Monday, February 11, 2008

On War: Strategy and Spirit

Just started reading ”Thunder Below!” by Admiral Eugene Fluckey.

Captain Fluckey revolutionized submarine warfare during WW-II by employing a somewhat controversial strategy. At a time when submarines were supposed to stay submerged and wait for the enemy to come to them, he hunted on the surface, taking advantage of superior speed.

Luck is where you find it—but to find it you have to look for it. [...] There’s a big ocean out there. I search it on the surface with our high periscope up and a wide, sweeping zig plan, using as high a speed as our fuel supply will allow. Now, I realize that we may be sighted, depth charged and bombed more often, but we’ll find a helluva lot more targets.

Following the USS Barb’s 8th war patrol, with Fluckey in [his first] command, the crew spent two weeks in Pearl. At a party they overheard a woman’s voice.

From the adjacent group, I heard a strident female voice ring out. “Rig in your jib, before I deck you with a belaying pin!”
I had to meet this old salt. Tapping Chief Frank Starks on the shoulder, I asked, “Who is she?”
“Mother Reilly, captain. Would you like to be introduced?”
A few minutes later, I had taken her away from the boys. “Mother Reilly, I have to leave shortly, but I must know where you picked up such salty language.”
“Sure, skipper, but first I want to tell you what a wonderful crew you have—they think the world of you. [...] As for me, I am married to the sea. My husband was skipper of the Empress of Asia, lost when the Japanese sank her. I then shipped out as a stewardess on the Murmansk run. Caught German torpedoes and sank twice. The last time I was picked up by a tin-can—my leg and ankle were broken. I have to use a cane because my leg is not quite right.
“What are you doing now?”
“Sitting on my backside waiting for a berth. They stopped letting women serve aboard in the Atlantic, so I came out here. Some women are on runs to Australia. Cane and all, I’m ready. As long as there’s an American flag flying over the waves, you can bet your bloody seaboots Old Reilly will be in there pitching.

Brought tears to me eyes.


Kevin said...

Felix, OT but I just read over at gunthing that you picked up a Saiga. I was wondering what you thought of it, and if you'd be writing a review of it here?

Felix Estrella said...

Saigas are fine. For $375 you can't go wrong. It's not a MOA gun, the trigger is not wonderful .... but it's OK.

I'm busy doing a modification to it so it will accept AK mags. AK mags are much cheaper than Saiga mags. I'll do a review/writeup when I'm done.

Stay tuned. :-)