22 April 2012

21 April 2012

Turn 18: 0-for-60

16—21 April 1942

 You know what I don’t want to talk about right now? The submarine war in the Pacific.

So let’s take a look at what’s going on back on the home front. Mid-April, 1942. Despite the worldwide conflagration, the ’42 Major League Baseball season is underway, and has just finished up its opening week. The Yankees are off to a hot start at 5-2. DiMaggio went 3-for-4 today in a lopsided victory against the Philadelphia A’s, bringing his season average up to a somewhat mortal .286. The Red Sox are tied atop the standings with the Yanks, despite a blowout loss to the Senators yesterday. Teddy Ballgame took an 0-for-3, but it only brought his average down to .375. Closer to the author’s home, the (significantly less legendary) Reds are 2-4, having just been crushed by Stan Musial’s Cardinals.

On the entertainment front, Glenn Miller has extended his stranglehold on the #1 spot on the Billboard singles chart with “Moonlight Cocktail.” Listen to it (above); perhaps not Miller’s absolute greatest, but perfectly lovely, perfectly evocative. And in context, perfectly heartbreaking.

So I guess that’s about it for the week—oh, wait. Yeah. Silent War. There’s that.

15 April 2012

Turn 17: There seems to be something wrong with our submarines this month

9—15 April 1942

All of a sudden, we are...not doing well.

“The early, desperate days of the war—when it seemed doubtful that any success could be achieved—are gone. They won’t be back.”
— Me.
 “Just average luck should result in a pretty good week.”
— Also me.

Hatsuzuki. These guys are having a much better April
than my guys.
Where to begin? How about the first combat encounter for a Next Gen sub. That’s historically significant, right? It turned out to be USS Gato (SS-212) herself who saw the first fighting for her class. Patrolling in the Coral Sea, she encountered a very small group of ships that turned out to be a smallish (5,000 ton) oiler, escorted by three destroyers. Which was...unfortunate. She managed to get off only a single low-odds shot (which she almost made) before being damaged herself in the counterattack. Hardly an auspicious start to our New Era. 

08 April 2012

Turn 16: On performing suboptimally

1—8 April 1942

So how’s that New Era working out for you?

This will be a record setting entry in the category of “brevity,” because this was a record setting (technically, tying) week in the category of “futility.” Nothing went right.

How bad? Well. Seventeen boats conducted patrols this week—an entirely respectable number. Six of them failed to find targets—a 35% “no contact” rate, where the war-to-date rate had been 17%. The boats who did make contact only managed to generate six attacks (not one but two boats had to abort due to mechanical problems). That’s (coincidentally) a rate of 0.35 attacks per boat on patrol. The wartime rate had been over 1.1 attacks per patrol week. Kind of stunning.

But, how did those attacks fare?

That’s how. They missed.  They all missed.

01 April 2012

Turn 15: The end of the beginning

24—31 March 1942

USS Gato (SS-212)
Perhaps that title is a bit of an overstatement; perhaps not. More on that below.

The fourth month of the war drew to a close with a lukewarm performance. Most notably, The Troublemaker found her groove again. She had a disappointing (and scoreless) third war patrol, but her fourth was brief, violent, and successful. On the 24th, she attacked a large and heavily defended convoy in the Marshalls. She first brought down a 2,000 ton transport, and then an 8,000 ton oiler. In so doing, she has re-established her place alone at the top of the leader board, in both ships (5) and tonnage (24,000) sunk. She is presently heading back to port to rearm.

The total score for the week was 12,000, with USS Permit (SS-178) contributing the remaining 2,000. For the war, we are standing at 188,000—a good, solid total for the end of March.

And with the end of March comes the end of an era—although it might not seem so at first glance.