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RE: ouch - 3/1/2012 11:38:20 PM   
british exil


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From: Lower Saxony Germany
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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

12 April

Captain Kurita may not ever get his wish to command a battleship, but for all intents and purposes, tonight he does.

The Allies, we now know, act as if he does.

Long, long before the four lithe shapes slice into iron bottom sound, the reaction to their approach has begun.
The invasion convoys have ceased unloading, and now flee south.
The manouvre does not go well.
Some time about 3am, the transport commander is given an intercept message.
An incorrectly addressed mesage. One that commands the Massachusetts TF to sail north east to intercept Kurita's force.

Dawn will find the transports steaming North east, 40 miles south of Lunga.
With out air cover........


BB Massachusetts, Arizona, leading Cl Leander, Nashville and 3 destroyers, steam to intercept.
They have radar
They have forward warning
They have overwhelming fire power.




They have a commander hardly ever to be matched in Naval history for incompetence, in command...............






Nailbiting stuff.
Keep it coming!!!!

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 #: 961
RE: Hmmmm - 3/2/2012 5:01:18 AM   
Heeward


Posts: 316
Joined: 1/27/2003
From: Lacey Washington
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Well I have been waiting for a new title, so here is one for you.
I find your AAR the most enjoyable, especially comments such as ....

"They have a commander hardly ever to be matched in Naval history for incompetence, in command............... "


_____________________________

The Wake

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 962
RE: Hmmmm - 3/2/2012 11:02:17 AM   
1275psi

 

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the last comment, of course, relates to the Commander of the Massachutes, not Cantona!

Kurita glances skyward. The full moon shines banefully down, they are bathed in light.
Impossible that they will achieve surprise.
Then, if they cannot, they must do what must be done. Get in, launch the fish.
There cannot be a chance of getting out.
Then he must do his duty. “Suriho, we will get as close as we can. I do not intend to turn away”
Suriho, face pale in the light, nods. Salutes. “Give me a fat barsted sir, just give me something worth killing”
Yes, I will do that. Goodbye Mother, goodbye father. “Battleship man “ Kurita goes to battle.
He barks orders. “revolutions for 26 knots!, order line abreast! A thousand yen for who ever spots the Buka’s first!”
Calm waters. Full moon. Brilliant visibility. It does not take long.
“Ships dead ahead sir!, A battle ship, No two!, range 7000 yards!”
I will do my duty. We will all do our duty. There is nothing else we can do. Fear grips me like a vice. But duty will get me through…………
‘Full ahead Flank!, standby for torpedo attack!”


Silence grips the bridge, the wind whips past, the fans below scream, the sea hisses past.
At 36 knots they race in.
And the enemy guns remain silent
5000 yards
And the enemy guns remain silent
4000
4000 yards, and this cannot be, must not be right. They should be, must be dead by now!
The enemy battle wagons loom ever larger, ever more massive, guns seeking……….
And the thought, the mad thought, crashes through.
Exultation rips free!’ They are seeking enemy battle wagons!, they think we are leading battle ships!
:Open fire!, all guns, aim for the bridge!. All ships, hard to starboard!, line ahead!. Suriho!, stand by!, standby!”
Ayanami leans, leans, slews through the water, and the four Japanese destroyers literally race across the allied lines bow, the night split by flashing tracer, the chatter of guns, the bark of the 5 inch of the allies, the smashing KAWTHAK of something slamming into the bridre behind him, the incredible sight of the Massachusetts looming over them, her bridge area a sparkling fire works display of shells bouncing from her armour………..and over all of it, the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the fish streaking free.
Three of them slew across the bows, place there arses in the allied faces, and streak for safety, Ushio does not, split in two in flame and water……….
It is all too busy, helm orders, more helm orders, the screaming whistle of shells cratering the air about him, screams of the wounded, …………………..and the enemy line curving away from them…….guns STILL seeking the enemy battle wagons that were never there.
And silence falls.
Three Japanese destroyers flee north. Somehow, to his eternal shame, not one of Suriho’s fish have found a mark.
It does not matter.
On Massachusetis, blood flows on her bridge. And the unthinkable happens.
“Retire. We must retire. Set course for Noumea”



They do not get far. Dawn, 80 miles south of Lunga I-27, I-153 wait for what cripples will emerge.
I-27’s torpedo hits Massachusetts fair in her arse, a fitting place, tearing two props clean off, bending shafts, twisting rudders.
Her damage is critical. Her captain forever condemned.
Nashville is not nearly so lucky. 3 torpedos from I-153 spark an ammunition explosion, she is gone before her crew know they are dead.
Four destroyers. The enemy surface force has retired. The invasion force is out in the open.
The covering CVE TF sits alone.
Attack!
Attack!
Attack!
The first wave comes, 18 zeros, 9 betty bombers. Nearly a dozen wildcats streak in, and the brawl begins. The betties attack, the allies fling a hail of black at them. Men die. Planes explode.
Fish drop, ships manoeuvre frantically
Fish miss.
The next wave finds the convoy. The escorting zeros have nothing to do, the bombers almost leisurely attack.
Three cargo ships will go down

And now the attacks come, and come, almost with out pause,
How many men involved today. Thousands. How many versions of this day. Equally, thousands.All will see it differently.
But all will tell you this. The column of fire from CVE Chenango when her forward magazine exploded was easily a thousand feet high. The wild cat fighter flung by it, 1500 feet.
All, to a man, remember that spinning, twisting, wildcat, going UP.

CV Wasp, escapes. Her luck, it appears, holds. The CV Victorious too, escapes the streaking wakes of fish, the white mountains of foam from the bombs.
The cost has been high. Japan loses 40 fighters this day. The allies nearly 50.
Japan can bring in more. And bomber losses are light
But can the allies remain, with just 2 decks free?
Quiet falls by 3 PM, here at Lunga at least. But the battle continues.


(in reply to Heeward)
Post #: 963
RE: Hmmmm - 3/3/2012 3:52:17 AM   
1275psi

 

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The sonia, all would agre, is a useless airplane
But it is all Japan has here today.

For the hundreth time, Fuchida grimaces as they wing southwards - at times below the peaks of the mountains.
A mere seven light bombers, just six Tojos

Above them, the murk of the clouds, a solid layer of muck at 15000 feet, forcing them to this perilous passage towards Port Moresby.
His Tiger bareyl cruises along, hamstrung to the light bombers progress, to their terrible lack of progress

His Tiger bounces hard in the turbulance, and the entire flight is scattered.....
The murk clears above as Port moresby heaves into view.
The P 38's pounce, a single diving , chattering, screaming pass.

Fuchida see's them coming, throttle hammered to the wall he hauls his plane violently up, and around, twisting neatly out of the way, before the stall sends him spinning down.
he lets her go for two, sticks her forward, pulls her out.
The sky, as he knew it would be, is clear already, the 38's already climbing up and away, preparing for the next dive.
They will not take it.

The sonias have already ditched the bombs, turned for home.
Seven strong, they flee for home. Only four Tojos follow them.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 964
RE: Hmmmm - 3/3/2012 4:02:45 AM   
1275psi

 

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Kuriho places an encouraging hand on Suriho's shoulder.
"Next time yes?"
But his torpedo man remains glum
Ayanam, Asagiri, race north towards Munda

A foolish thing, Kuriho thinks, to remain so glum. They are still alive, No?

Destroyer Suzanami is no longer with them, detached two hours ago to Shortlands, there has been a single terrible message 'Am engaging Light cruiser, four destroyers. Long live Japan!"
Then that silence.

'Fighters overhead sir"
His glasses pick them easily, only three, but friendly, circling them at 5000 feet.
There are others above them.
So maybe they have not gotten away after all.......
He calls it quietly. There is no fear. After last night, what is there to fear. Death will come, or it will not
"Action stations, standby for Air attack"

23 dive bombers swoop through the zeros.
Death will come, or it will not.
2 bombs strike Ayanami, one on the bridge
Death does come.


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 965
RE: Hmmmm - 3/3/2012 4:08:20 AM   
1275psi

 

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13 April

Zuiho continues to throw her machinery together.
2 boilers are steaming now, going through the process of baking in the new brickwork.
All her pumps have run, or have not.............
Starboard engine room seems to be a steam bath , as a whole stream of valves piss it everywhere. Sometime last month some fool could not tell low pressure water packing from steam.
They will all have to be redone.

for every step forward, half a step back.
it is the nature of these things.
They work, they press on.
Amazing the effort, for when you think about it, what is the reward?

To be carried siftly back to the war, back to the battle

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 966
RE: Hmmmm - 3/3/2012 4:13:56 AM   
1275psi

 

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14 April

Fuchida leads 47th to Hollandia
They are reduced to 6

He flies, mind blank.

But he cannot stop it.
17 sallies escorted to Port Moresby
just 6 returning.

And Lea reduced to rubble, the B-26's screaming across the bay, even as they trie to land .

He cannot stop it. Port Morseby is gone, lea is gone, Port Moresby is gone, lea is gone..........

I wonder what he would think, if he knew Lunga had fallen too?

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 967
RE: ouch - 3/4/2012 2:48:48 AM   
1275psi

 

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15th April

Basin trial.

The purpose of a basin trial is really quite simple. Start all machinery, and get your ship “burning and turning” alongside, to test her main engines.

If only it were so simple
The day begins at 0400 hours, light off of 1A and 2A boilers.
By 0500 hours, Hirate has 1a to 200 PSI, and Okano is busy beginning to warm through his auxs next door.
It will be as far as that Prig of a boiler will get today, a valve bonnet on her forced draft blower pisses steam everywhere.
Charge will merely curse, and order 1B lit off instead.
2A reaches temperature and pressure, and by midday, Starboard main engine turns.
They will have a good day in the Starboard spaces, 2B also is online by 1400
1B never even gets lit off, her mud drum gasket leaks. She will need to be dumped, repaired, refilled, retreated for water chemistry, and then squeezed, all before being lit off.
If they are lucky, midnight before she is lit.
Charge will test the port main engine with Tan, crossed connected to the other boilers just after midday.
Zuiho can sail, if required tomorrow, but the brutal fact is she cannot launch aircraft until the port boilers are sorted.
They, of course, are not all the problems. The ships hot water system is not working, there is no steam to the galley, and worst of all, both evaporators are down.
Zuiho will be taking feed water from her big brother Zuikaku for most of the night, as they struggle to get Port boiler rom going.
And the list of minor defects seems to never shrink.

Kato listens to Tan in icy silence
Tan does not understand it. What is wrong with the man? They have twenty four hours yet, and many more before he will wish to launch. They will make it. They always do……..
“I have promised Zuikaku that we will take the first duty Tan. I will hear of no excuses!”
‘Sir, we are going to Hiroshima first?”
Kato hesitates. (why?, doesn’t the chance to really sort our s#$t please him?) ‘Yes, yes we are. Nagumo has CAR DIV 2 waiting for us. But I will not delay him!”
Tan pulls himself erect. He knows now how the Navy works. (to tell me, chief engineer of the Tokyo line about time table, about being late!)
Carefully, solemnly, he salutes. “We will be ready sir”
“Good. And Tan, get the bloody hot water fixed!”


47th sentai, only 6 strong, arrives Biak.
Fuchida finds a bed, and sleeps for 16 hours straight.


They slip away quietly from, Hiroshima bay, the great giants.
Yamato, Mushia in one great task force. Mutsu, Nagato in another. The four old battle ships in a third.
Surrounded by destroyers, escorted by cruisers, they vanish into the night.
The fleets replenishment ships are arriving in the southern oceans at last. The solomons are a long way from anywhere. Yamamoto will have to choose very carefully the moment he flings the fleet into battle.
But fling them, he will.

The allies unload at Lunga, at Port Moresby.
Over Lunga, 20 odd KI-43’s sweep the sky, almost unseen by the busy men below, glittering dots high, high, in the sky.
If there is a Long range CAP, it does not see them either.
The day is peaceful in all other respects, just men unloading ships, the shuttle of dozens of small craft from ship to shore, and stores piling up in mountains of boxes on the narrow, narrow beaches.
History tells us some fools even go swimming.
It will be a long time before peace returns these waters.


16 April 43

They arrive even as the sky begins to pink the horizon.
Glittering dots in the early morning sun, shimmering, sparkling, , soundless at 16000 feet.
But only until the stooping dive.
20 Val dive bombers, un hindered by fighters, undisturbed by mere merchant ship Flack.
They make good practice of it today.
3 large merchant ships begin to lay the carpet of steel and charred bone, on the floor of iron bottom sound.



Tan keeps his promise.
Luck, fortunately , is on the Stokers side. Zuiho, scheduled to sail at 10 am, sails near midnight, delayed by a missing shipment of torpedoes. They arrive at 7 PM, and those three hours are enough.
‘Zuiho ready to sail sir, 4 boilers on line, both main engines at immediate notice”
And Kato merely nods.
Tan retires, relieved. The dragon has been slain again.




Task force 132
Commander Yamaguichi in Command
Carriers Zuikaku, Zuiho, Shoho. Battleships Kongo, Haranua , Kirishima. Cruisers takao, Atago, Chokia. Light cruisers Kitikami, Oi. Eight destroyers, three of them of the new Akizuki class.
For some nations, a navy in itself. But this war is growing in size and scope never imagined ten years ago. A furnace that is consuming all.
Yamaguchi sails with no illusions. A strong as this fleet is, it can never be strong enough.



(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 968
RE: ouch - 3/5/2012 8:38:00 AM   
1275psi

 

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17 april

Zuiho and her friends arrive and anchor at Hiroshima.
For the Stokers, for the Charge and her engineer, a night mare trip.
They sail at 100% feed, and both evaporators dead as doornails
One requires a new gasket on the exhaust steam inlet, it simply cannot be repaired until the spaceis secured. The others brine pump has siezed.
Frantic work will find a nut (and lord knows where that came from) lodged in the impeller.

In the meantime, all 4 boilers are being steamed, and all 4 need soot blows, bottom blows, itsas if the mechanical Gods have demanded all their thirsts be slaked at once

feed is down to 20%, and zuiho still 4 hours from port before the evaporator, literally whipped back together with curses, begins to produce.
For another gut tearing two hours feed stays at 20%, falls to 16 (and not a man below is not aware that at any moment the feed pumps may lose suction), before it begins to painfully, slowly rise.
Upon arrival, Tan gets the affected end shut down it double time, it will be hot horrible work 9again!0 on the other evaporator.
But it will get done.

Uncertainty drives everyone.
From kato down, nobody seems to know what is happening.
They refuel, and are told to plan for a dawn sail.
That, an hour later, is cancelled.
Nagumo will see them.
No, now he wont. Wait.

Sailing at midday, Ryuho, Ryhujo will accompany.
No, Ryuho has traoubles, so sorry, sail midnight, tomorrow.
No, wait again.

Plans. plans. planning to have a plan............

Military life, distiled into that famous line.
Hurry up!, and wait.!

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 969
RE: ouch - 3/5/2012 8:40:49 AM   
1275psi

 

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17April

75 betties pound Lunga
Vals sink a destroyer
Fighters , and bombers are lost.
Vella lavella is pounded by heavies in counter attack.

More japanese light forces race down the slot.


The meat grinder is just beginning to crack into gear...................

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 970
RE: ouch - 3/5/2012 8:57:03 AM   
1275psi

 

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Guadacanal.

That place where two giants clashed.
Who has not read the histories of these battles. Not been stirred by Samuals descriptions of valour, of Uncommon valour, in those dark waters.?
Read them, and one thinks of close order fighting, of ships bashing away at each other in toe to toe fights, no quarter given, none recieved.
It is easy, in ones mind, to see those waters, so narrow, so close, forcing foes to fight, face to face.
Look at the map. Look at iron bottom sound. So narrow, no?

But try it for real. sail on those waters.
I have
They are not so narrow at all, especially for a destroyer, a small cruiser.
There is room a plenty to manouvre, to speed at thirty knots.
Those "narrow waters", are really not so narrow at all.

And there is more than enough room, enough land to hide at your back, to sneek through.

Samuals history is good, -for a book written in 1950.
Epecially when it comes to American victories.

I read the old thing today, and it is full of Bovingtons 14, 15, 16th kills over lunga, of the Kates and vals he killed this day.
And deserved too.
But i read of the night before.

"Japanese warships entered the straight, and caused some damage...........
And that is all.

Maybe in 1950, the truth is still too raw.
CL Kiso, Kuma, destroyer Asanagi slide in at 12 knots, dark, and unseen, radar returns masked by the rain they follow down the slot.
They surprise six unescorted cargo ships, at anchor, south of Tulgia.................

History has covered that little adventure with a blanket of shame.

< Message edited by 1275psi -- 3/5/2012 8:58:44 AM >

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 971
RE: ouch - 3/6/2012 5:34:50 AM   
1275psi

 

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http://bytesanddice.wordpress.com/

Cantonas blogg-a good one, and the allied propaganda view of this war

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 972
RE: ouch - 3/6/2012 6:16:57 AM   
PaxMondo


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And Morrison.  Also old, but still gives a lot of detail.

_____________________________

Pax

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Post #: 973
RE: ouch - 3/6/2012 8:45:27 AM   
1275psi

 

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Joined: 4/17/2005
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19 April

Zuiho still rests at anchot

Her crew does not.

Snap shots of the day Tan, staring almost stupidly at the comms phone in damage control central...'The fire is where?, when?.
'What, its out already?'
Another fire drill that goes not so well.

Charge losing an eybrow, peering just a little too close at the flame in 1A boiler through the inspection window.......

The shriek of safety valves lifting scaring half a dozen of the new AA gunners half sh$%#tless in the new gun tubs

The roar of aero engines rattling her decks again, as Hidaka whips the support crews into shape again.

Everywhere, her men are kept busy, busy, busy..............


Hosho marches again
55th division is clear of the jungle, moving south towards Shwebo again. 15th army is now the reserve army. The war, for him, is still going well.

Yamamoto slips away from Imperial HQ for an hour, for a "dalliance" with a young lady.
In japan, not something frowned upon.
But there is no lady. just men, serious, frowning men.
The discussions reach no decision, but may have edged closer to one.

And over Guadacanal, the war too, is busy, busy busy.

Another DD hit
More bombs on Munda
Zeros rapidly losing the myth of invincibility against the P 38
But liberators too, going down , 5 today.

50 men

The allies lose 9 planes today, japan 16

(in reply to PaxMondo)
Post #: 974
RE: ouch - 3/6/2012 8:54:13 AM   
1275psi

 

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20 april

Kato bends to the microphone.

Through out her length, men stop, and silence fills the ship.
"This is the Captain speaking"




' A great struggle is occuring at the outer edges of our empire. The enemy, driven to its knees, attemptes to swing the war to his advantage. I believe, my fellow men, that an opportunity exists to finish this war, that the enemy exposes his neck.
So does our command. The forces of the empire are rushing south, and we will join them.
Together, we will crush the enemy, and finish this war."


'Zuiho sails at 0800 hours. That is all"

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 975
RE: ouch - 3/6/2012 9:02:39 AM   
1275psi

 

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How many defects fixed?
How many refit items completed?
How many major repairs done?

Does it matter?
they are done.
Charge, and most of his men sleep, some for up to 6 hours, most for 4.

Then they will rise , and start all over again.




from "falling cherry blossoms"

.and so our time in refit came to a close. A quiet time for us, too many hours sat staring at windswept, rainswept airfields. But now our little home prepares to take us south again, to warmer climes. What would they find this time?
Enemies a plenty, no doubt...........

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 976
RE: ouch - 3/7/2012 7:22:34 AM   
1275psi

 

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21 st April

South west of Zuiho, a warning

Ss grouper attacks a convoy
In an hour, she sinks 4 Aks, and hits a PC with gunfire.

In short, she sinks an entire convoy.

American submarines are smelling the blood in the water now..............

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 977
RE: ouch - 3/7/2012 7:42:50 PM   
kaleun

 

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From: Colorado
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Had fallen behind and just now caught up.
Awesome.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 978
RE: ouch - 3/8/2012 7:44:49 AM   
1275psi

 

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22nd April

Night is falling
There is a certain something all sailors experince, that we can tell you about, but never share.

Far away, off Zuiho's starboard fllank, almost lost in the evening mists, Kyusho sits on the horizon.
It is only a dark smaudge, but it is there, Japan.
Home.
Families, lovers, friends. Their nation.
A great many men star towards her, drinking in this last look, silent, contemplative.
Will they see home again?
How long away, this time?
There are, of course , no answers.


The waters hiss steadily past, the wake carves of her bow. The Ocean slowly goes dark as the sun plunges into it.
If the ocean has the answers, it will keep them to itself..


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 979
RE: ouch - 3/8/2012 7:50:37 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hidaka gathers his men in the hanger.
Over 200 strong.

Once, he adressed them all, and knew none of them.
Now, not one he does not know.

And they know him

"Men, we go again. You know what I expect, what is required. I know you will not let me down. We commence flight operations at dawn. That is all "

Nobody leads it. it just happens

"Banzia!, banzia!, banzia! Defiant, proud, confident. The little ship that can, echoes to her challenge to the world, to all who oppose her.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 980
RE: ouch - 3/8/2012 7:51:05 AM   
1275psi

 

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Thankyou kaluen, your comments really appreciated.

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Post #: 981
RE: ouch - 3/8/2012 7:54:46 AM   
1275psi

 

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23 april

The bombers drone south
The fighters swarm in escort
the P 38's snarl as they intercept....

It goes on, day after day, after day.


The allies unload to Lunga's south, a new menace, Kirakira. How long before a strip appears there?



55th division boards trains, at last.
Hosho rests his weary feet, 15th army will go to Moulmien, deep reserve.
For a soldier, how good is this!

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 982
RE: ouch - 3/11/2012 10:54:50 PM   
1275psi

 

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24 April

Zuiho slices south.
Nearly 30 pairs of eyes are now scanning her horizons, attempting to find the nearly impossible to find.
The razor thin feather of an approaching periscope.
None today are sighted.
But they are out there, and not a mind does not spend some time thinking about them.

The ship continues to "bed herself" back into shape.
There is a rule navy engineers have been following ever since the dawn of steam, probably longer.
You will never solve all your problems alongside, you must get to sea, get them sorted out, out THERE.

And so today, from the aviation department, to the cooks, Zuiho is "getting her crap together"



At Lunga, Captain Ono Takeji is carving a reputation.
Again he leads CL Kato, Kumakiso and the destroyer Asanagi deep into the dark waters .
This time he strikes at a smaller convoy, 3 small escorts are sunk, a large Transport hit.

Not decisive, another blow in the battle.



Another blow in the battle............................japan loses 37 planes to 12 today

She builds 7.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 983
RE: ouch - 3/12/2012 5:54:01 PM   
kaleun

 

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quote:

Another blow in the battle............................japan loses 37 planes to 12 today

She builds 7.


And that says it all.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 984
RE: ouch - 3/12/2012 8:27:05 PM   
Gridley380


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi


Another blow in the battle............................japan loses 37 planes to 12 today

She builds 7.


As noted above, your prose is brilliant. That is the hard part of good writing. You can learn grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and tenses. You can't learn to write little bits of genius like the above - you either do or you don't.

You do.

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Post #: 985
RE: ouch - 3/13/2012 1:23:32 AM   
pws1225

 

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From: Tate's Hell, Florida
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+1

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Post #: 986
RE: ouch - 3/13/2012 6:36:30 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hi
feel alittle awkward after last comments, as in my mind, I have a lot to say about this in future posts...........a lot.

In fact, much will be driven by it

The harsh realities of war are pressing onto me!

I hope all are enjoying the journey! (I am, man this is a good game we got going!)

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 987
RE: ouch - 3/13/2012 8:00:54 AM   
1275psi

 

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25th April

Zuiho slides across beautiful sparkling seas.
The ocean is calm, the moon is full, bathing her in gentle light.
It is hard to imagine that a war is raging many miles to the south. But it is not very hard to imagine. Walk about our little ship this fine evening, and war is everywhere.
In the hanger, sweating, labouring cursing men are drilling, racing in teams of three to sling a fish into a waiting kate belly. The winning team has been promised an issue of sake from Hidaka himself. Nobody wants to be on the losing team, shame of losing will only be the first punishment…….
On her upper decks, those keen eyes search endlessly the horizon. A man transferred by magic from a peacetime navy would not recognise these men, there are no periods of relaxation, of rest, of banter.
There is too much at stake.
And the men know it
Up forward, a fire drill is taking place, and (if you really know your stuff) you will spy many other minor little changes from this ship since those heady days of peace.
Zuiho, internally, is a bare , uncomfortable beast now. The burning death of Junyo, has been seared into the navies mind. There are few furnishings about now, no wooden panelling.
There are far more fire extinguishers, and the hoses, usually so neatly stored, lie ugly, ready to be raced out now, ready to be instantly charged.
And, finally, if you descend deeper, the hatches, the doors, everyone dogged down hard, that impede process, that make life so difficult.
You notice these.

There is something else though, that only Zuiho men notice.
Tension fills Zuiho. It is on every face, not blatantly, but it is there. Laughter is muted. Men move silently to each job, each task.
War is raging in the south pacific.
War rages on Zuiho, in mens minds, in mens hearts.
But comrade ship holds the fear at bay.


Hidaka finds Kato on the “big span” (how fast these names develop. That little box of Tans on the flight deck is already the “little span”. It has proven useful for leaving harbour, but little else.
Given time, and Hidaka will appropriate it all.

The big span has something the little span dare not show, hidden, shielded lights, under which Kato, holds a message.
His hands, notes Hidaka, shake ever so slightly………….

‘From Car div 2
To
Combined Fleet

‘have been attacked by SS pack, position #$%^%$
CV Soryu hit by dud, 2210 hrs, CV Hiryu narrowly missed 2215 hrs”
‘Nil damage, enemy SS escaped undetected”

Hidaka expresses it ‘Damination”
‘Yes, damination. We must have passed over them only 6 hours ago. But worse. They know we are coming now”
Kato turns to Hidaka. “ I never thought we would arrive undetected. But to lose a carrier now…….”
Zuiho is a good little ship. But she cannot win the war on her own.


26 April

Munda launches 6 Kate torpedo bombers south just before dawn.
They are, as usual, waved away with the usual fanfare, the shouts of banzia.
Their fish gleam sleekly in the early light.
There are targets a plenty south, the hunting should be good.
They are never heard of again

Later, 5 Vals arrive over Lunga, 16 oscars flying top cover.
Almost on cue, the glittering shapes of the enemy peel in towards them. Confidently, the escorts wheel towards them , ready to begin the daily dance.
There is a new player. Ugly, squat, with horrible gull shaped wings.
And it is deadly.
The Vals, ignorant of the sacrifices being wrung behind them, will dive, and hit a DD, and return
Few, a very few of the Oscars will.


Zuiho arrives Ulithi . Anchors.
She needs fuel. They all do. But it will be the usual story. Hurry up and wait.





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Post #: 988
RE: ouch - 3/14/2012 9:45:20 AM   
1275psi

 

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27th April

Re fuelling today is a little easier than normal today.
For four hours she nestles beside the rusting hulk of the tanker, drawing deep from her bowels.
Zuiho’s crew does what all sailors do in this situation, line opposite guardrails, and swap yarns, gossip, rumours.
They of course range from the fantastic, to the absurb
One common vein fills the air.
Japan is kicking but down south. In conceivable that it could be any other way………….


For the Stokers, it is not a day of easy lounging about. The refuelling party are the lucky ones.
Immediately upon arrival, Tan has gotten all but one boiler shut down.
Simple words, no?
But this means cross connecting services. It means multiple bottom blows, soot blows, and all that entails.
But there is a reason, an important one.
All four boilers have only just been re bricked in the refit, it is vital that the furnaces are inspected, and any patch work (there is always patchwork) needed to be done, is done.
But Zuiho will only be alongside for 12 hours.
What happens below, is fearsome work. A mere 4 hours after pulling fires, the furnace entrance bricks are being pulled out, and Charge and Tan will slide into the furnaces.
Ovens
Maybe we should call them that.
They are dressed in heavy clothing, yet it will help little. The air sears them, the boiler tubes literally bake them. They will feel eye balls literally begin to dry out………
But neither falter. How can they?
War is Bushido no? Well, Bushido can appear, be practiced anywhere………..

Fortunately, the news is good. Patching will take but 20 minutes on one boiler, all four will have a little rubble on the floor, easily swept.
By dusk, refuelled, all four boilers again ready, Zuiho will ready to sail again.
At 2200 hours she does.
Hirate is on watch as they clear the atolls reef.
‘Revolutions 230!”
Grimly he turns the fuel throttle, yanks on the blowers speed control handle.
Water piles on her bow, kicks from her arse.
Into the night, she once again steams towards the war.


28th April

From 24th flotilla, Munda
To
Combined fleet

‘Minimal air activity today.
Can confirm presence of 2 fleet carriers operating approximately 400 miles south west, Russell Island.
Also at least one light carrier providing cover near Kirakira island.
BB Arizona has been identified operating in area.
Stop.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 989
RE: ouch - 3/15/2012 10:50:58 AM   
1275psi

 

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a lot to write, but no time tonight....

AAR is open to Cantona again.

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Post #: 990
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