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RE: The little ship that could.

 
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RE: The little ship that could. - 1/29/2013 8:29:04 AM   
1275psi

 

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30 March

There is an unspoken rule, an unwritten oath amongst Stokers, regardless of the Navy one serves in.
Never miss sailing time.

Its a oath often broken, ironically more often today than then.
Definately more ofetn in the peace than in war.

Now, no rules are broken, there are risk assessments, protocals, rules..........'men before the machine"
And, ironically (i think) despite the technology of today, keeping that oath was so much easier then, especially with steam ships, with multiple cross connections and shafts and boilers.

But in war, the pressure to sail , on time, is immense

Today, Zuiho is under that pressure

Sail, as part of a great strike force, at 1800 hrs
Bring on the second boiler at 1600, raise vacuum at 1700, test main engines at 1745.

But at 1635, as Okano opens the 150 psi range valve to the port main engine Air ejectors, that device that raises the vacuum, a blast of steam roars across the space, 2 feet thick, 10 feet long.

The packing has blown.

There will be little time.
For Hirate, for Okano, this is another battle, another war they must fight, one not seen by those that wait, and fret, and fume.
They grin at each other, gallows humour......'Counting your fingers Hirate?" Okano yells over the engine rooms noise
'Fingers!, i think we will have what the English call sausages after this!"
he begins on the first packing follower nut......."truk me!, hot!"
Okano laughs.........'Want me to piss on it?"
'If you could bloody find it my friend, now , have you got the new packing, or are you just good for jokes?"

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1921
RE: The little ship that could. - 1/29/2013 8:50:08 AM   
1275psi

 

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1735 hrs

Takeji stands still on his bridge, watching the anchor chains of Zuikaku rise from the mud.
Behind the great carrier, Kongo slowly moves, turning slowly ponderously towards the roads
A destroyer slides past, men busy placing new sand bags about a 25mm mount

The sun sits low, red, the sky ochore............a beautiful evening.
He breathes in the moment, savouring it. The power, the grace, the majesty.
Ugly men, ugly ships, some would say, sailing to do ugly things.
But for a warrior...............
Peace, strength, confidence fills him.

The salt smells, the gulls cry, these great towering grey shapes, breaking the still waters.

A sailors moment.
A captains moment, for he is part of it. This is his life, this is life.


Aoki strides towards him, Ruining the moment.
"Other than the engines sir, Zuiho ready for sea"

"Very good"

Takeji turns back to the magnificent scene.......Kirishima now taking her turn.
But it seems Aoki does not appreciate the view.
'Should I enquire on the delay sir?. We are due to sail in 15 minutes"

Twenty five, my new XO, but then, who is counting?

"I have full confidence in them XO. Take the view, I doubt you will see the like again"
'Sir?"

"This ship has never failed to sail. I can't see that happening today. Why should it?"
"But sir"
Annoyed now, Takeji turns to the smaller man, and whispers fiercly
"Listen carefully Aoki. This is Zuiho. This is Zuiho, where every man trusts the next, where we will fight and die as brothers, all together. Trust your sailors sir, trust them, and you will reap a reward you cannot comprehend"

Aoki's eyes widen.........a reply forms, dies unspoken. He Stiffens, salutes
'Sir!'




Zuiho sails, on time, in place

Abe waits no longer. Darwin is almost empty of fighters, and Bathurst island appears to be loading troops. Soerabaya has produced enough fuel, barely.
But enough

7 fleet CV, 6 CVL, 5 battleships, 6 cruisers, 30 destroyers, in two great task groups slide from Soerabaya

Another attack
Another plunge into the dark unknown.


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1922
RE: The little ship that could. - 1/31/2013 5:24:47 AM   
1275psi

 

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I have been 15 months away from home on Aussie LHD project, moving back home this weekend at last

There will be a brief pause while i move

I am sure you will understand

1275psi

(in reply to Lecivius)
Post #: 1923
RE: The little ship that could. - 1/31/2013 5:31:55 AM   
koniu

 

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Good for You,
everybody need brake from WITPAE from time to time

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"Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War"

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1924
RE: The little ship that could. - 1/31/2013 5:42:32 AM   
BBfanboy


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Safe trip and may your belongings arrive with you!

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I have not yet begun to fight! OTOH I have not yet begun to flee. Hmmmmm - choices, choices -always with the choices.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1925
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/3/2013 4:59:32 AM   
1275psi

 

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31 march 44

In total blackness Zuiho steams across a mirror calm sea.
The darkness is all but complete -on the horizon lightning flashes, distant, silent.
Silence fills her bridge, as if by keeping quiet they can somehow hear the menace that lurks out there, or even, gods willing, slip silently by.
Occasionally the navigator will call for bearings, twice for course corrections. Other than that, the emn stand at their posts, silent, waiting.

Out to starboard, her passage eased somewhat by her radar that pierces the night as no naked eye can, Zuikaku teads her column
She is a lucky ship, or a well skilled one, (and that we know, is intertwined, skill converts to luck in war more often than not).

Tonight, luck is with her.

In the dark, unseen, un detected, the four fish pass a mere 30 metres behind her...

SS grouper has missed.
Maybe her luck is no good, or her skipper lacks..............15 minutes later she is detected by sonar, and attacked.
The night remains dark, now it is dark, and stinks of fuel oil............

At Midnight, the navigator, totally focused on his task, oblivious to the crump of the charges astern of Zuiho, gives his recommendation.
Zuiho turns hard, and revolutions are increased.
Sunda straight, at high speed.

Crash, or crash through............


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1926
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/3/2013 5:03:27 AM   
1275psi

 

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"TRUK!"
Goddam yankee devils!, goddam roosevelt!, godamm Cantona!, godamm them to hell!"

Fuchida kicks the remains of his tent, his few personal items, now blackened charcoal, in disgust.

The bukas have come calling, plastering boaela from 7000 feet.

"Goddam barsteds!!"

Boela is closed.
47th is grounded.


God damned barsteds indeed, these heavy bombers.


(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1927
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/3/2013 5:06:37 AM   
1275psi

 

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1 st April

Maybe this is a joke, maybe it is not. A small fleet, 10 ships strong?, but defineately including a carrier, has crept norrth of manus, and now 4 fighters from it sweep Wolemai.
A lure?
A probe?
A diversion?

Or maybe what is could well be - the begginnings of a real attack.

1st of April. Gods knows.................

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1928
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/3/2013 5:19:15 AM   
1275psi

 

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1st April, 0100 hours

The engineering officer of the watch stands at his throttles, relaxed, cup of tea in hand
All is well, Zuiho steams at 270 rpm, 4 boilers strong, at almost full power, but at that speed that does not push things to the limit.
This is the sort of steaming steam power excells in. Barring a disaster , this she can maintain forever........

The Charge descends, nods, takes his position on the tool box, accepts the offered cup.
Sunda straight. In the middle of the night, at speed.

There is no thought that things can go wrong.
Not with Takeji at the helm.

But then, something strange does...........

Abruptly, the sound of the turbine, that constant whine they have lived with for years now, changes.
The tacho trembles, revolutions drop......a good ten............

"What the........?"

And Charge grins, stands, and leans to the Engineer of the watches ear............." We have entered the straight..........good 6 knot current against us just here you know.............."




The fleet will steam hard all night, all day. By tomorrow night, the tip of Timor.
Then the crwal across the top.
And the day after, the attack.

There will be no surprise. The enemy know the fleet is coming.

But right now, to Abe, it hardly makes a difference. 24th flottilla report Babar closed.
If it was going to be a shield for darwin, well, that shield has been shattered.
This attack will go in.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1929
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/4/2013 7:21:56 AM   
1275psi

 

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2nd April

Today the war changes.
Today, reality crashes in

Today, the great Empire seems not so great at all


30 Liberator bombers attack Rahaeng, and the Franks rise to fight.
The bombers, as ever, stream across the target, fighting every step of the way. The bombs fall, the earth erupts.
But the base lives.


Then THEY arrive.
New. Shiny. Glittering. Fast, so fast, interception all but a dream. And guns...........

25 B-29 superforts attack
25 Bomb
25 leave

Rahaeng, is not just bombed
It is utterly obliterated, destroyed, swept away, plowed back into the earth............

Third Air army looks about it. Despairs, and begins its move south.

Today the war has utterly changed.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1930
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/4/2013 7:28:21 AM   
1275psi

 

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2nd of April
North of Dilli

'And they are sure?"
'Yes Admiral............every last one"

Abe reads the recon reports, looks again at the photo graphs of the anchorages at Darwin, Thursday island.
Empty
The rats have fled, a great stampede south and west into the gulf of carpentaria.

And Abe does not have the fuel to pursue.

Anothet bloody let down


Abe swallows his disapointment
"Plot a course for here.............south of Java........we try again later ney?"

Reluctantly, the great fleets come about. There is but one consolation. If darwin was going to launch an invasion, it won't be this month, at the least.
A morsel of comfort.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1931
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/4/2013 7:40:27 AM   
1275psi

 

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A little while ago, we looked at Zuihos ability to fight damage, and decided........best we never take any .
So, how does Zuiho fare with that?
How, to damage the enemy, before he smashes you?

Zuiho has but 8 12.7 cm guns, in four mounts. Overall, these are good guns. Good reach, good hitting power. But the Maths are this, a dauntless dive bomber approaching at 20000 feet, is going to be very, very hard to hit.
And once she dives, these guns may get, if they are lucky, just three rounds away a piece before the bombs are released.

And this, it must be obvious to all, is not good enough.
Yet Zuiho does not really realise this. last time 4 bombers peeled over and attacked her, she got two of them with these very same guns. Nobody is to know, of course, (for how do you compare this?) that through a fluke of fate, the port forward mount -the one with both kills- is manned by posibbly the most naturally gifted gun aimer in the fleet.

No, the feeling onboard Zuiho is this.............they can look after themselves.

They would, we think, be wrong

There are 18 times 25 MM guns scattered about, useless against dive bombers, against torpedo bombers, level bombers........gee, thats all of them, isn't it?
They fire an impressive array of noise and smoke...........and cannot hit a barn door. Nor can they stop the horse bolting from it, for that matter...........

No, if Zuiho is to avoid being hit, best to dodge, or better, much better, turn to her true defence, her pilots.


Of these, we will speak of, again, tomorrow.

< Message edited by 1275psi -- 2/4/2013 9:23:19 AM >

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1932
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/4/2013 8:09:54 AM   
BBfanboy


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12.7 inch guns would make for some awesome but slow-firing AA! I trust you mean 12.7 cm [5 inch].

_____________________________

I have not yet begun to fight! OTOH I have not yet begun to flee. Hmmmmm - choices, choices -always with the choices.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1933
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/4/2013 9:23:46 AM   
1275psi

 

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fixed now!!!!

(in reply to BBfanboy)
Post #: 1934
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/5/2013 8:25:41 AM   
1275psi

 

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3 rd April 44

I understand why censorship occurs in war now

Do the people of Japan really need to hear that yet another carrier has been torpedoed by a submarine

Yet ANOTHER $%$#@! one!


CVL Ryujo, 16 system, 85 flood, 9 eng, 40 miles to koepang......................
Doomed

There will be no AAR report today due to severe disgust.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1935
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 3:04:49 AM   
PaxMondo


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Wow.  I want Cantona to manage all of my subs whenever I get to do a PBEM. 



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Pax

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1936
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 7:23:06 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

3 rd April 44

I understand why censorship occurs in war now

Do the people of Japan really need to hear that yet another carrier has been torpedoed by a submarine

Yet ANOTHER $%$#@! one!


CVL Ryujo, 16 system, 85 flood, 9 eng, 40 miles to koepang......................
Doomed

There will be no AAR report today due to severe disgust.


How many hits have you had on CVs altogether?

_____________________________


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

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Post #: 1937
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 8:07:07 AM   
1275psi

 

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I have lost count!, and its not just the hits, the attacks that have missed as well.

So far, 3 fleet CVs sunk, 2CVL sunk, a CVE sunk by ss
Zuikaku has dodged I think 5 attacks now. Shokaku has taken a hit, kaga sits in port still repairing, Taiho has taken a fish, 2 CVL still repair from their hits.............do i need to go on?

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


(in reply to obvert)
Post #: 1938
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 8:23:24 AM   
1275psi

 

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4th April

Indian ocean, Zuiho, and the fleet refuel from the tankers.
We mark time, waiting for taiho to join.

The enemy ships, minus 5 sunk by our ss, have turned back towards Darwin. The plan, for Abe, is simple. refuel, reinforce, and go back again.

At the least, it should annoy the bukas.


Pilots.

We have concluded Zuiho really has few defensive assetts. But in her fighter pilots, she has a shield matched nowhere else
Her fighter pilots now have 70 kills, and although the AM5 is now a poor plane, in these hands, it is good enough.

Diogawa has 6 kills now, but he is not the only ace aboard
Aihara has 5
Ogawa has 5
Matsubara has 5
and then there are so many with three or more.

Some of these once young men have nearly 600 missions, most over 400. They are, will be, japans best.

But numbers alone cannot tell the full story.
They were young men once, and in years, most still are. But war has wearied them. Death bares down upon them. Fatalism fills many.
Few are the days with laughter, or joy.
There is flying, fighting, death.

Many squadrons this old have dissolved , or become ineffective. Few have as many veterans left as Zuiho has.
What keeps them together then?
The knowledge that a certain dictator, one eye watching his son, estranged as he is- might keep them from real harm (although there is no evidence to support that).
Or is it Hidaka,?, this hard, fanatical man who shares every danger they face?

No. I don't think so. Its deeper than that. Zuiho can, has, will do whatever is asked of her. She fights to win.
In her r5eady room, her pilots rest. Tired, cynical men. But men who still think japan can win.
And winning can keep any team going.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1939
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 8:26:06 AM   
1275psi

 

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Calcutta

Pilot officer "long pig" Graham sits to a good meal. Ham, fresh bread, gravy. Just the ticket to replace all those lost kilos.......

Moulmien

Hosho sits down to his evening meal. Half a cup of rice, 6 beans, a scrap of dried fish.
And tonight, he thinks he is eating well...........





(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1940
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 8:32:01 AM   
1275psi

 

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.A letter recieved at AHQ, India



.....bailing out from his burning aircraft, Pilot Officer Graham landed deep inside enemy territory. However, this pilot was not just content to effect a return to our lines, but undertook upon himself to survey the japanese front lines along the Moulmien front, with particular care to the river defences.
His actions on the night of his rescue, where he actively probed the enemy defences, prompting the action that we now know revealed the bulk of the Japanese defences.

In the light of this action, which has led to major re orientation of our strategy, Pilot Officer Graham placed his life in considerable danger. I take great pleasure in recommending this officer for a DSO.................

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1941
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 10:43:32 AM   
obvert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

I have lost count!, and its not just the hits, the attacks that have missed as well.

So far, 3 fleet CVs sunk, 2CVL sunk, a CVE sunk by ss
Zuikaku has dodged I think 5 attacks now. Shokaku has taken a hit, kaga sits in port still repairing, Taiho has taken a fish, 2 CVL still repair from their hits.............do i need to go on?

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr




Ouch! I thought I had it bad with Akagi in the yards twice and three other CVs hit. That is hard to come back from, and you're doing amazingly well keeping the KB going.

_____________________________


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

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Post #: 1942
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 2:17:11 PM   
BBfanboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi



.A letter recieved at AHQ, India



.....bailing out from his burning aircraft, Pilot Officer Graham landed deep inside enemy territory. However, this pilot was not just content to effect a return to our lines, but undertook upon himself to survey the japanese front lines along the Moulmien front, with particular care to the river defences.
His actions on the night of his rescue, where he actively probed the enemy defences, prompting the action that we now know revealed the bulk of the Japanese defences.

In the light of this action, which has led to major re orientation of our strategy, Pilot Officer Graham placed his life in considerable danger. I take great pleasure in recommending this officer for a DSO.................


This reminds me of recent hero-creation efforts by our western propaganda machines. We have too many PR people who wait to spin the stories rather than tell us what it was really like out there.
But ... I think Long Pig Graham should still get the DSO for his survival efforts that kept him going long enough to accidentally trigger the artillery exchange. If he had given up he would not have been in that canoe in the middle of the river.

_____________________________

I have not yet begun to fight! OTOH I have not yet begun to flee. Hmmmmm - choices, choices -always with the choices.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1943
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 8:25:03 PM   
CaptDave

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi
... and you're doing amazingly well keeping the KB going.


Not to mention the AAR. This has been a great read!

(in reply to obvert)
Post #: 1944
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/6/2013 10:45:51 PM   
sourdust

 

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Total carrier tally for US subs in WW2 includes:
4 fleet carriers sunk (Taiho, Shokaku, Shinano, Unryu)
4 escort carriers sunk (Chuyo, Unyo, Shinyo, Taiyo)
6 carriers damaged (Hiyo, Junyo twice, Taiyo twice, Unyo)

The second attack on Junyo caused major damage that was never repaired, so you could arguably count that one as a constructive total loss.

Many of these attacks were in 1944, however, so it seems that cantona is ahead of schedule! You're definitely suffering worse from the Silent Service than the real IJN did by this point in the war, at least in terms of carriers.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1945
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/8/2013 8:57:41 AM   
1275psi

 

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5th of April

300 miles due south of Soerabaya.
The fleet marks time. These are easy words to say, mark time. Not so easy in practice.
Despite the losses, Mobile fleet is still an impressive body of ships. And this many ships needs a lot of room, especially when they all are Zig zagging, or altering course to launch and recover aircraft.

For this they are doing, the ASW patrol is as thick as it has ever been, yet throughout the fleet, so many wonder if it is only just a waste of time.
Ryujo lives.......basically beached however at Koepang, she reports her hull at 84% flooded. For her, it seems the war has ended.
The fleet marks time, ponderously counter marching every six hours, waiting for the Taiho task force, 4 carriers strong , to join.
It forces sunda straight tonight, bukas not with standing.
Tankers as well, tomorrow.
And then Abe intends to strike east again.


The news today has been good. 5 AKs, and a destroyer have been sunk by Japanese SS near wessel island, each cargo ship burning furiously..........fuel sows.

Other news, not so good, yet vital.
The American carrier fleet has been located, near Madang, possibly headed towards Lae. CV wasp, it seems, is luckier than japanese carriers, I-42 missing with 6 fish.


That then, is the greater picture, known only of course, by those in upper command. For the nearly 800 men on Zuiho, it is another day, launching planes, recovering them, re launching again.
Of steaming hard, then coming back to a cruise speed, then back to full again. Of battling the defects, of maintaining the feed, the fresh, of transferring the fuel.
Another day.

(in reply to sourdust)
Post #: 1946
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/8/2013 9:16:14 AM   
1275psi

 

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Charge is bent over his books in damage central when Minobe enters. It is late, possibly past midnight, the small room hot, humid, dark, lit by just the charges small lamp. In the shadows, the damage central watch keeper sleeps on top of the drawing cabinet, taking advantage of the Charges presence

About them, Zuiho carries on, the whine of the fans, the rumble of the gearbox (a new noise this? or just our imagination, he really must take another weardown reading), the higher whine of the turbines.
The ventilation fans, as noisy as they are, are not winning. Charge works, stripped to just his smalls, sweat glistening from his wrinkled frame.

Minobe enters ( a reminder, my friend, this evening, that your Charge really is an old man, a man too old for war).
"Working late again Chief?'
Charge nods, then looks him in the eye. Going through the hours sir,.............. ( and what form are you in tonight?........are you sober?.........why, I think he might be) ....and, well, they worry me sir"

"yes?"

"1A boiler, 5200 hours, 1Bboiler, 5300, 2A, 4900, 2B 5960............... "
"yes, I know, all well due for another internal..........."

Silence fills the space between them. There are many things that seperate these two men, but one thing that binds them together, Zuihos machinery, Engineering, boilers, steam...................

"And there are those tubes sir"

Minobe stands in the door. For the moment, just this one perhaps, the Engineer that might have been surfaces. "I have not forgotten them Charge........' a self depreciating grin splits the moon face " and you wonder why I drink ney?"

'I will bring it to Takeji's notice again, somehow I think though, we will just have to .............."
"drink?"
"ha!, leave that to me Charge, you we need sober"

And with that, Minobe vanishes,.
Charge hesitates over his books...........how many years of Minobe now?. And still, he does not understand him.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 1947
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/9/2013 8:56:40 AM   
hosho


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one has to love your writing....

its the posts like this that make me sure that it is a damn shame that you are not a full time screenplay writer. I really think that we would have sooo many more f#%&$! awesome films if you were one...
not those black - white, all good - all bad holywood crap that they keep fabricating. imho your ability to picture these little "as in real life" moments so subtlety make this the best aar here. you really masterfully paint all the shapes of gray...

thanks for a great aar!

and your ability as a dictator and admiral is not to be underestimated :) in contrary, hat off to you ...

_____________________________

the first ones are remembered

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Post #: 1948
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/9/2013 2:17:28 PM   
kaleun

 

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What he said.

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

(in reply to hosho)
Post #: 1949
RE: The little ship that could. - 2/9/2013 7:40:23 PM   
NCSUforest


Posts: 716
Joined: 3/8/2007
From: Blacksburg, Va
Status: offline
yes - what he said


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(in reply to kaleun)
Post #: 1950
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