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Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) versus Cribtop (J)

 
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Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) versus C... - 3/1/2011 6:20:58 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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This will be the AAR of my first game of either WITP or AE played as the Allies. As such it will also be the companion piece to an AAR I did back in the WITP days called "Small Ship, Big War."

For those who did not read that AAR, what this means is that we will follow the war from the perspective of the crew of a single American destroyer. We will directly see only what the crew sees. Other events in the war will be known only as information reaches them and this information may be incomplete, misleading, or even wrong. The idea is to give a feel for what the war was like from the deck of a single aging, overworked ship, the kind of ship that formed the backbone of the fleets of both sides during the war in the Pacific.

My opponent for the game will be the esteemed Cribtop. Not only can he be counted on to play a strong game as Japan, he writes a very good AAR. This will give the game the one thing I always thought that "Small Ship" lacked, which was perspective from the other side. In fact, because of the nature of my AAR, this might give readers a lot of leeway in reading both sides, since knowledge of Allied operations and plans will be incomplete at best.

The game will begin as soon as the new patch is final. I'm starting the AAR now, though, because I will be describing some events prior to the Japanese attack. It will be a scenario one game, non-historical start, with the Allies limited to issuing orders to TFs at sea (including Force Z) on the first turn. There is a limited set of common house rules in place. Both Cribtop and I prefer games with a historic feel and we are confident that if any issues do arise we can deal with them quickly.

I am looking forward to this game. First, because I've wanted to do an Allied "Small Ship" for some time. Second, because it will at last give me a chance to play with all the toys that my opponents have used to thrash me with in my games as Japan.

Post #: 1
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 6:24:53 PM   
Grollub


Posts: 6532
Joined: 10/9/2005
From: Stockholm, Sweden
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_____________________________

“Pay attention to where you are going because without meaning you might get nowhere.”

-- Winnie the Pooh

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 2
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 6:26:58 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
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From: Oregon, USA
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The ship that we will follow will be the Gridley, DD-380.

The question of which ship to follow was an interesting one for me. It needed to be a American destroyer that is on the map at the start of the war. This limited the pool to treaty class DDs (Mahan, Bagley, Gridley, Benham, Porter classes, etc.), since I did not want to use an even older destroyer (Clemson or Wickes class). None of the post-treaty class ships (Sims, Benson, Gleaves classes) are on the map at the start of the game.

With the exception of some Mahan-class ships at San Francisco, all the eligible ships are either at Pearl Harbor or at sea with Yorktown or Enterprise. San Francisco is too far from the action and Pearl is too darned close. It would be embarrassing for my chosen ship to be sunk the first morning of the war! That limited my selection to those destroyers at sea with one of the carriers.

I decided to go with DD Gridley, at sea with Enterprise on Dec. 7. I thought that the Enterprise TF would provide a good place to view the start of the war (and I've always been a Big E fan anyway), and I chose one of the four Gridley-class ships there largely because I have material at hand about operations aboard those ships.

Speaking of material, the contrast between the resources available to me for this AAR versus "Small Ship, Big War" is astonishing. Fifteen minutes online garnered me a stack of books with more information about Gridley and similar destroyers than I found in over two years regarding Hibiki or any other Japanese DD.

One final note before we take a closer look at Gridley. The AAR to follow is fictional and is based on a fictional, alternative version of WWII as derived from the game. Crew assignments in this version of history are thus different, and also fictional. My writings are in no way intended to represent actual people or events aboard Gridley. I do hope, however, to honor the spirit of the actual crew and all the crews that fought in the war.

***

A few notes about our chosen ship are in order. These are brief but we will no doubt learn much more about the ship as we go along.

Gridley was laid down in 1935 and commissioned in 1937. She was constructed by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp. at Quincy, Illinois and named after Charles Vernon Gridley, of "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley" fame. The ship was fitted out at Boston Naval yard in 1938.

Gridley was part of the 1935 naval appropriations. Several similar destroyer classes were designed and built at this time, as the United States needed to put people back to work and the Navy needed to get its destroyer force up to Washington Naval Treaty strength. At the time the Gridley and similar classes were built the idea of destroyers as platforms to deliver devastating torpedo broadsides was holding sway and this can be seen in the fact that Gridley carries only four 5" guns but has sixteen torpedo tubes in four quadruple mounts, two on each side.

As a treaty-class destroyer Gridley displaces 1590 tons. The Gridley-class DDs were built on the same basic hull as the earlier Mahan-class destroyers but with a better power plant and a single stack. With four boilers operating at 600 psi and 700 degrees Fahrenheit this is in fact a very fast ship. Her sister ship Maury recorded the highest speed ever for a US destroyer during trials at 42.8 knots.

Anti-aircraft armament consists of a mere four Browning .50-caliber machine guns. There are two depth charge racks at the stern.

Gridley has a pole mast and her crew is justly proud of her rakish appearance. Her strengths are her speed and her devastating torpedo capability. Her major drawback is hull strength and stability. As with many treaty-class ships on both sides the necessity of cramming a lot of weapons onto a small hull has lead to too much topweight. This problem will plague Gridley and her sister ships throughout the war.

At the moment, just before the outbreak of the war, Gridley carries a crew of 7 officers and 156 enlisted men.

Here is what she looks like in the game just before the shooting starts:





Attachment (1)

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 3
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 7:07:09 PM   
Cribtop


Posts: 3578
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From: Lone Star Nation
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Cuttlefish,

Just stopping by to say what an honor it is to be selected as the opponent for this AAR. I was a huge "Small Ship, Big War" fan and can appreciate fully what it will mean to the boards to have a new yarn from the USN perspective. My only regret is that after the first few posts I won't be able to read it until the end. In fact, I may entitle my own AAR something like "The only member of the AE boards NOT reading 'Ship of Steel...'".

My AAR will be more along the lines of my previous games, with a full perspective from the halls of Imperial General Headquarters a/k/a Cribtop HQ. However, in honor of the project that these two AARs are undertaking, I do plan to shift to first person accounts of key moments in the war. I will post such a vignette soon to get things started, and Cuttlefish is welcome to stop by until the fur starts flying. Given the differing nature of the AARs, I suspect many readers of this journal will also be following my account in order to understand better what's happening in the broader war. I have no problem with that but would respectfully ask all readers of both sides to be extra careful about comments that could violate OpSec for either CF or myself.

Hopefully the fact we plan to wait for the beta patch to become final before getting started will motivate the Devs to work overtime!

So, on with the story. I promise not to intentionally try to sink the Gridley, but my pixeltruppen are known for violating my orders on the best of days...

_____________________________

Follow my latest AAR as I do battle with our resident author Cuttlefish at: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=2742735

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 4
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 8:05:11 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9770
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
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Wow, the rest of us get to sit back and enjoy dual/duel-AARs from true gentlemen, and one of the AARs happens to be in the form of "Small Ship"!


(in reply to Cribtop)
Post #: 5
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 8:31:51 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4163
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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quote:

her devastating torpedo capability


Until the end of 1942, a better phrase would be "her frustrating torpedo potential".

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 6
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 8:45:32 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4163
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
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quote:

San Francisco is too far from the action and Pearl is too darned close. It would be embarrassing for my chosen ship to be sunk the first morning of the war!


I've always had a fondness for the USS Patterson (DD-392), which Samuel Eliot Morrison described as the only American ship that was properly awake during Savo Island. But yes, she was at Pearl on Dec. 7.

Looking forward to another rousing yarn!

_____________________________

Civil war? What does that mean? Is there any foreign war? Isn't every war fought between men, between brothers?

--Victor Hugo

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 7
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 10:29:22 PM   
FatR

 

Posts: 2511
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From: St.Petersburg, Russia
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I was sad when you stopped updating your previous "war diary" AAR here. "Small Ship, Big War" hooked me on AE in the first place. So, even though I would have prefferred to see you writing another saga from Japanese point of view (being a JFB and all that), it's great to see you taking up the pen, erm, keyboard again. I'll surely follow this story.

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 8
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 10:54:13 PM   
Onime No Kyo


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Three Cheers for Cuttlefish and Cribtop!

Hip Hip Hurray! Hip Hip Hurray! Hip Hip Hurray!


_____________________________

"Mighty is the Thread! Great are its works and insane are its inhabitants!" -Brother Mynok

(in reply to FatR)
Post #: 9
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 11:43:55 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cribtop

So, on with the story. I promise not to intentionally try to sink the Gridley, but my pixeltruppen are known for violating my orders on the best of days...


Don't worry about it, Cribtop. Hibiki was lucky, almost absurdly so, and a bit of a karmic boomerang here would not surprise me. If it happens it happens and I'll put the survivors aboard a new ship and carry on.




(in reply to Cribtop)
Post #: 10
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 11:45:56 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
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December 6, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 220 miles NE of Johnson Island
Course: East
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)

Orders: Return to Pearl Harbor

As far as one man was concerned the United States was already at war. Since that one man was Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, commander of the task force, his opinion was law. As USS Gridley, name ship of her class of destroyers, shuddered up one wave and pitched abruptly downward Jake Reedy, gunner's mate second class, braced himself against his .50 caliber mount and muttered a short and profane evaluation of Halsey's opinion.

Like most of the men in the task force Reedy liked and respected Halsey. And rumors about war with Japan had been flying for weeks. But Gridley and the other ships in the task force had been called to battle stations every morning and evening and standing long ready watches in between ever since leaving Pearl on November 28. Men were getting tired and now the weather had turned foul. Gridley and the other destroyers were struggling and the task force had slowed, delaying their return to the peace and comfort of Pearl Harbor.

Reedy glanced through the gathering murk at Enterprise, riding easily at the center of the task force. Halsey was sharp, Reedy admitted, but he had a bee in his bonnet about the Japanese. Not only was there no war yet but they were out here in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't a Jap within a thousand miles. Maybe two thousand.

Spray lashed at Reedy's face as Gridley caught another wave. Oh well, he thought. He'd seen worse weather in his thirteen months in the Navy. At least they'd be back at Pearl in a day or two. He could catch up on his sack time then.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 11
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/1/2011 11:55:50 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9770
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
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...and as the last grains of sand empty from the hourglass of peace, Jake Reedy morosely studies the vast expanse of ocean....

< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 3/2/2011 4:46:07 AM >

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 12
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 2:58:42 AM   
Q-Ball


Posts: 5537
Joined: 6/25/2002
From: Chicago, Illinois
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Subscribed!

Can't wait to hear this one!

"You may fire when ready, Gridley!"

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 13
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 6:02:47 AM   
erstad

 

Posts: 1919
Joined: 8/3/2004
From: Midwest USA
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quote:

Second, because it will at last give me a chance to play with all the toys that my opponents have used to thrash me with in my games as Japan.

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 14
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 6:27:48 AM   
thegreatwent


Posts: 3009
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From: Denver, CO
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Well I'm aboard. I still might do an AAR in the Small Ship style with a Wickes or Clemson. I've had a soft spot in my heart for them since reading South to Java many years back. Until then I'll take notes on your style. Good luck to the Gridley and all who sail with her.

(in reply to erstad)
Post #: 15
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 6:58:37 AM   
LoBaron


Posts: 4516
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From: Vienna, Austria
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Good luck to the crew of Gridley! I was mostly lurking on the forums back when you wrote Hibikis story but it is still my
favourite AAR.

Looking forward to this, just don´t run her into a IJN CA force early on.

_____________________________

S**t happens in war.

All hail the superior ones!

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 16
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:21:24 AM   
cantona2


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Nice one Cuttlefish!!!!!! Looking forward to this one very much and welcome to the AFB side

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1966 was a great year for English Football...Eric was born



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(in reply to LoBaron)
Post #: 17
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:25:40 AM   
Durbik


Posts: 275
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From: Krakow, Poland
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_____________________________

obey the fist!

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Post #: 18
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:29:22 AM   
AbeSimpson


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball

Subscribed!

Can't wait to hear this one!

"You may fire when ready, Gridley!"


+1

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Post #: 19
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:31:29 AM   
Speedy

 

Posts: 14372
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From: Reading, England
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Looking forward to this CF. Subscribed

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WitE Tester
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Post #: 20
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 3:48:02 PM   
Grollub


Posts: 6532
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From: Stockholm, Sweden
Status: offline
Good luck!

Just try to avoid getting into a shootout match between Gridley and Hibiki, please!

Edited: Grammar.

< Message edited by Grollub -- 3/2/2011 3:49:42 PM >


_____________________________

“Pay attention to where you are going because without meaning you might get nowhere.”

-- Winnie the Pooh

(in reply to Speedy)
Post #: 21
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 5:13:36 PM   
JohnDillworth


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quote:

I decided to go with DD Gridley

It seems the Gridley was named after the famous "You may fire when ready Gridley"





Attachment (1)

_____________________________

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

(in reply to Grollub)
Post #: 22
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 5:25:20 PM   
Onime No Kyo


Posts: 16628
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grollub

Good luck!

Just try to avoid getting into a shootout match between Gridley and Hibiki, please!

Edited: Grammar.


Spoiler alert:



Hibiki would win.

_____________________________

"Mighty is the Thread! Great are its works and insane are its inhabitants!" -Brother Mynok

(in reply to Grollub)
Post #: 23
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:22:32 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Grollub

Just try to avoid getting into a shootout match between Gridley and Hibiki, please!


If those two ships end up squaring off against each other my head may get sucked into an existential vortex and implode. I think Onime is right, though. If that did happen the smart money would be on Hibiki, at least early in the war.



_____________________________


(in reply to Grollub)
Post #: 24
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 7:24:08 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 6, 1941

USS West Virginia, Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor

Radioman William Raymond Bonderman stretched out in his bunk and wiggled his feet as they stuck out from the end. He was a tall, slender man and the standard six foot Navy bunk did not quite fit his frame. That was okay, he was used to it.

Back home in Lubbock, Texas, he was known, almost inevitably, as Billy Ray. Aboard West Virginia his friends called him Bill and that suited him just fine. Bill was a quiet, hardworking man who was a wizard with radio gear and who was liked and respected by his shipmates. Billy Ray had been a bit of a mess. He had joined the Navy mostly because he had been in and out of trouble and had ended up too poor to rub two sticks together.

That was more than two years ago and it had all worked out fine. Bill now sent money home to his folks to help them in raising his sisters. He still liked a beer now and again but kept it at that. In fact he had declined an invitation to go ashore tonight so he could write a letter home and catch up on his sleep. Besides, his section had duty in the morning.

Tomorrow would be nice, Bill thought. He'd get up a bit early and help the chaplain set up folding wooden chairs on deck for morning services. After that he'd be kept busy in the radio room and that was okay too. He liked the work. There had been more message traffic than usual lately, though. The fleet was getting ready for war if it came. Bill hoped it wouldn't but it wasn't his job to decide. That's what all the admirals and all those smart folks in Washington were for.

Bill put these and other thoughts out of his mind and fell quickly asleep. Outside the moon rose, just three nights past full, and shone brightly down through intermittent clouds on Wai Momi, the "water of pearl." In Honolulu the clubs were full of sailors and pretty girls and the bright dance music played.

They were dancing on the edge of a precipice, though no one knew it and few would have believed it had they been told.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 25
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 8:53:14 PM   
Cap Mandrake

 

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This should be fun.

Can one of the crew* fall in love with Kate Beckinsale and can there be pictures?




*Probably best if it isn't Billy Ray


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 26
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/2/2011 8:55:31 PM   
sprior


Posts: 8155
Joined: 6/18/2002
From: Nottingham, UK
Status: offline
Anywhere is better than Lubbock.

_____________________________

"Grown ups are what's left when skool is finished."
"History started badly and hav been geting steadily worse."
- Nigel Molesworth.



(in reply to Cap Mandrake)
Post #: 27
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/3/2011 3:04:02 AM   
nashvillen


Posts: 2648
Joined: 7/3/2006
From: Christiana, TN
Status: offline


There has to be a reference to a Jane Russell poster somewhere on the ship!

(in reply to sprior)
Post #: 28
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/3/2011 4:40:44 AM   
T Rav

 

Posts: 78
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Now my wife will roll her eyes even more as she glances at what I'm reading on the laptop.  I always tell her that it could be worse...

Full speed ahead!
T Rav


(in reply to nashvillen)
Post #: 29
RE: Ship of Steel, Men of Valor - Cuttlefish (A) vers... - 3/3/2011 5:16:47 AM   
BJStone


Posts: 120
Joined: 1/31/2009
Status: offline
It's great to see you doing another story. I'll be reading this for sure.

Thanks Cuttlefish!


Regards,

BJ

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 30
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