Midway

NOTE: This is a re-post from 2006.

Battle of Midway, June 1942

USS Yorktown (CV-5) after being hit by Japanese bombs shortly after noon on 4 June 1942. This view was taken shortly after the ship lost power and stopped, while F4F-4 fighters were still spotted forward, their location during the attack. Fires are burning in Yorktown’s uptakes.

I don’t know that I’d ever seen this particular picture before. For many, many more, see Battle of Midway, 4-7 June 1942 — Overview and Special Image Selection

UPDATE: For a great story about a survivor of the Yorktown’s loss, see Port Charlotte man survived the Yorktown’s sinking at Battle of Midway. Wilbur Kinney had a carrier torpedoed out from under him by the Japanese in the Pacific and a carrier torpedoed out from under him by the Germans in the Atlantic. Astounding.

(FWIW, the Wasp was not at the battle of Midway as he claims. The Wasp didn’t transfer to the Pacific until 10 June 1942. One other nit to pick is that it wasn’t a “seagoing tug” towing Yorktown back to Midway, but rather the minesweeper USS Verio towing her back to Pearl.)

Despite these minor quibbles, be sure to read Kinney’s account. Astounding. (Did I say that already?)

cross-posted to Winds of Change, where I wrote:

The loss of USS Yorktown was tragic, but penauts compared to the defeat suffered by the Japanese. The tide of the war in the Pacific was turned in the time it took a few squadrons of American dive bombers to make their runs on this day 64 years ago.

UPDATE 2: Jay Tea at Wizbang has a Midway post up. Should have known Murdoc could count on him…

UPDATE 3: A commenter at Wizbang recommends Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya. Note the authors. Fuchida led the first wave in the attack on Pearl Harbor but missed the battle of Midway due to appendicitis. He witnessed the whole thing from the Japanese carrier Akagi, though. I’ve had the book for a couple of years but have been unable to get to it.

Another that I’d reccomend if you can get hold of it would be George Gay’s Sole Survivor. Gay was the only survivor of Torpedo Squadron 8 at Midway.

My favorite remains Incredible Victory by Walter Lord. I read it in the seventh grade and was a changed person. Really.

UPDATE 4: Blue Crab Boulevard lists the men of Torpedo 8 and Donald Sensing posts on Midway, too. He points out his most-excellent post from a couple of years ago, to boot.

Comments

  1. Murdoc,

    A much better book on the Japanese point of view is Shattered Sword, by tully and Parshall. It has been discovered over the years the Fuchida, while a great combat leader, tended totell the West what he thought they wanted to hear, and his book is fraught with inaccuracies. Tully and Parshall extensively researched their work from Japanese sources and inverviewed several survivors of the battle in an effort to give an accurate picture of what really happened from the Japanese side.

    USS Vireo, was built as a minesweeper (AM-52), but was redesignated as an oceangoing tug on 1 June 1942 (AT-144) so that may be part of the confusion. Both you and Mr. Kinney are right.

    Actually, there were three survivors from Torpedo 8 at Midway, though most people don’t know it. The second echelon of Torpedo 8, flying TBF Avengers, sent 6 aircraft to Midway just before the battle. This element, led by LT Langdon Fieberling, attacked alongside four B-26s carrying torpedoes, as the first strike of the day against the Kido Butai. The only survivors of that element of Torpedo 8 were Ensign Bert Ernest and Radioman Harry Farrier. Bert managed to fly his badly damaged Avenger back to Midway.

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