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RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon

 
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RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:40:57 PM   
vettim89


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20 April 1942, Suva, Fiji




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by vettim89 -- 2/21/2012 10:44:56 PM >


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 151
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:45:16 PM   
vettim89


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cont'd




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_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 152
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/21/2012 10:46:02 PM   
vettim89


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From: Toledo, Ohio
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the uncensored portion of Emily's letter




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_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 153
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/22/2012 3:16:57 AM   
vettim89


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Some how messed up my dates and wrote two posts for the 20th. Bonus!

20 April 1942, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

LT Greg Cummins is meeting with CPT Waverly form the Navy Yard at Pearl. The meeting is not going well.

“This is some sort of mistake is it not, Lieutenant?” CPT Waverly says.

“No, Sir, I assure you it is not,” Greg answers.

“What genius in Washington came up with the idea of stripping the Mahan's of one fifth of the main battery?” the Captain says.

“The decision was made by the entire destroyer team,” Cummins says. “The Mahans were designed to very close tolerances as far as weight. The added weight of the new RADAR, K-Guns, and anti-aircraft guns would have made the ships dangerously top heavy. Some allowance had to be made to maintain stability especially in heavy seas.”

“I, for one , disagree,” Waverly retorts, “and I can tell you that the captains of those destroyers share my opinion.”

Greg sees he is getting no where with this man. He decides to take a different tack. He pulls the folder for the Mahans out of his briefcase. He shuffles through the papers until he finds the page he needs.

“If you will look here, Sir”, Cummins begins, “you will see that the Mahans draft fully loaded is approximately 12' 4”; empty they draw right about 9'. As you can see ,as built , the ship's metacenter is here and the metacentric height is this number here.”

“All right,” the Captain says trying to follow along.

“If we just add the additional weapons and RADAR dictated by the upgrade the ships would be too unstable,” Greg continues. “If we were to do that, the ships metacenter moves to here and the metacentric height becomes this. Because the Number 3 5” mount is mounted atop the rear deckhouse, its weight is disproportionately represented in the metacentric height.”

“OK,” Waverly says obviously getting lost.

“By removing the Number three mount we not only decrease the ship's weight but lower its metacentric height to here,” Cummins says pointing to yet another number. “If you look here you will see that the period of roll is substantially different without the Number three mount vice keeping it. In addition, by removing the Number three mount, we are able to increase righting arm by a full ten degrees. If you want, Sir, I can find the sheet with all the calculations we used to come up with these figures.”

“No, that won't be necessary, Lieutenant,” Waverly says. “I can see your team has put a lot of time and effort into this project. Now that I see the numbers, I understand the need to proceed as planned. I will order the work to start immediately.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Greg says gathering all his papers together. “If, you don't mind, Sir, I'd like to take a look at the Mahans myself.”

“Not a problem, Lieutenant,” the Captain says. “I'll have a car come around and take you down to the yard. “

With that, Greg packed up his things. He had taken a chance there but was pretty sure it would work out the way it did. The man was a good officer, but it was obvious he had limited knowledge of naval architecture. He was glad he just didn't have to pull out his sliderule to further befuddle him.

(Author's note: this post was written three days before the Costa Concordia sank. Take about a premonition)

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 154
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/22/2012 3:19:55 AM   
vettim89


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21 April 1942, The Great Australian Bight

USS Shark
is on the surface moving west. The sea is against her and she is barely making 12 kts. The bow of the boat is digging heavily into each successful wave jarring the crew as the sub plows its way through. She then dives into the trough only to rise again to meet the next swell. Lieutenant DJ Haskins is standing atop the boat's bridge at this moment. It is not a comfortable place to be riding. The air temperature is just above 40 degrees and the wind in his face is howling at over 30 kts. Add in the salt spray that is thrown up with each wave and you get a bone chilling, mind numbing experience.

DJ isn't sure if the skipper is testing him or not. Perhaps he just wants to see how his new XO handles rough weather. LCDR Shane has been cordial to him since his arrival, but DJ senses something in his demeanor that hints the skipper has something against him. None of the officers say much about it. What is even stranger that they almost refuse to the man to discuss the boat's previous XO, LT Harris. It is obvious to DJ that something happened on Shark's first cruise that the men do not want to discuss. He has gone over the report on the patrol and has not found any indication there of what transpired. Whatever it was it must have been something of a personal nature. There is nothing in the official record that indicates anything unusual in events of the boat's first cruise.

LT(JG) Moss joins DJ on the bridge. He has to practically has to scream to be heard over the gale.

“I relieve you, Sir”, he shouts

“I stand relieved,” Haskins screams back. “Mr. Moss has the con.”

He slips through the hatch and climbs down to the control room. He steadies himself as the boat heaves its way through another crest. The boat groans and pops as it assaults the wave. He thinks that maybe being up on deck isn't so bad now that he has experienced the chop belowdecks. It is going to be a long ride to Perth.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 155
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/22/2012 4:41:23 AM   
vettim89


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22 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

CPT Brett Castlebury is watching 1LT Woods run 1st Platoon through the obstacle course. The men have done this a dozen times or more since they arrived here. Like always, there are a few stragglers. Woods and his platoon Sergent are riding the slow pokes hard.

“You better get a move on, Marine,” Woods shouts at one of the last men. “This platoon can't afford to be draggin you sorry ass around when we are fighting the Japs.”

“Move it, move it, move it,” his Sergeant screams. “If you don't get you lazy asses moving, we are gonna have a 2-6-10 moment here.”

Brett laughs to himself. The phrase is well known to every Marine. It is the shortened version of its gonna take two surgeons six hours to remove ten inches of my boot from you ass. Crude? Yes. It is part of the Marine lexicon and it is the surest way for the Sergeant to convey his message with the fewest words.

Brett looks down at his stop watch as the last man crosses the finish line. Even though the were trailing the rest of the group, the last few are still well below the alloted time for the course. Castlebury is happy with the platoon's performance and is even happier with LT Woods. Being just good enough is not good enough for him. That sets just fine with his CO.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 156
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/22/2012 4:47:10 AM   
vettim89


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23 April 1942, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

This is getting to be like a broken record. For the third time since arriving here, LT Greg Cummins is having the same argument about removing the Number Three mount on the Mahans. After having settled the matter, he thought, with CPT Waverly, his is now debating the issue with the second CO of one of the Mahans who is challenging the plan. At this point, Cummins has the spiel memorized. This time the argument is with LCDR Stormes of the USS Preston. He pulls out his trusty page with the calculations on it once again.

“If you will look here, Sir”, Cummins begins, “you will see that the Mahans draft fully loaded is approximately 12' 4”; empty they draw right about 9'. As you can see ,as built , the ship's metacenter is here and the metacentric height is this number here ......”

Stormes makes it even less far into the dissertation before his eyes glass over. They finish the conversation and Greg takes his leave. He walks down the steps from the bridge of Preston across the deck and then down the brow to the pier. He makes his way down to the next ship in line, the USS Perkins. He ascends the brow and asks for permission to come aboard. The Ensign acting as OOD directs him to the captains quarters.
He knocks on the door and is asked to come in. LCDR Ford, the ship's CO welcomes him. They go over the details of the upgrades to the Mahans. Ford asks a few questions, all of which Greg has heard before. He politely answers them for the fourth or fifth time. Greg knows its coming. He sits waiting for “The Question” to be asked.

“LT Cummins,” Ford says, “I was wondering what BurShips thinking was for reducing the main battery from five to four 5” guns”

Greg decides to just cut to the chase this time.

“Well, Sir, It has to do with weight distribution,” he says pulling out his trusty page.

“If you will look here, Sir”, Cummins begins, “you will see that the Mahans draft fully loaded is approximately 12' 4”; empty they draw right about 9'. As you can see ,as built , the ship's metacenter is here and the metacentric height is this number here.”

“And with the high mounting of the Number Three mount, the metacentric height is pushed even higher with all the new gear,” the LCDR interupts. “We should also see a pretty significant increase in righting arm with these changes, shouldn't we?”

“Yes, Sir, you should,” Cummins answers nearly stunned.

The two men spend the better part of the next hour going over the calculations and other details of BurShips plans. Ford finds out about Greg's time on the Fletcher team and grills him over the details. Greg has to excuse himself so he can finish his rounds, but the two men agree to meet for dinner later.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 157
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/22/2012 4:50:23 AM   
vettim89


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24 April 1942, San Franciso, CA

The men of Enterprise's Air Wing have been given one last three day pass. The ship has completed her refit already. They are now just waiting for the three heavy cruisers assigned to The Big E's screen to finish their final repairs and upgrades. Every one is sure that they will be sent out almost immediately once all the ships are good to go. No one is looking forward to another five month cruise, but there is a war to be fought.

LT(jg) James West is with a group of pilots touring Chinatown. He didn't really know why he was here. While certainly a departure from the surrounding neighborhoods, it wasn't really that spectacular. True, the signs were are bilingual and air was field with strange voices speaking a strange language, but any one that had traveled outside the US had experienced such things in an indigenous setting. He had been down the streets of Lisbon, Portugal and Oslo, Norway and experienced foreign cultures up close and personal. Still, there was something unique about this place. Perhaps it was not just the Chinese culture but the blending of the Chinese and American cultures into something that was both and neither. It never occured to James that some of it was far more deliberate than what he thought. In 1910, the powers that be in San Franciso decided that Chinatown could be used in promoting the tourist trade. Since that time it had been prominently featured on post cards, travel brochues, and every other sort of tourist oriented material produced by the city. You went to Chinatown when you visited San Franciso because the city planners had planted the idea in your head that its what you should do while here.

He stops at an open air restaurant. Well that's what he thinks it is becuase he can't really find a word to describe the open storefront with the steaming pot of noodles and a few chairs scattered nearby. The women running the place is quite friendly but does not speak English very well. James finally just ends up pointing at a few items and the women serves him a steaming plate of something. What, he does not know, but it is quite tasty and there is plenty of it. He has no idea if the buck he just handed over was a deal or a steal. He decides after digging in that the old woman had not ripped him off. He sits downs on a chair and just watches the people pass by. He feels very far away from the War right now.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 158
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/24/2012 4:43:06 AM   
vettim89


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25 April 1942, Perth, Australia

USS Shark eases her way into Fremantle Harbor. She will not stay long. Orders are just to refuel and resupply before departing for Soerabaja in the morning. The few glitches that popped up during there short cruise from Melbourne are being addressed as quickly as possible. Those that can be will be repaired before departure. Those that can't be will be repaired when and if she returns from her deployment.

LT DJ Hasins is touring the boat checking with each department. Chief O'Brien accompanies him as he goes making notes of anything that is out of order. They pause in the engine room where LT(jg) Moss is going over the engines, electrical system, and motors to be sure there is no undetected problems.

“Mr. Moss,” DJ says, “anything to report.”

“Nothing out of the ordinary, Lieutenant,” OJ replies. “She'll make 19 kts in a fair sea.”

“Since when is the Sea been fair?” Haskins asks with a smile. “My experience is that she is a heartless bitch that'd sooner kill you than be fair, wouldn't you agree Chief.”

“Aye, Sir,” O'Brien answers, “she's a cruel mistress, but we love her for all her faults anyway.”

“Indeed we do, Chief,” DJ says.

They proceed along with the rest of the inspection. As they move through the rest of the ship, he contemplates the thought. Here he is heading back out into harm's way fighting both the Japanese and the sea. They had both conspired to nearly kill him once yet here he was again back at it.

“What is it about the sea that it has such power over men?” he muses.

To fight the Japs was his duty as an officer in the US Navy, but to fight them this way was near madness if one truly considered it. Take a boat you deliberately sink right into the heart of enemy territory hoping you find them before they find you. Yet, DJ was not only going to do that very thing, he was excited to be doing it.

As Artie Floyd said on the day he met him, “We submariners are indeed an odd lot,” DJ thinks to himself.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 159
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/24/2012 4:45:19 AM   
vettim89


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26 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

Once again the men of the 6th Marines are packing everything up. A convoy is approaching San Diego and will arrive any day. The Marines will load up and be outbound to Hawaii less than two days after those ships arrive. CPT Brett Castlebury is down in the Weapons Platoon area checking up on LT Henderson and the progress they are making with the packing. The mortars and machineguns need to be properly greased to avoid damge from the corrosive sea air. Of course, when the get to Hawaii the weapons will all have to be stripped of the heavy grease so as to be servicable again. Brett doubts the men of the Weapons Platoon will find any other use for the skill later in life, but they are becoming quite proficient at packing and unpacking their gear: grease on, grease off.

Castlebury can see why Henderson was placed in command of the Weapons Platoon. He has a keen sense for the details of the job. Even while conversing with his CO about the upcoming voyage, he catches that two Marines had missed greasing the underside of one of the mortars.

“Corporal, you better get grease on the underside of that mount or it will rust through before we reach Hawaii,” he yells across the room.

The Marine turns the base over and curses at himself for missing it. Hederson has the reputation of being a perfectionist. His men are just now finding out what that means for them. Brett knows from his experience on Iceland that even little details that are overlooked can come back to haunt a man. Yes, Henderson was a bit of a fussbudget, but Castlebury would rather have that than a man who was sloppy.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 160
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/24/2012 4:47:40 AM   
vettim89


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27 April 1942, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

The upgrades on the Mahans are now all nearly complete. LT Greg Cummins is in the newly installed Combat Information Center (CIC) on USS Perkins. He is going over the new plotting table with the ship's Torpedo Officer, LT Hartley. It is his responsibility to track any submerge contacts when the destroyer is prosecuting a submarine. Greg has met both good naval officers and bad naval officers, and Hartley definitely falls into the latter category. In fact, he seems quite annoyed that Cummins is taking the time to explain the system to him. Finally, Greg has had enough.

“You have to be some where, LT Hartley?” he asks “Because you really don't seem very interested in what we are doing here.”

“As a matter of fact, LT Cummins,” Hartley says in a very annoyed voice, “I do have some where to be this evening.”

“Exactly what is it that you have to do?” Greg asks.

“If you must know,” Hartley says, “I have a card game set up with several of the officers from the Preston. Every one of them has sucker written all over his face, and I need to get going so I can part them from their money.”

“Last time I checked, you are a US Naval Officer and your responsibilities lie here,” Greg says almosts dumfounded that the man would be so brazen.

“Last time I checked, you are only a BurShips desk jockey and not my superior officer,” Hartley says.

The situation is getting rapidly out of hand with both men losing their cool. Just then , a PO pokes his head through the door and tells Greg the CO wants to see him. When he turns back towards the plotting table Hartley is gone. He had slipped out the aft hatch while Cummins was talking to the PO.

“What an ass!” Greg says inadvertantly out loud.

“You nailed that one, Lieutenant”, the PO says from behind him.

Greg sincerely regrets the outburst in front of a subordinate but sometimes you got to call a spade a spade.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 161
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 3:18:50 AM   
vettim89


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28 April 1942, Suva, Fiji

The Japanese carrier raid has caused a noticeable change in emphasis around the base. Before the raid, the engineers had been divided almost eqaully among three tasks: expanding the airbase, improving the port facilities, and building support facilities for the men stationed here. Now they are almost soley devoted to expanding the air facilities. They have already expanded the main runway to 8000'. Two smaller fighter strips have been added as well as numerous revements and maintenance areas. There is another change: three days after the Japanese carriers were clear of the area a convoy arrived in Suva Harbor loaded with aircraft, ordinance, AvGas, and other supplies. When the Japanese Raided Nadi, there were only two VMF squadrons at the base, and one was flying hopelessly outdated Brewster Buffalo fighters. Now there are three VMFs all flying F4F Wildcats and an entire USAAF Fighter Group with a combination of P-40s and P-39s. While the P-39s probably won't fair much better against Zeroes, they are better than nothing. There are also three VMSB squadrons stationed here.

While the base has always been crowded from the time of their arival, the pilots of VP-51 had largely had the skies to themselves. Now even take offs and landings involve weaving their way through the costant stream of air traffic over the base. Because the PBYs use the waters of the bay as a base of operations, they are not as affected as much as they would be if they were at the air base itself. Also, once they are in the air and clear of the immediate vicinity, there are still quite alone in the sky.

LT(jg) Hank Tyler is maneuvering his PBY into position for landing. A rain sqaull has covered the harbor at the moment; so he has pulled back farther out to sea to wait it out. He has no desire to loiter around the flying circus that the air over Suva has become. The men in the plane are now relaxing a bit after nearly nine hours in the air. RM2c Grant is telling some joke about the officer's camel and getting it all wrong.

“Periscope, three o'clock,” SM Benchley yells out.

“Crap, where?” Tyler says as he backs the PBY hard to the right.

“I don't see it,” ENS Page says. “Are you sure, Benchley?”

“Well, its gone now,” he replies, “but I am sure I saw one about 500 yards straight off the right wing.”

Hank circles the flying boating around the area Benchley had indicated. There is no sign of a submarine. He orders Grant to call the sighting into Suva. At persent there is no shipping in the harbor. Even if Benchley was right, there is no one for the sub to attack.

(Note: operations report indicates PBY sights periscope at Suva this day)

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 162
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 3:41:54 AM   
vettim89


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29 April 1942, Pearl Harbor

LT Greg Cummins is once again onboard USS Perkins. The destroyer has completed its upgrade and is heading out to sea for a quick shake down cruise. If everything goes to plan, she will be back in the harbor by nightfall. Greg is on the fantaill going over some last minute details with LT Doyle, the Perkins XO. A sailor appears and informs both men that the CO needs to see them. They make their way up to the forward deck house and then climb ladder to get to the CO's cabin. LT Doyle goes in first. Greg can here some rather animated conversation through the door, but he can't quite make out the gist of what is being said. After a minute, the door opens and he is asked to join them.


“LT Cummins, I am sorry to inform you that our Torpedo Officer is over at the Naval Hospital,” LCDR Ford says.

“Really, what happened?” Greg blurts out before thinking.

“That's really unimportant,” Ford says, “but I might as well tell you because you are going to find out anyway. Seems LT Hartley was playing poker last night with some Army officers from the 25th Infantry Division. The story is they caught him cheating and beat the crap out of him.”

Greg loses his composure and inadvertanly laughs out loud. He is mortified that he let it slip, but relaxes when he notices both Ford and Doyle are smiling also.

“I heard about the dust up you two had the other day,” the CO says more seriously. “Hartley may have been a piss poor officer, but he was MY piss poor officer. As soon as time allows, I intend to investigate this matter more fully.”

“I won't deny I wasn't impressed with Hartley,” Greg says, “but no Army puke should be able to get away with jumping a Navy officer like that no matter the circumstances.”

“Agreed,” Ford says, “but there's no time for that now. We have a ship to get back into service. I talked with CPT Waverly, and he cleared it with BurShips to have you act as our Torpedo Officer for the shake down cruise. There is no way BurNav can get us a replacement over here in time. I hope you don't mind wearing two hats today.”

“No sir,” Greg says, “that will be fine.”

“All right then, let's get moving,” the CO says announcing the meeting is over.

Cummins is not a bit concerned. The Torpedo Officer is also in charge of the ASW ordinance on a destroyer. With his experience over the past two years with BurShips, he is probably more qualified than any officer in the entire PacFleet to oversee the trials of those systems today. He just hopes they don't ask him to fire a torpedo. It has been a long time since he has operated a Torpedo Fire Control System (TFCS).



_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 163
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 5:26:21 PM   
vettim89


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29 April 1942, Camp Elliot, CA

The 6th Marines begin loading buses bound for the Port of San Diego. There stay in California has been less than a month officially. CPT Brett Castlebury and the COY HQ board the first bus in line. He wants to be able to supervise the movement of the Marines from land to ships personally. He will be the first man off the bus when they arrive at the port but will be the last man to board the ship. Most of the men in the unit have unpleasant memories of their trip across the Atlantic on McCawley, but a few of the new replacements have never been to sea. Brett is not anxious to find out how many of them lack the stamina to handle the trip.

“Here's hoping for good weather,” 1st Lieutenant Broadwat says.

“I wouldn't count on it,” Castlebury replies.

“Why not?” Broadway asks

“Because it seems every time the 6th Marines puts to sea, we have crap for weather,” Brett answers. “Its our lot in life.”

“Yeah, that trip back from Reykjavik was not fun at all,” Broadway says remembering the storm.

“I don't mind being at sea,” Castlebury says. “I just hate it when the weather turns to crap. Me and the Ocean have history.”

“Oh?” the lieutenant says. “Care to elaborate?”

Brett proceeds to tell him of the dark night aboard USS Arkansas and his conversion to being a Marine officer. If Broadway gets the idea that his CO is soft from the story, he doesn't let on. The buses pull away and begin the hour long trek from the base to the port. The loading is going to take the better part of two days.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 164
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 5:29:00 PM   
vettim89


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30 April 1942, Pearl Harbor

LT Greg Cummins enters the BurShips building precisely at 0700 on this bright Thursday morning. His time at sea on the Perkins has lifted his spirits considerably. LCDR Ford has the destroyer running like clockwork. Greg is very impressed with all aspects of the ship's operation.

“How in the world did that idiot Hartley ever end up on the Perkins?” he thinks to himslef as he checks his in-box.

There are several reports regarding the shake down cruises of the other Mahan Class destroyers that also completed their refit and upgrades. For the most part, things appear to be in good order with a few minor glitches that can be dealt with rather quickly. With the work on the Mahans winding down, Greg wonders where the Navy will send him next.

“LT Cummins,” the PO manning the front desk says, “CPT Waverly has requested to see you.”

Greg rearranges his desk before heading to the Captain's office. He suspects he may be about to receive the answer to his question. He knocks on the door and Waverly tells him to enter. After exchanging salutes, Cummins sits down.

“Lieutenant,” Waverly says, “I just received this telegram from Captain Lawrence. I thought you might like to see it.”

Per you request of 29 April, the transfer of LT Greg Cummins, USN to USS Perkins is approved. STOP.
Thank Lt Cummins for his hard work and wish him well. STOP
CPT W.E. Lawrence, USN


“It seems you made quite the impression on LCDR Ford,” Waverly says. “It will take a few days to finalize your transfer, but as soon as you clear your desk you can head over to the Perkins. I don't know you as well as CPT Lawrence, but from what I have seen, BurShips is losing a good man. Good luck and God's speed.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Greg says in utter astonishment.

He heads back to his desk and starts to work immediately. As much as he wants to get on board Perkins, he is not about to get sloppy now. He spends the rest of the day going over the information on the Mahans' shake downs. He types out a written report on each ship and hands them to the PO at the desk. The last thing he does is pull out a piece of stationary to write a note of thanks to CPT Lawrence. The man didn't have to release him from his position at BurShips, and Greg wants to make sure the Captain knows how much he appreciates all he has done for him. He drops the letter into the outgoing mail as he heads out the door. He is aboard Perkins in time for the evening meal in the ward room.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 165
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 5:30:25 PM   
vettim89


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1 May 1942, SW of San Francisco
LT(jg) James West is on approach to Enterprise. Their three week hiatus is over, and its time to get back to the war. The time off has been good for the air group. For nearly five months they had been at sea. The daily patrols had worn down both men and machine. The time ashore not only has allowed for rest and recuperation but additional training. The younger pilots in the group now have quite a bit more one on one instruction under their belts. James is sure that will be very useful when they finally meet the enemy.

When that will be is still an unknown. It will take more than ten days for them to transit to the SoPac. As far as West knows, there are not immediate plans for action. He suspects that will be decided once they arrive. The US is moving thousands of tons of war supplies into the area. James doesn't know any specifics but he suspects there are also a fair number of ground troops on the move. It is inevitable that as the Allies move forward they will eventually bump into the Japanese. Time and location yet to be determined is the phrase that seems to best apply to the situation.

He guides the SBD down into the final approach pattern. The weather is clear but still a little cool for this time of year. He can see the deck crews maneuvering the Dauntless that has just landed out of the way as he approaches the carrier. He cuts power and lowers the flaps and gear. He lands in the typical jarring fashion. The SBD is pulled forward to make room for the next plane in line.

“Well, Williams, back at it,” James says to his gunner.

“Here's hoping we actually go after the Japs this time, Lieutenant,” Williams answers.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 166
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/25/2012 5:32:25 PM   
vettim89


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2 May 1942, Soerabaja, Java

Shark has pulled up to the fueling pier in the RNN submarine base. They have brought along some additional cargo not typically carried by US ships during war: a large stock of cash. The obstinate Dutch are still insisting the USN pay cash for fuel and supplies picked up here on Java. LCDR Shane is with LT Haskins in the boat's radio room opening the safe. Only he and DJ know the combination. It is likely a needless precaution as any man fool enough to try to steal the stash has no where to run. The remove the necessary funds to pay for the diesel fuel they need and Shane sends Haskins ashore to complete the transaction.

DJ is getting more used to Shane's command style now. He wouldn't dare to call the man lazy but he tends to delegate every duty possible to one of the other officers on Shark. On a larger vessel this would be SOP, but with only five officers on a submarine, it is a bit unusual. Shane seems to be competant enough. He knows the boat and is a reasonably good seaman. DJ wonders if his abilities may be better suited for a peace time command. He is about to find out. The sub will stay heare just long enough to refuel. Japanese Betty bombers are a frequent visitor to the port. No one wants to be a sitting duck tied to a pier if the reappear today.

The submarine clears it's moorings and heads out to sea. This time they are heading through the Macassar Strait and up into the Celebes Sea. Japanese naval activity is particular high in that area. They are hoping it will be a fertile hunting ground.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 167
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/26/2012 5:02:45 PM   
vettim89


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3 May 1942, AP Harris, 400 NM SW of San Diego

The first two days of the trip have been very smooth which is a welcome change. The men of Gulf Coy are on the transports foredeck exercising. The ship has very little free deck space. There are only areas at the fore and aft ends where the Marines can actually move about. Each company is allowed up on deck for only an hour each day. CPT Brett Castlebury puts the company through 45 minutes of fairly vigorous PT and then gives them fifteen minutes to relax and unwind. The training is not only to keep the men in shape but also help them burn off some energy. Just sitting in the troop areas with nothing to do for days on end can make a man antsy.

“How long do you think it will take us to get to Hawaii?” LT Broadway asks.

“Depends on the weather, but I think we should be there in little more than a week,” Castlebury says.

“Do you know where we will be billeted?” the lieutenant asks.

“If you mean where we will be staying, we will be setting up our own bivoac near the town of Hilo,” Brett says. “There is very little development as far as base structure there from what I have been told. It won't be like Camp Elliot or even Reykjavik. Its going to be a bit rustic if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, you mean a big camp out?” Broadway says. “We can roast marshmellows and sing fireside songs.”

Castlebury laughs at that one. He doubts the men will feel like they are at summer camp when they get there. The training is only going to intensify. He knows that they will preparing for real combat for the first time. No, this is going to be deadly serious.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 168
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/26/2012 5:06:46 PM   
vettim89


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4 May 1942, Suva, Fiji

As is typical at most forward bases a healthy black market has developed. Contraband is snuck in by a variety of ways. The biggest source of goods, however, is the US military supply chain. Invariably some units receive far more of certain items than they could possibly use. Conversely, other units are short on those things they actually need. Its supply and demand at its most ruthless extreme. Supply clerks have become the most powerful men on the island. They are the horse traders of the modern day. They hoard items that have little or no use to their particular unit solely in hopes that some one else will need it. They say one man's trash is another man's treasure, and that phrase is definitely true here at Suva.

LT(jg) Hank Tyler has an all consuming thought. He wants a hamburger. No, He needs a hamburger. The thought came to him about a week ago, and it has only grown in intensity as the days have past. He is positive that some where on the island there is the makings of a good burger. He just has to find out where to find them and what it will cost him. While cash certainly will do, it will cost him far more than he is probably willing to pay. No, he needs to come up with some item in short supply that will be valuable to his potential trading partner.

The only thing VP-51 has an abundance of at the moment is cigarettes. While every unit is issued a weekly alotment of smokes, some how a mistake was made and they found themselves with two extra cases of Lucky Strikes. Tyler is sure there is a unit some where on the base that got shorted their ration; he just needs to figure out who. So he and Judd Stephens load up their sea bags with the cigs and head out.

The follow their noses at first. The 21st Port Maintenance Engineering BTN is set up in Suva Harbor. They have manage to set up a full mess unlike a lot of units that are still operating with field kitchens. The smell of fresh baked bread wafts from their area of operations every morning. The supply officer of the unit is smart enough to realize what an asset that is and has set up his own cottage industry in league with the unit cook. Fortunately for Tyler and Stephens they also happen to be the unit that was shorted the cigarettes. Negotiations are tough but they are able to wrangle two full bags of bread in exchange for the tobacco.

Next stop is the 193rd Tank BTN. Somehow an entire pallet of canned fruits and vegetables had been dumped into their laps. The supply clerk they dealt with here was far less experienced than the man at the 21st. The two men were able to easily trade their bread for four cases of canned peaches. Hank and Judd are happy to make the trade but are less happy that the fruit weighs far more than the baked goods. The shoulder their heavy bags and continue on their journey.

The make their way to the area of the base where the 168th Field Artillery BTN is camped. Here they must tread lightly. The 168th was bound for the Phillipines when the war started. The convoy was rerouted and they were unceremoniously dumped here on Suva. They sat here in relative isolation for nearly four months. The up side to that fact was that the Supply Officer had developed an extensive network of contacts among the locals and other units based here. He alone had the one thing that Tyler and Stephens needed they most: booze. It was the Holy Grail of the black market. While both the Army and Navy did allow for a small amount of beer to be supplied to the troops especially in rear areas, hard liquor was taboo. The only way a man could get hands on it was through illicit means. The one thing working in their favor was that even canned fruit was also in short supply. The was plenty of canned corn, canned beans, canned meat, and even canned asparagus to go around, but not peaches. The give and take was tough but they were finally able to wrangle four bottles of cheap whiskey from the 168th Supply Officer.

They carefully slid the contraband into their bags and moved on to their final stop. The deal had already been made. The Kiwi pilot Hank had met a few weeks ago had told them he had access to fresh meat. It was actually that conversation that led to Tylers hankering for a burger. The western end of Vita Levu is much drier. There are several cattle ranches in that area. And it so happens that No. 4 Squadron RNZAF has a detachment stationed at Nadi. The exchange is made. Four bottles of rotgut for 40 lbs of equally low grade ground beef.

They are greeted like conquering heros when the return to the squadron. Some of the maintenance crew has fashioned a couple of make shift grills from discarded oil barrels. They have no buns but the unit cooks are able to whip up some french fries. The entire unit sits on the beach as the sun sets enjoying a small taste of home.

“Nice work, Hank,” CDR Underwood says. “Do I want to know how you pulled this off?”

“For the purposes of plausible deniablity,” Tyler responds. “I suggest you allow me to keep that information to myself.”

“I thought so,” Underwood says as he finishes his burger.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 169
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/26/2012 5:11:18 PM   
vettim89


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5 May 1942, South of Oahu

USS Perkins
is on ASW patrol off of Pearl Harbor. The Japanese sub fleet has not been very active in this area of the Pacific for some time, but that doesn't mean they couldn't show up unexpectedly at any time. They had sent their midget subs into the harbor twice now the first being on 7 December. Unlike back in December, dozens of patrol aircraft are sent out every day from bases on Oahu. While not impossible, it would be very difficult for a sub to approach completely undetected.

Today is Easter Sunday and the ship's cooks have been working hard to prepare an appropriate meal. They serve up baked ham, mashed potatoes, candied yams, creamed corn and fresh baked rolls. As a special surprise, carrot cake with cream cheese icing is served for dessert. The crew eats in two sections: port and starboard. The first meal is served between 1600 and 1800 and the second is served between 1800 and 2000. Suffice it to say that no man steps away from the table less than satisfied.

LT Greg Cummins is still getting to know his fellow officers and the crew. Perkins is a well run ship. LCDR Ford and LT Doyle have done well to mold them into a well honed fighting unit. Even the ship's supply officer, LT(jg) Steve Laird seems like a capable officer. Often the man asigned to that billet is there because he has shown himself “lacking”. Laird is a quiet man but obvously intelligent. Cummins has had a chance to talk with him at length on several occasions. When Laird does speak, he is thoughtful and deliberate. A man of few words so it is said. Greg feels welcomed into this group of men even though he is the “new kid”. It doesn't hurt that not one of the officers was sad to see his predecessor depart.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 170
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/27/2012 1:55:40 AM   
vettim89


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6 May 1942, USS Harris

“Now this is more like it,” CPT Brett Castlebury says bracing himself against the door frame.

The Pacific had not wanted to be out done by her sister and had blown up some weather to entertain the Marines on their trip to Hawaii. It was not nearly as violent as the one that they endured on their way to New York, but there were still fifteen to twenty foot seas. The ships plowed along through the waves without much concern. The same could not be said for their human cargo.

Brett joins the other officers of Golf COY as they sit down for breakfast on the mess deck. He notices LT Reese is looking particular green this morning. He is picking at his plate with very little interest.

“I know you are not going to believe this Reese,” Castlebury says, “but you will feel better with a full stomach.”

“I'm not sure I can force myself to even if I wanted,” Reese says.

“You got to try,” Brett says sternly. “Your stomach is churning like a cement mixer right now. It will be much happier if you give it something to churn against.”

Reese picks up a piece of toast and takes a bite. He then takes a few more. The look on his face tells the rest of the men at the table that it is working.

“Well I'll' be damned,” Resse says sipping his coffee.

“It'll hold you for a few hours,” Brett says. “Maybe by then the seas will moderate a bit. It takes three of four days to get used to it. After that you should be fine.”

Reese seems comforted by the comment. Castlebury neglects to tell him that a small percentage of men never get their sea legs no matter how long they are at sea. He doesn't think Reese falls into that category, but one never knows.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 171
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/27/2012 1:57:16 AM   
vettim89


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7 May 1942, Pearl Harbor

USS Perkins has been given new orders. She is to form up with four light cruisers and three other destroyers under the command of ADM Scott. There are to proceed to the South Pacific. A combined force of US, Australian, New Zealand and Free French cruisers and destroyers had mauled an IJN convoy off Port Moresby three weeks ago. CinCPac had decided the USN needed a surface combat presence to ward off any similar Japanese attempts to hit one of our convoys. The force is certainly poweful enough to meet the Japanese head on. Each “light” cruiser deplaces ten thousand tons (almost as large as any Heavy Cruiser in the world). The may lack the larger 8” guns of a CA but their fifteen 6” guns can lay some wood if given the chance.

The Perkins takes her turn at the refueling pier. A small amount of stores are loaded to replenish that used on her short ASW cruise. The ship is made ready for sailing as the rest of the destroyers take their turn replenishing and refueling. The Task Force clears the harbor just before sunset and turns south. They cruise at 20 kts zig zagging to foil any attempts by Japanese subs to get a fix on them. While they will certainly miss the creature comforts they had on Oahu, the crews of the eight ships are excited at the chance to fight the Japanese navy.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 172
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/27/2012 1:58:56 AM   
vettim89


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8 May 1942, near Nanumea Atoll

LT(jg) Hank Tyler has been assigned a different search arc for today's mission. The squadron's assigned search area covers a wide swath of the South Pacific. The extreme northeastern corner allows for overflight of the Ellice Islands. The plane assigned this search arc is required to check out as many of the islands as possible for signs of Japanese activity. Nanumea is the last island in the chain and Tyler drops altitude as he approaches the small dot of land sticking up out of the ocean. There is a small village at the northwest corner of the atoll, and the islanders wave at the PBY as it passes over.

“You see those girls?,” Judd Stephens calls over the intercom. “They were practically wearing nothing but a smile!”

“Yeah, I saw 'em,” Benchley says

“Hey, Lieutenant,” Judd says, “you think we could develop some convenient engine problems and make an emergency landing down there?”

“Yeah, just a quick rest stop,” Benchley adds.

“No can do boys,” Hank calls over the intercom. “With our luck, I'd hit a rock or something trying to land. How the hell would I explain that to CDR Underwood?”

“I'd cover for you, Lieutenant,” Judd volunteers.

The thing is that Stephens probably could. It wouldn't take much to create a little glitch in one of the engines. Hank opts to not tell them that he has sworn a vow to avoid scantily clad island girls.

“Sorry boys but not today,” Tyler says as he banks the plane back towards Suva.

He may need to ask the Commander to not assign him this sector again. Too much temptation for everyone down there.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 173
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/27/2012 1:46:35 PM   
vettim89


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9 May 1942, North of the Marquesas Islands.

LT(jg) James West is once again performing LSO duties today. He is guiding ENS Nipert from his squadron in as he makes his final approach. He is one of the newest pilots in the squadron and is not yet proficient at landing on a pitching carrier. James raises the paddles over his head to indicate the plane is above glide path. Nipert reacts too violently cutting power and the SBD rapidly falls to a point below the glide path. West lowers the paddles below his wiast to signal that fact to the young pilot. Nipert adds power but again overcorrects. The SBD heaves upward and now is a position where it cannot be corrected in time for a safe landing. James quickly waves the paddles telling Nipert to go around for another attempt.

Unfortunately the young pilot is now in a panic state and either fails to notice the “wave off” or is unable to comply. James will never know the truth. The plane arcs over from low point of the approach then goes into a shallow dive right at the Enterprise's deck. Nipert must have realized his error because the SBD suddenly heaves to the left, just misses hitting the carrier's deck and crashes into the sea off the port beam. The plane sinks so quickly that neither Nipert or his gunner escape before its gone. The men on the LSO platform stare in disbelief as the plane disappears. It is the first casualty of the war for the ship.

Later LCDR Gallaher meets with West who is pretty shook up.

“You need to get one thing straight,” he says firmly. “This was not your fault. I saw the whole thing myself. Your signals were exactly what they should have been. He failed to react to them properly.”

“Perhaps,” James says, “ but I can't help from thinking that if I waved him off sooner, we wouldn't be having this conversation.”

“And I can't help thinking that if I had done a better job training Nipert, the same would be true.” Gallaher says.

“I don't say how you can say that is true,” West says. “The kid had passed Basic Flight, Advanced Flight, and Type Qualification before he even came aboard. It was not your responsibility to teach him the basics of carrier landings.”

“Just like it was only your responsibility to give him the proper signals as he approached,” Gallaher quickly interjects. “The LSO's job is to tell the pilot where the plane is on the guide slope and in the worst case wave him off. You did that exactly as you should. The LSO cannot fly the aircraft for the pilot. He provides information and it is the pilot's job to adjust his approach accordingly. Look, James, he paniced, plain and simple. That is not your fault nor your responsibility.”

“That may be true, but it doesn't make Nipert and his gunner any less dead.”

'No it doesn't, but if you think we are going to get through this war without losing any more pilots, I might as well ground you now,” Gallaher says. “I am not happy about this in any way, but the sad truth is even in peace time carrier operations are dangerous. You don't wish it on anybody but death is an inherent part of Naval Aviation.”

James knows Gallaher is right. He has been flying now for almost four years. He has known over a half dozen pilots personally who have perished. This is just the first time he was directly involved. He plays the whole scene over in his mind again. No, there is no place where he would have done anything different. He gave the proper signals at the proper time. The CO is right, Nipert just plain out paniced. There is nothing West can do to change that fact.

(Note: VS-6 was short a pilot and airframe when the turn was opened today)


_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 174
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/27/2012 1:48:29 PM   
vettim89


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10 May 1942, Celebes Sea

USS Shark has exited the Macassar Strait and now done nearly a complete circle of the area bordered by the Strait and the Celebes Islands to the south, the Palaus to the east, Mindanao to the north, and Bornea to the west. They have not found a sinlge Japanese convoy or warship. Just a week ago, the area had more than a half dozen known contacts passing through it. Now suddenly it has become a “no mans land”.

“Where do you think the Japs went, sir,” LT Haskins asks.

“Hard to say,” LCDR Shane replies. “maybe they rerouted their convoy routes. Between us and the Dutch, there are a lot of submarines up here.”

“Maybe they are pulling back to get organized for the next big push,” DJ adds

“Could be,” Shane says. “Those reports of attacks by our boys on Jap carriers up near Manila could mean something big is brewing.”

“Any change in our orders?” Haskins asks

“No, 'maintain present station' is the only order we have,” Shane says reading from the latest decript from CinC SubForceSWPA.

“All right then,” DJ says, “I'll inform ENS Hope to keeps us on our present planned route.”

This is getting frustrating. Two USN submarines each had taken shots at IJN carriers within the last week. Shark, on the other hand, had not seen so much as a garbage scow on her patrol. They have got to be looking in the wrong place. Its as simple as that.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 175
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/28/2012 12:28:10 AM   
vettim89


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10 May 1942, East of Christmas Island

LT Greg Cummins has spent every off hour on the trip so far with his head buried in the manual: Torpedo Fire Control (Destroyer Type) OP 1586. It is the torpedo officer's bible. USS Perkins has two Mk 27 mod 5 Torpedo Directors – one each on the port and strboard bridge wings. The units are complex analog computers that use manual and electrical inputs to computer the proper firing angle for the torpedoes. It takes eleven different inputs to properly solve to the fire control solution. Some are provided automatically like “own ships speed”. Most have to be manually dialed in by the crew operating the director. Once entered, the information is automatically sent to the torpedo mounts via both electrical and mechanical linkage. Of course, that all assumes everything is working properly.

It takes a four man crew to optimally operate the system in combat. Each man is cross trained in the other's duties in case one or more men is incapacitated. The first man is the Talker who is responsible for communicating information to and from the CIC/bridge. This position is held by TM2c Bates on Greg's crew. The second man, TM1c Tate, is the Selector Switch Operator who maintains contact with the torpedo mount crew and is the man who actually pushes the “fire” button. The most important man on the crew is the Director Trainer who enters most of the manual inputs and “trains” the director on the target. The man on Greg's crew holding this position is TM1c Irwin. Greg especially is grateful that this man seem to know the workings of the Mk 27 forwards and backwards. Cummins will have to lean on this man a lot as he gets oriented.

The last man is, of course, the Torpedo Officer. While in overall command of the team, he also has specific duties he must perform also. Greg turns to the page listing each man's duties during firing. The Torpedo Officer has to:

1. Orders "Torpedo action port (starboard)". Designates the target and approximate bearing to the director trainer and tube personnel.
2. Orders type of fire, bridge control or local control. Director control is further indicated by order, "Match pointers".
3. Orders depth setting in feet.
4. Informs director trainer and tube personnel of number of torpedoes in spread, torpedo speed, unit of spread, and tube mount offset.

Note: Speed setting is the commanding officers decision.

5. Informs director trainer of target course and speed.
6. Informs tube personnel of target angle and speed.
7. Checks tube train and gyro angle to insure firing on safe bearing and maintains control of gyro angle at the director. Note: The torpedo officer must know the gyro angle setting so that he can select the proper intercept offset and torpedo speed corrections.
8. Orders re-adjustment, if necessary, for director set-up.
9. Makes sure that the target is within the effective range.
10. Reports, "On target", to commanding officer. When directed by commanding officer,
orders "stand-by" then "Fire one", "Fire two", etc.
11. Orders "Selective aim, right to left (left to right)" so the director trainer can choose firing points in the order given. In addition to the above, he also keeps the tube personnel informed of:

1. The relative bearing and appearance of the target.
2. The target angle and speed.

“Oh, is that all?” Greg murmurs to himself. This was going to take some practice. Fortunately, the long trip ahead of them should provide for ample opportunity.




Attachment (1)

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

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Post #: 176
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/28/2012 12:31:11 AM   
vettim89


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11 May 1942, Hilo, Hawaii

MGEN Martson has a little surprise for the 6th Marines today. While most of the regiment is loaded onto glorified civilian liners, a portion is loaded onto AP Harris and AP Tasker Bliss. Those two ships are designated as Attack Transports by the Navy meaning they have been modified for rapid unloading of troops onto landing craft for amphibious assaults. The entire 2nd BTN is loaded on the two attack transports; they are now mustering on deck for the mock amphibious assault. Of course, they are doing this in the predawn darkness.

CPT Brett Castlebury is leading the Coy Hq down the rope ladders draped over the edge of the ship to the bobbing Higgins Boat below. Every Marine is intimately familar with this type of descent as the rope ladders are a part of every obstacle course they have run since boot camp. The only problem is they never have done the evolution with a full combat load on their backs on a bobbing ship in near complete darkness. Brett eases his way down the ladder as much feeling the next lower rung as seeing it. He reaches the bottom and times his dismount to coincide with the landing craft's rise with the next swell.

“Piece of cake,” he says to himself as he lands in the boat.

He looks up as the rest of the company slowly makes their way down the ladders. He hears cursing and screaming as men get entangled, get stepped on by the next man above, and otherwise struggle with the descent. Brett knows the general is not going to be happy because this is taking far longer than it should. This is the one part of the necessary training for an amphibious assault that the Marines have not had opportunity to practice. At the moment that inexperience is showing itself in the plainest of manners. The Marines look inept, and the whole operation resembles a Keystone Kops movie more than a finely tuned military operation.

Just then, CPL Lewis, one of his runners, misses the next rung with his left leg. The leg falls through hole in the rope just as the corporal losses his grip falling backwards into an inverted position. The rope ladder acts as the fulcrum as over 200 pounds of man and gear pivot downward. The snap of the leg is audible in the next boat over. Even if the men didn't see or hear what had just happened, they all know Lewis is in trouble from his screams. Castlebury rushes forward with two other men. They try their best to push the stricken man upward to relieve the pressure on his fractured leg. Brett reaches up and gropes for the clasps of his pack to at least free Lewis from the extra 60 pounds of weight. He unclasps the pack and they carefully slide it off. He then orders the other two men to climb above the corporal on the ladder. Brett supports him from below as they slowly raise Lewis back to vertical. His screams subside, mostly, as the pressure is release from the fractured leg. They then carefully lower him into the boat.

Fortunately, there is a Corpsman assigned to COY HQ and he quickly attends to the injured man. He splints the leg and gives him a healthy dose or morphine to not only his relief but to all within ear shot of his shrieks of pain. It would be pointless to try to haul Lewis back aboard Harris at this point; so, Brett decides they should proceed with the landing as planned. They can offload the corporal to an ambulance once they hit shore, and he can then be taken to the base hospital. The remainder of the HQ unit is loaded without incident and they head for shore. The trip to shore takes twenty minutes which is far less than then can expect in an actaul assault as the ships would anchor much further away from the beach in face of enemy opposition.

The ramp drops and they “storm” the beach. Some of the NCOs from the other two regiments of the 2nd Marines have the privilege of welcoming their comrades by acting as the enemy . The fire practice rounds and whoop and holler as 2nd BTN makes its way ashore. In all it is a disaster. The only good thing that can be said is that there are no fatalities. Ten men ended up falling overboard, and another 30 have injuries that will sideline them for anywhere from a few weeks to months. The only thing more shocking to Brett than how horribly things came off is when Major Welch informs him that the casualty rate is about what would be expected in a real combat operation. Brett just shook his head at the thought that the battalion could lose nearly 3% of its strength just in unloading.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 177
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/28/2012 12:33:06 AM   
vettim89


Posts: 3251
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: offline
12 May 1942, Suva

LT(jg) Hank Tyler slowly allows his PBY to settle into the water of the bay. It has been another unevenful patrol to the area north and east of the base. The Japanese do not seem to have the desire to test the Allied defenses this far south again at least for now. He taxis his plane up to the mooring bouy off the beach where VP-51 has made its home. A launch quickly leaves shore and is up next to the rear hatch in a matter of minutes. They secure the Catalina for the night. It will be pulled ashore onto a dolly for maintenance first thing in the morning. As the boat approaches shore, Hank notices that most of the squadron is gathering on the beach. They are met by cheers and clapping as they arrive.

“What's this all about,” Tyler asks.

“You mean you really don't know?”, ENS Page asks

“Know what?” Hank asks

“Gentlemen,” CDR Underwood begins, “Today we gather here to honor LT(jg) Hank Tyler and the crew of PBY #08277 for their completion of their 50th combat mission!”

The beach explodes with war whoops and applause.

“In honor of this accomplishment we declare the crew Levu Mua which is Fijian for Great Sailors and Lieutenant Tyler Levu Turaga which means Big Chief.”

The men again erupt in applause as a delegation of local beauties step forward and place floral leis around each man's neck. Hank has a crown fashioned from two coconut halves place on his head. The men once again whoop and holler in appreciation. Then the calls for a speech rise up from the gathered mob.

“Me, Levu Turaga,” Hank begins in his best Pigeon English embracing the moment, “honored and humbled by big show from US Navy fly boys from famous VP-51”

More whoops and hollers.

“Me 'specially surprised that fly boys actually know how to count to 50. Levu Turaga impressed!”

Bronx cheers this time

“Levu Turaga promise all fly boys and honored guests that we find Little Yellow Bastards sometime in next 50 missions and drop Big Boom from sky on treacherous little heads”

Back to cheers

“Now, Levu Turaga hungry and need to rest Levu Butt from long time in sky. Also, Levu Turaga need to piss,” Tyler concludes

The make there way back to the squadron area for chow. Some one conned or traded something to the 21st for a cake of all things. Hank wonders what that cost them. The party is a nice break from the monotony of the constant patrols, rain, and dull routine that life here in Fiji has become.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 178
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/29/2012 5:30:59 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3251
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: offline
13 May 1942, Celebes Sea

The crew has come to call it the Celebes Circuit. The Shark is now on her forth evolution around the race track shaped patrol zone in this part of the ocean. The head east towards the Palaus then WNW skirting the southern coast of Mindanao. The sub then turns souh towards the oil port of Tarakan before poking its nose through the Straits of Makassar. Then they start all over again. Most importantly, they have had no encounters with the enemy, period. There is a respectable air patrol over the Straits that they have had to avoid but other than that it has been an empty ocean. Shark is not alone up here either. No fewer than four USN and RNN subs patrol the same area.

LT DJ Haskins is getting to know the crew better during the trip. They are not a bad lot but have proven a little short on attention to detail. He is working on remedying that problem daily. He does not talk much about his experiences on Swordfish, but does use it every once in a while to get a slacking crewman's attention. He has discovered that the crew has developed quite the folklore behind his previous experience. According to scuttlebutt, DJ personally fended off a Japanese boarding party with a broom handle and trash can lid. Well, not really but the tall tales do abound. DJ has only talked about the true nature of Swordfish's loss with his new friend LT(jg) Moss and the skipper,

LCDR Shane is not nearly as bad as an officer as DJ first thought. Yes, his “hands off” approach does lead to some problems especially with deviding the work load among the officers. He is a capable seaman and knows the boat better than his aloof nature would suggest at first glance. DJ has come to like the man even if he does not hold him in as high regard as he did LCDR Smith. What is more important is that he holds DJ in very high regard. He often asks Haskins his opinion on important matters before making decisions and listens closely to every bit of advice he offers up. Shane pretty much has DJ run the boat while he attends to tactical matters. It is an odd arrangement but seems to be working thus far.

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 179
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 2/29/2012 5:34:13 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3251
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: offline
14 May 1942, north of the Cook Islands

Seven of Perkins' thirteen officers are gathered for dinner in the ward room. These men comprise the starboard watch. When they are done, they will exchange places with the six other officers on the port watch. Except when they are at General Quarters, this is how the eat every day. Joining LT Greg Cummins today are LCDR Ford, LT Faber (Gunnery Officer), ENS Dawkins (Ass't Navigator), ENS Rose (Ass't Engineering Officer), LT(jg) Laird (Supply Officer), and ENS Slocum (Ass't DC Officer). The banter at the meal drifts from the mundane matters of ship's operations to the baseball season that is now underway to the war. Today the War dominates the conversation as the Japanese are landing in the Aleutian Islands off of Alaska.

“I wouldn't worry about the Aleutians that much,” LT Faber offers.

“Why's that?” ENS Rose asks.

“Has anyone besides me ever been up there?” Faber asks

He is met by shaking heads and murmured “No's”.

“I was up there on my first cruise on Raleigh”, Faber continues. “It is cold, wet, and windy as hell on a good day. On a bad day it is practically unlivable. The islands are bare rocks sticking out of the ocean. There's nothing that grows there above knee high because anything taller would be blown down. Trust me, if the Japs want it, they can have it.”

“I don't think it is wise to be so cavalier about losing US territory,” LCDR Fords offers

“Well, when you put it that way, I guess I have to agree,” Faber says. “The place just has no military value at all. You can't build an air strip there and even if you did the weather would probably sock them in six days out of seven.”

“Valueable or not, I don't think the President will allow the Japanese to remain on US soil,” Ford says. “I suspect somebody will eventually have to take the area back”

“Well, if it were me,” Faber offers, “I'd just let them rot up there for a whole Winter. My bet is the Japs will be begging to leave by the time Spring arrives”

“You may be right,” Ford says. “I've never been up there, but from what I've heard the North Pacific is no place to be in the dead of Winter.”

_____________________________

"We have met the enemy and they are ours" - Commodore O.H. Perry

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 180
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