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For the last couple of weeks, I've been feeling the strangest itch. As much as I enjoy writing here, I've found myself wanting to write other stuff. And I think I finally found a way to scratch it.

I've mentioned a few times that I'm a Navy buff, as well as a bit of a World War II nut. A while ago I found a couple of message boards that kick around that kind of thing, and I've read them fairly faithfully. I haven't participated much, though.

Before now.

I've started a short story over there about a fictional US Navy ship in the Pacific during World War II. The U.S.S. Manchester is a complete creation of my own, as is the crew. If anyone would like to see what I write when openly and deliberately making stuff up, head on over to this site and look for pieces entitled "The Adventures Of The U.S.S. Flyswatter." I've published four parts, am polishing up part five for publication in the next day or so, and have absolutely no idea how far I'll take it.

It's a nice change from politics, I have to admit. But sooner or later I think I'll just have to work in a bit of Massachusetts-bashing, just to preserve my reputation...


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Comments (10)

The USS Manchester, CL-83 y... (Below threshold)

The USS Manchester, CL-83 your creation? The people who worked at Bethlehem Steel Company back in '46 will be very, very surprised to hear that.

Facts are not your friends, Jay. This is why you're a neocon.

No, asti, my story's set in... (Below threshold)

No, asti, my story's set in 1942, when the name "Manchester" was fair game. The Cleveland-class Manchester -- which was named and her keel laid in 1944 -- doesn't exist in my story, set in 1942, and may or may not come to be.

MY Manchester doesn't have a hull number yet, but if it does, it'll be considerably lower than 83. It will also not be a CL, but a CLAA.

Reading comprehension is not your friend, asti. That is a small part of why you're a fuckhead.


Jay,MY Manchest... (Below threshold)


MY Manchester doesn't have a hull number yet, but if it does, it'll be considerably lower than 83. It will also not be a CL, but a CLAA.

Then I'm afraid you really do have a technical inconsistency. In Part I you say that Manchester displaces 10,000 tons. However, the Atlanta-class antiaircraft cruisers displaced only 6,000 tons standard, 8300 full load. Ten thousand tons is the typical standard displacement for a heavy cruiser -- for example, USS Portland (CA-33), 9,950 tons standard, 14,000 tons full load.

It's a small point, but it's also the sort of detail that you could get gigged for by a really knowledgeable reader: "jeez, this clown can't even get simple technical details right, how can he write an accurate mil-fic story?"

Wolfwalker, my Manchester i... (Below threshold)

Wolfwalker, my Manchester is a wholly-fictional design, set up through SpringSharp. She's essentially a "super-Atlanta," built on a modified Brooklyn hull. Her normal displacement is just under 10,000 tons, and her hull number would fall in the mid-50's or early 60's. I'm tempted to use one of the numbers from the Clevelands that were converted to Independence-class CVLs.

I'm also keeping in mind James Cobb's problem, when he named his "stealth destroyer" in the Amanda Garrett books. He's not only seen his fictional hull number get used by a real ship (DDG-79), but the ship's namesake (the Cunningham) utterly disgrace himself. That's the danger when you get too specific on details in fiction; reality can bite you on the ass.

It's fiction, but I am trying to avoid the glaring inconsistencies. I'm sure I'll make them, but no one's caught one yet.

Especially the dipshit astigafa.


J - "Reading comprehens... (Below threshold)

J - "Reading comprehension is not your friend, asti. That is a small part of why you're a fuckhead."

A very small part.

So it's an uber-CLAA? I li... (Below threshold)
Arthur Kimes:

So it's an uber-CLAA? I like CLAAs. When I wargamed carrier battles around Guadalcanal I spent a lot of time tweaking the carrier escorts to get maximum AA kill percentages. The CLAAs were critical for that.

I assume there's going to be a lot of techie stuff later on. If so I hope you can spend some time on the analog computers used to aim the 5" guns and set the shell fuzing. If the time frame extends far enough it'd be nice to see the dramatic difference radar proximity fuzes made when the became available.

So far as the "Then we thought about armor. The Manchester is not going to be getting into any surface fights. That's what the other cruisers and destroyers are for." Heh heh heh. Once the unbelievable attrition of the Guadalcanal campaign kicks in it's amazing what ships will be drafted to intercept IJN fast bombardment forces in a brisk night engagement.

If you feel the need to simulate some engagements of the period don't overlook the various wargames (both computer and board) that cover that era. Contact me if you want some of the techie details.

Also, there's a TV movie (I... (Below threshold)

Also, there's a TV movie (I guess between 10-20 years ago) about a kid who joined the USN while 4-5 years underage. Based on a true story. He wound up serving a 40mm mount on fast BB. Saw some action in '42. The scene showing the crew in action on that 40mm was excellent. Complex dance of a lot of people to keep the ammo coming for the 40s! I wonder if that's the problem the crew was complaining about in your story. Not enough space for everybody to run around and serve their gun?

[shrug] Well, your story, y... (Below threshold)

[shrug] Well, your story, your choice. Personally I'd find it a bit nonsensical to have a CLAA built on a CA hull. I'd buy a CLAA maybe ten or fifteen percent larger than Atlanta -- say, 7500 tons standard displacement, 9000 full load. But 10,000 tons standard is a heavy cruiser hull, and I don't see the point in building a CLAA armament on top of it. Not to mention the fact that it kinda slips a knife into what I suspect will be one of your story points: a ship with CA tonnage ought to have CA armor and also CA stability in a seaway. If it's still carrying CL armor at CA tonnage, then what did they put all the extra tonnage into?

On a different tack, might I suggest a trip down to Battleship Cove if you haven't already been? Battleship Massachusetts down there still has a few of her 40mm quad-guns and 20mm singles in place, and you can look at them close up and see in detail how difficult they were to operate.

Incidentally, for an extra note of realism you might suggest that your cruiser was a testbed for the 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikon AA guns, which were very new in mid-'42. Most USN ships still carried 1.1"/75 cannon for medium AA guns, and fifty-cals for light AA guns.

Jay, a friend of mine is bu... (Below threshold)

Jay, a friend of mine is building an encyclopedia online of the Pacific War if you want to visit it.
Kent's site is here, he's good people.

I'm impressed. Apparently ... (Below threshold)

I'm impressed. Apparently there are some problems with weights/weapons, but I know little to nothing about naval armaments, so I can overlook those. Not sure how much you'll be able to get out of it, but at the very least it should make a great short story.






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