Hosho has new boots.
I fact, things have considerably changed, and changed for the better.
112th regiment, currently assigned to 25th army, is moving by train (a rattling collection of empty coal carts, flat bed trailers, and other carriages totally non passenger like) south ward through Burma towards Prome
Rumours, as usual, abound. Assignment to 15th Army, and a pending stiffening of defences of Akyab have filled the Officer briefings almost daily.
Hosho cannot give a stuff, to be frank. He has a full belly, and for once, the miles are flowing under his arse, not being conquered by his feet.
Right now the train has stopped, resting on a small siding nestled on a curve in the track.
The main line is on the outer side of the hill they are parked against, with a valley rather steeply sliding away below, to the jungle and river unseen.
It is a rather beautiful valley, green, vibrant, hills either side.
On their side, a steep embankment, fully twenty feet high, muddy, topped by more jungle. The sun is rather evilly reflecting of this bank, and many of the men have abandoned the train, seeking shade between the train itself, and the other track.
Hosho has refrained, he has a rather good position at the head of his carriage, a jury rigged platform, mounting a twin 25mm cannon.
There is shade enough here.
Another train is coming up the track, the third in this hour, another one full (he suspects) of those glum, dark Burmese troops. These are the troops who have relieved them. And not a man amongst his Company regrets that……not a man in the Imperial Army trusts these Burmese troops…….they are, well, they have no loyalty, no courage, no fighting spirit.
Garrison duty is good enough for them.
The train slowly clangs past, swaying violently even at this 20 mph pace.
Hosho yawns, reaches for his water bottle……..and in a continuous movement, is up and moving to the gun
He is not the only one to have heard it….”ACTION!, AIRCRAFT ALARM!”
There is no sound like it in the world, loved, hated. But so well known
The snarl of multiple merlins sweeping into the attack….
The twenty five mm is already manned –and Hosho moves behind, drawing his sword..how natural that act seemed, how, how meant to be it felt , and he points it, his keen eyes already picking out the three low shapes wheeling in .
The sound dies to a hum, as the hurricanes come straight in, wings twinkling. and the cannon opens fire : Crash CRASH<CRASH< CRASH , SNARLING< WHISTLING, the hurricanes blast over, fountains of dirt, smashing cannon fire, screams, dust, blood.
His gun swings uselessly, and Hosho is yelling, screaming at them, for another three fighter bombers are sweeping in, and this time two small bombs are falling,.explodig, throwing the engine of the thia train, up, and up, and over, and down, down into the valley, three carriages, so many sausages, following in a nightmare of destruction…….
Two more fighters are wheeling in, down there, down the valley, and his gunners are trying to reload, flinging, jamming the new ammo cases into the breeches, dragging at the cases holding the next.
These three are turning, turning, banking, opening the angles, ready to sweep the length of the trains, his trains, his men, with cannon fire, .
There is no escape, no where to hide, the embankment……….back wall for the firing squad, .
The snarl of the merlins rise to the scream, and no fire comes, for the Oscars, the eagles are there, the hurricanes jerk, fling hard away, racing overhead, the japanese birds hard on their tails…….
And silence, so abruptly shattered, returns.. Mostly.
Hosho looks down the length of his train, at the small bundles , once, moments ago, men, scattered down its length, at the burning, smoking remains of the engine.
A right royal mess
Hosho examines his boots. How many miles, he thinks, will they have to carry him now?
In Burma, Japans Armies are on the move. As are the allies. Overhead, determined to slow, or stop them, the allies send Huricanes, B-26/25’s
The Japanese, employing almost the entire bulk of its KI43 force, try to stop them.
Much, in the future months, depends on whether Hosho’s experience is a one off, or becomes the norm.
Zuiho is coming alive again. 1A, 1B boilers glow again, raising steam, establishing chemistry. The Port boiler room is almost presentable.
The starboard boilers are being washed out, freshly filled, tests complete. Tomorrow, Gods willing, they will be ready for a basin trial.
The Bearing spins in a chuck, in a gigantic Lathe on the repair ship.
It nears completion.
Tan watches the work, watches closely. He thinks about this lathe.
It represents much about the world, about this war, about how he got here.
It’s a british lathe, this lathe, manufactured in leeds, 1914. Probably helped build some of the british fleet they now fight. Post war, bought by a nation hungry for machines…………unable to build its own.
Tan has spent his years on the railways, helped the industrial revolution grow in Japan. How valuable these machines, unseen in those factories, had been.
And he has seen what happens when a voracious military takes them from you.
Tan watches the lathe work, the lathe operator. And he wonders, no, he knows, that across the ocean, his enemies, have thousands, and upon thousands more of these vital war cogs than Japan can dream of.
Herbiesan, again, contemplates his map.
In moments like this, the reality is hard to escape.
The Americans refuse to give up
The British pressure grows in Burma
Australia floats as a fortress.
Three fronts, opened, ostensively, to solve ‘the problem of China’
And now, dam it, that dragon is stirring again.
He looks up, views his Commander in Chief. “The offensive is approved. Let it be known, they broke the truce, not us. Take Wunchow”
< Message edited by 1275psi -- 8/23/2011 8:54:36 AM >