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

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1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/26/2010 9:39:38 AM)

January 27th

In the hanger, the pilots train.
Little wooden planes are "flown" down the diaroma -banking and wheeling over the little wooden targets -targets that may, or may not be there.

Timings are taken, and some quite violent arguments take place -can this attack actually be pulled off?
Hidaka is flat with his answer.
"A harbour full of sitting ducks, miss , and I promise you, you will be on ASW patrol in parishimo before you can think"

Below, life continues in its usual routine, watch on, watch off. Eat, sleep, work, watch.
Port forward boiler conducts its routine " blow down"
PO Hirate carefully raises the water level, holds it - hot work for the water tender this- and finally gives the nod to his sprayer puncher.
On hands and knees, he operates his big T bar spanner -opening the final valve in the system to blow some water -and some salinity , over the side.

Instead of the rumble -they are abruptly confronted by a fountain of water erupting from the bilges -water, steam, and crap.......
"Whoa!, shut the trucking valve!, shut the trucking valve!'
The fountain subsides
'Crap- the charge is not going to like this. Hirate wrestles the deck plates aside from near the fountain, and with out hesitation jumps into the knee deep bilge water.
His torch probes the darkness - examining the blowdown pipe work.
The hole is finger nail sized - and facing down -down into the bilges. As the ship rises, falls over the swells, the bilge water washes over the hole.

Oh truck...............

Oh Truck................ The charge examines the hole. Awkward position. Impossible to weld here in position -not with this bloody water, bloody wet arsed bottomed ship.........

"get the spanners -this whole section will have to come out' he takes Hirate by the shoulder. Commence pre light offs bravo boiler -we are going to have to do this quick"

"How long Chief?'
Minobe looks stunned. And why the accusing tone? -I did'nt bloody well create the hole did I?
The Charge calculates. 'I have to kill Port fwd boiler -only one valve isolation -maybe 6 hours........... remove the pipework -4 maybe............weld -4 maybe, another 4 to get it back together, 2 for reflash, 2 for disasters....... -24 hrs sir

'Our attack run begins in 26. crap. No way around this is there?"
"None sir, none at all"

Hasegawa will have nothing of it.
"I need that boiler Chief"
Once again.............for the dumb ass. "Sir -let me draw you a picture....this is the system. The leak is HERE. I cannot isolate it with the boiler running -just cannot. "

'can you wait for after the attack?"
Attack? -what bloody attack -I am only the chief below............. 'Sir - high speed running means climbing chloride - the last thing we need is a tube failure......."

Hasegawa walks away. Contemplates the darkening sea. "Can you fix it by midday chief?
Midday is 15 hours away............

There is no hesitation. You cannot hesitate, you must trust your men.......... 'Yes sir, we can"
'very well then, swing to the other boiler, shut down port forward - and commence your work........."

'How long do we have Charge?
'Hirate, not enough - but we have to make it enough. get me a trucking big hammer -some of those bloody bolts look like they came from the ark..........

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/27/2010 9:19:29 AM)

Ogawa and Nashiguchi pace Zuiho's flight deck, bracing themselves against the nasty roll she has developed. The little carrier is angling westward now -and the swells come up under her aft quarter.
On her bridge, the helmsman will be having a particularily tough time.

Around the two pilots, zuiho waits. her guns are manned, and dozens of binoculars scan the skies and seas. Nothing stirs, just endless whitecaps, the occasional albatross endlessly weaving in the wake..
It is a wild scene, and the ships pass through it like grey ghosts.

'I hear the op may be off" notes Ogawa
'Troubles down stairs apparently, we can't make launch speed"
'lazy trukers -do you think we come all this way for the scenery?'
'easy my friend -I am sure they will fix it"

'Kill the boiler"............
kill the fires, pull the burners, isolate it - and open the drains and crack open the recirc valve -and , if you are in a hurry -open the back fill valve.
They are in a hurry - and the back fill valve is opened as far as the charge dares.
dares -for now raw steam roars into the space itself -admittably at the rear of the boiler -but what it does has to be experienced to be understood.
Boiler rooms are -naturally hot. They are humid as well. vast fans battle this constantly -but now they are losing.
The humidity puts a turkish bath to shame, and the noise is horrendous.

Loud -but not loud enough to drown the steady stream of incentive coming from the bilges.
Hirate is steaming the other boiler - but I think he wishes he was down there - there so he can help progress the work.
As usual -one bolt refuses to undo.
As usual - its always the hardest one to get too. The nut -despite all, just won't budge

The charge has gone to emergency measures........

They call him Lurch.
He is undoubtably the biggest man on the ship. He quite possibly would be the biggest japanese man many on Zuiho will ever see..
His many tatoos speak of a certain past.
But nobody down here todaty cares -the sledge hammer in his hand looks like a toy.

It swings -and one of three things must happen. The nut will give. The spanner will give, or the bolt will give.
The best happens. The bolt shears.
Men, black, sweaty, covered in oil, bilge water, grin.
Eager hands pull the six feet of offending pipe out. the welder scratches his chin
'A doodle"
And for the first time this early morning, long night, the Charge smiles too.
They will make it.

1900 hrs
'Sir -we are ready to make our approach run. Full power available"
Hasegawa examines the darkening sky. The sun is setting, a red ball into the sea.
'Very good"
Silence on the bridge. It is THE moment.
"new course -steer 270. Battle speed one"

At dawn swift eagle will strike.

Local Yokel -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/27/2010 12:22:06 PM)



ORIGINAL: 1275psi

As usual - its always the hardest one to get too. The nut -despite all, just won't budge

If in doubt, just split the damn' nut with a chisel! Obviously, the alternative of 'Get a bigger sledge' works well too. [:)]

aprezto -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/27/2010 9:54:51 PM)

Crickey Herb this is good. bravo!!!

british exil -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/27/2010 10:40:25 PM)

BOY! Am I enjoying this AAR. Can't wait for the next post. Keep them coming!!


whippleofd -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/27/2010 10:43:24 PM)

If it don't turn, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyways.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/28/2010 12:08:00 PM)

0200 hours

29th January

‘can’t sleep?” Hidaka is not asking a question. Here, in the quiet of the hanger, it is a statement.
Ogawa, nestled in his zero’s cockpit, nods – and there is embarressment.
Hidaka hesitates for a moment, before taking climbing up onto the fighters wing to bend down beside the younger man.
Around them, the hanger is coming to life –the deck crews, the plane crews gathering around the eagles. It will be a big day, a long day. Nobody wants to leave anything to chance.

For these two men, they may as well not exist.
Ogawa almost whispers it –and Hidaka has to bend a ear to hear him over the chatter around them “ My father called me a coward once Sir. A pale face turns to him –and piearcing eyes –oh so blue those eyes –desperately seek assurance in him “was he right Sir? –is it wrong to be afraid?”

Hidaka contemplates this man. He is my best pilot –three kills already…………
But……….. “No –it is not wrong to be afraid.. But not of death Ogawa. Only of failure. Be afraid of that”

The young man seems to understand this.
Hidaka places a hand of assurance on his pilots shoulder
‘I don’t think we will see much opposition from the enemy honestly –it’s the bomber boys who will have the devil of a job I think”
‘Yes –you have given them a tough assighnment”
“Not too tough –I hope. But tough enough with out breakfast –care to join me?”

Minobe stares ahead –over Zuiho’s bow. About him the bridge is quiet, busy, but quiet. The seas are calm now –and glittering under full moonlight.
His Captain joins him “Can’t sleep engines?”
The engineer lies. “Ahh, no problem there sir –just want to be up before they call general quarters”
He points to the bow –the other ships plainly in view about them “Its so bright –how have we avoided detection is beyond me”
The older man smiles, shrugs. “spotted or not –we strike. If we don’t –I think Hidaka would kill me”

Minobe snorts. ‘Tough little barsted isn’t he?”
Hasegawa begins to move away, to attend to the latest signal –“ Nothing less than any captain would expect”

Kamisaka awakens to water dripping on his face –and as he struggles up from sleep he is met by the grinning face of Kurihama
“Come on lazy bones –there is a war to fight”

For a moment he lays there. A war to fight. But the bunk is so comfortable…..
A war to fight.
And the stomach tightens. Today is THE day…….

But routine will take over –and nothing will allow the mask so carefully put into place slip.
The men wash –briefly –and the joshing, the ribbing –is as always.
The men eat, a good meal, fish, rice –and egg today……and the mask stays on. You smile, you laugh.
And the knot tightens, and tightens.
He is afraid. Not of death –that must come one day soon –but of missing.
How shameful to miss the target today.
He will not miss…………

“Spot the aircraft”

below, and now above decks, zuiho is a hive of activity
the planes weigh literally tons now –each carrying a 800 KG bomb, but there are no shortages of hands to push them to their spots.
All nine of Zuiho’s TBD’s are going today –as is every single TBD in the task force. The great gamble is now all or nothing –Hasegawa will strike Sydney with every bird they have –no naval search at all.

If another carrier is about –well………..karma

The final gamble –just 15 zeros will escort –a mere 3 from Zuiho.
Ogawa, Diogawa will be 2 of those three. Nashiguchi will have to wait for clear decks before taking to the sky on CAP.
He is –to be frank –not happy.

And now the beat of a dozen engines shake her decks. Men are careful now, bent double as they scurry about the eagles –wary of the blurring blades.
The pilots gather around the blackboard –so like foot ball players around the coach. But none of these men know of football. What they do know is this.
They have been brought here –here to this spot –to do their duty. Every man expects it of them. They expect it of themselves.
The papers will say –they fight for the Empire –for Japan.
They will fly today for each other.
They will do their best –or die trying.

Hasegawa joins the circle –looking totally out of place
It is significant though – the battle ship man –is –finally, with them

His tone is soft –almost –dare we say it –is it, so passe’ to say it –fatherly.
“You make History today men. Look around you –and remember who you fly with. I know you will do well”
the men nod.
“Good luck –Let the happy phoenix show its teeth ney?’

“Man your planes”

Hasegawa takes his spot on the port bridge wing.
The navigator straightens from his chart.
“We are at position sir”
Sydney is 250 miles that way –in the the dark. Behind them a great red meatball is rising –chasing the nightmares, the doubts away.
He is no longer tired. The weight –so heavy last night, is gone.
Now –now he is young again –and the Joy of command comes flooding back

“VERY GOOD!”. Bring the task force into the wind. Signal all ships -Commence launching!”

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/29/2010 8:34:22 AM)

edited- bum, got a name mixed up above.
The attack is coming.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/29/2010 9:24:47 AM)

For the hundredth time Okura checks the compass –the time
The Kate bellows –and vibrates, and the noise surrounds him, insulates him.
His eagle is alive under his soft touch, the stick unconsciously adjusting to the light thermals, bumps in the road.
The formation is a loose one – fingers of three, and three, and three.
Alongside him Kamisaka rides at his Starboard wing, Petty Officer Tanaka his port.

All safely away.
A good start.

A tap on his shoulder – the navigator speaks into his intercom –tinny, remote.
“land in 5 minutes”
The noise still surrounds him – -you are really alone here –in this seat. Your crew cannot effect what you do –nobody can.
Only the enemy can
He nods. Good. Takes his wingman’s eyes –waves the signal.
They acknowledge across the abyss separating them, and he takes the canopy above him, and slides it firmly shut, adjusts his goggles, sweeps the instruments again –all is good –and gently eases the stick forward.

They descend gently –the speed picking up –the controls hardening, the bumps and thumps hard and urgent now, and there –there on the horizon –the cliffs of North and south head –tiny, tiny, but growing by the minute

500 feet, the ocean now has form, shape, the waves individual –and the world vibrates, and eyes search, search for the harbor opening –have they arrived at the right place?

And suddenly –instantly –the diorama –studied so hard –becomes recognizable –there is Manly cove –that is south head –and that is middle head –and the houses nestled on the south cliff tops are growing into recognizable shapes –red roofs gleaming in the sun, and the descent stops at 200 feet, and the ocean now that lovely blur underneath, and the left hand takes the throttle, and slams it into the stop –the bellow now a howl

South head looms, and he gently rudders, gently sticks, eases her over the cliff – bellowing over the roofs on south head –startled faces looking up –and Ogawa and Diogawa race overhead –the fighters seeking, seeking –rocking, and the stomach rises as he swoops down onto the harbor –the great bridge –there –there! –ahead, 2 miles away.

A small boat flashes under –and red balls –white balls are rising up –flashing past and under and Tanaka -more sensed than seen is winging over, down , and behind, cart wheeling into the green, green water –and it matters not –for the harbor is packed with shipping –and coldly, calmly, he lines up the cruiser -underway, behind that funny fort, and its 500 yards, 400, 300 –men are running on her deck –too late! –and Kamisaka is beside him –the hand snatches at the bomb release, funnels, masts below, gone –she leaps into the air, free of her great weight –and behind –a flash –a titanic Thunmp!, another thump –and he climbs, climbs over the city head screwed back towards the target –and the cruiser –the Louisville, is burning, burning already!

He banks hard to starboard, the great bridge sliding under his starboard wing –and he notices with some amusement as Kurihara flashes under the bridge –his target a mountain of flame behind him –the tanker burns.

He keeps turning, climbing, heading back towards the sea –and the next wave is coming in, glinting in the sun – angling in towards garden island –and , Oh , how thick the shipping is there – a mass of funnels –alongside, shut down, helpless.

And the noise insulates them – the engine drowns -almost –the shattering explosions as the bombs land –again, and again –the kates zooming low and hard across the great shipyard –tail gunners spraying death as they go

He circles still –climbing, climbing –and notes the chaos in the harbor, in the city –on the bridge, and almost as an after thought –the immensity of this great brown land they have kicked

And no planes rise to fight them.

And then it is over –and missing just Tanaka –the bombers turn for home.

And the noise insulates them…………..

Kamisaka flies behind Okura, his eagle lighter, easier to handle now.
He is empty. Yet not.
He did not miss

Kurihama flies – almost in a daze.
How sweet a thing he has seen and done today.
A fully loaded tanker – and how bright did it burn!
How hot those flames must have been

And how the seamen did run………….
Kurihama flies –he is grinning –but it is not a happy grin –more akin to a wolf over a broken legged deer
Oh, how sweet a thing he has done today……..

Zuiho recovers her strike with out incident.
A mere two planes have been lightly holed.
The pilots will climb out –each in their own way.
Some, slowly, carefully – shattered mentally from the battle. They will be quiet, introspective
Others will leap out –grinning, excited.
Some will simply climb out –and seek the meal awaiting them.

All will expect a follow on strike.

But first –the intelligence officer………

‘Initial results sir”
Hasegawa nods – noting the excitement on the midshipman’s face.

CA Australia – 2 bombs
CA Canberra – 1 bomb
CA Louisville –2 bombs
CL Adelaide – 1 bomb
CL Achilles – 1 bomb
CL Perth –1 bomb
CL Marblehead – 1 bomb
Tanker –unknown –1 bomb
Medium AP –1 bomb
Large AP –1 bomb

Murmers on the bridge.
Hasegawa grins –ancient wrinkles deepening even further.
“and so we dispatch the ANZAC squadron. A good days work. Please have Hidaka report here”

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/30/2010 10:29:34 PM)

"there will be no second strike" Hasegawa's face is solid, and already Hidaka can see that this statement will not be changed. but he must try -must
'Sir - I must point out -the enemy have no air cover -the targets are crippled -we could finish them off easily"

Hasegawa remains silent -then slips his hand into his uniform, extracts the orders he has recieved from Yamamoto
"part one of this operation has been a stunning success Hidaka - but there is more to come - and to full fill it we may still need more bombs and torpedoes than we still have. Read these please -and tell me what you think"

Hidaka takes the operational order -it is quite large - and it covers three possible operations -and he see's immediately that Hasegawa is right.
But the sheer offrontry of this plan -the flights of fancy it contains.......

"Do we have the forces for this monster? -this is a deep gamble is it not?"

"But it justifies no second strke?"

"Yes, but....."

Then the rest is above our pay scale no?. Spot a naval strike ASAP - who knows what we will find out here -and a heavy search pattern. No surprises -the enemy still have 2 CV's in the Pacific somewhere..........."

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (10/30/2010 10:36:27 PM)

Zuiho races East at full power.
Just after 3am, one of the feed pumps suddenly emits an incredible high pitch screech -an ear splitting squeal of distress.
The water tender hurridly shuts it down, and gets the last standby pump online.

Secured, the offending pump is tested under hand throtle - and not un expectantly -does not turn.
There are the usual curses.
The piece of rubbish that has entered this pump is probably no bigger than a grain of rice - the amount of work its is going to cause far, far greater

the men curse. This is a fairly regular occurance on Zuiho -this feed pump rebuild process -but that does not reduce the effort that lays ahead......

(Zuiho system damage leapt from 0 to 2 during the high speed attack run/with drawal)

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/1/2010 8:24:15 AM)


Extract from 'Shattering the Sword" A Cantona production (by Amazon books)

.............and the tentacles continued to spread over the Pacific. The end of January saw the empire still hard on the attack
In Malaya, 25th Army stood poised to jump the straights, the allied army in dire straights. Although the British navy had fought a good, hard agressive fight -with one outstanding victory at Sinkawang - the net is now ruthlessly closing.

In Java -the 16th army continued the great underhook -marching North now towards batavia, but with eyes already rising to far further objectives.

In the Solomons, Port Moresby has gone -the defenders struggling now in the jungles. The Imperial fleet is supreme here -the raid on Sydney a stunning blow.

Two allied carriers already lie at the bottom, and Yamamato will spare no effort to get the last ones -if he can.
But all is not doom and gloom - no japanese advance occurs yet in Burma -and the british here are digging in.
The real digging in, takes place in the Phillipines - manilla may be gone -but Clarke field holds -and the japanese appear to have stalled.
And not a single Imperial soldier has yet landed in Minando - this will surely be a tough nut to crack....

Feburary comes quickly -and the Allied Supreme commander is holding to his vow -no retreat, fight every step.. If Japan is going to win -if that impossible dream could be even contemplated -she will have to truly be bold in the months ahead.

This the great Dictator, herbiesan, is detirmined to do.............

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/1/2010 8:42:01 AM)

The Minister for Industry, Mr Okura, waits as he does every day outside the dictators rooms.
The dictator is a busy man - so is Okura -but he will wait with out complaint. It is something Japanese are very good at.
Finally, he is ushered into the room. The Dictator -that short angry little turd, is bent over the chart table -as usual.
In the room, quiet. Too one side, a small bar -a giant map of the pacific on one wall. A portrait of the Emperor -a jarring sight considering Japans recent history- and in a small alcove -protected by light curtains -the half hidden sight of a messed up bed -a bed of the european style -another jarring note.

Okura notes -with no surprise at all -that the bed is occupied by the dictators latest 'secretary' -her small form half covered by the silk sheets

"Ahhhhh, Okura, my man -how goes the war on production?'
'well sir -probably the most important detail - kate production is finally happening to order"
The Dictator niether smiles, nor frowns -sometimes one wonders if he actually pays attention to what you say -like a husband listening to a wife -but then, just when you think..................

'Good. I have some news -Zuiho struck Sydney today - your Son is safe -a good hard blow"
'Yes - I was clever to think of that -Yamamato said I was a fool, but.......

Okura says nothing. Giving opinions in this place can be very, very dangerous.

herbiesan nods to the Chart. " I have reviewed your figures -and find them acceptable so far. However, a new job Okura.
How much ship lift can we spare for .........THIS........"
THIS -is a plan, already detailed, already well into the process.
Okura briefly takes it in............heavens -, heavens. Does he really mean this!?. Are we really going to do this?......


Give me a minute monkey man, give me a minute........

'I will have to study this sir -its, its .......

'enourmous ney?. Alright. 24hrs -then begin assigning shipping -we will be doing this Okura -all or nothing............"

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/1/2010 8:57:52 AM)


Zuiho task force escapes into the pacific wastes -and refuels -this time in sparkling clear calm seas.
Hasegawa receives new orders.
They are...........interesting
Hidaka merely whistles when he reads them. Ok -they can do this............

Below, Zuiho comes down to two boilers again - but keeps the other two 'banked"
It saves fuel -but leaves her free to launch in under an hour.
The Charge and his black gang begin the work on the feed pump.
No, the Charge sets the work -its Okano who draws the short straw to actually do it.

Okano does not mind -this is what he likes -him verses the bitch of a machine he will set right again, good work, honest work with his hands -work one can see progress, see results with -work that really matters.
He will whistle a lot in the days ahead

He will have three men to assist -and by request Lurch is amongst them, Okano actually gets on well with this giant, the tatoos do not worry him, nor the deformed little finger-he likes his quiet strength and stamina.

They will need it. The feed pump is located on the "top plates" - and here the temperature hovers around 140 to 150 degrees f. The nearest blower is three feet away -and the men will take turns under it.
The work begins -the easy part first -yet not the easiest -all the valves associated to the machine are lashed shut -some are in awkward places indeed - lLurch won't be doing these -he wont fit up there amongst the pipes.

Then the spanner work begins -the taking of of auxillary pipe work, the removal of the packing boxes and stuffing.
The men sweat, they pant, they drink copious amounts of water -and need more.

Now for todays real task. 36 bolts -1 and a quarter inches in diameter -each torqued down to many hundreds of pounds -they have to come off to release the cover.
It begins. Lurch swings the sledge, Okano holds the spanner, the others take the nuts, finish the removals.

It will take many hours. Much sweat. Time will pass, and they will barely notice it.
They will beat this bitch.........

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/1/2010 9:00:04 AM)

In the ready room - lassitude. They have fought, they have struck. Three men have died.
Now, now that it is over, they have time to think about it

It happened to Tanaka Oh so fast................

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/1/2010 9:05:41 AM)

For Mitchell......

A kate


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/2/2010 8:27:07 AM)

LTJG Kurihama settles into his seat -adjusts his goggles one last tme. Ahead of him the great blade blurs, blowing the air in a solid blast over him, over the cockpit.

Ahead, Zuiho's bow gently rises and falls -not much, but enough nevertheless if he gets it wrong.
This bloody flight deck is so short..............
The bow drops -and he takes the throttle -pushes it solidly forward, and feels the great blade bite hard into the air.
But it moves so slow...........

Left rudder a tad, a bit more, fighting the torque of the blade, abdthe tail is coming up, gently, gently, and she drops that sickening drop as the flight deck simply runs out, and once again the balancing act - don't stall!, don't stall!
And away, the ocean blue and sparkling below them.
gently climbing now, easing back on the throttle, settling the flaps into place -but the canopy stays back today -it is simply too glorious a day to enclose one self.
2000 feet -and all is good, and he gently banks his big bird, joins the circle of bombers lapping the fleet.
briefly a zero joins him -Diogawa gives a wave, then peels up and away, taking station some where up there.

Kurihama likes this height -likes work of flying these steady laps - likes looking at the ships they protect.
Face it -he likes flying -almost as much as he likes , well as he likes other things.

The ocean, again today, remains empty of anything.
The pacific is a very, very, big place. More than big eneough to hide them in .

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/2/2010 8:35:53 AM)

The Cover is off the pump, the wear rings checked. As expected -one has a nasty groove -the piece of rust no bigger than that grain of rice they expected to find has done its devilish work.

The chain blocks swing with Zuiho's motions across the swell -a gentle one today -a blessing -manouvering the cover in heavy weather does not bear contemplating.
Now the drudgery begins. Each face of the pump casings are sealed with gaskets -gaskets that must be scrapped off, measured, traced, hole punched, checked.
The fight every inch of the way, the men bend over the work -over metal as hot as fry pans, patiently scarping the old gaskets away, inch by inch.

They gleam in the boiler room, mostly stripped to nearly nothing, skinny men, young men, fighting a battle few will see.
But it is a battle that welds them all together -immutable, unbreakable.
Bonds of steel, that one day, will be put to the ultimate test.
But not today.
Today they simply work.

british exil -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/3/2010 8:30:24 PM)

Where's the little ship that could?

Need my daily dosage, already having withdrawal symtoms.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/4/2010 8:37:53 AM)

"For heavens sake! -hold the bloody thing still!"
The cover of the pump, weighing nearly 200 kilos, swings above the pump, the tackle creaking and rattling.
Zuiho is tracking now across the swell, and rolling steadily -and the cover swings with it
Lurch grunts -and strains against the roll -and holds the cover still.
'Steady", Okano almosts whispers. 'steady my little fat dumpling, my little girl, you son of a bitch -soon I will have you in place"
he strokes the warm steel, looks at the gap again between the covers, checks the wear rings yet again -they must not-must not lean, this will lead to a catastrophic jam.......
he nods to the man on the tackle -carefully -more afraind of a rebuke from Okano than anything -he lets the cover down another inch -now a mere three to go.
The ship sways, and the men wait - now, now it is all in the timing......
"Another moment my sweet. another moment...."
Okano may not realise it -but his wife would be totally familiar with his tone of voice now.
This pump is less than being re assembled , more seduced into action.........

Zuiho steadies herself for a moment -and down the cover comes........

'Got you you sweet little trucker............"
Everyone grins, the battle is well on the way now.
The petty officer grabs the shaft 0yes, it turns freely still.
"Ok , lets get the bolts in"
The men turn to obey - now for the next step.

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/4/2010 9:29:24 AM)

posts will be slow, cantona away, i am chewing into bank of turns, I like to post a week or so behind events, cantona back very soon I hope.
Thankyou for comments.
I need to put faces to the men -anyone know some good sights with photos of japanese military personal!?

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 12:05:52 AM)


Task force swift eagle has a new mission, and is currently fullfilling it.
To the men on the little ship, what that mission is remains beyond their pay scale. Only Hasegawa, Hidaka know it, and they fret over it daily. But for now, as the ships trek across the endless wastes, there can only be patience.

The day goes slowly, and how many minds today turn thoughts to home. You can see them -the mechanic who, bent over a cowling, pauses in mid reach for that spanner, the cook, who momentarily stops the great ladle stirring inthe cooker, or the gunner who stops oily that barrell. They stop -and eyes goes blank, they go still -and the thought of home fills them, thoughts of children growing -first steps that will be missed, or anniverseries not celebrated together.

And then, the real world will come racing back in - this world of blue wild seas, the pitching of the ship, its creaks, groans, rattles, the smells, and the ever present whine of the forced draft blowers.

And the work continues

Regularily, the Kates will rumble down the deck -become dots in the blue -searching the wastes. And regularily they will come home -some jolting, bouncing, some having to try again. But so far none have been lost, and that is a blessing so far.
Men eat, sleep, watch, and wait.

From the bridge, occasionally, snippets of the war -that war that is happening somewhere else. The battle for Java continues, but singapore remains defiant.

In the main though, the war may as well be on another planet.

Below, in the stink - the bolts around the casing are in -each now has to be labourisly tightened down, first to 50, then 100. then 250, then 500 KN.
The torque wrench is huge -and the men will add a length of pipe to its handle to gain advantage . But the process will be slow -pipe work rarely allows a clear swing -you will have to tighten a little, remove the socket, move it a flat, and go again.
And maybe again.
There is little talking now, and few jokes. Exhaustion is setting in, and life boils down to grunting, sweating, swearing, grabbing some air under the blower, and going again.
By midnight, they are done.
Okano repacks the pump himself - trusting no one else with this vital task.

At 3 am, the throttle is cracked, and the pump turns, begins the bedding in of the packing.
There will be a few smiles.
The charge will simply say -well done -and that is nearly reward enough 'Go to bed -and take tomorrow off" -is more then enough reward

'Minobe on the phone sir"
'Captain speaking"
'Feed pump repairs complete sir"
'Ahh, very good engines, thank you"
Hasegawa returns to the signal '"Strike @#$%$#"

(Zuiho's system damage reduces from 2 to 1 while at sea)

Operations LOG
Continue to fly 30% CAP/search missions.
No contacts, no sightings, nil incidents

From Captains Log

Ordered to strike at new objective.
Will require refuelling first, and a hard steam. We can do it.

Diary of the charge

Quiet day
Repairs to feed pump complete.
Conducted routine boiler swings, soot blows, bottom blows.
feed good, fresh good, fuel good. Food crap.

hosho -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 7:27:44 AM)


ORIGINAL: 1275psi

'enourmous ney?. Alright. 24hrs -then begin assigning shipping -we will be doing this Okura -all or nothing............"

nice to see that his deviousness is up to new plans. another great aar herbs! [sm=00000028.gif] keep it going


ORIGINAL: 1275psi
feed good, fresh good, fuel good. Food crap.

nice touch [:D]

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 10:57:52 AM)

HI Hosho! -genuinly pleased to hear from you again!!

(would you like another guest spot as the story develops?)

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 11:09:20 AM)


Yamamoto bends over the chart.. Around him his staff stand and wait. Overhead, beating futily in the humid air, a fan casts endless shadows around the room.
On one wall, quietly, supposedly hidden from every eye in the room (although every eye is aware of it) a gecko clings against the rough concrete, waiting for supper to fly by.
It is very quiet -except for the fan, but the air is very thick, and heavy with expectation.

Combined fleet has worked, sweated, slaved over this chart, this plan. Now Yamamoto stares at it, seeking to find a flaw.
There is, of course many damn flaws in the plan -the first being at bloody war with the Americans in the first place -if only he could have hit pearl as he had wished too -damn conservative navy Staff -damn them.
Too risky -why bring down the wrath of America, they had said.
Well, sending Lexington and yorktown to the bottom had made them angry enough!

He contemplates the chart -the little pins representing so many ships, so many men. So much risk.

"The weather?" he asks
'It is turning lousy sir"
he grunts -'Good, lousy is very good"

If first fleet thought Pearl was crazy -let them chew on this. But they can't stop this -not now -Nagumo is too deep now..

He straightens " Alright then. Rolling Thunder is ordered. Signal Hasegawa - strike as planned"

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 11:21:24 AM)

Nagumo is wakened. For a moment, he wonders where he is -then, as he has done so many times before, he reaches for the light -takes the signal from the patient seaman.
'Three am sir" -he does not need to be asked -Nagumo always asks....

The Signal is brief
'Inform Captain Hara -he knows what to do"

he falls swiftly asleep again - barely noticing the increased vibration as Akagi works to full speed.

Hasegawa too is awakened.
He too takes the signal -nods. But he does not return to sleep, instead he slips on his slippers, and gently shffles onto the bridge.
It is very still -and quiet - Zuiho gently nosing the swells.
"Its very quiet sir -no contacts, nothing seen. Formation is tight -visibility good" The OOW sounds confident, relaxed -and this is what really tells the state of the watch .


For a few minutes he stands in the dark -and is surprised to think -there is nothing to do -now. The die is cast then. Soon we go into action again. but for now -how easy to think its 22 again -and we are about to see the lights of San Fransico......
ahhhhhhhhh, so long ago. Such good times.
And now we must fight them.
The world truly is mad.

time is ticking -and sleep is so precious.......... "call me 15 before dawn"
"Aye sir"

Wearily, he slides back into bed. A last thought, its a wierd war when you fight it in slippers.......

hosho -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/6/2010 3:13:05 PM)


ORIGINAL: 1275psi

HI Hosho! -genuinly pleased to hear from you again!!

(would you like another guest spot as the story develops?)

it is also nice to see that your writing is still superb! if you think that it wouldn`t spoil this aar... than i am all for it [8D]

1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/7/2010 8:39:21 AM)


Just before dark, Hasegawa enters the bridge. All eyes turn to him, awaiting the order.
his tone -now so familiar, is gentle. 'Once more into the breech ney?"
The men nod. The OOW becomes rigid, and salutes his Captain. "we are ready sir"
Hasegawa takes post before the binnacle, Here he will remain until this ends, one way or the other.
Now the voice, trained by years of command, is sharp, clear -and hard
"general quarters. Prepare aircraft for strike. Starboard ten, full ahead all"

Zuiho turns nimbly, settles into her new course, bow rising, creaming in the growing swell. Ahead, a glowing sun, dipping below the horizon -a horizon of solid dark grey clouds, the ocean dark, menacing, racing by.
Zuiho turns, into the unknown again.

Zuiho is at action stations now -her guns manned, her lookouts posted.
In her hangers, the crews labour, the bombs again being winched up the armoured trunks, fitted to the chain blocks, placed into the trollies -and with grunting effort pushed under the birds.
Other men polish wings, others hand pump the gas, 100's of gallons at a time -and the smaell of gas, grease, oil, lingers in the air.
Here the lights are bright, the activity ordered, and time flies by, there is little time to think of what lies ahead.

It is not so easy in other areas.
Zuiho, below all this action, is a quiet ship -her passage ways deserted. Scattered through out her -pockets of men, closed up behind bolted down doors, dogged hartches. They sit at repair bases, or in Danmage control central, or in isolated auxillary compartments -and wait.

No it is not so easy in these areas, as Zuiho rides the swells, there is plenty of time to think............

Hidaka gathers the men in the ready room, bracing himself against the ships movements. Chairs occasionally move, and the model planes hanging from the ceiling, play their own little dog fights, swirling, twirling on the end of their strings.
Even the map moves.

His pointer slaps the target.
'gentlemen -target -Noumea"
His men barely react -he may as well have said target -the dark side of the moon. And this is no surprise -for they know as much about Noumea as they do of the hidden second light
'Strike will be at 0500 - launch at 0400. We intend to launch standard naval search as rostered these last three days at 0300"
"Crud" Kamisaka growls, he has drawn the short straw.
'targets sir?" Ogawa ventures

Now for the difficult bit. how do you tell them this? like you tell every warrior -straight up -as they deserve.
he smiles -"Not known -whatever we find"
That gets a reaction..............and many pilots shift uneasily in their seats
The smile broadens -after all, what else is there in this ridiculous situation?
'Unknown -probably very little"
A few snorts of disgust fill the room -but that is all. After all -all know that if a thousand fighters awaited them -they would still go............

Hasegawa places his hands on his hips -'men the dope is this. No recon, no warning. total surprise. we are here to, and I quote our military genius Yamamoto - 'to make a nuisance of ourselves." This we will do - we will strike -hit whatever looks juicy -get the hell out"


'Any questions?
There are none
'Alright then -here are the operational details..............."

The Charge -again, prowls. Labouriously again making his way around the ship -checking, checking. He shares tea in the Port boiler room, something stronger in the main engine room.
Zuiho is in good shape, ready for whatever comes at her.
This time -despite her movements, her steady rise and fall, her roll, he finds nothing loose, nothing free to fly.
By midnight he too is in his position.

There is nothing to do now, but wait.

british exil -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/7/2010 9:53:23 AM)


There is nothing to do now, but wait.

This is the hard bit now, just waiting for the planes to return and the pilots to tell their tales.


1275psi -> RE: The little ship that could. (11/8/2010 8:44:02 AM)


Just after 3 am, the weather -already bad -turns worse.
Now Zuiho buries her bows into the dark masses of sea, and great phosphorous rapids crash across the focastle, and, as the hour passes, begin to smash into the base of the bridge.
It begins to rain -not your piss poor temperate zone rain, but a tropical deluge -and much of it blown almost parrallel.
Hasegawa watches, and judges, and watches -but he must acknowledge the facts -keep slamming into this...........
'reduce to ten knots -we must ride this out"

Unbidden, but well in tune to the events around him, Hidaka soon too turns up on the bridge.
"We cannot strike in this"
The men glance at each other -and both commanders know full well what this could mean. In two hours time, it will be daylight, and Swift eagle will be barely 100 miles off Noumea -helpless.

Hidaka states the obvious " If there are bombers at Noumea -and they are not socked in like us.........."
Hasegawa grips the binnacle tightly "a long day ahead.........we must stay ready. The gun crews are going to hate this"

A long day indeed.
All day, in the grey angry sea, the task group inches forward, the grey sky scudding close overhead.
Flying is impossible from her decks -even attempts to move the planes below a deadly task.
Hasegawa is right, the gun crews, the lookouts will spend a miserable day - wet, and ironically here almost on the equator -cold.

Below decks, misery too. Sea sickness stalks the passageways -vomitting is a catching disease -once one man places his head down -many are going to follow.........

Time will crawl today -a nightmare of waiting, waiting, waiting for bombers to burst from the grey...........

Oh yes, it will be a long day indeed...........

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