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RE: The little ship that could.

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RE: The little ship that could. - 3/28/2013 11:24:47 AM   


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The dragons deep in Zuihos bowels are glowing again

What is needed to keep the beast glowing ?, to keep it contained, to master it, and it not master you?

It needs firstly, fuel............vast quantities of heated, strained, sprayed into its guts fuel.
It needs air, air to mix with the fuel, to help it combust. Only one fan runs at this time, that ever present sound again fills the airs.

The drains have been drained, the automatic ones clack away now, LP, HP, returning every presious drop of condensate to the system.

The feed controller has been stroked, the feed check valve is open wide, the water tender monitors the feed pump, the booster pump, the feed heater. He watches the guage glass continously, even when attending to something, anything else, that narrow guage is always being watched.

The chemistry, at the moment, is bad. Twice now in this last hour, the water level has been raised, the surface blow down valve opened, the rumble of water and steam through the hull.

Boilers have few, a very few moving parts, but they need constant attendance
This week..........6 burners to be changed and cleaned, twice a day, every day
Water Chemistry checked, every 8 hours.
Surface blows, as required.

Every week, a compulsory shut down, then bottom blows, then a chemistry dose, before a reflash.
The bolier cleans, every 5000 hours internal, 5000 external.
The registers must be kepts aligned
The Boiler level guage glasses -blown down daily
Soot blows, every night, an hour of crushing effort

And what, we may wonder, do we get in return?

Smooth, irresistable, ever on tap, power. power for turbines, generator, the galley, power for everything.
Steam is man power intensive, thirsty, seemingly crude

But oh............the power.

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Post #: 2071
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/28/2013 11:31:07 AM   


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May 10th

The fleet has gathered again.
Hiroshima bay is crowded with ships. The carier airgroups have refilled, replaced, re shuffled. The battleships have re ammunitioned, the cruisers and destroyers re filled tubes and depth charge racks.

The gaps in the ranks though, have grown since the last time the fleet gathered thus. Hiryu is gone, Akagi is gone, one of the cVls, several CVE too.
Too many cruisers now patrol eternal seas. And the fleet now can see all but 10 of its destroyers gathered here, and here there be but 40 of them.

'Fraying at the edges'.............a good description of the fleet in 44.
Fraying yes. Gathering for yet another fight, yes. The allies are dithering, it seems. Again, japan has been given a chance to re coup.

herbiesan will not waste it.

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Post #: 2072
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/28/2013 11:34:19 AM   


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The allied CV fleet approaches darwin. The japanese ss attack, the japanese ss die

3 attacks, 2 sunk

It is the end of the SS fleet, herbiesan orders the cancellation of any more ss construction, this arm of his navy is now definately a wasting assett.

And thats it until after easter, cantona is on holidays.........again!

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Post #: 2073
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/28/2013 7:27:12 PM   


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Great read. Happy Easter.


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

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Post #: 2074
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/31/2013 10:34:14 AM   


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Zuiho once again slices the water. The darkened bridge is tense, tenser than usual in fact. Little threat of submarines, here in Japans inner seas, but they are still their in Takeji's mind. No, what concerns him is the waters they sail, japans inner seas.......her crowded, crowded inner seas. Fishing boats, gods, so many fishing boats, and countless small craft. And now, cleaving its way east, at speed, literally almost the entire japanes navy, close formation, blacked out.

Tense times indeed.
Ahead, Yokohama, fuel, then south again.

South again

At this time, Takeji has no idea what the grand plan is. Does command know?
They must have a plan. He prays it is a good one.

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Post #: 2075
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/31/2013 11:13:10 AM   


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Admiral Abe rests at his desk, high, high above the seas, Admirals cabin, Yamato

Below him, her massive bulk cleaves the seas at 20 knots, and yet his glass of water rests near his elbow, still.

Fitting, he thinks. For three days now, he has struggled with this greatest of problems, how to defeat the Americans, how to bring this damn war to a conclusion.
Only now, here, alone, in the stillness, in the deep of the night, have the decisions come.

Tomorrow, Herbiesan
Herbiesan, the man who so easily fell into this war, and now, ever more desperately, needs to end it.

The plan sits before him:


To win this war, we must face realities. We must face the strength of the Americans and British............and we must use this to our advantage.

What do we know?
There are many enemy carriers operating near Timor -which is obviously a target.
But, and this we must face...........not ALL of his carriers, his ships. He plans something in the pacific, what, I do not know, but he knows we are in the pacific, ...........and waits for us to leave (thus the raid on timor, soerabaya)

The British wait, or gather for an invasion of Port Blair, or sabang............why we know this, he cannot go through us in Burma, he must go around. Constant bombing of Port blair is a sure give away, yes?

Our defence faces 4 fronts.
The aluetions we must ignore. North fleet must make do.......I do not believe we face a threat there
The pacific?...................what can we afford to lose there>
Anything but Siapan...........and does he have enough carriers for that?. Maybe, maybe not?

I guess not.

This, sir, leaves just Timor, and the British.

The reality is this, Timor will fall, it will hold for a month, but it will fall.

And what can combined fleet do to stop it fall? Crawl through Submarine infested waters, having ships we cannot afford to lose, lost.

No, I think there is a better way..............force his Carriers to leave Timor, which will vastly improve our chances there.
And how to do this?

Beat the british
They are strong, but not strong as we are still.

Herbiesan, we sail to attack the British, to sail on submarine free seas
We sail to attack them where ever we find them, to force them to call for American help.
With Singapore as our base, we will have fuel, supplies enough, at last.

Admiral Abe

He signs the letter.
Its mostly bull crud, he knows. But it contains the one word that guarantees Herbiesans assent


Mid 44, and still Japans plans to attack.

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Post #: 2076
RE: The little ship that could. - 3/31/2013 5:48:04 PM   
John 3rd

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(The strategic thinking does make SOME sense!)


Member: Treaty, Reluctant Admiral and Between the Storms Mod Team.

Reluctant Admiral Mod:

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Post #: 2077
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/9/2013 11:08:00 AM   


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may 11th, 1944

There is no mistaking the moment.
In over 800 minds, through out Zuihos length, the mental note is taken.
A few share the moment, quick glances, eyes met, no words spoken, but message recieved, shared, digested together.

Zuihos bows rise, and fall, the deck, solid a moment ago, begins to move.

The pacific. Open ocean. Japan is falling behind again, the unknown calls them forward.
The allies are moving.

800 plus men. Good bye home.
Welcome, my old enemy, the eternal sea.
let us dance again, ney?

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Post #: 2078
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/9/2013 11:10:52 AM   


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Cantona's holidays finished at last

His message to me

"bring it on"

He's re found his WITP mojo I think.

herbiesan surveys his empire, his fleet.
Preening confidence fills Imperial HQ.
What possibly can go wrong

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Post #: 2079
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/10/2013 9:29:32 AM   


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Fuchida's voice rises ............
"I take control!".........forcably he takes the stick, shoves it forward, the little trainer wobbles dangerously 50 feet above the strip, regains its bearings, swoops down,, but still lands alarmingly heavily onto the grass strip.
Without hesitation he takes his short stick, oh so familiar in his hand now, and raps the hapless student's head in the cockpit ahead of him........"Buka!, you almost killed us both!, If we'd had a big breakfast we would have stalled!..........speed, always, watch your speed!'

A few minutes later, in the silence between students, Fuchida wirly thinks of his life now. At times, it seems, it would be safer tangling with hell cats than circling this place, the standard of his students...............

It wasn't like this in his day............

47th still not re built.
Rumours that there are no planes to do that anyway...................

Things are changing, you can see it. Shortages, more shortages.........and even more shortages.
Training hours being cut, again.

The next "victim" climbs in.
"Did you walk around the plane, my young friend, did you actually check we still have our wings attached, perhaps?'
The student does the predictable.........freezes. he can almost see that face going red ahead of him..........
"No, instructor!"

A hard head this one, he hardly flinched

"Well go and check yes!"

he sighs. Fighter pilots?...........they want him to turn these boys into fighter pilots?
he does not know whether to laugh or cry............

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Post #: 2080
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 7:49:17 AM   


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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.

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Post #: 2081
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 10:16:21 AM   


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May 13th

0900 hrs

Sparkling blue seas, a mild chop, but little swell. Zuiho pushes south at 20 knots, the ting, ting of her elevator bell whipped away by the wind she makes as she carves south.
The Jill arrives, gleaming, fresh, and the white overalled men swarm about her. With muscles clearly straining, they line its fwd wing edge, and begin to hustle its tonnes aft.
Tail almost hanging over the creaming wake, the chocks are placed.
A mechanix swings himself into the beast, and shortly the engine coughs, great shovels of smoke, coughs again, the blade hangs, then blurrs into life, the beast growls.
The mechanic smiles, gives the thumbs up.

Flighted suited men emerge from the shade of Zuihos tiny flight deck tower, with out drama they settle into the Jill.
The engine roars, settles, beats,.
The chocks vanish
Zuiho heels slighly, the wind rises. Thick smoke belches from her stack............(no hirate on watch today down there), steam streams from the flight deck leading edge.

The flight deck officer raises a flag.
The pilot nods, the flag drops, the great beast lumbers down the deck, drops , climbs agonisingly away.
30 seconds later, a different Jill slams down onto the third wire., comes to its halt.

The white overalls swarm again..............

Okano sighs. 'You know, one could watch this crap forever"
Hirate nods "its sort of hypnotic isn't it"

The gun bay is crowded, the day is too good, the sight too grand to not, even for a moment, come and watch, come and view.
Overhead the growl is continous, in every direction, the Jills, the petes, the Jakes circle, some close, some far on the horizon.
The fleet, fully 90% of japans strength, spreads further than the eye can see, great columns of grey.

The two men watch the next plane depart, the next arrive.
Morning watch is over, breakfast too. There are no urgent defects, in fact, Zuiho is behaving perfectly today, and no exercises are planned.
For just a moment, Okano will feel guilty, surely there must be something they should be doing, but if there is, its escaped him for now.
The sun is rising, and this good morning is becoming perfect

A decision.
The shirt comes off, he settles in. After all, who knows when they will get a day like this again?

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Post #: 2082
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 10:24:02 AM   


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Hidaka and Takeji watch the latest departure from the starboard bridge wing.
"Any problems Hidaka?"
"No sir, all our eagles are ready.........if their are Bukas out there, we will find them"
"Oh, I have no doubt they are out there..lets just keep their heads down yes?"

Takeji hands Hidaka the latest signals....

"There are movements, I think. Enemy carriers stooging off Broome...a decoy. Another fleet in the Arafura sea.........maybe a decoy, though who knows.........."

Hidaka looks up sharply."This report states there are 15 carriers operating in Australian waters.........15!, and you think its a decoy?'

(Oh Hidaka, haven't you realised my friend, that the Americans are churning out ships like chickens crap eggs?. You really do think we are going to still win, don't you?)

"It might be..........I just wish they would do something........"

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Post #: 2083
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 10:32:14 AM   


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Charge prowls port boiler room top plates. His torch swings its beam over number one feed pump. He bends, examines the glands. The follower is almost screwed down to the flange, and precious condensate is streaming out of the gland.

Job number one for the day..........

He descends to the steamers platform, bends his ear to the PO's ear "Hows the newbie going?"
"He's a natural........helps being such a big barsted"

The newbie is Lurch, now trainee steamer, hands resting easily above him on the fuel, blower throttles.
"Good........I want number one feed pump repacked please, do it after lunch, I don't want to be down a feed pump for evening action"

Job many more will he have after these rounds?
He observes Lurch, aware that the big man is nervous under his gaze. The bells ring, the big meat slabs Lurch has for hands grip the valves, the blower screem rises.........the steam pressure barely wobbles.
The ship trembles -another Jill landing.

Good, thinks Charge, good............another steamer in the works....a man he can trust.

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Post #: 2084
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 1:15:30 PM   

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Did I miss a post, I thought Lurch would have gotten his court martial while the ship was in Home waters.
Great writing.


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Post #: 2085
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/12/2013 10:46:26 PM   


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Minobe was forced to come to an "agreement", Uto had "a quiet word" to him...........
Even in war, careers and promotions must progress

Thankyou for reading/comment

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Post #: 2086
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/13/2013 1:14:52 AM   


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May 14th

Burma front

A silent jungle, mist on the water, a peacful dawn, the cool of the morning.

A crack

The tinkle of a shell casing, hot, smoking, bouncing , bouncing, falling into the soft earth

A thousand yards away, a red mist spray............

Greg Butler smiles, carefully reloads, measured, in control movements.......

"14 "he whispers

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Post #: 2087
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/13/2013 1:21:55 AM   


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Buka!, the bloody Buka!

Hosho quietly groans to himself.
Somewhare, over there, the barsted has moved.

14. 14 good men. Japan has plenty of men, men can be replaced. Fighting moral, however..........

A regiment stands frozen on a river front, too afraid to move, to expose itself, to fight.
Frozen by one man, one gun.

Buka!..........something growls Hosho, has to be done.

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Post #: 2088
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/13/2013 1:27:02 AM   


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A spitfire sweeps across the burma front at 20000 feet
The cameras whir.

pilot officer "long pig" graham yawns. another day, another photo. Confirmation today that Burma command has stripped its Artillery, sent it south , Tavoy probably.

Below him, at 15000 feet, the Liberators are streaming south, wings glittering in the sun

And below that, a 100000 starving japanese...........

Starvation he knows.

He yawns again..........another day, another dollar.

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Post #: 2089
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/13/2013 1:46:26 AM   


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It happens

Charge has detected the leaking gland follower.
The pump has been shut down

A youngster, almost aa an afterthought, has been dispatched to fetch new packing, whilst the leading seaman has removed the old rounds.
It's hot up here, hot, humid, unpleasant.
The job needs to be done quickly. The pump is isolated, the gland follower removed. The packing rings come out easily. The youngster cuts new ones, hands them to the leader.

It happens
Does he look at the packing closely?
No, not this time

In it goes, the follower follows.
De isolation, open the steam to the turbine

Hovering, spanner in hand, waiting to adjust the leakage the leader is stunned not to see leakage, but flames, and a horrible screeching scream of metal upon metal

Which is what you get when you use steam valve packing (wire reinforced) in a high speed pump gland.

It happens

A stupid mistake, occuring in moments. But is just caused a crap load of work.

Charge shakes his head sorrowfully over the dead pump. One day of defect free, and now it begins again.

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Post #: 2090
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/13/2013 1:53:05 AM   


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There's massed shipping now in Port headland. More at Wessel island, that just hovers there.
Bombing in burma, and Port blair.

Everywhere else, absolute silence

I can't figure it out, japan high command cant.
Its nearly mid 44, and the empires boundries have not moved for many many months.

Something, something MUST be coming! . But what?

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Post #: 2091
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/15/2013 12:29:25 PM   


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May 15th

"Coming onto bearing now sir!"
"very good" snaps Takeji " Starboard 20, new course will be 250 degrees"
"Stbd 20 sir!, new course 250 degrees!"

The helm rumbles, Zuiho heels, steadies.

"The Phillipines are ahead gentlemen, and I need not remind you what lurks there...............lets see the bukas first ney?"

Suriago straight, tricky enough, then the palawa passage, and then, gods willing, Singapore.
But first, tonight, Suriago straight, fun times indeed, trying to squeeze this lot through that, in the dark........

But that is tonight............
Takeji turns to his next job...........'Ah, Minobe.......up and about, over your bangkok belly?"
The smile is cold, humourless............'genuine this time sir, no scotch involved at all"
Takeji laughs.......'Then i am sorry to hear that, a crook belly with out any compensating pleasure before hand is cruel, how are things below?"

The Engineer shrugs, looks out at Yamato ahead of them.........."We are doing Ok, we can still beat that floating palace at any rate.........down a feed pump, a couple of other minor things"
"But we have full power?"
"Of course"
Takeji joins him, raises his glasses , takes in the bemouth ahead, how small the figures on her fan tail!
He passes the glasses to Minobe
"So would you like to serve on her ?"

Minobe lowers the glasses, hands them back. "I hear her stokers never see the sun.........and thats no life for a man, no matter how much steel you have over you against the bombs"
"Unlike us?"
"Unlike us"

Inwardly, Minobe shivers. To be so many decks least, here on Zuiho, if it ever went bad, they had some chance of getting out. But on that monstrosity...............

No. Sometimes he hates this rust bucket, hates the fates that have put him here. But it could be worse.
A lot worse

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Post #: 2092
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/15/2013 12:41:28 PM   


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"We will make him a Sergeant, I think" announces Hosho, 'A nice fat, careless one"
The men grin. '"So, a little more belly I think, and, I think he needs a moustache, can we do that?"

Hosho inspects his latest recruit. Its the ugliest creature ever to serve with him, 5 feet of uniform, straw stuffing, and a Oh so carefully crafted carved face of palm wood and paint.
With his uniform, his webbing, tin hat, the dummy from 10 feet will fool nobody..........but from 1000 yards.........

"How many heads do we have?"
"Three spare ones sir, do you want a moustache on them all?"
"Ah no.......They tell me private Kuchii is the best shot in all of 55th division, but even so, I think we are going to need this strapping young mans services a few times before this is over"

"Do you think Kuchii can do it sir, get the devil?'
"Why not?, sniper against sniper...........warrior against warrior.............but we are more cunning yes?"

Gods, he hopes so. This bunker is getting fouler by the day..........But what if it does not work?, what then?
No, don't think that. This will work. It must.

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Post #: 2093
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/15/2013 12:46:29 PM   


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26th flottilla, Ambon
Combined fleet

Latest recon from Wessell island, Arafura sea
15 CV, CVL, CVE, 4 BB, 8 CA, multiple DD, APA, LST still holding station

Enemy task force Wyndham has been lost, suspect now Darwin

All forces remain on high alert, request immediate reinforcement.

From Combined fleet
to 26th Flottilla

'Even a knife, wielded correctly, is as deadly as a sword'

There will be no reinforcements. There are none available.

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Post #: 2094
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/15/2013 7:14:57 PM   


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Great writing. Tension builds.


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

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Post #: 2095
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/16/2013 12:14:23 PM   


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This is a story about war.
Ships at war.

But war, or peace, for ships somethings are eternal. Navigation for one.
Tonight, hundreds of thousands of tons of shipping will penetrate Suriago straight, in the dark, at speed.

As zuiho enters the maw of the channel, Hibiki's pale stern light a dancing dot a thousand yards ahead of her, Takeji silently thanks the gods that this is a mere passage, and not a dash into battle.
The night is too dark, the waters too restricted........
No, no place to fight, not here.

Hibiki shines a light, just her stern light, a terrible risk indeed in war, but essential tonight. All the ships do. Abe leads the fleet through, line ahead, the dark almost impeneratable, the land about them even darker.

Zuiho steams at state two, closed up. Below, men sweat. Above, men sweat too.

They will pass through, incident free, and enter the Sulu sea at dawn.
One eternal enemy is conquered for now. Now for the newer one.
Sulu sea.
How many hidden Buka's lurk here?

Takeji retires from his bridge. They will reveal themselves, he is sure, whether he is asleep today or not.

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Post #: 2096
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/16/2013 12:24:40 PM   


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takeji sleeps

And thus it should be, battle is coming, he must be fresh.

Below, the work continues. The feed pump repair continues, the same nightmare as usual, the same sweat, the same strain, the same pain.
The passage completed, there are many things to do.
Soot blows, surface blows, burner change outs. The routines continue

The Jills prepare for another day, the bombs glistening.

Uto , Diogawa and Ogawa also take to the air today. CAP is established.
No chance of the enemy bombers today............but soon.

The trick, is of course, to remain hidden a few days longer.....

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Post #: 2097
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/16/2013 12:31:57 PM   


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The Dinahs have flown every day from Biak.

Once, only days ago, it seems to the shocked men of the unit, they were 18 strong.
Now but 6 remain.

Each mission now is, almost certainly, a one way trip.
Launch, search the arc 180 to 220 degrees ...............near wessel island. Transmit as long as you can, report what you see.
Until the giant swallows you

And a giant it is.

A fleet dwarfing what Zuiho sails in, is being tracked, tracked by dying men.
High command knows to the inch the position of the giant. Now, will they act upon this blood soaked knowledge?

< Message edited by 1275psi -- 4/16/2013 12:32:59 PM >

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2098
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/17/2013 10:46:00 AM   


Posts: 7911
Joined: 4/17/2005
Status: offline
18th May

0630 hours

Takeji enters Zuihos bridge quietly, with out fuss.
Nobody has called him, he is just here.
Quiet good mornings.
He moves to his favorite position near the starboard bridge wing, stands still.

As if waiting.

And it begins

'Destroyer Hamanami has been attacked sir, bearing 090, three kilometres!'
Takeji nods........."action stations please"

First attack, destroyers wheeling about out there, the crump of the charges...........
"Zuiho closed up sir"
2 minutes.........very good indeed..........but this is hardly a surprise of course, nobody really expected today to be quiet, did they?
"A cup of tea please....."

Second attack, 0700 hours, still out there, still out to the north. Destroyers still weaving.
Same submarine, or another?

Battleship yamashiro suddenly heels hard, wake creaming............attack number three, 0730 hours............

No, surely not one acting alone..............
hard to remain calm ............bloody bukas, barsteds...............

0745 hours
attack number 4

And kaga is hit.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2099
RE: The little ship that could. - 4/17/2013 11:02:42 AM   

Posts: 6750
Joined: 3/18/2011
Status: offline
Kaga?! Oh, com'on!!!!!!!

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2100
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