It is bucketing down over the Hiyo, one of those torrential monsoon type showers that pound the waters into froth, drown out all conversation with the hammering upon her steel, that runs across her slanting deckin torrents
Her bow is barely visible from the bridge, her escorts completely lost in the sheets of rain
How the submarine actually hits her this miserable morning is an absolute mystery. But hit her she does, twice.
Dull thuds, dead admidships, she rocks a little. The baulkhead for the remaining boiler room splits 6 feet long, the shoring collapsing.
There is no panic, the men abandon the room in plenty of time, the safety valves released. , Hiyo screaming her frustration and rage.
Takeji slumps onto his seat on the bridge, gives a single, despairing curse.
“Get the men up EX, she can’t survive that”
Her 100 odd men gather on the flight deck, soaked, gathered in miserable groups, a destroyer slides alongside, waiting for the final act.
Okano and Hirate , join them, they have secured the now useless engineroom, shut the hatches behind them, and now, cold, miserable, and yet relieved that the nightmare may soon end, wait for the word.
Hiyo has halted, silence envelopes her, the rain streams down
Time passes. 30 minutes, 45.
She does not sink
The AR Sinsei Maru, comes alongside, that friendly face pale in the rain
He raises a loud hailer, speaks to the lonely Captain of Hiyo across the gap separating them
“Well, are you sinking, or not?, or do we keep fighting?”
Takeji considers the grey sky, the grey seas, the miserable waters, men about him.
Truk you ship, it would be so easy to just give up…………..
Jesselton, 80 miles away
“Another bottle of scotch, we won’t make it”
Rule one of damage control. Never give up the ship.
Hiyo, the ship they couldn’t kill.
It is a beautiful Autumn morning in Tokyo, and her people are busy at work,.
Her factories hum, her streets bustle. After three years of war, everyone, it seems, is at work, or in uniform. There are shortages, of this and that, on the streets, but nothing critical.
Japan , economically, remains strong. The papers hint at merchant ship losses, at the desperate convoy battles (this very night just past saw no less than 6 escorts lost) that carry the resources and oil, and fuel home. But overall, war has not harmed the home islands. Her people remain blissfully un aware of the danger they are in.
The war is where?, Timor?..............the other side of the world yes?
At 9 am, the sirens sound, another air raid practice.
Some respond, the vast majority simply shrug, they are too busy for such nonsense.
But overhead, the air seems to be filling with the growl of fighters, dozens of them, circling. Enough to bring people to a halt in the streets, to look up, point, stare.
Suddenly, things change.
New planes, strange planes, stubby clipped wings.
Tokyo stops, and turns its face to the sky.
Ogowa, Diogowa watch from the door of the police station.
There is cold fury in Ogowas eyes, as he turns towards the Kempantai officer. “feel vindicated, you barsted?’
For twenty minutes , the show goes on, the fighters wheeling across the sky. Occasionally, one, or another streams down.
A hellcat crashes near the palace, another in the Ginza, an American floats down, a crowd gathers about him, curious. They stare at him, him at them, until a uniform comes up, and shoots him dead…….
The battle fades way. The streets ring with excitement.
“So that was the Americans, the Yankees . Bold, but so stupid. And how the Bushido boys handled them!
But the sirens ring again………
100 plus this time.
The crowds remain, but now they have fallen silent.
About them, the AA guns begin to bark, new, loud, scary sounds. Children scream, cry. The sky fills with violence.
Down in the docks, in the port, the thud of bombs, the rising smoke and flames…………
Unseen by most, Yamato spears across the waters of the bay, her guns barking. Captain Ishii shouts his orders. He is beyond angry. Externally he remains calm, inside, he could tear the world apart.
Three dive bombers are peeling over, coming at the port side.
That barely touches him. Its HIM, HIM, standing behind him, and if he tries to look out yet again.
Bloody hell,, he’s going to try to look…………..
Behind him, the Emperor of Japan, the son of heaven, moves to the corner of the bridge, seemingly oblivious to the danger screaming down upon Yamato
Captain Ishii curses, “Sir!, please, ……….Hard to starboard!”
Somehow, Yamato escapes……….
The raids come in, again, and yet again, Yokohama too is attacked.
And this attack, bold to the nth, succeeds.
Kaga , in dry dock, is struck by two bombs, the first landing in the dock nearby, punching a hole in her side. The second plunges into the quarterdeck.
Shokaku takes two bombs, both explode on her flight deck, punching small holes
Zuikaku takes three in her dock, all miss her, but explode in the concrete canyons about her. Acetylene cylinders explode, her tormentors will mistake their explosions as her very end.
Shoho shrugs her hit off
Kongo, Kirishima, Musashi take a bomb each, they will do little harm
The damage, overall, is of little effect. All these ships were already helpless, in refit, under repair.
They will all still be available again in 30 to 40 days.
145 allied aircraft have been shot down this day.
The attack, in itself, would , did, shake Japans population. . Maybe it needed it.
But the papers will carry but one story
Assassination attempt upon the Son of heaven!
Americans attack the Yamato, bearing his highness!
100 million swear to fight to prevent this ever happening again!
And somewhere in the Pacific, Admiral King turns to Kinkaid
“Jesus Jim, look what Halesly gone and done . Now he has just made the little yellow barsted angry!"
Hiyo, 43 system, 79 flood, 54 engine
And over Thialand, a dozen tojos lay a trap, and it closes.
They shoot down two planes, mosquitos.
Long pig goes down again.