Indy Shark Glenn, that is an interesting comment. I have read Shattered Sword and would be interested to hear what questionable elements you referred to.
Let’s take the Richard Best bombing of Akagi for example. It’s on pages 239-242. We’re told that Best didn’t “have time” to bomb the Akagi “by the book”. Ok…why is that? There is a footnote, but all it says is Mark Horan supplied the details. The most obvious reason to rush would be enemy fighters, but none were around and later in the day Best would do a textbook dive on Hiryu while under fighter attack. This feeling of urgency is said to make him break away from his training. But isn’t the point of training to make sure that doesn’t happen? Nobody dove steeper than Dick Best, but at Midway he’ll do a low-skill glide bomb attack using a novel ‘vic’ formation, for which neither he nor his wingmen have trained for, all because he’s in a hurry for unspecified reasons.
Dive bomber pilots prefer to dive downwind, diving in the same direction as the wind. Diving straight into the wind is, from what I understand, second best. Out of the sun and down the length of the ship is also good, but I don’t think as good as matching wind direction. So the optimal dive is made as vertically as possible, in line ahead so that the following aircraft can correct their aim, diving in the same direction as the wind, out of the sun, down the length of the flight deck. Richard Best decides to abandon his dive bombing training for a glide bomb attack, with the wind blowing perpendicular to his flight path, into the sun, along the beam of the ship with his wingmen in tight formation so that they cannot correct their aim based on his bombing results. The target is a Japanese carrier launching aircraft while in an emergency turn with the wind blowing at right angles across its flight deck.
Akagi is known to have been launching aircraft at the time it was attacked. So it should be steaming a straight course into the wind while doing so. According to the SS wind estimate (on page 226 with the Yorktown account), Akagi should be on a course of about 45 degrees, sailing to the northeast as Soryu on pg 226 is said to be doing. According to the map 13-1 on page 233, Akagi is about due east of Kaga. By veering slightly to the south on his way over to Akagi from Kaga, Best could dive straight into the wind along the length of the flight deck. Why wouldn't he? (Other accounts have the wind coming from the south, but that turns Akagi towards a course of about 160, and that’s a problem).
SS put a lot of work into the Best bombing of Akagi, so I'm not saying it didn't happen that way. But I doubt it happened that way. Here's the Nagumo Report Action Chart,
If you zoom in, note the location of the carriers when bombed and compare that to fig. 11-1 (pg 218) and 13-1 (pg 233) of Shattered Sword. Akagi’s bombing location has migrated to the west in Shattered Sword while Soryu’s has shifted southeast, such that in the Nagumo report Leslie’s VB-3 would have to fly over a 36,000 ton carrier to bomb a 16,000 ton carrier beyond. In the SS account Soryu is shifted relative to Akagi to get her where she has to be for Best (not Leslie) to bomb the Akagi. SS predicts a big difference in the Japanese formation compared to the Nagumo Report track chart, and the battlefield might be able to say which is correct.
Edited by glenn239, 31 May 2017 - 1600 PM.