I would think, although I may be completely wrong, that most reading this little tale, have some knowledge of the war at sea, of the great battles fought, of the clashes great and small.
Already Zuiho has had her share, maybe, her men might think, more than their share of these desperate struggles.
None doubt, deeply, that there will be more to come.
Yet, it is obvious, that even the busiest of ships only see battle rarely. Some, a great many in this war (especially on the allied side I would think) will spend the entire war with out even seeing battle.
But when it comes, it usually comes quickly, with out warning, and with violence impossible to imagine.
To survive, no, to do more than survive, to actually win, to gain victory, never depends on the battle itself. Never
No, the battle is won now, in these quiet days, in these transits.
In the training, of course. That’s what Herbiesan is going to say, isn’t he, In the training, in the drills, the never ending exercises that Takeji, the XO, Hidaka, even the charge inflict upon their men. Drills that even now, at the end of this first day, are just winding down.
And its true, they are vital.
But after 2 and a half years, countless battles, Zuiho can gain little more from them.
Its deeper than that.
Zuiho has been driven hard, her men even harder.
How easy, here, just in transit, to ease a little…………to take that shortcut, to ignore that regulation.
This is the great battle. The real battle. 800 plus individual battles.
800 men, who individually, must never relax, who must never short cut.
And on Zuiho, because this is Zuiho, the little ship, nobody does.
A thousand and one tasks are occurring on this ship this day.
Ammunition is being inspected, readied, counted, stacked,, deep in her bowels, or high in her gun tubs.
Bread is being baked. Stores are being counted, stored, moved, sourced.
Forms are being filled. A tooth is being pulled.
Rounds on a hundred gauges and machines are being done.
Charts are being updated.
Spark plugs on a Jills radial are being carefully installed, and signals, precise signals are being passed, received, deciphered.
A table is being carefully laid for dinner.
800 different men, 800 different tasks. All being done
The only way
The Zuiho way.
Takeji sits easily in his chair, guiding her steadily south. The clouds darken about Japan. Battle calls.
He has a million things to worry about.
Zuihos men, are not one of them.