17 aug 1944
80 miles due west of Koepang
Tanaka rests easily enough in his chair, dozing. He dozes comfortable that the dozen or so men already on Kongo's bridge, her radar, her multiple lookouts don't need his extra pair of eyes peering into the night.
He rests calmly. Action tonight, yes, action will come tonight , again.
How many times now?
Sometimes, he thinks, this war is endless.
As, it seems, as well, are the enemy replacements
When the call comes, as it inevitably must, he rises calmly, moves to the binnacle.
"Our float recon reports a single battleship, dead ahead, course due east, 4 destroyer escorts, range 30 miles"
A battleship?. And just one?. Trouble indeed if its one of those missouri's...........the South dakato perhaps?
His mind churns, and in the silence he can feel all eyes awaiting his decisions.
Inwardly, a smile. They are all expecting Tanaka to do the impossible again ney?. To pull of some sort of brilliant trick?
Maybe?, maybe not?
"Seek confirmation, type, numbers, especially numbers of destroyers!"
I have 9 destroyers, 6 of the Akizukis..........match enough for fletchers.
And now, deep in him, a little excitement.......
Kongo powers on at 20 knots, her crew already at action stations, 4 destroyers leading, line ahead, Kirishima astern, the others behind. The night is silent, the sea smooth, the moon half.
Timor a low shadow on the horizon.
He comes to a decision. Koepang must wait.
"Bring column left, 20 degrees. Inform destroyers to form 2000 yards on my stbd flank, in column, prepare for long lance attack. . Give the micrphone"
South dakato, mighty mo, whatever. I will clash steel upon steel with you my hidden friend.
"Do you hear there, Admiral speaking. We are going to engage an enemy battleship sometime about 0200 hours. Shoot straight, shoot true. That is all."
He places the microphone down, eager now, eyes hard, sparkling with life, energy.
'We enter History men. Let us be the ones to write it"