What would you do ? (10) The Solution

“What would you do ?” used to figure on the cover of a boys’ comic called “Boys’ World”. This was a publication, obviously, aimed at boys, and first appeared on January 26th 1963. There were 89 issues before the comic was merged with Eagle on October 3rd 1964.

I used to buy “Boys’ World”, and this was mainly for the front cover which always featured a kind of puzzle.

It was called “What would you do ?” and was based on somebody being in what Ned Flanders would call “A dilly of a pickle”. Here’s the situation, as always, explained in the coloured box:

So, you’ve finally been promoted to Rear-Admiral in the US Navy, and you are in charge of a squadron of ships in the Pacific Ocean. It is World War Two and you have just spotted an enemy fleet on the horizon in the growing darkness. They are on their way to invade a nearby island.

You MUST attack but the Japanese fleet has greater fire-power than you have and your chances of defeating it seem slim. What orders would you give, as you sail in to attack?

And the answer is on page 2 and here it is:

So, you order your squadron to manœuvre as per the diagram on the back of my packet of cigarettes. Steaming in the dark, the Japanese suddenly found the head of their column confronted by the American squadron broadside.  The Americans were able to bring all their guns to bear, while the Japanese were only able to fire forward, with their foremost ships. Outgunned , the Japs fled.

Well, well, well. How many of you got that one correct? I know I didn’t. Certainly the most difficult one so far.



Filed under cricket, Film & TV, History, Humour, Literature, military, Pacific Theatre, Personal, the Japanese

29 responses to “What would you do ? (10) The Solution

  1. Well I have learnt something today. I guess my progress through the naval ranks will be a little slower than anticipated.

    • You’re the first comment I’ve read, so far, and I suspect that this may be like the occasions when the examination you set is far too difficult for the class.
      And don’t worry about those naval ranks. A pair of those funny bell bottomed trousers and the right attitude and you’ll just sail through!

    • Well, you sail straight ahead and when you can see the Japanese force coming directly towards you, at right angles, you stop.
      Most battleship type warships have their heaviest firepower sideways, so you now have a huge advantage. All of your ships can use all of their most powerful guns whereas the Japanese, only able to fire forward, with only two ships, can do very little about it.
      Don’t worry, Derrick, it’s a fairly unlikely occurrence in the Isle of Wight area.

  2. Pierre Lagacé

    Are they more of these posts John?

    • Yes, there are Pierre. I bought them on a digital DVD a few years ago from ebay. There are 94 altogether, which ought to be enough to see me out!
      The latest ones are quite difficult.
      “You are in charge of the dinner to celebrate the new Arab-Israeli Peace Treaty. How would you arrange the seating? Would you allow alcohol? And, would you prefer to use plastic knives and forks and plastic glasses?”

  3. GP

    It seems they crossed the T.

    • I don’t know a great deal about naval warfare, but if that expression means what it seems to mean, then you are absolutely right !!
      This was still a pretty difficult puzzle though. Hopefully, the next one will be a little more inclusive.

  4. I was nearly there but forgot to wait until dark.

    • I don’t think that that should bar you from claiming 100% success. After all, the picture looks as if night is fast approaching, and the instructions say “…you have just spotted an enemy fleet on the horizon in the growing darkness.”
      No, a definite cigar, although you might prefer a large pizza!

  5. Classic crossing the T.

    I did think about that, but looking at the given ship positions, it seemed unlikely to me that the American squadron was far enough forward and had enough speed to stay in front of the enemy column long enough to execute the maneuver. Guess I was thinking of crossing the T at the rear of the column. My other quibble with their problem is that if I can see the enemy, it’s very likely that they can see me so it’s not only an offensive but a defensive problem. Initially they are in a better position to cross the T and sink my squadron before I could maneuver into position.

    Guess the comic writers wanted something more dramatic and made assumptions that I wouldn’t have made. Still it’s a possible solution.

    • I agree with everything you say, but I think it may be a question of making everything fit together neatly for the reader.
      In the picture, for example, the Japanese are well ahead of the Americans, as you say, but I think the problem was that the drawing had to incorporate a lot of elements such as the yellow box, the white circle, all of the crew, the darkening sky and so on. The Japanese ships didn’t have a lot of room left!
      What we really need to do is to post the puzzle to either the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth or the US Navy equivalent at Annapolis (I think).

  6. Ha! Good to know next time on the deck of the Admiral. Fun! I wish they had this magazine updated for today’s kids. I love it.

    • You are 100% right there. And you could incorporate the real situations that the kids might be in, such as being bullied or mugged, being anxious or afraid, meeting a big spider or a snake. It could be a valuable learning tool, especially for little children.

  7. Jan

    Modern scenario. You are in command of the Royal Navy. Your fleet has just 19 escort ships: 13 frigates that are obsolete and 6 guided missile destroyers, tied-up alongside because of engine problems. You have two new aircraft carriesr but no planes to fly off them. What do you do?

    • Get as many divers as you have fully kitted up, and hen set the rest of the crew to making catapults while the divers collect suitably sized stones from the seabed. And the first damn French trawler that comes anywhere near gets it.

  8. jackchatterley

    The old “crossing the T”…

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