, 107 tweets, 10 min read
My Authors
Read all threads
1944: unexplained depradations begin off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. First, small fishing and shipping craft disappear at elevated rates. Then, in December, the Taquina Head Lighthouse in Oregon is mysteriously damaged
The first suspicion is sabotage, naturally, but dogged investigation by ONI finds nothing conclusive.
May 1945: An enormous octopus is sighted several times outside of Puerto Vallarta, given the nickname "El Pulpo." American attention is mostly focused on the end of the war in Europe.
July 1945: Supply convoy leaving Pearl Harbor for Saipan is attacked by a giant squid, which is driven off with depth charges dropped by escort destroyers.
August-September 1945: El Pulpo sighted several times in waters west of San Diego. Public elation over end of war shifts to discomfort and then mass hysteria.
October 1945: Task Force of 8 destroyers and 2 heavy cruisers departs San Diego to neutralize El Pulpo; search for 6 weeks without contact.
Jan. 1946: Submarines Finback and Dace disappear en route to Panama to cross canal for decomissioning on Atlantic coast
Feb. 1946: El Pulpo and Black Jack Kraken savagely attack Panama Canal, completely destroying western locks

Harry Truman declares a limited national emergency
Feb. 1946: US 3rd Fleet deploys from Pearl Harbor to find and engage El Pulpo and Black Jack Kraken
(newspaper nicknames now having gained common currency)
March 6: planes from Mitscher's Task Force 34 spot Black Jack Kraken in open ocean 400 miles southeast of Pearl Harbor. Air strikes prove ineffectual.
2 hours after failed air strikes, Kraken surfaces within task force and pulls USS Intrepid (CV-11) under water. Intrepid breaks in half and sinks quickly with a loss of over 1,800 officers and men
Admirals Mitscher and Halsey resign in disgrace.
March-May 1946: US shipping losses in Pacific reach 500,000 tons/month, rivaling worst stretches of U-boat losses during the war.
During this stretch, first sightings of "Kelp Man," Sigurd the Serpent," and several other, lesser creatures
May 1946: Stalin, noting that the supply bottleneck is hampering the US occupation of Japan, announces that Soviet troops will "assist" with the occupation.
August 1946: Truman orders evacuation of "nonessential" residents of Hawaii because of growing supply problem. US Pacific Fleet headquarters moved to San Diego
Regular evacuation convoys begin running from West coast ports to Hawaii, quickly attract heightened attention from sea creatures.
September: in attack on Evacuation Convoy 9, transport ship Patuxent is broken in half by Kelp Man. Convoy scatters, remnant trickles into various west coast ports over next few weeks.
December 1946: task force of destroyers and torpedo boats outside of Seattle successfully destroy a lesser kraken that had been harassing port facilities.
Around this time, aviators running convoy protection duty from USS Saratoga report limited success developing combined-arms tactics to drive creatures away from surface attacks
December 1946: buoyed by recent success, CINCPAC orders Spruance to shift from convoy defense to more aggressive attempts to engage creatures.
February 1947: Operation Typhoon. Responding to reports of multiple creature sightings near Noumea, Spruance departs with 3rd Fleet seeking decisive engagement
Feb. 12: Scout planes spot group of lesser octopi and kraken on surface near Noumea. Spruance orders air strike from 6 carriers.
Force of over 200 planes attacks, using techniques developed in convoy defense. Strafing, bombs, and torpedoes drive creatures from surface but fail to kill any.
As air strike is in progress, El Pulpo surfaces in middle of fleet and begins tentacle-lashing USS Yorktown (CV-10)
Desperate to protect carriers, Spruance orders crash retreat of all ships except battleships Iowa, New Jersey, and California, which are ordered to engage El Pulpo at point blank to cover the retreat.
New Jersey is lost with all hands. California and Iowa escape, but with severe damage that will keep them out of action for months.
Feb. 14, 1947: as 3rd fleet retreats from Noumea, Kelp Man, Black Jack Kraken and assorted lesser creatures appear at Pearl Harbor and begin to attack the diminished but still active base
Port facilities and Hickam Airfield are utterly destroyed; attack finally halted after pilot of a crippled Air Force B -25 deliberately crashes into Kelp Man, grievously wounding it.
Pilot Maj. Dennis Young is awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor for the act.
Pres. Truman quietly informs joint chiefs that Hawaii can no longer be be supported by sea, and will be left to its own devices until the fleet is capable of relieving it.
Word of this leaks almost immediately, igniting a public firestorm. Truman holds firm. Military Governor of Hawaii Gen. Art Peters openly talks about secession.
March 1947: with the US navy now restricted to defensive positions around west coast, Soviet troops conduct plebiscite in Japan in which citizens vote in pro-Soviet puppet government. Remaining US occupation forces evacuate to Phillipines.
March-November 1947: uneasy period of equilibrium. Shipping in the central and eastern Pacific has essentially ceased, reducing chances for shipping losses but triggering massive economic recession.
Sept. 1947: Gen. Peters declares secession of Hawaiian territory from United States. Accused in absentia of treason, but mainland government unable to interfere.
Oct. 1947: South Korea conducts plebiscite on unification of Korean peninsula under Pyongyang government, which passes overwhelmingly. Soviet influence widely suspected.
US fleet in 1947 is split between 7th and 3rd fleets; 7th roughly covering Washington and Oregon coasts, 3rd California. Actual deployment consists of task forces defending ports.
Dec. 1947: El Pulpo and diminished Kelp Man lead lesser creatures in attack on Astoria, Oregon. Driven off by Task Force 41, but not before significant damage to port facilities.
Around this time, President Truman begins weighing possibility of evacuating the west coast; refrains for fear of deepening mass panic.
Jan. 1948: Presidential election campaigns begin in earnest. Republicans hammer Truman on repeated failures against the sea creatures.
March 1948: Destroyers Fitch and Monaghan lost in successful repulse of Black Jack Kraken at Coronado Island off San Diego
June 1948: Thomas Dewey receives presidential nomination at Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. Acceptance speech savages Truman for "losing the Pacific, Hawaii, the far east, and the peace."
Douglas MacArthur, who has retired from the army and campaigns heavily for Dewey, underscores Truman's "cowardice" constantly.
August 1948: The disastrous Battle of San Francisco begins when picket ships USS Minneapolis (CA-36) and destroyers Phelps and Lee are surprised by "Sigurd the Sea Serpent," a previously little-seen creature, thirty miles offshore from the Golden Gate.
Minneapolis and Phelps are sunk by Sigurd, but raise the alarm. The rest of Task Force 61, based around the USS Maryland, converges and engages as Sigurd moves towards the bay.
Direct fire with new anti-creature munitions from Maryland slows Sigurd as requests go out for additional 3rd Fleet elements to assist. TFs 37 and 44 begin flank runs from Los Angeles and San Diego, respectively.
As air elements flying ahead from TF 37 arrive, El Pulpo, Black Jack Kraken, a now-recovered Kelp Man, and approximately 30 lesser creatures surface and annihilate TF 61 before entering San Francisco Bay.
Port facilities in San Francisco and Oakland are laid waste, as is the Golden Gate Bridge, before TF 37 arrives. Adm. Kelly Turner refuses to send surface ships into the constrained space of the bay and attempts to dislodge the creatures with air strikes, assisted by the USAF.
These strikes accomplish little. Kelp Man leaves the water and attacks the city of San Francisco itself.
TF 44 arrives. Spruance, assuming overall command, orders the all non-carriers (and a handful of screening destroyers) into San Francisco Bay to engage the creatures.
In the constrained space of the bay, much of the 3rd Fleet is destroyed. 13 battleships and cruisers sunk, 17 heavily damaged, along with numerous destroyers. Remnants of 3rd Fleet limp to San Diego, leaving creatures in possession of San Francisco Bay.
President Truman immediately orders the evacuation of San Francisco and Oakland.
November 1948: Dewey defeats Truman
November 29, 1948: Marine scouting team infiltrates San Francisco Exclusion Zone, report seeing multiple nest complexes in tidal zones "filled with eggs, thousands of eggs."
December 2, 1948: second team makes similar report from Oakland Exclusion Zone.
Dec. 3, 1948: at Truman's order, USAF B-29s drop atomic bombs on San Francisco and Oakland.
Dec. 4, 1948: Truman commits suicide, leaves note addressed to Dewey wishing him luck in rebuilding.
Aerial reconnaissance indicates that several major creatures, including El Pulpo and Kelp Man, were killed by the bombs, and that the nests were largely cauterized.
Dec. 18, 1948: After the efficacy of the atomic strikes on San Francisco and Oakland, enthusiasm grows in Washington for atomic solutions to the creature crisis.
In transition meetings with Pres.-Elect Dewey, Gen. Curtis LeMay advocates for round-the-clock coastal patrols by B-29s with atomic weapons aboard, ready to drop on sight.
Dewey demurs, but is more interested in the Navy Bureau of Ordnance's proposal to develop small atomic warheads to mount on destroyer torpedoes. When Dewey takes office, in January 1949, the program is formally approved.
Within the remaining Pacific Fleet, deep grief over the loss of life in San Francisco slowly mixes with optimism in early 1949 as it becomes clear that a substantial portion of the creature menace was destroyed.
Feb. 1949: Newly-named CINCPAC Frank Jack Fletcher orders a small force of cruisers and destroyers to make a reconnaissance run from Bremerton, WA, to Pearl Harbor.
The passage is harrowing for the crews, with numerous false sightings, but the ships arrive without major incident.
Feb. 27: Although only one destroyer can actually dock in the still-ravaged Pearl Harbor facilities, Gen. Peters sees the writing on the wall and resigns from office, surrendering himself to his replacement for arrest. The Hawaiian Insurrection is over.
March 3, 1949: widespread relief palls when Black Jack Kraken, scarred by radiation burns but still alive and vigorous, is sighted off of Santa Barbara
March 9, 1949: Shortly afterwards, Sigurd the Serpent and a smaller creature of the same type attack a relief convoy bound for Oahu. They are driven off by destroyers and aircraft, but a renewed wave of hysteria grips the country.
Gen. LeMay reiterates his call for round the clock atomic air patrols. Dewey again demurs.
March 16, 1949: USSR quietly rebases rapidly-expanding Pacific branch of the Red Fleet at Kure in communist Japan.
March-June 1949: Pacific shipping slowly resumes, with matching increased creature activity. Convoy escorts of 7-10 ships, always including at least a light carrier, are now the norm.
June 1949: Naval Bureau of Ordnance reports that atomic torpedo warheads are at least a year away. Growing increasingly desperate, President Dewey approves Mousetrap, a plan proposed by Cincpac Operations.
Mousetrap involves stuffing a recommissioned Liberty ship with high explosives and towing it unmanned behind a destroyer through open seas. If a creature attacks, the destroyer cuts the tow line, accelerates to flank speed, and detonates the explosives by radio.
July 1949: USS Grant (DD-649) is selected for first Mousetrap mission, towing former SS John Brown from San Diego to Pearl Harbor.
900 miles out of San Diego, Sigurd the Sea Serpent attacks; Grant successfully engages Mousetrap maneuver. Sigurd is beheaded by blast as Brown detonates.
July 19, 1949: Triumphant Grant tows remains of Sigurd's carcass to San Diego in triumph, receives unit citation for meritorious service.
July 26, 1949: Second Mousetrap mission eliminates lesser kraken.
Dewey and Joint Chiefs are extremely pleased with apparent success of Mousetrap operation, but concerned with limited number of Liberty ships available in Pacific ports.
This shortage is compounded by the continued inoperability of the Panama Canal, preventing easy transfer of Liberties mothballed on East coast ports.
September 1949: with American attention and resources tied up in the Pacific and the cleanup/reconstruction of the San Francisco Bay area, Stalin bluffs western allies out of West Berlin.
In late September, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover publicly states his personal belief that the sea creature crisis was precipitated by communist agitators, pointing to Soviet gains in Berlin and the Far East as proof.
Dec. 1949: as the year closes, the top-grossing movie of 1949 if Howard Hawks' INTO DANGER, starring Montgomery Clift and Humphrey Bogart. INTO DANGER retells the 1947 attack on Pearl Harbor, revising the story with an upbeat ending.
Jan-March 1950: Moustrap continues with moderate success. Six additional lesser creatures are incapacitated, with the destroyers Lee and Simpson lost in action.
March 1950: Soviet defector reveals loss six months previously of entire Soviet naval task force probing east from Kurile Islands.
March 1950: Frustrated with pace of Panama Canal repairs and and slow process of Liberty Ship reactivation, Dewey approves program of crash construction of "bait barges" in Long Beach.
Barely seaworthy, the bait barges exist only to be towed and filled with explosives. Their prime virtue is quick construction and total expendability.
April 1950: USS O'Bannon, on a Mousetrap run parallel to the Oregon coast, encounters Black Jack Kraken, believed to be the last of the large "Alpha" creatures.
Black Jack takes the bait and the explosives detonate. As smoke clears, rear lookouts from O'Bannon report creature is wounded but alive.
O'Bannon's captain, Commander Jorge Estrada, orders ship to end flank run, turn 180 degrees, and resume speed.
Wounded and enraged Black Jack tentacle-lashes O'Bannon on approach, but is killed when the ship rams at speed. 83 officers and men, are killed in the charge and collision.
Media hails Estrada as a hero, but opinions are split within the Navy, with a large constituency pushing for a court-martial for needlessly endangering his ship and causing significant loss of life.
Dewey makes it known through back channels that he would greatly prefer the Navy not pursue a court-martial, for reasons of public morale.
June 1950: Accident loading a bait barge in Long Beach kills 57 shipyard workers and ordnance technicians when explosives prematurely detonate
Damage to Long Beach shipyard is severe, but nature of bait barge program allows assembly to be moved to other facilities—with tighter safety controls—within 3 weeks
July-December 1950: improved convoy system allows steady rebuilding of Pacific shipping. Convoys now include escort carriers with planes on constant scout duty, and multiple Mousetrap destroyers steaming close to the formation (but with some separation).
New doctrine is that when scout planes spot a creature, or if one surfaces near the convoy, all ships flee at high speed while a Mousetrap destroyer moves towards the contact to entice it to take the bait.
There are still losses with the system, but significantly lower than the worst months of 1946 and 47.
ONI teams aboard each convoy investigate carcasses after action and determine through 1950 and 51 that average creature size is trending smaller. They conclude that older, more developed members of the population are being killed off.
July 1951: two separate trans-Pacific convoys make entire runs without contact.
September 1951: For the first time since 1946, an unescorted commercial ship travels from San Diego to Oahu. The public is jubilant, but Sealift Lines is fined for violation of emergency security rules.
October 1951: Dewey announces formal end of state of national emergency. Navy will still provide convoys for Pacific shipping, but their use is encouraged, not required.
Fall 1951: Increased shipping continues amid an expanding feeling of normalcy. Creature encounters still happen, and occasional unescorted ships are lost, but with decreasing frequency.
Jan. 1952: Dewey formally begins re-election campaign, running as the man who saved the Pacific.
1952: Dewey's opponent, Estes Kefauver, bases his campaign on the economic downturn that has gripped the country, but finds little traction.
Nov. 1952: Dewey easily wins re-election, vows to spend second term focusing on reconstruction of the Bay area and countering the increasing Soviet domination of Europe.
May 1994: Icelandic government concerned by abrupt spike in losses to commercial fishing fleet
Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh.

Enjoying this thread?

Keep Current with the palooka king

Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!