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The song of Death (Das Lied von Tot)
By Georg E Mateos
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Rated "PG" by the Author.
One of the two last excerpts to be post and that were written before my hospital waltzing.
Excerpt from the book under work:
“The Life of Walther Alexander”
The song of Death (Das Lied von Tot)
After the sinking of the oil tanker and the ammunition ships there was no more torpedoes but an angry swarm of escort ships overhead searching for the members of the Wolf Pack which appeared to be all around.
The hydrophones operator caught the approach of two frigates spanning the deeps back and forth in search of an attacking sub.
Low on batteries charges after the convoy’s raid, the Skipper knew he couldn’t overrun the war ships, not even employing the snorkel for the diesels he could, but staying put was asking for trouble.
“Bottom deep?” he asked
“736 feet (224 meters) at about one fifth of a mile ahead, right now and right below is a drop of 2300 feet (701 meters)”
“Get me over that ridge and down until we rest on the top of it, and from now on no talk, no tools on the loose, all compartment doors secured”
“Aye ! Aye! Captain”
Like disturbed ants, everybody got busy doing their tasks practiced again and again until could do it with minimum of movements, noise and strength.
A thick silence fell along the deck compartment, they all could hear the churning of the two frigates sweeping above and the unnerving searching ASDIC pings with no echoes…yet.
The forward movement came to a stop, and as the warships receded the ballast tanks were filled and the submarine descended.
Any bubbles of water disturbance would not be so evident, as the attention always were directed to Port, Starboard and forward and just casually Astern.
All machinery was stopped as well all unnecessary electrical consumption switched off, and reversing human activity to a passive one to spare breathing air. If sweat drops were present on your forehead, you was OK, if not…you were one of those submariners with more lives than a black cat.
On the War-room, everybody eyes was on the deep gauge.
The sub was constructed to sustain a maximum deep pressure of 750 feet (230 meters) after that it was “cross all your fingers and hope Satan was having a good day”
At three hundred feet the vessel started giving short sharp complains like a rheumatic old woman with a few hissings here and there, with a high sudden thunderous clap like the outer skin bending at the push of the seas.
The calm and low voice of the operator told the rest of the sub where they were,
In the foremost room, the torpedoes one, the first pipe junctions when on a sharp hissing leak that were stopped immediately and nearly soundless.
Now the complains from the sub’s structure started to sound alarming, but yet it was a long way to go to reach bottom.
The sound of the sweeping war ship was constant as they followed the imaginary lines of a search grid. Fading away and coming back stronger each time, more near with every pass.
Suddenly a ghoulish howl went all the length of the vessel, like it was being stretched on a dungeon torture rack, followed with a myriad of small leaks in every department promptly attended by nearly unseen ghost under the weak light of the sparse emergency bulbs.
It was followed by an eerie silence, like the sub had passed away and now quietly was descending to its grave.
A few crack sounds here and there and more small leaks to be attended but the girl was holding.
And suddenly everything was shaking under a cacophony of loud noises telling the crew that everything was falling apart, that the jigsaw put together in Bremen was quitting at the joints; that the glue didn’t hold.
Then, the belly of the sub came to rest on a sandy-gravel bed, and with a final groan all the metal went on a silent modus but for the small hissing of persistent pipe leaks that were more unnerving than dangerous.
“Seven hundred thirty six…”
They had reached sea bottom, now it was waiting time.
Then the war ships were passing over and their ASDIC returns told them that something was down there.
Like angry disturbed wasps they turned around and around, suddenly stopping and switching off their Sonar and listening for engine noises, any kind of noises because the sea bottom was sown with ship wreaks and they had wasted a few deep charges on them.
Inside the sub was like a competition about which of them could hold his breath longer, eyes glued at the ceiling trying to see through the steel the ships floating above them, waiting, as they were.
Unexpectedly they got a jolt as one of the warship send a few hysterical and deafening ASDIC ping like trying to dislodge something by creating sudden panic and try to run for it.
Then…silence again, until the unmistakable sharp hollow sound of a section of steel that had resisted until then the pressure and kind of giving a loud groan.
It was like whacking hard the somnolent wasp nest with a tire iron, because both ships above sent a salve of deep charges at unison.
The charges were set to explode at different deeps, so the first ones just were heard more as a far away growl than explosions.
Then, there were those near but not near enough to cause damage other than tying knots in every submarine crew stomach.
Slightly out of target but nevertheless almost getting a direct hit, the last two charges, exploding almost at 700 feet deep, shock the sub like a dog coming out of a swim will do to shake the water from its fur, sending the few on their feet tumbling painfully on the deck, and causing a few more leaks, one of those being a faulty torpedo tube #3 inside lock.
The warships above would have been sending more charges but for the convoy now going away and the poor result in the waters.
Sometimes the submarine Captains tried to fool the attackers by sending oil and debris out. But here they got nothing; both were bombing a shipwreck!
They were commanded to stop wasting time and return to their escort places.
In the stale and heated air of the sub, the sound of engines coming to life and heading away were received with some kind of relief and yet with the apprehension of some smart ass deciding to send another couple of deep charges, just for luck.
None came knocking.
Their door had remained closed.
But they all had heard Death’s Song.
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|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|holds reader interest|
|Reviewed by Patrick Granfors
|Georg, you have such a wonderful knack for your war stories, clearly based on experience. Riveting. Patrick|
|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
|GEORG ... WELL WRITTEN ... SUSPENSEFUL ...
AND ... LIKE OLD FARTS ... SILENT, BUT DEADLY! ... TK.
|Reviewed by Roger Ochs
|Gripping. You catch the claustrophobic scent of grease and sweat.|
|Reviewed by Peter Schlosser
|They say he depth charges were so powerful that if you stood with your back against the metal walls of the sub your bones would shatter upon impact. Must have been horrible. This is truly vivid and gripping stuff.|
|Reviewed by Mark Lichterman
|Very good. I could imagine myself sweating with the crew while watching the steel plates looking for a leak. Now, letting my breath out and breathing again.
Your frind, Mark
|Reviewed by JASMIN HORST SEILER
|You are a most compelling writer, your words of insight, are like small depths charges each. Get the hell out of that joint, stop smooching with them blondes, and finish that book will ya.
Lied vom Tod,,,,, is not yours yet, you have to wait awhile.
Hugs! Jasmin Horst
|Reviewed by Mr. Ed
|A riveting chapter, my friend. Reminds me of two of my favorite submarine movies - Run Silent, Run Deep, and The Enemy Below.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Compelling story, Georg, as only you can write it: very well penned!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in America, Karen Lynn in Texas. :D