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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 - 3/3/2012 9:46:28 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
Realize I have not been keeping up. The game itself takes up a lot of my time. Larry and I usually exchange two turns a day, sometimes three. On a rare weekend we have pumped out six or seven turns in two days. SO hear comes a lot of information in rapid fire mode. Hang onto your hats boys because here comes over a month of entries all at once.


_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 181
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:48:13 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
15 May 1942, Hilo Hawaii

Golf Coy is set up on the slopes just west of the small port town of Hilo. There are several cattle ranches in the area, and every once in a while the men's noses remind them of that fact. There is little in terms of permanent facilities here. Neither the Marine Corps nor the Navy has any intentions of staying here after the war is over. As far as a temporary base goes, it is not bad. Hilo is on the leeward side of what the locals call The Big Island. Besides the warm temperatures, it resembles the Great Plains more than it does a tropical paradise. Of course the fact that there is an active volcano just a few dozen miles away does serve as a reminder that they aren't in Kansas any more.

CPT Brett Castlebury is on his way to BTN HQ with LT Broadway. The CO has sumoned the COY commanders and XOs to go over the training schedule now that they are all settled in at the base.

“HEEE LOW,” Broadway says, “Now where's my five bucks?”

“I said you wouldn't be able to pronounce where we would be sent to attack, not where we are training,” Castlebury answers.

“That's not how I remember it,” Broadway objects.

“Well, its how I meant it, and the double bar says I get to decide,” Brett says pointing at his collar.

“Point taken,” Broadway says knowing full well that the bet was not about Hilo.

“So where are we going?” Broadway asks.

“No clue, perhaps we'll find out in a few minutes but I doubt it,” Castlebury says

“Probably right,” Broadway sighs. “I beleive the phrase is “need to know” and we don't need to know.

The arrive at the HQ and take there seats. COL Simpson gives a quick overview of the situation before ceding to CPT Collins. He goes over the training schedule including which days each company will be assigned to the firing range, obstacle course, and other facilities. He infroms the officers that a small number of LCVPs have been assigned to the division and that every few weeks there will be practice assaults in company sized units. He leaves the best for last when he informs them that each battalion will rotate over to Kona on the other side of the island for two weeks. The climate there is more similar to that they can expect to find in the South Pacific. Second Battlion, 6th Marine Rgt will be sent over there in three weeks. The meeting then breaks up.

“Well, that tells you something now does it, Joe,” Castlebury says as they start back.

“Yup, warm and wet seems to be in our future,” Broadway says.

“And not in the good way,” Brett says smiling

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 182
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:51:12 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
16 May 1942, near Atiu Atoll, Cook Islands

Even though they are once again on combat readiness, the men of VS-6 know they are unlikely to encounter the enemy this far south. Perhaps one of those sneaky submarines might try to get close but between the Destroyers and ASW patrols, even this is not very likely. So the air crews of the squadron take turns flying daily patrols , but have little else to do.

“We need to get into the action soon or I'm going to lose my mind,” LT(jg) Carey says

“Yeah, the Japs have raided Ceylon like three times now and all we do is steam in circles,” ENS Stone adds.

“I know,” ENS Jaccard says, “I'm beginning to think USN stands for US Nothing! As in do NOTHING!”

“In due time, boys,” LT(jg) West sighs, “In due time.”

“C'mon, James,” Carey says, “even you cannot deny this is getting frustrating.”

“Maybe a tad,” James says, “but there is a time for everything and now is not our time.”

“Ecclesiastes, James?,” Carey says. “Is that the best you got?”

“Well maybe look at it this way,” West says, “even a mule needs to rest.”

“Huh?” Stone says.

“I supose you have a tale to tell us, Lieutenant,” Jaccard says.

“Well it reminds me of the story of the talking mule,” James says

A farmer owned a mule which he used for work all week. But being a Church-going man, he let the mule rest on Sunday.
One Sunday, the farmer had to go to a funeral. So he sent his son to saddle the mule.

"Since when do I have to work on Sunday?" asked the mule.

The boy dropped the saddle and ran to the house.

"Paw, the mule talked!" he shouted.

"Can't you even saddle the mule?" asked the farmer.

"But Paw, the mule don't want to work on Sunday," the boy protested.

The farmer sent the boy to his room for talking crazy and went out to saddle the mule.

"Move over," he said to the mule.

"Where's my supper?" asked the mule.

The farmer dropped the saddle in the same spot as his boy and ran out of the barn, followed by the dog.

"I ain't never heard a mule talk before," he gasped.

"Me neither," said the dog.

The man bolted for the house and slammed the door.

"The mule talked!" he told his wife.

"What!" said his wife.

"And when I exclaimed: 'I ain't never heard a mule talk before', the dog said: 'Me neither'."

"That's crazy," said his wife.

"What's so crazy about that?" asked the cat. "Haven't you ever heard of a talking mule?"


“Funny”, Carey laughs

“What does that have to do with us?” Stone asks.

“Even a mule needs a day off now and again,” James says smiling.


_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 183
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:52:04 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
17 May 1942, Suva, Fiji

It has been raining for nearly three hours today. The men sit in tents and stare out at the mud and gloom. There is no relief. Some days it doesn't last as long, but it always rains a little. No one believes the locals that this is the dry season. They just can't believe it can get any worse than this.

The sqaudron does have its first permanent building. The Navy engineers showed up a about a week ago with a couple of trucks and a bulldozer. The spent a day laying concrete pilings and then departed. The a few days ago they returned with a crane. One crew laid a playwood floor on the previously laid pilings while the second crew assembled the corregated steel building. The crane then lifted the building up and gently set it on its foundation. Another group of men quickly ran wiring for a few outlets to make the building usable. They hooked the wiring up to the generator and departed. The building now serves as the sqadron HQ and Ready Room. It was crude but had the one thing that could not be found elsewhere in the sqadron area: a floor.

The pilots of the sqadron had urged CDR Underwood to move his quarters into the hut, but he refused. He insisted that he no right to any better living arrangements than any other man in the squadron. He also stated that he needed to live as his men did. He wanted to keep his finger on the pulse of the unit's morale, and there was no way he could do it living in a palce while every one else was living in a swamp. No one dare challenge the man. What he didn't say was that he knew the place was far from comfortable. It may be dry, but in reality it was a 48' long oven. Having only two small windows in each end, the men quickly find out it is now place to be on a steamy tropical afternoon.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 184
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:53:18 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
18 May 1942, near Atiu Atoll

“Well, sir,” LT Cummins says, “It appears we found the US Navy”

“Seems so,” LCDR Ford says. “I haven't seen this much firepower in one area of ocean since the fleet exercises last summer.”

“There were a lot of ships at Norfolk when I was last there,” Cummins says, “but nothing like this.”

Cummins is right. While Norfolk is one of the busiest ports on the East Coast, the ships moving in and out of that port are largely merchant ships and their escorts. This is just raw combat power. They have caught sight of two CVTF as well as a large replinishment convoy. This is definitely not some raid in the works. The Navy is going some where and when it does, it is going in force.

“That must be one of the new TBFs,” Ford observes as a plane passes off the starboard beam.

“Its huge!” Greg says.

The TBF is indeed a very large aircraft for carrier operations. Its wing span is four feet wider than the TBD Devastor it s replacing, and the fuselage is a full five feet longer. Where it really differs is that even though it is only 1000 pounds heavier empty, it weighs nearly twice as much fully loaded. It may not be pretty but it is definitely deadly.

“Any idea where we are going, Sir?” Cummins asks.

“Not as yet,” Ford answers. “We will stay around here for a few days then we are heading west. That's all I know.”

“Maybe we'll get to shoot at some Japs, yet”, Greg says.

“We may,” Ford says, “but you need to worry about firing torpedoes not shooting guns”.

“Aye, sir,” Cummins says.

Looks like another night with his head buried in the manuals

(Author's note: this is the first time two “Dogs” have been in the same hex officially. Technically you could say Greg and James were in the Bay area together but that was more vague. On this turn, Perkins and Enterprise are definitely at Atiu)

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 185
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:56:03 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
19 May 1942, Straits of Makassar.

“Sir, flash traffic from COMSUBPAC”, RM Wiesel says handing a message to LT Haskins

“Commander, the Dutch report several convoys 120 NM north of our position,” DJ says. “It appears to be the start of a big move south.”

“Very well, Mr. Haskins,” LCDR Shane says. “Make your course 0-0-0, speed 15 kts”

“Aye, sir”, DJ says as he repeats the orders.

The Shark moves north into the gathering darkness. If the Japanese hold their course, they should be on top of them in less than five hours. Shane orders the Shark to remain on the surface until the enemy is contacted. DJ stands watch on the bridge while Shane remains in the control monitoring the RADAR.
The night is particularly dark; Haskins fears the Japanese could be right on top of him without him even knowing it.

At 2320, the RADAR picks up the first contact. Shane informs DJ that they have four or five solid contacts bearing 350 at 10000 yards. He peers through his binoculars on that bearing but sees nothing. He reports this to the skipper and waits. After a minute or so, the order comes to dive. DJ secures the bridge and makes his way below.

“Whats the range?” he asks as he tries to adjust to the lights in the control room.

“9500 yards,” Shane says.

“Sir, visibility is less than 2000 yards up there,” DJ says. “I think we can stay on the surface a little longer to close the range.”

“I don't want to risk it,” Shane replies. “The sighting reports say there are plenty of escorts with this force. We don't want to take the chance of being caught up there facing a destroyer. Make your depth 0-6-0, Mr. Haskins, course 300, speed 5 kts.”

“Aye, sir,” DJ says hiding his exasperation. He gives the order to dive and takes the boat down.

They continue on the plotted course for 45 minutes. No contact is made. The SONAR operator reports multiple contacts but the shallow waters and noise from so many ships makes the information too muddled to be useful. After an hour, Shane orders the boat back to the northeast. Again, there are no contacts through the periscope.

“Mr. Haskins, make your depth 0-4-0,” Shane says. “Lets extend the RADAR mast and see if anything is up there. “

“Aye, sir,” Haskins says. He orders the Shark to go shallow.

The RADAR now picks up two groups of contacts: one set to the northeast and one to the northwest. The group to the northeast is both larger and closer. Shane plots an intercept course to that group. Again he orders the boat back down to periscope depth. Yet another hour passes and there is no contact.
They continue to zig zag northward through the night. RADAR sees several groups of ships moving south through the strait but they are never able to make visual contact. Dawn finds Swordfish 50 NM from the north end of the strait. Soon the Dutch patrol planes from Java start reporting multiple task forces including enemy carriers have exited the strait to the south. LCDR Shane orders the crew to secure from General Quarters and orders the boat back onto the Celebes Circuit. LT Haskins returns to his bunk a very frustrated man.

(Author's note: Shark and three RNN subs were perfectly positioned to intercept the IJN as it traversed the Straits on its way to Java. There were no attacks by Shark or either of the two Dutch boats.)

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 186
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:56:40 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
20 May 1942, near Atiu Atoll, Cook Islands

The US CVTF continue to loiter near this nearly uninhabited island in the SoPac. The pilots of VS-6 maintain there ever vigilant patrols around the carriers flying out to nearly 300 NM from the center of the group every morning and afternoon. There is now enough PBY patrols out of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa to prohibit any deep raids by the Japanese going undetected. Submarines, however, are a different matter. The SBD, TBD, and now TBF pilots are constantly searching the sea surface for any hint of one of those deadly predators.

LT(jg) James West flies out to the northeast of Enterprise today. The seas are calm and the skies are filled with the white puffs of cumulus clouds. There is nothing to be seen today. In six and a half months of war, West has not seen an enemy ship, plane, or submarine. He hates to admit it but he is getting the itch for action himself. The Three Bobs may be annoying at times, but they do have a point: when is the USN going to get off its arse and take it to the enemy? It just seems that the US carriers have an amazing knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then again, with one exception, the Japanese have only shown their carriers on the other side of the Pacific and in the Indian Ocean. Perhaps both sides are guilty of the same caution when it comes to their carriers.

Eventually that has to change. At least West thinks it does.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 187
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 9:58:49 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
21 May, 1942 Hilo, Hawaii

CPT Brett Castlebury is still adjusting to the role as company CO. His misses the daily interaction with the Marines he had when he was a platoon commander. While there was a natural separation caused by his rank, he still felt close to his men. Now, he rarely interacts with anyone with a rank lower than sergeant. The second thing he dislikes about being a compnay CO is the huge increase in paperwork. Fortunately he has LT Broadway and the company clerks to ease this burden, but he is still required to look over and sign off on dozens of documents every day.

On the plus side, he is much more in the know as far as upcoming plans. The exact location is not known but he does know that the division is planning on taken a Japanese held island somewhere in the South Pacific. The weekly planning meetings at Battalion HQ have focused on jungle warfare and the difficulties it will present. One thing that was brought up recently is the fact that everybody should get rid of the M50 submachine guns they had been issued. The weapon was never popular with the Marines from the start. When working, it was actually superior to the Thompson used by the Army and made popular in Ganster movies from the '30s. The problem was that the internal workings of the gun were too complex and the smallest bit of dirt would cause it to jam up almost instantly. While fun to fire on the shooting range, it's utility ended there. If it couldn't hold up to the releatively benign conditions at Camp Elliot or even here at Hilo, there is no way it would work in a jungle environment.

The last but sometimes best part of being company CO is having a Jeep available to him. Being a Marine usually meant if you were going anywhere, you likely would be walking. When the unit made it to the combat zone, Brett knows that will be the case again. Here, on the Big Island he had as Willys MB all to his own. It had been built in Toledo, Ohio which is about 140 miles from his home in Saginaw. Odd as it might seem, he feels a kinship with the vehicle. They are both from the Midwest, tough, rugid, and no nonsense. The fact that it saves him from miles of walking every week isn't so bad either.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 188
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:00:29 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
22 May 1942, Suva, Fiji

“What the hell do they expect us to do with these,” Judd Stephens says.

“Well, Judd,” LT(jg) Hank Tyler says, “I believe the intention is to use them against Japanese shipping”

A truck had pulled up to the squadron area and unceromoniously dropped two trailers with two dozen Mk 13 Aerial torpedoes. While technically they are an option for a PBY to carry, none or VP-51's aircraft had EVER been armed with them for a combat mission.

“They don't expect us to use them, do they?” Stephens asks.

“I would guess they wouldn't have dropped them here if they didn't think we would use them,” Tyler replies.

“Pshaw, half the pilots in this outfit would kill themselves if they tried to take off with those things tied to the wings, Lieutenant,” Judd says

Hank cannot deny there may be more than an element of truth in that statement. It was hard enough getting a PBY airborne with two 500 lb bombs on the wings. The torpedoes weighed nearly twice that and were more than twice as long. It would take some practice just to learn how the plane felt with such a load on board.

“Let's go ask the skipper,” Hank says.

The two men make there way over to the operations hut. They can barely get inside when they arrive. The building is filled with nearly every pilot and flight mechanic in the squadron. The cachophany of whining, bitching, and every known form of complaint rising form the gathered group makes it so no one can be heard.

“Everyone shut the hell up,” CDR Underwood yells as he enters the building. “It sounds like a kindergarten classroom in here with all the whining and crying.”

The men quiet down as soon as he begins speaking.

“Yes, you will be expected to learn how to use these torpedoes,” he starts. “No, they will not be part of our normal mission ordinance. No, the Navy brass has not lost it's collective mind. Yes, they do expect you to be able to hit an enemy ship with one of those things. No, it doesn't mean we can expect an invasion any time soon. Yes, the designers of the PBY did intend for the plane to carry torpedoes. No, we will not be responsible for maintaining them.
Does that cover all your questions?”

The men murmur in collective assent.

“Good, we start orientation on the torpedoes tomorrow,” Underwood says. “Now, get the hell out of here.”

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 189
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:02:56 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
23 May 1942, Atiu Atoll

While the carrier Task Forces circle the island, the surface group lies at anchor. The Navy doesn't want these ships burning what little fuel is avaiable here; so they sit and wait. There is no need to even ask about liberty here. The island has fewer than 500 total residents. There are no facilities to accomodate even a handful of sailors on shore leave. That does not mean there is nothing the island can offer. LCDR Ford has sent LT(jg) Laird, the ship's Supply Officer, and LT Greg Cummins ashore to see if they might be able to purchase some fresh produce from the locals. There are met by a small contingent of natives led by a man from New Zealand who lives here.

The man identifies himself as Beryl Watson. He has lived here for nearly twenty years he tells the two officers. They ask him about any produce the natives might be willing to sell. He informs them that the island really offers little more than coconuts in terms of surplus produce. While the islanders do tend gardens, they barely grow enough to meet their own needs. What he does offer surprises both men: coffee. It has been grown her for more than fifty years. While there is not enough to be a true cash crop, they have more than enough to meet the needs of the combined crews of the ships at anchor. There is a catch: all they have is raw beans. Laird doesn't think it will be a problem for Perkins' cooks to process the beans, but he is not sure. They purchase a fifty pound sack of beans and a couple of sacks of coconuts. The hand Watson ten dollars not sure if that is a bargain or if they are being ripped off. The reboard the launch and head back out to the ship.

Laird and Cummins make their way to the galley after returning to the ship.

“I hope I don't catch hell for this,” Laird says as the enter the galley. “Chief, I got a surprise for you. You think you can do anything with this?”

“Holy moly,” Chief Valdes exclaims. “I haven't seen raw coffee beans since I was a nino growing up in Miami. My mama used to roast them on the stove!

You're in for a treat tonight, Lieutenant.”

Cummins and Laird just stare as the man frenetically goes about his business roasting the beans. Soon the galley and the passageways are filled with an incredible aroma.

“Who knew?” Laird says

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 190
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:05:10 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
24 May 1942, Near Atiu Atoll

The men of VS-6 are gathered in the ready room listening to Tokyo Rose on the radio. Some men object saying it is “giving aid to the enemy” by listening to her. They are in the minority and the radio stays tuned the show. While most of what “Orphan Ann” has to say is pure bunk, every once in a while she gives accurate information. The Comms Section does a pretty good job or making sure the crew knows what is true or not. Already Enterprise has been “sunk” twice which gives the crew distinct pleasure in knowing the Japs may indeed be surprised the next time she shows up.

The lull in the action is fraying everybody's nerves a bit. LCDR Gallaher is doing the best he can to keep every man's mind on the task at hand. He explains that at present the USN carriers are mostly a deterrent force. The Japanese know they are out here some where. The thinking is that they will be hesitant to make any sort of deep strike into Allied territory as long as they have to worry about our carriers. While most of the men would prefer going after the IJN directly, the more astute know that if the US were to lose its carrier force, the Japanese would be undeterred in going anywhere they chose.

“I wish we would do SOMETHIING,” LT(jg) Carey starts the War Council meeting.

“I know,” ENS Jaccard says, “this spinning around in cricles is going to make us dizzy if we don't stop soon.”

They are get a chuckle out of that one

“Well, as far as we can tell the Japanese are too busy in Jav and Alaska to bother us much,” James says.

“Yeah, the one time the Jap carriers came down this way we were tied to that convoy off Fiji.”

“I think we shoudl just fuel everybody up and head north until we find them,” Carey says

“Yeah, we might get lucky and bag us a battle ships or two,” Jaccard adds.

“Or, we could run into the entire Imperial Fleet and have to run away with out tail between our legs,” West says.

“You are the biggest kill joy God ever put on this planet, James,” Carey says

“If you say so, but you might be careful what you wish for sometimes,” James replies.

“Sounds like a story is coming on,” Stone says smiling.

“Well, there is the one about the Ass, the Cock, and the Lion,” West says.

“An Ass and a Cock were in a straw-yard together when a Lion, desperate from hunger, approached the spot. He was about to spring upon the Ass, when the Cock (to the sound of whose voice the Lion, it is said, has a singular aversion) crowed loudly, and the Lion fled away as fast as he could. The Ass, observing his trepidation at the mere crowing of a Cock summoned courage to attack him, and galloped after him for that purpose. He had run no long distance, when the Lion, turning about, seized him and tore him to pieces.”

“What's the moral?” Jaccard asks

“False confidence often leads into danger,” James replies

“That one actually makes sense,” Carey admits.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 191
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:08:15 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
5 May 1942, Celebes Sea

USS Shark is on her fifth trip around the Celebes Circuit heading east just north of Sangi. LT DJ Haskins is standing the Morning Watch on her bridge.

“Bridge, RADAR reports multiple contacts bearing 340, range 15,000 yards,” a nameless voice calls though the 7MC.

“Aye,” Haskins replies, “inform the captain and get a plot going”

DJ scans the dark ocean for any shapes along the indicated bearing. So far there is no sign of the contacts. After a few minutes, LCDR Shane calls up for a sighting report. DJ tells him there is no ships in sight along in the suspect area. The boat begins to pick up speed and changes course. Shane informs the bridge that they are trying to get into firing position ahead of the contacts which now apear to be some sort of convoy on nearly exactly an easterly course. The skipper calls up every three or four minutes to verify there are no ships in view. It is an odd experience for Haskins as he only knows what little information is being passed up to him. He really wants to descend down to the control room to get a peak at the plotting board for just a second, but he knows that would ruin his night vision to the point of uselessness for a good half hour at least.

The run east continues for almost an hour. Finally Shane calls up to order the bridge crew below. DJ slides down the ladder and verifies the hatch is properly dogged. The control room is dark with online the red lights on so as to not affect night vision. LCDR Shane orders the ship to dive.

“Aye sir,” Haskins says. “Dive, dive. Make your depth 0-6-0 feet, course 2-9-0, speek 5 kts. Sound General Quarters, Torpedo”

The orders are repeated as the crew already is opening valves and adjusting the boat's course. speed, and trim. After a few minutes, Shark has leveled off at periscope depth on the proprer course. Shane has once again steered a very wide course around the Japanese convoy. DJ is afraid they will miss this group just like the last due to Shane's caution. After 25 minutes, the enemy is finally sighted.

“Contact, bearing 2-9-0,” Shane says while peering through the periscope. “Looks like some sort fo patrol craft. Wait, there's more. One......two ...... three tankers in line behind her. There's a destroyer too off their starboard beam. Take a look, Mr. Haskins.”

DJ steps up to the scope and takes a look. He verifies the skipper's sightings. Range appears to be about 8,000 yards.

“Destroyer appears to be a Kagero class, sir,” he says.

Shane looks at the Identification Book and nods in agreement.

“Let's try to get in position to get a shot at that first tanker,” Shane says

They alter the course just slightly. The destroyer is going to be a problem. The need to time their approach to coincide with the time the destroyer countermarches to the aft end of the convoy. They have the shot set. Shane takes one last peak through the scope.

“Check, check,” he says, “the convoy is changing course the northeast. I don't think they see us. I think its a planned zig-zag. Crap, here comes that destroyer. New target. Bearing 264, mark; speed 20 kts, mark.”

Ensign Beasley quickly enters the new data into the Torpedo Fire Control system. DJ has been drilling him hard during this cruise and it pays off now. He has a new solution entered and calculated in less than 30 seconds.

“Fire solution, plotted and ready,” Beasley calls out.

Shane calls out the final adjusts as Beasley turns the dials accordingly.

“Fire one, fire two, fire three, fire four,” the skipper calls out.

Beasley repeats and the crew feels a slight bump as the compressed air pushes each torpedo from it's tube.

“Four torpedos running true,” the SONAR operator calls out.

Shane, Haskins and Beasley all have their attention fixed on their stop watches. The running time should only be about 80 seconds. It seems like an eternity. Once again the calculated time passes and there is no indication of an explosion.

SONAR, torpedo status?” Shane asks

“I can only hear two, the other two stopped running a few seconds ago,” he says. “Change on target angle and increase screw count!”

“Mr. Haskins, take her deep!” Shane says urgently

“Aye sir, 20 degrees down on all planes, new depth 2-8-0, course 2-2-0, speed 10 kts,” DJ shouts out.

The orders are repeated and the boat begins to dive. LCDR Shane and DJ had prearranged an evasive plan for this kind of situation. The preset orders saved precious seconds in getting the submarine safely away from an enemy attacker if they were detected.

“Depth charges in the water!” the SONAR man practically screams out.

“New course 2-6-5, all ahead full,” DJ orders in hopes of moving away from the explosive charges now sinking down upon them.

THUMP! THUMP!

The charges explode. One of them is close off the port beam. The sub heels to starboard and the lights blink for a moment.

“Flooding in the engine room,” OJ Moss's voice says over the 1MC. “Its minor. We have it under control”

“Maintain present course and speed,” Shane says

The destroyer circles around for a second attack. The depth charges drop just as Shark falls below 150 feet which is the calculated point of the thermocline.

THUMP! THUMP!

Once again one of the charge goes off close astern. The stern is lifted up and the boat takes a dangerously steep negative trim.

“Full up angle on the bow planes,” DJ orders.

The boat slowly recovers and assumes a level plane once again. The destroyer has now obviously lost them. The depth charges keep falling but are progressively further and further behind them. Shane orders the speed slowed to a creep as they slip away from their attacker. Damage reports indicate the outer door on two of teh port tubes has been damged. The tubes cannot be opened to reload. Shane orders best speed for Perth. The boat's damage is minor otherwise, but there is no point in continueing on with half of it's forward torpedo battery out of commission.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 192
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:09:03 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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26 May 1942, Atiu Atoll

The ships in the surface action Task Force are all refueling from the oilers nestled in the bay. Orders have come down that they will be on the move by night fall. Perkins completes rufueling from the oiler Pecos. The entire Task Force is set to go by 1400. LT Greg Cummins is Officer of the Deck (OOD) for the Afternoon watch today. With the ship still sitting at anchor, there is little for him to do. In the engineering spaces, the crews are checking all the machinery to make sure it is as perfect condition as possible. The decks crews have stood down from their maintenance work and are stowing all the paint scrapers, pain brushes, mops, brooms, and other assorted equipment. There is little more to do other than wait for the order to sail to come down.

Greg stands on the bridge admiring the ships arrayed about him. It is a rather homogenous group. The four destroyers are all Mahan Class. Even though their are two classes of cruisers present, from a distance they are almost indistiguishable. St. Louis and Helena have their eight 5”/38 guns in four twin turrents while Honolulu and Nashville have eight single turrets. While their are internal differences that cannot be seen, they are essentially four Brooklyn Class Light Cruisers. All together the ships can put 60 6”/47 and 48 5”/38 guns on enemy targets. It is a formidible force to be sure.

While many of the officers have been griping about the inaction, Greg is not one them. He remembers all too well his time at the Yard. He ached to be on board a combat ship again. No, any day aboard Perkins beat sitting behind that desk at The Yard. Greg is quite content. If he were a cat, he'd purr.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 193
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:10:17 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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27 May 1942, Straits of Macassar

Shark is on the surface as she tranist south through the narrowest part of the Strait. After suffering damage two days ago, LCDR Shane and LT DJ Haskins had discussed which route would be the safest as they headed back to Perth. Reports indicated heavy Japanese air patrols to around the Paluas and Kendari. The sub would have been under the watchful eyes of patrol planes for more than five days if the went that way. While there is fairly heavy patrols around Balikpapan, Shark could transit that area is a day. The next twenty four hours would be the toughest. If they could clear the straits into the relative safety of the Java Sea, they should be fine.

DJ is asleep in his bunk when General Quarters is called at 0120. He makes his way to the control room to see what is up. LCDR Shane is discussing the situation with ENS Hope.

“We have a surface contact dead ahead at 12,000 yards and closing,” Shane says.

“Where are we,” Haskins asks.

“Here,” Hope says point his finger at the map right at the narrowest point of the Strait.

“We really don't have much sea room,” Shane says. “We may have to fight our way through. Let's take her down, Mr. Hasins”

Once again DJ orders the subs to dive. The sub levels off as usual at 60 feet.

“Contact,” Shane says with his head against the periscope. “Looks like we got a destroyer being followed by some tankers. Looks like three.”

With half her forward torpedoes out of action, Shark is fighting with one hand behind her back. LCDR Shane orders a slight turn to the southeast. The small convoy slowly passes her to off her starboard beam.

“That DD is turning. It may have us. Set up for a long range shot with the aft tubes,” Shane says “Bearing 354, Range 6000 yards, speed 15 kts, Mark”

Once again Beasley dials the settings into the Torpedo Fire Control System. He is ready in a matter of seconds. Shane orders all four fired at the destroyer. He orders the sub to 175 feet as soon as the torpedoes are clear of their tubes. Even though the pumps are keeping up with the leaking, he doesn't want to test Sharks hull integrity unless he there is no other coice. Once again, the stop watches are monitored as time ticks by. The calculated time to target was four minutes, ten seconds. AT four minutes, thirty seconds Shane looks over at the SONAR man.

“No hits ,sir,” he says, “All torpedoes are still running”

“Contact on the destroyer?” Shane asks

“Fading sir, I don't think he has us,” he says to everyone's relief.

After an hour, they bring the boat back to the surface. They will have to submerge for the better part fo the coming day and Shane wants a full charge on the batteries if they can get it.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 194
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:11:16 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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28 May 1942, East of the Cook Islands

Movement at last. Enterprise and Lexington have now been joined by Hornet. The CVTF are all heading west to a point north of New Zealand. They will meet up with some troop convoys headig closer to the battle zone. Where they are going just yet has not been revealed. Guesses range from New Caledonia to the New Hebrides to some where near New Guinea. This time there is no wild speculation about Rabaul or Port Moresby being the target. They all now know it will be some time before they head into the teeth of the Japanese defenses.

It is yet another gorgeous day in the South Pacific. The few rain squalls that seem to be endlessly meandering around this part of the ocean are easily avoided. Worst case is that the pilots of VS-6 have to alter their patrol patterns by a few miles to go around them. Few would enter one unless he had to under dire circumstances. The pilot would be nearly blinded the minute the plane penentrated the cloud wall. He would be forced to rely completely on his instruments in order to maintain level flight. No of the men have the training that would keep them from becoming disoriented while flying blind. While the storms are not particularly violent, no one would voluntarily take on the rain and turbulence inside one unless forced. Of course if a Zero was on his tale, the pilot might take his chances with the storm.

LT(jg) Jame West is flying west ahead of the carriers plotted path. Again, submarines are the biggest threat to the flat tops. At present the six SBD equipped squadrons have 21 aircraft in the air patroling the skies out to 300 NM. In close there are 10 TBDs and 5 TBFs circling the area around the core of the three Tack Forces. While it would not be impossible, it would be very difficult for an enemy sub to penetrate the screen of aircraft and ships surrounding the carriers. West fights fatigue and boredom. It would be a near non-erasable black mark on any pilots record if a sub snuck in from an area he was patroling. James is determined he will not be that man.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 195
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:11:59 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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29 May 1942, Hilo, Hawaii

Golf Company is on an all day march with full packs. COL Simpson has been pushing the BTN hard since they arrived here a few weeks ago. He wants the men in top condition for when they deploy. CPT Brett Castlebury has no choice but to oblige the colonel's demands. He realizes that the 2nd Battalion has spent nearly half of the last two months either in transit or on leave. The men haven't exactly gone soft, but they have lost their edge. Today's hike in the hills surround Hilo should do them good. Brett doubts many of the Marines share his feelings.

Iceland seems like a long time ago now. Instead of unending gloom and dampness, they now have bright sunny skies and near perfect weather conditions. While they are really in no more danger of enemy action here at Hilo then they were at Reykjavik, it some how feels different. Perhaps it is that they knew that it was unlikely that they would be moving forward while on Iceland. Here it is not only known that they will deploy forward in short order but it is talked about every day. The immenent danger that the Marines will face when facing the Japs is part of their daily training routine. What little that can be gleaned from combat reports soming out of Asia and the southwest Pacific as far as Japanese tactics and weapons is being forwarded to the Marines as quickly as possible. Even though they joked about it when they were there, iceland really was a vacation. Now they are preparing to go to war and soon.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 196
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:12:56 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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30 May 1942, NE of Suva

VP-51 has been placed on high alert. Most of the men have no idea why, but LT(jg) Hank Tyler was let in on the secret by CDR Underwood. The USN carriers are passing to the south of the archipeligo. The powers that be want to make sure the Japanese aren't any where in the neighborhood. Its not like the PBYs could hold off the Jap carriers even if they wanted. The operational modus of the day is simple: No Surprises! If the IJN is coming, CinCPac wants to be sure the men in the carrier task forces are well warned.

Today is just like every other day flying out of Suva. With the exception of the one Japanese sub they saw a few weeks ago, no one in VP-51 has seen hide nor hair of the enemy. They are out there. No one has any doubts about that fact. They are just being as cautious as the US Admirals. Everyone is pretty sure the Japs know the range of a PBY. Hell, it has published in Popular Mechanics and a slew of aviation magazines. Hank wonders if the US might be better served by having been a little more secretive in the pre-war years. Well there is no undoing it now. So, the Japanese know the perfomance of the PBY. That does not give them the ability to elude their searches as long as they keep alert.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 197
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:13:38 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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31 May 1942, Near Norfolk Island

TF 22 as they are now called steams towards the small island half way between New Zealand and New Caledonia. There they will pick up a convy bound for Noumea. LT Greg Cummins is enjoying his time in the South Pacific so far. The weather is usually quite pleasant and the Japanese have been kind enough to not disturb their little pleasure cruise. Not that there is no threat at all. Perkins is assigned the sector to the southwest of the Task Force as they move west. Enemy submarines could be lurking anywhere and everywhere. LCDR Ford makes sure the crew is at high alert at all times.

Greg finds the sea duty everything he had hoped for and more. He is getting the feel for the Torpedo Fire Control System and has been able to run several mock firings during the trip down from Pearl. He and his crew are only able to do this after LT Doyle collects the firing keys from both mounts. It would be embarassing to say the least to put a Mk15 into one of the cruisers by accident. While that would be highly unlikely, Greg has been in the Navy long enough to have heard of stranger things happening. Still, it is nice to have some real experience with the unit before combat might require there use.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 198
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 10:14:19 PM   
vettim89


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1 June 1942, off the West Coast of Australia's

USS Shark has safely made it's way out of the enemy infested waters of the eastern Java Sea. She should make port in two days or less depending on the weather. LT Dj Haskins is standing watch on the ships bridge during the second Dog Watch. This is not all bad as he gets to see the sunset this evening. Having grown up in San Diego and on the waters off southern California and Baja, he is quite used to spectacular sunsets. That doesn't mean he doesn't appreciate them. No, in fact, after his brush with death when Swordfish was lost he finds himself enjoying them even more. He never has been a spiritual man but the raw beauty of a flame red twilight does make him feel connected to a higher power.

The boat is holding up nicely as she travels south. The flooding that started after their encounter with the Japanese tanker convoy has not worsened, and the pumps are keeping up with it. DJ doesn't think the damge to the torpedo tubes is too severe, but they will need to get the boat tied up to a pier before they know for sure. It is just too risky of a proposition to dangle a man over the side of the boat to get a good look. That is especially true here in the Indian Ocean where a calm day still has five to eight foot seas. No, no point in risking a sailor's life for just information. Perhaps if they were further away from port when the damage happened they might make an attempt. That is of course if they could find a quiet part of the ocean without Japanese patrol aircraft overhead. DJ has not seen very many places like that as of yet.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 199
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:19:03 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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2 June 1942, North of Norfolk Island

Once again the pilots of Enterprise's air group are on high alert. They are on convoy escort duty this time to the port of Noumea on the southeast corner of the island of New Caledonia. There is a small Vichy French garrison there that is about to be overwhelmed by over 30,000 American troops of all shapes and sizes. So far they biggest obstacle to the Navy's progress is the presence of Japanese submarines. The USN PBY squadron and RNZAF Hudson already stationed at Noumea have spotted multiple submarines in the area. They picked off AD Dixie a few weeks ago on her way into the port. The men of the SBD and TBF squadrons have the biggest responsibility to keep the I-Boats at bay

That is exactly what LT(jg) James West is doing right now. He has his SBD outbound from the center of the combined Task Forces heading northeast. As of yet, there have been no sightings any where near their present position, but there has been multiple sightings out of Noumea. The real danger will be tonight when he carriers' planes are grounded. This is when the convoy will make its final approach to the port and when the Japanese will have their best chance to get in amongsth the US ships. James does not envy the troops huddled deep in the bowels of the ships. It will be a long night for them to be sure.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 200
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:20:13 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
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3 June 1942, near Noumea, New Caledonia

The convoys made it into port unharrassed.. The US carriers are patrolling north and east of the port as this has been an area where the Jap subs have not been operating. The US cruisers have pulled up into the harbor. Over a dozen destroyers are patrolling the entrance to the harobor. While it would be difficult for a Japanese sub to get close now, it is not impossible. The destroyers are kept at Modified Condition Zebra during this time. This is a slightly stepped down version allowing some movement around the ship. Have the crew is at General Quarters at all times. When putting a substantial strain on the crew, it is the best way to assure optimal response if a Japanese submarine were to be spotted.

LT Greg Cummins is at his station in the CIC monitoring the plotting board. While no enemy sound or RADAR contacts have been made, Greg has the plotting team keeping track of the friendly ships in the area. While this is mostly for practice, it is also to be sure that some ingenious Jap sub captain doesn't try to follow a friendly ship into the harbor. That is exactly what happened on 7 December at Pearl Harbor when a Japanese midget sub almost snuck into the anchorage by following a US ship.

Greg stands by the table with the talker on his head. He is in constant contact with the bridge and they can confirm visually any RADAR or SONAR contacts that seem suspicious. He runs the room very tightly and the sailors and junior officers have all now learned that he has no patience for laxity. He also knows that the men have another eight hours ahead of them on duty and makes sure each man gets a break every couple of hours to grab a smoke or just get some fresh air. The room is almost unbearably hot with the tropical heat combining with the waste energy form the tubes in the electronics to keep the room near 100 degrees all the time. There is no way around it. The hatches must be closed at all times at this Condition. The men just have to grin and bear it.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 201
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:21:52 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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4 June 1942, near Kona, Hawaii

It is unbelievable what a difference just 50 miles can make. Here on the windward side of the Big Island it is full blown tropical jungle.

“God, this is just like Iceland,” LT Joe Broadway says

“Except its about 50 degrees warmer,” CPT Brett Castlebury says.

“It is hard to believe that our time on that God forsaken rock would actually prepare us for this”, Broadway muses.

“I never thought about it that way but you're right,” Brett agrees.

Odd as it was to say, it was true. The one thing the Marines had learned at Reykjavik was how to deal with unending dampness. It placed a toll on men and machine. The Marines had learned the importance of keeping their gear and weapons clean and well oiled to fend off the moisture. Even though the environmental conditions were vastly different, water was water. It was the enemy of a modern combat force no matter if it was 35 degrees or 85 degrees. The other thing that the Marines had learned was the importance of taking care of their feet. Trench foot was going to be even more of a problem in the tropical weather. Iceland was just the warm up for that enemy.

The other thing that the Big Island and Iceland have in comon is volcanoes. Brett had never traveled to the parts of Iceland where the volcanic fields are active, but here at Hilo you can see a faint glow to the southeast at night. That light is coming from Kilauea, an active volano not 30 miles from where they were camped. The locals assure the Marines they are in no danger, but it is still an ominous sight to see the night sky lit up with a dull red hue.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 202
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:23:28 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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5 June 1942, near Noumea, New Caledonia

The convoys are about done unloading and are beginning to reform. The will depart after dark heading back to New Zealand before returning for another load of troops from the West Coast. The Surface Action Force consisting of the four “Cleveland” class cruisers plus the four Mahan class destroyers will lead the way. The carriers will not be accompanying them on the return journey as the threat of enemy air attack is near zero this far south.

“I wonder where they are heading,” ENS Dawkins says as they pass the four carriers on their way out of Noumea

“I bet it is somewhere more exciting than where we are going,” LT Greg Cummins says

“I was unaware it was the US Navy's job to provide you two with excitement,” LT Doyle says having come up behind them without being noticed. “Those troop ships are perhaps even more valuable to the Navy right now than the carriers. I think keeping the Jap subs at bay shoudl be exciting enough.”

“Begging your pardon, Lieutenant,” Greg says, “but don't you think that is a bit of hyperbole? I mean the carriers are the best long range weapon we have right now with the battleships almost all being laid up after Pearl Harbor. How can a bunch of empty APs be more valuable?”

“True, the carriers may be our best offensive weapon,” Doyle concedes, “but last time I checked, they never conquered or held a single valuable piece of real estate. For that you need Marines and soldiers and they aren't going to be able to swim to where they are going. So to first hold what we have and then advance, we need to be able to get men and materials forward, and for that we need a whole bunch of those”

He punctuates his dissertation by point at the gathered transports in the harbor.

“Point conceded, Lieutenant,” Greg says

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 203
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:26:23 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
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6 June 1942, Perth, Australia

USS Shark is gently manuevered into one of the dry docks here in Freemantle's port. The damage is actually minor. The outer doors on the portside forward torpedo tubes were merely knocked out of alignment. The units will be stripped down and examined for any additional damage then reassembled and plumbed. All told, Shark will be laid up for just a week. The rest of the damge was also insignificant with a few popped rivets and seams.

LT DJ Haskins is quite frankly a little disappointed. ComSubforceSWPA areas has been limiting the yards at Perth to only those boats that can make be repaired in less than ten days. Any boat with damage more serious than that is being routed to Melbourne or Sydney. He had hoped Shark might be sent to Melbourne and he would have a chance to visit with his friends the Floyds. Still, it is nice to be able to walk around and stretch his legs. The fact that the crew can spend some time not worrying about dodging Japanese patrol aircraft and destroyers is a help also.

Perth reminds DJ a lot of home. Geographically speaking the two cities are very similar being the most southwest port of their respective nations. Perth is smaller than San Diego and has much less of a military presence or at least it did prior to the War. San Diego was a major hub for both US Navy and Marine activities prior to 1941 while Perth was largely an outpost befor the Japanese attacked. The other big difference is the lack of diversity at Perth. There is no large contingent of any other culture present here. That is not to say that everything is “lily white”, but 25% of the population of San Diego is Hispanic. The few Aboriginal faces DJ has encountered reminds DJ that both country's share a common heritage of displacing the original inhabitants. DJ wonders if the Australians treated the Aborigines any better than white Americans treated the Indians when they arrived. He doubts that knowing that both populations arose from English settlers who probably shared similar attitudes about the “savages” they displaced.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 204
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:28:25 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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7 June 1942, northwest of Suva, Fiji

VP-51 has had its patrol pattern shifted slightly to the west. The far corner of the “fan” of search arcs now covers the island group of the New Hebrides. Something is up. CDR Underwood was particular urgent in the briefing this morning. He seemed very concerned that the pilots was especially vigilent for any Japanese surface or submarine activity up in that area. LT(jg) Hank Tyler has turned his PBY back toward the base having seen nothing. He passes just north of the largest island in the chain, Espiritu Santo.

“Contact, aircraft. Two fighters two o'clock high,” ENS Page announces

“Crap!” Tyler says as he pushes the throttles to their stops.

“Relax, Lieutenant, they ours,” Page says

“Are you sure?” Tyler says. “This is NOT the time to be wrong.”

“Definitely F4Fs, Sir,” Page assures him.

The two stubby Grummans rapidly close and roar past right in front of the nose of the PBY. Tyler wags his wings to acknowledge them.

“Damn fighter jocks. Always need to show off,” Tyler says

“Contact, surface ships, one o'clock,” AM2c Curliss announces over the intercom. “I think we found our carriers.”

Tyler picks up his binoculars and looks off to the south. The sea is suddenly flooded with ships. He can now pick up multiple aircraft of all types: fighters, dive bombers, torpedo planes, and even a few float planes.

“Jeesh, Louise,” he says. “Its the whole goddamn US Navy down there.”

“At least now we know what the burr up CDR Underwood's butt was this morning,” Page says

“Well, now it makes sense,” Hank says. “I don't understand why he just didn't tell us.”

“Maybe he didn't know,” Page suggests.

“You may be right, Mike,” Tyler says. “The brass may have just told him that they needed extra us to pay particular attention to this area of ocean without telling him why.”

“That would be the Navy way,” Page says

The operational security thing is still new to Tyler and his crew. Perhaps the Japs are better at intelligence gathering than they give them credit. It may be that just a change in the radio patterns out of Suva would tip them off that something was up. The IJN had proved itself more than capable so far. Maybe the brass is right to not underestimate them.

_____________________________

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

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Post #: 205
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:29:55 PM   
vettim89


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8 June 1942, near Luganville, Espiritu Santo

The men of VS-6 have finally gotten their wish fulfilled. They are out hunting the Japanese . The four carrier Task Forces are refueling her in the New Hebrides before heading north. Intelligence has picked up on Japanese activity in the southern Solomons at some place called Guadalcanal. The carriers are being sent up that way to investigate. The route plotted to reach the launching point will make it a three day journey. They could make it in two but ADM Halsey wants to try to avoid Japanese search aircraft if he can. The will approach from the east.

The men in the ready rooms are tense. Already this is the furthest they have gone into enemy controlled ocean. Technically the New Hebrides were still Allied controlled, but there are no troops or even search aircraft up here. No they are quite alone and exposed. If the Japanese spot them during the approach, they could send their carriers in to intercept. While most of the men are itching to fight, facing the unknown has nerves on end. Even the Three Bobs are quiet. What little that is discussed is focused around tactics and plans. Now that they are finally getting the chance to face the enemy, Carey, Jaccard, and Stone are much quieter. For this, LT(jg) James West is grateful



_____________________________

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

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Post #: 206
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:31:10 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
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9 June 1942, Auckland ,New Zealand

LT Greg Cummins is sitting on his bunk reading technical manuals for the torpedo mounts and fire control system. LT Faber, the ship's gunnery officer, walks in after coming off duty. Greg shares the room with Faber, LT(jg) Laird, and ENS Slocum, the assistant Deamge Control Officer.

“Jeesh, Greg, you ever not reading those stupid manuals?” Faber asks

“Only when I'm sleeping and on duty”, Cummins answers.

“You know you really can't learn everything you need to know from a book?” Faber asks

“Of I am fully aware of that,” Greg answers, “but my thinking is that if I know the technical matters by rote, the rest will come easy.”

“You are definitely NOT a fly by the seat of your parts kind of person, are you?” Faber asks

“No, that's not my style,” he asnswers. “Fate favors those that are well prepared.”

“Perhaps, but book knowledge is not the same as real experience,” Faber says. “Knowing every last detail in those manuals will not make up for actual experience using systems.”

“Well I am drilling on the mounts every chance I get,” Greg says, “but there is a limited amount of time available for that sort of activity.”

“Sounds like you are doing everything you can to be ready,” Faber says. “I doubt we will need them anytime soon. Don't think even the Japs are crazy enough to venture this far South.”

“You are probably right,” Greg says, “but it is best not to assume anything.”

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 207
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:32:10 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
10 June 1942, Hilo, Hawaii

CPT Brett Castlebury is returning to the bivoac area after the morning briefing. The entier 2nd BTN is now back at Hilo after the two weeks of jungle training on the other side of the island. Brett, for one, is glad to be “home”. While the base here lacks many of the amenities of a fully developed base like Camp Elliot, it is much better than the conditions over at Kona. There is a permanent messhall, barber shop, Px, and most importantly permanent lantrines. It is said you don't appreciate the simple things in life until you lose the. Brett thinks that is definitely true of modern toilet facilities.

There was no information in the briefing regarding the Division's next assignment. It was hinted that things are fluid enough that the exact target may not yet be selected. Brett guesses it doesn't matter much in the end for him and the men of Gulf COY. Those kind of decisions are made by the brass. Their job will be to merely carry the orders out once they are sent down. Grand strategy is for General and Admirals. Now, tactics and small unit operations, that is a different story. Brett has some opinions regarding those matters, but no one seems to be interested in asking him what they might be.
All he can do is keep pushing his men as hard as possible so that when the word is given, they will be ready.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 208
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:33:22 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
11 June 1942, North of Ndeni Island

Admiral Halsey's plan seems to be working. There has not been a single sighting since they left Espiritu Santo. It had been surmised, correctly, that the Japnese were concentrating their air search assets to the South and West of the carriers current position. The fact that not even one lone patrol plane had been caught snooping meant the likely will arrive off the Southern Solomons undetected.
LCDR Gallaher is giving the final briefing for today in the VS-6 Ready Room.

“Ok, that about does it,” he says. “Now, I want all you men to try to get some sleep tonight. I want you at your sharpest tomorrow”

That was easier said than done. The men had been wishing for this day for over six months now. While intelligence estimates indicated they woul likely only find a merchant convoy or two, they were still pretty hyped up for battle. No direct recon of the base has been done. What they will meet tomorrow is just a “best guess”.

“Well, we are finally going to get our shot at the Japs,” LT(jg) Carey says as the retire to their bunks.

“I just hope there will be something worth shooting,” ENS Stone says

“At this point in time, I'd be glad to sink a nice fat freighter,” ENS Jaccard says.

“I'm hoping we might find some combat ships,” LT(jg) James West adds. “I'd love to drop one of those 1000 lbers right down the stack of a Jap battleship.”

The other three men stare at West.

“What?” he says

“Well, its just that in six months of war, James,” Carey says, “That is the first time any of us have heard you make any sort of statement about getting the Japs.”

“Yeah,” Stone says, “you're normally Mr. Wet Blanket.”

“You saying I'm chicken?” West objects.

“No, nothing like that!” Stone quickly says

“Its just that you are not the “Rah Rah” type,” Jaccard says

“Yeah, you're the thinking man's warrior,” Carey adds

“Well, that doesn't mean I don't want to get those Jap bastards back any less than any of you,” West says.

“Never thought that you didn't,” Carey says. “Its just the departure from character that surprised us.”

The men strip and climb in their bunks. Sleep does not come easy, but they all are able to get at least a few hours.

_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 209
RE: The Dogs of War - companion AAR to Howlin' At The Moon - 3/3/2012 11:34:43 PM   
vettim89


Posts: 3299
Joined: 7/14/2007
From: Toledo, Ohio
Status: online
12 June 1942, East of Florida Island

The three carriers come to life at 0300. Planes are prepped at brought to the deck. The pilots eat an early breakfast and are all in the Ready Rooms by 0400. Each carrier will send out seven SBDs to search the waters around the Task Forces. The hope is they will find the enemy unprepared for their arrival.
LT(jg) James West is warming up his SBD on deck at 0500. He will search nearly directly North of the carriers. He checks all the instruments to verify the plane is ready to go: fuel, oil pressure and temp, manifold pressure, engine temp all good. He waits for the signal and at 0530 the flag is raised. His plane captain taps him on the shoulder and climbs down. The plane handler signals for West to taxi the SBD forward. Three planes proceed him before his turn comes. The launching officer holds his hands over his head to indicate to James to “hold brakes”. He waits for the ship to reach the bottom of the trough of the next wave, and as the bow begins to rise, he drops his hands point towrd the bow. James pushes the throttle all the way forward and the SBD begins its roll. It quickly picks up speed and clears the forward edge of the flightdeck in controled flight.

James allows the bird to gain some air speed before putting the plane into a gentle climb. There is a 500 lb bomb slung beneath it, but the plane feels light on the controls. His recent experience carrying a 1000 lb bomb had changed his perspective about how the SBD felt with a “mere” 500 lbs hanging beneath it. He turns the plane North as he passes 6000 feet. While, unlikely, if the Japanese had detected the USN's presence, their carriers would most probably be found in this direction. He proceeds out to 300 NM without seing a thing. The radio crackles only a few times as some patrol boats are spotted near Guadalcanal. Besides that, there is nothing. No combat ships worth attacking and no merchant shipping either. James turns the plane back to the carrier and lands uneventfully.

He finds out that the only action of the day is interception of some patrol aircraft. Several of the F4Fs had to team up to bring down one of the huge flying boats the Japanese have code named Mavis. They had also shot down a single engine float plane. The pilots in the ready room are in a sullen mood when James returns. The big raid that everyone had been hoping for finally happened, and they had drawn a big goose egg. In all it was a very long day with very little to show.


_____________________________

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

(in reply to vettim89)
Post #: 210
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