Pre-battle Documents
CinCPac. Operation Plan 29-42 CinCPac. Letter. May 28, 1942 Cmdr PatWing 2. Memorandum Cmdr VP-44. Operation Plan CO 6th Def. Bn. Instruction
Action Reports
CinCPac. June 28, 1942 Cmdr TF 16. June 16, 1942 Cmdr TF 17. June 14, 1942 CO CV-5. June 18, 1942 CO CV-6. June 8,  1942 CO CV-6. June 13, 1942 CO CV-8. June 13, 1942 Cmdr VB-3. June 10, 1942 Cmdr VS-5. June 7,  1942 Cmdr VB-6. June 10, 1942 Cmdr VS-6. June 20, 1942 CO NAS Midway. June 18, 1942 OO NAS Midway. June 15, 1942 CO 6th Def.Bn. June 13, 1942 CO MAG-22. June 7, 1942 XO MAG-22. June 7, 1942 CO VMF-221. June 6, 1942 CO VMSB-241. June 12, 1942
War Diaries, Logs
NAS Midway. May 1942 NAS Midway. June 1942 CV-6 War Diary. June 1942 CV-8 Deck Logs. June 1942
Early Researches
ONI Combat Narratives, 1943 The Japanese Story, 1947 Naval War College, 1948
  ExO Marine Aircraft Group 22. Action Report. June 7, 1942
 
  CONFIDENTIAL

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
HEADQUARTERS, MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP TWENTY-TWO,
SECOND MARINE AIRCRAFT WING, FLEET MARINE FORCE,
NAVAL AIR STATION, MIDWAY ISLANDS.

 

          C O N F I D E N T I A L June 7, 1942          

 

 

From:         
To:
The Executive Officer.
The Commanding Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 22.

Subject:   

MARINE AIRCRAFT GROUP TWENTY-TWO,
SECOND MARINE AIRCRAFT WING,
MIDWAY ISLANDS T.H.

EXECUTIVE OFFICER'S REPORT

of

THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY

June 3, 4, 5, 6, 1942

With preliminary phase from May 22, 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annex (A) Casualty Lists - Personnel.
Annex (B) Communications Report.
Annex (C) Radar Report.
Annex (D) Reports VMSB-241.
Annex (E) Reports VMF-221.

 

 

 

 

           CONFIDENTIAL

FOREWORD

Prior to May 21st, the commencement of the reconnaissance and alert phase of the Battle of Midway, the only aviation unit on Eastern Island was Marine Aircraft Group 22, consisting of Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, Marine Fighting Squadron 221, and a small Headquarters and Service Squadron. Personnel on May 20 1942 comprised a total of 47 officers and 335 men.

Aircraft consisted of 21 F2A-3 and 21 SB2U-3's only 17 of the latter being available.

Housing and messing facilities were barely adequate for this number of officers and men, and not all the enlisted men could be provided with dugout sleeping accommodations.

The local gasoline stowage system consisted of a main stowage of 100,000 gallons and a reserve stowage of 51,000 gallons, all in underground tanks. In addition approximately 250 - 55 gallon drums were dispersed around the field as an emergency supply. Gasoline was normally delivered to Eastern Island by means of a 15,000 gallon barge and was pumped into the main stowage system. Two electric and engine driven fuel pumps supplied gasoline to six risers in the vicinity of runway #1. Two 1200 gallon gasoline trucks were also available. Normal daily consumption of gasoline was in the neighborhood of 1500 gallons.

Bombs and ammunition were stored in various dispersed dumps around the Island, there being on hand approximately 37 - 1000#, 216 - 500#, 281 - 100# bombs on hand, not including 23 - MK17-1 depth charges. About 225,000 rounds of .50 caliber and a like amount of .30 caliber was available.

Fresh water was stored in tanks, approximately 25,000 gallons underground and 20,000 gallons in exposed tanks. Salt water was also pumped to gravity tanks for bathing, flushing, etc.

Bunkers were provided for all local aircraft, these bunkers varying in size from small, (fighter size) to 12 large enough to accommodate a B-17 Army bomber.

 

RECORD OF EVENTS

SEARCH AND RECONNAISSANCE PHASE

May 22

 VP-44 (LtComdr. Brixner) 6 PBY5A, 20 officers and 40 enlisted men arrived from Pearl Harbor. Routine patrols and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Construction of 12 additional plane bunkers com­menced. Gasoline consumption approximately 8,000 gallons. Camou­flage increased on important installations. New radio frequency plan placed in operation, and all aircraft calibrated on new frequencies.

May 23

 Remaining 6 PBY5A of VP-44 arrived with 21 officers and 40 men. Routine patrols and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Search by 6 PBY5A's to a distance of 600 miles. Construction of additional plane bunkers and camuflage continued. Gasoline consumption approximately 15,000 gallons.

1.

            CONFIDENTIAL
May 24

 Routine patrols and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Construction of additional plane bunkers and camouflage continued. Emergency rations distributed to various locations, stored in dugouts, or buried. Gasoline consumption approximately 1,000 gallons.

May 25

 Routine patrols and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Construction of additional plane bunkers and camouflage continued. Emergency rations distributed to various locations, stored in dugouts, or buried. Patrols to Pearl and Hermes Reef also to Kure by VP-44. 80 additional men for VP-44 arrived Eastern Island. Gasoline consumption 2,000 gallons. Officer's mess now 200% over normal capacity Navy enlisted subsisted at Eastern Island Mess.

May 26

 Routine patrols by MAG-22 squadrons. 1 B-17 arrived from Oahu with Major General Tinker and Staff - departed same date. Major J.K. Warner USA and 2 enlisted remaining on temporary duty as Army Liaison Detachment. USS KITTY HAWK arrived with 22 officers and 35 men for MAG-22, also 19 SBD-2 and 7 F4F-3 aircraft. Of the 21 new pilots, 17 were fresh out of flight school. Unloading of KITTY HAWK commenced and continued throughout the night. Officer personnel now nearly 300% increased, enlisted 50%. Gasoline consumption 3,000 gallons approximately.

May 27

 Routine patrols by MAG-22 squadrons. Sector search to distance of 700 miles by 11 planes of VP-44. New aircraft placed in commission and boresighted and tested throughout the day. New personnel assigned to squadrons, and officers living spaces reassigned. New C.P., 1stSgts. office, auxiliary sick bay, and enlisted men's Recreation Room were utilized for additional officers living spaces. Approximately 15 new plane bunkers completed and wheel tracks installed. Gasoline consumption approximately 15,000 gallons. Pan American gasoline barge placed in commission and gasoline was pumped into the storage system day and night in an effort to fill it to capacity and still keep up with probable daily requirements.

May 28

 Patrols, familiarization, and test by MAG-22 squadrons. Sector search to 700 miles by VP-44 (11 planes). Two SB2U-3's groundlooped; Out of commission. Gasoline consumption 15,000 gallons approximately.

May 29

 Patrols, familiarization, and test by MAG-22 squadrons. VMSB-241 now operating 19 SBD-2 and 11 SB2U-3 aircraft. VMF-221 now operating 21 F2A-3 and 6 F4F-3 aircraft. 1 F4F-3 out of commission.

New tactical organizations placed in effect and plans for moonlight attacks, and day attacks against enemy surface vessels inaugurated, utilizing VP-44 for torpedo attacks and target location. Sector search to 700 miles by VP-44 (11 planes). 1 B-17 arrived from Oahu. Arriving same day, 4 B-26, Captain Collins USA, whith 15 officers and 20 men. Dawn patrol for fighters, daybreak plus 1.5 hours. Gasoline consumption 20,000 gallons approximately. Operations now

2.

        CONFIDENTIAL

 

directed by CO NAS Midway with Commander D.C. Ramsey, USN, as Ope­rations Officer. 12 PBY5's arrived NAS Midway to assist in search plan.

May 30

 Routine patrols, familiarization, and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Sector search by VP-44 (11 planes). 7 B-17's, General Hale, arrived from Oahu with approximately 22 officers and 50 men. Officers and enlisted quartered in tents. Enemy aircraft contacts made by 2 planes of VP-44 while on search. One enlisted Navy wounded. Aviation Radar placed on 24 hour duty. Gasoline consumption 20,000 gallons approximately, transportation facilities strained to the utmost. MAG-22 combat radio frequency changed due to its use during a false air raid alarm.

May 31

 Routine patrols and tactics by MAG-22 squadrons. Sector search by VP-44, 11 planes. 9 B-17, LtCol. Sweeney, 30 officers and 60 men arrived from Oahu. Officers and enlisted quartered in tents. Officer's Mess now feeding approximately 175 officers and working day and night. 14 B-17 off on search and attack mission at 1350 returning 2100-0350. No results. 50% of MAG-22 personnel worked all night servicing and rearming these aircraft. Gasoline consumption 65,000 gallons approximately, and gasoline situation here and at Sand Island extremely acute. 4 more PBY5A's arrived from Pearl with relief crews for VP-44. Aircraft parked on and operating from this field: 17 B-17, 16 PBY5A, 19 SBD-2, 12 SB2U-3, 21 F2A-3, and 6 F4F-3, not including 5 SB2U-3 and 1 F4F-3 out of commission. Night taxiing and take-offs extremely hazardous due to crowded condition of runways.

June 1

 No flights by MAG-22 squadrons. Sector search to 700 miles by VP-44, 11 planes. 6 B-17 out on mission 1300-1900 - servicing again took most of the night and all but 21,000 gallons of the available gasoline. Ship arrived with 3,000 drums aviation gasoline and servicing from drums commenced; a slow and arduous undertaking. Gasoline consumption 25,000 gallons - Oil consumption proportional. One enemy aircraft contact made by two planes of VP-44, one officer, 2 enlisted wounded. 6 TBF, Lt. Fieberling, USN, with 6 officers and 12 men arrived from Oahu and were armed with torpedoes.

June 2

 VMSB furnished escort for 1 tanker from distance of 50 miles. 4 PBY5A arrived from Pearl. 9 B-17, LtCol. Sweeney, out on search and attack mission. No results. 6 B-17 and 4 PBY returned to Oahu. All servicing accomplished by pumping gasoline into gasoline trucks or by fueling direct from drums. Gasoline consumption 26,000 gallons. 1 Marine Corps DC3, Captain Munsch, arrived from Ewa with relief crews for VP-23 at NAS and also 4000 rounds .50 caliber incendiary ammunition. 1200 rounds of incendiary .50 caliber given to VP-44 remainder bolted by VMF-221. Major R.C. Scollin arrived from MAG-21 to act as assistant executive officer and to take care of the numerous details connected with servicing and rearming.

3.

          CONFIDENTIAL
June 3

 Covering patrol by 12 VMF planes for dawn take-off of PBY5A and B-17 aircraft. Sector search by VP-44, 11 planes. Several contacts with enemy surface vessels, also with enemy main body 268 degrees distance 700 reported during day. 10 B-17, LtCol. Sweeney, USA, off on bombardment mission enemy main body at 1200. This flight returned 2000, reporting hits on 1 BB and 1 CL. 4 VP out on night torpedo mission at 2015. Servicing and rearming continued throughout the night. 1 B-17 arrived from Oahu. Gasoline consumption 25,000 gallons, fueling being accomplished by main stowage and gasoline trucks filled from drums.

June 4


0355  VMF-221 furnished covering patrol for 0400 take-off of 11 PBY5A and 10 B-17, landing at 0500 with the exception of Captain McCarthy and Lieutenant Corry.

0400  VT-44 on sector search, 11 planes.

0405  10 B-17, LtCol. Sweeney, directed by radio about 0430 to again attack enemy main body.

0520  Enemy carriers located by PBY's from VP-23 at about 0515 bearing 320 degrees, distance 180 miles, course 135 degrees, speed 25 knots.

0530  All aircraft crews alerted and ordered at 0530 to stand by in their assigned aircraft with engines turning up.

0545  Crews in aircraft, radios on, engines warmed.

0555 Radar flash "Many bogey aircraft 310 degrees, distance 93 miles, angels 11".

0555  Air raid siren sounded.

0600  Message delivered by messenger to Captain Collins, USA (4 B-26) and Lt. Fieberling, USN (6 TBF) "Attack enemy carriers bearing 320 degrees, distance 180 miles, course 135 degrees, speed 25 knots."

0601  All scout-bombers directed by radio to attack enemy carriers bearing 320 degrees, distance 180 miles, course 135 degrees, speed 25 knots. No acknowledgement was received, and message frequently repeated. Later events show message received on first transmission, however.

0605  Three fighter divisions, Parks, Carey, and Curtin vectored 310 degrees and advised "Many bogey aircraft Angels 12".

0609  Two fighter divisions Hennesy and Armistead vectored 310 degrees for 10 miles and told to orbit. This awaiting appearance of other enemy groups on a different bearing.

4.

           CONFIDENTIAL

 

0612  McCarthy and Corry reported "Low on fuel" and requested instructions. They were ordered to land, refuel, and take-off.

0615  All aircraft in the air with the exception of 1 PBY5A, 1 SBD-2, 1 F4F-3, 2 F2A-3, 2 3B2U-3, all out of commission, and 3 SB2U-3 spares.

AIRCRAFT IN THE AIR AS FOLLOWS

FIGHTERS:

    First Division - F2A-3

 

 1. PARKS, Floyd B.     Major

 2. MADOLE, Eugene P.   2dLt. USMCR.

 3. ALVORD, John R.     Capt.

 4. BUTLER, John M.     2dLt. USMCR.

 5. PINKERTON, David W.Jr.2dLt. USMCR.

 6. HUGHES, Charles S.  2dLt. USMCR.(landed

           with engine trouble at 0620)

 

    Second Division

 

 7. HENNESSY, Daniel J. Capt.

 8. LINDSAY, Ellwood Q. 2dLt. USMCR.

 9. MERRILL, Herbert T. Capt.

10. BENSON, Thomas W.   2dLt. USMCR.

11. WITE, Phillip R.    Capt.

12. LUCAS, John D.      2dLt.USMCR.

 

    Third Division

 

13. ARMISTEAD, Kirk     Capt.

14. SANDOVAL, William B.2dLt. USMCR.

15. HUMBERD, William C. Capt.

16. BROOKS, William V.  2dLt. USMCR.

17. KUNZ, Charles M.    2dLt. USMCR.

18. MAHANNAH, Martin E. 2dLt. USMCR.

23. SWANSBERGER, Walter W.2dLt. USMCR. (Not

           assigned, tagged on)

 

    Fourth Division

 

19. CURTIN, Robert E.   Capt.

20. IRWIN, Darrell D.   2dLt. USMCR.

 

    Fifth Division

 

22. CAREY, John F.      Capt.

24. CARL, Marion E.     Capt.

25. CANFIELD, Clayton M.2dLt. USMCR.

26. McCARTHY, Francis P.Capt        (Took off

27. CORRY, Roy A.       2dLt. USMCR. about 0625,
     thereafter operated as separate unit).

5.

          CONFIDENTIAL

SBD-2 SCOUT-BOMBERS - 500# BOMBS

FIRST DIVISION

Command Section

 

 1. HENDERSON, Lofton R.
 2. FLEMING, Richard E.
 3. STAMPS, Clyde H.
Major
Capt.USMCR
TSgt.
REININGER, Lee W.
CARD, Eugene T.
THOMAS, Horace B.
Pfc.
Corp.
Pfc.
First Section

 4. GLIDDEN, Elmer G. Jr.
 5. GRATZEK, Thomas J.
Capt.
2dLt.USMCR
JOHNSON, Meade T.
RECKE, Charles W.
Corp.
Sgt.
Second Section
 6. IVERSON, Daniel Jr.
 7. BEAR, Robert J. "R"
1stLt.USMCR
2dLt. USMCR
REID, Wallace J.
SIDEBOTTOM, Truell L.
Pfc.
Pfc.
Third Section

 8. DeLALIO, Armond H.
 9. WARD, Maurice A.
Capt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
MOORE, John A.
RADFORD, Harry M.
Corp.
Pfc.
Fourth Section

10. TWEEDY, Albert W.
11. HAGEDORN, Bruno P.
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
RAYMOND, Elza L.
PIRANEO, Joseph T.
Sgt.
Pfc.


SECOND DIVISION

First Section

16. BLAIN, Richard L.
17. EK, Bruce H.
13. ROLLOW, Jesse D.Jr.
Capt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
McFEELY, Gordon R.
BROWN, Raymond R.
RAMSEY, Reed T.
Pfc.USMCR
Pfc.
Pfc.
Second Section

19. MOORE, Thomas F.Jr.
15. SCHLENDERING, Harold
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
HUBER, Charles W.
SMITH, Edward O.
Pvt.
Pfc.

 

SB2U-3 SCOUT-BOMBER - 500# BOMBS

Group One

 1. NORRIS, Benjamin W.
 2. LUMPKIN, George T.
 3. CAMPION, Kenneth O.
 4. KOUTELAS. George E.
10. RAMLO, Orvin H.
Major
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2d Lt.USMCR 
WHITTINGTON, Arthur
TOMS,George A.
MADAY, Anthony J.
VAN KIRK, Warren H.
WILHITE, Temen
Pfc.USMCR
Pfc.
Pvt.
Pfc.USMCR
Pvt.

 

6.

          CONFIDENTIAL

 

SB2U-3 SCOUT-BOMBER - 500# BOMBS (Cont'd)

Group Two

 9. WILLIAMSON, Leon M.
 6. MARMANDE, James H.
 7. COSLEY, Jack
 8. RINGBLOM, Allan H.
11. WHITTEN,Sumner H.
12. CUMMINGS, Daniel L.
Capt.USMCR 
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
2dLt.USMCR
RHODES, Duane L.
COLVIN, Edby M.
CATER, Charles E.    
WEBB, Eugene L.
ZELNIS, Frank E.
STARES, Henry I.
Pfc.    
Pfc.
Pfc.
Pvt.
Sgt.
Pvt.

 

Four (4) B-26's armed with torpedoes, Captain Collins, USA, in Command.

 

Six (6) TBF armed with torpedoes, Lt. Fieberling, USN, in Command.

 

Ten (10) B-17's armed with 4, 500# bombs, LtCol. Sweeney, USA, (on mission against enemy BBs)

 

Eleven (11) PBY5A's, 2 500# bombs, on individual search sectors to SW.

 

0615  Fighters made contact with enemy bearing 320 degrees, distance 30 miles, enemy altitude 14,000 feet.

0617  Easy battery reported two aircraft falling in flames.

0617  Action on Radar screen obscure, large group aircraft still approaching Midway on bearing 320 degrees.

0624  Hennessy and Armistead vectored toward enemy since no other targets were approaching.

0625  McCarthy and Corry refueled and off.

0635  First bombs dropped on Eastern Island.

0638  Power house hit by bomb - No electricity.

0641  Auxiliary power on at radio and C.P.

0641  All telephone lines except Aviation Radar and Aviation Radio are out. Communications with NAS C.P. by "Sea phone."

0635 to 0710  Fourteen (14) bombs were dropped on Eastern Island by enemy bombers. Approximately four (4) were 1000#, the remainder 300-500#, one of the latter with instantaneous fuse. Two fighters, White and Armistead landed with damaged aircraft. Japanese fighters strafed gun positions repeadedly, and two of them tried to bring down crippled fighters circling the field. One was successful in shooting down a F2A-3, pilot unknown, just off the reef. The other Japanese fighter was shot down 20 MM ground fire from Eastern Island.

0715  Area apparently clear of enemy aircraft, so our fighters were directed to land and reservice, fifth division first.

7.

          CONFIDENTIAL

 

0720  Radar screen showed no near targets and enemy retiring, so all fighters were directed to land and reservice.

0730  Eight fighters on the field, only two of which were in flyable condition. These two were reserviced and rearmed and placed on the alert.

0715 to 0745  Inspection of the field and facilities revealed damages as follows:

1. Power house demolished by 1-500# bomb.
2.Gas lines from main gasoline stowage broken hear powerhouse by 1-1000# bomb.
3.Bomb hits in vicinity of Sick Bay and VMSB Engineering Tents.
4.Eastern Island C.P., mess-hall, and PX destroyed.
5.One rearming pit, VMF-221, received a direct hit with 500# bomb, exploding 8-100# bombs and 10,000 rounds .50 cal.Amm.
6.Holes in runways as follows:
  (a) Center of #1 near eastern end.
  (b) On shoulder of #3 near junction with #2.
  (c) A small crater 500 yards from eastern end of #1 near       southern edge (500# with instantaneous fuse).
7.Debris scattered all over eastern end of #1 (from VF rearming pit) also debris in vicinity of demolished powerhouse.
8.Remains of Japanese 00 fighter on northern end of #3 runway. Runways were cleared of debris by using a bulldozer and road scraper. Bomb crater on shoulder of #3 filled with earth.

0745  #2 runway in full commission.

0750  Five gasoline risers in commission with engine driven fuel pump operating from 51,000 gallon stowage. 71,000 gallons in main stowage unavailable. MAG-22 personnel losses from bombs - Six (6) enlisted killed, with approximately twenty (20) enlisted with minor cuts and bruises.

 

MAG-22 pilots and gunners missing in action - Officers 25, enlisted 12.

MAG-22 pilots and gunners wounded in action - Officers 3, enlisted 6.

REPORTS OF VMF-221 SURVIVING PILOTS

Types of enemy aircraft encountered:

Fighters - 00 1 SentoK1; Bombers - Aichi Type 99 Navy Dive Bombers.

Fighters were numerous, no estimate given, yet perhaps in the neighborhood of 50. A concensus indicates that approximately 60 to 80 bombers were observed at the time of initial contact.

Bombers flew a rigid vee formations. 3 divisions vees of from five to nine planes in each separate formation. Fighters were not observed initially in the vicinity of the bombers but after the first pass at a bomber there were from one to five 00 figters on the tail of each of our fighters. They were undoubtedly escorting

8.

          CONFIDENTIAL

 

at low altitude, 5-10,000 feet while VMF-221 commenced the attack from 17,000 feet. After the initial contact, the 00 fighters escorted their bombers at closer range. Enemy bombers and fighters seemed very vulnerable to .50 caliber tracer, but once entangled with 00 fighter, the only means of breaking contact was to seek cloud cover, or to enter radical dives with a push over and with full throttle. One pilot eluded a Jap by cutting his throttle and skidding violently.

All VMF pilots of various degrees of experience and capability were awed by the performance of the 00 1 Sento K1 fighter, claiming that it has 20% more speed climb and maneuverability than does the F2A-3 or F4F-3. The claimed victories which follow, do not tell the whole story. Each pilot made only one or two passes at the bombers, and then spent the remainder of the time trying to shake from one to five Jap fighters off his tail. Most succeeded by using cloud cover, or, in two cases, by leading' the Japs into fire from light AA guns ashore and on PT boats.

CLAIMED VICTORIES - 9 SURVIVING PILOTS

(No statements from 2 wounded pilots)

00 1 Sento K1 Fighters - 3 plus 1 damaged.

Aichi Type 99 Navy Dive Bomber - 8 plus 3 damaged.

The above victories do not include planes shot down by VMF-221's missing pilots, so it is safe to assume a like performance for 16 missing or wounded pilots, i.e: 15 bombers and 5 fighters; making the total victories of VMF-221, 23 bombers and 8 fighters, not including damaged planes. This estimate is further borne out by the difference in number of bombers observed at the scene of conflict and the total number of bombs dropped on Midway Islands.

REPORTS OF VMSB-241, SBD-2 UNIT, SURVIVING PILOTS

Rendezvous was completed on bearing 90 degrees, distance 20 miles at about 0630 and the approach commenced. At about 0755 the enemy force, including two (2) aircraft carriers, was sighted. The squadron leader, Major Henderson, started a wide let-down circle from 9000 feet with the intent of commencing the final attack, glide bombing, from an altitude of 4000 feet. The squadron was immediately attacked by several enemy fighters, and violent AA fire was received from all surface vessels within range. Henderson was attacked by several 00 Fighters at the start of the lot-down , and his plane set afire. It was apparent that he was badly injured and out of action, so Captain Glidden, leader of the second section took over and committed the squadron to the attack.

Fighter attacks were very heavy, so the squadron dove to the protection of a heavy cloud layer over one carrier, and from that point completed the attack, releasing at altitudes of from 600 to 400 feet. Fighter attack was persistant throughout and each plane was followed by one or more fighters long after his bomb was dropped. AA fire, both light and heavy, was of tremendous volume.

9.

          CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESULTS

Two (2) direct hits and two (2) close misses on Japanese Aircraft Carrier claimed. Ship was seen to be burning and a large column of smoke was issuing from it.

REPORT OF VMSB-241 SB2U-3 UNIT

This unit rendezvoused at Point Affirm (20 miles bearing 90 degrees) and proceeded to the attack, climbing enroute to an altitude of 13,000 feet.

Sight contact was gained with the enemy fleet at 0820 but before the enemy carriers could be located, the unit was attacked by enemy fighters with such persistance and determination that it was considered imperative to abandon the original objective and choose a nearby secondary objective, an enemy battleship.

A glide bombing attack was initiated amid heavy AA fire from the battleship and other supporting ships, with enemy fighters staying with the SB2U-3's throughout their dives and for a considerable distance thereafter.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.1

          CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

 

 

 

RESULTS

Two (2) direct hits on Japanese battleship.

Ship appeared to list badly and considerable smoke was observed. VMSB rear gunners report six(6) enemy 00 1 Sento K1 Fighters shot down with three (3) others badly damaged.

REMARKS OF PILOTS

1. Glide bombing is more hazardous than dive bombing in the absence of own protective VF.

2. It is imperative that attacks by different units should be coordinated whenever possible, for efficiency, and to prevent undue losses.

3. Units should proceed direct to the chosen objective and the attack pressed home as rapidly as possible after sight contact is gained.

4. Enemy anti-aircraft fire was heavy and accurate, but of little importance compared to fighter opposition.

5. Enemy fighters operate at two or three different levels, work in pairs with excellent teamwork, and their attacks on formation leaders are heavy and persistant.

6. Enemy carriers were steaming on parallel courses, surrounded by other fleet units. Carriers were easily identified by the Rising Sun painted on their flight decks.

REPORTS OF B-26 UNIT, CAPTAIN COLLINS, USA

Only two B-26's returned and these so badly shot up that neither was flyable after landing. Captain Collins made a crash landing with the nose wheel retracted. Both lst Pilots report having dropped torpedoes without being able to observe results, and the fate of the other two B-26's is unknown. Captain Collins, states that his run was such that his torpedo should have hit the target, an enemy carrier. Fighter opposition must have been terrific in view of the present condition of the two surviving aircraft.

REPORTS OF THE TBF UNIT, LT. FIEBERLING. USN.

Only one TBF returned, this one badly shot up and forced to make a landing with one wheel retracted. This pilot Ensign A.K. Earnest, was unable to observe the result of his attack due to the determined fighter opposition encountered. He, further, was unable to tell what happened to the remainder of his unit nor the results obtained by their attack.

10

          CONFIDENTIAL

REPORTS OF B-17 UNIT, LTCOL. SWEENEY, USA

Diverted from their original mission, they attacked an enemy carrier at about 1200 claiming one or more hits with 500# bombs.

Six (6) B-17's, Major Blakey, arrived from Oahu, and bombed enemy fleet enroute. No hits claimed.

1700  Report of enemy aircraft carriers burning, position bearing 338 degrees true, distance 200 miles, was received from a VP search plane, and MAG-22 was directed by CO NAS to deliver an attack with all available dive bombers.

1705  Major Norris, then CO VMSB-241 was ordered to attack with all available dive bombers, but allowed to delay the attack, at his own insistance, until dark to minimize the effect of enemy fighter opposition.

1900  Duo to the fact that the B-17's had priority on reservicing, fueling and rearming of the SBD's and SB2U-3's could not be completed prior to this time.

1915  Night Attack Unit in the air consisted of:

SB2U-3's

NORRIS, Benjamin W.
PROSSER, Bruce
WILLIAMSON, Leon M.
WHITTEN, Sumner H.
FLEMING, Richard E.
Major
Capt. USMCR     
Capt. USMCR
2dLt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
WHITTINGTON, Arthur B.
WILLIAMS, Edgar O.
RHODES, Duane L.
ZELNIS, Frank E.
TOMS, George A.
Pfc.
Pfc.
Pfc.
Sgt.
Pfc.

SBD-2's

TYLER, Marshall A.
VAUPELL, Robert W.
DeLALIO, Armond H.
GLIDDEN, Elmer G.Jr.
BEAR, Robert J. "R"
IVERSON, Daniel, Jr.
Capt.
2dLt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
2dLt. USMCR
lstLt USMCR
UNDERWOOD, Robert A.
HICKMAN, Carl T.
RAMSEY, Reed T.
JOHNSON, Arlow A.
SIDEBOTTOM, Truell L.
REID, Wallace J.
Sgt.
Sgt.
Pfc.
Pvt.
Pfc.
Pfc.

 

The SBD-2 Unit returned about 2200 without incident and without having sighted the objective.

The SB2U-3 Unit stayed together on the return leg until approximately forty miles from Midway, at which time Norris, the leader, attempted a let down through the overcast from approximately 10,000 feet. He went into a steep right turn and lost altitude to 500 feet, at which time all wingmen pulled away and became separated from the formation. Norris is believed to have flown into the water an instant later as the light of his plane was no longer observed.

The remaining SB2U-3 airplanes returned to Midway individually, the last one arriving at 0145 Juno 5th., with only 30 minutes of gasoline remaining.

11.

          CONFIDENTIAL

COMMENT

Operations such as this are not productive due to the difficulty of navigating over water at night. Without a horizon, instrument flight conditions virtually prevail, and units will either miss their objective or become lost on the return leg. In the operation above recounted, it was felt that the burning enemy carriers would sufficiently denote the proper objective, and that the large oil fire on Sand Island would serve as a beacon from positions anywhere within 40 miles of Midway.

June 5

0130  Shelling of Eastern Island by two (2) enemy submarines - no hits, no damage. Return fire by 3" AA batteries produced one (1) hit on one (1) enemy submarine.

 

Servicing and rearming of B-17's - PBY5A - and Scout-Bombers continued throughout the night of June 4th and 5th. Approximately 85-5OO# bombs being hung and approximately 45,000 gallons of gasoline in 55 gallon drums used to service aircraft, all gasoline trans- ferred by means of hand pumps. All available men from MAG-22, VP-44 and two Raider Companies worked throughout the night in accomplishing this task. In addition to actual servicing, approximately 200 drums of gasoline was pumped by means of portable engine driven pumps and hand pumps into the Pan American barge and thence into the emergency gasoline stowage system.

0140 4 B-17's departed for Oahu. All these no longer fit for com- bat duty due to damage or engineering difficulties.

0300 Alert, all hands.

0400 All search planes off - All B-17's (12) on bombardment mission against enemy fleet.

0630 MAG-22 ordered to attack 2 enemy BB (1 crippled), bearing 268 degrees, distance 170 miles.

0700 Six (6) SBD-2 and six (6) SB2U-3's out on bombardment mission against enemy BBs.

SBD-2 UNIT

TYLER, Marshall A.
DeLALIO, Armond H.
VAUPELL, Robert W.
GLIDDEN, Elmer G.
IVERSON, Daniel, Jr.
BEAR, Robert J."R"
Capt.
Capt. USMCR
2dLt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
lstLt USMCR
2dLt. USMCR      
UNDERWOOD, Robert A.
RAMSEY, Reed T.
HICKMAN, Carl T. USMCR
JOHNSON, Arlow A. USMCR
REID, Wallace J.
SIDEBOTTOM, Truell L.
Sgt.
Pfc.
Sgt.
Pvt.
Pfc.
Pvt.

 

12.

          CONFIDENTIAL

SB2U-3 UNIT

FLEMING, Richard E.
WILLIAMSON, Leon M.
PROSSER, Bruce
RINGBLOM, Allan H.
STAMPS, Clyde H.
KOUTELAS, George E.
Capt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
Capt. USMCR
2dLt. USMCR
TSgt.
2dLt. USMCR      
TOMS, George A.
RHODES, Duane L.
WILLIAMS, Edgar O.
WEBB, Eugene L.
CAYER, Charles E.
VAN KIRK, Warren H.
Pfc.
Pfc.
Pfc.
Pvt.
Pfc.
Pfc.
USMCR




USMCR

 

Plan of attack was for SBD unit to make a dive bombing attack from 10,000 feet, and for SB2U-3 unit to make a glide bombing attack from 4,000 feet.

The attack commenced at 0805, the SBD unit first, followed by the SB2U-3 unit, both units encountering heavy and accurate AA fire. One (1) direct hit and one (1) close miss on crippled BB are claimed.

Throughout the day until 1500, Army B-17 units continued to arrive, until 36 B-17 aircraft were parked on the field - 6 PBY5A aircraft arrived from Pearl Harbor with bombs for the B-17 airplanes.

 

Funeral for deceased enlisted men held at NAS Midway. 0900 bodies buried at sea.

No flights by MAG-22 squadrons.

Repair of damaged aircraft and reconstruction of facilities now underway.

Gasoline consumption approximately 65,000 gallons.

RECAPITULATION

DAMAGE TO ENEMY BY MAG-22 - CLAIMED

9 Fighters - 00 1 Sento K1 and Nakajima 97 (June 4th)

8 Aichi - Type 99 Dive Bombers (June 4th)

2 500# bomb hits on one (1) Aircraft Carrier (June 4th)

Several close misses on above Aircraft Carrier (June 4th)

2 500# bomb hits on one (1) Battleship (June 4th)

Several close misses on above BB (June 4th)

1 500# bomb hit on crippled BB (June 5th)

One close miss on crippled BB (June 5th)

TOTAL DAMAGE TO ENEMY BY MAG-22 - PROBABLE

18 Fighters - 00 1 Sento K1 and Nakajima 97 (June 4th)

25 Aichi - Type 99 Dive Bombers (June 4th)

3 500# bomb hits on one Aircraft Carrier (June 4th)

  Several close misses on above Aircraft Carrier (June 4th)

2 500# bomb hits on one Battleship (June 4th)

  Several close misses on above Battleship (June 4th)

1 500# bomb hit on crippled Battleship (June 5th)

  One (1) close miss on crippled Battleship (June 5th)

 

Between 70-75,000 gallons were poured or pumped from 55 gallon drums in the servicing of the aircraft at this field during the day of June 5th and the night of June 5-6th. Some gasoline

13.

          CONFIDENTIAL


driven pumps were available, but the majority of this gasoline was pumped through hand pumps. MAG-22 personnel, and two (2) Raider Companies accomplished this tremendous task, even though they had been practically without sleep for 72 hours.

June 6th

VP Units on search sectors and search of battle area for survivors. Captain Richard L. Blain and Private First Class Gordon R. McFeely rescued from rubber life raft at sea.

 

26 B-l7's on bombardment mission against enemy cruisers and transports, distance 600 miles. One enemy light vessel sunk. Gasoline main to main stowage system repaired - fueling from gasoline drums no longer necessary.

LOSSES SUFFERED BY MAG-22

Officers killed in action by bombing...... 0

Enlisted killed in action by bombing...... 6

Officers missing in action................23

Enlisted missing in action................12

Officers wounded in action................ 8

Enlisted wounded in action................ 8

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

 

 

F2A-3

F4F-3

SBD-2

SB2U-3

SEVERELY DAMAGED

 5
 2
 5
 10 
22
LOST

13
 2
 6
  6 
29

SERVICES PERFORMED

1.    Approximately 350 - 500# bombs were hung on various types of aircraft. Lugs of nearly all these sawed off to fit Army racks. Total 500# bombs handled 549 - 1000# bombs. 117, of which 36 were hung. Ammunition expended 52,310 rounds .50 caliber and 7,300 rounds of .30 caliber.

 

2.    Approximately 500,000 gallons of gasoline was used by aircraft operating from this station during the period May 22, to June 6, an increase of 1500 percent over normal daily consumption. Nearly 2/5 of this total was received in 55 gallon drums and manhandled off the dock, poured into the stowage system or pumped directly into aircraft by means of hand pumps. This work was a continuous process with maximum effort, of necessity, occuring during the hours of darkness.

 

3.    Furnished living and messing accomodations for an average of 300% additional officer personnel and living accomodations to from 75 to 100% additional enlisted personnel.

14.

          CONFIDENTIAL

CONDUCT OF PERSONNEL

The heroic conduct of the pilots of VMF-221 and the pilots and gunners of VMSB-241 is attested by the damage inflicted on the enemy, by their personnel losses, and by the rent and shattered aircraft in which they returned to this field.

Personnel on the ground did everything humanly possible before, during, and after the attack to contribute a share to the defeat of the enemy. Work never ceased, and no relief personnel was available for servicing and rearming the heavy bombers and patrol aircraft operating from Eastern Island, nor for feeding and housing the 100% increase in personnel.

Other units sharing in the long hours and arduous labor and equally deserving of praise are: The Field Detachment, USN, NAS, Midway; and Company D 2d Raider Battalion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

V. J. McCAUL,           
Major, U.S.M.C.,        
Group Executive Officer.
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