Shattering of a proud fleet and the near sinking of the Fury
Sinku's fleet had been at sea for weeks in search of the Japanese fleet that had nearly sunk Admiral Halsey's fleet and drawn Sinku's fleet ou to help by orders from the top despite not being fully recovered from engagements the year before. The small fleet of ten ships had taken a southerly course around New Guinea to make a stop in Port Moresby to refuel. Little did Sinku know that his target was also hunting him. The Japanese had redeployed a fleet consisting of twenty ships centered around the carrier Ryujo and one of the Super Yamato battleships. Air threat would be nominal since Ryujo wasn't much bigger than the Hermes but there would be enough to cause serious issues if they got through to the small fleet.
Sinku was now back in his normal tanuki form and was sitting on top of the fire control platform structure that was high up on the main mast above the bridge enjoying the warm wind that was blowing from directly in front of the Fury. His crew was at their normal stations for this time of day and the midday sun was peaking through the intermittent clouds slowly floating by high above. Sinku heard the drone of plane engines and looked behind him to see the previous air patrol returning from their search patten and were lining up to make their landing on the nearly pristine flight deck. Sinku was actually surprised that he could see the details of the individual planks of Mahogany wood and took in it's dark beauty as the first scout bomber touched down on deck catching the middle wire and coasting to a stop a few feet behind the centerline elevator and it's wings folded upwards as it rolled forward onto the elevator, shortly being lowered below deck and moved quickly to it's place to allow the elevator to return to the flight deck and receive the next plane of the three. The whole process of recovering the planes took about five to seven minutes and Sinku smiled at the efficiency of his crew in carrying out their duties. He turned away to face the front of the ship again right as two Hellcats were launched at the same time from the catapults on either side of the funnel. This feature allowed the small amount of planes the Fury carrier to be launched quickly. In combat they had kept up with the big fleet carriers with full sized flight decks and actually all of their planes off the deck and into the air before the same amount could launch from the big carriers. Fury had the record for fastest launch/ recovery/ and relaunch time for any carrier of equal size. Granted the Fury only had the compliment of an escort carrier due to being a hybrid ship, but it was a point of pride for the raider fleet that they could hang with the full timers and still beat them. Sinku's gun crews were top notch as well thanks to the training his sister had put them through. With the new modification to the main guns making them closer to self loading, they could crank out three sometimes four rounds a minute, a blistering speed for guns of their size that normally were doing good to get half as many shells fired in that time. Sinku took a look around at the rest of the small fleet he had with him. Houston and Perth were steaming on the port side of Fury and looking the best they had looked since they were saved from the battle of Java sea not too far north of their current location a few years back. They had been left as is design wise and while old, they held their own and gave the newer ships a run for their money in efficiency. To the starboard steamed the Hermes and the rebuilt battle-cruiser Atlantia, Hermes was another rescued ship from when the japs had run down a british fleet in the indian sea.She was captained by Crystael these days and had turned into a fine carrier with a nearly spotless record in flight opps thanks to her captains diligence. Atlantia was a funny story about how she had come to be the ship she was today. She had begun life as a heavy cruiser and was one of the original ships gifted to Sinku after Pearl Harbor as part of a fleet to get out and keep the japs busy after the start of the war. Time and time again she and her crew had proved their worth and after a particualrly nasty engagement had been rebuilt into a battlecruiser. Her guns were as strong as the Fury's had been at first before being replaced with the larger guns she now carried and her length increased to the same as the Fury. If she was a heavier vessel she would be a full battleship but her light armor prevented her from reaching this classification. however some would call her a pocket battleship but it really didn't matter at this point. During the battle with the yamato ships that had led to the capture of the Musashi Atlantia had temporarily gone toe to toe with one of the regular battleships and won through superior gunnery and then took on the Yamato with Fury to draw fire off of sinku;'s ship without orders to do so, This had probably saved Fury but Atlantia was nearly lost as a result. She was fully repaired now and seemed to have a pride in the way she cut through the waves.
Ahead steaming side by side were two of the four destroyers Sinku had brought along for anit submarine protection and for their torpedoes. These particular two were Draco and Leo. They were also original to Sinku's fleet in this war and had distinguished themselves time and again as well by bravely charging into the fray like the animals they were named after. Often times their captains ran in against much heavier foes than they could handle but the ships seemed to be blessed and always came out nearly unscathed. The ships and their two sister that steamed behind the fury had started out as fletcher class destroyers but now had been modified to have turrets with two barrels instead of just one giving them ten guns to fire instead of five. they were also heavier than before to help deal with the added recoil. a bit slower than they used to be but they made up for it in firepower, handling, and gutsy crews. The new class was called the Orion class and consisted of Draco, Leo, Scorpio, and Pisces. Their captains were rowdy but Sinku liked that about them and gave them liberties to let them run their ships to their content and his kindness was not wasted. Those four ships fought like ships much heavier and their gun crews could fire the guns at paint blistering paces that almost was like they were automatic firing guns constantly being loaded by a magazine and not by people. During the last battle they were in, a total of 400 rounds were cranked out of the Pisces's guns in three minutes time. Sinku marveled at the ability of such small ships to inflict so much damage in so short of a time.
Directly behind Fury sailed another prize ship. The Tirpitz was one of three ships that Sinku and his friends had stolen right out from under the Germans nose while they were in Europe thanks to being run out of the pacific for a brief time by the Japanese. The other two vessels, The Graf Zeppelin and the Admiral Hipper were back at San Cristobal by now. The Tirpitz was the sister ship to the Bismark which had been sunk early in the war. Tirpitz was an odd addition since her guns had not been upgraded to larger caliber. Altlantia had guns almost as big but Tirpitz was far heavier and could take hits like they were nothing from all but the larger caliber weapons. She now sported a paint job like the rest of the fleet Sinku was assembling for the return trip to his own dimension and had mostly been worth the effort of stealing her. The addition of another carrier was the real prize though out of that trip when they stole the Zeppelin.
Suddenly Sinku's ears perked up to an odd sound in the air. It started as a low whistle but grew louder rapidly" All hands to battlestations! We're under attack!" Sinku yelled down to the crew in the fire control platform so the word could be passed around the fleet as a single round of an obviously large caliber gun splashed into the ocean behind the small fleet. Sinku could actually see the shell as it passed though the water cutting a trench in the waves before falling out of sight below the surface. Sinku climbed down from his perch and rapidly headed to the bridge. " Send the scouts directly astern! The enemy is back there somewhere and that was a big a** shell so lets assume it's one of those ships that we're hunting!" Just then the drone of a plane high above was heard and a lone japanese plane was seen overhead. " They've found us boys. Lets hope we can buy the rest some time to get out of here. Signal Hermes and all but two destroyers and the Tirpitz to haul a** and make for Port Morsby with all possible speed. We'll hold them off and see how many we can take with us! Launch all planes as soon as the report comes in on enemy positions!" Sinku yelled as he ran onto the bridge. The order was sent but quickly the radio crackled with all the captains refusing the order to leave and Hermes's flight deck began to come alive as planes were raised to the flight deck and readied for launch." No way sir. We're not leaving you behind to fend off one of those monsters. And you need the extra planes to deal with any enemy air." Was all Sinku heard from Crystael before he reluctantly agreed." Very well but stay back as far as you can to stay out of gun range."
The scout planes roared off the catapults and flew off in the direction that the shot had come from and the Fury's bombers began to be brought on deck for launching along with the torpedo planes to ensure all planes reached the target at roughly the same time. Just then another low moan was heard and two more shells slammed into the sea beside the Scorpio and the ship disappeared behind the curtain of water kicked up by the enormous shells, for a second it seemed that the ship had been swamped and sunk but it was soon seen surging out of the wall of water shaking it off like a dog shaking itself dry. Sinku shook his head in amazement that it had survived but counted his blessings that it hadn't been sunk yet. They would need the torpedoes on that ship if they were to even have a shot at lasting to get away. Sinku knew they should just run for it and try to get within allied air cover but for some reason he felt that they had to at least take out a few ships. " Boys we're gonna hit them as hard as we can with and all out airstrike and then close to gun range do what we can with a full spread of torpedoes and a few full broadsides and then we need to get out of here. We can't take this kind of fire by ourselves and we can't loose these ships we have here. Make sure the destroyer captains understand that we don't need any heroes today. Only fire torpedoes and then switch to anti air duties since we will be spread pretty thin on air cover."
" Yes sir" Shortly the message was relayed around the ship and was acknowledged with a few grumbles from the captains of the Leo and Draco but that only made Sinku smile since it showed that morale at least seemed to be high despite the odds.
" Enemy spotted sir. Hull down directly ahead of you. Distance 24 miles. Numbering 15 vessels including one enormous battleship. My God I've never seen anything so big!"
" Good enough boys. Get back here and refuel and re arm."
" Launch everything we have. Fully armed with best ordinance possible. We have to at least take out that carrier. Let us aim for the monster. After the carrier target at will but don't attack alone got it!" Shortly planes began to roar into the air from both carriers and make a line for their targets. Fury's bow guns slowly trained their barrels up to be ready to fire as soon as the range was short enough. " Here we go."
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