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The Old Girl's New Tricks, Part V

More things fall down, go boom.

Chapter 21

"Damage report!" Blythe barked. "Where did they hit us?"

Foster quickly answered. "One in the bow, sir. Looks like right on the deck. My guess is, no damage below the waterline."

"Probably the anchor chain locker. No big problem right now. What about the rest?"

Foster paused. "Another on the belt, no real harm. Final one... oh, no."

Blythe gripped the arms of his seat. "Out with it, Foster."

"One of the 5-inch guns. Number 1, forward portside. We've got casualties, and the mount is down. Probably destroyed."

Blythe pushed the casualties out of his mind for now. There would be time for mourning later. And, in the big picture, the loss of that mount wouldn't be a major issue -- the Arkansas was turning her starboard side to the enemy, so the mount would have been obscured anyway. "Any fires?"

"No, sir. Not at the moment."

"OK. We're still in fighting trim." He felt the Arkansas heel to port as the screws and rudders bit into the waters, swinging the ship as quickly and sharply -- but still too slow for his taste -- to starboard. "Order turrets 1 through 4 to cease fire and begin rotating to maximum starboard train. Turrets 5 and 6, continue firing on Baker. As soon as they are unmasked, they are to resume firing on Baker."

The next roar of the main guns was considerably softer, as the only guns firing were the two aftmost. And Foster saw the splashes of the next round of Japanese shells all fall short, to port -- the turn had caught them by surprise.

Just then the Arkansas shuddered from a fresh hit -- but this one felt different than the earlier hits. The shuddering was stronger, but the sound muffled.

Blythe forced his voice to remain calm. "Gentlemen, unless I'm mistaken, we just took a torpedo. Details?"

Foster quickly got his report. "Amidships, port side, around Frame 260. Moderate leaks."

Blythe let out a sigh of relief. He knew he'd been cutting it close on ordering the course reversal, but it turned out he'd been just a little bit too late. Fortunately, thanks to the Arkansas turning so sharply, she'd heeled considerably to port -- driving the armored belt deeper into the water. Between the belt and the bulges she'd been fitted with back in the 1920's, they held off most of the explosive force from the Jap fish.

But they should have been outside torpedo range from the Japs, and the damage was a bit more than a single fish should have accounted for. There might just be something to Tripp's theory of a Jap "super-torpedo" after all.

"Keep me posted if we need to slow down. I'd rather not lose what little speed we have, but I'd also rather not end up being sunk by a single Jap fish."

"Aye-aye, sir."

As the Arkansas swung around, Rose suddenly shouted. "Sir! The Jap destroyers -- they just got taken out!"

Blythe smiled. "Ah, the Hamm has decided to make her presence felt. Details, Mr. Rose?"

"It looks like they both just took torpedoes from their starboard -- our port, sir. One of 'em just blew up, and the other's dead in the water."

"Commander Aspin probably should have left those cans for us, and focused on the convoy. But I think I can find it in myself to forgive him."

"Mr. Rose, just before the turn, I believe we scored several hits on Baker. Status report?"

"Lookouts say she's slowing down and have at least one fire going. More than that is hard to tell -- we're almost directly off her bow. But I'd say we took a good chunk out of her."

"Superb. Time to reshuffle the directors. Director 1, lock on Able. Director 2, take Director 3's solution for Baker and take over the main battery as soon as they have the solution confirmed. Director 3, get a solution on Dog. And each turret is to open fire on Baker as soon as they are unmasked."

Foster interrupted. "Sir, it's damage control. The flooding's getting worse. Chief Engineer recommends slowing to 15 knots -- if not more. And the helm reports the ship wants to drift to port -- they think the hole in the bulge is acting like a scoop."

"I believe I can also feel the beginnings of a list as well, Mr. Foster. Tell the Chief to shift fuel and water around as necessary to fight the list, authorize damage control to order counterflooding as necessary, and reduce turns to 13 knots. Speed isn't going to help us much in this fight anyway, and the reduction just might mess with the Japs' aim a little."

Chapter 22

The Arkansas lumbered around, gradually coming to her new heading. The turning masked the battered port side from the enemy, but still some scars of battle showed. The mangled bow and remnants of the catapult once atop Turret Three showed where the enemy shells had found vulnerabilities. Further evidence was the gutted casemate that once held a 5" gun. And two dented and scorched marks on the ship's 11"-thick armored belt had more than served its purpose. Barely visible was the gouge torn in her side roughly amidships from a torpedo the US Navy officially said didn't exist.

The main guns had finished their rotations, and were dialing in on the directions given them by Director Three. Halfway through the turn, Captain Blythe had changed his mind and ordered them to focus on "Dog," the starboardmost of the three. "Baker" was slowing down, with a fire burning amidships, so she wasn't the same immediate threat. Able and Dog, though, were still fully capable, undamaged, and looking to avenge their destroyed sister.

As she turned, numerous splashes erupted around her, but none found the old girl. The changes in course and speed had thrown off their aim, possibly even more than Blythe had hoped. Further, the Japanese weren't coordinating their fire, leading to confusion over which splashes came from which ship, which made correcting the misses even more of a challenge. Blythe hoped they stayed furious at the Arkansas -- angry men didn't make wise decisions.

"Mr. Foster, express our gratitude to the Hamm and remind them that if this is to be considered any kind of a victory, they should go after the transports and leave the cruisers to us."

"Aye-aye, sir." Foster was reluctant to leave the bridge at this point, but orders were orders.

"Mr. Rose, make certain that Director Three knows they are to order all guns to fire as soon as they have a solution..."

* * * * *

Foster stepped into the radio room. "Sparks, call the Hamm. Tell them thank you, and order them to leave the cruisers to us -- they need to go after the transports."

"No problem, sir." The radio man quickly sent out the signal, and got his response. But as he decoded it, he grew puzzled.

"Here it is, sir. I don't quite understand it, but it looks like they understood." He handed the slip to Foster, who was even more confused -- but took it back to the bridge. Foster knew Aspin had served under Blythe for over a year, and suspected it was a private code between the two, to further complicate any interceptions. As he turned to return to the bridge, he felt the Arkansas shudder from at least one more hit.

* * * * *

"Sir, I think the Hamm included a private message to you."

Blythe still refused to open his eyes. He was maintaining his "situation board" inside his head. "Read it to me, Mr. Foster."

Foster struggled to verbalize the odd code.

"Sir, it says 'TNX X APA,' there's a line, and then "II SODOMY."

Blythe chuckled. Aspin was in rare form. "Foster, the first half is our message -- the first three letters are the word 'thanks." The X is a sentence break, and APA is the Navy designation for an 'attack transport,' like we're a BB and the Hamm is a DD. And the second part -- well, Aspin is apparently still a student of the Royal Navy during the age of sail. He intends to copy the old tactic of firing on the enemy from dead astern. It's a good tactic -- any shells that don't damage their steering or engines will raise holy hell with their cargo."

Rose interrupted the history lesson. "Sir, Dog's hit!"

Blythe paused for a moment. "Details, Mr. Rose?"

"Um..." Rose stammered as he got the particulars. "One hit on the fantail, possibly another amidships."

"Good. Mr. Rose, Mr. Foster has returned and will once again take over external concerns. Get me an update from damage control."

"Yes, sir." The Arkansas shook again as her main guns roared once more.

"Sir, damage control says the anchor locker's wrecked, but no immediate danger. Five-inch mount one is gutted -- seven dead, ten wounded. One boiler room's leaking, but it's manageable. The stack has some splinter damage, the catapult on Turret Three is wrecked, and that last hit gouged the hell out of the deck by Turret Five -- more splinter damage, nothing significant."

"Very good, gentlemen. Now, for the enemy. Damage reports?"

"Able still undamaged, Baker current speed 22 knots and slowing with fire amidships, Dog small fire astern."

"Have any of the enemy changed their bearings to unmask their torpedoes?"

"No, sir, still charging in on intercept courses."

"They're overdue to try that. Especially Baker -- if she's in any kind of trouble, she might try firing them off before they can detonate."

Foster was interrupted by a report from Director Three. "Sir, at least two more solid hits on Dog. One aft, one on her bridge."

"That ought to complicate matters substantially for them, gentlemen. Maintain fire on Dog, but order Directors One and Two to confirm their solutions on Able and Baker. Once we're confident Dog is impaired, we'll switch to Able and work her over for a..."


A massive explosion rocked the bridge.

Chapter 23

Captain Blythe struggled to his feet in an odd, muffled quiet. Around him, the rest of the bridge crew also began to pick themselves off the deck. "All hands, report!" he shouted, but even his own words sounded smothered. He realized he'd been partly deafened by the blast -- but where had it hit?

Commander Rose shouted into a sound-powered phone, then shook the receiver uselessly. He, too, was too deafened to hear the tinny voice coming through. He staggered to the fore of the bridge and looked out, and froze. Blythe saw him mouth "oh, my God," and then he waved to Blythe. "Captain, come look!"

Blythe, using various points and people as braces, made his way next to Rose and looked out over the foredeck -- and was struck dumb. In all his studies of naval warfare, he couldn't recall anything like what he saw before him ever happening.

Turret Two was just below the bridge, and turned starboard to near the end of its limits of its travel. The port gun was elevated at least ten degrees, as expected, but the starboard gun...

Blythe blinked, but it didn't change. The end of the gun was peeled back much like a banana, vaguely resembling how a jammed rifle might explode. It was also depressed to almost level with the ocean, and the base of the barrel -- where it entered the turret -- looked buckled.

Blythe knew it wasn't a jammed gun -- the explosion happened while the guns were checking fire from the turn. Turret One was just about to become unmasked, and he wasn't certain the director had even sent out its solution.

No, the only thing that made any sense was that the Japs had scored a one-in-a-billion hit -- and sent an 8" shell right into the muzzle of the gun. It had exploded at the end of the barrel, splitting the ends and driving the entire barrel backwards into the turret. And since the gun was elevated and turned to its limits, the blast had happened very near the starboard side of the bridge.

And there was most certainly a live round in that barrel.

Blythe spun Rose by the shoulder and shouted in his face. "Order Turret Two secured and evacuated immediately! Stand by to flood it if necessary!"

"Aye-aye, sir!" He repeated the order into the phone, even though he couldn't hear the response.

Gradually, their hearing began to return. Foster was the first to be able to hear the incoming messages to the bridge. "Sir, Director 3 reports solution on Dog, and five turrets ready. They're opening fire."

The report was punctuated by the roar of ten guns firing at the cruiser. They had no way to tell if they were avenging their wounded brother, but it didn't matter. One of those cruisers had silenced Turret Two, and all would pay the price.

Blythe found himself fixated on the shattered gun just below the bridge. He couldn't get the thought that there was an unfired 12" shell lodged in there, along with several bags of powder. Normally, one would empty the barrel by simply firing off the gun -- but there was almost no way the shell would make it out the mangled barrel. Opening and removing the powder and shell from the breech had its own tremendous dangers, especially since the equipment wasn't designed to work in reverse. Further, the gun was right under the bridge. Ideally, he'd prefer the gun to be facing dead ahead, putting as much air around the gun (and as little ship, to be more precise) and over Turret One, where the armor would be more resistant to any blast. But he'd ordered the turret evacuated, and he wasn't even certain the turret could be turned from outside.

And then he watched, astonished, as the turret -- seeming in response to his wishes -- slowly began to turn to port. "Mr. Rose, what's going on with that turret?"

Rose reluctantly answered. "Sir, the turret captain says he will evacuate his turret once he secures it in train. He also reports a few casualties -- including one loader crushed when the gun was shoved back into the turret. Three dead, four wounded. And he confirms that there's a live shell and powder in the breech."

The turret finally reached dead ahead and stopped. Blythe shook his head. He'd always been exceptionally proud of his crew, but this was unheard of. "Mr. Rose, get that turret captain's name. I'm putting him in for a reprimand for disobeying a direct order. Then I'm putting him and his entire crew in for medals."

While Blythe and Rose had tended to the wounded Arkansas, Foster had taken over the battle. Several more salvoes had been fired from the remaining turrets, further battering the Japanese cruiser Blythe had designated Dog. "Sir, with your permission, I'd like to shift fire to Able. I think Dog's about had it."

Blythe reluctantly turned away from Turret Two. The maimed gun was like a scab on his consciousness; he couldn't keep himself from looking at it, dwelling on it, worrying about it. He forced himself to give Foster his full attention. "What shape is she in, Mr. Foster?"

"We've scored several more hits on her, sir. Her bridge is a wreck, two of her main turrets are silent, major fires on the bow and amidships, and she's slowing. Further, she hasn't changed course in about ten minutes. Before that, she was on a slow curve to intercept. I think we wrecked her steering."

"Good call, Mr. Foster. But I think it's time to split our fire. Keep Turrets Five and Six on Dog until further notice, but shift Turrets One, Three, and Four to Able. She's gotten off unscathed so far, and it's time we did something about that."

Chapter 24

The immediate crisis apparently averted, Captain Blythe once again took his seat and closed his eyes. "Mr. Foster, give me range, bearing, course, and speed of Able, Baker, and Dog." Foster quickly collected the numbers and fed them to the captain's internal range table. "Now, status on all three enemy ships."

"Able still undamaged, coming on strong. Baker slow and afire, firing forward guns. And Dog's still locked on course, with fire on the fantail and amidships, bridge wrecked but no flame. Any minute now, her torpedo tubes are going to be unmasked. And all are firing with all available guns."

"Well, we've certainly held our current course and speed long enough for them to find the range," Blyhe announced. As if to punctuate his declaration, several large splashes surrounded the ship -- but, apparently, no hits. "Let's throw them off a little. Mr. Rose, come left fifteen degrees and increase speed to 15 knots -- I believe that's the limit Engineering set on us earlier?"

"Aye-aye, sir. Left standard rudder, coming about fifteen degrees, setting turns for fifteen knots."

The Arkansas slowly swung to port, the standard rudder setting keeping the old girl from heeling too obviously in hopes of not alerting the Japanese to the course change. In the Directors, the men took into account the changes and adjusted their solutions accordingly.

"While we have a moment, I'd like a status report from the Hamm.How goes the skeet-shooting?"

Foster checked with the radio room. "Sir, Hamm reports the convoy is scattering and in full retreat. Two are dead in the water, two more are retreating while on fire. Captain Aspin wishes to know if we would like him to withdraw and come back to support us."

"Tell Captain Aspin that we are quite content being his diversion while he accomplishes our real mission, and to focus on disabling or damaging as many as possible -- I have complete faith in the Navy and Marine flyers to pick up any of our leftovers."

The Arkansas' main guns roared once more, and the shells soared off towards their targets. Foster nearly shouted with glee. "Hits, sir! One hit on Able, right on the bow, and two on Dog -- one amidships, one on her bow!"

"Damage assessments, Mr. Foster?"

"Nothing on Able yet, sir, she might shrug it off. Dog's bow is pretty chewed up right down to the waterline, and the fire amidships just got lot bigger. I think she's in real trouble, sir. In fact, they ought to be worried about..." his voice trailed off.

"Please continue, Mr. Foster. What should they be worried about?"

"Sir, I was going to say they ought to be worried about their torpedoes cooking off, but not any more. One of 'em apparently just went up. The whole middle of the ship is either on fire or just plain gone. I think we can write her off."

"Excellent, gentlemen. That's the right half of the Jap cruiser force done for. Mr. Rose, have Director Two take over Turrets Five and Six and have them open fire on Baker. Director One, keep Turrets One, Three, and Four firing on Able. I don't think the Japs are going to be surrendering or retreating any time soon. Oh, and Mr. Rose? I'd like an update from Damage Control."

After shuffling the guns around again, Rose collected his reports. "Sir, I have good news and bad news. The hits to the 5" casemate and anchor locker have been secured. Engineering reports the flooding is still controllable from the torpedo hit. But Damage Control reports there's smoke coming out of the broken gun in Turret Two."

Turret Two. The gun that had taken a direct hit from an enemy shell. The gun that still had four bags of gunpowder and a high-explosive shell jammed in it. And the turret that -- by Blythe's orders -- was evacuated and sealed.

Chapter 25

There was no time. A fire in that gun could set off the powder, firing the shell up the maimed barrel. And there was almost no chance it would safely emerge from the splintered end. It would either jam or detonate -- right atop Turret One. "Rose, order Turret One to stand down, turn to dead ahead, and then evacuate! Then get a Damage Control team out on the foredeck, portside, with hoses! I want them up on top of Turret One, pouring water down that busted gun!"

Rose found himself snapping to attention. "Aye-aye, sir!" He quickly gave the orders, then dared to question Blythe's orders. "Portside, sir? It's the starboard gun that's in trouble."

"Yes, Rose, portside. I want them to muster and work from the side of the ship away from the enemy. They're going to be exposed enough up on the turret -- no sense in having them all in the line of fire."

"I see, sir. My apologies."

"No need. It was a good question -- and you relayed the order first before you questioned me. That's how it should be done, Mr. Rose. Remember, you're an officer, not a parrot. I want you to ask questions when things don't make sense to you."

Blythe then turned to Foster. "Mr. Foster, we're now down to eight guns for the fight, all aft. Our enemies are off the port bow and port beam. Any recommendations?"

Foster was used to Blythe putting him on the spot like this. "We should come more left, to unmask the guns more and keep the range advantage. Further, we should focus all the guns on a single enemy."

"Excellent, Mr. Foster. Make it so -- another 25 degrees to port. And which Jap should we pay our respects to?"

Foster squirmed. Able was the greater threat, with only minimal damage, but Baker was closer and could be taken out of the fight more easily. And with two turrets already firing on each ship, there was no inherent advantage there -- either way, two turrets would have to shift aim. "I'd say Able, sir. She's the least beat up, and therefore the bigger threat."

"Not quite, Mr. Foster. Order Director Two to take Turrets Three through Six and open fire on Baker." Foster shrugged. It was always a crap shoot, trying to outguess Blythe -- half the time, he figured the captain took the opposite tack just to be contrary. "That torpedo we took came from either Able or Dog, as the other two never had a good angle on us for firing. And as Able's always presented her port side to us, that means that there's a 25% chance that Able has no torpedoes, and 25% that she only has one mount still loaded -- but there's a 100% chance that Baker still has all her fish, and she's closer. I want her out of the fight before she has a chance to smarten up and unload those fish right into our belly."

He then lifted his head slightly. "Mr. Tripp, front and center!"

Lieutenant Tripp had been quietly standing in the corner, glad to simply be present and witness events, relieved that he hadn't any responsibilities. It seemed that was coming to an end. He strode to face the captain. "Sir!"

"Mr. Tripp, it is my custom to have Commander Foster handle all external matters during battle or drill, while Mr. Rose handle internal matters. This situation has gotten too much to ask of Mr. Rose, so I am hereby appointing you damage control officer. You will coordinate the damage control teams, collect reports regularly on ship's status, and update me when situations change. Are you prepared to accept that duty, Mr. Tripp?"

Lieutenant Tripp felt his gut clench, and suddenly needed to visit the head. He was generally familiar with the Arkansas, but the damage control officer would need an almost intimate knowledge of the ship. Also, he would need to exercise tremendous judgment in what was worth interrupting the captain over, and what was not. He felt in no way qualified to take on the assignment.

Just then, he felt a faint tap on his hand. He turned to see Commander Rose beside him, staring intently at him. Rose made sure he had Tripp's full attention, then gave a faint, reassuring nod.

Tripp spoke with far more confidence than he truly felt. "Sir, I would be honored to serve you and the Arkansas in that capacity, or any other you believe I'm worthy to hold."

"And I'm sure that Mr. Rose will be glad to assist you as needed, as I am sure he just indicated."

Rose and Foster exchanged a familiar look. Nope, nothing much got past the captain, even when he had his eyes closed to run a battle.

Just then, the Arkansas shuddered as at least two more Japanese shells slammed into her. Blythe gripped the arms of his seat slightly more tightly, and the rest of the crew steadied themselves. "Mr. Tripp, I believe that is your cue to get to work."


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Comments (7)

JT which did you read when ... (Below threshold)

JT which did you read when you were younger, Bolitho or Hornblower? I see a lot of action description similarities. Good read so far, you have some plural and tense editing to do but not too many. mpw

Mr. Tea,Your comba... (Below threshold)

Mr. Tea,

Your combat is very realistic, not like hollywood at all... where some Paladin stud-muffin chews through the entire enemy order of battle, without ever having to reload. Pffft.

The Arkansas is a complex weapon system, but its battle success is really dependent on the integrated teamwork of its entire crew... same thing applies to a naval task force (or a Marine fire team for that matter). Nobody ever goes into a fight alone.

I thought your story was going to be about Japanese raider tactics and the Arkansas' place in turning it back... but I can see that was the setup rationale to place her in the Solomon Islands - which ended up as a long and vicious campaign of attrition (not by design by either side), and the most contested place on the planet between the United States and the Empire of Japan... lasting more than a year.

Guadalcanal? Of all places, is and was insignificant in the strategic scheme of global war at the time. But Japan just wouldn't let it go. The US basically obliged them, and bleed them out over it... as with each passing battle their magnificent and very capable fleet was whittled down further and further - their best crews and warships, bent and broken, piling up in their rear area ports.

Such men and material couldn't be replaced by the Japanese; thus they became militarily weaker and weaker... while the USA's industrial capacity was kicking in; churning out, in a virtual blizzard, ships and material... which by 1944, gave the USA complete mastery of the war's tempo and direction.

Truth is, even though Japan was militaristic, and her armed forces strong at the onset of hostilities - she was like a 3rd world gnat of an industrial nation, taking on the most highly industrialized and developed nation on the planet (as an example side note, our Manhattan Project alone, consumed more electricity than what was available to the entire Japanese wartime economy).

Such realities, if they were acknowledged by the Japanese, should have led them from the outset to use a very different war strategy...both at the strategic and theater level - and thus, mirrored right down to the tactile level as well.

Jay, you do a very good job of conveying the historical wartime record of the Japanese; their tactical behaviors and warrior culture comes through very clearly.

Back to the Arkansas... if she survives, she obviously will need to be patched up (and dry docked too). She still might not survive though, as two enemy heavy cruisers are still closing - and would even consider ramming if given half the chance.

So the outcome for Blythe and the Arkansas is still in doubt.

I'm enjoying the story.

Semper Fidelis-

mpw, Brucepall: here is the... (Below threshold)

mpw, Brucepall: here is the completely true story of how this tale came to be.

I was kicking around that naval warfare forum when I got the idea of what single battleship would be best equipped to face four Japanese heavy cruisers. A battleship from any nation, as long as it was in service in fall of 1942. And I settled on the Arkansas, for a variety of reasons:

1) Most expendable.
2) Armor designed to face 12" shells should be fine against 8" shells.
3) 12" guns should be more than enough to take out cruisers.
4) 12 guns in 6 turrets gives tremendous flexibility against four enemy ships.
5) Short hull gives more maneuverability in avoiding torpedoes.
6) Smaller size means enemy might underestimate actual size or toughness of the ship.

The only one I thought might be even better was the HMS Agincourt, but she'd been scrapped about 20 years earlier.

So I broke out my CD of Fighting Steel and went to install it so I could game it out... and the game wouldn't run on my new Windows 7 system.

So I said "screw it" and figured I'd write it out, using the same tactics I would have used in the game.

But then I ran into a challenge: the Arkansas spent pretty much the entire war in the Atlantic. I had to get her into the Pacific to make the fight work. So I spent half the story just shoving her halfway around the world, finding excuses to have her take the next step on her journey.

All because one of my favorite computer games won't work on Windows 7.

God's honest truth, that's how it came about. And I haven't read either of those authors, but I have read a lot of naval fiction and history of actual battles. I lifted elements of the fight from the the Battle of Jutland, the Battle of Doggers Bank, the Battle of the Denmark Straits, the sinking of the Bismarck, the 2nd Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Tom Clancy's "Red Storm Rising," James Cobb's "Choosers Of The Slain," and several other sources that have escaped me at the moment.

But, candidly, neither of the authors you mentioned, mpw. Too "old school" for me. World War II is my "sweet spot" for history.

Thanks again for the kind words. It's what I write for.


Sell it as a download for t... (Below threshold)

Sell it as a download for the nook or kindle for a couple of bucks per copy and buy a new game, there is a plan..... mpw

C S Forester wrote Hornblow... (Below threshold)

C S Forester wrote Hornblower and Alexander Kent wrote Bolitho. Both are stories of the English Navy at her height of power during the age of oaken ships and iron canon. Douglas Reeman is the real name behind Kent and under Reeman there are more books of more modern navies. mpw

Mr. Tea,Great stor... (Below threshold)

Mr. Tea,

Great story Jay. My story: I was a 20 year old Private, roped into a WWII DSG global simulation war game... DSG was coalition warfare - with a world paper grid map of about 80 square feet, with unit counters as cardboard squares in stacks (we set it up in a vacant supply warehouse... cause it took months to play through a scenario).

I drew the Japanese cause the conventional wisdom was they were the weak axis partner that couldn't do much in a global conflict...sides, the other European Axis partners cooperated better, and I was the rookie at the time... so I got the short shift. But, I took a real hard look at my situation, and quickly figured out what needed to be done...if I wanted to win.

Pearl Harbor wasn't a raid - it was an invasion. I simultaneously sent my two lightest carriers and fast cruisers (supported by unrep) to close the Panama Canal. My BBs and CVs then followed up with raids up and down the US west coast... smashing cities (San Diego, LA, Frisco, and Seattle), Hover Dam took three torpedos to breach, and industrial plants throughout the Western US were laid waste (I used Pearl's POL storage farm - which I deliberately didn't destroy - as a fuel depot). Had a big naval Battle right off of LA where I smashed the remnants of the US Pac Fleet.

You should have seen the face on the Staff Sergeant who was the American player... as his in country's manufacturing capacity fell off a cliff, and his evacuated civilian morale plummeted... it was great.

Yes, it cost me dearly upfront. Lost three BBs (the Yamato, Kongo, and Heihi), and two carriers (Akagi and Soryou), and a whole slew of lessor combatants for the effort (with many many more damaged). My naval aircrews also got completely bleed out. But it was worth it... as the US was completely and totally screwed. They never did recover... the rest of the Allied positions in the Pacific were then picked off at my leisure. I ended up overrunning half the world. It took years for the Allies to get it together enough to hit back.

Anyways, the year was 1977, and I was hooked on war gaming after that.

Semper Fidelis-

Anyone else ever play "C... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

Anyone else ever play "Cordite & Steel?" I played it back in college, back BEFORE anyone outside the real military used computers to do war games.

Just checking to see if I'm old, or friggin' ancient.






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