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RE: The little ship that could.

 
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RE: The little ship that could. - 5/14/2013 10:59:43 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hirate, Okano, are doing what they have done so often, for so long. Working together on some new Truking piece of kit that has failed.
It doesn't really matter what it is, its metal, its broken. Together, these men will fix it. In the quiet of the workshop, this particular jig saw puzzle is coming together.

Brothers in arms
Brothers, now, in law

"Got the nut?"
"Got it"
"Spanner........no, the other way you clot"
"Ok, keep your hair on"

the work continues
"Hirate.........I ahve to ask"
A silence...........the spanner pauses.
"What happened on your last draft..........with you, with Minobe?"

Hirate looks his friend in the eye. His answer is emotional, hate filled.

"hell"
"hell?"
"Thats all you need to know..............hell"

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2191
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/16/2013 10:27:39 AM   
1275psi

 

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17 june

The debates have been fierce
None more so than in japans high command -how to utilise its shrinking submarine force.
Too many times its submarines working individually have been sunk for no gain.

Not today

20 Submarines enter the Lautern area.
Their orders are simple, no one withdraws until they have killed

2 are lost, 1 heavily damaged. 6 LST and 2 AKs are sunk.
The convoy attacked appears to have been overwhelmed

You can draw your own conclusions.......................




Lautern still holds. Yesterdays attack (1 to 2) has faltered. Today the bombers come, and come, and come on.
It must fall soon.
Herbiesan is betting that a hundred more lauterns mark the path to Japan.................

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2192
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/16/2013 10:31:33 AM   
1275psi

 

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22nd sentai (which Fuchida will reach in two days) has entered action in central China
In 2 days they have lost 3 planes, no men...............and taken 25 kills.



And finally, Zuiho refuels, and keeps sailing south.
We must return to her tomorrow

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2193
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/16/2013 11:51:57 PM   
John 3rd


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TRUK!


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Post #: 2194
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/17/2013 9:58:13 PM   
1275psi

 

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18th June

The refuelling hoses disconnect with the usual spray of black, dancing across the gap between the tanker and Zuiho. The ropes soon follow, drawn swiftly by the lines of men.
Takeji watches carefully from his bridge.
They are high out of the water now, these tankers, sucked dry by the fuel hogs all about them, another reminder of the failure of this mission.

Ce la vie................some you win, some you lose yes?
At least no bloody hidden Buka's out here.

"refuelling completed sir!, all lines clear!'

Ah, back to centre stage then.
He stiffens slightly. Captains do not just command, they must be seen to be in Command...

"Very good!.......revolutions 230, port 20"

The broadcast blares....."attention on the upper deck, face to starboard, IJN ship.....Maru!"
Already the name of the tanker is whipped away by the wind, the hiss of the sea racing past, the rising noise of the fans.

Zuiho cleaves away across an emerald , sparkling calm sea. To her port, java , low and brooding. Ahead, batavia, then somewhere after that Singapore.

Buka's allowing, of course.............


Takeji hands control back to the Officer of the watch, takes his chair. A stack of signals await, delayed news, delayed problems.

Disturbingly, no war news.

He puts the signals down, stands, moves to the window. All around them, the fleet. So mighty, so strong. But........but is it strong enough now?. Was Colombo more than a failure of tactics, but a failure of will............dare he say it?, a failure of nerve?
No. No, never................but.................

There is a report, buried in that stack of papers behind him, claiming America could have 40 plus escort carriers now.
Impossible of course.


Surely?

(in reply to John 3rd)
Post #: 2195
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/19/2013 5:43:44 AM   
1275psi

 

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55th division continues to struggle south.
For two days now the fresh 2nd guards devision has passed them going north, faces askance at the sight of the emancipated men of the 55th.
The passing of the two divisions does not go smoothly.
Again, and again groups of desperate starving soldiers break raanks, and besiege the Guards men, begging for food, for anything, anything at all.
The guards soldiers, instinctivly understanding what lies waiting for them at the front are quick to use rifle butts and violence to keep them at bay.
"There is food ahead!, there is food ahead!, just keep going!, Just keep going!

Hosho, almost out on his feet, confronts a company commander from the Guards
'You must give us something!" almost without thought, his hand rests upon his side arm."You must !"
The Commander - how full and clean his uniform!- tries to force his way past.
Hosho's hand grabs his arm, holds him back , and now the small pistol is actually drawn.
Behind the guard commander, a dozen soldiers, a single one as fit as a dozen of Hoshos's, unsling rifles.
Silence fills the air, dangerous silence

To dozen men, a dusty track, the brooding jungle, and yet, on both sides, hundreds of other soldiers in great lines passng North and south, blotting this scene from their minds ; for they have seen it already too many times today.

The guards commanders eyes fill with tears.........'I cannot, .........you must carry on, I promise you, 2 miles more, a camp, kitchens, a supply dump..unbombed. "
"I do not believe you" Hoshos voice is ice. " look at you, your men. You have been stealing what was meant for the front!, now give us what you have stolen!"
There are growls now from the guard soldiers, bolts are being eased into place.

The guards commander makes one last try. "Your 15th army HQ is there, and have you ever known an army HQ to go with out?"

Hosho hesitates. Is this true?. If it is...........
He lowers his pistol, it is all too much trouble ...........


For once, the truth is told. 46 miles south of the front, 15th army HQ is established. Few supplies go north of here it seems, but that does not matter. Tonight, 55th division will eat

Nearly ball of them, that is. Pilot officer Graham will get very little this night it seems.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2196
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/19/2013 5:55:25 AM   
1275psi

 

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19th June 44

Fuchida climbs wearily from his truck, dusty, sweat stained, thirsty
His keen eyes sweep Wuchang airfield.

A long dirt strip., almost indistingishable from the plain it nestles on. A few tents, ragged, fading. Three battered fuel trucks, the windsock, limp.
He counts them, yes........35 Franks, scattered around the field.

Little stirs under the hot sun.
there is a small knot of men sitting in the shade under a rough awning. He makes his way to them.
A dozen men, pilots, sitting in a circle, the rice pot in the middle.
Fuchida's stomach rumbles. ' 'Excuse me gentlemen, I am looking for the commander"

One of the men stops eating, eyes the newcomer
"Fuchida?"
"Hiei!'
"You are bloody late. Take a seat, let us fill you in on this little circus........."




Fuchida lies staring now at the stars, unable to sleep.
The story is simple. 49 pilots, 20 or more of them aces.
35 servicable fighters.
An aggressive, aggressive enemy

A mighty chance to score again, and again

Or to be killed.

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Post #: 2197
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/19/2013 3:43:02 PM   
PaxMondo


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Thanks. Great story lines, my morning pot of latte, great start to a day.



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Post #: 2198
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2013 5:34:57 AM   
Smoky Stoker


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quote:

ORIGINAL: 1275psi

For two days now the fresh 2nd guards devision has passed them going north, faces askance at the sight of the emancipated men of the 55th.


Had to read the whole chapter before I was sure you meant "emaciated", because they are emancipated, too.

_____________________________

"Leveling large cities has a tendency to alienate the affections of the inhabitants and does not create an atmosphere of international good will after the war." -Rear Admiral Daniel V. Gallery

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Post #: 2199
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2013 9:55:55 AM   
1275psi

 

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Thanks for Comments guys. On the road with work, playing and posting has been a trial.

Men speak. We speak all the time. we curse, we swear, we give praise, we give orders, we acknowledge them.
But we speak in a million other ways.

Now, tonight, the invisible messages are passed. You see them in the mens actions, the way they hesitate before passing down through that water tight hatch. The glances between men as they pass in the crowded passageways.

Tension once again stalks the decks of Zuiho. Fear, that ever present current, is again flowing.
Zuiho is passing batavia tonight, then will turn North for Singapore.

Submarine country.

No words will be spoken between men this night on Zuiho of this fear.
None are needed.
You look in you companions eyes, and hear it plain as day.

(in reply to Smoky Stoker)
Post #: 2200
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2013 10:31:29 AM   
1275psi

 

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Crud, just lost an entire post

0300 hours
Hirate looks about the engine room for the hundreth time.
The noise is the same, the guages the same, the heat the same.
Too little to do, too much too think about.
He throws an envious look at his youngest seaman, he has something to do.....its a terrible thing when one becomes envious of a man with a polishing rag and a piece of brass pipe.

His eyes do the next lap.
And the thoughts rise again, unbidden, inevitable, dark

A hundred scenerios go through his racing mind.............the torpedo strikes there.................or over there.............
Sometimes he makes the hatch above, sometimes...............he does not.

darker thoughts come
Thoughts and memories he thought he had buried, had forgotten.
Thoughts of fire, of flame............

he see's it still.

A different boiler room, a different carrier, a different time.
He sees it still.

The fuel pipe. Untested. Unproven. Work just completed on it.
He sees Minobe , near the fuel pump, opening the fuel supply valve

he hears the bang, see's the fuel spray..........the flash, the flame, the heat, and.........

gods

the screams

He replays in his mind .............his scream to Minobe, to shut the valve, Minobe on the other side of the flame, on the side where safety is, where the hatch is.
Where he, Hirate and many others were not...........
He sees Minobe , face a ricture of fear.letting go of the valve, turning, fleeing

He hears the screams still.............

he thought he had forgotten
the flames are long gone
But the heat remains

In his heart
hate
Burning white hot

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Post #: 2201
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/20/2013 7:35:26 PM   
kaleun

 

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Awesome!

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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 2202
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 11:09:13 AM   
1275psi

 

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21 June

LTCOL Amna is a short little barsted.
5 feet bloody nothing. Bristling moustache, an attitude to match it.
Commander of the 22nd sentai.
He arrives at 1200 hrs this day, voice barking.
By 1300 hours , 22nd sentai, 31 planes strong sweeps across the skies above Changsa.

No enemy challenges

They land.
Amna growls, stalks to the command tent.

He must have pull, this Amna
Bombers are coming, deployed from some other front.
"That will get their bloody attention" the mostache bristles.


Fuchida, pleased to just get a seat today, smiles
Fun times indeed ahaed.

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Post #: 2203
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 11:16:32 AM   
1275psi

 

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Combined fleet again nestles in port
Singapore roads again crowded with Japanese ships.

It looks impressive: from a distance

But we had better not look too closely today.
There is too much rust, too many beaten and bent bits. They are tired these ships. Very tired.

Charge has a defect list today as long as any he has ever had, a spares demand list longer than he cares to admit.
And not much bloody chance of filling it.

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Post #: 2204
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 11:29:32 AM   
1275psi

 

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Charge climbs the long ladder from the boiler room. His overalls stick to his body, wet through with sweat.
His legs, he notes, are trembling again.
Its been a long, long day. Just after 0300 hours, action stations, and yet another full power run into Singapore.
Closed up for hours, then the arrival, nearly an hour of intense manouvering.
The order to come down to auxiliary, recinded 10 minutes later -Zuiho has to move for another carrier.
More manouvering.

Cooked engines.

Now Zuiho has been at auxiliary for 4 hours, turning gear engaged, trying to cool the Astern turbine to something manageable.
4 extra hours unable to attend to so many leaks............

But , of course, there ARE things that can be done while at auxiliary.
Testing safety valves, is one.

Now, near evening, THAT is done, 4 hours of baking on top of the boiler, battling those bloody valves, fiddling with adjustments that just have to be right.

he reaches the top of the ladder, pauses for breath
Slowly, he heads forward to his mess.

The overalls fall, and the basin is filled.

He stares at the old man in the mirror, the white palid skin, the wrinkles, the grey hair.
Where, he thinks, has his life gone?

Machines, bloody machines.

'You chose this, you old bloody fool, you chose this'
He smiles. Zuiho has made it to another port, and that will do.

5 minutes later, he is asleep.


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Post #: 2205
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 11:31:06 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hi kaluen, glad you are still enjoying!

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RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 2:07:10 PM   
kaleun

 

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Definitely 1275. Thanks for the yarn.

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Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
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Post #: 2207
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/21/2013 7:18:32 PM   
Lecivius


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He's not alone. This is the first AAR I check daily

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Post #: 2208
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/23/2013 10:38:10 AM   
1275psi

 

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24 th june

Alongside Singapore

And now for harbour routine
Zuiho needs many repairs. So do many of the ships. For many, they will just have to wait.
But there is one thing that nobody has to wait for.

Its only taken a day, but now the scaffolding, the bosuns chairs festoon the sides of the ships. Painting parties.

I hate to be cynical, but what the heck. If your ship is having trouble, at least she can look good doing it....

The fleet scrapes rust, spreads ship side grey.



The allies launch their first atack at Dilli...........
Gods.....there is so much wrong with this picture.



(in reply to Lecivius)
Post #: 2209
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/23/2013 10:41:15 AM   
1275psi

 

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22nd sentai remains on the ground today, socked in.

But somebody has noticed.
A new plane, snarling, shining, a beautiful beast enters stage left, sweeping the skies south of 22nd sentai over Nanchang.

P51d

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

22nd accepts.

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Post #: 2210
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/25/2013 3:06:02 AM   
1275psi

 

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25th June

Uto is drunk
Ogawa passed that point a little while ago

Diogawa eyes them with a prejudiced eye, he's not quite advanced, but getting there. There had been plans to go ashore tonight, but these, it seems, have been delayed.

The door to the mess slams open.
Hidaka eyes the three with an aggressive air, swaying some what on his feet.
He is shoved , almost brutally into the mess by Takeji, scotch bottle firmly in hand

He points, somewhat unsteadily, at the three airmen
"You, you, ........and you.........dinner. gangway, 3 minutes.............."
With a curse, he disapears back out the door.

Going ashore, thinks Diogawa, is no longer delayed.

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Post #: 2211
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/25/2013 3:21:26 AM   
1275psi

 

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55 th division crawls south.

Pilot officer Graham stumbles along, surrounded by japanese soldiers. Soldiers who, it seems, get more and more dangerous with every kilometre travelled south.
Food, it seems, is no longer an issue. Even he has recieved a little. There has been even the occasional aid station.. And now, all about him, he can see the gradual changes in the soldiers of Hoshos company.
They are turning back to soldiers again.

Soldiers who are angry, soldiers who need something to vent this anger upon.

Three times now he has felt the bite of the rifle butt, how long, he wonders, the sting of the other end?, the bayonet.

Grim times Long pig, he thinks, grim times.



Overhead, the daily drone of the heavies......bangkok?, tavoy?
Something Japanese he hopes.

The men about him barely bother to look up, so used to this noise by now, passing 30000 feet above them.

But today the should have

The bombs stream down today...........and half a mile away, the earth erupts into a mountain of dust and flame.......a mountain that races towards them as the string of bombs comes plummetting down. Men leap for the ditches, Graham amongst them, the world dissolves into screaming bombs, shattering bangs, it leaps about them, choking them, drowning them in dust, the blast sweeping over the ditch.

Graham does not remain in the ditch, he runs.
A gigantic hand takes him, pushes him, He feels almost flying.he barrel rolls, crashes against a stump.
he gets up, and keeps on running, running into the Jungle, running for his life

Another terrible string of bangs, something bites his arse (again!, truk!, again!), he keeps going.

The bombing stops.

He has a 300 metre lead.

He pauses. Chest heaving, heart pounding. East?, west?. No, where the jungle is thickest, there, there.
He plunges into the gloom
Into the jungle
Old friend.

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Post #: 2212
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/25/2013 3:26:41 AM   
1275psi

 

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Tony Fighters try to conduct longrange Cap from bangkok.
Its a disaster

Spitfires over raheang take down 24 of them for only 3 lost
And while they are away, B-29's fly in un opposed, and thourghly trash their home.

Port Blair is visited by british destroyers, and a great many SS are sighted again blocking the straights.
20th army, 5 divisions strong, way out on the right of the Burma front, are ordered south.
Tavoy , it is felt, is THE weak point.

Burma command has a different view. EVERYTHING, now a days, is a weak point.

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Post #: 2213
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/25/2013 3:35:57 AM   
1275psi

 

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Damiensan, Minister for production, works late, as he ever does, into the night.

Herbiesan, it seems, is displeased.
herbiesan, thinks the minister for production, expects bloody miricals.

Oil levels falling to critical levels
Fuel too.
But stable, stable for now. But should the oil pipe line be cut, there is little in reserve.
But this is not what displeases herbiesan, he thinks

Its what he has found these weeks.
Payments.
Discrete, hidden payments to companies that do not exist, or exist in name only, for work never to be done, or expected to be done.

Bolt hole
The barsteds preparing a bolt hole........


A chill passes up Damieansans spine

Which can only mean the dictator is no longer expecting to win...........in fact, is preparing to lose..........

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Post #: 2214
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2013 2:27:26 AM   
1275psi

 

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26 th June 44

Its big. Its beautiful, in its own way. Its Japans cutting edge of fighter design. And now 36 of them, Franks, to the Allies, sweep the skies over Changsa, manned by the very best pilots the empire retains.

From 20000 feet Changsa is a brown stain on the yellow plain, but on this stunning clear blue sky day, the strip complex stands clear.
And so do the fighters circling it at 15000, joining or leaving circuit.

Fuchida adjusts his mask again, shifts in his seat, flexes fingers.

LT Col Arwa waggles his wings,, the fighters begin to descend, sweeping down in a great turn to the right, cutting into the circle of P51's below.
Fuchida glances to his right, Ishawaya is there, wing man, mere feet away

Comforting

And now the P51's are drifting up, swinging from right to left, rising across his nose.
he picks one, begins to bank into its turn..........they are doing 360 knots, maybe more, but so is the P51, and speed is so relevant......
The 51 banks as hard as it can, not hard enough, his fingers twitch, tracer reaches, guns hammer, Franks flashing through this flight of glistening machines, machines scattering, weaving, dying

Fuchida's target shovels smoke, flames erupt from its nose, he is past, behind it banking hard the other way, continuing the roll, diving towards another, it pulling up, and away, out.
damnation

Left banking, left banking now, seeling targets, the sky from horizon to horizon filled with machines duelling, dodging, rising to the fight, or deserting it.

The turn continues, Ishawaya now leading on his left, a p40n opposite them in the banking turn

Head swivelled left, eyes fixed......the circle closes

A 51 joins them , 500 meters behind, plenty of time
The Franks advanced flap design is winning here, the circle closes, closes, Ishawaya fires, the P40 stumbles , falls, the 51 is still hunting. hard rudder, hard stick, corkscrewing, earth, sky, eyes on the plane hunting, missing, pasing by, under, snap shot, missing, missing
damnation

But Ishawaya has not, the 51 is falling, tumbling,

barsted has two.............






It is a brawl, this fight, fighter pilot mecca, the hunted, the hunters

The 51's had challenged
22nd have replied

20 P51Ds, 12 P40ns will go down this day, and Japanese bombers will also hit the field

2 franks, but no pilots will be lost.

22nd kills rise to 76, Fuchida to 7

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Post #: 2215
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2013 2:31:35 AM   
1275psi

 

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Abe has made what may be a fatal mistake

No less than 24Hrs ago, he has ordered the fleet to come alongside, to conduct maintenace, placing the vast majority of the fleet at a minimum of 72 hrs notice

Now, less then 24hrs later, the british are in the Indian ocean, and carriers have been sighted.
Convoy to calcutta?, or the Port Blair invasion?

Abe orders the fleet to come to instant readiness.

But the damage has been done. Instant, now, is three days.
About the same sailing time those ships are from Port blair.

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Post #: 2216
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2013 2:37:13 AM   
1275psi

 

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Minobe has summoned Charge to his stinking cabin

"Whats the damage Charge?"

Exasperated, Charge shakes his head
"I have three furnaces open, replacing damaged brickwork in two, two guage glasses out, port turbine aft bearing casing off, and Gods knows, at least 30 valves half re packed. A bloody mess, to be honest........."

Minobe scratches his ear. "they have trucked up, ney?"
"yes, they have"

A long silence, both know exactly what is coming
"Well, now we pay, put it all back together Chief, as quick as you can"

As quick as you can
So easy to say.............so truking hard to do.


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Post #: 2217
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2013 11:41:32 AM   
ny59giants


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I worked on the electronics for the fuel systems for the B-1 & B-2 bombers in the 80s after leaving the USN. I had to deal with the design engineers. They would come up with how they wanted the small things to be built, but didn't realize how difficult it was from an electronics technician's point of view to work on them and calibrate the damn things. I told one that I had only one elbow and could not bend my arms the way it was needed to work on his design. It finally sunk in. Your last few post reminded me of those issues that some higher up the food chain don't face or understand.

Keep up this great AAR.

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Post #: 2218
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/26/2013 3:05:01 PM   
zuluhour


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What fun to stop in here and read...This marks something like my 75th stop in as I try to read a page at a time. Very enjoyable...still!

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Post #: 2219
RE: The little ship that could. - 5/27/2013 9:21:54 AM   
1275psi

 

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Hosho pushes through the greenery, breathing hard.
The bloody buka, how in the hell did he survive the bombs, how in the hell could that bloody pig escape?
He shoves a thick branch aside, wipes his brow, peers into the gloom

A flash of movement beside him, a smashing, stunning blow to his head, spinning, the ground rushing up........

Pilot Officer graham, standing over him............., tree branch raised for the killing blow.

The branch hesitates......
"Now we are even........one for one."
Hosho nods.yes, now we are.........he does not move as Graham rifles his pockets, takes his bayonet, his canteen, his small parcel of rice and dried fish.

And then he is gone.

Hosho feels the lump rising.........it could be worse.............
Truk it. He will let him go............after all, what damage could one man do out in this green hell?

(in reply to zuluhour)
Post #: 2220
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