PAPERBACK BOOKS
 SHOOTING SCRIPT - Second Edition

A world war two mystery could decide the fate of the South pacific. On Bougainville, rebels demand independence. A renegade Indonesian General dreams of Empire! An Australian television news crew could break the story, but only if a combat search and rescue team can keep them alive.

SECOND EDITION

In store price: $24.00
Online Price:  $23.00

ISBN: 1-9208-8416-5
Format: A5 Paperback
Number of pages: 307
Genre: Fiction

 

Author: Phil Smith
Imprint: Poseidon Books
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: December 2003
Language: English

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About the author 

Phil Smith has the first hand experience and the network of connections to write this thriller involving the media, military and political manipulation. An award winning broadcaster and correspondent, he’s filed from throughout South East Asia, the ‘Top End’ and the South Pacific. His credits include a TV documentary on the rebuilding of East Timor. 

His service in the Royal Australian Air Force Special Reserve includes a Peace Keeping tour in Bougainville before the truce was signed, and humanitarian operations during the West Irian and Papua New Guinea famine. Phil has supported ADF Units from the Arctic Circle to the Korean DMZ and the Simpson Desert. As a combat camera producer he’s served aboard aircraft carriers and in battle tanks during Combined and Joint operations and exercises. Phil was awarded a Chief of Air Force Commendation following a hazardous assignment in Indonesia and the ASM for duty in Bougainville. He is the 2001 Air Force recipient of the Prince of Wales Award. 

His series of outback yarns, ‘Round The Traps’, was broadcast by ABC radio, and Phil provided the character voices for the ‘Noah’ children’s stories on CD Rom. His freelance articles have been well published in aviation and travel magazines in Australia, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and the US. 

A Journalism Graduate from Central Queensland University, Phil lives near Lake Samsonvale, north of Brisbane, with his wife and two daughters. He’s currently working on an inspirational book for teenage boys.                        

CREDITS

 

This one’s for my wife and daughters who let me go adventuring. The girls said I should write and my parents always believed I could

Special thanks to Ron Smith who cracked the whip rejoined my split infinitives. 

David Fender, Paul Lineham, and Paul Bodington reread the rewrites and kept the fun meter pegged over in the red. 

In Nevada GPCAPT Kym Osley showed me just how well ‘Pigs’ can fly. In the night skies WGCDR Tony Bennett proved that Caribous can deliver anything, anywhere, anytime. A man whose face must remain obscured, Jeff W., reminded me how to make an entrance. 

Mal Lancaster shot the cover art and provided years of friendship over tens of thousands of miles as we covered stories all over the world. Good onya Bloke. 

Heather Fox turned my two finger typing into a manuscript. 

Along with the F111, Special Ops and Caribou folk was a private pilot who helped me plan the great escape in the Cirrus light aircraft. David Tansley is a friend who has only ever used the key to start the plane during our getaways. 

Enjoy.

Phil Smith

        

PROLOGUE 

 

                    LIGHTNINGS NEVER STRIKE TWICE                     

 

"Now the Mystery Masked Man was smart, he got himself a Tonto

Tonto did the dirty work for free

But Tonto he was smarter and one day said, Kimo sabe

Kiss my ass, I bought a boat, I'm going out to sea." 

Lyle Lovett 'If I had a boat'

 

*************************

 

Isoroku Yamamoto sat gazing out the window of his aircraft. The plane was almost brand new, though not luxurious by the standards of a man of his power and influence. He had always been more concerned with function than form. 

The Mitsubishi G4 and its crew shared one function; to get him quickly and discreetly to his destination in the south Pacific. He despised many things about his French colleagues, nevertheless they would be punctual and unobtrusive. 

Yamamoto looked around the bare fuselage at his staff strapped into fold-down seats. Only two had accompanied him on this trip. He grinned inwardly. The young female secretary had form as well as function. His male aide, on the other hand, was formed like a tree trunk and his function was to look after his boss. Chained to the aide’s right wrist was a polished alloy brief case, its contents perhaps even more valuable than Yamamoto himself. 

He went back to watching the green rain forest slide beneath them. The aircraft had lifted off at exactly 8.00 am from Rabaul, in New Guinea's New Britain province. Timing had always been critical for the man who planned the raid on Pearl Harbour, Admiral Yamamoto, Commander in Chief of the Japanese Combined Fleet. It was almost 9.30 am. 

It was also critical to other powerful men thousands of miles away. In Washington the clocks in the White House showed 6.30 pm, and in the Hawaii head quarters of Admiral Chester Nimitz the minute hand ticked toward 1.30 pm. 

Four days earlier, on April 14 1943, the US Navy's Fleet Radio Unit Pacific Fleet had decoded a hot Japanese signal outlining an inspection tour of Japan's front line bases around Bougainville Island by Yamamoto. Nimitz was satisfied Japan had no one capable of replacing the brilliant naval strategist and tactician. The opportunity was too good to miss and the President agreed. The ambush was assigned to the Allied Commander Central Solomons, Admiral William Halsey. 

From Henderson Field, on the island of Guadalcanal, the United States Army Air Force 339th Fighter Squadron had launched 16 long range P38 Lightning fighters about the same time the 

Japanese Admiral's G4 Betty had taken off from Rabual in company with another identical bomber and six Zero fighter escorts. 

Admiral Yamamoto gazed out the window again, noticing the second bomber in echelon carrying his Chief of Staff, Admiral Ugaki.  The Mitsubishi Kasei engines ate into the miles and soon they would be back over the ocean. The plane’s 3000 mile range would mean no more stops before the French island airstrip. The aircraft matched the man. Yamamoto was a long range planner, a powerful, determined negotiator who brought plenty of clout and few niceties to the table. 

Two years ago he had warned the Americans he would dictate terms in the White House. Now, with what the French had to offer, he would change the course of the war. 

Major John Mitchell had made the last change to his course half an hour earlier, heading north east from the coast of Vella Lavella and flying at wave top height toward Bougainville. The night before they'd calculated the cruise speed of the Betties at 180 MPH. The 400 miles separating  Henderson from Bougainville meant the P38s were the only aircraft capable of the pursuit. All night long the ground crews had sweated to fit larger than normal drop tanks to the twin boom interceptors. The powerful Alison engines had needed every yard of runway to lift 18 Lightnings into the sky and two had quickly turned back with mechanical problems. Capable of almost 400 MPH, the twin engine aircraft had stormed along in radio silence barely thirty feet above the flat ocean. 

Yamamoto reviewed his plan for the meeting with the French. Soon Ugaki would peel away to land at Kahili while Yamamoto continued south east. 

Mitchell reviewed his plan. Lieutenant  Lanphier would lead the killer group including Barber, Holmes and Hine. As Commanding Officer Mitchell would take the cover group of six all the way up to 20 000 feet. A second cover group of six would be standing by. Failure was not an option and Major Mitchell could still see the signal he'd been given late the night before. 

"SQUADRON 339 P-38 MUST AT ALL COSTS REACH AND DESTROY. PRESIDENT ATTACHES EXTREME IMPORTANCE TO MISSION." The signature block read, 'Frank Knox Navy Secretary.'  

The hunters reached the slot for the attack at exactly 0930 local. 

The Admiral was tired. It had been an early start and a couple of hours napping would be good. 

John Mitchell's ass was numb and he'd consumed two canteens of water already. The P38 was built to be the fastest fighter in the inventory with a service ceiling of 40 000 ft. It was the most amazing plane he'd flown but it was built for cold climates and high altitudes with no cooling system to relieve the sauna conditions under the clear bubble canopy. The squadron gossips said the Lightning had been designed at some secret Lockheed factory called the Skunk Works. 

Well it sure stank inside his cockpit now. 

Doug Canning broke radio silence. 

"Bogeys. Eleven O'clock. High!" 

The two G4 Betties and their Zero escorts were at 5000 feet, exactly where Mitchell and Lanphier had guessed. 

Long range tanks tumbled away from all but two of the fighters and superchargers screamed as the Americans went in to kill. Holmes and Hines were still struggling with the jerry rigged tanks as Tom Lanphier and Rex Barber ignored the Zeroes and stormed in on the bombers. 

Admiral Yamamoto was not wearing a headset and didn’t hear the pilots swearing. He heard the engines bellow to full power and felt the aircraft dive to increase speed. Spent cases cascaded from the machine guns in the dorsal turret. From the tail came the heavier hammering of the 20mm canon, but the gunner could not get enough elevation to keep the leading American fighter from its first run. 

The Japanese gunners feared the Lightning, and not only for its speed. Its four .50 calibre machine guns and single 20mm canon were all clustered in the nose. With no need to calculate the converging patterns of wing mounted weapons, the pilots hosed in from 1000 yards range. 

One of the P-38 pilots got a Zero in his sights and machine gun rounds streamed into the smaller aircraft. The broken, burning wreck tumbled past the Admiral’s window an instant before his own pilot banked hard right to escape another Lightning attacking from behind and above. 

The second Betty was trying to stay in formation, allowing the tail and upper turret gunners to support one another and cover each other’s arcs, but the hard evasive manoeuvring of the lead aircraft forced the second pilot to swerve, offering his flank to the hunters. Yamamoto’s own demands for a high-speed, long-range naval bomber meant the G4 carried huge fuel tanks in the wings and little armour. 

The Americans called them the Flying Cigars and now the Admiral saw how easy they were to light up. Flame burst from the port wing of Ugaki's plane and it turned out to sea, the pilot hoping to ditch. 

Holes gaped in the surviving bomber but it stayed intact, swooping to tree top level. The Zeros were all gone and the American gun and canon fire was tearing into Yamamoto's Betty. His secretary was pulped by armour piercing rounds. 

Yamamoto screamed at his aide to pass his short ceremonial sword. These western bastards would not rob him of his honour. The case chained to the Ensign’s right wrist left him fumbling around with his left hand. Again the aircraft slammed over, changing direction. The passengers were bruised and chafed by the harness restraints. The aide released his straps and tried to hand him the sacred blade. The Admiral stretched out, only to gash his hand as the aircraft bucked hard and split open, thin metal peeling away from the starboard side of the fuselage. 

Yamamoto watched in horror as the Ensign was whisked out at almost 300 miles per hour, into the trees flashing past barely fifty feet below. 

His horror only lasted only the few seconds it took for the dying bomber to swoop another thousand yards before disintegrating in the jungle. 

Japanese troops located the wreckage even before John Mitchell and his men landed back at Henderson. The bodies of Yamamoto, his female secretary and the air crew were located and cremated.                        

 


 

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