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
  CO 6th Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force. Action Report. June 13, 1942
 
in replying refer to no. USMC Logo  
1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
HEADQUARTERS,
SIXTH DEFENSE BATTALION,
FLEET MARINE FORCE
 

13 June, 1942

 

From:
To:

Subject:      
The Commanding Officer.
The Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station.

Report of action on morning of 4 June, 1942,
and night of 4-5 June, 1942.

 

1.       The following is the chronological record of the attack on Midway on 4 June, 1942:

 

0528 Unidentified planes sighted on bearing 320, distance 100 miles.

0534 Bn to Groups: "Open fire on all planes not identified as friendly".

0537 CO, NAS to Bn: "Enemy aircraft carrier sighted at 150 miles, 330 degrees".

0553 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 93 miles, 310 degrees. Altitude 11,000 feet".

0555 Radar to Bn: "Many planes 89 miles, 320 degrees".

0556 Condition one set. Air raid alarm sounded.

0604 Radar to Bn: "Many unidentified planes 74 miles, 325 degrees". PT boats have left dock.

0607 Radar to Bn: "Many unidentified planes 50 miles, 320 degrees. Friendly planes 12 miles, 320 degrees".

0616 Radar to Bn: "Many unidentified planes 29 miles, 320 degrees. Friendly planes 25 miles, 320 degrees".

0619 OP to Bn: "2 planes falling in flames 25 miles, 320 degrees".

0622 Dog Btry to Bn: "Dog Btry on target, 50,000 yards, 320 degrees".

0625 OP to Bn: "40 or 50 planes on bearing 320".

0629 Radar to Bn: "Many unidentified planes 8 miles, 330 degrees and 29 miles, 265 degrees".

0630 Bn to Groups: "Open fire when targets are within range".

0630 Radar to Bn: "Many unidentified planes 27 miles, 250 degrees".

0631 OP to Bn: "All AA gun batteries have opened fire".

0632 OP to Bn: "One plane in formation of 20 is on fire".

0632 OP to Bn: "Hangar and runways have been hit several times".

0633 OP to Bn: "Eastern Island has been hit several times".

0635 OP to Bn: "One enemy plane down at north reef. Laundry hit. Hospital and Contractors Canteen on fire".

0636 OP to Bn: "Navy J2F is on fire".

 

-1-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

0637 Radar to Bn: "Few unidentified planes 20 miles, 245 and 21 miles, 235 degrees. Also 9 miles, 330 degrees".

0638 OF to Bn: "Enemy planes are dive-bombing Eastern Island All our AA guns are firing".

0640 OP to Bn: "About 30 enemy planes are bombing Eastern Island".

0641 OP to Bn: "Hangar is on fire. One enemy plane has crashed on ramp".

0643 Radar to Bn: "Few unidentified planes 15 miles, 220 degrees and 16 miles, 215 degrees".

0644 OP to Bn: "Tanks on fire at southwest part of island".

0647 OP to Bn: "Planes coming in toward the island flying low from 200 degrees -- Appear to be enemy planes. 2 enemy planes have crashed in water to north".

0648 OP to Bn: "Many enemy planes leaving on bearing 300 degrees".

0648 Radar to Bn: "Many planes 18 miles, 300 degrees. Few unidentified planes 12 miles, 205 degrees".

0648 OP to Bn: "1 enemy plane has crashed on Eastern Island. 1 enemy plane has crashed near C Battery".

0650 Dog Btry to Bn: "One casualty in Dog Btry".

0653 Radar to Bn: "Many planes 9 miles, 235 degrees and 27 miles 315 degrees. Many planes 33 miles, 310 degrees".

0655 OP to Bn: "All enemy planes have left the area".

0655 Radar to Bn: "Many planes 15 miles, 260 degrees".

0656 OP to Bn: "2 friendly planes, fighters, have landed".

0700 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 12 and 17 miles, 290 degrees. Many planes 21 miles, 290 degrees. Few planes 21 and 42 miles, 300 degrees".

0701 OP to Bn: "Dog and Fox Batteries have gone into action firing at 180 degrees".

0702 OP to Bn: "All batteries have ceased firing".

0706 OP to Bn: "Friendly plane has landed on Eastern Island".

0713 OP to Bn: "One friendly plane has landed on Eastern Island".

0715 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 37 miles, 290 degrees. 52 miles, 310 degrees. 57 miles, 340 degrees".

0802 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 16 and 19 miles, 090 degrees. 121 miles, 330 degrees".

0805 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 125 miles, 330 degrees".

0810 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 31 miles, 285 degrees. 116 miles, 310 degrees".

0815 Radar to Bn: "No targets".

0817 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 70 miles, 310 degrees".

0821 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 21 miles, 280 degrees. 60 miles, 310 degrees".

0824 Air raid alarm sounded.

0831 Radar to Bn: "Few planes 109 miles, 335 degrees".

0831 OP to Bn: "One B17 has landed".

0930 OP to Bn: "One B26 has landed".

 

-2-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

0940 Casualty report from Eastern Island:"Major Benson dead, 6 wounded. Heightfinder of Swartz Battery burned out. 900 rounds 3" ammunition expended".

0956 Bn to Groups: "Condition three set but be on alert for immediate action".

1020 Battery radars out of action.

1028 OP to Bn: "A friendly fighter has crashed just outside reef at 290 degrees and 2 PT boats are going to the rescue".

1032 OP to Bn: "Pilot of the plane in water has been rescued".

1056 OP to Bn: "2 Bl7s have landed".

1121 OP to Bn: "12 planes approaching from 360 degrees".

1122 OP to Bn: "The 12 planes are dropping bombs in the water 340 degrees about 10 or 12 miles out".

1123 Air raid alarm sounded.

1127 OP to Bn: "12 planes circling 315 degrees. Appear to be friendly planes from a carrier".

1133 OP to Bn: "3 B17s have taken off. 11 carrier type planes are landing on Eastern Island".

1133 OP to Bn: "One of the 12 scout bombers has crashed in the water between Sand and Eastern Islands".

1134 OP to Bn: "2 men are getting into life boat from crashed plane in water".

1156 Aviation to Navy CP: "Available information indefinite --damage to enemy as follows: no enemy ships known to have been sunk. 2 carriers and one battleship damaged. 20 aircraft destroyed".

 

2.     Summary: At 0528 aviation reported unidentified planes sighted on bearing 320 degrees, distance 100 miles. The order was given to all groups to "Open fire on all planes not identified as friendly". At 0537 the Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station reported "Enemy aircraft carrier sighted at 150 miles, 330 degrees". The enemy planes were picked up by the Navy radar at 93 miles, 310 degrees, altitude 11,000 feet at 0553. Condition One was set and air raid alarm was sounded. At 0618 friendly fighters met the enemy planes at about 25 miles, 320 degrees. All friendly planes were in the air including B-17's, Navy patrol planes, B-26's, TBF's and Marine fighters and dive bombers. The PT boats had all cleared the dock and were ready for action against low flying planes in the harbor.

 

3.     "D" battery picked up the enemy planes at 50,000 yards at 0622 and tracked them continuously from this time on in. All other AA gun batteries picked them up immediately after "D" battery. All units, OP's and machine guns were kept continuously informed of the position of the enemy planes by means of the "J" line system. All AA gun batteries opened fire at 0631 on the enemy bombers which were flying in an approximate Vee of Vee's with about 7 planes in the two leading Vees and 6 in the trailing Vee. The two rear Vees were slightly ragged in formation but the

 

-3-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


leading Vee was in good formation. Enemy bombers were single engine, two seater, low wing monoplanes flying a horizontal course and approaching EASTERN ISLAND from the northeast. Two (2) of these enemy bombers were shot down by the AA guns before bombs were dropped. Bombs were dropped in sticks shortly after AA fire was opened.

 

4.     Almost immediately following the high altitude bombing, dive bombers and straffing fighters attacked both islands. "D" battery was straffed by diving planes which appeared to be dive bombing but were evidently dive-straffing the battery. Our automatic weapons opened fire on the enemy straffers and dive bombers and are estimated to have shot down at least eight of the enemy planes and damaged an indeterminate number. Returning friendly aviation reported large numbers of enemy planes down on the water and damaged planes falling out about 20 miles from the island.

 

5.     The bombing and straffing continued for about seventeen (17) minutes until 0648 when all remaining enemy planes left the islands. At about 0701 "D" and "F" batteries again opened fire on one enemy plane flying to the south of the islands for about 20 seconds.

 

6.     An analysis of the action causes me to arrive at the following conclusions as to the Japanese method of attack:

 

(a) Facts: There was a clear sky with good visibility for AA firing. All personnel not manning AA guns or automatic weapons were in dugouts and well dispersed. AA and automatic weapons gunners were well protected by sandbag and cribbed sand emplacements.

 

(b) Tactics: The enemy appeared to be using their usual formation of 9 planes in a Vee, some of which had already been shot down by Marine fighter aircraft before AA batteries opened fire. The enemy continued their bombing run in spite of the AA fire and dropped their bombs in sticks along the north side of EASTERN ISLAND; and in the hangar and barracks area, and near "D" battery on SAND ISLAND. Objects definitely known to have been dive-bombed were the Eastern Island power house and the oil tanks near the Marine dock of Sand Island both of which were hit. The smoke from the burning oil tanks obscured the fire and observation of guns in that area to some extent.

 

   The dive bombing and low flying attack planes hit almost immediately after the high altitude bombs were dropped. Enemy planes were seen straffing a Marine flyer who had landed in the water near the reef.

-4-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

(c) When the enemy planes left the islands they were reported by radar as remaining in an area about 125 miles out on bearing 330 degrees for about 12 minutes before being lost by the radar. Some of the enemy planes appeared to have reconnaissance missions as evidenced by the finding of a camera in one plane shot down on Sand Island.

 

7.     Enemy Materiel: No duds have been found. Parts of two enemy planes which crashed were salvaged and turned over to the ONI. Both Browning and Lewis type air-cooled machine guns were found on the planes. Bombs dropped appeared to be 500 pounds and smaller fragmentation type; those on Eastern Island near the Marine Camp and on Sand Island near the power house apparently being set for a delay action forming very deep craters and exerting most of their force vertically. Bombs dropped near "D" battery were of the instantaneous fragmentation type with a small crater and a large lateral blast effect close to the ground. The fins were quite large on the bombs which landed near "D" battery, approximately comparable to our 500 pound bomb fins.

 

8.     The conduct of all personnel was highly satisfactory. All hands performed in a cool, efficient and magnificent manner and were only interested in knocking down as many of the enemy as possible. It is believed that our mission to protect the base facilities and rearming and refuelling of friendly aircraft was well carried out. It should be noted that no friendly planes were fired upon in spite of the large number and variety of planes that entered and left the area during daylight and darkness. The searchlight control stations did excellent work in the identification of friendly planes at great distances.

 

9.     In addition to the firing by AA gun batteries and the regular 37mm, 20mm and .50 caliber guns, each searchlight section manned one Lewis machine gun and the Battalion Command Post personnel off watch manned four (4) air-cooled .50 caliber guns on an improvised mount. It is generally agreed that the latter brought down at least one (l) and probably two (2) enemy planes and that the searchlight gunners may have brought down another.

 

10.     Ammunition Expenditure:

 

 The ammunition expenditure for this attack was as follows:

 

   1595 Shells, 3"AA, HE, M-42, w/30" fuze.

     21 Shells, 3"AA, HE, M-42, w/21" fuze.*

    670 Shells, 37mm, HE.

   3000 Shells, 20mm, HE.

 

-5-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

  3000 Shells, 20mm, tracer.

12,055 Rounds, .50 caliber, A.P.

 5,920 Rounds, .50 caliber, tracer.

 1,309 Rounds, .30 caliber, ball.

   305 Rounds, .30 caliber, A.P.

   345 Rounds, .30 caliber, tracer.

 

* Used with locally improvised open sights on 3"AA guns
  against dive bombers when "D" battery heightfinder was
  put out of action.

 

11.     In preparation for the attack all hands worked day and night in completing underwater obstacles, making anti-tank mines, installing new batteries, unloading ships, and improving old positions. Special mention should be made of the following:

 

(a) In addition to working on their own positions the Coast Artillery Group made and helped install large numbers of concertina-type reinforcing steel, underwater obstacles. Almost the entire beach line of the two islands had at least one line of these obstacles and the more likely landing beaches had two such lines.

 

(b) The 22d and 23rd Provisional Infantry Companies did excellent work unloading ships, distributing supplies, making and installing underwater obstacles, and helping make anti-tank mines in addition to their regular duties of beach patrolling and interior guard. In addition to the above duties, they carried on intensive night battle training. These companies are deserving of high praise for the willing manner in which they have assisted in all defensive preparations.

 

(c) "C" and "D" Companies, of the 2d Raider Battalion, did excellent work in the making of anti-tank mines, assisting the infantry in beach patrolling and unloading of ships, and manhandling of gasoline drums for refuelling of planes after the refuelling facilities were damaged by the bombing on Eastern Island.

 

(d) The AA and Special Weapons personnel of the Third Defense Battalion, temporarily attached, worked day and night unloading the ships and getting their guns ready for firing by the day after they arrived. In the eight days between their arrival and the attack, all guns were well emplaced, ammunition stowage constructed, and protection for personnel erected.

 

12.     Special Defensive Measures:

 

In addition to the underwater obstacles mentioned above, the following defensive items were constructed and laid:

-6-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

(a) Water mines: 380 controlled water mines consisting of a dynamite charge in water pipe with tarred field wire leads were laid along the north beach of Sand Island.

 

(b) Anti-personnel mines: Anti-personnel mines consisting of a 6-pound charge of dynamite enclosed on three sides by nails were laid around the entire beach perimeter of the island. The more probable landing beaches had two such strips of mines which could be set off either electrically or by firing rifles or machine guns at the dynamite charge on the inboard side of the mine.

 

(c) Anti-tank mines: 1500 contact anti-tank mines containing a 5-pound charge of dynamite and capable of being exploded by a 40-pound pressure were laid along the beaches most likely to be used for the landing of tanks.

 

(d) Anti-tank grenades: (Molotov cocktails): 310 "Victory" cocktails were prepared and distributed to gun positions and to the infantry for use against tanks.

 

13.     Personnel casualties:

 

 (a) Killed:

  Major William W. Benson, USMC.

  Corporal Frank LaN. Dupes, 274966, USMC.

 

 (b) Seriously Wounded -- Died of Wounds:

  Corporal Osa Currie, 274570, USMC.

  Private First Class Chauncey C. Lowe, 287348, USMC.

 

 (d) Not Seriously Wounded:

  Sergeant Stanley D. Greer, 293614, USMC.

  Corporal Randall H. Jolly, 232483, USMC, (3rd Def.Bn.)

  Private First Class Carl E. Fadick, 287990, USMC.

  Private First Class George R. Milsop, 278496, USMC.

  Private First Class William G. Oldfather, 284786, USMC,
    (3rd Def.Bn.)

  Private First Class Cleone B. Patterson, 328514, USMC.

  Private First Class DeWitt V. Smith, 323426, USMC.

  Private Charles E. Keenan, 320741, USMC, (3rd Def.Bn.)

  Private Joseph E. Love, 291975, USMC, (3rd Def.Bn.)

 

 (e) Shellshocked:

  Private George B. Gerdts, 328202, USMC.

 

 

 

-7-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

14.     Materiel Damage (U.S. Marine Corps):

 

 (a) Sand Island damage: "D" battery heightfinder tube was pierced by a bomb fragment, but can be repaired at Pearl Harbor. One 1900 azimuth instrument for 5" Artillery was destroyed on the hangar. No other damage to guns or positions.

 

 (b) Eastern Island damage:

   Marine galley and messhall destroyed with all
    equipment and fresh stores.

  Post Exchange and all Post Exchange supplies destroyed.
   Command post hit and switchboard and other communication
    equipment destroyed.

 

15.     Recommendations for awards has been covered in a separate letter to the Board of Awards, Pacific Fleet.

 

16. a.  There was no further action until the night of 4-5 June when a submarine fired on the island as follows:

4 June. 1942

2154 B Btry to Bn: "Submarine sighted at 4500 yards, bearing 090 degrees".

2154 Condition one set in Baker Battery.

2221 B Btry to Bn: "Submarine is now at 3000 yards, bearing 080 degrees".

5 June. 1942

0120 OP to Bn: "Gunfire in the southwest".

0123 3" to Bn: "Flashes on the horizon at 110 degrees". Appears to be a submarine firing on the island".

0123 Bn to 3",5"&SL: "Illuminate target and open fire. 5" fire star shells".

0124 OP to Bn: "SL#102 on target which appears to be a submarine".

0125 OP to Bn: "Baker, Dog, and Easy Batteries are firing on submarine. Dog battery is hitting close -- Baker battery is off".

0128 OP to Bn: "Submarine has submerged".

0129 OP to Bn: "Cast battery has fired two star shells at about 135 degrees -- nothing visible".

0135 Condition three set.

0135 OP to Bn: "Enemy submarine fired from 6 to 8 shots. No hits were observed on either island".

0136 G Btry to Bn: "SL#102 observed 3 hits by Easy battery on submarine".

 

-8-

1942-38C
RCM/ld
CONFIDENTIAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

 

0147 OP to Bn: "SL#5 is illuminating area 180 degrees where submarine was last seen -- no targets visible".

0152 OP to Bn: "SL#102 out of action".

 

b.  Fire was not opened when submarine was first sighted as it was known that friendly submarines were operating near the island. The enemy submarine fired from 6 to 8 rounds, none of which hit the island. Baker Battery fired one (l) round of 5" HE, Cast Battery two (2) rounds of 5" star shell, Dog Battery thirty (30) rounds of 3" AA, HE, Easy Battery twelve (12) rounds of 3" Navy common at an average range of about 4,500 yards. Both "D" and "E" batteries were bracketing the target and three (3) hits were reported by SL#102.

 

c.  The submarine disappeared and was not again picked up either visually or by radar, in contrast to previous submarine attacks in which the submarine has been tracked on out after the attack.

 

d.  There was no damage to materiel or personnel casualties in this attack.

 

 

 


H. D. SHANNON     


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Copies to:    CG,MarFor,14ND
              Comdt, MarCorps