A quiet day in the war.
But for any ship, war or peace, quiet is very subjective.........
It is time, my friends, to face the harsh realities of this war.
The Allies grow stronger, and despite her victories, now for Japan, its the bloody step by step fight backwards.
And increasingly, especially in the light of last months experience, the chances of being damaged (or worse) are increasing for everyone
Its time to think about Zuiho's damage control.
Lets try to avoid the arguments over Japanese standards, some, its clear, were very poor, especially amongst some of her carriers.
Others had superb control -the cruisers were particularily tough, it seems, and lately, some of her battle wagons have shown admirable skill and strength.
But what of Zuiho?
How is her ability to fight the hidden fight that grows daily in threat?
Damage control is three things, the ship itself, the systems she uses -(her D/C doctrine), and her men.
The ship.............well, not so good. Small hull, only 8 real flotation zones, boiler rooms grouped together, Engine rooms aft together, simple systems, only 4 fire pumps, only limited emergency power (and only a single portable fire pump), and , of course, she's a carrier, and a converted one at that.
But, she can turn hard.
Dodging, she has already shown, she's good at that.
With all of those torpedoes, av gas, and bombs onboard, lets hope Takeji remains lucky.
Her systems, or doctrine........
Zuiho is based very much on the British system, as are most japanese ships.
She has firstly, 3 main repair bases, one at each end of the main hanger, the third on the lower hanger.
The two on the upper areas, have half a ship each, the lower one is assigned mainly to the machinery spaces
There are other special gunnery repair, and electrical repair teams scattered. (these, it seems, know exactly where to hide in a exercise, and catch a bit of sleep)
But we digress..............
Each base has fire teams.
Fire teams have firstly an attack party, armed with crude, often mis firing extinguishers.
They are followed by the hose team -an attack nozzle, a water wall nozzle
Other men are assigned to pump and flood, or containment.
Many, simply are messengers
All have very crude gas masks/smoke cannisters, and ( i did not know this until i saw it in a 1940 Japanese movie made on Akagi), they wear a very early version of anti flash..........unlike their current american foes, japanese sailors "cover up"
Each repair base reports directly to Central, nestled here on Zuiho deep down in the ship, nestled between the boiler rooms and the engine room.
Here Minobe mostly glowers at Lurch, who recieves the messages (along with 2 other sailors) and plots the reports on the damage control board.
The CPO Chippee, basically, then runs the show, delegating poirities and the like.
This should be Minobes job, instead, it seems, he simple restricts himself to reporting to the bridge the state of affairs.
(they are always very good and under control)
There is a dedicated damage Control officer on Zuiho, he has a roving role.
We have not written about him, because he's not worth the ink.............
And this, of course, leads to her men.
Zuihos, bluntly, are neither good, nor bad. They practice, quite a lot actually,
There is no imagination. None can conceive of bulkheads or decks torn asunder, or of holes metres across, or like Akagi, elevators torn and flung fifty metres.........
No. Regrettfully, in practice, fires are started, they are tackled, they never grow, they never get out of control, they never consume men and metal.
No, they are contained, they are fought, they are put out.
Floods, always seem to hit in the forward store, always seem to be stopped, always seem to be contained to that store.
Zuiho is a battle hardened ship, her men brave, and damn good at their job.
But they have, like I said, little imagination.
(and considering what they have seen occur about them over the last two years, speaks volumes, I think, about a certain Engineering Officer she carries)
After all, can you concieve your steel home torn utterly asunder?
I never could.
It was, is always, so much easier to think of something else.
So, is Zuiho any good?
I am sorry, but the hard truth..........not really.
Lets just pray she is never tested yes?