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11/9/17

Dick Raymond's November Poem - THE LAST JAP LUNGE AT LUNGA POINT


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            THE LAST JAP LUNGE AT LUNGA POINT  *
                             Naval Battle off Guadalcanal, 13-14 November 1942
                          "It was a barroom brawl, with all the lights shot out."
                                                                -- Surviving officer on USS Monssen
            Marines were holding the beachhead, thin cordon round Henderson Field,
            Defense was desperate, deadly, that airfield must not be lost!
            The Navy's destroyers and cruisers set up a protective shield,
            Full-knowing the odds against them, accepting the fearful cost.

            Now Japanese battlewagons came lumbering down the Slot,
            Their mission: To blast the airstrip, destroy every plane that flew,
            With men well-trained for night action, but American crews were not—
            A recipe for disaster, if only the facts were true.

            Night fell, and the small gray squadron steamed straight into blazing hell
            Searchlights snapped on, and great shells followed their blinding  light,
            On all sides, ships were exploding, too many for men to tell,
            San Francisco was targeted, and Juneau was blown from sight.

            Destroyers swapped shots with cruisers, all part of a wild melée,
            The Admiral's last brave order was, "Pick out the biggest and fire!"
            When the black of night gave over to light of a dawning day,
            The sea was clotted with wreckage, but the foe was made to  retire.
           
            At dawn the surviving aircraft swarmed out for their own attack,
            One enemy battleship crept away, streaming a train of oil—
            Our scout and torpedo bombers, like hounds on a fugitive's track,
            Rained death on the fleeing warship, it went down in a foaming boil.

            They pounced on the helpless transports, as their escorts raced  away,
            Of eleven Marus in the squadron, bare four ran up on the shore--
            The rest of doomed division were sunk in sight of the bay,
            "The sea ran red" said the pilots, as they settled the gruesome  score.

            Our tenuous hold on the island was strengthened, to iron grip,
            The enemy reeled from the outcome, and fortune had surely turned--
            No more of the nightly shellings from a Japanese battleship,
            The Navy was now rebuilding, with many a lesson learned!

            10-25-17

         

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