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

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1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/28/2010 10:11:52 AM)

This wave of fighters –16 strong, seek just one thing, to drag the fighters away from the B17’s thundering in overhead.
Nearly 30 zeros swarm into them –and it becomes stunningly clear that the brewsters are no match, the little demons a bit more nimble –but neither good enough.
The killing begins…………

Po Nashiguchi has the worst of it – he nips in behind a Brewster –dead in behind –squeezes the trigger –and just two rounds get away before the guns jam.

He does not curse, does not panic –flipping his bird inverted, he drops away from the furball.

Leveling out – and suddenly the world is full of crashing black bangs, the rattle of shrapnel –the excited seamen on the invasion ships are taking no chances –if it flies –shoot at it.

Gritting teeth now, he swings around , hard, seeking home.
He needs to land, needs to get the gun unjammed –needs to fight.

He joins circuit, turns in, lines up the lights, begins to descend on to the little deck.

Below, in the Port Boiler room, Okano has gotten the pressure back under control, he signals the sprayer puncher to “pull a half” –reducing the firing rate slightly –and freezes in shock.


Oh my GOD! –for how long!
Instinct takes over

He screams it –a yell to be heard over the screaming whine of the blowers “Loss of water!, pulling fires!”
Without hesitation, he pulls the fuel emergency trip –and even as he does, his sprayer punchers are racing to the back of the boiler, to the main stop, to the blower throttles, his water tender killing the feed pump , securing his systems

Hidaka momentarily turns his eyes away from the bombers approaching overhead – watching carefully Nashiguchi’s approach –and then he feels it –the rumble below, the sound of blowers out of synch, and again the smoke begins to bellow out from the stack –and , there is no mistaking it –the abrupt slowing down of Zuiho’s race through the ocean.

‘bridge one engine! –loss of port forward boiler –water casualty –reducing revolutions port shaft to 230!”

“OOW -watch your helm – don’t let her swing!”
“OH you little cow” Hasegawa thinks ‘your timing cannot be better’
But the old man shows no panic, no fear. In fact, he flashes the helmsman a smile – ‘A challenge for your skills no?’
Encouraged, the seaman doubles his efforts.
He won’t let her deviate an inch –not a bloody inch.
Strangely enough –as the B17’s release the strings of eggs so far overhead – he will be the only man on Zuiho who will feel no fear – everything concentrated on keeping the course.

The B17’s –have, of course – simply brushed aside the swarming zeros and now unleash their deadly load.
But they will pay a price, turning away, two will separate slightly, and the massed fire will be come individual defence –inadequate it will turn out – Ryujos men will take down both the wayward bombers.

For Nashiguchi, one second his path is perfect, the next, he is wildly overshooting –and he panics –chopping the throttle, and she drops hard, misses the last cable –he bounces –and sanity regains control –slamming the throttle forward, she skids, floats over the starboard side, scattering gunners everywhere –and somehow, some how, he keeps her flying………..

The bombs scream down –at Haranua –and she vanishes in a mountain of erupting water – and emerges unscathed.

And suddenly, the raid is gone.
Nashiguchi tries again, gets down.
Zuiho continues to race over the ocean, but not nearly as fast now,.

“Port engine bridge”
“Port engine –charge speaking”
“Captain wishes to know if it was a real water loss –or just your gauge glass?”
“Inform Command please I must assume for real. Recommend sir, we change the glass now –the boiler is now secured”

a long pause ‘wait”

The charge changes the channel on the comms –“Port Boiler, Charge – get the spare gauge glass to the top plates, get ready to go –I think we will have to do this quick”

‘Where are the bombers Hidaka?’
Hidaka consults his flight chart – most bombers will be reaching limit of search sir – most have 4 hours fuel left –at most”
‘we can still recover?
‘yes –but I can’t launch a loaded bomber on a calm day like this on three boilers sir”
‘Alright – recover as usual.” Hasegawa watches the last patch of wreckage pass by –unknown grave of another brave Dutchman…..”I think they have shot the bolt”

The work will be brutal
140 degrees.
100 percent humidity.
Bolts – 1 and a quarter inch thick –all torqued up to incredible Kn
The replacement glass – the quickest way to tackle this – they will replace the entire unit –can barely be lifted by 4 men - is manhandled to the platform.
The Charge himself –climbs to the boiler room roof – here temperatures are simply insane –temperatures he simply ignores – up here –as he struggles with the block and tackle that simply must be rigged – he does not have to worry about sweat in the eyes –it will evaporate well before it even can bead on his brow.

It takes an hour to get the old glass of – 30 minutes to lift the new –20 to sit the new gaskets –get this misaligned –disaster! – 15 to insert the new bolts.
Bodies will break –men will stumble away –gasping for breath in the superheated air –stumble to the vents, drink (and sometimes vomit), and then, bodies broken to the indomitable spirit –will return to the work –to replace the next man who has collapsed

The Charge remains –he does not do the work – he could never insult his men by presuming he could do it better . But it is inconceivable to be anywhere else..

This is the most difficult , this inserting the bolts–everything is still red hot –peel your skin hot – to the touch
Yet some of the work is as delicate as flower pressing…………

It takes another hour to tighten the bolts –remove the tackle –and – every heart in every throat – to open the cocks to the pressure that remains in the boiler.

It does not leak.
There is no celebration, no slapping of hands –too much has been achieved for such stupid empty gestures –the real victory lies in the simple words.
‘repairs complete –‘ permission to light of 1A boiler”

‘Will we be online in 40 minutes Minobe?”
‘Sir, I apologise it took so long –but yes –we will be 100% in 20 mintes”

Loemadjang lies in Japanese hands. Already 23 flot fighters are staging in.
All of Zuiho’s birds are home, her pilots exhausted –yet exalting in the action of the day.
Hasegawa turns Zuiho for Palua – his magazines empty
The Army, 3 divisions strong is ashore with out loss.

So far, the happy phoenix remains the little ship that could.

From the Captains LOG
Regret no entry for January third – frantic day –D day
Lost first Kate –op loss yesterday.
Continuous operations from this force kept enemy at bay –and invasion fleet untouched. I am impressed indeed bypower of flight deck.

Ship today suffered critical engineering casualty to a boiler during critical operations.
Repairs totally unsatisfactory –taking too long –and I cannot believe initial casualty could not have been avoided.
My faith in senior ranks engineering department severely dented today.

Operations report

Jan 3rd – operations loss –one Kate
Continous Cap –no action

January 4th

PO Okura –Kate pilot – credited with a single PT boat kill while on search pattern over Soerabaya

Heavy combat by all fighter pilots today.
7 kills claimed by this ship – 5 brewsters, 2 demons.
Nil losses, one zero damaged.

From the Diary of the Charge

Failure of gauge glass 1A boiler.
Well done men of one boiler, outsides crew. Repairs rapid and successful.
Ship attacked today –but apparently they missed by miles!

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/29/2010 9:52:54 AM)

Jan 5th

Zuiho's task force sails south away from java -her magazines empty.
Hasegawa falls the ship out from action stations just after midday, and the ship falls silent -every man who can, grabbing what sleep they can.
her airgroups stand down, her pilots collapsing with everyone else -the ready room an jumble of scattered limbs, smell, and snores.
It will be a quiet day -with all concentrating on the present.
What will happen tomorrow -they will worry about tomorrow.

Local Yokel -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/29/2010 6:04:01 PM)


ORIGINAL: 1275psi


Oh yes, that's definitely a sphincter clenching moment [sm=scared0008.gif][sm=scared0018.gif][X(]

All very well to change the gauge glass, but no water showing is just a symptom - what was the cause? I assume marine SOP would be to blow down the gauge frames as a check for a false reading.

For a ship that has only been in service for a year the frequency of problems with Zuiho's machinery seems a bit alarming.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/30/2010 8:44:06 AM)

Hi Local yokel !!!!

me thinks Okano fell victim to a false level in the glass because of the leak -and with everything happening at once............
but of course, you never do find out do you?

Oh -Zuiho is not new -she once was a tanker -then a seaplane tender -then undertook a very rushed conversion.
From my experience this is very much a general run of the normal stuff steam ships throw at you- (she only has system damage of 1 so far -and engine damage of 1) -she's going all right so far...................... (If the system damage creeps up i have lots of really nice goodies to write about -but at the moment, its just the grind.
thankyou very much for following this tale.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (9/30/2010 11:29:43 AM)

January 6th

The power of the Indian ocean swells have passed under the stern, once again Zuiho sails through calm, warm tropical waters.
For the sailors on the decks –a day of ever changing vistas –islands, green, dark, fishing villages nestled against stunning golden beaches –and a blue sky, blue sea.

For the men on the bridge –a day of tension, as each navigation point is reached, each turn of the helm. These are close waters –poorly charted close waters.

Below decks, Minobe gets two boilers shut down – and soot blows, bottom blows are done.
Minor leaks can be attended to. The Charge conducts the mandatory overspeeds of the blowers, and two men are sat for tickets..
The ship remains at defence watches –second level readiness – hard work –but a routine that can be endured , and endured for as long as needed
Today, her flight deck remains quiet –below the mechanics swarm over the birds –how well has the type 0 endured the operations?
The men work , and for the first time in days, laughter echos in the hanger –the great tension has relaxed a little……

Hidaka works steadily –he has maintenance records to check, and paperwork to fill over the lost kate
He also has post action reports for Combined fleet to write –and this above all, is giving him the greatest trouble.
The Type 0 –for now – is more than sufficient, to deal with most threats against the fleet – IF IT CAN BE VECTORED to it IN TIME.
In both attacks –the out lying cruisers had given sufficient warning –allowing the fighters to swarm into the threat vector –but –and this was the great but –too many had gone –leaving the fleet vulnerable on other flanks……..

The radios on the planes were junk. The pilots almost to a man disdain them.
He –Hidaka –had been almost overwhelmed just getting planes on and off the deck.
Simply –once in the air –the fighters were on their own.
What was needed –was essential, was some sort of control from the fleet…..

But he is only a Lieutenant………….way beyond his pay grade…………

LTJG Kamisaka, Kurihama, sit side by side on the platform outside the ready room, taking in the sun, doing what every sailor finds himself doing –watching the ocean pass by.

It is a soothing thing this –and it suits the Japanese mind admirably –it empties it, calms it.
It is a wonderful way to spend time this, watching the world , the battlewagons on the flanks –wakes creaming brilliantly white.

Kamisake thinks over the days gone by.

He is well pleased, and somewhat surprised just how quick, how easy it had been to kill –to be killed.
The Tromp had been helpless –had it not? –listing, burning –and her fire weak, in effectual.
But his run nevertheless had been true, the drop good.
Now –at the least –his crew knows that he can do the job.
Next time, however, he must get in closer………….

“What do you think?” Kurihama breaks the silence
“About what, you sad sack?”
“This” a hand waves at the ships accompanying them “ this week, the war –every bloody thing”
“That’s a lot you know”
‘The war then”

Kamisaka smiles, and in a perfect parrot –imitates Tokyo rose’s latest reports “ The mighty Imperial navy continues to liberate the oppressed people of Asia from the Colonial yoke –today sinking a carrier, two battleships, and numerous other vessels”

“Oh shut up” he drains his cup of tea ‘ Seriously –what in the hell are we doing invading java –and why are we fighting America –the british I can understand- but the Americans?’
Kamisaka contemplates the waves. How blue the sea is here………no different from home though –
“I have no idea. What I do know is this. I miss my wife. I can do my job. Hidaka is not hassling me today –and , most important of all my friend –lunch is about to be served”
‘That’s it?”
‘Well yes –whats more important than lunch?’

In the ready room –it’s a totally different story. No quiet contemplation here. The fighter pilots have gathered –and the room is full of excited conversations –little wooden planes on sticks being waved wildly about –and many hands , fingers spread, stunting about the room.

These 16 men have 12 kills amongst them –Ogawa has three, all the others singles so far –all with out loss.
For fighter pilots –this is as good as it gets –to engage in combat, to dogfight, to out fly, out shoot –to out skill the opponent……….

The men laugh, chat.
After lunch –there will be drills, and proper discussions on tactics. But now –there is life, relief, and pride………

Hasegawa sleeps –it is no little thing to keep a 62 year old awake for 73 hours straight.

Captains log
Zuiho returning to palua
We have been assigned to Combined fleet. I expect to rendezvous with new CVL Shoho -and have been ordered to plan for deep raid missions against Noumea / Suva communications .
Ship quiet today –average 14 knots today

War news – Malaya – our Army claims to have destroyed several Indian brigades, and is advancing on kuatan? –and is south of Kula Lumpar
In the phillipines Army is advancing on manilla –slowly however.
Tarakan is ours, and Port Moresby is being fought for.
Timor is ours, as is most of PNG, Maccassar fell today as well.
The plan for 16th army to hook in behind Borneo goes well……

Operations LOG
Maintenance day.
Nil flying
Nil enemy sighted

From diary of charge

Steady day
Shut down 1A, 2A.
Repaired blown glass –now again have a spare for each space
Water at 75% feed, 60% fresh!.

A quote today I heard on the port side stokers verandah- Hara – my middle name is cautious
Ito – that’s Ok –my middle name is reckless…………
Little news on war today –and no drills either.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/2/2010 12:07:20 PM)

January 7th

It is a rare day indeed -the Charge consults his diary, and finds it nearly empty of defects.
It is a satisfying moment this, to knock on the sod of a skulkers Minobes cabin door -and to report -ship ready to sail in all respects sir -to observe the test of the mains -and to clear the harbour incident free.

It has been a frantic 12 hours - kendari as a port has ben hopless -only the ability to refuel alongside a tanker -and to receive water and oil as well has tempted Hasegawa past the shoals and reefs guarding it.

12 hours -more than enough time to swing boilers, to get those niggling jobs done.
Now she sails again eastward, on oily seas -he flight deck heavy with crew enjoying the cool evening breeze, the beautiful red sun sinking into the horizon.
At the moment, it is hard to believe a war is going on.

Down below, in the repair shop - the welders are hard at work - not repairs this time -but busy producing grates and cages for all of zuiho's many sea inlets - the waters here in ports are very different to home - choked with vegetation and rubbish -potential problems the senior NCO's readily spot.
Should Zuiho anchor somewhere unpleasant -they will be ready.

Captains Log

semi successful stop, kendari - fuel, stores, no torpedos however - -again need to return to palua area for these.
Quiet day -war wise -extremely tricky navigation again
Our armies firmly established java -and i heard lautern taken today -our southern flank secure.
Morale onboard superb.

Operations LOG
Nil flights today

Diary of charge

regular boiler swings AM, nil defects.
caught up on the endles paper work war -grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/3/2010 10:37:13 AM)

Januray 8th 1938

“And what, Son, do you think you will do with your life?”
Ogawa, hesitates.

The family room is quiet, very quiet, and the thought rises – that mother is strangely absent.

His father sits crossed legged at the low table –it covered, as usual with correspondence. His eyes are dark, and the young Ogawa can see the anger that lurks there – anger so carefully contained.

A moment ago – intentions to join his friends on the train into town.
Now suddenly, suddenly in this quiet room –a question.
One he has spent a year trying to avoid

“once we thought you would be the doctor you showed so much promise for……..”
“Which my marks were insufficient “ he finishes the cadence for him, as he has so many times lately.

‘So what now?”

And this time, this time –maybe he must answer.
“Father –war is coming. But I will not serve in the mud like you did”

the eyes darken further, the retort bubbles forth…….
Better to get in first
“I want to be a pilot in the navy”

The retort stops, and the quiet, the snort of derision is very, very loud.
‘as if a coward like yourself could ever be accepted hey?’
And quick as lightning back
“I will be samurai, not be an eta, wallowing in mud Father, never that……………

January 8th 1942
Hasegawa exercises the guns
For fully four hours the 4.7’s drill –and fire, and drill some more.
The 25 mm’s also fire a prodigious amount of ammunition – and the day is declared a success.

That evening Hidaka calls the fighter pilots together.
“gentlemen- some realities”

“according to the gunners – our guns can engage out to 10000 metres against dive bombers –14000 against TBD’s.
“Impressive yes?’
many nod in the room – all here are expert in the 20mm cannon, the machine gun.. heavy AA ? – a world of indifference to the fighter pilot.
“Absolute rubbish”
And the smiles die.
3000metres men –that’s the EFFECTIVE range of the guns –and that means a dive bomber will push over before he is engaged.

Silence now –all can see in minds eye that picture

“One minute of exposure –what –3 rounds?. Then bomb away.”
‘Ouch” murmurs Nashiguichi

‘there is only one solution men” and the eyes glare “and its us. We must never, never allow the pushover to begin…………..”

Captains LOG
Jan 8
Steady steaming east towards palua anchorage
Fleet not sighted today –and nil incidents.
Exercised the guns –satisfactory.

Operations LOG
Remained stood down
Nil flights, Nil contacts

Diary of the Charge
Soot blows
Bottom blows

Found this written by one of the sprayer men

Here I stand once again
When the bells begin to ring
Once again the numbers change

Once again the throttles turn
Suck back the boiler
The oil burns
096, then 121
At least the bridge is having fun
146, then 148
Oh, life is great
Up and down, the revs do change
The books all wrong,
I tear the page
We sweep our enemies like the tide
But I am just on the ride………..

I really hope Minobe does not see that.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/5/2010 8:32:04 AM)

January 9th

Hasegawa has just settled down into his chair, the tea still hot, when the alarm, clear, shrill, but clear rings out from the lookouts on the bridge wing.
“periscope!, bearing 090!, range 1000 yards!”
Swift steps and he is to the platform , practiced hands bringing his glasses to his eyes.
The sea –here in the half dawn light, is choppy –a million sparkles from the peeking sun, an ocean of white caps.

Good work –this –whoever the lookout is, to spot a periscope in this……….
“Action stations!”
behind him, the bedlam, of repeated orders, and through out the ship –the sharp claxon call.
The sea comes into focus – and there –right there –the mast sticks a full 6 feet out of the water –its wake clear, even in this crap.
Sloppy work –sloppy work indeed.

He quickly scans the ocean –above and behind him he can here the comms officer barking the message –and almost immediately, the clatter, clatter of the morse light…
‘Hibiki, Oshio responding sir!”

He focuses on the little destroyers – on Hibiki’s bow –men running to the guns, and movement on her bridge –and already she heals hard towards the scope –the bone firmly between her teeth.

The scope slides under.
Hasegawa swiftly calculates – the scope is close –too close for him.
‘OOW! –new course! Navigator, new course!. Task force , new course 180!.

Agonizing delay, come, on, come on, as the task force absorbs the message.
Then, finally………..”Execute!”

Behind, the crump, crump, crump, of the charges.
The chase is on…………
‘Ship at action stations sir!”
Four minutes……… too slow, too slow, we must do better than that!

“Executive Officer!”
‘please, when you see Minobe – we must do better than four minutes…………”

The attack will fizz out, and the day will pass quietly enough……….

Later, deep in Zuiho’s bowels

Minobe towers over the young seaman.
“Able! –is it your job to close up the generator space for action!’
A terrified Hie!, crawls down the corridor.
In DCC, ears cringe, and again eyes stare forward –concentrating on everything, anything but outside.
The thud, sickening, is unmistakable.
Flesh on flesh. Bone on flesh
‘Then why did you take so long!, are you dimwitted or something!”
Hie!! –even more desperate now
Again, that sickening thud
‘Oh, so you are dimwitted then –AND Slow!’

The sounds are , are , furious. All Japanese are used, inured to brutal discipline –but this, this is not discipline……………………no, this is some thing more……..

It goes for some time

Minobe enters the DCC, to silence.
He stares at each man there –breathing hard, his eyes blazing. Okano-here for a manual, thinks, no he sees –a touch of madness there.

Minobes voice however, does not match the face. ‘Contact sickbay –a sailor has fallen down a ladder and needs attention”
And then he is gone, and the men breathe again.

Captains log
Task force attacked by SS just after dawn –nil damage inflicted either side.
Did note SMN Oshito in ships book for outstanding work in spotting the SS prior to attack.
Expect to arrive Palua tomorrow.
War news
Malang java fell –advance on Soerabaya continues

Operations Log
Still stood down
Conducted navigation training, map exercises, communications training

Diary of charge
Spent today transferring tanks for anticipated fuelling tomorrow.
One minor defect to port aft crane today –fixed.
Minobe broke a sailor on me today.
Anticipate mail tomorrow.
Planning for refit -meeting tomorrow! (we want to fit more stuff onto this bucket –but go even faster!)

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/7/2010 6:53:19 AM)

January 10th


Zuiho rests gently at anchor
The sun is setting over the anchorage, over the packed shipping. Barges and small boats bustle everywhere –waes glinting in the fading light..

“This is the best part of the day”
It’s a simple statement, this by Okura, but one made with some emotion. It is the best part of the day, the heat fading, the dusk swallowing the sounds across the lagoon, a gentle breeze –cool, fresh drying the sweat on your face, your chest.

‘yes, yes it is” agrees Hidaka. ‘ enjoy it while it lasts”

Enjoy it while it lasts……….thinks Okura………..yes, I will at that. What would Father think now?. Would he be proud of him? Or would he –as usual, think he could do more? Be more?
I have already sunk a tanker Father –I have already seen the elephant –and not flinched.
I wish you could have seen it………..

‘yes I will. How long will we be here Sir?”
Hidaka flicks his butt into the sea –it arcs in the growing dark…….”I believe we are waiting on our new sister. Then, (and the grin grows bright –the teeth flashing) my young man, we will go and stir up some trouble hey?”

Mr Okuro, Minister for production, stops his work for a moment. The demands for more guns, more planes, more men –all pass over his desk –and they weigh him down mightily.
The sun is setting, here over Tokyo bay. The city bustles about, as if the war in the south is but a dream – which maybe, he thinks, it is.
Somewhere , somewhere over that darkening horizon, his son, and the Zuiho sail.
He wonders, how is he, what is he doing?
He will try again tomorrow, to find out.
But in the meantime – Son, I promise you –you will lack for nothing……….

Captains Log
Zuiho at anchor – 8 hours notice for sea.
Restoring torpedos and other ammunition –at least those problems here are solved.
If Shoh fails to arrive tomorrow – will grant limited leave to the men

Operations log
Ship again at 100% sortie availability

Diary of Charge
Ship at anchor
Steaming auxiliary on Stbd aft boiler –two generators.
The plant is too quiet, and performing too well……………….scary!

Rumours of leave I believe………..

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/8/2010 11:39:22 AM)

Jan 11

The rumours of leave -are just that - rumours
What occurs for Zuiho is bad news, bad news indeed for a large percentage of her crew.

Paint ship

The plain navy gray is going to be replaced with a crazy camoflage scheme -from the air - she needs to look like a battlewagon, from the surface - a lot smaller than she really is............

probably 99% of the men involved in the days hot, sweaty labour know that the camoflage will matter not a whit - but it will keep their minds of the alluring beaches, and bars so close ashore............

Below decks, a quiet day turns into a stream of s*&t fights.
A spiral wound gasket will begin to leak -and leak seriously on the online boiler -it will result in the need for a swing of boilers.
The starboard engine room will then suffer a drain tank failure - and an almost loss of the turbo generators down their - which means another swing -of engine rooms this time.

repairs will complete on the original boiler after midday -and the swing back will fill the afternoon.

By 10pm, many of the stokers below will have reached physical limits - swinging boilers in the tropics on a anchored vessel is a glimpse of hell.
officially, and for the command -Zuiho's ships systems will remain at 100% availability - todays dramas will barely register"up there"

But the painting "will get a well done"

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/8/2010 11:41:23 AM)

Jan 12

leave for authorised personal

palua is short many things at the moment.

Alcohol is not one of them.
I think we might just turn our heads away -its not a pretty sight - especially in the ready room.......................

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/8/2010 11:45:58 AM)

Jan 13

from Combined Fleet
Captain Hasegawa, CVL zuiho

Zuiho transferred to Combined fleet
You are to form "Task force Swift eagle"
Following ships assigned to you


you are to conduct offensive operations in areas as directed signal no 233
sail when ready.
Good hunting.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/9/2010 11:45:09 AM)


Light off orders, IJNS Zuiho

Zuiho shall be departing anchorage 1000hrs Jan 14
Full watch below, 0200 hrs
Boilers to be connected, 0800 hrs, Test Main engines, 0930, hands to action stations expected shortly after.

IF at ANY time the E.O.O.W believes the ship will not be able to make its sailing time –you are to inform the Charge .

Po Hirate signs the orders, and wearily looks about him
Boiler rooms, cold boiler rooms –are particularily depressing places.
Zuiho’s –today, frankly sucks.
Morosely he kicks aside a bucket of tools and oily waste rags –left overs from the duty watches work of yesterday.
Yesterday, he thought himself lucky to get ashore, while others remained behind to work.
Now –now with a head pounding, he is not so sure.

His watch shuffles down, weak smiles are exchanged –it was a good run yesterday – lets blame the excess sun for the head aches no?
He growls at the seamen ‘alright you rabble, lets get this bitch going”

They work quietly, they drink copious amounts of tea, they rub sore temples.
They curse quietly, and as the temperatures rise, they sweat. Yet despite it all, the flashup proceeds smoothly, maybe the little Lady has a sore head too………….

Hasegawa takes the latest flimsy.
It is still dark on the bridge – but not quiet. The steam drum recirc valve is still open .
This valve helps establish proper circulation in the boilers by releasing excess steam to atmosphere –a noisy, noisy business –one that literally drowns out conversation anywhere on Zuiho’s upper decks.

The flimsy is brief
“Soerabaya in Empire hands”
It is good news.

But , God, his head hurts.
How much bloody longer will they keep the bloody valve open for?…..Bloody stokers, he had a good……………

And below, Hirate closes his valve, and blessed silence falls over Zuiho…….

“Thank God for that hey Hidaka”
The operations officer smiles wanly.
“Your flight plan for today?’

Hidaka consults his clipboard.
The old man is learning, yes? – now we are first of the rank in the days business. We might make him a proper carrier man yet………..

‘I intend to operate 3 Kates on ASW today sir -as soon as we clear the atoll”
the captain nods “Good –they are probably getting fat sleeping on their arses below yes? –time to get them back to work”

Work? Arses? I have seen the plan you know. How many do you think are going to survive this little venture?

‘yes sir –you are right. Time to get them in the air again”………

Minobe sits in the wardroom.
Alone .
It is something he has not failed to notice since joining this bucket. How the other officers tend to avoid him………….

Damn them to hell.
He is not infectious!.
It was NOT his fault!

He drains his glass –the taste bitter.
A gentle knock on the door. ‘Sir? –a stoker here says they are ready to test Main engines when you are ready sir”
‘Tell them I will be there shortly”

So, we go to sea again. We go to seek glory, and honour, and to die for the empire. What a load of crock. We only go because we carry you barsteds on our sweaty backs………
Head thumping, Minobe makes his way to the port engine room hatch.

And there he stops.

“port engine, Charge”
“Port engine room here”
‘have you seen the engineer?”
‘yes, hes standing at the top of the hatch”
‘What is he doing?’
‘Nothing, wait……….no, he’s just standing there”
“ Ahhhhhhh, OK ……………………….”
‘Do you want him Chief?”

“Ah, No, just let him know I have a dicky steam trap here, can he give me a few mintues?”
“Roger Chief”

The Charge bends over the clam trap. Bucket of cold water in hand. “so the barsted is steam shy”………………

He tips the water on the offending trap –it springs it a satisfactory clitter clatter………
“Just what happened on Junyo, I must find out…………”

Combined fleet HQ

Yamamoto bends over the chart table.
‘Gentlemen, the battle for Java goes well. Task force swift eagle has sailed. Does any one here see any glaring problems with my plan for it?’

Vice admiral Yamaguchi shakes his head. ‘ Operationally, tactically it will work. But is it worth the risk, is it worth the gamble?’
‘Life is a gamble. I think the odds are good………..”

Zuiho sails at 1015 hours. Last minute hitches with ships boats, a last operational order raced from ashore, and last minute code changes -too many last minutes.

But the three small carriers get away safely, bows rising and falling into the steady pacific swells.

The crew – far too many suffering, begin work.
3 kates safely launch, and begin the great circles around the fleet – shepherds over the flock.

Po Ogawa settles into his seat in the ready room. In his hand, a delightful treat. Care packages arrived yesterday –and the room has fresh –incredibly fresh and crisp and clean magazines for them to read –not a page missing!

He is on ready alert –his fighter warm in the hanger. He does not expect to fly today –which suits him fine.

A nice breeze blows in from the landing outside –and Zuiho is rising and falling gently…………and unless something interesting is on the next page he might well fall asleep here……………

A wretched noise suddenly fills the room, source just outside.
Ogawa recognizes it instantly. ‘Woof woof! –is that you Nashiguuchi?’
A pathetic whimper of yes, drifts in, along with a particularly bad smell…..
‘Young man , do you think you could be sick somewhere else?’

THAT noise again –wretched, despairing
Oh , bugger. Suddenly the magazine, the whole room is not so appealing.

‘Woof, woof. God, war is hell………….

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/11/2010 8:05:56 AM)

Jan 15th

Kurihara banks the kate gently for the goddam god knows how many times is this.......

below, task force Swift eagle steams steadily through a bright blue sea, wakes streaming behind.
Its an impressive sight, and would make a wonderful magazine cover.

It is also an uneventual sight - and today Zuiho's pilots will fly fruitless lap, after lap around it.
But the sore heads are gone, and the ship once again is doing what it is meant to do -put planes into the air, and safely recover them.

The day passes with out incident (below decks as well)

We cannot ask anymore than that, can we?

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/11/2010 8:10:33 AM)

Jan 15th


Nagumo stares out from Akagi's bridge -, for the goddam how many times is this.....
and agin, see's little of interest.

here too -planes are launching, circling, heading out on search arcs.
Mostly with out incident.

But here -here we can ask for more than that........ this is Japans sword, and at the moment, it remmains uselessly in its scabbard.

here -and for 100's of miles around -the oceans are a desert -empty of shipping.
If Kurihara thinks he is frustrated at the lack of action, he has no idea how Nagumo feels at the momement.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/13/2010 8:46:41 AM)

16th January

have you ever wondered why so many men in the world find comfort -shelter imn mere routine?
How routine dulls the mind to the sheer craziness that is war -how it can drown out the thought, for a single example -that some where out there in that pale blue ocean -unseen, a submarine commander may just have you in his sights -and soon, very soon death will tap you on the shoulder?
As PO Hirate descends down the companion way towards the boiler room, it is this strange thought that passes through his mind -this, and the extra -has any one ever noticed just how many men of this mind set find their way to the Navy?

Routine, this is what drives Zuiho today - every man to his place, a place for every man.
Zuiho has now settled into her own little world, ploughing steadily towards the next objective.

On her flight deck Hidaka dispatches the kates in a steady stream, and so far, the circles around the task force remain undisturbed. The flying weather is superb, bright skies - and the sun has by now burnt all the men to a deep, deep brown.
On the bridge, Hasegawa keeps a fatherly eye on his Officers, on his ship. At times -and he will never admit this -he is frankly bored -but he knows this cannot last.
Today word arrives from Combined fleet - the attack at Port Moresby is in deep trouble -and he must, of course wonder -will that be their final destination. he rather hopes not -Swift eagles current plan is far more exciting......

below, the watches pass, the routines here carry on -and, much to everyones pleasure -little extrodinary happens.

The Charge has but a single comment in his diary for today

"Its all going well..................."

Writing such a thing in a diary -as ANY engineer will tell you - is JUST tempting fate...............

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/14/2010 11:09:11 AM)

January 17th

Zuiho continues on passage.

"is the Charge there?'
" ahhhhh, can you come to port boiler room please?"

Its a common call -one he has answered many, many times before. Sometimes it means trouble, sometimes real trouble.
Sometimes, it means little at all. Its all part of the adventure............

At least, as he descends into the space, there is no immediate signs of problems, the crew relaxed at their stations, the steamer , one hand on the blower throttles, the other on the fuel seems relaxd enough.

The port boiler burns brightly, the plates gleam, and nothing sounds wrong......

The first thing, we must remember -is this.
Boiler rooms are incredibly noisy -conversation is conducted at a shout, and gestures are more useful.
he leans his ear to the steamers......"Blowers -running hot -care to take a look?"

he nods, takes his torch, and makes his way to the top plates, bending under the main steam pipes,. At a crouch, he takes in the temperature guage..........and yes -it is hot.
The cooler - is too hot as well -and yes, the flow of sea water,(from the Auxillary cooling main) is obviously low.

Blocked strainer? - probably.

He descends leans his head to the steamers ear - "back in ten"

Minobe is deep into this weeks fuel forms, when the Charge knocks on the door
'yes charge?"
"Minor problems below sir - I need to knock of a blower for a few minutes -strainer clean"
'rev reduction then?'
160 max sir -if you can swing it"

'No problem......."

'"Okura speaking"
'deck officer here, can you hold off return 20 minutes - Zuiho is slowing momentarily.........."
'OK - but save me some food for heavens sake -we are straving up here"
the kate banks away, reluctantly...........

The blower winds down, and the sprayer punchers work with a will pumping the hand oil pump, as soon as the blower stops turning, one of them will swiftly isolate the cooler, remove the offending strainer , clean the inevitable seaweed blockage, and then quickly return the unit back to operation.
And so it goes, until the strainer is opened up.
"Are they mussels?'
the second sprayer puncher fingers the brown mass of objects from the strainer. each is barely 5 to 7 MM long -but the first man is right -they are mussels -little brown mussels -and if you look very carefully -they all have tiny white stripes on them.

the first man shrugs -who cares -taps the strainer clean on the deck plates, replaces it.
Soon. the blower is up to speed again, and Okura can land, and get his meal.

Its a minor incident, one quickly forgotten.
The men, once the blower is going, quickly go back to the lower level -the top plates are simply too hot to linger on.
But they have missed something. The Cooling water pressure has been restored - mostly.
It is lower now -and over the hours, the next day, it will continue to drop.................

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/15/2010 10:17:56 AM)

Jan 18th

"You have got to be F&^%$#ing kidding me"
"I'm sorry sir -but I am not"

For a few frozen moments -minutes , hours, eaons, Minobe stares at the handful of brown rubble in the Charges hand.
The charge stands quiet - Minobe is drunk -this could go any way..........

"What are they charge?

how the f do I know, you drunk -am I biologist. thety are f ing shell fish -and they are killing me below - thats what they are.............. " Mussels I think ........."

'We get in to Port tomorrow - can we make it to then?'

Another eon. this is your job for Gods sake - to make the call, to tell Hasegawa, not mine. Why, Oh why, am I saddled with such a jelly fish?
F it. in for a penny, in for a pound -let Him sweat it. 'No sir -I have to, , have to secure the forward unit, kill these f ers, before they choke up every thing."

Minobe takes some of the mussels, grinds them between his fingers - 'they grow fast ney?'
'Yes sir" - and they are still growing while you weasel about!

Minobe straightens at last. "charge - I will see what I can do................"

Hasegawa again checks his chart. 12 hours, then Port.
Then, when the tankers arrive -the great adventure............

Minobe enters the bridge "Ahh engines, all well below?"
The smile is crooked . "yes sir. Ahhh, since all is quiet -permission to conduct routine swing of boilers before Port.?"
Hasegawa considers. There can be little chance of air action here.......... 'approved"

"One boiler at a time?, Truk!"
The Charge wipes his brow. Oh, swinging boilers will solve the problem for the 12 hours needed - if he is lucky. But it will mean so much extra work.....

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/15/2010 10:26:27 AM)

January 19th

task force swift eagle reaches the Port that it will use to jump off from for this next mission.
Here she will wait for the tankers that must follow.

Oddly enough, there will be little activity here today on for most of the crew -this Port is too small, too ill equiped to support them, and , apparently, the supply situation is poor as well.
Most of the crew will rest.


Below, the battle begins. each section of cooling main is isolated, and crude fittings attached. the charge himself opens the low pressure steam into the pipes - this has become a personal battle to him now - and he grins as the mush blows from the pipes strainers.
Every engineer not on watch will be involved.

Then, a fresh water flush, reassemble, and start again.
there is more, of course to this battle than this - machinery, boilers, will have to be swung in turn.
The battle will take 2 days, and end in "victory"
Victory because not a word of the problems will reach Hasegawa's ears - Minobe will see to that.

two days while the crew rest

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/15/2010 10:34:32 AM)

Hidaka enters the ready room.

Sprawled about, most of his strike pilots, slumbering in the hot afternoon bake.
The room, again, stinks of sweat, stale socks, staler smoke

He stops for a moment, and his face hardens
'Petty Officer Okura!'
Startled, Okura awakens, half falls of his seat

'have you obtained maps of the target yet?"

Okura blinks, nervously wipes his thighs - ' Sir - no sir - only the one we already had"
'No sir -I don't think our leaders ever considered we would go there sir"
'Well, we are! -and I want more than a school book bloody map of the place do you hear!. we sail in two days -get me something for heavens sake!'

In the silence of his departure, every one stares at Okura,All, each and everyone glad they are not him. To be asked to obtain the un obtainable............

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/15/2010 10:39:12 AM)

Jan 19th

Zuiho rides at anchor -awaiting fuel.

The army approaches Djokarta, takes medan, overlooks the causeway in malaya, and recieves another bloody nose at port Moresby.
The battle for manilla continues, japanese artillery steadily destroying the jewel of the orient.
And Nagumo abandons his task of trying to kill convoys, and heads towards Truk.

The war continues to plan.................

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/18/2010 7:19:49 AM)

January 20th

A quiet day.
A day of thinking about home, and about the mission ahead.

For Okura -its not a quiet day at all.
It begins early -there truly is no maps onboard Zuiho of the intended target .
He must look ashore.
This is no easy thing -simply getting a seat onto one of the ships boats is an adventure in itself, srabbling down the Jacobs ladder, another.
The boat seems to be full of ruffians - all, apparently on the scrounge.
As the boat approaches the shore -Okura notes the blasted palm trees, the destroyed buildings -the blackened gun pit on the point.

"this will be a bust - but I cannot return to Hidaka empty handed"

Finding the HQ -the naval HQ established here, takes effort - and a great deal of sweat.
X HQ is nestled near the strip - a forlorn hut, a small radio mast -and a great deal of dirt, dust, several mongeral dogs -and several immaculate naval uniformed staff -minor miricles in this madness.
But Okura cannot be impressed - if this is the spear tip of Japans navy here -then what would you find at the front line?
Nevertheless - he plunges in.

The staffofficer, harrassed, yet cool, does have an answer!
'There -out there -I-XX -she was going to midget attack THAT place -scrubbed mission though. She will have plenty of maps."

Okura grins, and begins to head off, but is halted by the rejoiner "but I expect they will cost you -submarines are not the most congenial vessels -"
Okura cannot believe his ears. But then when he pauses to think about how things work in his wardroom - yes, he can believe his ears.

So -another long walk back to the pier, another boat trip in the blazing sun, another long negotiation with the mess president, then, finally, bribe carefully packed in hand , yet another boat trip out to the low shape at anchor.

It is the smell that strikes him -the ready room stinks some days -but this..........
However, as he is led below to the Captains toilet sized cabin - (how in the hell do they live like this), the smell is overpowered by the sheer fascination of seeing the inside of a submarine for the first time.
The Captain, bearded, dirty -obviously tired -greets him warmly.
As the scotch passes across -the greeting becomes even warmer.

'You are going to strike where?"
"@#$%^ yes"
An admiring whistle. "Gutsy -but, you know, do able"
In a few moments, maps, beautiful maps of the target are produced
'Bloody glad we did not end up going there my friend, bloody glad"
The Captain admires the scotch. "To hell with it. If it all goes bad for you, you might not get another chance young flyboy. Care to share some?"

Okura certaintly would.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/18/2010 7:22:26 AM)

January 21

The tankers arrive
The ship fuels -smoothly today, no issues

A thrill, almost a telephatic message passes through the crew -all can feel it. All can sense it. As dusk falls, Task force swift eagle raises anchor, and begins her great adventure...............

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/19/2010 10:30:09 AM)

January 22nd

Hidaka sits quietly in the corner of the ready room.
He has discovered –much too his surprise, that for the first time since the wars beginning he actually has nothing to do.
The mission ahead is planned, and ready to go.
Outside the ready room, the planes positively gleam, all too are ready.

But what of the pilots?

The room is full this evening – and Hidaka casually observes them. This is a favorite activity of his – this observing of men, this analysis of humanity.

Po Nashiguchi , of the fresh face –the boyish looks. Face in a book –again. Who is it this time? –another unknown philosopher? – ah-Athanasius –who ever the hell that was.
A good pilot though – he must be –nobody has yet drawn attention to his deck landings on this floating postage stamp

In the corner – the battle. Po Ogawa, Po Diogawa again are engaged in the nightly battle. Chess. A perplexing game – don’t they call it the ultimate war?. A good foil for a fighter pilot.
But why, Oh why is Ogawa always such an un tidy mess? But then who cares what he wears if he keeps racking up his kills.
Diogawa takes a bishop ‘woof, woof”
Woof, woof –what in the hell is that about?. One day he will have to find out…….

There are other zero pilots in here of course – some playing cards, some reading, several already snoozing despite the noise. He does not know them all, yet ………. And the truth must be faced. He may never get to know them all – war must intervene.
How many will they lose on this mission?
One will be too many. But that is what they must do.

Hidaka knows the target –these men do not –yet. He looks around at the smiling faces, the grins, the optimism.
And wishes he felt the same.

Hasegawa takes the signal

The bridge is quiet, and little has disturbed this day at sea.

‘From Southern Army command

Today forces of 14th army took Manilla.

All forces, inspired by this heroic action, are urged to emulate 14th army, and through continued effort, bring this war to a swift conclusion.

Swift conclusion?
Hasegawa considers the giant he is soon to prod

Swift conclusion? –who the hell do Southern army think they are kidding?

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/20/2010 7:54:41 AM)

January 23rd

the once bright sunny skies are being replaced with bands of cold, grey cloud -and even the occasional shower. The ocean develops white caps, that soon develop into white horses.
Zuiho's bows begin to bite into the seas, creaming waves powering down her flanks.
The escorting destroyers begin to pitch up and down, and now begin to ship water over bows.
It is a wild sight this ocean, wild, yet beautiful.
Onboard moral is high, only a hand ful know Zuiho's mission, -officially. The rumour mill is working overtime, and a great many bets are being laid.

For those that do know - today will mark a very great increase in tension -task force swift eagle is heading into the unknown.
Hasegawa can do little except mark the progress on the charts -and pray that this weather gets even worse..

Operations report

Final attack plans completed
We must wait, A/C availability is 100%

Captains Log

Steady progress towards objective. Such a long way to go!
Ship performing well, and remains system defect free - so Minobe tells me..........

Our troops enter Port Moresby today -fighting now in the streets
Invasion of Singapore proper expected any day now, java is 50% ours
The war continues to plan...........

From the diary of the charge

Quiet day. transfering fuel overnight ready to re fuel tomorrow.
Took several examinations today -another new ticket issued. Conducted casualty control drills -loss of vacuum, loss of gland steam in port engine room -satisfactory.
have recommenced the war against rust.....................

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/21/2010 10:12:17 AM)

january 24th

Two man work at a bench
In the scheme of things, this pump will not even cause a blip on the ships performance -it is not "vital"
Too Okano, Hirate, it is.
Okano should not even be on watch, but he has remained behind to help Hirate.

Yesterday Hirate rebuilt this pump, and to his great embarressment, to his shame -something went wrong.
Okano has found him at the bench, sweat streaming down his face. But it is not the heat that causes it to flow, Okano see's it immediately -fear.

A stream of incentive, short, bitter, frustrated greats him
'If Minobe hears..........."
Gently Okano places his hand on his companions back. " Would you like a hand?'
A negative shake of the head - and a pause.
"'Two is better than one"
And Hirate nods in agreement

No words are spoken -none need to be said. A problem exists, it must be solved

They work, oblivious to the world about them, bodies swaying gently to Zuiho's movements across the swells, replacing the bearing that has caused so much strife.
At some stage, the tannoy blares.......... Port Moresby has been taken...............
And they barely notice.

The work takes several hours, and at its end, this time the pump runs.
Okano takes Hirate's offered hand - "no problem at all"

he will have to go on watch again very shortly, but it does not matter.
deep in the bowels of Zuiho, two men have gone from being mere friends, to eternal brotherhood.......

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/23/2010 10:48:56 PM)

january 25th

In the lower hanger area, at the rear, a 20 metre square area has been cleared. On the floor a large cloth hides what is obviously a relief map of some kind

A round it, the pilots gather, all tense and excited.
Hidaka smiles. he is, like most leaders worth following, not with out a sense of style, of drama.
'Gentlemen. We have passed the point of no return. You will study the target until you know it in your sleep. You will study the attack approach, the anchorages, the suspected targets.
It won't be easy the approach, but, then, nothing easy is worth doing ney?"

The men nod, nervous feet shuffle.
Hidaka nods to the seamen, and swiftly the target is revealed.

None here have ever been to this place -but all instantly recongnise the great structure spanning the harbour.

"Our target men. Sydney harbour. They think it safe. Let us disuade them yes?"

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/24/2010 3:48:46 AM)

January 25th

“and so Hidaka, how did the men greet the news?”
Hasegawa is grey today – showing in its crinkles and wrinkles every year of his age, yet the voice is calm, and as it has become more like every day – almost fatherly in tune.
‘Excited. Challenged. Eager”
“Good” I don’t understand you yet Hidaka –but this I know – as long as you remain excited and challenged –I will take your men to any target – no matter how far we go, how deep the risk.
“Then I will take you to the target” Hasegawa smiles again ‘just ensure every bomb counts”

Hidaka nods, and for a few minutes they stand side by side on the bridge, taking in the endless view
‘can you really do it Hidaka?”
“Sir –I promise you this. Mutsu would never be able to achieve what we will there”
“a big promise”
‘I swear it, I swear it”

Kamisaka , Okura, Kurihama consider the map, the diorama. Around them all the kate pilots too have gathered.
Kamisaka speaks –and they listen.
Kamisaka, killer of the Tromp. They listen too him, not for rank, not for age, but in quiet recognition –he is the best amongst them.

“This is what I plan to do. I intend to get down low, enter the harbour here”- he stabs at the gap between the two harbour heads, “swing, and then follow it into the heart of the city, and come straight over this –what is this?’
‘Fort Denison –non military –a relic”
“Over this rock then – and to attack at wave height. I will exit over the heart of the city”

“Hidaka wishes a convential attack –formation bombing”
Kamisaka scratches his head –‘ my approach means little AA – they shoot at us –and hit the buildings on the other side of the harbour. Plus this way –surprise must be complete”
‘This head –Bradleys – it’s a sharp turn –will we have time?’
‘if you are good enough-I am, are you?”

That is enough

It is decided then. They will attack in line ahead –in hard, in low.

Kurihama examines the map too
The great bridge spanning the harbour continues to grab his attention.
And a mad thought fills his mind

Minobe finishes reading todays reports
‘ready to fuel tomorrow?’
‘Sir, yes. I just hope the weather is kind”
‘I doubt it. Lord Howe is hardly a massive shelter I believe”

Engines smiles – today , for once, he is sober –and some minor spark of a former man is dancing at the corners of his mouth. ‘I am looking forward to the ride in –it should be some adventure the approach”
The Charge grins “ Nice cross swell, high speed. Good stuff”
‘yes, good stuff”

From the Captains log

We are a ‘go”. I look forward to seeing what Hidaka can do.
War news. Djokarta is taken, Batavia is bombed by our battlewagons. I believe a landing has taken place at Port Headland !
We will do our bit.

Operations Log

Port Sydney
Operations planning conducted for a max strike, Ryujo, Shoho, Zuiho
Strike expected to be conducted 29th –weather permitting

Diary of the charge

Quiet day –still awaiting tankers to catch us.

John 3rd -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/24/2010 2:58:50 PM)

This is a bold mission. Talk about 'deep strike.' It is a big risk though for three small CVLs. They only have 36 Kate to strike with but are well provided for with Zeros.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/25/2010 7:14:44 AM)

Thankyuo John 3rd!

yes -lets see what happens in time...............

26th January

An angry sea. A angry sky. Grey, windy, miserable.
Zuiho pitches, pitches steeply into each swell, and corkscrews over them, solid sheets of spray cascading outwards from her bow, curling, then being caught by the bitter wind –and flung in sheets of almost solid water against the bridge windscreens.

The wipers beat endlessly –and lose –the visibility is terrible.

Hasegawa squints through the screen at the tanker ahead – she does not pitch like this damn her.
‘Line secured Sir – we are hauling the hose”

re fuelling. A barsted of a business. He glances at the men huddled below the screen on the little platform where the hose will, with luck, be connected.
He grins momentarily -inside that is –at the wet shivering shape of Minobe below him. An Engineers job is a right barsted some days…………….

Minobe watches the painful process of the hose as it slowly floats down wind towards them.
Another wave –this one crashes over the focastle –sweeps towards them, smacks against the platform.
Around him, the men work – work and battle for survival. Currently this platform, this focastle is the most dangerous place in the war, and only the imperative of war keeps them here.
They must refuel. They must
The great hose is hauled aboard, and with no little difficulty, connected. For a moment, just a moment, the sun breaks through –and a ray strikes them – and Minobe captures in his mind a moment that will live with him forever – the hose, the men, the water surging about them……………..and this private battle they will win.

As they always do.

Zuiho will take just on 1000 tons today – and her escorts, her companions, many tons too
The refueling is a success –the mission will continue

Only six men fleet wide are lost…………………………

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