Duel of Titans
Sinku's fleet had received word that the Japanese superbattleship Yamato had been spotted in their area and were told to sink or take her at all costs. Sinku jumped at the chance to test his fleet against the largest battleship ever built and headed for the coordinates given with a look in his eyes like he had a bone in his teeth and a chip on his shoulder." Let's see just how good that ship is. Won't they be surprised when they get hit with guns the same size as theirs. Heh maybe we can convince the ship to surrender but I doubt that happening. "
Two days later
Having finally gotten within launch and recover distance for their planes the Fury and Shokaku turned into the wind and launched most of their planes leaving only a few fighters as a screen while also relying on the Hermes for more support in that department. Sinku launched all of his planes except he and his sisters since they would need to stay on board to run things. he launched everything mostly because he knew the flight deck would most likely be torn to bits in the coming contest and he didn't need to worry about extra hazards from planes blowing up in the hangar deck.
Bridge of the Fury.
" Sir scouts have spotted the enemy fleet. Total of six destroyers, three cruisers, two battleships and both Yamato class vessels as well."
" What? The Mushashi was supposed to have been sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf! Any Jap carriers or land bases within their aircraft range?"
" no sir"
" Order Hermes to launch everything she's got. We gotta even the odds a bit here. When we get closer have the other carriers and a few destroyers hang back to screen them and for heavens sake stay beyond 25 miles distance!"
" Yes sir!" The radio man ran off to deliver his message.
" Damn it to hell. This war isn't going anything like it did in our time." Sinku mumbled to himself.
A few hours later the fleets were nearing each other and sinku had a feeling the enemy knew they were there by now. The air strikes were going well but the anti air capabilities of both those ships together made it nearly impossible to get anywhere close to them. The enemy was down four destroyers and one cruiser. The two other battleships were damaged but still in the game and that really worried Sinku. He only had Tirpitz, Atlantia, and the Hipper with him at this point to back up the Fury in the heavy department, on the light side he still had Pisces, Draco, and Leo as heavy destroyers at this point. the others would hold back to guard his two dedicated carriers. . He regretted leaving the rest of his fleet back at San Cristobal but they had been mauled in Leyte Gulf and were in no shape for this slug fest. The ships he had with him were all that were fully functional so he would have to make every shott count and keep from getting into a prolonged fight. If Fury and the other three hevies could provide enough of a distraction, his remaining destroyers could move in and pull of a wild charge torpedo run to get in under the guns of the enemy so their main guns would be unable to hit them but that was risky.
" We just entered firing range of our guns sir"
Just as this message ended nine enormous splashes landed in front of the small fleet.
" I'd say so." Sinku said with a chuckle. Try to get a range and return fire with guns one and two. Keep heading right at 'em to reduce out profile for now and tell all planes still in the area to divert to Shokaku. It's about to get loud around here and they don't need to try and land on the deck while the stern gun is in action."
" Got it sir"
The Fury shuddered as her bow guns roared with the first shots and the shells screamed towards the enemy. " Let's see if the increased rate of fire from the auto loading system will make up the difference of having three less barrels." He mumbled to himself as another enemy salvo rained in and almost hit the Draco.
The destroyer captains didn't even wait for the order to be given before smoke billowed out of their funnels and they surged forward up to full speed to close the gap for torpedo range and to make them harder to hit.
" Go get 'em boys."
" Main guns reloaded and range has been corrected."
" Aim for Yamato with this set. Fire at will!"
Sinku swung the wheel hard to port as the salvo rumbled out and turret three began to track into place. the gun fired a shot as each barrel came to bear sending two more shells towards the enemy.
" sir we have a report from one of our planes that a few of those shots connected. no significant damage to enemy but one of the other battleships is slowing and taking on a heavy list."
" Good to here. Tell the pilots to keep at it. Try to stay out of the big ones firing solution. We can handle them for now. concentrate of their support." Sinku smiled as he sung his ship back to a head on course." Open the torpedo doors and fire full spread. Aim for Mushashi!" The submerged doors eased open and four torpedoes surged out and made for the Yamato's sister." That'll be a surprise they didn't expect."
Meanwhile on the bridge of the Pisces.
" Captain we're in range for torpedoes."
" Fire away signal the other two to do the same."
The order went out and 15 torpedoes went out in a wide spread aimed at the remaining battleship and cruiser as well as the two superbattleships.
" Alright boys time to pull off another miracle for Admiral Walker!" ( Sinku's whole fleet knew his true identity at this point but didn't care and call him either name depending on the situation.) A cheer went up around the three ships as they swung back on course continuing on their near suicide similar to what the escouts of Taffy 3 had done. A massive battle flag with the Scorpio fleet was raised on the aft mast on the Pisces along with the large American flag that was already up on the fore mast.
Fury's bridge.
Sinku smiled as he saw the flag go up through his binoculars. " Let's do the same boys. All ships hoist the colors!" All the ships in the little fleet raised their flags and now the other ships were in range in both fleets and shells began to rain down all around Sinku's fleet as his whole fleet fired at once with full broadsides of their main batteries. The air around them felt like it shook from the overpressure from the gun blasts. in the distance the destroyers could be seen opening up with their guns as well while secondary battery shells blanketed them in sea water from the juggernauts they were paired against." Keep at 'em boys. shoot straight and fight well."
" Sir the Mushashi has slowed to a crawl and seems to be wallowing. I think one of the torps took out her steering!"
" Yes! That'll help. All planes still in the area pound that ship into a salvageable wreck!" Their planes were passing back over head on their 5th sortie against the enemy fleet and eagerly pounced on the Mushashi aiming for the anti air batteries that filled the sky around her with a near solid blanket of flack. Once those were gone it would be easy pickings from there to pound the ship into submission.
Several hours later.
After hours of shooting and maneuvering,the enemy fleet was shattered. Sinku's fleet was heavily damaged and only superior seamanship had saved the fleet from being worse off. The Leo had most of her bow blown off and was under tow from the Draco that was not much better off. she had lost a funnel and two guns but her hull was intact save for several small caliber holes. Pisces had all but two guns blown off and a large hole in her hull. Tirpitz was down a turret and her superstructure was mauled to an almost unidentifiable mess but the bridge was mostly intact and despite several holes in her hull was underway on her own power. Atlantia was less fortunate. her hull was riddled with holes of all sizes and her firecontrol was gone along with the bridge. it was unknown if she would make it back to port. The Hipper was dead in the water and had a steep list. Damage control had stopped the flooding but the water would need a dry dock to be fully removed. She was under tow from the Hermes since the rest of the fleet had moved up to aid in withdrawing from the area. Fury was the worst off since she had gotten into ship to ship combat with the Yamato. Her once beautiful flight deck was nearly unrecognizable and her funnel was almost completely shot away along with half of turret three. Turret one was jammed to starboard by a shell hit from Yamato's secondaries.The ship as a whole was still functional but was low in the water from bow to stern and only quick work had saved her from sinking. A large gaping hole had been blown just aft of turret three as well and that was the biggest threat. with only one turret functioning and only two engines working Sinku had a light cruiser take the fury under tow to help her along. She'd make it home but not without some help for most of the trip.
The real prize was the capture of the Mushashi. the crews of the destroyers had boarded her after the planes had finished and stopped the crew from scuttling the ship. Of course due to japanese standard procedure there were next to no prisoners captured. The behemoth ship had been rendered almost inoperable and was barely afloat but Shokaku and two destroyers had the ship under tow and the flooding had been stopped.
the personnel losses were staggeringly high. Those involved in direct combat were down most of their crews from injury or death. The fleets air power took a huge hit with most of the planes shot down or heavily damaged. Crystael had come out ok although she barely got her plane back to the Hermes due to damage. it was a tough pill to swallow but a victory is a victory. The Yamato was gone and only one ship had escaped but it was so badly damaged it most likely wouldn't get far. Sinku moved his flag to the Destroyer Scorpio since it was the only ship not towing another ship or under tow from one. Sinku stood on the bridge cradling a fractured arm and still covered in blood and sweat from his own wounds and those of his crew." Let's go home boys." With that order the battered fleet began to make the very slow trip back home to san cristobal.
Several weeks later.
Sinku fleet limped back into home port. The Atlantia had to be towed in as well because her engines failed a few days before. The ships that were worst off were put into dry docks immediately and the long process of repairing so much damage spread out over so many ships began. The Mushashi had to remain out in the harbor since the biggest dry dock was occupied by the Fury. Mushashi was a prize ship at this point and so her repairs weren't as critical at this point as the main ships of the fleet. Sinku had been called back to Pearl Harbor for an award ceremony and for a tactical evaluation meeting. The whole fleet of ships each received presidential citation medals along with many other medals that would be distributed upon Sinku's return. The meeting went well but for now most of Sinku's fleet was out of action but he still had his three dedicated carriers and three battleships left along with most of his cruisers and several destroyers once theri repairs were finished. they would be combat ready again by the time he got back and those drydocks would be filled again with the damaged ships from he duel with the Yamato fleet. In fact Sinku's fleet would largely be out of action as a full unit for most of the next year unless more resources were sent to speed the process along but since they were a secret raiding fleet that would be difficult. Sinku accepted this and told Command that he would put everything he could into support of the rest of the allied fleet and would get his full fleet seaworthy again as soon as possible and get back in the fight. Regardless of when that happened, there would be a lot of new faces in the Scorpio fleet and they had lost a lot of familiar faces and friends in that one action. Had the outcome been worth the costs? That was unknown at this point. It was rumored that the Japs had a class of even bigger ships in the works and there were reports of seeing one of them under sea trials. They were rumored to have four big guns with two barrels like the Furries guns but they were 20" instead of 18". The thought of those monsters frightened Sinku almost as much as the thought that the large part of the jap carrier fleet was still out there. Midway hadn't been the crushing defeat that it had been in his world and the japs still had five carriers at least on the loose that had to be hunted down and sunk at all coasts. The Battleships could be handled easier but their guns would make it really difficult.
Naval Office: Tokyo Japan
" Sir! Report just in from the Yamato fleet. Fleet shattered, Mushashi captured and Yamato sunk. Also all ships save for a light cruiser and a destroyer were sunk. This report comes directly from their captains who managed to get back to nearest base. Enemy fleet appeared to be American but flew a strange black flag with a golden scorpion on it. Several escaped unharmed but those in combat were heavily damaged and possibly sunk. One ship in particular had guns equal to Yamato and a flight deck. Possibly the ghost fleet from earlier in the war. unlikely that the battleship/carrier hybrid will be active for sometime."
the head of the Japanese navy nearly shuddered with rage at this report and quickly stormed to a large window over looking the harbor were in the distance two battleships lay in dry dock under construction. These were the ships rumored to have 20 inch guns rather than 18 inch like the fury and the Yamato's.
" At least that infernal ship is out of action for the time being. We need to find their base and put the rest of that fleet out of action or on the bottom so we can get our fleet back to full strength. We don't have the resources to keep loosing ships to this Admiral Walker. Order the fleet to avoid the lower Solomon islands and have land based planes search the area until we find them. i have a feeling i know where they are but I am unsure. I am also unsure as to the strength of his remaining ships. Find them and keep an eye on them until the new ships are finished along with the third Yamato class ship being completed as a carrier.