Short story technical help, please!

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by CobberKane, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    #1 CobberKane, Sep 10, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
    Hello everyone,
    Here is a request with a bit of a difference. As part of the Arts degree I'm currently doing I have to write some short fiction pieces, one of which stipulates a character in a situation of conflict. So I'm doing it from a fighter pilot's perspective of the Battle of Midway. Now, to get the technical and historical aspects of the story right I could either:

    A: Do a lot of individual research
    B: Pick the brains of a bunch of well-informed people who have nothing better to do than contribute their expertise free of charge.

    I'm going to go with option B. Your reward for this mission (should you chose to accept it) is that in days to come I will reveal myself to you all as an awesomely successful novelist and you can bask in the glory of having helped elevate me into the ranks of the literati - kind of like you were engaged with a forum on vampires and helped Stephen King write 'Salem’s Lot'.
    So, my initial queries are: What were the weather conditions like at the time of Midway? I'm thinking here primarily of ocean swell and cloud cover. And did the F4F Wildcat as used in the battle have a life-raft, and if so how did the pilot get to it and how big was it?
    A preemptive thank you to all for your help
     
  2. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #2 stona, Sep 11, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
  3. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    had you picked the ETO i could have put you in touch with a couple boys who were there. dont know any flyers from the pacific...but you might hit up some of their websites.
     
  4. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    #4 norab, Sep 11, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2012
    It was stored here

    F4F_Martlett_fbz_30.jpg


    it was a USN Mk-1A life raft one man life raft, bright yellow, that would look something like this

    MYMV04P02_11.jpg Life%20raft%20WW2.jpg

    some inflated automatically when wet, and/or by pulling an inflating handle and as a last resort would have a mouth valve you could use
     
  5. model299

    model299 Member

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    I don't know how much research you want to do, but the book Shattered Sword is an excellent source of information on the BOM.

    Even if you don't use it for your work, I'd get a copy anyway. It's a great read!
     
  6. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Thanks Norab, that's great. So the pilot had to get out of the ditched plane and retreive the raft before the Wildcat went down - sounds like you would need to move fast. Thanks also Stona and Model - I downloaded 'Shettered Sword" last night on Kindle. Actually there is a fair bit of WW11 stuff there at dicounted prices.
    I'll post any other questions as I do my first draft.
     
  7. model299

    model299 Member

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    Any chance we'll get to read the story when you're done??? :)
     
  8. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    possibly useful to you re: the wildcat

     
  9. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You might also try "The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway by John B. Lundstrom "
     
  10. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Sure. I've got to have it dusted by the end of this month. I'll stick up a post with directions straight after that. Just don't expect Tolstoy...,
     
  11. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    I believe Parsifal or Syscom had daily Ops reports that went minute by minute of the battle. Will try to locate them - they are posted on the forum somewhere.
     
  12. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    It was sys, and he is enclopedic when it comes to Midway.

    Stories like this can be intersting if you have a dual strand, one operating from the USN POV and one from the IJN POV. Much harder to write, but also more balanced. Would suggest you try Shinpachi or Joe B for the Japanese POV.
     
  13. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    Like "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters From Iwo Jima".
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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  15. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Unfortunately I am restricted to 1200 words, barely enough to get in one POV! In fact I'm anticipating the whole thing will really be just a part of the experience of one pilot. Actually there's another point - they guy in the cockpit of a USN aircraft was an aviator, not a pilot right? How strictly was that jargon adherred to in common speech?
    Regarding the wildcats' life raft at the time of Midway; rear fuselage or in the survival pack (which I assume was in the cockpit)?
    Were Catalinas used for search and rescue after the attack that sunk the Japanese carriers?
    Cheers all
     
  16. norab

    norab Well-Known Member

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    Not sure on the timing of the switch, to be safe and give a little more drama I'd use the compartment. All of Catalina squadron VP-44 and additional PBY's from VP-14, VP-23, VP-24, VP-51, VP-72, and VP-91 were all operating search out of Midway before the battle so rescue by a PBY would certainly be a reasonable option during or after the battle.
     
  17. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    Great. I was determined to get PBY in there somewhere.
    Hopefully I'll get a final draft don this weekend, and I'll post it for criticism. Thanks for the help, everyone.
     
  18. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    I think the Japanese point of veiw would be a nice balance, and Shinpachi is a very good source of help!
     
  19. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    #19 oldcrowcv63, Sep 13, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
    CK,

    I have the aerology report (dated March, 1944) for the Midway battle in my files.. On the June 4, Over the USN forces, generally clear skies with scattered cumulous, Wind generally out of the south at about 5 knots (characterized as light in the report), Visibility 6 miles. Exact sea state ia unknown although imagery suggests it was very calm... Ceiling unlimited to the East, lowering to 800 feet in partial overcast toward the West (and the IJN fleet).

    Do a google image search on battle of Midway and you'll see plenty of photos from 6/4/42. including the dramatic one depicted below of wounded VF-3 Pilot Dan Sheedy's F4F-4 landing on the hornet and inadvertent firing of guns tragically killing Adm. Ingersoll's son. Note, the only real wave action is in the Hornet's wake. (1-2 foot wave height out of the wake?)

    Over the IJN forces, partly cloudy to cloudy (due to frontal passage) with scattered showers, ceiling variable from 1,000 to 2,500 feet. Visibility 6 to 12 miles. Moderate NW winds (10-20 knots) becoming light as the day progressed, to out of the SE.

    Over Midway: partly Cloudy, ceiling mostly unlimited after 0700 local. vis 12-30 miles. surface winds moderate (10-20 knots) out of the East,

    By afternoon, the front had moved northward mostly out of the battle area and both fleets were moving into developing High Pressure areas. Partly cloudy with scattered showers. ceiling between 1,000 and 2,500 feetvis 12-20 miles Gentle East SE winds.
    Flying conditions were characterized as average to good throughout the day.
     

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  20. oldcrowcv63

    oldcrowcv63 Well-Known Member

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    An even better view of the sea state near the USN fleet forces: I'd guess wave heights to be about 1-2 feet. I'd expect a bit higher/rougher near the IJN forces due to the early moderate winds.
     

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