Sunday, June 4, 2017

It's On!

THU 4 JUN 1942
Battle of Midway opens as PBYs attack Occupation Force northwest of Midway; one PBY (VP 24) torpedoes fleet tanker Akebono Maru.
Carrier bombers and attack planes, supported by fighters, from Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu bomb Midway Island installations. Although defending USMC F2As and F4Fs (VMF 221) suffer disastrous losses, damage to facilities on Midway is comparatively slight. Motor torpedo boat PT-25 is damaged by strafing, Midway lagoon.
Japanese carrier fighters and antiaircraft fire annihilates the USMC SBDs and SB2Us (VMSB 241), Navy TBFs (VT 8 detachment), and USAAF torpedo-carrying B-26s sent out to attack the Japanese carriers. USAAF B-17s likewise bomb the Japanese carrier force without success.

TBDs (VT 8, VT 6, VT 3) from American carrier striking force (Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, officer in tactical command) from Hornet (CV-8), Enterprise (CV-6) and Yorktown (CV-5) attack the enemy carriers.
Although mauled by the defending combat air patrol (only VT 3 has fighter cover) and antiaircraft fire, they draw off the former and leave the skies open for SBDs from Enterprise and Yorktown.
SBDs from Enterprise (VB 6, VS 6) bomb and sink carrier Kaga (30°20'N, 179°17'W) and bomb Akagi (Vice Admiral Nagumo's flagship); SBDs from Yorktown (VB 3) bomb and sink carrier Soryu (30°38'N, 179°13'W).
Submarine Nautilus (SS-168) torpedoes carrier Kaga but her "fish" do not explode. The one carrier that escapes destruction that morning, Hiryu, launches dive bombers that bomb and temporarily disable Yorktown, forcing Rear Admiral Fletcher to transfer his flag to heavy cruiser Astoria (CA-34) and turn over tactical command to Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Before SBDs from Enterprise (VS 6, joined by VB 3 which is unable to operate from the immobilized Yorktown) can inflict mortal damage upon Hiryu, though the Japanese carrier launches torpedo planes that stop Yorktown a second time and force her abandonment. Ultimately, destruction of his carrier force compels Admiral Yamamoto to abandon Midway invasion plans, and the Japanese Fleet retires westward. Japanese destroyers rescue U.S. naval aviators: Arashi picks up a TBD pilot (VT 3); Makigumo picks up an SBD crew (VS 6). After interrogation, all three Americans are subsequently murdered. One TBD pilot (VT 8), however, escapes detection and recovery by the enemy. He is rescued subsequently by a PBY.

British submarine HMS Trusty sinks Japanese merchant cargo ship Toyohashi Maru in Strait of Malacca, 07°14'N, 98°06'E.

Swiss steamship Saentis rescues 18 survivors from U.S. freighter West Notus, attacked by German submarine U-404 on 1 June.

Destroyer Tarbell (DD-142) rescues 30 survivors of U.S. tanker M.F. Elliott, sunk by German submarine U-502 on 3 June (see 8 June).

U.S. freighter Velma Lykes is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-158 south of the Yucatan Channel, 21°21'N, 86°36'W; the rapidity with which the ship sinks prevents lifeboats from being launched. Of the ship's 28-man merchant complement, 15 perish; the four-man Armed Guard survives intact (see 6 and 10 June).

1 comment:

mikey said...

Torpedo Squadron 8 (ONE survivor) were the real heroes of the battle on the American side. Attacking the fleet at wavetop height, the Japanese fighters all came down low to splash them all. All the AA guns were at minimum elevation, and when the dive bombers came in high they had nothing to contest their bomb runs. They hit with precision, and those old wood decks let the bombs go right through before detonating inside the hanger deck or ship's spaces.