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RE: June 10, 1942

 
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RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 3:20:03 AM   
nashvillen


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Joined: 7/3/2006
From: Christiana, TN
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish

I am back! And with a lot of catching up to do.




All Hail CF!


_____________________________


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Post #: 361
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 4:49:11 AM   
geofflambert


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Joined: 12/23/2010
From: St. Louis
Status: offline
Ships of Steel, Men of Valor?  I'm waiting for Grafin Zeppelin to start the AAR "Men of noodles al dente, Women of zombie teddy bears eating GI Joe for brunch. 

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Post #: 362
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 10:50:16 AM   
Mike Solli


Posts: 14125
Joined: 10/18/2000
From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
Status: online
Welcome back Cuttlefish. I hope all is well. It's good to have you back.

_____________________________


Created by the amazing Dixie

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Post #: 363
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 12:14:19 PM   
obvert


Posts: 7385
Joined: 1/17/2011
From: PDX (and now) London, UK
Status: online
Wow. A great surprise to have your writing here today. I'm back into the story already.

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Post #: 364
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 2:12:38 PM   
mazzocco

 

Posts: 24
Joined: 7/15/2008
From: Rimini, Italy
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish

I am back! And with a lot of catching up to do.





welcome back Cuttlefish, i waited for news in this beautiful AAR

_____________________________

But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

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Post #: 365
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 11:17:24 PM   
adm

 

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Joined: 10/19/2009
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Hip Hooray Hi Hip Hooray!

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Post #: 366
RE: June 10, 1942 - 4/12/2012 11:27:04 PM   
DOCUP


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Joined: 7/7/2010
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Welcome back.  Do you feel the love Cuttlefish?

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Post #: 367
RE: July 20, 1942 - 4/13/2012 7:25:06 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
July 20, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Pearl Harbor
Course: None
Attached to: None
Mission: Disbanded in port
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)


“It’s not fair,” complained Gus Becken. “We get detached and everyone else gets to go back out and clobber the Japs.” Jake Reedy took a long drink of beer and set the bottle down. Behind him the tropical trees that lined the Honolulu street waved gently in the warm tropical breeze. Across the street and a few buildings down a pair of women exited the Moana Hotel and headed up the sidewalk, chatting cheerfully. Reedy watched them for a moment before responding.

“I dunno, Gus,” he said dryly. “Somehow I think I can put up with it, you know?” Becken swiveled around in the café chair to see what his friend was looking at. He turned back with a chuckle.

“Okay, yeah,” he said. “This isn’t exactly hard to take. But I really want to point that twenty of ours at something other than a target sleeve.” He took a drink of his own beer. Condensation beaded on the brown glass bottle as he set it down.

“We will,” said Reedy. “This is going to be a long war, Gus. And don’t forget – anything gets close enough for us to use the twenty, it’s going to be shooting back.” Becken grinned.

“But I need thrilling war stories to amaze the girls,” he said. “Telling them that I survived two helpings of the ship’s meatloaf doesn’t make them all wide-eyed, you know what I mean? Sure, I’ve got my looks and charm, but there’s a lot of competition around here.” Reedy snorted.

“Your looks and charm, plus a nickel, will get you a cup of coffee,” he said. “What you’ve got is persistence.” It was true. His friend was perfectly willing to be shot down in flames nine times if the tenth woman turned out to be more amenable. Becken grinned.

“I got plenty of looks and charm,” he said. “What would you know about it, anyway? You haven’t even talked to a girl in months!”

“I have Cathy,” Reedy protested. Becken sighed.

“Jake, Jake, Jake,” he said. “Cathy the bakery goddess may be a great gal, but she’s back in Scranton. That doesn’t help you get la…” Reedy held up a hand.

“I made a promise,” he said. “That means something to me.” Becken shook his head and took another drink of beer. “Would you break a promise like that?” Reedy asked him. Gus set the bottle down and looked at his friend.

“No,” he said. “Well, probably not. But Jake, you said it, this is going to be a long war.”

“I know,” sighed Reedy. He finished his beer in one long pull and stared mournfully at the empty bottle for a moment. “Believe me, I know.”


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Post #: 368
RE: July 20, 1942 - 4/13/2012 8:28:53 AM   
Blackhorse


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From: Eastern US
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quote:

“No,” he said. “Well, probably not. But Jake, you said it, this is going to be a long war.”


And if a long war means a long AAR, well then, so much the better.

_____________________________

WitP-AE -- US LCU & AI Stuff

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
Moriarty: Crap!

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 369
RE: July 21, 1942 - 4/13/2012 9:04:27 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
July 21, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Pearl Harbor
Course: None
Attached to: None
Mission: Disbanded in port
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)


Bill Bonderman emerged from the Navy Yard, the small box of spare radio tubes that Lieutenant Coszyk had sent him to retrieve tucked securely under one arm. The road out to Hospital Point was busy with traffic, vehicles and men moving to and fro under the clear blue Hawaiian sky.

Not just men, Bonderman noted. Coming towards him was a Navy nurse. She was short and pretty, with a cute snub nose and auburn curls showing beneath her blue and white cap. Belatedly Bonderman shuffled the box he was carrying from one arm to the other and snapped her a salute. Congress had, just a few weeks ago, granted Navy nurses permanent relative rank. The woman approaching him was an ensign, with her rank shown on the sleeve of her double-breasted blue coat. The woman returned his salute.

“Ma’am,” he said as she passed. At the sound of his voice the nurse stopped suddenly and swung around to face him.

“Sailor,” she acknowledged, and then she smiled. “Well, well, if it isn’t the gallant Texan.” With a bit of a start Bonderman suddenly recognized her as the woman he had extricated from the clutches of an inebriated Pyro crewman in a Honolulu bar several months ago.

“Yes, ma’am,” he said, feeling suddenly awkward.

“I’m glad I ran into you,” she said. A bit of breeze tugged at her coat. “You did me a good turn that night, and you did it without hitting anybody. I’m afraid I didn’t thank you properly.”

“No need for that, Ma’am,” he said. Joan, that was her name, he recalled. “I was happy to help.” He could feel his West Texas accent deepening but he couldn’t help it. “I, uh, I didn’t know you were in the Navy.”

“I am now,” she said. “They need nurses, you know. Thousands of them. In fact, I’m shipping out tomorrow, to the South Pacific. They’re building a Navy hospital at Noumea.”

“Good luck out there, Ma’am,” said Bonderman. “I’m aboard Gridley. I expect we’ll be out that way before too long. Maybe, ah, maybe Ah’ll run into you out there.” She looked at him seriously.

“I really hope not...Bill, wasn’t it?” Bonderman nodded.

“Bill Bonderman, yes Ma’am,” he said.

“I’m going to be at the Navy hospital,” she continued. “So, you understand if I say I really hope not to see you.”

“Yes, Ma’am,” said Bonderman. For some reason he felt oddly cheered. “Well, like I said, good luck out there.”

“You too, Texas,” she said with a smile. They exchanged salutes again and she turned and continued on towards the hospital, her heels clicking on the sidewalk.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 370
RE: July 21, 1942 - 4/13/2012 9:12:54 PM   
obvert


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From: PDX (and now) London, UK
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If there's a gun on the wall, eventually someone will have to shoot it.

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Post #: 371
RE: July 26, 1942 - 4/15/2012 9:23:35 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
July 22-26, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Pearl Harbor
Course: None
Attached to: None
Mission: Disbanded in port
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)


After a week of relative quiet Gridley suddenly bustled with activity. Supplies were quickly loaded and stowed away. The deck echoed to the sound of hurrying feet and the bark of orders. The ship was preparing to leave its berth in the Southeast Loch and put out to sea.

“Have you heard anything?”

“Where are we going?”

The men had a lot of questions, but of course there were no answers. They would not learn their destination until they were at sea. The crew expected nothing less, but this did not stop them from speculating, sometimes wildly. As usual, the best – or at least most creative – rumor came from “Marbles” Jenks.

“We’re going to Uruguay,” he said. “No, really, I got it from a woman who’s a friend of one of Admiral Nimitz’s secretaries. We’re going to refloat Graf Spee under the American flag and sail her back to the Pacific.”

Rumors gave way to the business of putting out to sea. Captain Stickney maneuvered his ship adroitly through the harbor traffic, out the channel, and into the open ocean. Gridley was heading back into the war.


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Post #: 372
RE: July 27, 1942 - 4/16/2012 7:53:40 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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July 27, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 275 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor
Course: Southwest
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Bombardment
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 505 (96%)


Gridley’s destination turned out to be someplace much closer and more prosaic than Montevideo; Baker Island. The small island, less than a square mile in size, had been occupied by Japan at the same time as their failed attempt to seize Canton Island to the southeast. Now the 1st Marine Raider Battalion was going to try and take it back.

With Gridley in the covering force were battleships Idaho and New Mexico, heavy cruiser Vincennes, light cruiser Honolulu, and five other destroyers – Cummings, Case, Balch, MacDonough, and Worden. In command was their old friend Admiral Shafroth. The force was to cover the landing, providing bombardment support if necessary, and remain on station in case a Japanese force sortied from the Marshalls or Gilberts to try and interfere. It was thought that the Japanese might have abandoned the island, but it was possible there were still defenders present. Either way, the Marines were to raise the US flag over the island once again.

If there were defenders their job would not be an easy one. Baker Island was sandy and almost completely flat. It was covered by grass and low shrubs but there were no trees or any other kind of cover. A failed attempt to colonize the island in the previous decade had left behind a few buildings but there was no evidence the Japanese had added any construction of their own. Complicating the attacker’s task, on the other hand, was the fact that the island was fringed by reefs and had no harbor or anchorage of any kind.

The most worrisome factor, from the point of view of Gridley’s crew, was the fact that Baker was known to be within range of Japanese long-range torpedo bombers flying out of Tabituea to the west. The big, slow battleships in the task force would be tempting targets. Aircraft carriers were supposed to be on hand to provide fighter cover. But it would be the job of the surface ships to draw the enemy’s attacks if they came.


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Post #: 373
RE: August 1, 1942 - 4/17/2012 12:45:49 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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From: Oregon, USA
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July 28 – August 1, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Baker Island
Course: None
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Bombardment
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 391 (74%)


Gridley steamed slowly back and forth just outside the reef fringing Baker Island, her guns trained shoreward, but there was no need. It was quickly apparent that there were in fact no Japanese on Baker Island. The invading Marines reached the shore and then quickly swept the island without drawing a shot or finding any evidence of defenders.

In the afternoon radar detected hostile aircraft inbound from the west. Fourteen enemy “Betty” bombers, escorted by almost two dozen Zeros, attacked the carrier force providing air cover for the invasion. Wildcats accounted for several Japanese fighters and five of the bombers while suffering only one plane lost. The remaining bombers failed to score any hits on their target, battleship North Carolina, and no further air attacks developed. Aboard Gridley the anti-aircraft guns were manned and ready but no enemy plane came within sight of the destroyer.

The first American amphibious invasion of the war was thus a bit of an anticlimax. There were few lessons learned about the difficulties of invading an enemy-held beach – those lessons lay in the future – and the prize was of modest value. But it was good for morale, both military and civilian, and on strategic maps it removed the Japanese flag positioned closest to Pearl Harbor.

Gridley and the rest of the covering force were to remain at Baker for one more day, while the rest of the Marine’s equipment and supplies were unloaded. After that they expected to return to Pearl Harbor. Instead, however, their orders called for them to proceed southwest, into the South Pacific. Though they did not know it, it would be a long time before any of the warships currently at Baker saw Pearl Harbor again.


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Post #: 374
RE: August 4, 1942 - 4/19/2012 7:32:13 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
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August 1-4, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 75 miles northwest of Gardner Island
Course: Southwest
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 369 (70%)


Gridley had departed Baker Island and headed south. In doing so they had crossed the equator. Joe Beaumont stood by turret 54, his gun, and watched a trio of sailors doing, or attempting to do, a can-can. All three were from New York and had been dubbed “The Rockettes.” It was all part of the first day of their initiation from Pollywogs to Shellbacks. Nearby Chief Petty Officer Odell, in his usual role as King Neptunus, added his laughter and encouragement to the stumbling sailors.

Tomorrow, Joe knew, would come the fuel-oil shampoo, the crawling through the “gauntlet,” and other fun. And then the crewmen would be Shellbacks, initiated into the Solemn Order of the Ancient Mysteries of the Deep. He knew this because he himself had undergone the ritual just a few months before.

It was funny, Joe reflected. He had never pictured having to wear a skirt or get swatted with a hose when he had pictured joining the Navy. Then again, he had never pictured having to crawl through a tunnel filled with burning tires, or spending hours in the steaming tropical heat practicing loading shells. When he had thought about it at all he had pictured something a bit more…well, heroic or adventurous or something.

And yet, as he laughed with the men around him at the antics of the poor Pollywogs, he felt something else he had never pictured. It was a sense almost of…well, almost of family, Joe thought to himself. He set a lot of store by family. He missed his mother and younger brothers every day. Yet in a way this narrow, pitching deck had become home and the men around him almost as close as brothers. Well, some of them, anyway, Joe allowed to himself. Yet all of them were crewmates and that meant something.

Joe couldn’t exactly put what it meant into words. He wasn’t good at that. But he was good at understanding things, and dimly he knew that there were bonds between he and the men around him that would never be broken. They might fade with time and distance but they would never completely disappear. It was good, knowing this. It felt like…it felt like belonging somewhere.

It was a long way from a farm in northern Michigan to the equatorial waters of the Pacific, Joe thought. It was a long way to come to find yourself home.


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Post #: 375
RE: August 9, 1942 - 4/20/2012 5:58:31 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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From: Oregon, USA
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August 5-9, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 40 miles west of Tongatapu
Course: West
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 346 (65%)


Tongatapu is the principal island of the Kingdom of Tonga. Admiral Shafroth’s task force has been ordered to linger to the west of the island and await rendezvous with other elements of the fleet. Just what these elements might be is unknown to Gridley’s crew until they start showing up. But when all of them are together they make an impressive array, even spread out across forty miles of ocean. There are three carrier task forces and two surface combat groups, including Shafroth’s. Together they have six aircraft carriers, three battleships, seven heavy cruisers, ten light or anti-aircraft cruisers, and twenty-seven destroyers.

Tongatapu, it appears, was chosen as a rendezvous because it was thought to be far enough south of Fiji to avoid detection by prowling Japanese submarines. And in fact as all the task forces come together and prepare to steam west there appears to be no sign that they have been detected by the Japanese. But appearances can be deceiving, especially in warfare.

***

“What’ve you got, Ed?” Admiral Nimitz asked his young intelligence officer, Edwin Layton, as he stepped out of the conference room. Layton had urgently requested to see him and Nimitz knew that Layton would not interrupt him unless it was important. Layton pulled the door closed behind the admiral.

“We’ve just decoded a transmission from Kwajalein to the Jap high command,” he said. “Specifically from the Sixth Fleet HQ there.”

“Go on,” said Nimitz. Layton held up several sheets of paper.

“You want the long version or the short version?” Layton asked.

“I’ve got a meeting to get back to,” said his commander. “Just give me the short version for now.”

“Well, sir,” said Layton, “leaving out the details and the formal Japanese, what the message amounts to is ‘holy crap, there’s a lot of American ships off Tonga’.”

The admiral’s bushy white eyebrows rose slightly. He extended a hand.

“The meeting can wait,” he said. “I’d better take a look at that report.”


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Post #: 376
RE: August 9, 1942 - 4/21/2012 6:36:30 AM   
AcePylut


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lol

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Post #: 377
RE: August 12, 1942 - 4/21/2012 8:38:02 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 300 miles south of Noumea
Course: West
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 289 (55%)


Gridley steamed almost due west under clear skies. The destroyer was the first of three trailing destroyers in the task force, sailing just behind Honolulu. Ahead of the light cruiser were the two battleships. The presence of Idaho and New Mexico meant that the task force was cruising at less than a breakneck pace. The big ships might have been powerful but they were not fast.

News had spread throughout Gridley that their destination was Sydney. This information was taken with a grain of salt by the veterans among the crew. They had been promised Sydney before and always been thwarted.

“We got to see Darwin last time,” said “Fish” Herring at chow. “And Perth, don’t forget Perth.”

“Yeah,” said Jake Reedy, reaching for more meatloaf. “And we never got off the ship in either place.” Those stops had been during “The Great Australian Walkabout,” when Gridley had been part of a force that hoped to contest the Japanese landing at Port Moresby. Instead they had been forced to circle all the way around Australia to avoid the Japanese carriers.

“I hope we get a chance this time,” Morris Crenshaw said wistfully. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about Sydney.”

“It’s supposed to be a great liberty port,” acknowledged Reedy.

“Well, we aren’t likely to be sent back to Darwin,” said Al Tannen sourly. This comment cast a pall over the discussion. Darwin was now the headquarters of the Japanese occupation of the western part of Australia.

“Maybe we’re on our way to help take it back,” said Fish after a moment. It didn’t seem impossible. The papers they saw back at Pearl had been full of calls for the military to drive the enemy out of Australia.

“Maybe,” said Reedy.

“Hey, maybe we’ll get to spend a month in Sydney, drinking good Australian beer and meeting pretty Australian girls!” said Crenshaw. Everyone laughed. Whatever the Navy had in mind for them, they knew, it surely wouldn’t include that.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 378
RE: August 16, 1942 - 4/23/2012 9:27:35 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
August 13-16, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Sydney
Course: None
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 525 (100%)


Morning finds the harbor at Sydney crowded with American warships. Unfortunately, there is more than one type of rising sun over the port this day.

“What in the hell is a Jap plane doing here?” asked “Red” Sherwood, Gridley’s torpedo officer. He was standing on the starboard wing of the bridge watching a small, distant plane. It was being chased by several black bursts of anti-aircraft fire, all of which fell well short of the target. Even as he watched the intruder disappeared into some clouds,

“It’s a Glen,” said Jack Cameron, the gunnery officer, who was standing beside him. “Some of their submarines carry them.” Sherwood lowered his binoculars.

“Carry them? Where?” asked Sherwood. He had been aboard submarines and his mind boggled at the thought of one of them carrying an airplane. Cameron shrugged.

“I dunno,” he said. “Maybe they carry them disassembled and put them together on deck when they surface.”

“That’s pretty clever, however they do it,” said Sherwood. “We have anything like that?”

“Not that I ever heard,” Cameron said. “You’d think the damned things would be hard to use, but they seem to be everywhere.”

“Nice for the Japs,” said Sherwood. “But I don’t like having them know where we are.”

“Neither do I,” said Cameron. “I’ll bet the brass doesn’t much like it either. But it’s their problem.”

“Yeah, it’s their problem until it gets us sunk,” said Sherwood wryly. “Then it’s our problem.” Cameron clapped him on the shoulder.

“I’d say the biggest worry right now,” he said, “is that this might send us scurrying back out of the harbor. I was looking forward to liberty here.” He looked across the water at the city.

“I hadn’t thought of that!” said Sherwood. He shook his fist at the cloud bank where the Glen had disappeared. “Damn you, you little sneak!”


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 379
RE: August 16, 1942 - 4/24/2012 2:22:20 AM   
princep01

 

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From: Texas
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The Insidious Glen is, without the slightest doubt, the most infernal machine devised by man. The Kate has a sharp sting, the Val drops a mighty egg, but the sneaking snake known as the Insidious Glen (most foul) brings home intelligence without a peer. It is proof, yet again, that the pen is indeed more mighty than the sword.

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Post #: 380
RE: August 16, 1942 - 4/24/2012 2:50:26 AM   
Crackaces


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quote:

ORIGINAL: princep01

The Insidious Glen is, without the slightest doubt, the most infernal machine devised by man. The Kate has a sharp sting, the Val drops a mighty egg, but the sneaking snake known as the Insidious Glen (most foul) brings home intelligence without a peer. It is proof, yet again, that the pen is indeed more mighty than the sword.


Its a two edged sword IMHO .. princep01 .. Stealth is the weapon of a submarine .. as the story goes .. as soon as those Glen's are spotted out goes the ASW groups and probably patrol aircraft concentrated now having a vector to search ...

I look forward to the Gridley finding an IJN Submarine ..

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Post #: 381
RE: August 16, 1942 - 4/24/2012 4:04:44 AM   
princep01

 

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From: Texas
Status: offline
Crackaces, I'd respectfully have to disagree. What is the relative value of giving away the location of an I-boat to discovering a large concentration of Allied shipping, a significant SCTF or better yet, a pair of CVs in port? I wage you'd agree it is a small price to pay, particularly when the subs actual location is not known and can be anywhere within six hexes (?) of said port. Finally, while ASW is fairly effective at this point in the war, attacking the hunted may make him the hunter instead....and those IJN torpedos tend to explode with regularity thoughout the war:).

So, on balance, I'll concede it is a two edged sword, but one edge is significantly sharper than the other.

And Cuttlefish, it is so nice to see you posting again.

(in reply to Crackaces)
Post #: 382
RE: August 16, 1942 - 4/25/2012 6:36:48 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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

quote:

ORIGINAL: princep01

And Cuttlefish, it is so nice to see you posting again.


Thank you, it is very good to be back.


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Post #: 383
RE: August 17, 1942 - 4/25/2012 6:39:28 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
August 17, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Sydney
Course: None
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 525 (100%)


The ship’s officers file into Gridley’s wardroom. Captain Stickney has come back aboard after attending a hurried meeting called by Admiral Halsey. Presumably the captain has news about the ship’s next move.

Inside the wardroom the officers grab cups of coffee and take their seats. Outside the crew waits. No one has actually set foot in Sydney yet and there is general apprehension that the appearance of the Japanese snooper the day before will cause them to depart before they can.

“There’s been a change of plans,” Stickney tells the men. His face has its habitually stern look. “As you know, we were supposed to remain at Sydney for a bit. But the Japs know we’re here now. Admiral Halsey doesn’t like that.” There are some long faces around the table, but no one says anything.

“Therefore,” Stickney continues, “the fleet is going to pull out.” There are a few low groans at this. “The carriers are going to head south and transit the Bass Strait. With luck the Japanese will detect this move and think the carriers are moving towards Perth. However, once out of the strait they are going to pick up speed and buttonhook sharply back towards New Zealand. They will relocate to Auckland. Away from prying eyes this time, the admiral hopes.”

“We are going with them?” asks Lieutenant Steubens. And now Captain Stickney’s face shows just the hint of a smile.

“Admiral Halsey thinks,” he says, “that enough ships should remain behind to give the impression that we’re all still here, just in case the Japs don’t pick up on the Bass Strait move. He thinks that the slow battleships are the best candidates for that job. That means that they, and we, are going to remain here for the time being.”

Now there are grins all around the table.

“Fred, draw up a liberty schedule,” says the captain. “But let me remind you all that this is not just a social call. We are being asked to be a diversion. The Japs know we’re here and there’s no guarantee that they won’t come looking for trouble. There’s not much here by way of air cover and with the carriers gone we might be in trouble if they do. This is not going to be a floating party, gentlemen. We are a warship on a mission.

“That said,” he adds, “make sure you all get ashore. This is a great town. Just don’t get into any drinking contests with the Australians.” He shudders, just slightly. “Take it from an old hand, that is one thing you do not want to do.”



(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 384
RE: August 20, 1942 - 4/27/2012 2:32:45 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
August 18-20, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Sydney
Course: None
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 525 (100%)


The Japanese certainly do notice the Allied move through the Bass Strait. Not only are there multiple sightings of enemy submarines, one of them manages to put a torpedo into North Carolina. But the battleship is not badly hurt and continues to lead the surface combat task force accompanying the carriers.

As soon as the ships are through the Strait they turn sharply and loop around Tasmania, heading back east. As far as they can tell this move is not observed by the Japanese. With luck the ships can make their way to New Zealand unobserved and keep the Japanese guessing about their location and intentions.

***

Meanwhile, back in Sydney…

Lieutenant JG Lawrence Courtney, Gridley’s assistant damage control officer, was not a bad guy, not really. Back home in upstate New York he was a gracious winner on the tennis court and, when he spent the night with a woman below his social standing, he usually bought her something nice before sending her on her way.

He was perhaps not even hopeless as a naval officer. He was reasonably intelligent and had a way of dealing with people that might, given time, be translated into leadership. Captain Stickney and Lieutenant Steubens thought he had some potential. But they also thought that the potential was currently buried beneath a layer of privilege and resentment. Courtney was the son of a wealthy and influential businessman whose father had arranged with his friend the congressman for Courtney’s entry into Officer Candidate School.

The Navy in general and Gridley in particular had been a shock to the young man. Aboard the destroyer no one cared who you were, only what you did. Captain Stickney was a perfectionist and Lieutenant Steubens was little better. Steubens had had harsh words about with Courtney about his performance several times. As a result Courtney was nursing a chip on his shoulder. It just wasn’t fair, he told himself. It had not quite gotten through to him yet that the Navy was in no way about fairness.

But still, he was trying. His work had gotten better and he was beginning to glimpse that there was something to being a man among other men, to earning respect rather than having it handed to him as his due. He was not sure, though, that his efforts had earned any notice from his fellow officers. So he was pleasantly surprised when Ensign Puhls, the signals officer, stuck his head into the cabin they shared.

“Hey Larry,” Puhls said. “Wrinkles knows a guy aboard New Mexico, he’s got us an invite to a shindig some Aussie brass are throwing in town.” “Wrinkles” was Lieutenant JG Holbrook, one of the coding officers under Lieutenant Coszyk. “There’s going to be some girls there, and free booze. Sounds like a good time. Want to come along? Steubens says it’s okay.”

Courtney was immensely pleased to be included. He opened his mouth to jump at the chance, then closed it when he remembered that Al Tanner had wanted to meet with him later about something. Tanner had been cagey about what it was, but Courtney had the feeling that he wanted Courtney to help him get away with something that was not strictly regulation.

This was a dilemma. Tanner had been a sympathetic ear for Courtney’s complaints and had even intimated that he had connections that might make things easier for Courtney, if the ensign played his cards right. Just what those connections were had not been specified yet. Tanner would not be pleased if Courtney welshed on him tonight.

To tell the truth, though he was loath to admit it, Courtney was a bit afraid of Tanner. The man might be a common deckhand, but there was something vaguely threatening about him. It might be Ranker and Vick, the two hulking sailors who seemed to follow him everywhere, but Courtney thought it was more than that.

Some turning points are so subtle they go unrecognized at the time. Ensign Courtney hesitated for a long moment, caught between the chance to make some friends and worry about disappointing Tanner. Puhls cleared his throat.

“The jeep will be here for us pretty quick,” he said. “You in?” Reluctantly Courtney shook his head.

“Thanks a lot, Andy,” he said, “but I can’t. I’ve…” he groped for an excuse. “I’ve got a date lined up this evening.”

“Oh yeah?” said Puhls. “Good for you! You can tell me all about her tomorrow. Hey, I know, bring her around to the party later, if you can. Here’s the address.” He jotted it on a scrap of paper lying on the desk they shared.

“I might do that,” said Courtney with a hollow smile. Puhls left and Courtney slumped onto his bunk. Already he regretted his decision.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 385
RE: August 20, 1942 - 4/28/2012 9:17:22 PM   
Onime No Kyo


Posts: 16635
Joined: 4/28/2004
Status: offline
Good stuff as always CF. Keep it up!

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

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 386
RE: August 20, 1942 - 4/28/2012 10:12:10 PM   
nashvillen


Posts: 2870
Joined: 7/3/2006
From: Christiana, TN
Status: offline
Ens. Courtney is falling into the clutches of Tanner... Sigh... Poor sod.

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(in reply to Onime No Kyo)
Post #: 387
RE: August 20, 1942 - 4/29/2012 1:58:49 AM   
jmalter

 

Posts: 1332
Joined: 10/12/2010
Status: offline
welcome back Cuttlefish, i'm glad you're posting again! i can only hope you get as much fun from writing your 'narrative AAR' as i (& some few others here) get from reading it.

i've been a Patrick O'Brian fanboy for quite awhile now, he got a lot of his inspiration from historical events, to the point where he'd be reading ship's logbooks, contemporary deck-plans, and old publications such as the 'Naval Chronicle' to populate his imagination.

i like the way you do your thing in a similar way, such as linking to tech-info for the Gridley's new DC-throwers recently, or mentioning one of the Great Lakes training stations earlier in your story.

best regards,
jmalter


(in reply to nashvillen)
Post #: 388
RE: August 21, 1942 - 4/29/2012 7:11:04 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
August 21, 1942

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Sydney
Course: None
Attached to: TF 154
Mission: Surface Combat
Ship's Status: Sys damage 1
Fuel: 525 (100%)


As night fell over Sydney activity in the harbor and along the waterfront slowed dramatically. It had to – Sydney was under blackout restrictions and the night was dark. The moon was past half full and waxing, and when it peeked out through the clouds the silhouettes of warships could seen at anchor out across silvery glints of moonlight on the water. At rest were the ferries, the luxury yachts converted to patrol craft, and the ship’s boats which plied the harbor during the daytime.

Gridley was tied up, for this night and the next, at the naval pier in Farm Cove, near central Sydney. Ensign Courtney was the OOD. He paced the deck near the gangway and from time to time used a small flashlight to check his watch. No one else was on deck to observe him but if anyone had been they might have said the young officer seemed nervous.

Finally, not long after 11pm, there came the sound of footsteps ascending the gangway. Courtney could just make out the forms of sailors Tanner and Vick as they came on board.

“You’re late!” Courtney hissed.

“We were delayed,” said Tanner, blandly but quietly. His eyes glinted in the dark as he looked around. “Is Masterson around?” Tanner was referring to Chief Petty Officer Masterson, master of the deck force and Tanner’s personal nemesis.

“No, I gave him some busy work below decks,” said Courtney. He eyed the heavy duffel bags both sailors were carrying. “What’s in those, anyway?”

He was not supposed to ask that question. That had been part of the deal he had arranged with Tanner – no questions. Tanner, Ranker, and Vick had not been logged out and they were not going to be logged back in. Their business was their own.

“Koala bears,” said Tanner shortly. “Carved from teak. They’ll be a sensation back home, make us a mint. C’mon, Vick.” The two men started towards the galley passageway.

“Wait, where’s Ranker?” Courtney asked.

“He was…delayed,” said Tanner. “He’ll be along, no worries.” And with that he and Vick were gone.

Courtney turned away. He shouldn’t have agreed to this, he knew that. But Tanner had offered him a lot of money.

“And besides,” the sailor had said, “the Navy takes advantage of us every chance it gets. Nothing wrong with getting a little of our own back, right?” The argument had appealed to the gnawing resentment Courtney felt at being mistreated. But now, in the quiet of the night, that argument seemed rather hollow.

Well, no point in crying over spilled milk now, the ensign thought. Besides, it was probably all pretty harmless anyway.

He hoped Ranker got back before middle watch, though. It might raise some uncomfortable questions if he didn’t. Courtney no sooner had this thought when Ranker ascended the gangway. The big sailor was panting slightly. It was hard to tell in the dark, but Courtney thought that he might be holding one of his arms awkwardly as well.

“Tanner get here already?” Ranker asked in his deep, raspy voice. Courtney was annoyed. He was the officer here, wasn’t he?

“Don’t you mean ‘sir’?” he said pointedly.

“Yeah, sure…sir,” Ranker said casually. Dammit, thought Courtney, he wouldn’t talk like that to Lieutenant Steubens, he sure wouldn’t. But this was not the time or place to get into an argument about it.

“Yes, he arrived not long ago. Now get below,” he said. And Ranker went, without another word.

He’d have to talk to Tanner about that later, Courtney thought. They might be friends, might even be doing a little friendly business together, but he was still an officer. He deserved some respect.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 389
RE: August 21, 1942 - 4/29/2012 2:24:31 PM   
Onime No Kyo


Posts: 16635
Joined: 4/28/2004
Status: offline
Why, I do believe that our over-privileged friend just committed a court martial offense. With enough bloody-mindedness it could even be argue that he endangered the ship in wartime.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 390
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