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RE: The little ship that could.

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RE: The little ship that could. - 12/14/2013 4:42:10 AM   


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The commander of 112th division barely dares to raise his eyes.

"relax general, a cup of tea?'

trembling, almost un believing, the General takes the offered tea from the divine prescence, the Emperor himself

'thankyou sir"

A long silence, pregnant with possibilities........

"Who do you serve general?"
You sir, you and the empire...........I would die for both"
"And our esteemed leader, herbiesan?"

A long silence

"Good. That man has hurt me general. Virtually imprisoned me, now he uses my name , my absolute presence to further the war, not for Japan, but for himself. The man is a traitor, and a fraud."

The gentle clink of the tea cup placed upon the table

'He must die. Do you agree general?"

Oh, to live in such sweet times. To have been blessed to be part of the Emperors plans, to serve him directly!. I am so unworthy.........

Tears stream from the newly promoted general of the 112th division

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2761
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/14/2013 4:49:01 AM   


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December 11th

And finally


Enemy destroyers near ternate.
Multiple SS/ASW actions in the waters around Jolo island

The bombings rise to a fever pitch:
Kendari......9 libs
Donggala......24 heavies
namlea,,,,,,,,,,32 heavies
Palua, ........9 heavies
Namlea, another 14
Sorong, 25 B25's
Ternate, more heavies

All of these bases are closed.........and are for good

6 kate from the southern phillipines attack the DDs near ternate, 2 are lost, no hits

And finally, in the pM, the sightings begin to flow in

East of Waigo, a fleet of LSTs
And to the south of them, about 100 miles behind, multiple task forces, carriers, more carriers, and the multiple task forces Cantona loves to form, APA's, LSTs, know the usual picture

And behind them, battleships..........

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2762
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/14/2013 4:53:31 AM   


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Tanaka see's the flags first. He has stepped out to Kongos bridge wing for air, to see the sunset, to think
On Zuikaku, they stream upwards.

'All units raise steam"

At last. At last Abe has decided to move.......we should have moved three days ago, no?,,,,,but we move.

Tanaka turns to his Captain :How fast did you say this old girl can go?"
"fast enough, even for a destroyer captain"
A good answer............for I intend to drive her like one.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2763
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/14/2013 5:05:00 AM   


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At midnight, Japans navy reacts.

from soerabaya, 2 heavy cruisers, 6 destroyers

from manilla, 5 seperate task forces

TF 30, 4 CVs, 4 CVL, 10 DDs, Admiral Abe, commander in chief, possibly japans last.
few aircraft are set to CAP, he intends to do but one thing, strike

TF96, 1 CV, taiho, with 72 fighters on CAP, escorting 4 BBs, 1 CA, 3CL, 16 DDs. Admiral Morita is the spear

TF 133. BB ise, 6 DD, to sail as the decoy. Takeda will sell his life to free the spear

TF 324, Tanaka to take 3 BC in, and he intends one final ride to glory

TF 327, 1 BB, 1 CL, 4 dd. Imazato's orders, simple, direct. attack!

23 fighter units, 9 TBD, and 20 bomber units have been assigned to this battle, they will recover in manilla as the battle chews them up.
There remains in japan equivelant forces still
But pools are terribly low.
let there be no mistake. High command knows this is a decoy, it must be. But, he hopes Cantona will believe I must react to what ever else is coming.
I won't.
A chance for a final battle on my terms, at odds maybe at 1 to 1

Good enough for the end of 44

I will attack!

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2764
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/14/2013 12:40:41 PM   
John 3rd

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Post #: 2765
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/16/2013 8:14:29 AM   


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12 December 1944

The fleet powers south, 20 knots, through darkness and rain

Abe sits at the back of Zuikaku's crowded bridge, the shadows of her crew empherical in the red lights.
He has little to do, this is the busines of individual captains, of navigators.

Almost ruefully, he is glad that it is..
These are dangerous, crowded waters. The fleet is taking the channels and passages through the myriad islands of the archapelago, and, gods willing, will burst into the pacific via the Suriago straights.
It is a navigation task of the highest order.
That it will be accomplished with out incident reflects the skill of these men. The ravages of war has not destroyed this vital, unknowable craft yet.

There has been just two messages, two reports.
And they give him enough to think about.

The first.
The soerabaya task force, reinforced, now 4 cruisers strong, has charged towards macassar, and been bombed heavily.
Undamaged , fortunately, it has retired, how many search planes will it divert?
Not enough, probably.

The second message .............

The enemy are landing at sorong, Waigeo, the top , the tip of PNG.
A devilish choice, almost brilliant

Just out of range of Davao's air, and cutting of the Biak forces.

(not that there are many left, cantona old friend)

The enemy carriers linger east of waigeo, the battle wagons near Boela
The plan, has been, always was, wear him down with LBA, then, then strike.

This invasion negates that.
And can he afford to lose sorong, is it a war losing base

There can be no allied LBA here either.........
A chance to strike at long range, with no strike back.

Oh to hell with it.

Abe stands, moves to the centre of the bridge
"Signal all ships..........full ahead Flank"

(in reply to John 3rd)
Post #: 2766
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/16/2013 8:20:37 AM   


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malaria can kill.
It can kill a long, long time after you get it

Winter is covering Japan with a coat of snow, of purity, the cold settling in

In a camp bed, just outside Kagoshima, Hosho lies, sweat streaming from a fever wracked body.

There is pitifully little quinnene in japan.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2767
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/16/2013 8:25:18 AM   


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Long pig taxi's to stop, kills the wellingtons engines

Bigglesworth turns to him. No words need to be said.

The tour has been finished.

But even as they walk across the tarmac, Long pig cannot remove the thought from his mind.
This war is not finished. Not yet.
Is it right to retire from the fight before its finished?

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2768
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/16/2013 8:47:20 AM   


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Friday 13th, 1944


The rain is belting down, beautiful thick wet, grey, rain, blanketting the fleet, covering it with a shroud, hiding it, a magicians cape.

Nearly a million tons of shipping, steaming south.
Still unsighted.

Suriago straight cleared at dawn, the turn south by south east, the waters south of palua the target.
The enemy continue to land at sorong, at waigeo.
The enemy fleet, fixed.

Abe smiles.
Its the cantona way..........again
An endless stream of individual task forces, landings from the APAs, the APs, the AKs.............and few, very few LSTs

And the great joke, the massively important fact

There are but three starving, crippled, crushed japanese base forces at waigeo.
The allies are landing the 2nd marines, the 5th marines, the 5th USMC tank regiment, endless support troops..........forces one would expect must go for something more important than this!

There are no signs of anything coming anywhere else..............

He bends to his diary
'tomorrow the fleet will gather near palua, then, utilising our superior range, strike a blow at the enemy. There well may be no need for a decisive final all out strike, but a chance to inflict losses without crippling ourselves...........

and then, a thought , almost too hopeful to contemplate.

What if the enemy has so totally committed to a thrust up through the DEI towards davao that he cannot now re orientate himself.....?
What if this is the only way he can go?
Gods......this war could go on for another year yet!

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Post #: 2769
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 7:27:19 AM   


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December 14th

Extract from shattering the sword.........a cantona production

The day begins brutally, I-33 attacks the Cleveland, misses, and is promptly sunk in retaliation.
RO- 60 sinks an AK at Wiageo
I-34 begins what will be a heroic ]day for her, in 30 minutes, she sinks 2 APs, then, later in the day, she will also claim an LST
other japanese ss are not so lucky, 2 others are sunk in these crowded waters

The landings continue, the rain continues to fall.

In the celebes sea, 5 destroyers are attacked by nearly 250 aircraft over a period of 12 hours.........."the hottest AA action of the war"
No less than 100 fish are launched at them...............and all miss

The once feared miss betty is now a useless old crone.

The allied fleet swings around to the east of sorong, and over 400 sorties fly against the islands, when the attacks go in, there is little resistance
Soraong, waingapoe both fall

And the Japanese fleet?
Undetected, it lingers near palua..........and hesitates.

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Post #: 2770
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 7:32:20 AM   


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I wanted to strike
I said I would strike

I have botched it

Too many destroyers low on fuel, a guarrantee that ops points tomorrow, if I charged, would see too many ships fall short of the targets......

I am a day late, a dollar short

I need, I must have my LBA assist, its impossible to attack the juggernaught near sorong, 200 escorts will not get through 400 hellcats he can bring to his CAP.
We must retire north, await fuel.
And try again.


Abe retires to his cabin, too ashamed to face his captains.
There are too many faces that convey the one word


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Post #: 2771
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 7:44:32 AM   

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"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

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Post #: 2772
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 12:40:16 PM   

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Ach ... shortlegged DD's create this kind of mess all the time for me.

Never have enough +5000 range DD's, of course as the IJ we never have enough DD's period.



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Post #: 2773
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 2:51:23 PM   
John 3rd

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Post #: 2774
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/17/2013 6:53:33 PM   
CV Zuikaku


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Been away for a long, long time.
Needed almost a week to catch up with the story.

And all what i can say is: SUPERB WRITING!!

Some producer shoul'd look at this gem AAR! Somebody shoul'd put this onto the big screen. This is just epic!

P.S. And Zuikaku is still afloat

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Post #: 2775
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/18/2013 7:12:06 AM   


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Dec 15

In the phillipines!
Admiral Abe, the fleet, every damn thing in the phillipines!
Did he not, specifically, order the battlewagons to the North!

Herbiesan stares at the great map in baqrely contained fury............and cold fear

It is no small thing to be a dictator, and have your Admirals disobey you.

"Where, and what, exactly, is he doing now.......?" the question drips, like ice, into the room
"he is near Leyte sir, awaiting tankers...and a chance"

And a chance............a chance to do what?............
Eyes dart across the great map.............and freeze

A cold , cold shiver fills him
"General that the 112th division?, here in Tokyo?"
The Commander of HQ, general defence Army frowns, and leans closer to examine the unit counter. A frown creases his brow
"I have not ordered that movement sir"

I see.
But I don't
But I suspect...........gods, i suspect............
"Who commands that division general?"

A staff officer steps forward, papers rustle." A LT gen Nakamura sir"

Herbiesan searches his Generals face........'Do you know this man?"
"A manchurian man sir.............."

"Yes, and ,..............and, BUKA!............I saw his name on a list last week..........

The Navy disobeys me
And now, I have a Unknown, un accounted for division, here, here in Tokyo, 5 days after its barnyard commander has had an interview with the emperor itself...........

herbiesan turns, walks away from the table, lest they see a face gone white

And he wonders where the Chiburi is.

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Post #: 2776
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/18/2013 7:19:00 AM   


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The fleet may have with drawn for a better day, but other forces have not.

5 japanese SS, almost her last, slip into Dilli harbour

Horror ensues..........

6 large fleet tankers are struck, a sea of fire is a totally inadequate description.
Hell in liquid form.

two strikes by Lilly dive bombers add to the carnage, 4 AK, 3 APA, the Westralia are all bombed, for little loss, these guys still know their work
The allies, eyes fixed north, have missed the impudent gathering of forces almost under their noses.
We will continue to punish their arrogance!

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Post #: 2777
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/20/2013 4:27:32 AM   


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December 16th
(cantona slips a VERY interesting tit bit....the Westralia apparently was loaded with the 1st marine Division........this means 3 marine Divs in this theatre. Conclusion...........this is THE thrust vector..........perfect!)


Destroyer Hamanari races across the anchorage, two dozen pairs of eyes searching the darkness, her electronic one invisibly sweeping.
There is nothing here, no transports, no tankers, just the stink of fule oil, of burning
If there was an invasion fleet here, it has left, or fled.

"Contact sir!, range 12000, bearing 130!"
The orders crack."Starshell!, shoot!.torpedoes, prepare to engage, prepare for long lance attack!"
The lithe destroyer leans hard, the horizon bursts into daylight.
Four ships, unmistakable.DE's, an ASW hunting group

"Launch fish!, hard to port, engage!"

Hamanari has fullfilled her mission, these are not worth tangling with, not with daylight coming.

The DE's fire, the sea cracks, but this is a race horce, they plow beasts.

A single destroyer, a single mission. Duty done

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Post #: 2778
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/20/2013 4:33:42 AM   


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Abe reads Hamanari's dispatch. Brave ship, a brave ship indeed

The fleet awaits the tankers, still 100 miles east of Davao, still, apparently undetected.
The decision not to engage........has been the correct one..
The first Marines.........but what target?

The enemy fleet lingers near Boela, probably waiting for them.
Ternake?, manowaki?, or somewhere else?
Does it matter?, the next landings must be within our LBA range........and the fleets.


What Japanese are good at, yes?

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Post #: 2779
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/20/2013 4:36:16 AM   


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In China, the allies attack at wunchow, and are rebuffed violently.

The tanks have made it here, too, in time.

two thrusts. two defeats

The chinese south western offensive has failed, failed utterly.

And in Thialand, apparently, the Japanese one is succeeding

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Post #: 2780
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/20/2013 4:47:33 AM   


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You probably don't remember private Uzawa.
he of the "Tokyo's iron umbrella"

They have a few more rounds available now, not many, but a few more
They have even fired the gun a few times.

His days are fairly simple now, report for duty at 4 PM, go home at 4 AM, and try not to freeze to death in the mean time.
The nights are long , and hard.

Almost overnight, it seems, Tokyo has become short of everything, including food.

Its just after 3 am, that the crushingly boring routine is disturbed

Trucks begin to rumble towards the palace, army trucks, a great many of them. Some, nearly 30 in number, drive straight into the forbidden city...........and this is astonishing in itself.

But the movement of the troops, hundreds of them, leaves him, his gun crew transfixed.

They deploy, left, right, facing outwards, establishing a perimeter right about the palace
And, and heavens, they begin to dig in.........

A major walks to the gun.
"Who is in charge here?"

Uzawa looks about, at the moment, he obviously is
He salutes.'private Uzawa, sir"

"Good, listen carefully .........from this point on, you will obey no order unless issued from HQ, 112th division, not from home command, not from general HQ, eastern HQ, nobody but HQ, 112th that clear?"

No, not at all. But a good Japanese soldier can answer in but one way

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Post #: 2781
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/20/2013 4:49:46 AM   


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Hosho swings his feet over the edge of the Hospital bed

he is..gods, he is so weak

The toilet is but 20 feet away, and its a march that almost defeats him

Goddam it...........I have marched the length of Asia, and never faltered.............but this, this malaria is ridicoulous.........

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Post #: 2782
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/23/2013 6:30:33 AM   


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IJNS Chiburi lies quietly alongside an insignificant berth in Toko harbour, her crude shapes and angles slowly being softened by the snow that now falls steadily across the capital.

The night is dark, and silent, few people are on the streets, some at home because the City now offers little in the way of entertainemen, many because the cold has driven them there.
The rest?

Invisibily, the ripple has gone across the city, its citezens have seen this before, too many times. revolution, coup, violence upon violence by those in power.
When the giants fight, best to close doors, windows, avoid the streets, and await the dawn to see who is the new master now.....

Rumours abound

They fly from corner to corner.......
"did you see the troops around the palace?'
'I have a friend, he mans a gun there, he says they answer to only the emperor himself!"
"Impossible!. The emperor does not lower himself into the realm of men!'

"Then why is the 93rd division here, ney?, herbiesans men?......."
"Evil.........pure evil, he cannot challenge the emperor, to even threaten him means to slit his belly!"
"If a hundred million Japanese did not first!"
True, true brother.............. what will he do, form a new goverment?'
'he must.......he can't rule himself"

"gods help us, who is there in Japan who can lead us to victory in this war, is there anyone we can follow?"

Chiburi, another little ship, lies alongside, forgotten, almost, by the nation she serves.

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Post #: 2783
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/23/2013 6:48:47 AM   


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Dec 17th

The fleet sucks greedily at the tankers, loyal beasts, still plodding on
They are fewer in number now, even shabbier in appearance than ever, but they contain fuel enough.
Combined fleet fills to the brim

120 miles due east davao, still undetected, she waits.
Where are you going firts marines?
Where, oh where, will we kill you?

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Post #: 2784
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/24/2013 4:43:56 AM   


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18th december 1944

Its always been about one thing, hasn't it?
We went to war over it
Our strategies have been shaped by it.
Now, with Abe's tanker empty, and little prospect of getting them filled again, with reports that the enemy may be coming North again, Abe decides.
His tanks are fulll.
His men ready

As dusk falls, the fleet turns, faces south by south west, and builds towards flank speed.

Forecast. Clear skies
If the enemy remains as he has, we will be at 320 miles range at dawn..........

We cast our fate to the god of war.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2785
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/24/2013 4:53:59 AM   


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"Get up!'
Hirate struggles out of the sleep.
The Charge peers at him closely.......growls....."We are getting underway as soon as we can, you, Okano have the flash up, as quick as you can"

Hirate swings out of his hammock........'Is it the Americans Chief?"
The laugh is ugly, bitter in the dark, "I wish, that I could handle..........enough questions, we have to get going as quickly as possible!"

Hirate shivers as he dresses, "hurry up!, is there ever a time a stoker is asked to take your time?"
Not that he can remember.

Ugaki shivers too, less from the cold. "How long Chief?"
'twenty our passenger comfortable?"
Grimly Ugaki nods
Amazing how quickly things fall apart.
Even promises...........

What a goddam mess.
"Charge..............make it ten, we , I think, have to move....."

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2786
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/26/2013 12:33:19 AM   


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Carrier battle, Celebes sea.

From the very moment Abe gives the order to attack, he regrets it.
As the darkness settles over the fleet, the great white wakes, creaming bow waves the last glimmering indications of the fleet, he takes his position near the binnacle, and avoids every mans eyes
This is, will be, must be a gamble.
So many ifs...............
if the enemy remains fixed in place
if he remains concentrating on providing CAP.
If he does not advance
If some hidden Buke does not kill them...............
So many ifs

The fleet charges on, great funnels shovelling the smoke, the screws vibrating the plates, the distant howl of the forced draft blowers.
At midnight, it begins to rain, the sky flashes with lightning, etheral, dancing across the white CAPs.
His captain sidles up to him.
"Sir, you must get some sleep, tomorrow will be a busy day, you will need to be fresh"

Fresh?. I will need to be fresh?. Tired or not, will that help if the bombers come?
I have given my orders..gods help me.
"I can sleep when i am dead captain."

in the red light of the bridge, the Captains teeth, exposed in humourless grin, look blood red..
'maybe not tomorrow yes?'
No maybe not Captain..........but there are so many ifs.............

Tanaka too does not sleep.
Excitement grips him. This is Command. 32000 tons of warship, 30 knots, the wind screaming through the rigging, the great guns loaded.

A sudden laugh escapes him, startling those about him.
Tanaka waves at the wild weather about them, the wipers losing the war against the rain belting against the bridge.
'reminds me of a terrible novel I once was a dark and stormy night..........."
his men grin

Yes. It is a dark and stormy night. And evil things are about.

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2787
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/26/2013 12:34:49 AM   


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Hosho sleeps
The fever, at last, has broken

Japan sleeps too
History never does

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Post #: 2788
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/26/2013 12:50:36 AM   


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"Come in Commander, take a seat"

'Long pig hesitates, Commander...........a term he is still struggling to come to terms with. Mountbatten getures to the seat.
Now, thinks the newly minted man, I find out the cost of this sudden and precipitate promotion .Now, I think, the piper demands payment for the tune.........

The famous man stares hard at Long pig, eyes piercing, for a minute or two, as if wieghing up the choice of words he is about to make. Which, of course, he is about to do.
'our Armies, as you know Commander, are finally bringing us into B-29 range of Japan. Europe is winding down, in the next three to six months, massive bombing forces, British, and America, are going to be deployed."

The general turns away, faces the busy airfield outside the office.
'The Americans have requested a small team of liason officers. Your name, for various reasons that elude me, seems to be very well known."

he turns towards Long pig, a frown now creasing his brow
'Thus your promotion........I am sending you to Lee May, Commander of the American Airforces........there's going to be a lot of friction I fear, over airstrips, over supply, over every damn thing.......are you up for the job?"

Up for the job?
No pressure Long pig, no pressure..........

"of course sir"

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Post #: 2789
RE: The little ship that could. - 12/26/2013 1:09:32 AM   


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19th december, 1944

0200 hours

You are woken gently by the steward
'it is time sir"
You nod, yes, it is time.

Carefully, you swing yourself out of the hammock, feel the cold of the steel, feel the vibration beneath your feet. Your companions gather about you, and dressing is awkward, elbows, arms, backsides, the stink of sweat fills the mess.
The flight suit is tight.
You feel the sweat run freely now, the thick leather and wool is designed for the cold of flight, not the heat or humidity of these tropical climes.
Carefully you adjust the thousand stitch belt, the accesories, your lucky charm.

(So strange that one still carries a childhood toy ney?..........but one knows, just knows, that to lose it is catastrophic)
The que to the shrine is long, you bow, clap, the mind...........prays?
The mind is blank........and the mind is turmoil............

Flight deck

The planes are shadows in the discreet deck lighting, the men around them white ghosts.. The deck glistens, the wind is brisk, Zuikaku is racing on, great old girl that she is.

You gather around HIM

Living legend
'We will not wait for the search results..........there are targets enough to the south. Piority targets..........carriers, tankers, know what needs to be done. Good luck"

The climb into the big bomber is steep, you need the rope to haul yourself up onto the wing.
She is rumbling, vibrating, gasoline, dope, oil, grease, salt fills your senses.

Your fish glistens
You sit, and prepare for the flight.
Probably your last flight............but that is war yes?
It is time to do your duty.

dawn glimmers faintly on the horizon, a dark grey angry sea, a black sky, stars dying
Zuikaku heels gently, the steam streams down towards you

The light flashes, blink, blink, blink
You take your deep breath, grasp the throttle hard

'Commence launching"

(in reply to 1275psi)
Post #: 2790
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