.

We sail tomorrow.”
And in the silence, the rigid silence, they watch their warrior leader, shuffle out.



“Do you hear there. All pro forma wills and hair clippings must be delivered to mail office by 1700 hrs. last mail is 1700 hours”


‘Do you hear there, all section and compartment leaders are to ensure all inflammable objects have been removed from the vessel by 1700 hours”


“do you hear there, all new draft ins are to collect gas masks from the bosuns store at 1630 hours”

“Out all gash, out all gash. All gash to be clear of the ship by 1700 hours
Special sea duty men will be required at 0400 hours, ship will depart at 0600 hours. Departmental heads shall be required in wardroom 2200 hours.”


The broadcasts will continue most of the evening They define the term. Clearing the decks for action.


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 517
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/6/2011 7:30:04 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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31st august

Zuiho, and a good proportion of the fleet, lie at anchor, south west corner, Truk lagoon, a good position for an easy exit.
The wind, which has been blowing steadily south east for three days, - putting the task group in the leeward corner. Tonight, it is due to swing, putting them to winward.
Does that matter?
Why write about that?
What about the war……where is the war?
Well………you see, this wind is about to push anything, and everything that is in the lagoon….right to where the fleet is anchored.


(authors note------this very much based on a real life night……..)



Ship shall sail at 0400 hours.

Let us consider for a moment, what those few words mean

In all respects, Zuiho shall be ready to obey telegraphs an hour before dawn
Warships are not motor cars, you just don’t climb in at One minute too, start, and away you go.

For the stokers, full watch below………..2300 hours
Translate that. For large numbers of them, especially the Charge, Minobe, the CPO Chippee, and many watch and space I/C’s, who will still be putting final finishing touches to evaporator cleans, last minute maintenance tasks, fuel transfers, space securing, there will be little, if any time between completion of the days/evenings/nights work, and the shift to watch keeping.

For the Charge –there will be none.

Please start your sleep deprivation clock.

For the command team, they too will start this hidden, but deadly clock. There are last minute briefings.
Signal codes, steaming formations, chart updates, identification codes……….
0400 hours will come far too fast…….

For the air group maintainers., they too will have a night of work to complete. Zuiho will sail, and launch a heavy CAP………these birds must be ready.

To be truthful, to gain 4 hours sleep on Zuiho tonight, with such an early start, will be a very lucky event…


From the beginning, the flash up, is a nightmare.
Already steaming on 1A boiler, 1B will come online easily enough, as will Port engine room. In fact, just for once, Port unit comes online easily, Hirate and Okano have an easy time of it.

Stbd unit…………..
Charges first call comes at 2330.
Main feed controller, 2A boiler, is unresponsive to pre light off checks.
Like matrons around a birth, they gather about the beast.

The robot auto feed regulator refuses to reveal its secret, despite the curses directed at it. Like most machinery, its feelings cannot be hurt.

‘Is it Trucked Chief?’
‘how the truk should I know? –but lets find out ney?’

Bloody bitch of a machine. I bet I know though………let me poke your gizzards yes?
“get me a wrench”
Unit isolated……..yes, good. Ok, lets pull this drain cock off………
‘Piece of wire –welding rod, something I can poke with”

Ahh, here you go……….lets poke this up.
The welding rod hits something –undoubtedly the float. But its heavy, far too heavy
‘Damnation!. The float is flooded. This boiler is Truked then”
He stands, and already the pressure begins to show…….”get a light under 2 B then, get this heap of crap apart…..and quickly, we cannot delay………not today”

‘How long repairs charge?”
“Four hours minimum sir, we cannot do better than that”
‘Alright then………. Lets hope that is all that will go wrong……….

At 0100 hours, aft TG fails to raise a vacuum.
At 0115 hours, its salt water strainer is found choked with jelly fish. Not those little things you see on the beach, but great basket ball sized buggars, solid, heavy……..and stingy too.
So, zuiho is down to a single Turbo generator for a while…..no biggie….”get the trucker clean!.get it online”
At 0119 hours, fire main pressure is lost ……………….
0125 hours…………”the pumps full of jelly fish chief!”
0135 hours…………Flagship Kaga suffers a total power failure………
0142 hours……Remaining Turbo generator begins to lose vacuum…… yes –it’s a blocked strainer. More bloody jelly fish.
0156 hours……Seaman Lurch finds out that grabbing jelly fish with bare hands in a strainer………is really not a good idea….

0220 hrs----------and BB Kongo too suffers a total power failure
0230………..and although steam has been raised on aft unit, vacuum in the main condenser stubbornly refuse to rise……….and down goes the aux cooling pumps.

1245 hours, and its all hands on deck below…….racing from cooling strainer to the next, isolating, opening, slopping out the literally garbage tins of thick gelatine mass….. closing, de isolating……and on to the next.

It’s a losing game

The tide will turn at 0800……… the wind. Who knows?


O330 hours


‘from Commander combined Fleet
To
All units
Due to unexpected delays, fleet shall now sail at 1800 hours
Stop




Zuiho –through herculean effort, and not a little luck, at least keeps the lights on. .
Many ships do not.

The cry will go up……..bloody stokers!........and there will be little sympathy
Nor, no matter how hard you search, will you find any record of this night in the ships logs, or records.
No Navy can be defeated by Jellyfish ..can it?.

But for as long as they live………any Stoker there in Truk, will know exactly what is meant by the “battle of jelly fish bay’



But the wind does shift, the tide does turn, they do float away.
1800 hours, sanity restored below……..Zuiho sails.
Finally










( This happened to the entire “orange” fleet, of the Australian navy during one of the big Skippy exercises, Port headland during the 1980’s. Every ship suffered complete power failures over night, and the next day…………






………and we got ‘caught in port and ‘sunk’ I believe too…….grin)






(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 518
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/6/2011 10:11:37 AM   
hosho


Posts: 121
Joined: 10/21/2005
From: zagreb, croatia
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

30th August


‘Congratulations Hosho…..a field commission is a very rare thing”
It is a dream
Is this me?
Is this true?



no wonder they lost the bloody war, commissioning characters like that
nice "jellyfish" episode too, let's hope that our guys will find something to fight against....
keep it up you old dictator


_____________________________

the first ones are remembered

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 519
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/7/2011 12:26:22 PM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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Ta Hosho!

Ummmmmmmmmm bad news .
cantona going on a honeymoon...................until August 7th!
I think we are coming to a crashing halt until then..................

(in reply to hosho)
Post #: 520
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/7/2011 1:00:26 PM   
hosho


Posts: 121
Joined: 10/21/2005
From: zagreb, croatia
Status: offline
oh! that is bad news for us readers ( but great news for him!)
congrats to cantona! God bless...

It will be one long month for us....



< Message edited by hosho -- 7/7/2011 1:08:43 PM >


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the first ones are remembered

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Post #: 521
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/7/2011 9:47:28 PM   
CV Zuikaku

 

Posts: 437
Joined: 12/18/2008
From: Legrad, Croatia
Status: offline
A month too long...

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 522
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/8/2011 1:40:02 AM   
Local Yokel


Posts: 1494
Joined: 2/4/2007
From: Somerset, U.K.
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

Ummmmmmmmmm bad news .
cantona going on a honeymoon...................until August 7th!
I think we are coming to a crashing halt until then..................


Wait a minute - isn't this his second honeymoon within a year? That's nice work if you can get it!

Haven't posted for a while but still following avidly ... your writing goes from strength to strength ... Nice one, Herbie!

_____________________________




(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 523
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/8/2011 6:05:57 AM   
PaxMondo


Posts: 5712
Joined: 6/6/2008
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: CV Zuikaku

A month too long...

+1

Gonna be tough ....


_____________________________

Pax

(in reply to CV Zuikaku)
Post #: 524
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/13/2011 8:24:40 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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Great news

problems with cantona's flights!
In a mad burst -we got 6 turns in!

More than enough to write about..........in fact lots and lots to write about.


So, here is more!


3/9/42

Midday
“hands fall out from action stations, hands fall out from action stations, assume readiness state two..
Prepare for flight deck operations”

Swift eagle steams over a mirror calm sea, shining, oily. Above her, perfect blue skies, the usual thunderheads growing on the horizon.
They have escaped Truk unmolested, and 800 men breath easier, it would take a skilled submarine man indeed to penetrate this screen.
But such things happen in war……….

Too her port, a thousand yards distant, Shohos bow creams white as she works towards launching speed.
Ahead, wakes still visible as they follow them, black smoke shovels from Junyo and Hiyo, as they too work up towards flight operations.
There is no wind
They will have to make their own today.

Around them, a multitude of destroyers, and Hyuga’s towering great bulk.
And falling astern now, Yamashiro’s pagoda slides over the horizon, shepherd to 4th division transports.
And somewhere behind them, more transports, and 144th regiment………..

Hidaka stands, legs aplomb, hands on hips, on the flight deck edge, staring at the ships spreading into formation over the dozen square miles they need.
An almost savage pride fills him. Action brewing.at last. At long, long last.
Time again, to show those white imperialists that Japan too, carries a big stick.
Time, time indeed.

Below him, gun crews are swinging the big 4.7 inch AA gun around, preparing to conduct yet more drills. One of the sweating men looks up, and dares to speak to the officer standing so proud above him.
“Do you think we will see action this time sir?’
Hidaka smiles. “yes, yes we will. But if we need you guys, then I have failed. But our eagles won’t fail, I promise you. We are going to smack the Yankees out of the ball park”

Deep below them, Zuiho rumbles, and smoke shovels briefly from the funnel, and the fans begin to whine, imposing themselves, as they must, as they do, every moment of the day, into the fibre of the ship.
Zuiho is working up to speed now, and the first zeros begin to bark into life on her fantail.

‘But keep a close eye out ney?......a 500 pounder can ruin our day!’
He turns, and walks to meet the first pilots of this CAP.
Excitement, real excitement pulses through him. It is going to be a glorious day.
And action becons.
And what pilot could wish for anything less?


Zuiho works towards full power.
Below, the flames of hell are pouring out of all the burners, the boiler front trembling, the vent trunking shaking, pulsating under the press of the air being forced, crushed, pounded into that hell, consumed, blasted up and out through the tubes as heat, power, raw, beautiful energy.

The men tend the boilers, the turbines that work zuiho towards full power.
They assume a total nonchalance, actions casual, stripped to the wastes mostly, sweating freely, smiling, grinning at times.
The great beasts, these boilers, are at full forcing rate, all powerful giants, ready, willing, able to snuff these mens lives in a moment………….and the men grin, for these giants are theirs. Slaves to them.
This power is theirs.

Full forcing rate………….and these pits of hell convert water to steam, to power, and deliver it to the turbines.
And the men, so casual, watch and tend .
But their eyes are hard, and sharp…………….and nothing escapes them.


Zuiho works to full power
That pure energy , unseen, but felt, sensed about them, slams into turbines, converting energy to power, to torque, to movement, movement transmitted to the great screws astern, where the water boils, pounds, vibrating the stern into an insane, never ending dance.
And that power pushes her forward………ever forward.

And again, those eyes, in bodies so casual, are hard, watching that mass of dials in the engine room, alert to the first twitch, the first vibration, the first sign of trouble.

Zuiho works to full power…………….but things are not going well.

‘Port boiler……….port engine room……..charge speaking”
‘Port boiler!”
“Is that controller fixed yet? – I am none the too happy feeding by hand at full power!’

Bloody controller………how in the hell they get a hole in them is beyond me? –heavens, my house has better resistance to holes………..

“”Engine room, boiler room! –the answer is No!.......and the water tender would like the charge to know he is none to happy too!’
Despite himself, the charge grins. None too happy too. Who would be? – full power, 4 burning, all turning, and on the top plates, in that heat, feeding by hand
‘tell the poor hard done water tender I am going to come over….would he like a nice ice water while I am at it?’

Grins.
Grins all round. Watertending, the toughest job in town. And as if warships would ever have ice machines……..


The charge, 24 hours with out sleep now, is smiling as he heads to this latest crises.


Hasegawa is not smiling. He too is tired, with out sleep now for a similar time.
His stomach hurts, and pain from tired legs shoots spasmodically up his back, his spine, slams into his skull. He needs to rest. But he cannot.
He cannot leave the bridge.

Around him, Hyuga’s task force plods on, at a steady 15 knots, the battle ship leading the two columns of heavy cruisers.
But the carriers have to have wind, have to make wind….but stay in the screen, this far flung destroyer screen.

It is their only warning of air attack they have.


And so, Swift eagle has to cut back and forth, across the front of Hyuga’s force, then back, then back again………..and each time, co coordinating with the other carriers, the plane guard destroyers……and hopefully, hopefully, not plough into some bloody body….

The bridge is alive, bodies, reports, flowing in, assimilated, calculated, assessed.
All end with him.
And Hasegawa gives his orders, and manoeuvres Zuiho, 800 men in his care……..and silently prays for nightfall, and a finish to this day




Zuiho works to full power, and Diogawa waits, his propeller a blur ahead of him.
Excitement too, bubbles in him. It has been too long, too long.
Again, he does ‘the rounds’ Flaps, set, trim, set, throttle, warm under his hand.
He pushes the rudders, confirms the straps over the bridge of his feet…..round the world the stick -, stick hard to his left hip –the aileron comes up hard towards him, the right one hard down.
Stick fully forward, fully back.
Oil pressure good, manifolds good, fuel good………..and the little red flag is waving.

Home is steady, no swell today……….and the engine roars, a little drift, tail up, steady, steady, and away………….gear up, flaps up, trim ……trim, back the throttle, 1000 feet already………….too long, too long
Delighted to be flying again, he heels her over, barrel rolls, ocean blue ‘above’ his head.

It is a beautiful day…perfect in every respect.
Diogawa’s zero settles into its race track over the fleet, a silver dot over the calm , calm blue.
And even Diogawa, who cares little for ships, is impressed with the vast armada below him.


Dusk.
The last zero touches down.

“message from Hyuga sir”

The pain is steady now. And he can feel the sweat slide down his back.
But he must stay. Must.

“read it please”

‘We are to be off Narua island, dawn tomorrow. Prepare for possible engagement with enemy aircraft, surface forces.
battle speed two…execute”

battle speed two. Twenty four knots……..in the dark. He must remain on the bridge. Must.
“very well………..revolutions 230!, course 160 degrees!’


The bells tingle
Zuiho, and Japan, plunges south into the thickening night. The thunderheads, so far away this morning, are now upon them.

And just after dark, it begins to rain.


“And the day charge?’

He is drunk. Can you believe it.?. he tries to hide it……….but he is drunk.
How does the captain not notice?. Does he care?

Maybe not.

“We have fixed the float controller………..a win. But a few losses I am afraid.
Lost the port fuel pump in Starboard engine, transfer arm has spat the dummy…..tore out the bush. We are machining a new one.


There……..and I told you it was on the way out……….or don’t you remember?’


“Thanks charge………keep her going……..we don’t want Hasegawa on our backs, do we?’
And Minobe takes in his charge……….. he looks tired. Too tired. But are we all not as tired? Damn this war. Damn this ship.
Damn bloody airplanes……….
Charge will keep her going. He will. Then, this mission over……..a refit. Home. Please, God, home………….

The phone rings. Minobe takes it.
Voices, raised, urgent…….. “Problems in starboard boiler charge……….let me know”

36 hrs with out sleep now, and the charge goes again to his giants…………to keep his slaves in line.







Admiral Yamaguchi reads the reports

Heavy raids on Port Moresby, gassmatta, lunga,
Enemy ships at Tarawa.
Enemy raids on mearuke island………enemy ships at Horn island.
Enemy ships sighted west Akyab.
Enemy planes over kwaljien.

The board has been set.
The pieces are moving………





(in reply to PaxMondo)
Post #: 525
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/13/2011 8:13:41 PM   
pws1225

 

Posts: 843
Joined: 8/9/2010
From: Tate's Hell, Florida
Status: offline
Welcome back. It's good to get back aboard Zuiho.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 526
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/13/2011 8:24:03 PM   
John 3rd


Posts: 11071
Joined: 9/8/2005
From: La Salle, Colorado
Status: online
YES! Banzai ZUIHO!


_____________________________



Member: Reluctant Admiral and Perfect War Mod Team.

Reluctant Admiral Mod:
https://sites.google.com/site/reluctantadmiral/


(in reply to pws1225)
Post #: 527
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/13/2011 9:42:39 PM   
Wirraway_Ace


Posts: 1143
Joined: 10/8/2007
From: Briz Vegas
Status: offline
Brilliant stuff as always!

(in reply to John 3rd)
Post #: 528
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/14/2011 8:15:54 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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3/9/43

Evening

Truk lagoon is still, empty now.
The airfield too, is relatively quiet.

And corporal Oi can look over the calm surrounds, and wonder at the quiet.
Feast, or famine. This is the life for Oi, military policeman.
For a frantic week, trying , and that truly was the word, trying to police thousands upon thousands of sailors all seeking entertainment or relief at once, to this…….blessed quiet.
The secret police may still be busy, the local native police always busy, but for this week, ……….with luck he may even get some real rest himself.

He shifts his butt on his grass huts front step, contemplates the small bowl of rice he holds.
Sighs
There is no point trying to find a real meal in the town, the fleet has stripped it bare, the airforce taken the rest.
May be he will have to go fishing tomorrow.

Still, things could be worse.
They get worse. Coming up the beach, a certain sergeant Bando, man in charge of the local native police, those natives who currently supported the “ greater herbiesan collective’……….as some called it.

In private


Bando is scowling………..and Oi just knows it means work for him.

“A nice evening Oi”
‘Yes, care to join me……….although I really haven’t much to offer”
Bando waves his hand dismissively, picks up a small pebble, contemplates the calm lagoon, tosses it in.
“Different with out the fleet yes?.........
“They will be back”
“And we will have our arses hanging out again no?”
Yes, yes there is that.
‘You have a problem Bando?”

Bando’s face screws into a grimace. “yes, yes I do. Normally………normally I would handle it”
‘But it involves the military doesn’t it?”
‘Regretfully yes…….”
Oi considers………..he really would like a rest.
“let me guess……….a dead prostitute?”
‘Gutted…………..like a fish…from crutch to throat.”
Even for Oi………that gives him pause.
“That bad?”
“that bad”
A silence falls as the men think.

There is much to weigh here. If it is a native girl…………..there will be no investigation. Why should there be?
A prostitute………… again. why bother with a comfort woman’s fate?
But if a sailor is involved.?

Bando takes Oi in the eye. ‘There is actually some confusion on the womens identity….. as you know, we have some female typists at the airfield…one is missing.”
‘And she was a prostitute!?”
‘”No……………..but she had been ordered to make arrangements for a celebration party for the night of the fleets departure………..I think, in fact I believe she may have been mistaken for a working girl”

“I see”

Oi’s mind churns this. (and how strange to us………that he does not even consider this horrible double standard he is applying to this case………..as case it must now become)
‘ Any clues?’

‘Ah yes, and this my friend, is where you come in. I interviewed the whore house. They were, as you can imagine……busy. But they all recalled one man they threw out….he was carrying a knife.”
‘Suitable for the job?’
“regretfully ……..yes”
‘And the sailors identity?’
‘No name. .But a pilot. A pilot from a ship he called the happy phoenix………”






4/9/42

0030 hours.
Not that that time makes a difference, not here, not down below where the sun never shines, and the lights burn endlessly.

Charge has battled that boiler problem.
Fixed it.
Then, dusk action stations, then, a meal…………….and some fool has primed the Aft vap……….and yes, the port aft feed tank is now contaminated……..damn it.
And some of this contamination, as it does when the grain is going against you, has reached a boiler.

‘Alright then, another set of blows………..a good one……….I will be at the aft vap”

And out of the lab, turn aft, pass the darkened DCC, down the empty corridor. Around him, Zuiho mostly sleeps. or a third of her does.
Through the door, big, heavy………and he grunts at the effort. The ship is closed up……this door should not be opened………but he is too weary to go up, and over, and down again.

Port engine room…………a nod to the E.O.O.W……..and now the vap
“And what is truked now?”
‘It’s the brine pump……….its seized…….”
Ok, good……..easy. This we can do. “There is a spare in the steering room…..come on Seaman, I will show you where”

And then,. please………….some sleep.



“Captain, Bridge”
Hasegawa wakes with a start. Automatically checks his watch, inwardly groans.
0100 hours………..90 minutes since he got here…….
“Captain”
the voice down the tube sounds rudely healthy…bloody indestructible youth………
‘Three things sir……Nauru island rendezvous in one hour as ordered by you sir, flag ship has signalled tankers 0600 hours, we are first to fuel apparently, and engine room is requesting surface blows…………..”
Surface blows means steady revs…. Hasegawa’s mind battles to think through the fog of fatigue…….
“ Any enemy sign?”
‘No contacts sir”
‘Alright……….wake me at 0400…………all preparations to refuel completed by 0500……….let Minobe know”.
“Sir”






Hosho stands, terribly conscious of the sword now hanging at his hip.
It is good, he thinks, that the dark hides his embarrassment.
But the dark does not hide his voice, it pierces the night strong, true, rough edged.

A soldiers voice.
Now a leaders.
‘Come on first company!........get your S@#t into a sock!.........get fallen in!’
But the dark cannot hide the grins from some of the men around him.
The soldier part still rules their officer……………..

Lt Bando looms out of the dark…………”Are you ready Hosho?”
‘Always ready sir, even when we aren’t”
‘Good man…….a long march again I think”
‘Where too?”
‘Up this track. Due north………some place called warazup”
“Warrrrrrrrrzupp?”
‘No..warzup”
“Oh.Waaarrrrzzuuuuuppp!”

Bando shakes his head. Protect me from idiots…………
“It’ll never catch on my friend……….now, if you please………….”




Yamamoto stands at the back of the operations room, unseen, quiet.

Yet his presence……..as unofficial as it is, still dominates the room.
Before him, the enormous operations map……….the entire pacific war re created in loving detail……

We are gods………..overseeing the fate of millions………and we care for them as much as if they were those pins….
An unpleasant thought.

He dismisses the thought, and studies the gigantic map, trying to find some gap, some weakness in Yamaguchi’s plan.
He cannot find one………yet.

Main carrier body, refuelling to the north of entiwok…….ready to sweep southwards, well east of Mili, makin, Tarawa……ready to spring the trap.

And swift eagle, coming in from the south of tarawa………the bait…….and the crowbar to tear open that festering sores defences.
And finally, still coming from truk…….the invasion fleet.
Surely enough troops this time?
Yes.
Yes. There was.

So many red pins.



But the map is missing one vital pin.
The American carriers.

(in reply to Wirraway_Ace)
Post #: 529
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/14/2011 10:32:55 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Hi guys.
really appreciate the comments, I just sit down and write the first thing that comes into my head.
No idea what you enjoy, but i am having fun!
however, this time, a lot of strings must be tied together in light of the turns not written about yet.........

cantona has now gone on holiday.........and we have 5 and a half days to write about over the next 3 weeks........

so, please be patient....i have a plot to fill......and, yes, there has been a battle.......Oh yes, a real, fair dinkum battle......

so, let tarawa, round two...........be revealed!

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 530
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/15/2011 2:39:34 AM   
Arnhem


Posts: 551
Joined: 11/23/2004
From: Singapore
Status: offline
‘Up this track. Due north………some place called warazup”
“Warrrrrrrrrzupp?”
‘No..warzup”
“Oh.Waaarrrrzzuuuuuppp!”

Bando shakes his head. Protect me from idiots…………
“It’ll never catch on my friend……….now, if you please………….”

ROFLMAO.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 531
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/15/2011 3:44:10 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
0128 hrs
the alarms crash out……….that insistent call to arms that drags tired men from hammocks, sends them blundering through crowded passageways, stumbling, waiting in lines for ladders……frantic movements where a missing boot, a misplaced helmet is a crises ………..

Hasegawa reaches the bridge………Zuiho is healing hard, an emergency turn to port, vibrating, hammering away under his feet.
Blindly he gropes for the binnacle, takes it, its coldness a reassuring rock under his hand.
But the voice retains command, authority…….
“report!’
‘Submarine sighting sir!, 4000 yards, starboard bow!, destroyers investigating.”
A submarine
Very well……..it won’t be the last, that you can bank on……..


The pilots gather in the ready room………kitted up, ready for action, as if it will be happening at this our for them.
Ogawa, some how, has gotten hold of some sweet rolls……..he shares them out.
But mostly the pilots do what they always do in this situation, slump against bulkheads, or fight for space. Soon, very soon most will be snoozing.

Hidaka arrives…… he has to make some decisions, currently he has more zero pilots than planes. His fingers point, you,, you, you. Standing down tomorrow. You, you, you…..escort, the rest, CAP.
Then to the bridge.

He enters, waits until eyes adjust, seeks out Hasegawa. The bridge is relatively quiet, waiting on the results of the destroyer hunt, occasionally the OOW barks a new course, sing song repeated.
If there is a submarine, it has missed…….

“Sir……tomorrows strike ……….has there been a decision?”
“You mean a change of mind?”
“Yes……” and almost subconsciously both men glance at Mutsu., that grey blob on the horizon, where a battle ship man commands this fleet.

How ironic, thinks Hasegawa………once I would have thought exactly as we have been ordered…..
‘he remains convinced that Tarawa is the biggest threat. We are to save the fish. Standard AP bomb load for the birds Hidaka…..and the order to not attack anything unless its within 100 miles stands. Max CAP……..try to keep three aloft at all times if you can.”

Hidaka does not reply. What is there to say. Orders are orders. They will escort the heavies into range, then……….well then they would see.
‘Very good sir…….CAP will commence at dawn”






Charge makes the call.
“Dump it”
‘The whole tank Chief?”
‘All of it…we will be skating on feed I think for a while..but this tank is just to dirty….inform the engine room, make feed water only, no fresh…….. “
“hands fall out from action stations………dawn action stations will be at 0400 hrs’
…….”I really can’t see many of us needing too much fresh water somehow……”


(once again, zuiho is less then 50% feed water, 70% fresh)


Nashiguchi sits back to a wall, observing his companions.
In one corner, Ogawa, Diogawa are deep in argument over the merits of the Wildcat to the zero………both admire its toughness, its guns, but who would swap that for the brilliant climb and turn of their eagle?
He certainly would not…….

Okura sits beside him, quiet and reflective………again. And what does he think of this? Father murdered by the very Government we serve. Or does he fight for Japan, for home, for us?
Who do we fight for?
A burst of laughter from a corner……..
Yes. We fight for our brothers………for this ship.
But Lord……..if only we did not have to fight at all.

His eyes light upon another figure sitting slumped across the room.
Kurihama.

And he speaks
‘Do you think Okura…….now that we go to battle that that pissing god of yours will protect us from a fish in the guts?........that maybe Jesus himself will walk on the waves and deflect it aside? Hey, do you ?, do you?”
‘God will do, what God will do”
‘Bah!.......I tell you what I will do………..what WE will do. We will fly, you and I…..right to the enemy. You will be afraid, I will not be. I will gut the enemy……….and you will make sure I get there to do it”
And the eyes challenge.

yes, Kurihama……..I know my job. I will get you there. I swear it. I think, no, I know, you are evil incarnate. But you wear the uniform………and until I can prove what I fear…….. damnation!......but duty demands it.
But Ogawa interrupts them before he can speak……”Oh be quiet Kurihama, you sad sack of a man! – by the time we have finished with shooting them down, even a brick like you could hit a battleship…’

Zuiho falls out, but there is no point in going back to bed. Already the hanger deck rings to the cry and yells of men labouring to get the birds on deck.
Dawn is coming, hours yet, but already, another days work begins……
5/9/42

‘hands fall out dawn action stations, hands to replenishment stations, standby to receive fuel forward………”
The men move again. Slower now.
The charge amongst them. 48 hours, one hours sleep.

But he is not alone



(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 532
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/15/2011 9:35:48 AM   
hosho


Posts: 121
Joined: 10/21/2005
From: zagreb, croatia
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

Hi guys.
really appreciate the comments, I just sit down and write the first thing that comes into my head.
No idea what you enjoy, but i am having fun!
however, this time, a lot of strings must be tied together in light of the turns not written about yet.........

cantona has now gone on holiday.........and we have 5 and a half days to write about over the next 3 weeks........

so, please be patient....i have a plot to fill......and, yes, there has been a battle.......Oh yes, a real, fair dinkum battle......

so, let tarawa, round two...........be revealed!


feel like a kid that just got a huge bag of candies
great stuff herbs, keep it coming

_____________________________

the first ones are remembered

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 533
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/16/2011 10:10:41 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
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Hi Hosho.......

I am a bit worried though, after i finish with "you" you might not be so happy.
Quite a plot lined up for you friend!

Thanks readers!
Its a weekend........we can write a bit today........


5/9/42

Captain Getting, RAN, not for the first time, silently curses the unseen enemy somewhere ahead in the inky tropical darkness.
Behind him, HMAS Adelaide’s four funnels spew forth a thick great black cloud of smoke, as her ancient boilers and engines struggle to force her through the waters.

He curses, for this should be the Canberra, or the Australia, .or one of the other modern cruisers his country started this war with.
But Canberra and Australia still lie together in the waters of Sydney harbor, and two of the others are also gone, or crippled.
Too many captains, not enough ships…………..
And so he paces this ancient buckets bridge, and curses her slow progress .

Somewhere ahead, at Mearuke island, there should be a Japanese convoy………should be.

‘Unknown ships!, bearing 010 degrees!………..range 5000 yards!’
Getting takes his glasses………….yes, there they are…………… but no helpless transports these………....
Four funnels………moving fast.
“two light cruisers Guns!………..possibly Natori class……… and at least 6 destroyers!
‘I have them sir!……….shall we engage!?”

Shall we engage?. One elderly cruiser , 2 even older DDs.verses 2 and 8………
But they are the enemy………at last……….and it rises in him, a nations rage……….the strikes on Sydney, a shattered navy, the destruction and rape of Perth….those barsteds…….those slanty eyed barsteds…

‘Of course!….open fire!

And the night is splintered by the bark of the guns………….no flashless cordite here.and ahead, the dark lights up with the flash of guns too………

“Enemy is turning away!”
“after the buggars!”

Something strikes Adelaide…..a clanging ringing KA SMAK!…………and men duck……..a hit………

‘damage control sir………..one hit on armour……….no damage”
And another
No damage……………
And now the anger is replaced………a savage exhiliration…………and desire.
Kill them, get in close……….and kill them!”

Fire blossoms on one of the enemy destroyers…………..and a arrow wake, white and turbulent races bare feet past her bow………….a fish has missed.

2000 yards…………

They cannot hurt me, cannot hurt me…………kill them, kill them…….

Behind him, the 20 mm barks, the balls racing away, away, lazily arcing, bouncing of the still dark waters, and also disappearing into one of the racing enemy shadows.

The enemy belch smoke…and turn away again.

And he misses it…………….. and suddenly the range is 5000 yards again……..and the fountains , the waterfalls have ceased.

‘cease fire…………..how many hits Gun?’
‘Enough to send em home Sir…enough”

For 9 long months…aussie has been kicked around…..smashed across this war.
But now, maybe now, those Japs might be getting the message……there was more than just one martial race in the pacific willing to fight to the finish………more than one.





“Refueling complete Sir”

Hasegawa nods silently………….no words need to be said
Its been a crap fight, broken hose, mis communications, three..bloody three attempts to connect…….

We are tired………..everyone is tired……..the evidence is there, ney?
And the fight. if there is to be one, not yet begun………

No, no words need to be said.

He turns to Hidaka.
He at least, seems still fresh.
‘Your arrangements for today young man?’

Hidaka scowls, and jerks a thumb in the direction of the Mutsu….
“Our glorious Captain Abe still desires for us to hold our powder, in a manner of speaking.. Eighteen zeros available, 12 kates available.
The kates are armed with 250 KG Aps… we fly Cap…..I intend to fly 60% today.
Three kates are on deck, naval search………..as soon as they are away, we can get the O’s up………..

‘Alright Hidaka…”…………….and the thought rises, “ if the enemy carriers are out there.how long to change to the fish?’
‘if they turn up sir……….it will be all over before we can……..if it happens, we will have to go with what we have”
‘Which is better than useless”
“we aren’t here to kill carriers Sir………..if it goes to plan, Yamaguchi can do that”
Hasegawa smiles. It is not a warm smile…….. ‘That’s a big if Hidaka , a big if”……


Extract from Shattering the Sword, a Cantona production.

Dawn, 5th Of September 1942. Three great task forces are at sea.
Mutsus task force moving slowly east from Naru island towards ocean island.
But already plotted and tracked ……….

Mobile fleet, now 180 miles due east of Kwaljien island, coming south , unseen still.

And now, a third, the American fleet, unseen, deep in the south pacific.
And on its bridge, Hasely slams a pointer to a spot in the ocean 300 miles east of Tarawa.
‘We will wait for them here….and with luck……….bushwhack em”


Extract, from “Falling cherryblossoms”, a tale of an Imperial pilot…..


..you have to understand carriers those days were no where nearly as sophisticated as today’s.
I have walked the decks of an American supercarrier, you could almost fit all of Zuiho into its hanger alone…for us, every inch of space was vital.
No angled flight deck, and little room to park a plane.
In fact, to launch or recover, the deck had to be clear……or faith placed in the crash net raised forward.
None of us trusted that net…………..
On this day, for this mission, the Kates waited below, already fuelled, already armed…..each multi ton plane at the rear of the hanger.
If they were needed…if………each one would have to be pushed to the forward elevator, raised, and man handled aft to a spot at the rear of the flight deck.

Manhandled………..
Ten men per plane…….and you had to trust that each man knew his job, would not put a fist through a flap, or bend something you soon would need.

Just twelve Kates.but arrayed, ready, they cover the Aft elevator…….

The fighters could come up the forward hanger……and needed to be pushed maybe only half the way back.
We refuelled, re armed the zeros on the deck……but the dance that had to be done if one was damaged, and had to go below…….

Our crews were good……..very good.
From notice to full strike aloft, we could do it in under an hour.



The Forward vap is operating again, feed however still remains at 50%

Salinity in one of the boilers , the starboard aft this time, remains stubbornly high.
It really needs to be shut down, bottom blown, maybe even dumped totally and freshly filled.
But not now, no chance.

Again Zuiho is working up to nearly full speed, her flight deck spotted with the first flights of the day.

“Bridge, Engineroom……..”
“bridge”
‘request permission for surface blows 2B boiler…request steady revolutions for ten minutes whilst conducting blows”
Okano waits, the sweat streaming from him.
It is hot below now, very hot indeed…..these are tropical waters, and today the sun is bright, and the decks shimmer with heat.
Engine room temperatures sit at 120 degrees.
The boiler rooms are pure hell………

‘”Engine room bridge……………we are about to conduct flight operations……..can you manage at this speed?’
Okano scratches his chin. ………how would life have been if he was a pilot, instead of down here?
But, he’s not……….but he does understand…

He makes a decision
“roger bridge………..we will mange”
he leans to a different voice tube. “hey Hirate you battle scarred horror.do you want the good news…….or the good news!”
‘from you my friend, its always good”
‘Conduct surface blow 2b boiler”

we can’t repeat his reply.


Zuiho launches her cap………3 fighters, 9 more remain below, ready to come up immediately, 6 more are slated to escort the strike, if it is needed.
Nashiguichi again is up
Ogawa is asleep
And Diogawa is in the mess…………about to cause more trouble than he ever imagined.


(in reply to hosho)
Post #: 534
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/18/2011 7:25:46 AM   
hosho


Posts: 121
Joined: 10/21/2005
From: zagreb, croatia
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

Hi Hosho.......

I am a bit worried though, after i finish with "you" you might not be so happy.
Quite a plot lined up for you friend!



not a problem mate! who wants to live forever?

_____________________________

the first ones are remembered

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 535
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/18/2011 8:31:56 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Midday

5/9/42
The afternoon passes quickly, the zeros taking off, landing in turn....
At times nearly 20 eagles are aloft, with many more waiting on standby to launch.
They will not be needed today
Tomorrow, all going well, will see them cross the last gap, put Captain Abe’s battleships into gunnery range of Tarawa.

All going well that is………..


With the zeros, other planes are launched, kates, petes, other float planes., a very heavy search by Japanese standards.
Two search planes are lost……….the first payments of blood for this battle to come.
How, where, never to be solved.
Brave men gone, lives sacrificed unseen, un acknowledged.

But the reports come in. Kwaljien has nearly 30 Nells on search, and she does not have to remain silent.
By dusk, as the last plane is recovered for today, the picture begins to develop.

There are at least 5 submarines in the oceans about Tarawa, and at Tarawa itself, 7 merchant ships.
Tarawa , as expected, has fighters. And dive bombers. And Catalina’s.
A veritable hornets nest.

Mutsu’s lamp flashes, bright indeed in the fading light.

“Intend to take task force within fast approach range for a battleship bombardment dawn 7th, and to continue with back up strikes 8th
Carriers will maintain CAP, and only strike at any ships that immediately threaten this task force.
Yamaguchi will deal with any enemy carriers spotted. Keep strike aircraft armed with GP bombs for airfield neutralisation if required”

Hidaka reads the message. Snorts with derision. Yamaguichi will deal with the enemy carriers.
How many times had they tried to do that now?
And what if it did not happen again?
What then?


The sun sets, and the fleet continues due east.
The night is muggy, the seas calm, the sky clear.
Behind them, a cold front too marches east, it will eventually overtake them, probably early hours of the 8th., bringing with it heavy scattered clouds, a good breeze, and patches of rain.

I once had a navigator say: on the ocean, there is nowhere to hide.
Now a days, this is true.
But in these days of 42, before radar, before satellites, a rain squall is perfect. Why, you can hide an entire carrier task force in one if you really wish.


Nashiguchi has taken his meal to the flight deck, he sits now, in the dusk, face into the carriers self made breeze, picking at it, trying to cool down. Below decks is hell, the humidity …………

With a clump!, Diogawa sits beside him. His bowl is already almost empty.
‘You want that?”
Nashiguchi pokes a bit more. Too tired to eat, too hot. Without a sound he passes his meal to Diogawa, where it vanishes rapidly.
‘You seem happy Diaogawa, whats up?’
‘Woof, woof………played another prank old man, played another prank”

Nashiguchi stares at the clown besides him. How in the hell does he do it.? Here we are, going to certain battle, and he’s got his mind on that!
How in the hell does he do it?
‘Diogawa looks around, as if the secret police themselves were listening.
Thought one of those bludging Kate pilots needed a reminder of what flying is about, you know, a sore bum..”
“Oh yes?”
‘So, I was going to rub some salt into Kurihama’s underwear. You know, give the sad sack something to really be sore about”

Something in Nashiguchi freezes…………

‘But the joke was on me………you know, bloody thing was full of underwear alright…womens stuff…………”
And diogawa looks at him, truly perplexed.’ What in the hell is that all about?’

And the whole world seems to fade for Nashiguchi……. And he croaks the question..
‘And what did you do?’

Diogawas laughter spills over the flight deck into the gathering dark….”I filled that with salt too………..”


Three sets of blows are carried out below.
The boiler Chemistry remains just in limits.
Today, another feed pump fails…………….why always when the oceans are at the hottest?
A team will be collected, this most hated of jobs tackled once again.







Lurch carries the chain block on one easy shoulder, it was last used down aft, now it makes its steady way across the hanger deck towards the forward boiler room hatch.
As he passes the hatch leading down to the DCC, a voice calls his name.

He places the block down. ‘Sir!’
It is Minobe, emerging.
He wanders over……….and Lurch can smell the stink from here.
But he remains passive………managing to hold his disgust in.
How he hates this man………….
“What are you doing sailor?’
‘Feed pump repairs sir!”

Minobe sways
“is the hanger deck, or is it not, out of bounds to non aviation personal while flight deck operations are underway?’

Flight deck operations are complete………..or are they?. How could he know?
A plane to him, is a plane……..

But they are working on them, the packed wing tip, to wing tip bombers, the fighters.
But, surely, they are not flying…………

‘And what if you’d smashed into one with that chain block ney?, what if you bent a prop?’
‘Sir………”

Drunk as he is, the flat palm still loops too fast to see or dodge………

The stinging SMACK, reverberates in the hanger, stilling it. But only for a moment…..such a sound is all too familiar in Japans lower decks.

Minobe sways……….and suddenly, as if he has focused, or come back, a new face breaks forth…….the fathers face, as if the last moment has never happened.
‘You are a good stoker Lurch, why have you not been promoted yet? …..
And then he is gone.
Face stinging still, Lurch resumes his journey, and wonders at the madness of men.


(in reply to hosho)
Post #: 536
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/19/2011 9:39:54 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Just after midnight, 6/9/42, 30 miles east, Tarawa.


There are, in war, moments of military madness, moments that over the years, will leave mens heads shaking in disbelief.
Maybe it is a deliberate decision, maybe it is a mistake.
We will let history give its verdict.

I wont.

The large AP, City of Elwood leads a convoy of six other ships east, transports, cargo ships.
There are no escorts.

At 0032 hrs, the first torpedo strikes.
It is a dud
Moments later, another dud strikes a different AK, last in the convoy.
And that is the end of the luck.

Over a dozen Japanese SS are in this wolfpack, submarines carefully marshaled, carefully conserved.

We will never really know what happened in the next terrible hour…for by its end, there are no allied survivors

The battle for Tarawa has truly begun.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 537
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/20/2011 9:48:30 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Dawn, 6/9/42

Diogawa again shifts his arse, trying to find comfort in the joke that Zero’s call a seat.
Automatically his eyes swing across his instruments……….all good.
Another scan of the sky, again, automatic.
A gentle dip of the wings, looking down into the blind zones, all clear.

Below, zuiho is fading into a grey pencil on the deep blue , a pencil with a long sprawling white mark behind.
Funny, how with so many pencils below, one’s eyes can always immediately find home.
He banks, a gentle, subconscious movement, eyes still roving, noting, assessing.
About him, in immediate range, 3 other zeros, over there, on the outer vision limits, another few –the occasional glint of aluminium.

It is clear, very clear. Far too bloody clear. At 10000 feet, the entire task force stands out like dogs balls…………if its intending to sneek up upon Tarawa, it has no chance……

He looks up.
Coming up slowly over the horizon, high, high cloud………warnings of the coming front.
Tomorrow, day after…………
But not today.

Today, its sun, glare, blue, noise…………..and hopefully boredom.


Black puffs, starboard, 3000 metres, maybe more.
Tone, firing
At what?
There. There it is, glint of wing………….
Catalina!
Already winging over, engine howling, pressing into the seat, calculating, calculating, mind cold, cold…………finger on safety……..baka!, spotted

But catching, catching, the enemy is diving away….not fast enough my friend, not fast enough…..

Turbulence, banging through the air, come on you bitch, come on!

Ocean coming up, coming up……….
The Catalina grows, grows, he’s turning!, crap!, that hard!, and fire is coming his way, and he’s turning in, turning in..and OH .$%#@! !!!! IT!
Stuffed it.

And the cat has gotten in on him, and there is no way to attack that lovely belly….and the water explodes in a picket fence under his wing…………Damnation….the reach of its guns!

A second zero has jined him, and they weave together, racing over the waters, chasing the ugly cats shadow…………and its guns swing at them, evil, and potent

The other zero fires..a long, long burst, tracer lazily arcs ..oh you bloody idiot……at this range……….!
And it peels away, guns apparently empty

You stupid baka!

Diogawa races the throttle forward again, trying to get abeam………..and the cat gently turns, wing tip racing mere feet above the water, and the guns remain still upon him……..

Attack!
Every bone in his body says attack!
And common sense says…………..

With a curse, he climbs away

Well done American………….that was some flying…………


Tanks emptying fast, Diogawa turns for home…………there will be another chance to fight again….that is a given now.





Flag deck, Akagi

Captain Hara finishes his stretches.
Heavens, why is it so hard to find time to exercise………….
He notes his gut.
Damnation, when, if they ever get home, his wife will tease him so bad.

‘Sir!, message from Kaga!’

Is this it?. Has Yamaguchi finally gotten something?..so many search planes….and not a damn thing spotted
‘Read it!’

‘message reads……….Kwal reports intercepted radio message from allied patrol craft, 500 miles, due West Tarawa.”

500 miles due west…… that must be Abe and his little toys, must be, if all goes to plan…..

……. “ the allied patrol craft reported in the clear, “main body sighted”
and a few minutes later., ‘many carriers”
‘is that all?’
‘yes sir”

“very good”

Ahhhhh, so the bait is sniffed….will they rise to it?. Where will they come from…….pearl?, or from the North, or ……..they are at pearl.. Must be. And soon they will come rushing, and here we are……..right in their path.

What will Yamaguchi do?

And as if bidden by his thoughts alone, Hara gets his answer, the flags rising , fluttering in the wind

“new course……steer due south, speed, 12 knots”



(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 538
RE: The little ship that could. - 7/21/2011 9:31:49 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
Despite the sighting, the task force remains unmolested through out the day.
They steam east, reducing to twelve knots. At dusk, Captain Abe turns the fleet 180 degrees around, here, some 300 miles from Tarawa, they will pace the oceans,.

The plan continues.


‘Hyuga detaching sir”
Hasegawa moves to the bridge wing, takes the battle wagon into view.

A pang of jealousy courses through him………..ahh, to feel that power, to see that response when you speak “open fire”
Old as she is…….those great guns.
He sighs, Hidaka is right, of course. What risks to take, to take those guns into Tarawa…

‘Signal her…..’Good luck, good hunting. Leave us nothing to mop up”
“Sir!’


The great ship powers past now………her features fading in the setting sun.
The day of the dinosaur is nearing its end………..

“Stomp on them my friends, .stomp on them”

Hyuga, CA Atago vanish into the night, funnels glowing, eight destroyers escorting
Zuihos task force steams quietly, and waits.






Elsewhere.

"are you sure?'
'Yes admiral, 2 light carriers, 2 cvls, shoho, zuiho........still on course for Tarawa. '
The American admiral allows himself a genuine smile, a rare thing in this goddam war.

the plan continues...........

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 539
battle speed one! - 7/22/2011 7:20:43 AM   
1275psi

 

Posts: 6604
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
7/9/42

Waiting

In the dark, zuiho steams, and waits

Hasegawa waits on his bridge, the fatigue clawing at him.
What will Hyauga report?
Will she find waiting, a thousands barrels arrayed against her?
So he paces, and waits

Hidaka paces the flight deck, his zeros’ arrayed, shining in the slight moonlight.
Almost lovingly, he strokes a leading edge
Will Hyuga close the field, or will these birds tomorrow have to claw at the inevitable counter strike?
He paces, and waits

In the ready room, the pilots wait
The fighter men, confident that tomorrow, at dawn, they will fly. If the fight, they fight.
So they wait
The bomber men wonder, tomorrow –will they face a fleet? or a fort? Will they fly at all?
They wait

800 men wait, the ships grapevine is working well, all know what is happening to the east
It was hard to miss that great bulk curve away.
Tarawa? What will Hyuga find there?

They wait.






In Tokyo, another man waits.
He waits in a room, a bare room, with just him, a desk, and a single black bakerlite phone

This phone is a secure phone

It connects Yamamoto directly to the commanders of 52nd div, spread around Tokyo.
And it is quiet here in this room, as he too, waits.




“from Battleship Hyuga,
to
Combined Fleet


‘have conducted heavy bombardment of Tarawa
It burns
Am retiring west to Truk



From
Captain ABE
Mutsu

To

All units

“we will dash towards the enemy, and deliver a heavy blow from which they will not recover. Course 090, battle speed one”


two men
old, and new

One of sea, one of air

Friends now, forged in battle.

“Hidaka” and Hasegawa’s eyes are grey, but the twinkle remains………for battle is here, and for a warrior, what else is there to give life?
‘Full dawn strike, target Tarawa. All the birds, bombs only.”

Hidaka smiles. Stiffens. Salutes. “with pleasure sir!”

And below, through there feet, Zuiho trembles, as if aware of why her masters now whip her through the night.



(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 540
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