Lieutenant Ziegler

“The engagement should begin around 2200 hours,” said Lieutenant Spivac, the Gunnery Officer.  “De Ruyter will be first in line, then Java a thousand yards behind her.”

“What genius decided to send in the cruisers before the destroyers?” groused Lieutenant Karl Ziegler.  “No, don’t tell me:  Admiral Doorman, ‘The Fleeing Dutchman,’ whose ass just happens to be in the lead ship that’ll be furthest north when the shooting starts and so the first to leave the scene.  I’m surprised he didn’t run his ship aground leaving Tjilatjap harbor, like Kortenaer did.”

Spivac frowned.  “Alright, Karl, that’s enough.  It’s not my decision or the skipper’s either.  He takes orders just like we all do.”

The Disbursement Officer, Lieutenant Fisher, spoke up.  “Lieutenant, the word is that the Army’s been bombing the Jap ships throughout the day.”

“Affirmative.  B-17s and A-24s.  They’re claiming numerous hits.”

“Yeah, right,” scoffed Ziegler.  “Can somebody pass out the grains of salt?”

“What I mean, is,” said Fisher, “if they’re bombing them, they must know what we’re up against.”

Spivac frowned.  “They report two to four cruisers or destroyers and two or more transports.”

“So they can’t tell how many Jap ships there are, or what types,” said Ziegler, “but they can be sure that they’ve hit ’em.”

Spivac scowled.  “Lieutenant Ziegler, you will keep your thoughts to yourself, do you hear me?”