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RE: The little ship that could.

 
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RE: The little ship that could. - 3/1/2013 10:37:35 PM   
1275psi

 

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17 April

Zuiho refuels from the now almost empty tankers. Jolo slides past to Port, the fleet continues North. A quiet day, with little to report.


A note slides under Minobes cabin door


I AM STILL GOING TO KILL YOU.

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Post #: 2011
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/4/2013 7:27:31 AM   
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18 and 19th of April

Quiet days at last for our little ship, the fleet continues to sail north , manilla now on her flank.
Quiet days to contemplate, think, recover.

The Charge returns to work, below decks, the condensate pump runs again. No words of thanks are given, they would not be accepted. What had to be done, has been done.

Moral is climbing, the rumour mill is churning at full speed...............Home again.............home again.
The allies have been dealt a bloody nose.............home, refit rest, a chance to recuperate.



Foolish thoughts, all of them.
In the Arafura sea, 24th flottilla betties send the sighting reports, the intelligence community listens to the radio chatter,.
Recons over darwin continue to fly.

Already, it seems, Darwin Harbour groans again under the wieght of aircraft, her harbour again swarms with LCI's, APs and APAs.........
20 plus carriers...............incredible to report, it seems, 20 plus carriers are in the Arafura sea.
Japans navy seeks rest.............America's it seems, is setting itself to roll.

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Post #: 2012
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/4/2013 7:29:41 AM   
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Hiyo should make Singapore tomorrow, Zuikaku crawls to Jolo island. Both carriers flooding has improved, both however, will need a lot of yard time. Kaga ia six days away, shoho 12, Miizuho, still 30.

There are , of course, no more carriers coming down the line.

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Post #: 2013
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/4/2013 7:30:41 AM   
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Japan catches b-29's on the ground at Sian.............a nice feeling indeed.

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Post #: 2014
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/5/2013 9:15:09 AM   
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Your day.
the broadcast awakens you just after 4 am, swinging your almost naked body out of the hammock. The sweat glistens, and the atmosphere about you in the half light is thick and humid. You jostle against your companions, busy at the task of rolling your bed into its daily sausage shape. It is your bed during sleep, during waking hours it is a ready made leak plugging device.
Whoa to you if the XO should find it not ready........
The mess is mainly silent in these early hours..........after all, after so long at sea, what is there new to talk about?

You join the steady stream climbing upwards, your action station is fwd, ammunition handler for a 25 mm gun. This, for you is the best part of the day. Only a few stokers action stations are above decks, yours is a special treat.
You join your gunner mates in the early dawn light, the cool breeze so sweet across your skin.
Zuiho steams steadily into the clearing mists of the dawn, the other ships solidifying as the sun breaks the dawn.

Dawn action stations. Even here, deep in the heart of the empire, a serious task. No Bukas sighted for three days, but they are out there.
Waiting.

Action stations fall out, and you make for breakfast, fighting for a space at the benches. Another day, another meal, rushed again. Another brick in developing a lifetime habit..........if zuiho's crew survives this war, a great many will have partners who will eternally complain of meals swallowed at the rush.

To work.
Not below for this stoker, but down aft, Chippee workshop.
A magical place, of burning torches, of wood shavings, of shelves overflowing with a countless number of nick nacks, bolts, screws, pipes, brackets, gaskets.
A mans shed, on steroids

Chippees workshops revolve, here at sea, around one thing. The defect log. A simple notebook, a great many lines of entries, a great many scrawled out, a great many not.
The defect log, where the ten thousand and one things that break on a warship get reported to.
Tap doesn't work..........the notebook.
Toilet blocked?.....bracket needs welding?, leaking pipe?, need that desk fixed, a new shelf, those filters cleaned?

Chippees shop, the defect log.
And this is what makes this place magical...........the CPO hasn't assigned a task for today, so you reach for the book.........

Brake pads need adjustment focastle capstan.
Perfect.
You grab the grease gun, the tool belt, head forward.

Zuiho passes over a sparkling blue sea, and the sun shines, but here, in the shade, in her ship made breeze, the dolphins bouncing about the bow, an easy job you know will be done well...............

Life at sea is not always hard.

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Post #: 2015
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/5/2013 9:30:05 AM   
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47th sentai recieves replacement fighters. They will be needed, Fuchida, all of them, feel it in their bones.. Orders have arrived...."When ready, 47th will move to Balikapapan"

Simple orders.
But this night, as Fuchida watches the golden moon through the canvas of his tent, the bugs beating to death against the roof, his mind chews over these simple words.

News of the Darwin assualts have filtered through, yet apparently..........they are already coming again. Right where it will hurt the most.
If Japans best, are going to balikapapan, then it can mean but one thing...........soon high command expects it to be in bomber range.

But after 2 and a half years of war, Japan still has found no way to stop the barsteds.

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Post #: 2016
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/5/2013 9:34:13 AM   
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Burma front

Tavoy has been bombed, again, and again,
Enemy Destroyers have been of the beaches.
Port Blair has been bombed..


Not even Hosho is surprised to see 2nd guard division depart moulmien, and begin the march south.

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Post #: 2017
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/6/2013 7:44:36 AM   
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North of bataan island, south of formosa.

Takeji is working at his desk, sunlight streaming through his portholes, when the bang comes. Distant, underwater.
His pen pauses...........calmly, he stands, places the forms into their folder, takes his Cap in hand. Already about him Zuiho is springing to life, his OOW obeying his standing orders.
He does not need to ask as he enters the bridge. Instinctly he KNOWS............it just seemed so inevitable now days.........

"Which one?"

Katsuragi sir, single fish..............."

Inevitable...........a fitting word for such a trucked up situation................

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Post #: 2018
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/6/2013 5:34:04 PM   
ny59giants


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How many confirmed Allies subs have you sunk??

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Post #: 2019
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/8/2013 5:50:15 AM   
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Hi NY59 giants

Ship sunk list shows 98..........so I think about 75 for real.

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Post #: 2020
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/8/2013 9:37:12 AM   
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22 april 44

The task force , crawling now, shepherds Japans latest cripple slowly North. Today is a beautiful day, calm, the sea shimmering. Overnight, 4 E class ASW vessels have joined, like small terriers they scurry about on the task groups flanks. Extra destroyers are due to arrive tonight.

Yet for all the tension, lying hidden just below the surface, it is a easy day......takeji , for the first time it seems in ages, finds himself almost with nothing to do. He dare not move too far from the bridge, yet at this slow speed the OOW is hardly going to need his help.

It gives one time to think, yet, there are so many things one would rather not think of. The strain, he knows, is beginning to show. Not on his men, but on Zuiho itself. Defects are piling up, he see's Minobe rarely in the course of a normal day (and to be honest, on some days, never, when the whisky wins), but this week he has seen him often, and more alarmingly, at times he has been sweat covered, once, incredibly, there had even been oil on the overalls.
This , above all, conveyed more clearly than any briefing the true state of affairs below.
His little ship needs a rest.
Gods, they all do...........


Hidaka joins him. Zuihos Jills are gone again, hunting those hidden buka's, his fighters settled below.
"All quiet?"
'Yes..............and that what worries me........"

They stare together at the cripple to port. Both minds are sharing the same thought.........when will it be Zuihos turn?
A thought that pops up too frequently these days.

Hidake removes his cap, wipes his brow....."Japan will be so good.........to be able to rest with out the fear of attack"

Takeji turns his head. Hidaka talking of fear?...............surely not...............no, not him.

The next signal arrives, one of the hundreds Takeji will read today. He reads it.
So many of these now bring black news................

'You may not get much rest I am afraid my friend........B-29's have bombed Manilla port...........six only, but we have lost 6 submarines in one blow...........

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Post #: 2021
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/9/2013 10:35:24 PM   
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Fuchida climbs wearily from the cockpit. The KI-44C may be the latest model, the seat is still ****e.

kendari.

The same depressing features every japanese base he has seen in the last year or so. Dirt strip, battered trucks that serve as fuel tenders. The same drooping palm trees, the same discarded fronds scattered averywhere as camoflage.

The heat , the same, oppressive, even, gods be damned, the same smell of something rotting faint upon the air.
Even the crew chief looks like all the others, skinny, dirty, cap askew, the same nochanlant ease.

'Welcome to kendari sir"
Fuchida takes another look.

Same pathetic air of indifference.........he nods towards the largest hut at the edge of the field..........'The mess?"

The Crew chief grins, 'Actually no, its furher back, thats the supply HQ, too bloody prominent for clever people like yourself sir, what with this place being in bomber range"

Ahh, yes, another blood feature............what airfield now was NOT in enemy range?
"Have we been vistited yet chief?"

a shrug........."two, three times, the port mostly"
As the rest of 47th swing into the field Fuchida begins walking towards what is obviously the command bunker, while the chief and his truck of men begin to tend to his craft, that at least is an improvement, too many fields have seen too few men for too many planes.....

The bunker is underground, a narrow tunnel, surprisingly comfortable. Two long benches along each side, radio communications, a table, maps, a good dozen men.
11th airfleet HQ..........a busy HQ indeed.


The news is simple.
A massive enemy carrier force south east of Koepang............

Doing what?

squat all.

Orders for 47th?...............wait.

Somehow though, Fuchida does not think that order will last very long.

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Post #: 2022
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/11/2013 11:09:26 AM   
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Herbiesan views the map again.
The empire still seems so large, yet now, thanks to the B29's, it has shrunk overnight. Nowhere, it seems, is safe..
a million places to guard, to defend..................an exagerration maybe, but the shortage of fighters to do it with is not.

But now, it seems, another crises.

"And port blair?"

His navy minister (a mouse of a man........sometimes one pines for the hulk of Yamamato..........) blanches...........
"Its wrecked..........the power of these bombers is frightening.......'

An understatement.................what a skill we Japanese have to shrink mountains into molehills, until of course, the mountain falls upon us.

Herbiesan cuts through to the issue none of his underlings wish to confront."Our fleet is crippled, and near home, miles from the front. A massive fleet is swanning about of Timor, and Port Blair is definately on the list!. Pray tell me, what have we to oppose what is obviously coming!"

'There is a battleship at singapore, CVE Chunyo, 2 heavy cruisers, some destroyers............
"that is all?"


The silence gives truth to the reply............

damnation to hell...................alright then..............be sunk now, be sunk later.............or who knows.........?
"Send them!"

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Post #: 2023
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/11/2013 11:18:11 AM   
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Hosho sits in the mouth of his bunker. There is a small tree down near the river, 100 yards away. Rumour has it, that there are small fruits on it. They may be poisonous............then again, they may be not.
They are definately in enemy machine gun range.

Another day of this hunger...............

The fighting overhead appears to have faded away.
21.

21 eagles down...............and still the bombs fall upon them.

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Post #: 2024
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/11/2013 11:30:13 AM   
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25th April

The enemy carriers still lurk of Koepang, inviting attack.
Japanese forces remain grounded...........they will not fall for what undoubtably is the greatest CAP trap ever to float these seas.

Port blair is pounded by B-29's again.
Singapore harbour empties.............

Fuchida and 47th move to an even smaller field..Endah, a mere 120 miles from Koepang. If the enemy remain as they are, tomorrow they must be in the thick of it.


Zuiho and her companions make the final run into Japan. There is an important moment, Zuiho's airgroup departs for Shimonoseki.

Diogawa expresses what is uppermost in many minds..........."don't you dare get sunk tonight!"
It is said in jest................but their is some truth in it, the waters here are literally crawling.............

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Post #: 2025
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/11/2013 1:33:44 PM   
ny59giants


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quote:

Hi NY59 giants

Ship sunk list shows 98..........so I think about 75 for real.


So, about one every 10 days. Not enough, unfortunately.

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Post #: 2026
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/12/2013 8:45:43 AM   
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26th April

In the skies above some pitiful out post called Endeh

They wait, staggered across the skies.
At 20000 feet, 47th tigers circle, below them, staged at various altitudes, the zeros, the NK1's.
Nearly 100 strong.

They wait, but they do not wait for long, the americans come.
They are sighted, 50 fighters, 200 plus bombers, nearly 80 miles out, coming for Endeh, coming for their field, coming for their home.
47th are our best, our very best.
The others, too, are not too shabby.


Fuchida see's them under his port wing, passing underneath, course due north,..............the zeros already angling in from behind.
Leader waggles his wings, another section leader waves his, the tigers bunch, turn north as well, then split, half racing now at full throttle above the great formation, the other, Fuchida amongst them, wheeling to the port, coming parrallel, waiting for the moment.

Fuchida watches the unfolding scene..........the stream of bombers, the zeros sweeping in from astern, the Tojos above, themselves on the flanks, NK1's coming up from ahead.
He smiles, savagely, for their is no humour in this.the hell cats have...........to put it mildly.......a problem.


$7ths top section peels and dives down and into the fight.
Fuchida adjusts his goggles, the world wheels, and they join the attack.


In the skies approaching Endeh, battle, great battle is joined


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Post #: 2027
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/12/2013 8:53:52 AM   
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Its a running brawl, the zeros snapping at the back of the pack, the Hellcats weaving, the bombers the great core the fight will swirl and dance about

Fuchida banks right, levels, sweeps in , the hell cat floats into his sight, finger clenches, but it pulls away to his left, tracer finding air.

He barrell rolls, coming out, behind the bomber, ....dauntless, gun swinging his way, guns chatter........going underneath, pulling up, gods, planes everywhere, twisting, another hell cat, throttle full, hauling into her..............and his engine suddenly coughs, coughs, splutters, shovels smoke, and dies ............

A curse, he inverts, dives, rights, and seeks Endeh.................a long way on this barsted of an engine...............he judges, calculates............yes he will make it.

Just.

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Post #: 2028
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/12/2013 9:59:31 AM   
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Above him the fight rolls on, the defending fighters have failed...............the fighters, 47th in particular, are in amongst the bombers.

Fuchida nurses his plane down, the engine barking, coughing, vibrating....his teeth set on edge, he walks the narrow path between speed and stall, between glide and falling short of the strip.

He banks, hands fly, the wheels come down.
Tracer hammers across above his left wing, blue spinning death fills his mirror.
Action instinctive.....hard left rudder, but stick forward and harder into right thigh, his bird slews, the right wing dives, the nose swings left, she crabs down and sideways, the enemy snarling above and past.

The field rises, straighten, down, bounce..........and all about the earth is exploding as the bombs begin to fall,

Bouncing, bouncing, on the very edge of out of control he tries for the trees..............a curtain of dirt stitches across the nose......Helldiver!........nothing for it...ground loop.earth, dust noise, ............

Out!
The scramble...50 yards to the trench................lungs, legs pounding....... .and in!
the earth heaves, above, again, again, again, gods, how many!, and again and again, the howl of the dive bombers, the scream of the bomb, the air actually pulsating, the earth convulsing...........



The raid, seemingly lasts forever.
For the dead, i suppose it does.


Endeh is obliterated.

The Tigers try to land.
Few make it in one piece.......again, and again, the touch, the wobble.the crater, the collapsing gear.....the belly slide.


The liberators come an hour later, they incredibly miss.
Well maybe they don't.........there is nothing really left to bomb here


Dusk.
47th have 7 servicable planes left
30 damaged.
Only 1 pilot lost.

But moral is, despite the carnage, soaring.
From 59 to 83 kills, in a single day.





Good enough return for a nothing place called Endeh





battle result, carrier strike, liberator strike on Endeh
48 hellcats shot down
24 liberators shot down this day
11 helldiver
8 avengers
5 dauntless

for 18 zeros, 6 tojo shot down, 6 NK1's

total today, 90 allied to 35 japanese.
The shattered groups are ordered to retire. Others take their places in the nest of fields north of Koepang.
We hold the bombers.and wait...........






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Post #: 2029
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/12/2013 10:03:12 AM   
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And now desperation rules

BB fuso, battered, rusting, leaking Fuso, departs Singapore
CVE Unyo accompanies, Tone, tenryu, Yubari, 7 DDs.

Her torpedo bulges may be bent, dished. She may carry 500 tons of water in places water is not meant to be.
Her boilers struggle.

It matters not. Her fighting spirit shines. She hurries North, detirmined to shoot her arrows one last time.


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Post #: 2030
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 9:43:40 AM   
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Fuchida and some 30 off his companions sit deep in the belly of the Emily.
Mixed emotions course through them all.

47th have been dissolved, a shattering blow.

But on the other hand, they are going home to Japan

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Post #: 2031
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 9:54:33 AM   
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Extract from Shattering the sword, a Cantona production

Babar has been taken, keeping it supplied, getting the Marines off is an altogether matter.

The allied carrier fleet sails westward, now deep into the Indian ocean. ( a deployment filling Japanese HQ with more than a touch of panic)
Taking advantage , dilli field is visited by a flying squad.
22 Judys escorted by a pack of fighters attack babar, NK1's have swept the way operating from Ambon.

Carnage
2 DEs are sunk, a AK, and 4 LCI are obliterated, men and vehicles flung across the reddening sea..
The allies are using a club
japan a razior.

The trick is, of course, to never let the club strike the sword.

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Post #: 2032
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 10:01:27 AM   
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Zuiho comes alongside.

"Finish with main engines"

For a moment Takeji takes in the sights surrounding them. Japan. Home. It even smells like home........
Aso salutes 'Your intentions sir?"

"48 hrs leave, for all hands, watchkeepers as well , we will muster the crew in 72 hrs"
Takeji does not catch the smile breaking across the XO's face, he turns swiftly, and makes to his cabin.

There he strips, lays down, and sleeps for the next 18 hrs without stirring.

Home. The only place a captain can

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Post #: 2033
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 10:07:28 AM   
1275psi

 

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Admiral Abe does not sleep.
Fleet commanders rarely can


The allied fleet is still heading west.............still!
Now almost due south of maccassar, but deep in the Indian ocean.............

What does it mean?

Invasion of Java?
Redeployment to the British?

It must be an invasion fleet..............surely???

A single division protects soerabaya...........65th brigade is coming, planes there are a plenty...............no ships, a few destroyers............

"If it has search capability.......get it out there..........track that fleet!"


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Post #: 2034
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 10:12:35 AM   
1275psi

 

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Moulmien cannot support them any longer
3rd army begins to pull out the artillery. There has been lately, not even a trickle of supplies. Stand, and starve. retire, and refresh............

Hosho watches them go.

55 division stays, and starves

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Post #: 2035
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 10:19:27 AM   
1275psi

 

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Northern Burma

'Ahh squadron cCommander?"
"Yes warrant?"
"List of new joiners for tomorrow............"

The Commander surveys the list, fingers twisting a carefully maintained moustache.......
A name leaps out

'Pilot officer Graham'
Long pig Graham............"A celebrity I see"
The WO laughs.........I hope he is happy that there's no Jungle under him this time"
"No..........get him straight into it, recon over Port Blair ASAP"

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Post #: 2036
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/13/2013 8:16:37 PM   
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Yes!! Long Pig Graham has risen from the ashes. I can't wait to see what mess he gets into this time.

Mat

< Message edited by british exil -- 3/13/2013 8:17:02 PM >


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Post #: 2037
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/14/2013 12:16:54 AM   
kaleun

 

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

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Post #: 2038
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/15/2013 7:26:54 AM   
1275psi

 

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28 April

Zuiho lies alongside, awaiting an empty dock
She is quiet, resting, her crew mostly ashore. It is hard not to think, that she too, is sleeping, utterly exhausted by the months just past.

In japan, two stories of contrast are about to begin
In Tokyo, the great Dictator reads his reports, consults his maps.

A little ship has returned. So has his son, its squadron at Hiroshima.
And a man, all powerful, wonders if his son will weaken, and see him...............

In japan, a great Emily slices the waters, powers to a wharf. 30 tired, dirty men emerge, almost in wonder at the peace of the surroundings about them.
One, in particular, spies something beyond dreams

A little ship, alongside, just there..............
Fuchida smiles. Father, at last...............

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Post #: 2039
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/15/2013 7:33:24 AM   
1275psi

 

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Pilot Officer"Long pig" Graham settles into his pilots seat, the smile of astonishment still plastered across his face.

Once, several lifetimes ago, friends would have been kind, to call him "largish"
The jungle, twice, has cured that problem.

taught, trim, terriffic......and able to fit a single fighters seat now.

The Spitfires magical merlin bursts into life.............a real plane, a real, real plane at last!

His spitfire will fade into the horizon, recon.....tavoy today.
And totally against character, its a trouble free flight, delightful indeed, pleasant almost.

There, and back.

Maybe, maybe, thinks Graham, things have finally turned for the better.

Of course, Mars, god of war, may have something to say about that.

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Post #: 2040
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