RE: The little ship that could. (Full Version)

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aprezto -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/13/2010 9:13:30 PM)

You need an AD to replenish aerial torps? That's news to me - thanks!

John 3rd -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/14/2010 12:08:13 AM)

This is a Stock Scenario--Right?

Isn't all that a little Japanese CVL able to handle is about a dozen TT?

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/14/2010 7:26:26 AM)

19 December

Captain Hasegawa , not with out some regret, watches Mutsu and her sisters slide out of the anchorage.
They are steaming into battle –of this he feels in his bones.
Real battle – gun against gun –not this piss piddling sitting near a radio speaker as men do your fighting over the far horizon……..
Zuiho lies still at anchor – currently shorn of all escorts, swinging around a boy waiting for new arrivals, waiting for the chaos of Army to sort itself out.

This, thankfully, is coming good –there is still much, much to do –but now, with the rain gone, (relaced by blazing crushing heat and humidity) the work is picking up pace.

There is little for Hasegawa to do.
What to do?
Well, to that, there is only one answer –he will take a walk –and truly see what this new Command is .

It is a revealing walk…..

The hanger deck is strangely quiet today –packed with aircraft, all ready for action, Zuiho’s flight group is at 100% availability.
He notes immediately the small of aircraft – do they all always smell like this –and the steady low hum of great ventilators battling the faint, but present small of avgas.
The Hanger is bright –the great arc lamps throw each plane into stark relief –only a few men are crouched under one of the fighters –and a pilot sits quietly in its cockpit

The crew noticing him, spring to attention, salutes crisp, disciplined.
Good. Discipline , so far, on this ship, has been good.
“at ease men.”
But of course Lower ranks can never be at ease around commanding officers, they remain standing, nervous. He can almost read their minds –‘what does he want –what does this mean –are we in trouble?’
He has to encourage them further
“Just a curious old man –what are we doing?”
The PO –obviously the crew leader, speaks “PO Nashiguchi has reported a problem with a drop tank sir –we are investigating”
Drop tank?
Ah, he remembers –a tank for extended range. “One hopes they always drop on an enemies head other than ours neh?”
Small smiles. Nervous still.
For a moment Hasegawa considers the plane, the pilot in the cockpit.
And recalls his thought –that here is the man who he will listen too.
Is he any good?
He indicates his desire –and some of the men have to help, but with some effort the old man joins the young . The Cockpit to Hasegawa seems incredibly complicated.
But a 16inch turret must appear the same to the untrained eye too, he thinks, and I learnt that quickly enough………

“Po Nashiguchi sir”
‘Have you been onboard long son?”
“No Sir, only since we sailed –before that flight school”
‘I see”
Okura is of average build, narrow faced. And so young –heavens, so young.
But dressed just in shorts, and singlet, he looks incredibly comfortable in the cockpit –as if he was born in it.
“And the ship –do you like her?”
For a moment, the young pilot hesitates, then a shy smile breaks across his face “its all I ever dreamed of sir”
Hasegawa notes this, stores it away. Those who struggle to achieve –often fight hardest to keep……….
He turns to climb down, and something around Nashiguchi’s neck catches his eye.
A small crucifix
‘Are you Christian Pilot?”
A small nod –and eyes now suddenly anxious………
‘we fight a ‘Christian people’ Nashiguchi –I would keep that thing around your neck hidden if I was you………..”

Next stop, the ready room.
Hot, stinking humidity –and an unpleasant odour of sweat, and other smells –un identifiable.
Through a door on the other side –leading to a companionway perched on the side of the ship –laughter.

He passes through the room, onto the companionway –into cool shade (thanks to the overhanging flight deck) and a pleasant vista.
A Prime spot this, perched above Zuiho’s curving bulge, gun tubs delineating its boundaries for and aft.

The laughter comes from , Okura Kamisaka and Kurihama. –good loud laughter –that abruptly stops at his appearance
These men cannot spring to attention – due to the minor matter that Okura is hanging upside down from the gangway –the two others holding his legs.
Hasegawa notes with humour – that Okura has been fishing –he can clearly see the snagged hook mere millimetres from his outstretched hand……….

Okura’s face, slowly going red as the blood rushes to it, and veins straining in the arms of his companions

“catching any men?”
‘No”….grunt, regrasp………..”sir”
‘I see. Gentlemen. My spear or not –the whole ship is at work –a little discretion eh?”

As he departs, behind him –out bursts of more laughter –he does not, however hear the half expected splash…………
Hasegawa continues to explore – he disrupts many men as he goes – it is almost unheard of for a CO to wander thus –but Zuiho is so damn busy today preparing, storing, working on the million things a week at sea has exposed as needing doing –that his disruption is minimal.
Most salute, shrug –continue on…..

Below the hanger deck, and well aft –in the machine shop, he encounters two more men, PO Okano, Po Hirate.

Dressed in shorts, sandles only, bodies slick with sweat, they have their backs to him, bent over some strange piece of machinery.
He watches quietly, listening with an amused ear at the steady steam of profanities directed at the dumb piece of metal.
It is obvious that whatever the piece of machinery is –she is female –she is a stubborn bitch –but that she would submit………..
Obviously cursing machinery helps, he notes wirily –as whatever they are trying to force into place goes –and a cry of triumph rattles the workshop.

He does not disrupt them, quietly slipping away.

He encounters Minobe above the hatch leading down to the Port boiler room, he is looking down below – shouting to some hidden noise.
From below, the rattle, rattle of chain blocks.

He straightens, obviously surprised at his presence.
‘All good engines?’
‘Ahhh, yes sir –almost. A few little things apparently…….(apparently, an interesting word engines, this word apparently).but we will be 100% by dusk. Defect free I think”

The hatch looms beside him.
Hasegawa lets its presence linger –does he not see I am waiting for an invite to see below?
But it does not come.
What does come, out of the hold, face black, oil streaked, a frown fighting the sweat on his brow, is the charge.
He salutes, nervously wipes oily hands on the back of his coveralls – (God-how many spanners can he fit in that pocket?)
Minobe excuses himself, scuttles elsewhere. (as if he is embarrassed by this man?)

Curious man……..not only a pocket of spanners, but I see a torch, a steel ruler, heavens that rag could fuel the ship –and what the hell is that thing?
‘Ahh Chief…….tell me –what is that thing in your hand?”
“Wheel spanner sir –“ and suddenly there is enthusiasm, and is it –delight? –“ see this curve sir, clip it over the handle, this bit gives purchase –and you can open any **** of a valve ….”
Hasegawa lets THAT word hang……. “made it myself sir”
“care to show me below Chief?”
A great grin. “With pleasure sir – the last skipper never came down here at all………..

Hasegawa considers the sea, from the quiet bridge.
His limbs ache, and he is tired, sweaty.
Needs a bath.
But he has learnt much

Little Zuiho has two boiler rooms, port, starboard. Two matching engine rooms. An auxiliary diesel compartment, machinery separating the two main spaces.

Another diesel down aft, where the large diesel fire pump also resides.

The boilers, he actually knows. Standard Kanpows , 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b
Recip fuel pumps.
Standard DD machinery, 4 generators, 2 for each engine room.
2 evaporators.
The charges description –what was it –“farm machinery”
But so far, farm machinery that has not let him down.

The next phase of operations are beginning already – ahead lies much hard steaming –and probably hard fighting.
Hasegawa considers what he has seen. Potentially a god little ship, a good hard little ship.
And although in his heart of hearts, he thinks it’s the BB’s that will do the killing –he hopes he can have Zuiho contribute her score……………


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/14/2010 9:26:41 AM)

20th of December, 1941

For LT Hidaka, it is a minor miricle.
The fat little transport is rusty, beaten, and well past retirement.
But those little letters painted on her stern…………

AD vessel No 3
Her crane is new –brand new –and so are the sleek, shiny fish in her belly…….

By midday, Zuiho is ready for war again.

‘Ship at state 1 sir –Both main engines ready to obey telegraphs, all four boilers online’
‘very good. Slip forward please, slow ahead both, port 20”

Silence settles onto the bridge. Calmness, interrupted by Hasegawa’s quiet orders, the sing song of the helmans repeats.
There is little to be said – each deep in their own thoughts..
Out there, the unknown enemy, Dutch and British determined to sell themselves dearly.
There is the unknown, the probability of death.
But also –the great adventure awaits………

John 3rd -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/14/2010 4:33:36 PM)

Absolutely delightful. Keep on writing...

CV Zuikaku -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/14/2010 5:38:37 PM)


ORIGINAL: aprezto

You need an AD to replenish aerial torps? That's news to me - thanks!

I thought you were talking about replenishing cruisers. Not sure for carriers. Never needed to replenish them in some small backwater base. AKE I guess....

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/15/2010 9:11:55 AM)

Well i solved the torp problem by -growing port to size 4, deploying 228 extra naval support points, and AD, and a AKE -all at the same time -so I still don't know what works -but Hidake has 15 torps and thats all that matters to him
Appreciate the comments guys........


To my darling wife

Well, Old sort –your Old man is at sea again.
This little ship has been trying to wreck me from the day I arrived, but I think we have come to an understanding now –if I don’t fling her about the ocean, she will remain (I hope) faithful and true to me.

We are heading towards the war, and I suspect, serious action again.
However –I don’t think you have to worry too much –several battleships are with us, and I don’t think the enemy have anything to match them here……
A carrier is a strange beast –almost two ships in one – the pilots are a world apart –and , I regret to say –we all bow to their needs –I spend countless hours chasing the wind……..
I hope Tokyo is not too cold at the moment –remember the extra futons I told you about!
Well, my dearest, I post this now.

From LCDR Minobe
Commander, Engineering
Combined fleet


I direct you to paragraph 5 of the report, and again wish to emphasize its error.
Fuel piping here was correctly installed, and inspected by…………………
……….Again, I ask you to reconsider the preliminary findings, for the reasons as stated above

KCDR Minobe

To My children

This is a letter from Daddy, to his vast treasures –both of which I love equally.
Daddy is currently away again, and doing his duty for the emperor.
He hopes, and prays that you are all doing your school work –and obeying mother.
It is very warm here –and yes –there are coconuts Miroi!
The Boiler room is very hot now though!

Love and kisses

Daddy Okano

We are somewhere deep in the pacific –as you probably have guessed.
The ship goes well, and I am fine
I have as yet, not yet received mail from Kuko, and I fear that the hoped for move to the new address has become a disaster.
I beg of you to see to her welfare
We sail to likely battle

Your son

Zuiho slips quietly from the anchorage, and on a sparkling sea –lit by a beautiful moon, makes rendezvous with a battle ship task group..
Over the next four hours, as they slowly cruise, the seas begin to fill with ships.
And as Sunburst breaks over a delightful sea, Japans great thrust turns towards its objective………….

Diogawa slams the canopy back, begins to reach for the straps that hold him down .
What a damn awful landing that was………….
A shadow falls across the cockpit-Hidaka.
‘I’ve seen one winged storks land better than that”
Diogawa nods his head ‘Sorry –I will do better!”
‘yes you will” statement, not question ‘you have ten minutes –eat, relieve yourself –and drink. Then get aloft again. And for all our sakes –look for subs – they sunk an AP ahead of us –the place is crawling with them”

Diogawa feels the rod of pain in his back, the numbness of his arse. 8 hours today already –at least another 4?
Crap – war is hell

The bells ring, ting, ting –and the numbers roll.
‘Revolutions 260!”
Strong arms take the great throttle wheels, and begin to turn them –eyes keenly tunesd to a million things at once –pressure, vacuum, oil pressure, gland steam pressure, the main circ is tweeked again…….
A full day of continuous flying ops – a full day of heavy revs, and hard steaming.
But then, this is what steam plants are made for…………..

‘is it fu#$%^ed?”
“yes chief –Its Fu#$%ed” –its arcing all over the place
“How long?”
6 hours
A quick decision
‘’get set up ready to go –as soon as I get the word –shut it down”
‘yes Chief!”

‘the carbon rings on the port generator are arcing”
Minobe rubs his brow.
‘How long Chief?”
‘I need 12 hours”
That long?”
Its Fu#$^ing F*&ked”
“OK –I will tell the captain ten – no more. Anything else?”
‘Just small Stuff”

Hasegawa listens carefully to his engineer
“Loss of one generator you say?
‘regretfully yes sir –its repairable however”
‘How long did you say/”
“12 hours sir”
‘make it eight engines”
‘We will do our best”

“Shut it down, get it done!”
The young seamen hits the trip –begins the process of shutting down the generator –first step of what will be a straightforward, but fiddly repair job
‘How long do we have PO Okano?

“Charge says 4 hours –I reckon about 6”

And that is how chains of command really work

From the Captains LOG

Zuiho is like an elephant –once you get her up to speed, she’s got a momentum of her own…….
Escorting in lose attachment main invasion body –have departed palua at 100% fuel. Ammunition and aircraft
One defect only ships at 75% power availability today
War news today –invasion Ambon stalled, advance in Malaya seems to be very slow, same with phillipines.
However Tokyo reports lae occupied, Buna taken, and 24th flotilla is bombing port Moresby.

Operations log

Continous CAP operations
No incidents to report
Type o is a delight to fly –truly

From the diary of the Charge
Commenced full flash up 2200 hrs –online 0200, sailed 0230
Nil defects until 0900 –carbon ring defect on No1 generator, rectified 1400 hrs
Continued battle preparations, damage control drills – firefighting in main hanger exercise.
I got three hours sleep today!

a7v -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/15/2010 5:32:59 PM)

Really great writing, consider me a follower of this one[:)]

BTW I wish ZUIHO and the men on board much luck. Maybe you should consider to take a little snake on board...[;)]



1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/16/2010 6:51:24 AM)

(I don't think Im worthy of that particular AAR[&o][&o][&o])

Dec 23rd

Hidaka points to you.
“First Shotai today –15 minutes”
you nod –it is not unexpected, the least experienced at dawn – before hunting bombers can be expected to attack –but not before helpless float planes can be shot down –a good way finally blood a rookie like you.
But Hidake is no fool – Ogawa –keep an eye on him will you?”
Ogawa –he of the young face, and nervous disposition casts a baleful eye your way. You are not fooled of course –this almost child already has 3 kills to his name.
But having him lead fills you with confidence.
“CAP patrol –10000 feet –5 miles out –dismiss!’
Already the butterflies are circling in your stomach, as they must. There are so few of you on Zuiho –and so many depend on you. Death lurks –and you give it not a thought. You must not, will not let anyone down.
You simply cannot
“Hie!’ There is much to do.
You practically live in your flight suit at the moment –so that is done –but you have a map board to sort, a pistol to check, a water canteen to fill, a chute to throw on, a life vest to wear, a radio frequency to find (not that that heap of junk will be used), and a plane to sign for
Ogawa’s words are simple. You –left flank –and stick together!

You make your way to your fighter –The PO seibicho (crew chief) salutes in the whipping breeze, two men crouch below on the chocks.
Another sits in the cockpit –he has started your bird 10 minutes ago –even now full power would be a risky business –radials are fragile beasts –fail to warm them and they WILL crack a head.

You use a handy rope to pull your self onto the wing –the mechanic yells to you as he climbs out the other side “Port manifold was a bit up and down –its settled now!”
Lef leg in –stow your sword down the starboard side –hold the cockpit edges, and swing in and down –and magically the wind is not blasting you, the blip, blip, rumble of the engine subdued.

Your mind is blank now –the 100 metre sprint lies ahead, and you are settling into the blocks…………………..
Your mechanic helps with the straps – with everything you wear, and carry, things are crowded, and awkward –reaching over shoulders an impossible task.

Click –home –you pull hard –right hip, left hip, shoulder right, shoulder left –eyes already bust scanning instruments,.
A quick adjust of mix –not much, temperatures are good.
Your eyes seek the Seibicho –he nods –and with no pitch, you open the throttle –and the engine roars, turning your world into a vibrating mass.
But all is good.
Throttle down –and now you are looking out……

Zuiho is working to full speed, punching into a grey, grey sea –a choppy white horse sea today –and the spray is flying back –coating your screen, wetting everyone –turning the flight deck dark.
The steam spray indicator is at 30 degrees, and you can feel the little ship healing as Hasegawa turns her into the wind.
There –silhouetted against the grey horizon –my the skies are nasty today –full of rain clouds and darkness- Hidake is watching you critically. Of everyone –above all –you won’t let him down.
You give him a thumbs up –and then all eyes to front as the ship turns into the wind –and you feel your fighter already coming alive –eager to be free of this ship.
Her wings tremble –you feel it.
You tremble –a shiver –a swallow.
You wait
And now the red banners are going up –and the chocks are free.
Ogawa departs –and now its your turn.
Zuiho’s bow drops a little –diving into the next swell –and you open the throttle smoothly –and she rolls quickly.
Tail up –hand and feet working automatically –quickly –left wing drops alittle, stick over, a bit of rudder, and you are clear-and rain already beats against the screen, stops at 1000 feet, and you work the gear up –trim, set the throttle, reset the mix, 4000 feet, turning over the head of the mighty formation of ships, and now, formed up, you follow Ogawa into the first of countless laps around the formation

A thousand man hours of effort has put you here –here in circuit over our task force.
You will be here now for the next four hours.
Thoroughly bored.

From Cmdr 1st fleet
Captain Hasegawa

With departure of main battle group you are senior commander
Assume Command of task group
Regardless of losses, you will deliver southern army to its objective.
The fate of the Empire rests with you.

From AMC Siagon Maru
‘have been torpedoed by SS, 10 miles north AMBON
Am abandoning ship……….

“Thicker then nits ney”
Hasegawa grimaces ‘ One of my daughters once had nits –a disgusting thing. Trouble is –they are so hard to kill.”

The “fire” rages uncontrolled in the steering compartment.
Outside the door to it, PO Hirate leads his small team of stokers.
The smoke masks are uncomfortable, ill fitting –almost useless.
Orders are muffled, incoherent.
The yelling of the umpires however –(they are not so encumbered) is clear and to the point.
‘The door is hot!, the door is hot to touch!” they yell
“As if it would not be’ wonders Hirate –since when in a fire exercise a door had never been hot?”
he grabs one of his hose team men –gestulates at the frightened lad – who fortunately gets the message – the door is subjected to a healthy ‘spray”of water –a ridicoulous yet deadly sight –empty fire hoses pretending to spray invisible water onto a fake hot door.
Silly games
Yet deadly, silly games –and all play it that way

They crack the door –jam the hose through.
They open the door –they ‘attack the fire”
They encounter Okano lying half asleep at the doors entrance.
Hirate risks it –slips the mast of his face while the umpires are not looking “Did you HAVE to chose to die right there you great lump –how the hell am I meant to get over you?”
Okano smiles ‘Just trying to make it realistic for you friend”
Then disaster
“An umpire spies the mask off……. ‘YOU! PO –you are casualty! –no you! –right there –die right there. Damn you to hell –whole hose team is dead!”
Okano’s smile turns to a grin ‘care to join me? This particular patch of steel is quite cosy you know”
“Yeah –why the heck not –I need a break . With a quite realistic groan, Hirate “collapses”, rests his head on Okanos shins.
With luck they may even get an hours kip yet.

From the Captains LOG

Zuiho takes command of invasion task group.
Our forces have landed Kendari –are attacking Ambon –flanks for advance are free.
Continuous CAP operations, heavy naval search operations.
Our bombers are based now in Madang –and we spot from time to time one or two of them searching.
No sign of enemy forces –radio intercepts place enemy ships Soerabaya.

I have an impressive force to command –it includes Kongo and Kirishima –but also a heavy responsibility.
Ship performing well, no reported defects.

Operations log

Continous CAP operations in 50/50 weather.
Nil incidents
Aircraft availability 100%!

From the diary of the Charge
Heavy day of damage control exercises.
Lost 2A main feed pump to seizure today –set team to work on it – auxiliary pump working satisfactory
Damn salinity 1A creeping up again…………..
Seas getting a bit rough –my department this evening had a few green faces – and I got seconds at meal time –so this is good!

whippleofd -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/16/2010 10:46:11 AM)


Damn salinity 1A creeping up again…………..

Rut-Roe Raggy. Bigger issues are afoot.
BTW, this is an outstanding AAR shipmate.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/16/2010 11:54:34 AM)

I think, in the natural course of things –that maybe we should tour our little ship

We will try not to lose you.
Please –before we go –watch your head, and remember –close every hatch or door after you!
And there are no dumb questions!
This, of course –is the flight deck –looks big doesn’t it?. Not so big in a storm with a faltering engine I can tell you.

See that patch of new decking over there –three men died there last month….
Ok, come down this ladder , and through here –and welcome to the hanger deck.
Looks like a cavern ? -smells doesn’t it!
Yes –those are spare propellers on the walls there.
That’s the pilots ready room over there –no, we can’t go in today –they often sleep in there between missions .
As you can see, the hanger deck stretches most of one deck –aft of the rear baulkhead is a spare diesel room –and a fire pump.
Lots of stoker stuff down there –it’s a –what do we call it –a repair base.
Those square and rectangular bits are the ammunition hoists from below –a torpedo is very, very heavy you know.
And those are the three carts we use to help bomb up our planes.
Cute too.
At the forward end –come on –watch your step – and don’t even think about that smoke friend! –is the fwd Baulkhead.
First big door –heavy ate they not –and you will soon forget just how many dogs you do and undo every day.!
Quiet now – that cabin is the captains –and on the other side is all the secret radio stuff –here the beep beeps?.

And this is the ships commissioning plate –did you know Zuiho started as a Tanker?
A happy phoenix is a lot better than a slimy eel ney?
Here –of course is the bridge
No, you may NOT sit in the captains Chair!
Notice how the flight deck overhangs –and the low bow?
Not much chop in a real storm. In 38 I got bowled over here when a greenie smashed in all the bridge windows.
Yes –unpleasant indeed.
Seasick?. No –I don’t get seasick.

Now, down this ladder to 2 deck
To the port –the gunroom, to starboard –the wardroom –and forward, all the head department cabins. Further forward –boring stuff –the naval stores office – a store room –and the anchor winch machinery room –I think –where they stow the anchor you know?

More interesting stuff back this way………..
This is the lower hanger deck –where –as you can see –they work on the planes.
Yes –that’s a Type O – even a simple plane like that needs a lot of care I am afraid
As you can see –lower hanger is a lot narrower – there are various pump rooms for the avgas –access to machinery and the like on each side –and a narrow passageway for crew -access to here if you are not aircrew is strictly forbidden!
Yes –that’s one of the two lifts – worse job in the world is cleaning out the well underneath – a giant bucket!

Now –aft of here –lets see –I think there are some machinery rooms –and the steering compartment. You should hear Hasegawa swear when he tries to turn her –our Zuiho is a stubborn woman –trust me!

Do you really want to go further?
Below –down that hatch –note the heaviness of it –is the Starboard boiler room – hear the fans?
Bloody hot down there!
Come over here –this is the Port one –its flashed too, but the PO down here won’t mind us this watch. –come on –it’s a long ladder –high ney?
Best you go down backwards then

Yes –greasy -oil rules this world

Now –here we are.
That’s 1A boiler –see the sprayers –and , turn around –that’s 1B –they face each other as you can see.
See the flame!-that’s a vision of hell I think.
Sorry –you have to shout a bit –yes –the noise is quite beating on you!
That big round thing with the window is the evaporator.
Those big pipe things –those are the sprayers –where the fuel goes into the boiler.
That’s a fuel pump.
Yes –reciprocating! –see the bowl like top under, wait a moment –this cover.
I once had eggs cooked on this. True!

Now –two choices –up and over to the engine room –or through that door.
The door – OK –you open it – the dogs are tight aren’t they?
Right –this is Damage control central here –and there is the main switchboard

Another ladder I am afraid –the engine rooms have no doors – that one we went through is a hang over from her tanker days I believe.

Now, go back down to the engine room, careful! –watch your head on the coaming.!
This is the engine room.
Mind the Engineer of the watch –he bites!

These are the throttles – yes , they control the steam- -big aren’t they?. I wish you could feel the power of steam!
Those are the telegraphs, engine orders –the by all and end all down here!
That’s a generator –enough to power a small town there!
Aft of us –a few pump rooms for the avgas and stuff – the shaft tunnels, see how big the shaft is!
Oh, just abut anything we have not seen is either a fuel tank, a feed tank, or a magazine. So sorry –that’s strictly verbotten as our allies would say!
The mess decks? –almost forgot them!
They are all forward of the boiler rooms –squashed between them and the bow.

No, she is not that big really is she!
Do I like her?
Yes, but I think serving on a proper carrier would have been better………

Now, I am sorry, but we have so much to do today.
The galley? –forward too.

Still lost?
Oh, you will get used to it –we all did………..

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/17/2010 12:00:42 PM)

December 24th

Its is dark, and the men on the bridge are ethereal shadows, dark shapes on the wings, at the helm, at the telegraphs.
There is little talking – and little movement . Occasionally the Officer of the watch will depart the binnacle –peer carefully at the map under the red light glow, return, take another bearing.

The bridge is quiet –but very tense –the waters here are narrow, poorly charted, treacherous.
Hasegawa is present , quiet in his chair – steadily working his way through the varios signals, the never ending paperwork.
Today –a mixture of good –Ambon falls, a mixture of bad-port Moresby does not.

Of the enemy, no sign of him today.
He works steadily –reviewing the invasion plan – after just a week onboard he has already come to the happy conclusion –his deck officers are to a man professional.
He only needs to keep one eye at a time on them
The moon shines brightly –and all around the grey shadows trek with them.
To port –a land mass –some 10 miles away.
Enemy territory still…………

“permission to commence soot blows sir”
from a lifetime of habit, Hasegawa briefly stops his work, moves to the bridge windows. Takes in the formation, distance to the next waypoint, the weather, a million things that a life at sea assimilates automatically…….


“Port boiler room, Port engine room –commence soot blows”
Blowing soot. The stokers curse.
For nearly thirty minutes now the soot blowers have been “warming through” –the process of trickling steam into them with the drain valves open – warming them, and removing any condensation in the lances and pipe work.
These drains are at the back of the boiler – and now this area resembles a Turkish steam bath –a roaring, crackling steam bath.

Sweating, cursing, the young stokers close the drains –blessed silence. Around the front of the boiler, Hirate gives the forced draught blowers an extra turn on the throttle –the fans begin to wind up -raising the box pressure.
He nods to his water tender –the clang of boots ascending, the creak, screech of the main valve to sooties opening.

All is ready
He reaches for his wheel spanner, bangs it on the deck, bang bang!, bang bang!

The boys begin –turning the great wheels that hang in crazy fashion down the back of the boiler –each handle on lengths of various extension –all beveled geared at the top.
All real barsteds to turn……………

The work is hard, hot, exhausting, each valve must be opened in sequence –the correct one.
All leak to various degrees at the packing –and the boys will duck and weave around the worst of the leaks…….

It takes fifteen minutes for each boiler……….
Routine work.

The seized feed pump is repaired -the last round of packing going in –the valves aligned, the throttle cracked –8 hrs to bed it in……..
Routine work

The fuel tank suction valves will be swung, and a new tank transferred to ready use…
Routine work

Pipe work will be polished, decks scrubbed, walls wiped of grease and oil, and in starboard engine –rust will be wired brushed
Routine work

And in the quiet of the quarterdeck –in the bright moonlight, Nashiguchi will read his Matthew, and give thanks for his Saviors birth……..

Zuiho will steam on, phosphorous marking her passage through the dark ocean.
It is another night, nothing special, she carries on, with her routine work

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/19/2010 3:29:29 AM)

December 25th

For a war, Zuiho has another very quiet day.
She flies continous CAP, shepherding her great flock across sparkling seas.

These are true tropical oceans - water temperature in the mid 30"s centigrade, and over 100 in the old mark outside.
Temperatures below decks become frightful - its hard to tell who has it worse.
The stokers at least -can shelter directly under the ventilation fans - unless of course duty carries them away from them.
For others, the men in the hangers, or on the flight deck, or in the dozens of tucked away compartments through out the ship -one just bakes.

Zuiho has a diverse crew, drawn from one end of Japan to the other. Now they all share a common attribute, one that will slowly help bind them together.
They all sweat it out.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/19/2010 3:43:45 AM)

Decmber 26th

The fleet turns south.

To the South west - kendari -where at dawn the Marines have shoved the Dutch into the Jungle. To the south east, Ambon, where troops continue to pour ashore.

Many, many miles south, Koepang is being invaded, and further troop ships approach Malacca.
Three seperate Battleship groups prowl the oceans, covering these landings, a cruiser force as well.
Zuiho and her invasion group follow -there is no rush.
The Flanks must be secured, before the final drive to the target.

Again her CAP sight little - the enemy air force is startling absent - but danger nevertheless remains ever present.

On the horizon -15 hazy miles ahead, Hasegawa see's the flash himself -and the startling black column of smoke that rapidly rises.
he hardly needs to hear the signal report -he can guess what that column of death means.
" Submarine attack on AO Hayamoto sir -its reported to be sinking"
damn submarines. What a filthy way to fight a war -skulking in the depths.
But this is serious news -extremely serious.
"navigator! -what is our burnable fuel remaining -and also -what is the maximum range our shortest range vessel in the fleet?"

His navigator moves to the chart table. 'I will need a few minutes sir -have not had a reading for 9 hours"

Damn Minobe. Of anyone on board -he should know how critical fuel is to this operation............
With effort, Hasegawa controls his temper.
'As soon as possible please................."

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/20/2010 8:30:06 PM)

Dec 27th

It was, quite simply –a cruddy day.
Above decks, Zuihos task group refuels. It’s a shambles to be blunt
Tankers are meant to fuel the capital ships, large cargo ships their smaller cousins – the battlewagons the destroyers.

It takes less than an hour for Hasegawa to see that merchant seamen cannot, will not be able to refuel at sea –it is beyond them.

The tankers top the BB’s ok – but from there on, it seemingly goes down hill.
Hoses part
Gear fails
5 men are lost overboard.
Zuiho tends her destroyers well –he cannot complain about THAT –it’s the never ending stream of “So sorry”, “we regret”, “am unfortunately unable” signals that his bridge receives through out the day that drives his nerves to his very edge.

It takes all day to fuel –and his task group barely advances 100 miles in an entire day.

Dusk, and Zuiho signals the task group
“ fuelling deemed unsatisfactory. Imperial honour demands greater effort”

What can he say?
Its been just one of those days.

Below decks –its been just one of those days.
Every three days, the evaporator is shut down, the water drained. Steam is injected, heating the coils, then they are rapidly quenched with cold water.
The heavy layers of salt then crack of.
Open the unit –and remove.
This takes about 4 hours to do – including the flushing routine.
Today, some hamfisted man overtightens the bolts on the inspection window –stripping the threads.

No bolts
No seal
No vacuum
No bloody water production……….
It will take another 4 hours to fix this mess…………

Three separate pipes develop steam leaks……
More bloody problems
The washing machine dies –again – the laundry hands fowl language penetrates to the hanger……….
Its just one of those days………….

Captains log

Due east of Kendari – will pass within 40 miles at dawn
A terrible day – re fuelled –but poorly. I understand fuel situation with loss of AO, and a tanker yesterday (from a grounding of all things!) has severely impacted this operation.
I have fuel to complete –barring major maneuvering.
I can just but hope for the best……
War news. Koepang taken –clearing the way for our advance.
Boela? Taken
16th Army advance continues on schedule. News in Malaya –Army well down the peninsula…..
I understand that Philippine campaign is advancing very slowly.

Operations LOG

Continue CAP operations, rotating all pilots –especially zero pilots.
Nil contacts today……..

From the diary of the charge

Crap, crap, crap.
That was what today was, crap.

‘For heavens sake Charge –what do I tell the Captain?’
Minobe again rubs his hand over his head, a sure sign of distress.

The smell of liquor cannot be hidden by the incense burning in the corner of the dark cabin
‘That someone made a mistake –that it broke –that we will fix it soon”
‘I cannot tell him some one made a mistake –we don’t make mistakes! –unthinkable to admit a mistake!’
‘Who broke it Chief –who is due punishment?’
‘Who broke it?’
‘maybe charge -, maybe a bit more fist, a bit more hardness neh? –teach them that mistakes cannot be tolerated!’
‘you are too soft old man – get it fixed, get that vap fixed . I for one –will not be telling the captain we are short of fuel –and water as well!’

The Charge hesitates, goes to speak.
Decides against it.
It would be better to just get it fixed…………

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/21/2010 10:14:26 AM)

Dec 28

10000 feet
Clear sky, blue. Typical tropical haze on the horizon
Endless rows of Colo nimbus at 15000 feet. Sparkling sea, a carpet of diamonds in the sun below.
Ahead, a growing smudge –Kendari, still at this range a green lump in the ocean. Behind, on the horizon –rows upon rows of white wakes, the invasion fleet.

Diogawa leads , two other zeros staggered behind, tiny shapes lost in the infinite, engines purring with that unique rumble.
He is hunting. They are hunting.

And there –three tiny shapes on the horizon –dots –swift moving dots, from left to right –sun shining, glinting on banked wings –now abruptly vanishing as they pass into the next cloud shadow.
The prey

Diogawa wobbles his wings, gently banks to make the intercept. There is nothing dramatic here, no savage manoeuvring required, simple swift intersection of bodies flying rapidly towards each other.

The Hudsons –for that what the twin tails betray themselves as being –see them, and the sun again glints as they turn away, and try to dive for safety.

The zeros swoop in, Diaogawa overtaking the outer bomber –drawing parallel, now its stick over, rudder in, a slashing approach from the side, and the twin engined beast floats into view…………
Cannon, THUMP< THUMP< THUMP< THUMP<THUMP –it beats out, steady, the machine guns the concerto –and bits fly of the bomber, and the upper turret abruptly slumps, falls silent, she flashes underneath, and gasping now, he peels around, the fighter showing her terrible turning ability, and he is inverting, coming in on the leader –THUMP< THUMP< THUMP, and down, and something strikes the wing BANG! –the stick bounces in his grip as a giant stamps on the wing, kicking it away, got you?, yes, crap, I still have you, and he is diving away……..

His companions do well – the first Hudson simply folds up, a mass of wings, metal, fire, and smoke –plunging vertically down, down , down.

The second rolls onto its back –the cannon fire dances on its belly, and it viscously tumbles –a wing flutters free…………..

10000 feet
Clear sky, blue. Typical tropical haze on the horizon
Endless rows of Colo nimbus at 15000 feet. Sparkling sea, a carpet of diamonds in the sun below.
Ahead, a growing smudge –Kendari, still at this range a green lump in the ocean. Behind, on the horizon –rows upon rows of white wakes, the invasion fleet.

And in the middle of no where –two patches of oil, and small debris.
Soon they will be gone –as if they have never been………

Captains LOG
Continue march to objective.
Several SS reports –and three recon flights sighted –but none confirmed –I still believe we remain undetected!
Our Zeros see action today – 2 kills claimed near Kendari
Water restrictions in force.
Have needed to conduct numerous bottom blows on 1A boiler all day –salinity problems. I do believe every submarine in the area has complained we are keeping them awake…………….

Operations LOG
Multiple CAP flights
2 Hudson Bombers intercepted over Kendari –both shot down.
Kills to : Kaneko, Nagahara

PO Diogawa returns with fist size hole in port wing –not sure how he got home…….
Moral is brilliant –our type o appears to be the match of anything the enemy has.

From the Charges diary.

We have suffered feed contamination problems continuously in Port boiler room all day. Cause yet to be found –I suspect the LP drain main .
Repairs to evaporator have not gone well –window fixed, but brine pump has failed on re set to work – is being repaired.
Combined with bottom blows, excessive fresh water consumption, feed at 50% , potable at 45%.
Ship almost continuously at action stations today –numerous, and mostly false enemy sightings.
Needless to say –not much work done!
Am exhausted.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/21/2010 10:42:05 AM)

December 29th

'Lt Hidaka, required on the bridge at the rush"
Through out Zuiho, heads turn towards the speakers.
It is just past dawn, and Zuiho has just fallen out of dawn action stations. In the messdecks, amny, many eyes meet -and unspoken, all understand what that pipe must mean.
With out fuss, (but not with out the occasional curse) men leave breakfast -they need no orders....

The hanger deck begins to fill, and deep in her bowels, men make their way back to the magazines.
Minobe's aviation fuel team make their way below -and prepare to align the pumps.

Breathless, Hidaka reaches the bridge. With out comment Hasegawa hands him the signal

"from HQ 23rd Flotilla. Enemy cruiser(s) sighted lautern, speed ten knots, course due North.
Quickly, he looks at the chart table.
240 miles. maybe more..........
"I understand we have a heavy cruiser force to the north -about 6 hours away" Hasegawa notes.

A chance old man to show you what we really can do..........
"let me think for a moment sir"
A cruiser. one -or more?. Still a long way to the objective -and still no sign of the main dutch units. Alright then....
'Sir -I recommend a strike by us"
Hasegawa smiles......... is that a condensending one? Alright -all or nothing. "Just Ryujo though sir -i wish to reserve our main strike in case something bigger comes up..........."
"Oh -how many bombers then/"
'A dozen will do it Sir"

For a few moments the older man contemplates this young enthusiastic Officer in front of him. twelve bombers -240 miles. Crazy. But he seems so sure of himself.........
'Alright then Hidaka -a dozen it is. We have an invasion convoy enroute to there -I truly hope they do the job"
Formally, and with deliberation Hidaka draws himself erect. He salutes the older man. save your cruiser ammunition Sir -we will handle this little matter....."

Zuiho bursts into life. rapidly the zero's not on CAP are brought aloft to the flight deck -with great enthusiasm dozens of men push them to their spots.
Below, the great Fish, sleek, oily, menace filled, are brought to the hanger deck, and labourisly placed on the carts. Hidaka does not intend to use Zuiho -but he will take no chances..........
Soon, the clatter, the crash of cylinders firing, and Zuiho's stern becomes shrouded in blue smoke, quickly clearing to the whirl of 6 propellers.
A mile away, Ryujo too works hard.............

'OOW -into the wind please"
'Port ten -new course 230! -revolutions full!'

And below decks -the sweat truly begins to pour, as the extra sprayers slide in. Zuiho begins to tremble -her fans begin to scream, her funnel now begins to shovel evil blackness into the clear morning air.

A pod of dolphins join her, oblivious to the death being prepared above them.

Ryujo reports ready to launch sir!

"Commence launching!"

So strange this way to fight a war. no sign of the enemy -just a beautiful sky -a smooth sea - and a fleet steaming seemingly undisturbed. So strange.........

Hidaka is totally vindicated
CL Ceres, they think later -might have been attempting an ambush.
It snaps shut -upon her......
4 torpedos strike her -and their will be pitifully few survivors.
The kates are efficient, quick -and suffer no loss........

The invasion fleet continues undisturbed.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/21/2010 10:52:16 AM)

In the ready room, three pilots sit.
Their flight suits are dark with sweat stains, and perspiration still beads on brows.
Silence fills the room, each man deep in thought.

Finally, with a groan, Nashiguchi reaches down, attempts to remove a flying boot.
He struggles briefly - but the boot wins
'Stuff it". he collapses back into his chair -its leather creaking.

The silence continues for a while
'Long trip ney?" comments Diogawa
Ogawa nods "woof , bloody woof. A long trip -yes"

" poor barsteds did not have a chance did they?" Ogawa takes a drink -drains it 'not a bloody chance"
'and I am sure they won't give us one, if we let them"
they contemplate the truth in that
'depressing isn't it?'

"yes, " agrees Nashiguchi ' its not how I imagined war would be like at all............."

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/21/2010 10:58:16 AM)

For the Charge -the 19th brings a little victory
Deep in the bilges, forward of 1A boiler - under the deck plates (where the oil and muck just has to accumulate) the LP drain weaves its way around Zuiho's frames, the boiler supports, on its mad journey back to the drain tank.

At is here that he finds the pinhole leak - small - occasionally pissing a little steam, occasionally sucking a little air.
And obviously, whenever Zuiho leans in a turn -dipping below the bilge water level -the salty water level.

Such a tiny hole. Causing so many bloody problems. There are plenty of welders onboard this ship.
A little victory.

Arnhem44 -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/21/2010 3:44:07 PM)

There might come a day I would gather up the tenacity to read about the voyages of Hibiki from the very beginning, in the meantime I'm just happy I was here at the start of another epic.

You sir, write one hell of an AAR (if you could call it that)

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/22/2010 8:55:36 AM)

Thank you...........

Dec 30

Captain Hasegawa stands on the forward Port corner of his bridge. He is deep in thought. Much has happened, in the last weeks, to fundamentally challenge his thinking.

On the horizon –two mighty shapes are slowly coming into focus – the Mutsu and Nagato, ready to escort this invasion fleet on its final run into the objective.

Three weeks ago, it was his ultimate goal, his lifes ambition, to be in Command of one of those great vessels, to wield the great rifles at what ever came into sight, to fight, honourably, toe to toe with the Penny…….

Now: now he is not so sure………
The Boise. The Houston, A PG, a tanker, and now a CL.
With no loss……..
And all at ranges where there was no threat to the transports at all……….
Could it be –as Hidaka keeps on insisting –could it be that the battleship was done?
A disturbing thought!

Hidaka joins him on the bridge. They move out to the wings, out to the sun –where a cool breeze blows.
Zuiho’s bows are beginning to bounce. ‘The Indian ocean?”
‘yes –no more calm seas for you fliers I am afraid Hidaka’
The younger man grins. “Tell me about it –Nashiguchi is already worshiping the ships rail”
Hasegawa shakes his head. “How a flier gets sea sick is beyond me”
They stare for a while at the green sea (what a distinct difference the open ocean is) –and admire the fleet around them.
‘What is the torpedo situation then?”
Hidaka frowns., he points to the equally ugly carrier 1000 yards away. “She is empty. Hosho is OK, we retain a full strike. Not enough really”
“But we press on this time?”
Hidaka waves his hands at the multitude of vessels –“we must ney?”
‘yes, yes we must. Mizuho has attacked a DD, a small convoy late yesterday –only 200 miles from here. We may have been spotted you know”
‘Awkward then?”

Hasegawa pauses. The weight of this entire operation sits on his shoulders. So many pieces of the puzzle –and all must slide into place.
‘Kendari is a mess –and 23rd Flot has not yet began operations there. Maccassar is still in enemy hands. When the naval bombers are operating from there –then, and only then will I go in. “
He takes Hidaka in the eye. “Your men may be good. But some how I think not even you alone can get me safely to Soerabaya”
Hidaka knows he speaks the truth.
“so, we wait a bit?”
‘hah! – Nashiguchi will be pleased to hear that!”

Kurihama and Kamisaka enter the mess quietly. Inside , it is dark –lit with just the glow of red lighting. Around them, the hammocks swing –many occupied.
Okura’s is occupied –steady snoring emanates from the bundle as it swings with the ships roll.

Kurihama checks that Okura is asleep, gives a nod . Kamisake grins.
Carefully, as if it was highly explosive, Kamisaka opens Okura’s little locker. There is little of value in it –(not that any sailor on this ship would even contemplate theft) little of monetary value that is.
There is a tooth brush though.
Carefully, Kamisaka extracts the brush. Kurihama has a small jar – filled with salt.
In goes the brush, the bristles covered in salt.
And just as carefully, the brush is returned………..

The KK brothers ‘reign of terror’, has begun………

The Charge enters the port boiler room –wanting to check the progress on the repairs to the LP drain main.
A comforting flash of arc welding greets him. Good –the work has begun. He will not have to check further, mentally ticking of the job in his brain.

He wanders to the steaming platform –instinct fully eyeing the gauges, mentally noting the blower speed to the fuel pressure.
As he comes to it –the bells ring the ting, ting –another rev change………….
PO Hirate reaches for the fuel pump throttle valve –and the Charge notes –he cannot help but note –the grimace in his PO’s face.
‘Are you OK?”
He has to yell, of course, over the noise of the blowers
Hirate –obviously annoyed that the Charge has noticed –nods –yes, I am OK

Another rev change.
And it is obvious that he is not.

‘Minobe?’ nothing else really has to be said
Hirate nods
‘”Smoke again?”

Damn him to hell. Let him balance these bitch of a things –especially with how Hasegawa drives Zuiho. Smoke? You will never eliminate smoke on this bitch of a ship………….

But he cannot say this. He cannot say anything. He can but simply nod acknowledgement –yes –I know. I know what is going on.

Then he leaves, leaves his best steamer to get on with his job.

Captains LOG
Fleet concentrates today –enters Indian ocean west of Koepang
Am awaiting confirmation of Maccassar capture before proceeding west.
Fleet fuel situation still line ball.

War news
Legaspi taken –confirmed
Fighting Kuala Lumpar
No word on main carrier fleet operations however………

Operations report
Nil contacts, nil incidents today.
Both Hudson kills confirmed. Zuiho fighters now 5 kills.

From the diary of the charge

Most repairs for today still waiting. Ship still at high state of readiness –moving through it a complete pain in the butt.
Evaporator back on line –feed 55%, fresh water 45%

Ship again refuelled during the night.. All men getting 2, maybe 3 hours sleep in 24 –if we are lucky.. I must watch out for simple mistakes.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/22/2010 11:03:23 AM)

Hasegawa’s mind is a long way away. He wonders what his daughters are doing right now.
Are they catching the train to the university? -or attending those stupid patriotic lectures?
He wish he knew, wish he could see them………..
“Hidaka reports his next CAP flight ready to launch sir”
Back to earth.
It is dawn, the sun just starting to poke over the horizon, that wonderful cool time in the tropics, the only sane time Hasegawa believes. The ships about them remain just shadows at the moment, grey, indistinct. On his Focastle –the men their too are still dark –uniforms standing white in the shadows.

A stupid thought passes through his mind – Po Nashiguchi will be pleased, today the sea has calmed considerably.
There is also little wind.
‘Very good. Does he have enough wind over his deck?” See young man –this old dog is learning –you did not have to ask me today…
“Ahh, Sir, he respectfully asks for a course of 290, and another 6 knots at least.”
‘In short –he wants full ahead”
Grins on the bridge. Since when has Hidaka not wanted full ahead when he launches?

Hasegawa walks to the port wing –weaving his way through the crew that crowds the bridge, around the binnacle, the look outs, the OOW, the navigator bent over his chart table –the signal man, and –Ahh, yes –his steward –‘Cup of Cha please” – andout to the port wing.

Kongo sits astern , and to Port –500 yards away.
She should conform………..
But he has not gotten this far with out assuming anything. Assume –making an ass of you and me…………..
‘Inform Kongo –coming to new course 290 –speed 28”

Port 20!, full ahead all!, new course, 290!”
‘port twenty sir –coming to 290’
Zuiho begins to lean ever so slightly….
“Passing through 310 sir!”
Behind him, the rumble of the wheel – and sudden silence
And then, twinged with panic
‘Helm not responding sir!”

Zuiho continues to swing hard, now very hard to Port – behind him, bedlam …….
‘Mother Of God!”

Kongo has NOT conformed
Out of control, Zuiho begins to pass her rapidly closing bow………
“Oh Mother of God!.”

Po Ogawa sits in his cockpit, engine at one third throttle –awaiting the red flag for launch.
To be honest –not every part of his mind is on the forth coming take off –maybe a little bit is concentrating on some of the goofers watching todays launching from the gun tubs. He can see the KK brothers –and when the taste in his mouth is truly gone –he will have them. This he swears

Zuiho begins to turn, into the wind, and he wonders idly if his fellow aviators on Akagi have to worry about sliding off the flight deck every time their carrier turns……

The steam stream faces him –and he automatically begins to go – watching for the scuttling chock men, and it takes a few moments to realise, the list is growing, the steam is now totally not pointing the right way…..

What the?…………
Zuiho continues to charge to port………..
And there –frighteningly close –bearing in on his right shoulder –Kongo looms……..

“Mother of God!”
Frozen, Ogawa watches 30000 tons of death bear down on him………….

Po Okano is on the quarterdeck, taking in the morning air before his forenoon watch.
It is one of his favorite places, here the sea whips past, and occasionally the spray flies in, cooling, refreshing.
It is not a quiet place –quite the opposite –it is aplace of noise and vibration –Zuiho’s great propellers are below here –and they whoosh, whoosh, whoosh endlessly –vibrating the deck, the winches.
Add the hydraulics of the steering rams, and yes –it is a noisy place indeed.
Okano also likes to come here –and watch the planes come in –watch, and hear, and feel them smack onto the flight deck above…….

And not a few times he wishes he was in a cockpit.

The tanoy behind him squawks –some garbled message –and now the quartedeck is leaning, and leaning –the water line coming up the starboard side of the ship –hissing, splashing, and the vibrations are hard, hard, whoosh, whoosh –and the Kongo comes looming into view………..and whoosh, whoosh , and
‘Mother of God! –she is coming straight at them!

Hasegawa never hesitates.
A moment? A lifetime? He sees that Kongo’s stern is a maelstrom of white – going hard astern…………he sees’ the pagoda –the tower –that massive bloody tower, is leaning to starboard……..
He sees the only possible action…………

‘Pipe steering gear failure! Five blasts! Emergency power! –full ahead both!” he steps to the sound tube “ Give me everything you have got!”

The charge is in the Port engineroom –doing his morning rounds.
‘Give me everything you have got!
And the frantic pipe –steering gear failure……….
Adrenalin dumps –and ones mind fills with a million doubts –a million what ifs…….
Inwardly…………..control the panic.
Outwardly – calmly –the body reaches forward, repeats the telegraphs –emergency boost –and he takes the throttle operators shoulder .
‘Steady lad –suck her back too much and we will do very poorly………..You –second condensate! –get the oil pump on chief!.
Voice tube –“Charge here –open theblower overspeeds –and watch your water levels!”
And now you watch, and hang on, and hope –and wonder –what the hell is happening above……………….

Zuiho begins to wind up, and up –Ok –she will do it………….and quickly, mind at a thousand miles per hour, the charge heads aft –towards the steering compartment
‘mother of God –what has gone wrong!”

Konngo comes on, and on, but now, even as the bow looms –the great barrels seem to reach over them, she is swinging hard too –to starboard, passing aft, passing aft –out of sight –and all on the bridge wince –preparing for the crash……….

Ogawa unfreezes – in one swift movement he deserts his cockpit –leaps for the deck –a stab of pain from an ankle –and stumbling, almost crawling he crabs forward –the scream of the siren drowning all thought, all senses –except one –get the F#$K away!

Okano watches –stunned –as the great wall of gray steel races past Zuiho’s stern –so close he can count the rivets, see the individual rust stains –he watches stunned –erect – until Kongo’s massive wake slams into the stern –a great wall of water crashes over the quarterdeck –takes him, slams him into something –and the world is water, pain, and disbelief…………….

Kongo misses………………..
And that is enough to know for now.

“Aft steering party closed up sir –helm responding to aft steering!”
Double F#$K
‘very good , starboard twenty – half ahead both!. Get me a damage report!”

We need now, to enter some ones mind.
This is, of course, a tricky business –after all –who really knows themselves totally –let alone who has the termini to try to describe what some one else is thinking –but let us try.
The Charge enters aft steering.
One glance –emergency steering is closed up already –and it is working –the wheel here turns –the rams he can hear –the emergency pin is in………….
But what –heavens –what has happened!
Loss of steering, loss of steering.
And every, every moment that the captain does not have it –is another moment against you………………regardless of what has gone wrong……..

Several of his younger leading seamen scramble in –sweat , and fear? On their faces.
And he must not show any himself –he must NOT!

Leader! –(its got to be a hydraulics leak –it must be –it has to be –the problem obviously –is not down here!) –the port system –you –the starboard. I will be on the bridge!

The bridge is a long way, a dozen ladders, a dozen doors –and you are already so tired.
Minobe fills the corridor.
‘No F&^%ing idea yet sir –but I have my suspicion”
‘Suspicion! –I need more than suspicion!’
‘ten minutes –give me ten minutes> can you come to the bridge? –I need you to liason with the captain”

And, you note this well –he follows you charge –because what does he really know about the steering? Sweet FA –that is what………….

The bridge
White faces.
And a deathly quiet.

Hasegawa observes you with a cold eye –but the Charge in you is sniffing the problem now……….”With permission sir?’
A nod
You take the wheel –and spin the helm –and feel the lack of resistance –hear the grating……
Screw driver –and now the screws are coming out of the binnacle –and the whole world no longer exists –just the problem, just the need –get HIS steering back!

The cover comes of –and THERE! –there it is!
The wheel turns a bevel gear –the gear moves the racks –the racks push the pistons –the pistons transmit the hydraulic power –the gear has no teeth…………….

The Charge stands – ‘Got the Fu………ooops –languageCharge!
“I have located the problem sir!”
And now you really see you new captain for the first time.
And the twinkle in the old mans eyes – ‘So its F%$cked is it Chief/”
‘Not for long sir –we can machine a new one up quick smart….”

No rush Chief –emergency steering probably need the exercise……….

whippleofd -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/23/2010 2:25:25 AM)

Damn man, that was some right fine writein' there. Loved the ending.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/23/2010 10:11:27 AM)

Hi Whipple.

What I am doing -if you have not guessed -is following my actual old diary from my time at sea -so these defects are all real -and these things can happen!
Its bringing back memories for sure!
Thanks for the comments - war about to explode i think -this could be a very short AAR if it goes wrong!

Dec 31

The day for Zuiho is not yet over.
Whilst the steering binnacle becomes a minor disaster scene –complete with the appropriate muttered curses and bangs from hammers (what job can’t be fixed with out a hammer!) signals again begin to flow into the bridge.

“many warships –speed 20 knots, course 180, position #$, $%”-which places the sighting north west of Broome.

It is a difficult sighting. Heading south –probably ships fleeing from Soerabaya – or something more significant?
Hidaka has his suspicions…… “Ryujo to strike enemy sighting . Bombs only……….”

Zuiho’s fighter do not participate –continuing to fly the endless circles in the sky – and the strike is gone for well over 4 hours, returning tired, frustrated –and bombless.
The many warships –were just one –a cripple at that.
There is another aspect now to the operation –the enemy must know where they are –and what area of the world to avoid.

Whilst Zuiho’s crew labours in the heat to keep her aircraft in the air, one man relaxes.
He wishes he was not –would do anything to not be stuck here in the sickbay –do anything to remove the pain in his head.
He has been lucky –so says the doctor –the anchor windless has only given him 14 stitches in his head –he should have broken it.
Maybe Okano’s head is tougher than he thinks.
He is Zuiho’s first casualty –and self inflicted.

Captains LOG

Near miss today with steering gear failure –almost collided with Kongo. I consider this MY fault, and responsibility –as I failed to confirm her movements before coming into the wind.
Engineering reactions were good –and helped considerably to avoid the disaster.
I will, must do better!

Operations report
Task force sank small AK to south, Zuiho not involved. Continue to operate CAP.

From the Charges diary
Steering gear failure –binnacle –heart in mouth –fortunate I think to find fault so quickly. Repairs completed. Po Okano injured –off duty for a day at least.
Plant actually running well today!

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/24/2010 7:23:51 AM)

January 1, 1942

When the home port begins to fade over the horizon, I think its true to say, nearly every heart onboard a ship –is still mostly attached to that fast disappearing home.
And then, as it sinks from view, your new world, the new reality, your ship will start to intude.

On the second day, and for some, the third, the heart will ache.
But at the same time, the mind will be putting home, loved ones, families, everything not involving the ship –into a little box.
Most will mark this box –for later
Some –to open only when needed.
Others will return to it again, and again.

But memories of home will, regardless, end in that box.

Pressure of war, pressure of operations helps build the box –making it stronger, inviolate –and more precious.
But, a box in the corner of ones mind it will remain –until home comes finally back into view.

It will be replaced by a new reality. The present.
The ship
The job
And presently –these are all that matter.

Zuiho has reached that place now. For days now, the routines have been the same…….rise, eat, prepare the planes –launch the planes, recover the planes, prepare the planes –eat, sleep, and repeat the next day.
Men know each other better now –know who to trust, who to turn to last. Below decks –a brutal training routine is now in place –know your systems, know your drills –blindfolded if need be –or face almost unimaginable wrath.

Signals flow cleanly, boat drills go smoothly –the guns gleam – and the crews drill, and drill, and drill.
In the lower hanger, the maintenance goes on – the sweat flows, and men curse Zuiho’s sharp movements in the Indian ocean swells –but availability remains high.

It is on the bridge, and on the flight deck, that these weeks at sea now show –there are few goofers now –recovery, launch are mere routine (all except for the pilots –no launch or recovery will ever be routine for them) –and bridge and flight deck now work almost by mutual understanding.

Today, today Zuiho turns North west – beginning the run into the enemy beaches .
And the work continues.
And you must ask –as she approaches these enemy shores –where this journey, this work may abruptly, violently end –why do they continue on, with out hesitation?

And then you remember –all those little boxes –and the hope of one day, being able to open them again.

whippleofd -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/24/2010 10:33:49 AM)


What I am doing -if you have not guessed -is following my actual old diary from my time at sea -so these defects are all real -and these things can happen!
Its bringing back memories for sure!
Thanks for the comments - war about to explode i think -this could be a very short AAR if it goes wrong!

Conducting sustained combat operations at sea. The purpose of every sailor, no matter the Navy - or the time frame.

I wasn't sure where the EngCats were comming from shipmate; but by your discriptions it was obvious, at least to this hole-snipe, that there was a bunch of: "been there, done that" involved. As for the LP drains: you mean that actually occurs? [:D] I can't tell you the number of drills I ran that had the Cl problem comming from them. Never had one actually occur though.

So far you have captured life at sea quite well. I am curious to see what's up with Okano.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/25/2010 9:34:23 AM)

Hi Whipple - your American description of some defects even has me a little stuck - but I think our ancestory is pretty similar!
Okano -self inflicted as in he hit something hard when the wave smashed him -I call it self inflicted because Zuiho should not have been doing wheelies like that!

Well -if this is going to be a short AAR -tomorrow will probably be the day - Zuiho is heading straight for Southern Java - and the enemy have based B17's there!

Jan 2

“Captain, OOW, request your presence on the bridge”
For a moment Hasegawa struggles to remember where he is – the Fog of sleep still thick about him.
Then, abruptly – as years at sea have instilled in him –he is wide awake.
He has managed 4 hours sleep –extraordinary……. And as he swings his feet onto the deck, begins to move towards the bridge, he is already assessing his ship.
The fans whirr the same, Zuiho rides the same – no frantic maneuvering - then she is not under attack then –yet.

Confirmation as he enters the bridge – all is quiet – the same red glow – the same shadows of men at their posts –all alert –but no one alarmed.

About them –a brilliant sea –same steady swell – and calmness.
Thank heavens for small mercies.
The OOW nods. “Maya reports enemy fleet in sight”
Hasegawa nods

Dutch?. American?, or the remains of the British. He walks to the chart. Maya should be here – almost due east of Soerabaya –the lure for the trap.
If it is a fleet –it must be the Dutch –coming to disrupt landings at Kendari……

‘Any sign we have been spotted?”
An un necessary question really – four hours sleep tells the answer –but you are the captain –you do ask these things.
“No Sir –all quiet”
“Inform Hidaka “

“Another signal sir- enemy consists of three Dutch cruisers, 5 destroyers. Conducting Stern chase”

Zuiho is called to flying stations –and again the great task of arming the kates begins –spotting the zeros.

“one cruiser sunk – 2 DD’s sunk – engagement broken off. Nil loss to ourselves”

Hasegawa contemplates the last message “damn light on detail hey Hidaka –we are in range –do we lose your falcons this time?”
‘The men are eager to go Sir”
Hasegawa stares at the horizon –now as dawn breaks –he sees the true weather – ahead a great bank of low, dark clouds.
“Flying weather Hidaka?
‘Hardly the best sir –but I wish to strike”

“Maya task group is 4 heavies, 2 light cruisers strong”
“Sir?” Where are you leading with this old man –the target is there –we are ready –our fish are ready.
‘waste of torpedoes against cripples I would think. Send Ryujo only Hidaka – we will see if anything juicier comes up……”

For a moment the younger man threatens to retort what he really thinks –how can he explain this to the crews?
“orders are orders Luetenant”

reluctantly –“Sir”

And so it is.
Ryujo strikes –and the old man is correct – Tromp, Java, a DD wallow in the oily sea, barely moving.
Her Kates bomb them heavily, accurately. No loss

Nothing else occurs for the rest of the day, the formation now plowing through steady rain.
Tomorrow –D day………………

Engineering night orders for January third

This ship will in all probability see heavy action tomorrow as the troops land.
This departments Duty is to maintain maneuvering, power, lighting, and aviation facilities –REGARDLESS OF COST.
You have trained for this, you are ready for this.
No man shall abandon his post unless ordered to – do not bring dishonour upon yourself, your ship mates, or the emperor.

All departments to confirm ready for action.
Fire hoses to be rigged –and charged.
Ship to have full power available by 0400 hours.

Long live the Emperor!

Two seamen sit on their haunches in the Aft diesel. They have both been in the Navy all of three months – and tomorrow, battle is promised. It is a long way indeed from the small fishing village of youth, from school.
The door opens –and a familiar figure enters –and smiles

‘Evening men”
‘Already to go ?the pump primed?
“yes Chief!”
‘Good. The Charges face is passive. ‘Start it please”
A hesitation. Swiftly the seaman does his checks –and with a terrible roar the beast bursts into life.
For a moment – panic –as the discharge gauge reads zero - -but a quick twist of a vent cock –and the pressure rises nicely.
With a motion of hand, the charge calls for the beast to be shut down.

The sudden silence is shocking

‘men, tomorrow –if bad things happen –we will need this pump –this diesel.
Don’t panic – I know I can trust you. When others lose their heads –do as you have just done – calmly - no mistakes. Can you do that for me ney?”

He leaves, and now the thought of battle is not so bad……………….

And so he goes through the ship –a hand on a shoulder here –a pat there –and encouraging word there. Even the corrections seem proper, and barbless.
It takes many hours –but by midnight he has seen them all.
All of his men.
Come what may, they won’t let him down.
Nor him them.

From the captains log

Final run to beaches tonight.
Our orders are simple –get the troops to the beaches –from there –I am sure they will prevail.
I truly now am in the lap of the Gods –and Hidaka’s hands. Everything depends on his flyers.

Operation LOG
100% CAP ordered
We look forward to good hunting

From the Charges Diary

Some steam leaks through out systems noted today. Defect log is filling a little!
D day tomorrow we are told.
Zuiho appears ready.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/26/2010 10:56:00 AM)

January 4th

It is just before dawn –again that delightful period of coolness before the sun rises.
It will be a hot day –in more ways than one.
Okura rests easily in his cockpit, his crew making last minute adjustments behind him.
The propeller turns, and everything vibrates, an easy vibration, throttle at idle.. he is calm, having once again during the morning, faced his demons –and beaten them.
If he dies, he dies today. If not –he will do his duty as best he can.
Zuiho turns into the wind –the steam barely visible streaming from the bow.
His bird is armed today with a single 250 kg weapon, his misson – see what is lurking at soerabaya – ‘and come back a bloody alive” – instructs Hidaka.

Stupid instructions –his fate is already decided –he will try to fight it –but karma is karma .
The red light flashes –the deck crews scurry away.
Ahead –darkness –just the slightest hint of the yet to break dawn.
Instruments glow comfortably back at his last swift gaze –all is good.
‘We go”
Two clicks from behind –they are ready.
The throttle slides smoothly forward, and as always, she crawls so slowly down the rapidly shrinking deck, slowly, slowly, tail up, and the heart stopping sink as they clear the end –the sea so dark, so close –everything maxed out now –so delicately balanced, the stall ever so close –a millimeter of too much stick now and she will trample you into the depths……….

And thankfully, the speed builds, and she is climbing………….
“truk!’ –its his navigator –“I have wet feet we went that close ”

Okura banks the bomber north east –climbing, climbing, and now, below them –flashes, and tracer –the landing beaches –and gone –and ahead, in the growing light –the dark of java – and some where over the foreboding hills sliding steadily beneath – Soerabaya………..

Another bomber rumbles over the bridge –engine beating, belly exposed briefly, then fading away into the gray light.

“Lt JG Kamisaka is away – Kurihara will be our last.” Hidaka consults his clipboard –that’s every bomber away sir”
Hasegawa does not turn to look at his operations officer –his eyes are glued to his glasses – on the horizon – backgrounded by the Java coast –the great tower of Mutsu.
And somehow, on this fine morning, with the zeros warming on his deck – he does not envy the battleship at all..
It will be his ship –his men today that will decide the issue……

The last Kate rumbles overhead – all Kates are on search today –all of them.
‘Hidaka will be pleased at least’ he thinks – ‘and so will Minobe – no hangers full of explosive burnable planes today…..
The Charge sits on the tool box in the Port engine room – this is his action station.
The Damage control central is the CPO Chippies area, he shares it with Minobe –an arrangement the charge likes very much.
Down here, locked below the heavy watertight hatch –he cannot be caught by surprise.
He is –as he is prone too –dozing.
The Engine room crew do not disturb him –do not dare too. They have slept this last night - god knows when that poor barsted last did………..

‘port engine room –port boiler room”
‘Port engine”
‘is the charge there”
Awake now –instantly –ears cocked.
“can he come over please – 1A boiler gauge glass is leaking”
‘On his way”

The Gauge glass on a boiler is simply the most important item of the boiler.
It rests halfway up the steam drum –a simple device –two penetrations into the drum, one low, one high, each with cocks.
Two heavy –stupidly heavy thick plates holding two thick long glass inserts –a miniscule gap between them –a gap that once backlit –shows the true water level –the safe, the critical water level in the boiler.

Develop a leak –and the level shown, may no longer be true……….

And right now – 1A’’s has a leak –minor –for now –a minor leak hissing out from its side.
A minor leak every stoker down here just knows , is going to rapidly get worse.
The Charge arrives – produces his steel rule –runs it along the gauges side – the sweat already pouring of his face.
He notes the leak –‘Truk”
It is bad. Very bad. Truk it.

“get the kit ready”

The boiler boys hustle away .
Dawn is breaking, and on the flight deck, as the zeros continue to warm up – the crews feel the cool breeze –and thank it.
Here, at the gauge glass, here on the top plates between two boilers steaming at almost 100% forcing rate –the thermometer trembles at 140 degrees F
It will be hot work.
In more ways than one.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/26/2010 12:36:23 PM)

D day continues……

Okura banks gently, wings to nearly 30 degrees, the sick steady in his hand.
‘how many do you count?”
There is no hesitation from behind him “Six, and they look like they have seen the devil himself”
‘tackling a battleship in one of those is sure suicide……..”
“yes, but to run when your home land is being invaded?’
‘its not their home land is it – they are colonists – remember that!’

below, the PT boats cream wakes steadily towards Soerabaya - behind them, fading into the rising haze of the warming day – Yamashiro and Ise guard the way to the invasion fleet.

‘Do we attack sir?’
Okura considers the situation One bomb –six swift targets.
‘lets see whats lurking this way ney?”
he begins to climb again –seeking the cloud layer –ahead, Soerabaya - but more importantly, heavy dark weather
Hide and seek it is then.

‘21st division reports troops on edge of airfield”
It is welcome news. Despite the losses in the surf –the army, essentially, is ashore.
No mines, few guns. More drownings in the surf than losses from the enemy.
If Loemadjang field can be secured today –how much easier the task ahead..

“I am beginning to run out of sea room here –are you launching the zeros now –or do you want to wait for the next leg?’”
Hidaka again considers the weather. The promised beautiful dau has turned out to be just that –a promise. Low scudding, rain filled clouds are now rolling off Java. Perfect for attacking aircraft to hide in. Also easy to lose carriers in.

But that is a minor risk compared to the enemy.
‘I will launch sir”
‘Good”. OOW – battle speed 1!. Prepare to launch fighters”

‘Are you sure charge? – the last thing we need is to lose a boiler now!”

Bloody hell –does he not think I know what a leaking gauge glass means?.
Does he think I am a fool?
“Sir –I understand –but the boiler must be secured. It must be.”

DC central is silent. Everyman in the room studiously tends to their work –desperate to not get involved in THIS conversation .
One wonders though – how many think the same thought –now we find out –does Minobe have a spine –or is he a jellyfish?

Minobe fiddles with his pen -……….

Come on you fool. You cannot avoid it. If we lose the level –what then? How many men do we kill?

‘Charge – they are launching. We may soon be attacked. I cannot go to the Captain and tell him the Port Shaft is going to be down a third revs!”

As I thought.
So be it

“Sir –please –just let him know –then let the decision be his………..”

There jelly fish –an out………..

“A leaking gauge glass Minobe?’
“yes sir”
Hasegawa, surprisingly, smiles.
‘Ah, the vagrancies of machinery. And the timing it chooses. I lost a boiler in 33 this way. Very bad. So sorry, 10 men dead. So sorry.” He takes Minobe in the eye.

“Give me five minutes please”

Hidaka knows his ship. Knows his job. “The fighters –still no problem. Any bombers –no launches loaded . Recoveries will be tricky. “
‘But all the bombers are out anyway on search”
‘But if they find anything………….”
The captain almost laughs.” Hidaka – a month ago I would have thought this impossible –but let the battlewagons have a go hey?. You keep the enemy bombers of my back……”

‘How long Minobe?’
“four hours at most sir”
‘is that with or with out fat Engines?”
“four hours”

“Hidaka –get your birds aloft –Minobe –I will let you know when you can shut down 1A”

Minobe scuttles –is that the word. Yes, he scuttles from the bridge. Overhead, the first zero rumbles away.
Machinery. Ahh wonderful things machines. Each with a personality, and you are blind if you cannot see that……..

Zuiho –you little lady –you aren’t getting cranky with us I hope?

And on the horizon – gunfire.
‘Enemy air attack –bearing 100 –range ten miles”
Well, if you are little lady –settle down please –we have no time for tantrums now……….

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/27/2010 11:29:50 AM)

Ogawa clears the deck –the last zero away.
Already his back aches, and he can feel the weariness in his bones.
Would today be better than yesterday?

Yesterday –D day proper – a day of endless circling through the low clouds, the rain , the muck –wondering if on this circuit you have misjudged –and the mountains will join you in the cockpit………..

Endless laps – each one punctuated by the horror below -.
The weather kept the bombers away-but what it did to the surf…………
Each lap – more chaos below –more upturned boats, more barges washing smashed on the beaches –and bodies –so many bodies.

Yesterday Zuiho lost a Kate – smacking in too hard on the deck –collapsing into a total write off.
Pilot error.
How many ‘errors’ today.

He climbs –forming into the three plane formation
Cloud base –5000 here – higher over the hills?
Bloody haze………
He begins the scan –looking, looking, the scan he must keep up all day –and abruptly –there –against the hills –over the battle wagons –the black puffs of AA
He wobbles his wings –points.
Diogawa nods, Nashiguchi too –they see them.

With a concerted effort –he fights the fear that rises like gorge from his belly..
Firmly fits his goggles in place.
Takes the big breath.
Then calmly, skillfully, they bank into the attack.

“Four bombers, half a dozen fighters sir! –range 5 kilometers!’
Hasegawa does not hesitate. This work he knows, knows very well.
He steps out to the starboard bridge wing – glasses to the bearing.
Yes –four bombers –racing in, a shallow dive – and already scything down from above –his eagles………
Good, but no chances taken today.
‘helmsman!, port 30!, full ahead all!.

Below, in the port boiler room, PO Okano - whos hand is at this very moment on the main fuel trip –seconds from pulling fires on the beast – hesitates.
The bells are clanging –and the telegraphs swing to full ahead.

so much for THAT permission just given to shut down the boiler –and so much for the 10 minutes steady revolutions he needs to accomplish it…..
Now –now it’s a frantic explosion of activity – both sparayer punchers are not on the boiler front –one is at the main stop –the other waiting for word to secure the sprayers.
Now, Okano has to reverse the procedures, and restore the rapidly fading boiler pressure.
“truk!., truk!, truk!
Arms are a blur –more steam for the fuel pumps! –now –heavens ! don’t suck me back so quickly! –and now even quicker wrenching of the valve to control the blowers – too slow, too slow! –and the boiler shudders –poor fuel air mix –he does not need to see the smoke mirror –he knows he is shoveling smoke……………

The martins are in finger four formation – boring straight in, and the fighters wheel in, Diogawa picks the nearest, its sliding down and under his nose, stick is against the thigh now, wings past vertical, head up, up –and now diving, the ugly F$%^er floats up –and his fingers squeeze, squeeze –and parts are flying off her, off her –and flame blossoms abruptly, and the nose dives straight down –and he peels away and up – easily avoiding the little CW-21 seeking revenge.

And already the sky is clear – the first wave of attackers killed to the last man……..

Hasegawa watches the last bomber fall – still well short of him.
Zuiho is increasing speed –ugly at the moment –he notes the great clouds of stink barreling from under the flight deck –
‘OOW ! –was the boiler shut down? –or have I upset the black gang?’
a laugh –high pitched, a relief in the tension of attack – ‘I think they hate you sir!’

Another raid is coming in –the glinting already growing in size – “please tell them I need another effort………”

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