She nosed through the harbor nets in the Loire estuary under a bright dome of anti-aircraft fire that brought into sharp relief the gaunt lines of her ancient U.S. hull. Around her, the motor gunboats and torpedo boats whined and sputtered. Above her. R.A.F. bombers roared and pounded. From the shore two powerful searchlights sought her out, and as the land batteries cut loose with furious cross-fire she belched angrily from her four thin stacks, stepped up her speed to 20 knots. Her 4-in. deck guns were quick to answer the shells...

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