The chief carefully looked over the rim of the hatch, that last explosion was bigger than the rest and the woodwork in the tower was charred, all the instruments shattered.
He climbed through and saw the captain, eyes shut, face severely bruised but no other apparent injuries. A couple of leading seamen were waiting inside the tower as the chief slid him through the hatch, they in turn, lowered him into the control room. The cook, who was now the stand-in medic was waiting with the first aid box. He cleaned the captains face off, checked the diallation of his pupils, took his pulse, sighed, then felt the back of the captains head, "big bump here" he said, "no blood, you two" he pointed at two onlookers, "take him to the wardroom, put him in his bunk, take his boots off, let him sleep"
As all this was happening below decks the chief heard a distinctive roar above him, three JU-88's screamed overhead, dipped their wings, then banked away.
The captain woke slowly and painfully, 'ouch' he thought as he touched the tender back of his head,
"..and just as I'd thought the AA gunner had got a lucky shot in, I saw three 88's roar overhead. They must've taken her out" the chiefs voice sounded relieved and happy
"Well" said the cypher, "we should still put the AA & his armourer up for those medals, they never faultered, not either of them"
The captain was slowly remembering what had happened, he swung his legs around and sat there for a while. He still felt groggy, but was slowly clearing.
"captain?" the cypher asked, "how are you feeling now?"
"hmmm, sore, but not too bad", he lied
"how bad are we damaged chief?" asked the captain,
"a little black up top sir, but not much"
"what happened to us?"
"just as the AA opened up on the returning fire, two 88's bombed the corvette" the chief spoke excitedly "you didn't see them sir, they came from above us, from our bow end"
"I thought the AA had hit a faulty depth charge in it's rack, setting the others off"
"thats what I thought to sir, but I think the 88's started the explosions. After you were out, the rest of them were going off as the ship hit depth"
Enough said, the captain made his way through to the control room then up to the bridge. The WO was in charge, and had set two watchmen on either side, plus both the junior rates to man the AA, "you pair up for this?" the captain asked them
"radio message sir"
The captain went back down,
"we are getting an escort into harbour, we can expect the escort soon. Alert the bridge"
The good news was passed up to the men on the bridge.
It seemed like forever, but finally the escort showed up. The midships of the type36 was lined with seamen all cheering and waving to the little boat. The feeling on board U-95 was electric, everyone was excited. An escort meant safe passage into harbour, no guarantee, but safer than they have been for quite some time.
As they started falling in on both fore and aft decks, the captain noticed the holes in the ranks.
"will I ask them to close up sir?" asked the WO
"no, thats where the dead men stood"
They could hear the band starting on the dock as they pulled slowly alongside
"Take up all lines" called the captain, "all engines stop"
The boat fell silent, the music from the band seemed to meld into the background, but for the men of U-95, this was the moment, they had made it. Not all of them, but those men had returned home too, very rare for a submariner.
As the men walked off the gangway, the chief looked to the captain, "a bottle of schnapps sir, want to join me?"
Thinking over what the last session had lead them into, "no, I don't think I do"
[COLOR:YELLOW]GWX, better than SH-IV
Wow! what a story! I am happy they made it... you had me guessing there for some time...
Thanks for the entertainment. Like feinmann_xv said , no hints of how the story would end , you had me at the edge of my seat the whole way. Excellent
Well done, huey! I'm sorry to hear you lost some of your crew though. U-013 has been lucky so far, but I suspect when our luck runs out, it will be for all of us.