DRAGON'S FURY - EAGLE'S TALONS|
OFFICIAL WEB SITE
RETAKING WAKE ISLAND
Third Excerpt From Dragon's Fury - Eagle's Talons
Volume V in the Dragon's Fury Series by JeffHead
Copyright 2004 by Jeff Head, All rights reserved
January 14, 2011, 04:48, local time
Easternmost Observation Post
CAS Forces, Wake Island
Twenty-three year old Specialist Thuan Nguyen carefully watched the Pacific Ocean to the East. He panned slowly from his right to his left, using his enhanced and magnified night vision gear. It was not a new task for him…it was routine…but it was one he took seriously.
As a Vietnamese soldier here on Wake Island with other, principally Chinese, CAS forces, he was aware of the historical disdain that some CAS allies held for him and his countrymen. He had heard about it all of his life, and had experienced it in fact. But he had been able to ignore it and not let it effect either his own actions, or his own well being.
He had his own views regarding it.
He was proud of his nation and its heritage. Despite the fact that up until the mid 1900's there had never really been an actual Vietnamese nation, he was proud of what had been accomplished since that time. He had been taught and indoctrinated all of his life about how his fathers had managed, at horrific cost, to outlast the Americans. After being fought to a standstill for eight or nine years, and losing every major engagement to the American military, and following the 1972 Paris Peace accords that the American President of that era had brutally bombed the North into signing, North Vietnamese forces had spent nearly two years regrouping and then violated the accords and invaded the South. Knowing full well that the Americans had reduced their numbers drastically and were continuing to do so, the North had literally dared the Americans to build back up. But due to inflated public opinion polls and the actions of a vocal minority of war protestors that were sympathizers with the North's communist goals, American politicians lost the will to fight and did not stand up to the North. Instead, they sped up their own withdrawal and ignored their own accords to support their southern allies. Thus the stage was set, through patience, horrific cost, and ultimate manipulation of the American press and politicians, for the North's communist revolution to triumph and bring about the uniting of his nation under communist rule.
That finalization had included the purging, death, and driving of hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese to take to San Pans on the South China Sea to avoid the holocaust. Any of the South Vietnamese citizens who had too much western education, had experienced too much western influence, or had any ties to the American military, were marked, and either had to flee, or face the work camps or death.
“Up until this war, no one, no other country has been able to really say anything like that. We beat the Americans,” he mused as he continued his watch.
“Perhaps that is the real reason why so many of them have disdained us…they were just envious. Now they no longer have that excuse, and things have lightened up significantly.”
“Maybe so,” he continued to himself, “but even in this war, they have had to recognize that it was a patriot from Vietnam who helped them send the Americans and their allies reeling.
“The fact that we are sitting here on this island right now is proof enough of that.”
…and CAS forces had been here, manning their vigil, in the hopes of pushing their envelope further to the east someday, for over four years now.
There were over ten thousand CAS personnel on, or around, the island now...either on the ground or in the ships of the naval task force. With full air and naval support Thuan was certain that they could prevent the Americans and their allies from dislodging them.
All of this, and the reasons for it, was so obvious and clear to the young man.
The knowledge of why the war had progressed so positively for so long had allowed Thuan to patiently endure some of the early discrimination when he entered the service three years ago. It allowed him to maintain his composure now, when a clear knowledge of the contributions of Vietnamese in this conflict had become, more and more obvious.
Nguyen knew that with the example and rise in power of the most famous of those Vietnamese patriots, Lu Pham, most of the disdain and discrimination was over for good. Comrade Pham had not only labored for years with the Chinese to develop the weapons that had helped defeat and push the once-thought invincible Americans back in this war, he had then been named a Hero of The PRC and risen to be a leading member of the Politburo itself.
“In fact, if rumor can be believed, he is now a leading member of the Executive Committee of that body,” Nguyen thought with a satisfied and knowing smile.
Then, the smile instantly faded as Thuan noticed something out of the ordinary in his peripheral vision. It was something on the edge of his view, far in the distance in the haze of the pre-dawn light…something moving that should not have been there.
Barely perceptible, yet….yes, there it was. Movement, and fairly rapid movement.
Low, just coming over that far horizon he could make out, small, thin specs approaching at high speed. If it had not been for the elevated position of his post, it would have been another twenty or more seconds before Thuan would have seen them.
“But surely the radar or other sensors must have noticed them,” he thought as he began to speak into his lapel mounted microphone to report his sighting.
Before he could do so, multiple air warning klaxons and sirens began blaring all around the island.
The islands main tracking stations and the sensors on aircraft far overhead were now also picking up the oncoming missiles.
“Post ZM reporting. Many incoming missiles, east, southeast at 163 degrees.”
As Nguyen listened to the confirmation and response to his report, and as CAS aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles screamed over his head to intercept the incoming barrage, he continued his watch, scanning back and forth across the horizon in his area of responsibility, and at the waters between himself and that horizon.
There!…something more…to the north of the missile stream, miles and miles to the east of his position, out there on the surface of the ocean, just in front of the horizon. The optics of his equipment allowed him to zoom in and then automatically optimized the picture and focused and sharpened the view, almost miraculously considering the distance.
He increaseded the zoom factor to the maximum of 75X.
There it was, a device moving along the top of the water. Some sort of object with what looked like antennae and dishes or some type of electronic equipment on it. Now, two or three hundred meters in front of that object, he saw the thinnest of objects just breaking the surface of the water. Really, it was the disturbance in the water itself that first drew his attention to it.
A mast, or periscope!
Now, a tower breaking the surface under it.
Then what must be a massive deck was also breaking the surface, very low to the water. Coincident with this, several hundred meters to the east and south of the first one, another…and another vessel broke the surface of the ocean. Several large submersible vessels were surfacing out there…just over twenty miles to his east in plain view of Wake Island.
“Post ZM reporting…twenty-two miles to the southeast at 135 degrees…I am observing several vessels broaching the surface.”
The response to this message was much more tense and abbreviated than the last. Nguyen could feel the tension building in the command post.
Almost immediately, as he continued his observation, which he trusted many of their own aircraft were being vectored towards, there were many more missile launches from each of the vessels…and then, from two of them, he noticed small silhouettes on the decks. Silhouettes of…what?
Modern jet aircraft were appearing on the deck of several of those vessels and launching vertically into the air. Four, eight…now twelve aircraft rising up and swinging towards the island. As they did so, an even more massive barrage of missiles rose from that first ship and arced over rapidly towards the island.
Those American missiles, because Nguyen was certain that this must be an American force, began intercepting and obliterating the CAS aircraft and missiles that were rushing to defense of their positions on Wake Island. The CAS attack against the incoming American missiles was being, in turn, itself attacked by American anti-missiles.
The air was filled with hundreds of missiles and explosions between Nguyen and the vessels he was observing. American missiles and aircraft were being downed, but many more Chinese aircraft and missiles were falling, succumbing to the overwhelming numbers of missiles the Americans were putting into the air.
Now, even more American aircraft were coming over the horizon, merging with the first group as they came toward him.
“ZM here again…enemy aircraft being launched by the vessels.…I repeat, we are now coming under attack by enemy air craft being launched in numbers by submersed vessels that have surfaced directly to our southeast
“Now…they are deploying what looks like air cushioned…..”
Back in the hectic CAS command post, the communications teams heard…and felt…the many explosions that drowned out young Thuan Nguyen's voice, and then rendered the radio frequency on which he had been speaking dead, filled with nothing but static.
…and it was a rolling barrage of explosions that maintained a relentless and deadly march across the island…towards them.
January 14, 2011, that same time
Combat Information Center, U.S.S. Barney
TF 56.1, Just East of Wake Island
The information flow was getting thick now as reports came in more and more rapidly and were displayed on the various plasma screens as symbols, vectors, plots, or in textual format. Admiral Chelsey was content to let his staff, and that of Captain Dintz, the captain of the U.S.S. Barney, manage the tactical situation. That was their job.
His job as the commanding officer of the amphibious assault contingent of TF 56 which had been named TF 56.2, was to make any more strategic command decisions necessary for this part of the assault, and to ensure that all vessels and personnel carried out the overall orders and planning as approved by the CINC of Task Force 56, Admiral Tanner.
…and at the moment, that part was going fine.
The overall situation was looking good. Not a slam-dunk by any stretch of the imagination, but initial reports regarding the effectiveness of their assault were very encouraging. Complete surprise had apparently been achieved by the submersed task force and the enemy had been knocked back on its heals. His two Virginia class attack subs were off to the northwest and southwest, protecting the approach to his vessels from any enemy submarines. Thus far, there had not been any.
The U.S.S. Jimmy Carter was off to the northwest, on the other side of the island, using the continued ability of the Sea Wolf class to infiltrate enemy waters so it could attack any enemy shipping of opportunity.
Here, his very capable arsenal ship, the U.S.S. Barney, was protecting the four SSLHDN Amphibious Assault vessels that were launching attack aircraft and the initial Marine assault to take Wake Island. The air cushioned craft and the helicopters and STOL assault aircraft that those vessels had launched were approaching the island right behind the attack aircraft and the massive barrage of cruise missiles that his vessel and the other vessels of the overall task force had launched.
Hail Storm missiles, anti-radiation missiles, anti-personnel missiles, anti-armor missiles, the new anti-stealth missiles, bunker and hardened structure busting missiles, and other offensive missiles of all types had been launched and were now impacting CAS forces on the island. All of those missiles combined the latest active and passive stealth measures to get past the enemy's radar and anti-stealth sensors, and in the case of the high speed anti-radiation and anti-stealth missiles, to target those systems specifically. In so doing they flew in the face of the enemy defenses directly in order to seek them out and destroy them.
Admiral Chelsey was positive that the pounding and destruction that enemy forces on Wake were taking would leave them open to the Marine assault his forces were throwing at the island. He had three waves of Marines he would launch this morning, over eight thousand men. That would be followed up by C-90B landings late this afternoon with another ten thousand men and their equipment, who would remain on their ships, or rotate onto the island until the next operation further to the west. But that could not happen until the air space around the island had been declared safe for that landing.
Much further out to sea, two more Virginia class attack subs defended the flag portion of Task Force 56. That contingent which consisted of two SSCVN carriers and the task force's second escorting arsenal ship protected by two more Virginia class attacks submarines. The carriers had launched two aircraft strike packages a little earlier this morning. One of those strike packages was a strike at Wake Island itself. That strike would fill a dual role for his forces here. One part of that package had just arrived over his vessels and was providing CAP for them. The other part was rolling in right behind the missile barrage with his own attack aircraft, significantly bolstering the overall air strike capability that his four amphibious assault vessels were able to deliver.
The other air attack the carries had launched was a large Strike at Sea package at the enemy naval task force northwest of Wake Island. Satellite imagery from the new space station, the USSS Midway, which was now in position high over the central Pacific, had shown the enemy vessels lingering in those waters some distance off Wake Island. That enemy task force consisted of what appeared to be six Aegis-like enemy guided missile destroyers and two of the Sea Control Carriers the Chinese employed. It was a potent force that was an integral part of the enemy defense of the island.
…and it had to be eliminated.
The arsenal ship escorting the two carriers had launched over two-hundred cruise missiles at that enemy task force, which would arrive just in front of their Strike at Sea package.
“In fact, if everything has been coordinated and orchestrated properly, those missiles should be arriving there right about now, with the aircraft hot on their heals,” thought the Admiral.
January 14, 2011, 05:40, local time
PLAN 3201 Kunlun
Flagship, PLAN Task Force off Wake Island
The speed, surprise and violence of the overall American attack had taken everyone defending the island by surprise. Hectic and tense radio transmissions abounded. Tempers were short and the frustration level was rising precipitously.
The island itself was taking a beating, and now a major attack was inbound for his task force.
“Who would have though that an entire invasion task force could arrive from under the waves,” the Admiral asked himself.
But that was just what the Americans had done, and Admiral Tsung had to admit to himself, even if he was not willing to convey it to his command yet, that Wake Island was in imminent danger of being lost. Once again they had been completely surprised, not only by the American presence, but by how they came to be there.
Yet, with his new, modern cruiser, the Kunlun, perhaps he could deliver a few surprises of his own. Admiral Tsung was committed to putting up as stiff a defense of the island as possible and see if its new capabilities would be enough to win the day.
“And that's exactly what we are going to find out,” he thought.
“If I had four such vessels, I am confidant I could completely repel these American missile attacks along with the sea and air assaults that are the main components of their invasion. Repelling those components of the attack would force them to completely withdraw in failure.”
When Admiral Tsung wished he had four of the new vessels, he was referring with great pride to the new Chinese heavy cruiser class that the Kunlun represented. Because of its similar footprint on the water, the Americans had already mistaken it for one of the six guided missile destroyers they thought were escorting the two Beijing class carriers. But that's where they had been mistaken and where the similarities stopped.
The Kunlun displaced significantly more than those vessels, almost 10,000 tons versus the 7,200 tons for the guided missile destroyers. It integrated the latest Chinese Aegis-like, computerized defensive system into both its traditional weapon systems and its non-traditional systems. It carried the latest defensive and offensive missiles that the Chinese had to offer…and it carried them in greater numbers than any other Chinese vessel to date. It also carried the latest ship-borne version of the ta shih system for detecting enemy stealth technology.
But it's most important asset was entirely new to the PLAN, and was something the Jiangnan and Shanghai shipyards were now integrating into all new classes of Chinese naval combat vessels as rapidly as possible. It was a ship-borne version of the charged particle beam weapon that the Chinese had developed and employed on their Dragon Spirit space craft and in much more powerful versions on their ground based, space defense systems along the Mongolian border.
In ferocious battles that spanned the last few months, the Americans had defeated the Dragon Spirit craft and destroyed their production facilities. They had also destroyed the three space defense systems along the Mongolian border as well.
“But they missed our manufacturing in the shipyards,” the Admiral thought.
“So now it will be my turn to surprise the Americans with our own new capabilities here in the defense of Wake Island and our forces here.”
At the first sign of attack from the sea, the Admiral had ordered the Chinese task force to launched a full defensive air cover over Wake Island. After this was done, a moderate CAP had been left over the vessels as the entire force of eight ships now sped towards Wake Island to assist its defense and engage the enemy vessels there.
…and they sped right into the teeth of the American attack that the Admiral had just discovered was directed at them.
“Charged Particle System now active,” the weapons officer indicated to the Captain of the Kunlun as the enemy missiles came closer and closer to the engagement envelope.
“Set all systems to automatic, using template 34Z.
“Have all weapons system officers prepared for manual over-ride as necessary,” the Captain calmly replied as he ordered the use of an artificial intelligence template for the system that was geared towards American cruise missile attack, followed immediately by their attack aircraft.
The ship-borne version of the particle beam system was not as large or as powerful as the large land based systems that the Chinese had used in the earth-to-space engagements with the Americans. It was closer to the size and capabilities of the Dragon Spirit weapons that had been used in direct space combat against American space vessels in the summer of last year.
This limited its primary capability to being able to shoot a line of sight charged particle beam against hardened moving or stationary targets at a two hundred kilometer range. The targeting was slaved to the Chinese Aegis-like defensive system which consisted of the phased array radar system, the ta shih anti-stealth system, and a new, advanced optical acquisition system that used digital optics and infrared to track and target visual objects in the absence of any radar or stealth targeting data.
The Kunlun carried two charged particle weapons stations, one fore and the other aft. Both were directly behind the ship's respective twin gun mount fore and aft, 150mm dual purpose, automatic firing cannons.
When Admiral had arrived with the ship ten days before, the flag for the task force had been immediately transferred to the Kunlun. Ever since, the Admiral had been busily integrating the new flagship and its capabilities into the overall task force through very vigorous training exercises. Those exercises included everything from defending against from high flying ballistic missile and aircraft attacks, to countering potential orbital bombardment, to the more likely condition of defending in the face of an attack by low-flying cruise missile approaching at high speed just over their visual horizon.
…and now the training was being put to the test. The Admiral only wished that his forces had been given more time.
With over two hundred American missiles targeting his ships, and with thirty American aircraft carrying over a hundred more missiles, there were simply too many threats. Even factoring in the ample defensive systems of the other ships, and the fact that they were all integrated together with the Kunlun…it was just too much. The Chinese defenses, even with the particle beam capability, were overwhelmed, particularly on the ships furthest away from the Kunlun.
The Chinese CAP aircraft did help blunt the attack, but all six of those aircraft soon fell to the overwhelming American numbers.
Then the Kunlun began to tell on those overwhelming numbers. Missile after missile, and then several American aircraft fell to her charged particle fire. Electronic systems and the skin and structure of the American missiles and aircraft heated up and melted, or vaporized, depending on how long the Chinese could hold a firm lock on their targets. Those missiles and aircraft simply exploded or otherwise fell tumbling from the sky.
Electroinc emissions gathered from one of the two EW aircraft accompanying the American strike soon revealed the nature of the threat the Americans faced. Orders were quickly issued that changed the strategy away from boring in closer to the Chinese task force where the likelihood of being downed by the charged particle fire increased dramatically. Instead of following the original plan where they would launch their own missiles from close range behind the wall of the massive cruise missile barrage in front of them, the American pilots were ordered to launch their missiles at longer range and then to drop down to the deck and egress the area.
Nonetheless, by the time these American aircraft had launched their missiles and dropped to the deck to get away from line of sight fire from the Kunlun, four Chinese escorts and both Chinese carriers had been hit by multiple missiles strikes. Three of the escorts and one of the carriers sank outright, going down with tremendous loss of life within ten to twenty minutes of the attack. The other damaged escort was left dead in the water, still capable of some defensive action from its aft mounted weapons systems while its damage control parties worked feverishly on getting the vessel under way and away from the site of the battle.
Due to severe damage all along its deck, the remaining carrier, the Nantong, was unable to continue flight operations and the surviving aircraft she and her sister ship had launched earlier were ordered to attempt to land at Wake Island if possible. Only nine of those aircraft were able to land at the Chinese base on Wake Island between American attacks later that morning. Despite the damage topside, the Nantong was capable of making steady headway under full power. Joining with the Kunlun and the remaining Type 52D guided missile destroyer, the three ships made a high speed run closer into the Island.
Protecting their flanks, were two Chinese fast attack nuclear submarines, which were also making their way closer to Wake Island for their pre-planned defense of the approaches to the island from the western side.
January 14, 2011, 10:15, local time
Flag Conference Room, TF 56
U.S.S. Shafer, 120 Miles Southeast of Wake Island
Admiral Tanner made a final review of the situation report and accompanying recommendations in his cabin on his flagship, the U.S.S.Shafer, before sending them. They would be transferred via secure satellite link back to CINCPAC in the next few minutes. From there, he knew they would be forwarded on to the Washington DC, the Joint Chiefs and to the POTUS.
Sustained combat, as was certainly to be expected, was ongoing on the island. But the enemy had somehow been better entrenched than had been expected and they had pinned down the first wave of Marines. It hadn’t been until the third wave of Marines had come ashore from the four amphibious assault submersibles that any progress had been made toward dislodged them.
Now, at least over the eastern side of the island and the approaches to it, his forces had achieved air superiority and were reinforcing and supporting their beachhead at will.
“Now, if we can somehow negate that new Chinese vessel and its cohorts on the west side of the island,” he thought to himself, “then we should be able to approve the C-90B landings this evening and consolidate the island completely.
“But that was going to take some doing.
“So far, that ship and its particle beam weaponry, particularly under the umbrella of the remaining island defenses, has been a very tough nut to crack.”
And that was what the main recommendations and requests that were going out in the Admiral's FLASH SITREP were all about.
The Admiral knew very well that strategic space assets were being amassed for attacks on the Chinese mainland and their command and control infrastructure there. Orbital bombardment material was tightly guarded and reserved for those missions. But he also knew that this attack had to succeed, and it had to succeed rapidly. There were too many other, soon-to-be-implemented operations that were depending on that success, and on his ground, air and sea forces taking control of and establishing a firm, unshakable presence here. That made the quick success of the invasion and the taking of Wake Island something of a strategic imperative itself.
…and Admiral Tanner was not in the least hesitant to make use of that fact.
As a result, the Admiral was comfortable that his request for a space based attack on the Chinese vessel would be approved. By analyzing the movement and characteristics of the Chinese ship based on the last two attacks against it, the Admiral was positive he could force the enemy into a movement pattern that would successfully allow it to be targeted from space. He was prepared to do just that as soon as approval was obtained. He would have to adequately prepare and protect his own forces from the results of that attack, but he felt that here on the east side of the island he would have no problem with that either.
Tanner reviewed his request from the SITREP communiqué once again.
…THEREFORE CINC TF 56 REQUESTS CINCPAC OR NCA APPROVAL OF SPACE BASED ATTACK ON REMAINS OF CHINESE TASK FORCE WEST OF OBJECTIVE. OPERATION TO BE PREPARED, PENDING APPROVAL, FOR 1600 HOURS LOCAL TIME EXECUTION. PLEASE ADVISE.
“Well, that should do it,” he thought as he processed the message at last and sent it to the communications officer.
“They will know good and well that I have the mission planned and ready to go, just waiting their approval.”
What the Admiral didn’t know was that the situation revolving around the new Chinese vessel, the cruiser, Kunlun, would resolve itself before his plan could be executed.
January 14, 2011, 10:35, local time
U.S.S. Jimmy Carter, 21 miles west of Wake Island
The sounds of sustained underwater warfare had gone on all around them. It was not an uncommon occurrence for the Jimmy Carter and her crew. Throughout the war, from the very earliest days, even before open hostilities had been initiated, the Jimmy Carter had been at the center of action in the Pacific.
Now, here she was again in the thick of it all, and the entire crew, particularly those operating the various stations in the control room, wondered when her luck was going to finally run out.
She had run completely around the island to the south and avoided all contact, both of her own and by the enemy. Several hours ago, far to the north, she had picked up the sounds of battle. Impacts to vessels in the water and the unmistakable sound of distant ships sinking and breaking up.
Then, beginning less than an hour ago, things had literally blown up right around them.
They had been tracking what they knew to be one of their own Virginia class boats, the U.S.S. Zachary Taylor, as it approached the island from twenty thousand yards to their north. Out of nowhere had come the unmistakable sound of the firing and then that God-awful approach of a Chinese underwater Killer Whale device, a supercavitating weapon. The horrendous noise literally filled the water, drowning out all else. Compelling in its attention, singular in its focus…coming to kill, and doing so quickly.
The Zachary Taylor had boldly proceeded directly in towards that single oncoming weapon and used its own SUB CIWS to defeat it, destroying it less than eight hundred yards from impact. Then, having detected no enemy submarine or surface vessel, and correctly determining that the attacking device had been a variety that had been seeded into the waters to guard against the approach of American vessels, the Zachary Taylor had proceeded in further towards the island.
Simon Thompson had ordered the Jimmy Carter to quietly follow and also proceed in closer to the island, to the port side of the Zachary Taylor but several thousand yards behind it. He knew that the low powered underwater IFF that his boat emitted every sixty seconds would allow the Zachary Taylor to identify him in the same way he had identified them. It was emitted in a pre-programmed fashion sounding like various varieties of local transients, or aquatic life, in a predetermined pattern that other friendly vessels could decipher and recognize as specific to each individual American boat. Situated as they were behind and to the side of the Zachary Taylor, the Jimmy Carter's position would also be ideal to offer support to the Zachary Taylor while allowing him the potential for independently targeting enemy vessels that he acquired.
Over an hour into the advance, the sea had suddenly filled once more, not with one, but with many enemy weapons.
From two separate azimuths in front of the other American vessel, three of the latest Chinese torpedoes were suddenly launched.
The Zachary Taylor snapped off one Mk-48 ADCAP at its attacker on its starboard side, but did not have time to fire anything at the one to its port, which was less than three thousand yards directly in front of the Jimmy Carter. Instead, in a high speed maneuver, it turned further to starboard in an attempt to get past that enemy vessel which itself had gone to high speed to avoid the Zachary Taylor's weapon.
As the Zachary Taylor maneuvered violently and valiantly to avoid the six torpedoes coming at it, it left a trail of sophisticated sound devices in its wake to confuse and defeat the Chinese weapons. This worked on three of the weapons, but the other three successfully bored through these defenses and relentlessly pursued the Zachary Taylor.
The SUB CIWS (Submarine Close in Weapons System) that all American submarines now carried was a very capable system against any inbound underwater threat. The Zachary Taylor now employed the two SUB CIWS weapons stations facing the oncoming torpedoes to good effect. The high speed, supercavitating projectiles fired by the system destroyed first one, and then a second of the remaining Chinese torpedoes.
Before the third torpedo could be targeted, that sound that struck fear into any American submariner, or any mariner for that matter, suddenly sounded once again in the waters near Wake Island. This time though it was three Chinese Killer Whales, which had been set up in conjunction with the position that the Chinese submarines had taken, that suddenly ignited in the water less than one thousand yards in front of and to either side of the Zachary Taylor.
The Zachary Taylor never stood a chance.
In a final effort to save the boat, the Captain broached the vessel at high speed. Just as the nose was coming out of the water, and after destroying two of the Chinese approaching supercavitating weapons at close quarters with their SUB CIWS, the final Chinese Killer Whale and the final Chinese conventional torpedo struck the Zachary Taylor almost simultaneously.
The explosions, coming on either side of the vessel, completely ripped the boat in half. The momentum of the submarine and the violence of the explosions thrust the front third of the boat completely clear of the water, and then that portion fell back into the ocean, lost all forward momentum and immediately began to settle. Twenty-one of the forty-five crewmen from that section, many of them badly wounded, managed to exit that part of the vessel before it completely slipped beneath the waves.
The lower two thirds of the boat never completely gained the surface of the water. Although it's momentum carried the forward portion near the surface, that was the part most effected by the explosions of the enemy weapons, where the Zachary Taylor sustained the worst blast damage. As that after section reached its highest point of travel, only yards below the surface, and just as it began to turn over and sink, somehow twelve of the eighty-eight crew members in that section escaped the vessel and swam to the surface.
The Jimmy Carter saw none of this. But it heard it all.
Captain Thompson had ordered his boat to open its outer doors during the loudest part of the engagement and then to a full stop and dead silence as the action continued. He and every man who heard the death of the Zachary Taylor cringed at the sounds, but then soberly and determinedly waited for a chance to mete out justice and death to their enemies. The enemy boat in front of them had slowed down and was creeping towards them as quietly as it could, while the other enemy sub maneuvered wildly to avoid the Zachary Taylor's Mk-48 ADCAP.
But the Zachary Taylor was not going to die alone on this day.
It's single Mk-48 ADCAP ran hard through all of the Chinese defensive efforts and caught up with the Chinese boat. Struck amidships and holed, the Chinese could not control the flooding. Waiting too long to blow its ballast tanks, the enemy sub never got above a depth of 50 meters, and then slowly began to sink to the bottom, giving its surviving crew members, which included the captain and the entire control room, several minutes to contemplate their fates. Soon after passing its crush depth of over 600 meters, it was heard imploding and breaking up by the crews of both the Jimmy Carter and the second Chinese submarine which was unknowingly coming closer and closer to the Jimmy Carter.
The second Chinese submarine would soon follow the fate of its companion.
When it had approached to within eight hundred yards of the Jimmy Carter, which remained dead in the water, listening passively to their enemy's approach, Captain Thompson ordered two Mk-48 ADCAP torpedoes fired through the already opened outer torpedo doors.
The Chinese did not have the time to even take a snap shot at the Jimmy Carter. It would not have helped them if they had. Immediately going to full power, the Chinese boat attempted to make a downward spiraling turn, knuckling its wake and dropping noise makers into it as it did so.
But none of it helped.
Within a few short minutes, there were two more explosions and another Chinese submarine sank to the bottom with the loss of all hands. Holed twice, this one sank much faster than the first.
When he saw that the Chinese vessel did not have the time to mount even a snap shot at its position, Thompson ordered the Jimmy Carter to maintain its position and its dead quiet status. After a full forty minutes of listening, the boat then carefully continued its stealthy approach towards Wake Island.
Not knowing that they had now cleared all of the major Chinese underwater defenses, it took the Jimmy Carter another two hours to come in close to Wake Island. There, they finally discovered the Chinese surface ships that were helping with the defense of the island. Those ships consisted of none other than the cruiser, Kunlun, the damaged Chinese Beijing class carrier, the Nantong, and the completely operational and undamaged Type 52D guided missile destroyer.
Upon discovering them, the Jimmy Carter carefully and stealthily spent the time necessary to maneuver in as close as possible to ensure kill shots on all three vessels.
From a range of five miles, Captain Simon Thompson, calmly fired four Mk-77 supercavitating weapons at the Chinese vessels and then quickly loaded all four of his tubes and fired again. He then rapidly egressed to the southwest at high speed. Those eight weapons wreaked horrific havoc on the remaining Chinese ships, utterly annihilating all three of them.
Struck by two of the weapons as it attempted to start a high speed turn, the Kunlun was torn into three pieces and rapidly went down with its captain and Admiral Tsung, the task force commander. Of the three hundred and eighty personnel on board, only fifty-two were able to safely abandoned ship.
Hit by three of the four weapons targeting her, the already damaged Beijing class carrier simply rolled over amidst a tremendous cloud of smoke and debris and sank rapidly. Only two hundred oil soaked personnel, many of them badly injured, survived to either be picked up by the few remaining Chinese helicopters, or to swim towards and be washed ashore on Wake Island itself.
The Type 52D destroyer, which was furthest from the Jimmy Carter's attack, made a valiant effort to run directly towards the island and ground itself there, where its missiles could still help with the defense of the island. Although one of the multi-mode American supercavitating weapons was successfully defeated by the shallow water the ship was running in, the last Mk-77 followed its target right in towards shore and detonated against its after section on the port side, breaking it in two there where both parts sank. Many of the crew survived and joined the ground forces still fighting on Wake Island.
The water was shallow enough where the Chinese guided missile destroyer went down that both pieces did not sink completely, rather, they came to rest on the shallow ocean bed, the upper portions of their superstructures canted at unnatural angles and sticking grotesquely out of the water.
Pictures of that destroyed Chinese vessel would be aired throughout the allied world, and ultimately find their way to Beijing and the Politburo. They would be the banner photos depicting the defeat and surrender of CAS forces at Wake Island, which occurred less than twelve hours later. Those photos would also herald the beginning of the allied offensive into the conquered territory and holdings of the CAS in the central Pacific Ocean on the road to Japan and the Chinese mainland itself.