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RE: December 8, 1941

 
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RE: December 8, 1941 - 4/8/2011 8:30:26 PM   
Capt. Harlock


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quote:

Lieutenant Commander Fred Russell Stickney, Gridley's captain


If my research is correct, the Gridley was actually captained by one CDR Stuart T. Hotchkiss at the time of Pearl Harbor. (From http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/380.htm) Is Stickney the captain assigned by AE?

BTW, Captain Stickney will be assigned to a Fletcher-class DD in 1943. Hibiki stayed with one skipper over the course of your last AAR -- it will be interesting to see if there is a change aboard the Gridley, and how the men react.

< Message edited by Capt. Harlock -- 4/8/2011 8:35:00 PM >


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Post #: 91
RE: December 8, 1941 - 4/9/2011 3:14:13 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Capt. Harlock

quote:

Lieutenant Commander Fred Russell Stickney, Gridley's captain


If my research is correct, the Gridley was actually captained by one CDR Stuart T. Hotchkiss at the time of Pearl Harbor. (From http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/380.htm) Is Stickney the captain assigned by AE?

BTW, Captain Stickney will be assigned to a Fletcher-class DD in 1943. Hibiki stayed with one skipper over the course of your last AAR -- it will be interesting to see if there is a change aboard the Gridley, and how the men react.


Your research is correct. But in AE Stickney does indeed begin in command. The designers seem to have assigned ship captains based at least partly on who served at the post the longest, or who served the most prominently, instead of relying strictly on chronology.


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Post #: 92
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 3:20:39 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 9, 1941

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan


Sault Ste. Marie, known as "the Soo" by the locals, was not actually much of a place. But it was "town" to the residents of the eastern end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. There was an old army fort, Fort Brady, on the hill overlooking the St. Mary's River. And of course there were the locks, three on the American side of the river and a fourth on the Canadian side, the main reason for the town's existence.

Joe Beaumont stood on Portage Avenue, where once French fur trappers and missionaries had carried their canoes around the rapids, and looked across the street at the locks. He had not expected the frantic activity he now saw taking place. Soldiers in long coats, looking important with their big rifles, were patrolling everywhere. Men were placing sandbags around machine guns and in a couple of places other men were moving big searchlights into position.

Joe watched as a woman in a red coat and wearing a little red hat tried to cross the street. A soldier stopped her and informed her politely but sternly that civilians could no longer approach the locks.

"But my brother is coming!" said the woman. She pointed upriver, where the superstructure of an ore freighter could be glimpsed through the skeletal trees. It was moving with ponderous slowness towards the locks. It was late in the season for a ship to be downbound, Joe knew, but there were always a few laggards, racing to bring in one last load of iron ore before ice closed the shipping lanes for the season.

"I always wave to him," the woman continued. "I've done it for years! He's the second mate," she added proudly.

"Sorry, ma'am," said the soldier. Joe thought he seemed proud and nervous all at the same time. "We have orders. No one goes near the locks."

"Well, I think that's silly," the woman said.

"Silly!" said the soldier. "Do you know that ninety percent of our iron ore comes down through these locks? A couple of bombs in the right place and there goes the war! This place is one of the Jap's main targets, ma'am, you'd better believe it!"

Joe moved on, leaving the woman to continue her argument. The National Guard Armory was a few blocks downriver and he had heard that was where the Army had opened a recruiting station. He trudged along, his boots making crunching sounds when he hit an icy spot. There were a lot of people out, many watching the activity by the locks, and many were talking. The only topic was the war. Joe caught snatches of conversation as he passed.

"If Tojo wants a fight, he's got one. We're going to smash those sneaky..."

"Well, what I head is that Jap battleships are off San Diego..."

"...but you're wrong about the West Coast, there's no way to stop them there. I just hope we can hold them at the Rockies..."

After Joe had gone about a block all other sounds were momentarily dominated by a short blast from a ship's whistle. It was the freighter, preparing to enter one of the locks. Joe turned and could now clearly see its prow. He had heard such whistles before, on other visits to the Soo, as the big ore carriers talked to one another out on the river. But for some reason this time the sound halted him. Halted him and shivered down his bones.

He turned back and his eye was caught by a large poster in the window beside him. It showed a sailor in a sparkling white outfit using a wrench on something. Joe didn't know what the something was, but he was encouraged. He knew how to use a wrench. The sailor was very handsome, like a movie star, but Joe thought he looked a little distracted, like maybe he was thinking about baseball, or a girl.

"Arise, Americans," said the large text beneath. "Your Country and Your Liberty are in grave danger...Protect them now by joining the United States Navy or the U.S. Naval Reserve."

There were other posters, too, and a sign announcing that this was now a Navy recruiting station. Joe looked over his shoulder at the ship, now giving the illusion of sinking slowly into the ground as the lock lowered it twenty-one feet from the level of Lake Superior to the level of Lake Huron. In his mind he heard once again the sound of the ship's whistle.

He nodded once, to himself, then turned back and pushed open the door to the navy recruiting center.

***





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< Message edited by Cuttlefish -- 4/9/2011 6:05:30 AM >

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Post #: 93
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 3:53:12 AM   
John 3rd


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I'm along for this fabulous ride as well Sir. Looking forward to enjoying your hard work.


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Post #: 94
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 5:31:18 AM   
vettim89


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Sorry Cuttlefish but as a Great lakes man I must correct the error. Lake Superior is higher than Huron. the ship would be descending not ascending. Was at Whitefish Point last summer watching the freighters go by. I knows of what I speak

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Post #: 95
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 6:04:21 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: vettim89

Sorry Cuttlefish but as a Great lakes man I must correct the error. Lake Superior is higher than Huron. the ship would be descending not ascending. Was at Whitefish Point last summer watching the freighters go by. I knows of what I speak


You are of course correct. And I knew that. I am, however, directionally dyslexic, and frequently flip these things around in my mind. I will correct the mistake!

For fun, here is a picture of the 702nd MP Battalion drilling in Michigan. This was the unit assigned to guard the locks early in '41 and it was their troops that Joe Beaumont probably saw. Security at the locks was taken very seriously indeed - by '43 there were 7000 troops there, with many AA guns, barrage balloons, the works. The main threat was believed to be German saboteurs reaching the area by landing undetected via submarine at Hudson Bay. The U.S. military rated the odds of an attack there as very low but American industry was concerned about the possibility almost to the point of hysteria.

It's not quite as ludicrous as it sounds, looking back on it all these years later. Almost all the steel we used in the war came down through those locks, and the shipping season was May through November. The Army Corps of Engineers, which administered the locks (they still do) estimated that a team of saboteurs could do enough damage in 30 minutes to put the locks out of action for months. Correctly timed, an attack could have crippled America's supply of steel for a year. It would have been suicide but the results might have made it worth a try.





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Post #: 96
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 6:56:13 AM   
witpqs


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Cuttlefish,

If you are taking those kind of little corrections (in case you cut & paste the whole thing later, yes?), then in an earlier post you mentioned that DD Gridley (I think in the CV Enterprise TF?) was maybe heading south to rendezvous with the Yorktown TF. Yorktown is off line at San Diego and arrives later. I think you meant CV Lexington?

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Post #: 97
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 7:18:43 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

Cuttlefish,

If you are taking those kind of little corrections (in case you cut & paste the whole thing later, yes?), then in an earlier post you mentioned that DD Gridley (I think in the CV Enterprise TF?) was maybe heading south to rendezvous with the Yorktown TF. Yorktown is off line at San Diego and arrives later. I think you meant CV Lexington?


Actually what is going on is that both the Lexington and Enterprise TFs are trying to meet Saratoga, which is charging across the Pacific from San Diego. I don't know where I got Yorktown. Wishful thinking, maybe...


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Post #: 98
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 1:25:16 PM   
PaxMondo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish


quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

Cuttlefish,

If you are taking those kind of little corrections (in case you cut & paste the whole thing later, yes?), then in an earlier post you mentioned that DD Gridley (I think in the CV Enterprise TF?) was maybe heading south to rendezvous with the Yorktown TF. Yorktown is off line at San Diego and arrives later. I think you meant CV Lexington?


Actually what is going on is that both the Lexington and Enterprise TFs are trying to meet Saratoga, which is charging across the Pacific from San Diego. I don't know where I got Yorktown. Wishful thinking, maybe...







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Post #: 99
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 2:44:50 PM   
Onime No Kyo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cuttlefish


quote:

ORIGINAL: witpqs

Cuttlefish,

If you are taking those kind of little corrections (in case you cut & paste the whole thing later, yes?), then in an earlier post you mentioned that DD Gridley (I think in the CV Enterprise TF?) was maybe heading south to rendezvous with the Yorktown TF. Yorktown is off line at San Diego and arrives later. I think you meant CV Lexington?


Actually what is going on is that both the Lexington and Enterprise TFs are trying to meet Saratoga, which is charging across the Pacific from San Diego. I don't know where I got Yorktown. Wishful thinking, maybe...




And by USS Enterprise I'm sure you meant the NCC-1701D.

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Post #: 100
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 5:30:14 PM   
witpqs


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Onime No Kyo

And by USS Enterprise I'm sure you meant the NCC-1701D.


The D model before 1944?!

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Post #: 101
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/9/2011 5:57:40 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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I'm so used to playing Japan it's probably lucky I didn't say Zuikaku. I find myself watching air-to-air combat in the replays and cheering for the Nates and Zeros.


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Post #: 102
RE: December 9, 1941 - 4/11/2011 1:54:30 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 9, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 650 miles SW of Pearl Harbor
Course: Northt
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 467 (88%)

Orders: Evade Japanese carriers, return to Pearl Harbor


Reedy sat on his bunk, pen in hand, sheet of paper smoothed out over the clipboard balanced on his knee. He was preparing to write a letter to Cathy, she of the dimples and the sea green eyes.

Dear Cathy,

That seemed awfully formal he thought. Should he start with something more affectionate? She was his girl, after all, had been since his last home leave. Maybe he could toss in some endearments later to make up for it.

How are you? I am fine.

God, that sounded stiff as an undertaker. He ought to be able to do better that that. He had a clever tongue, after all, everyone said so. Especially some officers, who had forcefully observed that it was at times too clever. But somehow Cathy left him tongue-tied, even when he was writing. He wadded up the sheet of paper and started over.

My Darling Cathy,

Not even war, and the danger I am in, can stop me from thinking about you almost every second.


That was much better. Not only was it romantic, it made him sound heroic. Jake Reedy, warrior and defender of those back home. He hoped it would make her heart beat faster, picturing him out on the seas, bravely facing unimagined dangers.

I can't, of course, tell you where I am or what I am doing.

This was nothing but God's honest truth. He had a rough idea where he was, but he had no idea what he was doing. Well, he was writing a letter to his girl before catching some much-needed sack time, but he had no idea what he and his mates were doing in the larger sense. All he, or anybody aboard outside of officer's country knew, was that they were now moving slowly north. The Japs had stopped bombing Pearl and were now moving off to the west. Speculation aboard was that they were going after San Francisco now, maybe ahead of an invasion fleet.

Cathy probably knew more about what was going on than he did, Reedy thought. He wondered what the reaction was on the west coast to the Jap move.

But I am well. I hope you are well, too, The war will change a lot of things, but nothing can change the way I feel about you.

Was that too much? No, he thought, women loved that sort of thing.

You are the prettiest thing in the city of Scranton. I showed your picture to my friend Gus and he just about turned green with envy.

What Becken had actually said was, "Wow, Reeds, she really is a looker. And that's a pair of major-caliber guns, there!" But Cathy didn't need that particular detail.

In the bunk above him Becken rolled over and started to snore. Reedy started a new paragraph.

I don't know when we'll see each other again. Things have changed, now. But I hope it will be soon. In the meantime think of me and try not to worry. I'll be all right. Oh, and if you feel like doing something to help the war effort you could bake me some more of those cookies. That last box you sent sure was good.

Her father was a baker and she had inherited his skills. He missed the smell of her father's bakery. He missed walking with Cathy through the park, her arm linked in his. He missed his folks, too, even his sisters.

He yawned suddenly, which reminded him that he ought to turn in. He would have time to finish the letter before they got to Pearl, it looked like. He stowed the clipboard away in his locker and rolled into his bunk, where he fell asleep almost immediately.


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Post #: 103
RE: December 10, 1941 - 4/12/2011 5:23:08 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 10, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 425 miles SW of Pearl Harbor
Course: North
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 449 (85%)

Orders: Evade Japanese carriers, return to Pearl Harbor


What the hell were the Japanese up to? That was the question uppermost on Captain Stickney's mind as he sat in his chair on the bridge. The location of their carriers was no longer any mystery; they were being constantly shadowed by aircraft, now. The Japanese had moved east, and then suddenly turned south. They were now a few hundred miles east of Hawaii itself. In response the Enterprise and Lexington groups, now operating together, had moved north. They were keeping the islands between themselves and the Japanese.

It was, Stickney reflected, not unlike a man circling a thick tree trunk, trying to keep the trunk between himself and an angry bear. He almost smiled, imagining how wild this circling must be making Admiral Halsey. He was glad he was here aboard Gridley and not aboard Enterprise as a member of the Admiral's staff.

"What the hell do you think the Japs are up to, Captain?" said a voice at his elbow. Stickney looked up to see Fred Steubens, his executive officer. Stickney considered the young officer for a moment before answering. He liked Steubens, thought that maybe he had potential to command a ship himself some day. When he had first come aboard, as the gunnery officer, he had been a bit wild, a bit too inclined to enjoy himself during shore leave. Stickney had worked to teach him how an officer should behave. He had made progress. He still needed more of what Stickney's own father would have called "sand in his belly" but Stickney liked his potential. He was smart and wanted to learn.

"What do you think, Fred?" Stickney asked. Time to make the lieutenant think tactically. Steuben shrugged.

"Who knows, Captain?" he said. "The Japs are tricky, everyone knows that. Inscrutable."

"That's lazy crap," said Stickney. "Those are military men out there aboard those carriers. They must have a military goal. What do you think it is?" Stickney's face turned more thoughtful.

"Well, sir," he said, "what they're doing kind of reminds me of what Jeb Stuart liked to do back during the Civil War. Ride clear around the enemy."

"So they came here," Stickney asked, "smashed the Fleet, and now they're what, counting coup on us? Demonstrating that they can now go wherever they want to?"

"Maybe, sir," said Steubens, a little defensively. "That sounds kind of Oriental, don't you think? They might think that they're making us lose face or something."

"Any other ideas?"

"They might still be going after the West Coast," said Steubens. "Maybe the Panama Canal." The captain nodded.

"I think that's possible," he said. "But I have another idea, too. Tell me, Fred, why did they send their carriers out here?"

"To destroy the Pacific Fleet, sir," he said. "To try and cripple us right at the start."

"Right. And what target did they miss?" Steubens brow furrowed.

"I don't know, sir," he said. "We know they did a lot of damage at Pearl but we don't know what was hit...oh! Us, sir. The carriers, I mean." Steubens raised his eyebrows. "Do you think they're looking for us?" Stickney nodded.

"I think it's possible," he said. "I think it's very possible."


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Post #: 104
RE: December 11, 1941 - 4/12/2011 7:30:28 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 11, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 370 miles SW of Pearl Harbor
Course: North
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 430 (81%)

Orders: Evade Japanese carriers, return to Pearl Harbor


To the west of Pearl Harbor Gridley and her fellow escorts shepherded Enterprise and Lexington north. To the east of Pearl Harbor the Japanese carriers moved south. To guard against the possibility of a lunge across the circle the two forces were describing the Americans were careful to maintain a distance of about 600 miles from the Japanese.

Though the Japanese held a considerable edge in firepower the Americans had an advantage of their own; information. Every move the Japanese made was being shadowed by Catalinas flying out of Oahu and Hawaii. By contrast the Japanese, it was hoped, could have little idea where the two American carriers were.

This assumption, however, was threatened late in the morning when one of Lexington's escorts reported spotted a periscope. Several destroyers converged on the spot but could not establish contact. Had there really been a submarine? If so, had it spotted Lexington and reported its position? The tension level on the American side ratcheted up a notch.

Southeast of Pearl Harbor a lone Allied vessel, AVD McFarland, lost its battle to evade the Japanese. Aboard Gridley they intercepted the converted destroyer's report that it had been hit by two bombs and was sinking. There was nothing they could do, of course, except hope that the crew got off safely. It was just one more thing to lay against the Jap's account, a bill they hoped they could begin collecting on soon.

But that would have to be another day. For now they continued north, wary as a man being stalked by a tiger.


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Post #: 105
RE: December 12, 1941 - 4/13/2011 8:34:43 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 12, 1941

Pearl Harbor


Bill Bonderman looked out across the water at West Virginia and shook his head sadly. The once proud battleship sat forlornly on the mud, her clean lines blackened and twisted by the many bombs that had struck her. At least all the fires were out and columns of smoke no longer rose into the air to join the pall of smoke that had marred the clear Oahu air ever since the first attack.

It had been another long day for Bonderman and everyone else at Pearl Harbor. There was wreckage to clear, innumerable repairs to be made, bodies to recover, the injured to tend. And all the while the Japanese carrier force continued to circle them like some great sinister gray shark The tension level was very high. The Japanese were now south of them, moving west. Everyone worked with one eye on the sky. The anti-aircraft gunners were especially jittery and there had already been several incidents where they had fired on friendly aircraft.

Bonderman turned away from his examination of his former ship and continued on towards his destination. Earlier in the day orders had found him amidst the organized chaos of the base, orders directing him to report aboard a new ship. As soon as he had retired to the barracks that were his temporary home he had freshened up and put on a clean uniform. Now, orders in hand, he entered the building housing the Bureau of Navigation*.

Inside the building there was as much activity and chaos as there was outside. It took Bonderman some time to find someone who could help him, a petty officer at a desk overflowing with files and folders. Despite his obvious workload he listened patiently while Bonderman explained his mission.

"Let me see those orders," he said when Bonderman was done. Bonderman handed them over.

"Gridley," commented the petty officer, looking them over. "Good ship, I hear. So what's your beef?" He handed the orders back.

"I'd really prefer battleship duty," Bonderman explained. He was used to battleships and he liked their size, their solidity, their power. The thought of being in a tin can during an attack like the ones he had recently witnessed made him shudder.

"Well, sure," said the petty officer affably. "Let's just see what we can do here. How about Maryland...nope, sunk. Oklahoma, then. Ah, no can do, sunk. California? Full of water. Tennessee...repair estimate two years. Oh, there's Arizona - nope, pretty much a wreck. Maybe Nevada? No, she's not going anywhere any time soon. Let's see, I'm missing one...

"Pennsylvania," supplied Bonderman glumly. He could see where this was going.

"Oh yeah, thanks," said the petty officer. "Let's see...repair estimate eighteen months. Sorry, Mac, looks like we're fresh out of battleships right now."

"How about a heavy cruiser, then?" asked Bonderman. The petty officer leaned back in his chair.

"Look," he said, not unkindly, "I'd like to help you, really I would. But you see this?" He swept an arm over the mess on his desk. "We're at war. Gridley needs a radioman. You need a ship. The Navy, in it's mercy and infinite wisdom, has put you two together. Far be it from me to separate you. To the Gridley you go."

"Yes, Petty Officer," said Bonderman. "Thank you anyway."

"You bet," said the petty officer, picking up a file. "You'll like destroyer duty. There's nothing like it, take my word." He opened the file and dismissed Bonderman from his attention. Bonderman turned and trudged away.

It looked like he was going to be a destroyerman.

***

*The Bureau of Navigation was, at the time, the Navy's personnel department. It would be renamed a few months later to the more accurate Bureau of Naval Personnel.


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Post #: 106
RE: December 12, 1941 - 4/13/2011 10:37:15 PM   
Onime No Kyo


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Sly bastard. He knows those BBs will be going back to SF sometime in the future.

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Post #: 107
RE: December 12, 1941 - 4/14/2011 9:30:02 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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December 13, 1941

Near Lansing, Michigan


The Michigan Central passenger train grumbled southwards, every now and then emitting a piercing blast from its steam whistle as it approached a road crossing. Joe Beaumont sat in one of the cars and looked out at the passing scenery. It was mostly woods and farms, kind of like home but with less snow, but he was still interested in everything they passed. This was farther from home than he had ever been, even farther than the time his father had taken him to Traverse City when they went to buy the new tractor.

His mother and two brothers had seen him off at the station in the morning. That had been sad. His brothers had been excited and Joe could tell that they were jealous, especially Gus, who was fifteen. His mother had hugged him tight and told him to come home safe, and Joe could tell she was sad but trying not to show it too much. He had promised her he would write a lot of letters.

The railroad car he was in had crossed the Straits of Mackinac on a great big ferry. That had been interesting. Then they had headed south to Saginaw and now they were getting close to Lansing, according to the conductor. By this evening he would be in Chicago. He was supposed to report to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in North Chicago tomorrow morning.

A newspaper sat in Joe's lap, unregarded for the moment. Joe had already read a lot of it, despite the fact that he did not read all that quickly. There was a lot of news about the war he was on his way to join. The big news was still the fact that Germany and Italy had declared war and that Congress had declared war back. Joe wondered if he would be fighting Japanese, Germans, or Italians.

There was a lot of other news, too. Joe had no idea where the island of Guam was, but the Japanese had captured it yesterday. There was an article about heavy fighting in Hong Kong. He had heard of Hong Kong, but wasn't sure quite sure where it was either. When it came to that he was more than a little hazy on most of the places the Japanese were attacking, places like Malaya, Borneo, and New Guinea.

The paper said that the Japs on Luzon were driving south towards Manila. "Manila" sounded kind of like "vanilla" to Joe, and that made him think of ice cream. The statements in the paper made it sound like the Japanese attack would be defeated as soon the American and Filipino troops were ready to strike back. When that would be was kind of vague, though, as far as Joe could tell.

The train began to pass more buildings, and the conductor came through the car calling out that they were approaching Lansing, the next stop. Joe looked at the passing view with interest. This would be the biggest town he had seen yet. The scattered buildings turned into streets lined with buildings which went by, one after the other. It seemed like an awfully big place. It was hard to imagine that Chicago was even bigger, but Joe had heard it was.

His thoughts ran ahead to tomorrow, his first day in the Navy. He had a lot of stuff to learn, he knew that. He wondered what the instructors would be like. He hoped it wouldn't be like school. Mrs. Cameron used to scold him when he was too slow, back before he had to stop going after his father died. He imagined it would be hard work but that didn't worry him much. He was used to hard work.

As long as they didn't yell. Joe didn't much like yelling.

***

The Chief Wawatam, which was in service from 1911 until 1984, loads a passenger train for a trip across the Straits of Mackinac, year unknown.





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Post #: 108
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/15/2011 8:27:33 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

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From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 14, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 400 miles NW of Pearl Harbor
Course: East
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 356 (67%)

Orders: Evade Japanese carriers, return to Pearl Harbor


"Give me three cards," said Jake. He tossed his three discards on the overturned box being used as a card table and scooped up the three new cards that Horvald, the dealer, passed him.

"I'm going to stand," said Bergen complacently.

"Man thinks he's got himself a hand," said Horvald. "Barnecott?" They proceeded around the circle and the men examined their cards.

"So who would you guys rather be fighting?" Bergen asked. "Hitler or the Japs?"

"I wouldn't mind the Atlantic," said Fish as he pushed coins to the center of the table. His real name was Earl Herring but everyone called him Fish. "Four bits. Lot of time in port stateside, and my family is in Philly."

"See your four and raise two," said Reedy.

"You don't want Atlantic Convoy duty," said Barnecott quietly, He was a small, dark-haired man who had come aboard shortly before they left Pearl for Wake a couple of weeks ago - it seemed like forever now, to Reedy - and no one in the Gunnery Division really knew much about him. He had been in the black gang on his previous ship but was striking for gunner's mate and Horvald had him on the crew at turret 53. He kept to himself, did his job, and rarely talked much.

"Why not?" Jake asked him. "Fold." He set his cards down.

"It's cold," said Barnecott. "It can get real cold."

"You've been there, then?" asked Bergen after declaring himself in. "What ship?" There was a short pause.

"Reuben James," said Barnecott. "I'm in." He tossed money into the pot. The other men in the game halted, looking at him.

"You were on the James?" said Horvald. "I didn't know that." Barnecott shrugged slightly.

"Were you there when it went down?" Reedy asked. Barnecott nodded. He seemed content to leave it at that but everyone was looking at him.

"I was on watch in the engine room," he said. "It was real early, not dawn yet. There was an explosion, then an even bigger explosion. We picked ourselves up and already you could tell the ship was down at the bow. Chief Bergstresser, he went topside to see what was going on. Next thing we knew he was yelling at us to get out of there." There was a pause. Barnecott stared at the wall over Reedy's shoulder, seeming to look at something very far away.

"So I went topside," he continued, still speaking quietly, "with the others and the whole front of the ship was gone. The bridge was...it was just wrecked. All the officers were dead...all of them. That left the Chief in charge. He told us to abandon ship.

"The only boat left was the Captain's gig, and it was jammed in the skids. So we got three life rafts and tossed them over and then we jumped in after them. It was dark and cold...so cold. I've never been that cold in my life. The ship, it went down pretty fast, and we were there all alone with the cold. There weren't that many of us."

You could have heard a pin drop in the bunkroom. Even those not involved in the game were now listening silently. After a moment Barnecott shook himself and seemed to come back from wherever he had been.

"That's about it," he said. "Another can came along pretty quick and took us aboard. The James didn't really have a chance. The ship was old, pretty much held together by rust and baling wire."

"That's pretty rough," said Horvald. The gun captain looked at Barnecott. "You lose many friends?"

"All of them," said Barnecott. He studied his cards. "You in or out?"


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 109
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/15/2011 8:59:17 PM   
Capt. Harlock


Posts: 4256
Joined: 9/15/2001
From: Los Angeles
Status: offline
quote:

"What ship?" There was a short pause.

"Reuben James," said Barnecott. "I'm in." He tossed money into the pot. The other men in the game halted, looking at him.


So did I! A very nice touch . . . pity there's been no discussion of Germany's declaration of war, but then that's irrelevant to AE.

_____________________________

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

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(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 110
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/15/2011 9:17:08 PM   
Canoerebel


Posts: 9776
Joined: 12/14/2002
From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Status: offline
Cuttlefish, a question from an editor (I hope you don't mind).

Where did you learn to write dialogue; not the substance, rather the style? Many writers aren't familiar with the style and thus would run the dialogue from different speakers in the same paragraph, which is confusing and therefore wrong. But you don't. You write dalogue in fiction format just as though it were your profession or something you had learned through college or carreer. It's possible you could pick it up just by being an avid reader, but I wondered.

I really enjoy your AAR.

(in reply to Capt. Harlock)
Post #: 111
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/15/2011 9:56:10 PM   
SqzMyLemon


Posts: 2887
Joined: 10/30/2009
From: Alberta, Canada
Status: offline
All I can say is...gifted. Amazing to be drawn right into your writing Cuttlefish. Enjoying the read and much appreciate the effort you put into it.

(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 112
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/16/2011 12:58:36 AM   
John 3rd


Posts: 11193
Joined: 9/8/2005
From: La Salle, Colorado
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Cuttlefish, a question from an editor (I hope you don't mind).

Where did you learn to write dialogue; not the substance, rather the style? Many writers aren't familiar with the style and thus would run the dialogue from different speakers in the same paragraph, which is confusing and therefore wrong. But you don't. You write dalogue in fiction format just as though it were your profession or something you had learned through college or carreer. It's possible you could pick it up just by being an avid reader, but I wondered.

I really enjoy your AAR.


Well said Dan. I've often thought the same thing.


_____________________________



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(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 113
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/16/2011 5:33:15 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

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

quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Cuttlefish, a question from an editor (I hope you don't mind).

Where did you learn to write dialogue; not the substance, rather the style? Many writers aren't familiar with the style and thus would run the dialogue from different speakers in the same paragraph, which is confusing and therefore wrong. But you don't. You write dalogue in fiction format just as though it were your profession or something you had learned through college or carreer. It's possible you could pick it up just by being an avid reader, but I wondered.

I really enjoy your AAR.


As best as I can recall I learned the technical rules for writing dialogue in college. Unlike a lot of my education, it stuck. I find writing dialogue to be the hardest part of doing these AARs. At least, writing dialogue that flows naturally and doesn't sound stilted or wooden.


(in reply to Canoerebel)
Post #: 114
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/16/2011 5:37:10 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 14, 1941

Great Lakes Naval Training Center, North Chicago, Illinois


Note: some of the language in the following entry has been modified to comply with forum guidelines.

***

Joe stood in line with a group of his fellow recruits, all of them shivering in the damp, chilly wind coming in off Lake Michigan. Joe felt conspicuous because of his size. It made him stand out in the ragged line of men and right now he didn't really want to stand out.

He and the others had been already been poked and prodded by doctors, and then given shots. Their hair had been cut and they had been given uniforms. Now they stood at attention on a grassy parade ground surrounded by trees and brick buildings. In front of them was a stocky petty officer who moved with a bounce in his step despite slightly bandy legs. The petty officer walked silently up and down their line, examining them. Then he moved back a few paces.

"My god," he said bitterly. He did not speak especially loudly but his voice carried clearly to every corner of the field. "The Navy needs men, and what do I get? The weakest bunch of sunken-chested, runny-nosed momma's boys I have ever had the bad luck to lay eyes on." He looked up and down the line, shaking his head.

"And they are giving me four weeks to turn you into sailors. Four weeks! If I had four years I couldn't help most of you. John Paul Jones is turning over in his grave right now, that the United States Navy has come to this.

"Why are you even here? You should be all be back home playing with your dolls and letting your mothers change your diapers." He focused on one man a few places to Joe's left. "You!" he barked. "Why are you here?"

"T-to fight the Japs, sir," said the man.

"T-to fight the Japs," mocked the petty officer. "Is that a joke? Let me tell you about the Japs, son. They are tough, they are well trained, and they laugh at pain and death. They would eat you up and spit you out and use your tiny, shriveled little balls for fish bait. If this country is depending on you to keep us safe from the Japs we might as well call up Tojo right now and surrender." He moved back away from his victim and addressed the line again.

"The fact that none of you will last ten minutes out there doesn't bother me," he said. "It's the thought of the good men that you might take with you." He sighed deeply. "Maybe the Army can use you."

"Still, I have to try," he said in resignation. "My name is Petty Officer First Class Jorgenson. I am your Company Commander. You will address me as 'sir.' You will address all your instructors in this manner. We will teach you..." From somewhere in the ranks somebody sneezed. Jorgenson broke off and walked briskly over to the offending recruit.

"What's your name?" he asked the man, who looked terrified.

"Adams, sir," said the man.

"It's cold out here, isn't it, Adams?" Jorgenson said, not unkindly. "Nasty wind this morning."

"Yes sir," said Adams. Jorgenson stepped back.

"Any of the rest of you cold?" he asked pleasantly. Don't answer! Joe said silently to himself. But a ragged chorus of "Yes sirs" came from the line of recruits.

"I think we can take care of that," said Jorgenson with a tight smile. "Time for some push-ups! On the ground, you sniveling grubs! Now! One, two, three..."

The day only got longer from there.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 115
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/16/2011 4:37:16 PM   
Onime No Kyo


Posts: 16628
Joined: 4/28/2004
Status: offline
Poor Joe must have drawn the short straw to get Swede Jorgenson.....

_____________________________

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(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 116
RE: December 15, 1941 - 4/17/2011 11:56:40 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 15, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: 195 miles NE of Pearl Harbor
Course: Southwest
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 339 (64%)

Orders: Evade Japanese carriers, return to Pearl Harbor


Gridley and the rest of the ships of the Allied carrier task forces finally approached Pearl Harbor, coming in from the northeast. They came in warily. The Japanese carriers had headed west past Johnson Island and disappeared. But the last nine days had brought about a striking change in the way the American sailors thought about the Japanese forces. From a condescending, dismissive attitude towards them the pendulum had swung abruptly in the other direction. Now no maneuver seemed beyond them, no trap seemed too unlikely.

Did the Japanese know where the American carriers were? And was the apparent departure of the Japanese carriers just a ruse to lure the American carriers into a trap? No one, from admiral to deck hand, was willing to completely dismiss the possibility.

Captain Stickney was no longer unduly worried about being caught at sea by the Japanese. Saratoga was with them now and Stickney was confident that if the Japanese came looking for them Admiral Halsey would give them a fight. He was less sanguine about being caught in Pearl Harbor. That once safe anchorage now more closely resembled, in his mind, a place where Gridley and the other ships could be caught like rats in a trap.

With any luck they would get in, refuel and reprovision, and get out fast. And then maybe they could stop skulking around and go hit the enemy, go somewhere and hit them hard.

Stickney was also looking forward to picking up some solid information about what was happening in the wider war. They had been picking up news broadcasts out of Honolulu, so they were not completely ignorant about what was going on. But Stickney did not know how reliable the civilian news was, since much of it seemed confused and changed from day to day. Gridley's captain did know, as did his crew, that they were now at war with Germany and Italy. And there was fighting on Luzon and the Japanese had captured Guam. But that was about all they knew for sure.

They would reach Pearl some time early in the morning. Stickney had a feeling they would not be coming back to the same place they left near the end of November. That was another world ago, now.

***

Gridley and Kido Butai, movements Dec. 7 - Dec. 15, 1941





Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Cuttlefish -- 4/17/2011 11:58:19 PM >

(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 117
RE: December 15, 1941 - 4/19/2011 9:51:02 PM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 16, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Pearl Harbor
Course: None
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)

Orders: Make ready to put back out to sea


Pearl Harbor, at last. Nine days after the Japanese attack, at almost the same time in the morning, Gridley passed through the channel and entered the main base of the Pacific Fleet.

Jake Reedy stood at the rail, looking out at the harbor as it passed by. So did most of the rest of the crew. The scene that greeted them was very different than the one they had left nineteen days ago.

The once-blue water was still fouled with blobs of oil and other debris. The oil had left a high-tide ring on beaches and pilings Signs of damage were everywhere. The most riveting sight was the bottom of a battleship's hull emerging from the water. Nearby two other battleships were sunk upright in the mud. Those still intact had all suffered heavy damage. No longer graceful, they made Reedy think of slippers that had been chewed on by an excitable dog.

The battleships weren't the only damaged or sunken ships, either. Across the channel from the battleships light cruiser Helena showed heavy damage, and glimpses showed many other damaged ships as well. Nor was the damage confined to ships. Some buildings were gone, already bulldozed flat. Others were still charred, in whole or in part. Facilities were tangled wreckage and bomb craters were visible everywhere.

Aboard Gridley there was little talking among the onlookers except for an occasional low, vehement curse. They had been expecting to see damage but this exceeded anyone's expectations.

And yet there an air about the place that spoke of purpose. Everywhere they looked repairs were underway, especially ashore. Bulldozers rumbled and the air was filled with the sounds of construction as buildings were repaired. Men moved briskly; no one was idle. Even aboard the savaged battleships crews were busy clearing and pumping out flooded compartments. As Gridley and the other new arrivals filed past, though, work slackened as men stopped to look.

Gridley and her fellows made quite a sight, Reedy figured, three big carriers and all their escorting cruisers and destroyers. Many of the onlookers waved or even cheered. Reedy couldn't blame them. The force coming into Pearl right now was the US Navy in the Pacific, for all intents and purposes. Their presence meant that the Navy was still in business and that if the Japs wanted the Pacific they were damned well going to have to fight for it.

And Reedy felt ready to fight. How many men had died here, and how many were men he knew? He felt himself filled with purpose, a feeling that flowed from man to man along Gridley's rail and passed from ship to ship. The Japanese may have gotten a good lick in here but they would pay for it, that feeling said. Sooner or later, they were going to pay.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 118
RE: December 17, 1941 - 4/21/2011 2:08:23 AM   
Cuttlefish

 

Posts: 2454
Joined: 1/24/2007
From: Oregon, USA
Status: offline
December 17, 1941

Aboard USS Gridley

Location: Pearl Harbor
Course: None
Attached to: TF 406
Mission: Air combat
Ship's Status: No damage
Fuel: 525 (100%)

Orders: Escort Enterprise into the South Pacific


Captain Stickney had his new orders. They were to remain with Enterprise and accompany the carrier into the South Pacific. What he knew of Halsey's orders was vague. "Guard against Japanese intrusion into the New Guinea-New Caledonia-Fiji barrier" was all they said. He imagined there might be more to it than that, but nothing more specific had trickled down to his level.

One item of more than casual interest to Stickney was that these orders had come from a new commander. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz had replaced Admiral Kimmel the day before they reached Pearl Harbor. Stickney knew little about Nimitz - he had been commander of the Bureau of Navigation prior to this assignment - but what he had heard had been mostly positive. Still, Stickney was inclined to reserve judgment on the new commander of the Pacific Fleet. He was already keenly aware that there was a big difference between commanding in peacetime and commanding in war.

The task force would leave tonight. With them would go similar task forces built around Lexington and Saratoga. With the cruisers and tin cans assigned to escort Saratoga there would be almost no seaworthy capital ships left at Pearl.

To be sure, there would be a lot of damaged ships remaining. Maryland, with the bottom of her hull exposed to the Hawaiian sun, was a total loss. West Virginia and Oklahoma were technically sunk but might be refloated and repaired some time in the future. The other battleships would all be out of action for at least a year. Also out of action were light cruisers Helena and St. Louis and heavy cruiser Minneapolis. The big cruiser had suffered a magazine explosion during the second attack and her number two turret had ended up at the bottom of the harbor. It had taken heroic action by her crew to keep the rest of the ship from joining it there.

Reports said that two destroyers, two minesweepers, and a converted minelayer had been sunk along with Maryland. Stickney had visited the captain of one of the destroyers, Lieutenant Commander Ralph, in the hospital. Ralph was an old friend and he had suffered burns and shrapnel wounds during the futile fight to save his ship, destroyer Schley. Stickney had tried to cheer Ralph up as best he could but his friend had been pretty depressed over the loss of his ship and some of his crew.

Speaking of crew...Stickney turned to the stack of paperwork on his desk. They were taking on almost two dozen new crew today, filling spots vitally needed for a destroyer on a wartime footing. His exec was taking care of most of it but Stickney still wanted to see all the files. These were going to be his men, after all. All were experienced sailors; he hoped to integrate them smoothly into what was already a tight-knit, effective crew.

***

Bill Bonderman found Gridley in her berth, loading cases of food. He nipped up the utilitarian metal gangway between a case of beans and a case of dried eggs and quickly located the OOD, a slightly plump junior lieutenant. He saluted smartly.

"Radioman First Class Bonderman reporting aboard, sir," he said.

"Welcome aboard," said the lieutenant cheerfully. "You from Oklahoma?"

"Texas sir," drawled Bonderman.

"Texas, huh?," said the lieutenant. "Got an uncle in Amarillo, you sound kind of like him. Radioman? You'll be one of Lieutenant Coszyk's, then. He's communications officer." He turned to a nearby sailor. "Reedy! This one's fresh. Take him below and get him squared away, would you?" Bonderman left his indignation at being mistaken for an Oklahoman unvoiced.

"Sure thing," said a short, stocky fellow with a bristly shock of short brown hair. "Right this way," he said to Bonderman.

"Welcome aboard," said the sailor as he led Bonderman aft. "Jake Reedy."

"Bill Bonderman," said Bonderman. He looked around at the ship. It bristled with weapons but still seemed awfully small.

"Where are we getting you from?" Reedy asked him.

"West Virginia," said Bonderman laconically. Reedy quirked an eyebrow.

"Oh yeah?" he said. "From the looks of that ship you're lucky to be in one piece."

"Yep," agreed Bonderman. He did not elaborate. Reedy led him into the aft deckhouse and down a narrow stair.

"All the bunkrooms are aft," Reedy explained as they went down a companionway. "The divisions all have their own."

"I'm a radioman," said Bonderman.

"Okay, communications bunks in here," said Reedy. He poked his head through a doorway and looked around, then stepped aside to let Bonderman enter. "There should still be a bunk and a locker or two, I know they've been short a couple of men. We start squeezing in many more people, though, we're going to have to start getting creative."

"I'm obliged," said Bonderman, stepping inside. Reedy grinned.

"Nothing to it," he said. "Welcome aboard. Get your stuff squared away and I'll take you to find Steubens, he's the exec. He's okay."

"What's the captain like?" asked Bonderman.

"The Old Man? He's a terror if you cross him but if you keep your nose clean you're all right. Knows his stuff, that's for sure."

Reedy introduced Bonderman to a couple of men in the bunk room and they welcomed him aboard and showed him an empty locker. Bonderman began to relax a little. There was an air to a taut ship, a well-run ship, that an experienced sailor could discern almost immediately, and this ship had it. It showed in the little things, like how the bunkroom was squared away.

"First things first," said Reedy when Bonderman was ready. "The heads, and the galley. Right this way, your tour of USS Gridley is about to begin..." Reedy led off and Bonderman followed. Like it or not, he was home.


(in reply to Cuttlefish)
Post #: 119
RE: December 14, 1941 - 4/21/2011 12:10:32 PM   
Blackhorse


Posts: 1926
Joined: 8/20/2000
From: Eastern US
Status: offline
quote:

"The fact that none of you will last ten minutes out there doesn't bother me," he said. "It's the thought of the good men that you might take with you." He sighed deeply. "Maybe the Army can use you."


I'm sure I should be offended by this, but it is too perfect not to appreciate.

quote:

"Still, I have to try," he said in resignation. "My name is Petty Officer First Class Jorgenson. I am your Company Commander. You will address me as 'sir.' You will address all your instructors in this manner. We will teach you..." From somewhere in the ranks somebody sneezed. Jorgenson broke off and walked briskly over to the offending recruit.


Different service, different customs. Any Army Non-Commissioned Officer would ream a new recruit who made the mistake of calling him 'sir.' ("Don't call me sir! I work for a living!")

Keep up the good work.

_____________________________

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 #: 120
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