Twenty hundred hours
Zuiho’s men work
Of her entire crew, only the pilots sleep, or try to. Only on orders of Hidaka do they sleep.
Elsewhere men work.
In the hanger, ander the bright, bright lights, men sweat. 8 kates are serviceable for tomorrow, three are damaged. Two, might, just might be made ready for the dawn. Men swarm over these planes………..a thousand regulations and rules are being broken as a hundred short cuts are taken to get them ready.
About them, other men strain to load the fish.
Zuiho still has her fish
Tomorrow, what ever is out there, is still close enough for the float planes to find.
If Zuiho can launch it tomorrow, it will be on strike.
Only 8 zeros remain
They now have 41 kills to their names.
In the sickbay CMDR Korii works, he has bones to set, and three men have shrapnel wounds. These he can treat. The man in the corner, behind the screen: he does not know.
Minobe sits there, but not his mind.
In the context of Japanese, in the context of Japanese military men, he simply has no experience of what he sees.
But there is no time for that now, other men still come in, stokers, three of them, all scalded in various amounts. They wait stoically for his team.
Cmdr Korii works , and thanks the stars that this is all he has to contend with.
The cooks work. They have done well, incredibly well. Hot food has been distributed through out the ship, swet rolls, sticky rice, dried meat, even for some, hot soup.
Men fight on their belly.
Of all the actions taken tonight, this must be almost the most important.
The stokers work too. Tonight, they will achieve fuelling, receiving nearly 500 tons from Akagi.
They were down to 16% at dusk. Running on fumes is not the word for it.
Even as they refuel, they will labour on the leaks. There will be no hot water from now on until port, a small price to pay indeed.
All of them.
Combined fleet too works all night, refueling mainly, transferring dunked pilots to home ships, and preparing for tomorrow. She barely covers 80 miles in 8 hours, a distance Yamaguchi has little to fret over
By 0300 he has the enemy formations plotted to the inch.
Tomorrow will be a bloody day.
Yamato, Kongo, Kirishima, Hiei, Haranua, cruisers Nachi, Mogami, Suzuya, escorting destroyers, steam south now, the main body fading into the horizon
The Yamato leads, arrogance personified.
Just after midnight, it is an arrogance justified.
Battle ship North Carolina, a single escorting destroyer are sighted at 12000 yards just before midnight, and Tanaka takes his force in line ahead, parallel to the glowing shape in the dark.
For many months Yamato’s gunnery has been greatly maligned., twice they have failed initial gunnery trials.
Twice they have searched for the reasons for their shame.
Last month, they found them.
Our story has no man on this ship, but what thrill they must have felt, what anticipation…………’surface target Port!, battleship!. SHOOT!
Tonight, dinosaurs still rule the earth
That first salve we know struck true, struck deep.
As did the second
There is no need for a third
‘Shift target right!………secondary armament, shoot!
A beautiful baptism, a Battleship and destroyer in the bag.
Tanaka, strictly following his orders, turns North again to rejoin the fleet
The Wasp has been sighted, too far away for him and his fuel situation.
But plenty close enough for the carriers
Okura climbs into his Kate. No, not his kate. He busted that yesterday. Was it only yesterday?
The climb into the cockpit is exhausting.
In training school, they used to run in the dawn on the beach, run, and run, and run, because to stop running meant a beating.
He never then, felt as exhausted as this.
Rest. They must rest.
Hidaka climbs into the bird ahead of him, head bowing in acknowledgement his way.
So, he has escaped Hasegawa’s clutches after all.
And why not.? The beast is down, the jackals circle ever closer.
He lifts of into the dawn, again, wheeling hard south as soon as he can, Hidaka on his wing, unknowns from other carriers all about them
The skies are filling with planes, but not all go south
Many go North, some west, some east.
It is…………..a target rich environment………
He flies automatically……you, I have done it. Drove across endless plains, and been unable to remember any of it
This is that flight
And then the green flare, and Hidaka wobbling the wings, the slow., curving descent to 500 feet, 300 feet.
Numbness. This is how Okura flies today, in numbness. The flak does not affect him. The ships he gently dodges around he barely notices
The release of the fish, he never can recall.
WASP, already listing hard, leaping at the hit……barely stirs him
Tired beyond belief, he will fly home, climb out of his bird, and seek the only thing he needs, sleep.
Extract, from shattering the sword, a cantona production
12/9/42. A black day in America’s history
A black day indeed
Even, as members of Congress stand, and call for the President “to end this war now”, even as he sits , alone in the oval office (my darkest day, bar none. Our great sword, the Navy, shattered in my hand. But I would see the sun again, if I retained the faith), the disaster continues.
Battle ship Tennessee is struck by three bombs, not those piddling 250 KG bombs, but Kate delivered bombs.
She burns, and is in big trouble
Cruiser Indianapolis, a destroyer are sunk. There is no false counting of these today.
Battleship California takes a bomb near dusk.
She will be still burning as night falls, a fatal danger in these shark filled waters.
To the North of Tarawa, fruitlessly hunting for an invasion fleet already fleeing North, kates….Zuiho kates, sink CLAA Atlanta, CL Durbham
Other ships, 2 more heavy cruisers, are reported bombed as well. Double claims?
Does it matter
The defeat is becoming a rout.
Unfortunately for the Americans, there is a long,, long way to run.
< Message edited by 1275psi -- 8/4/2011 10:21:08 AM >