Warshot

by Mike Hemming
 
 

"Captain, Nine minutes at 8 knots is up..."

"Very well, bring her up to 55 feet."

"Coming up to 55 feet from 150 feet, Aye."

"Up scope."

"Bearing should be 030, Captain."

"Very well, slow to 1/3."

"Answers 1/3."

Slapping the handles down the Skipper does the quick crouching spin to check all around before stopping at 030.

"Bearing Mark."

"Zero three zero."

"Range mark."

"0ne four double 0."

The low to the water dark hull sails on in the scope seemingly unknowing and uncaring to its impending doom.

"Down scope."

The Captain stares a thousand miles into the hydraulic oiled descending shaft, his mind locked onto the job at hand.

"Set depth at one zero feet"

"Flood tube four and open outer door."

"Next observation will be a shooting observation."

"Have the COB report to the Conn."

"Coming up..."

"COB will you hit the firing key on this one?"

The COB with a strained look on his face, "Aye Skipper."

The Captain with a kind of sad smile says, "It won't be the first now will it?"

"No Skipper, but I hope it's the last like this."

"Hmmmmm, yeah."

"Been a long time since we walked down the pier together to this boat as non quals, huh Chief?"

"Yeah me an E2 and you an O1, I outranked you even then didn't I?"

The Captain chuckles, which ease the strain on both their faces, "Yes, you always did outrank me in some ways. You took grumpy old chief lessons long before you were even an E5."

Smiling for a second the COB says, "We have both come a long ways since those days, and now they are nearly at an end."

"Captain, Time."

"Yes, up scope"

Again the awkward spin around the scope to stop with the submarine in the cross hairs.

"Bearing Mark."

"Zero two zero"

"Range mark."

"One One double 0"

"Solution checks, Captain."

"Very well, this will be for MOT, Shoot tube four."

The COB's hand comes up quickly then pauses over the firing key and wavers there. In a stern voice that cracks ever so slightly the Captain says, "Shoot the fish!"

The tough hard hand of the chief that doesn't match the pain in his eyes smashes down on the key.

"Tube four fired electrically," The chief reports sadly.

"Running time?"

"Fifty Five seconds, Captain."

"Very well."

"COB, I better not have missed."

"Yes Sir, sorry, but it's hard to sink your qual boat."

"Skipper, Sonar reports, Torpedo running hot straight and normal."

"Very well."

"Time?"

"5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Skipper, Plus 1, 2, 3,"

The Captain looks through the periscope his "Damn" to be rewarded with the violent geyser of sea foam under the engine room of the sub. Lifted high already broken in two by the Mark 16 torpedo's explosion she is doomed to the rest of forever on the sea floor.

"COB take a look. It's a better end that being scrapped."

Looking, he sees the ends of the broken black hull disappear quickly into the deep blue sea.

"Yes she will rest with all her sisters now where she belongs, Skipper."

"She has served us well again."

This dedicated to those boats that gave the last final extra measure for us in weapons tests. S(T) Sunk as target from "US Submarines Through 1945" by Norman Friedman. Jim Christley did research in other places and kindly allowed its use here. Also comments have been added by sailors that rode the boat that sank them or have knowledge of the sinking.

 

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