The Forgotten Enterprise

by Paddle Steamer

Chapter 1: Prologue

Load Full Story Next Chapter

12 March, 1942
Java Sea, Bridge of the H.M.S. Enterprise
0900 hours

Captain Ellery Winchester paced the bridge of his beloved cruiser, he was angry, the War had been going sorely for the Allies and he thought his leaders were a lot of incompetent fools. He had been in the Battle of the Java Sea and saw the acts of valour of both the Royal Navy and the US Navy in their lopsided fight against the Japanese. He saw the brave crew of the destroyer H.M.S. Electra distract Japanese cruisers from the H.M.S. Exeter after the ship was badly damaged. The Electra fought well and saved the Exeter in the battle, but she was destroyed in the process, the Japanese even had the nerve to fire on the lifeboats! His rage boiled in him, he wanted to make the Japanese suffer.

The ageing Emerald class cruiser that he called home may have been considered an antique, and probably would’ve been scrapped by now if it weren’t for the War, but it was his home, the Enterprise was a proud ship and he was glad to be in command of her. She had her battle scares and causalities from the encounters with the Japanese, but they only served to strengthen the crews’ resolve to keep fighting harder, for their fallen friends and shipmates. They would never surrender to the Japanese; they would keep fighting with every last ounce of their being. While currently alone, the Enterprise and her crew were on a hunt, they did not care what they found, whether it was a tanker or a humble fishing boat, they wanted revenge.

Their last encounter with a Japanese heavy cruiser left the ship’s crew mourning the loss of the Navigation Officer Sub-Lieutenant Jack Coyt. Jack had the whole crew under a bond so strong they all thought of him as a brother, and when he took an 8” shell to the chest many of the crew lost a part of their soul. The Enterprise had barely managed to escape the massive Tone class heavy cruiser; the Japanese ship was larger, faster, and deadlier. They only managed to get away when an American Clemson class destroyer had answered their SOS and shoved a volley of torpedoes into the side of the massive ship. The destroyer was badly damaged by the vengeful cruiser and retired from the fight limping along, the Enterprise covering the vessel from Japanese reinforcements, which, to everyone’s surprise, never came.

They made port at Ceylon shortly after the fight with the Japanese, the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) forces were in ruins after the Battle of the Java Sea, Enterprise had no destroyer escort at all when she reached port, the American destroyer heading to Perth shortly after repairs were made to her hull and propulsion systems. Jack Coyt wasn’t the only death, the cruiser had taken a beating from the Japanese and had 56 dead with another 73 wounded, at Ceylon repairs were made, the crew was filled out with new hands to replace the fallen and the wounded too badly mangled to continue to serve. With her bunkers filled with fuel oil and the magazine loaded the Enterprise was sent to do patrols around the islands of Java, this was where the crew would take their revenge for their friend and fellow sailor, where they would slaughter a Japanese crew.

“Surface contact! Bearing three-five-two!” shouted the lookout, a young man named Ellis Patterson as he stood in the crows’ nest, binoculars glued to his face.

Winchester had his own binoculars up to his eyes now; sure enough there was the distant shape of a ship, little more than a blur even with the binoculars. He knew the lookout had a better vantage point and could see the vessel better, but according to his information there shouldn’t be a friendly vessel at this part of the Java Sea.

“Sound the general alarm.” He stated calmly while he thought to himself, ‘This may be the chance to give those bloody murders hell’. He hoped it wasn’t something they couldn’t handle, like a heavy cruiser, or worse. While he wanted the Japanese to pay, he wasn’t going to get his crew killed in a lost cause; he still has his duty to them as the Captain. He had the helmsman bring the ship on an intercept course and ordered ahead Flank to be rung up on the brass telegraph. The old cruiser lurched forward as the turbines wound up and the screws bit deep, piling on speed towards a possible enemy.

After a few minutes of steaming straight at the vessel it became clear as to what they were facing: a lone Japanese destroyer. A predatory smile spread across Captain Winchester; this was his chance for revenge, there was no way he would let that ship escape. As the Enterprise sped towards her prey details of the ship started to emerge, she was a Minekaze class, old and dated, she was the perfect target. The destroyer had obviously spotted the fast approaching cruiser because she had practically turned around and was steaming full speed, but by the time the Japanese ship spotted the fast approaching cruiser she was already in range of the Enterprise's 6 inch main battery at 21,500 yards. Her guns roared to life at 18,500 yards, close enough to be more accurate while far enough to remain out of the Japanese destroyer's 4.7 inch battery's range. 6 inch High Explosive rounds tore through the skies with a shrill shriek, the first salvo fell short, the High Explosive rounds detonating in the water creating massive pillars of spume. The gunnery officer adjusted the gun directors and another salvo rang out, finding its mark with an explosion strong enough to feel on the Enterprise. The High Explosive rounds had struck the magazine and the ship's bow rose from the sea as the force of the blast lifted it upwards, the bow came crashing back down, the Japanese destroyer's speed bleeding off rapidly. The crew watched as the ship became engulfed in flames from leaking fuel oil, the flames climbing and reaching the bridge.

The Enterprise’s crew cheered with joy, it was easy and they had not taken a single causality, they watched as the enemy vessel got closer, they were going to take prisoners and if anyone asked about the bruises, it was from them hitting their heads against the hull when the rounds impacted. What they found when they got to the burning wreck wasn’t what they had expected or hoped for, and it would affect them for the rest of their lives…

Author's Notes:

The prologue is kind of meh, I wanted to make it vague to make it seem like a memory that the crew is trying to bury. I think I went with too little description though, oh well the actual chapters will be a lot more descriptive and feature more dialogue.

Thanks to flyingfox for his criticism that lead to the minor changes, remember it is criticism that improves a story. (And being my first attempt at anything even like a story I may need it.)

Next Chapter: Chapter 1 Estimated time remaining: 47 Minutes
Return to Story Description


Login with