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World War II
When Battleships Ruled the Seas



When Battleships Ruled the Seas
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.35

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    Aaooouuggaa, anti-aircraft, BOOOMMM, broadside, conning, double-time, electronics, finest, formally, grainy, heart-stirring, incoming, midsection, rakes, reminders, scrapped
     content words:    World War II, New Jersey, As WWII, Korean War, Middle East


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When Battleships Ruled the Seas
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     A sharp prow cuts through the water. A vessel as long as three football fields pushes smoothly through the waves. As the big ship turns in the water, a neat white curl of spray trails behind. It is a heart-stirring sight. Clearly, this is the queen of the seas.
 
2     Inside the ship, the hearts of 2,500 sailors are more than stirred. They're pumping double-time. The captain has ordered battle stations. A grainy green dot on a screen has given away a secret. The screen is radar, a powerful new search tool. It has found an enemy ship! The ship is twenty miles away. It can't be seen by the naked eye. But the radar sees and tells the secret. There it is! In firing range!
 
3     Fire control radar helps aim the huge guns. "Broadside!" yells the captain. The big ship turns. All its guns point toward the enemy ship. BOOOMMM! A deafening roar splits the air. A wall of flame lights up the side of the ship. Clouds of black smoke roll out over the ocean. The ship rocks with the force of the big guns. On the horizon, a small puff of black smoke appears. It's a hit!
 
4     Then there is a piercing shriek overhead. The other ship is returning fire. "All about full!" comes the order. The ship swings about, her stern toward the enemy. This will make a smaller target than her long sides. The alarm sounds. "Aaooouuggaa!"
 
5     "Hit the deck!" comes the warning shout. There is a sickening crash. A shell hits just behind the conning (control) tower. What was a gun turret is now a black hole. Smoke boils out of the crater. Men sprint along the deck, running to put out fires. Other men scramble down into the smoke-filled hole. The injured are lifted out. Stretchers take them below for first aid. The ship is checked for damage.

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