Okano and Hirate have been given plum jobs by Tan, Hirate the aircraft hanger services,
Okano the boats
Both will spend a busy day, despite the very short journey the battleship makes out into the bay.
She will travel barely a mile, then moor, and commence Ammunitioning.
it will take all day....some 180 of the 18 inch main shells, nearly 600 rounds of 6 inch.
Of the 4.7, and 25 MM rounds........the numbers seem endless.
Tan, the Gunnery officer, the Captain, all have seemingly turned a blind eye.
The 25 MM guns, especially single mounts, seem to be sprouting like mushrooms.
Other non conventional activities accompany the ammunitioning. 4 large barges deeply laden
with sand nestle alongside.
Nearly 500 men are put to work making sand bags, they too begin to sprout around every platform,
Another 200 men are at work bringing up from below buckets of soot and crushed charcoal,
mixed in buckets the decks are stained black, a task that almost breaks the
Executive Officers heart.
The hours lost, wasted, scrubbing those decks to a pure shine...................
Hirate now has to supply all 4 float planes with what ever they need, a task
considerably easier than Zuiho, but one his team needs more practice on. Soon his voice
will ring in both hanger entrances, and deep inside Musashi under her concrete quarterdeck.
Ogowa works nearby, supervising the steam pinnace, the gantry crane launching it,
then a frustrating day of refuelling the shuttle of boats too and from shore.
Musashi rings with activity
late in the day both men are able to briefly rest on the lower Port boat space.
A mile away, yamato
And behind her.......Home
Ominously though, Yamato too is busy.
her Guns turn, her director turns, the barrels rise, fall, rise again
And nestled too........ammunition barges.
"I think, my brother, the time draws near"
how to answer that?
Silence falls upon them.
Above them, the hydraulic whine and rumble as 2700 tons of metal swings to port. Musashi, too, begins gunnery drills.
big seas, fast ships, life tastes better with salt