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#21 glenn239

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Posted 31 May 2017 - 1556 PM

 

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, 

 

http://www.ibiblio.o...umo/Chart-2.jpg

 

 

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.


#22 Indy_Shark

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Posted 01 June 2017 - 1034 AM

Thanks Glenn. What do you think happened?



#23 glenn239

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Posted 02 June 2017 - 1539 PM

Short answer?  I think there’s a decent chance Richard Best bombed the Soryu and Yorktown’s Leslie plugged the Akagi.  Soryu’s first bomb dropped was a direct hit as per Best's account – no need for improbable events to make it work.

 

I also think Nagumo didn't lose the battle because of CAP fighter rotation schedules or irritations from torpedo bomber attacks.  He lost the battle because he and his staff did not understand what they were facing.  Until way too late, he thought the danger was more like the Hermes situation in the Indian Ocean than a fleet carrier ambush.  IJN intel didn't get the information to Nagumo, Nagumo's staff screwed the pooch on their search, and the Tone 4 Scout did a terrible job on reporting what they saw.  That's three coin flips that went against Nagumo, and the result was he pissed around for 2 hours trying arrange the perfect strike, when he needed (really needed) to rush like Yamaguchi told him to.  Shattered Sword said that Japanese doctrine and aircraft handling dictated the battle.  I don't think so.  I think that what dictated Nagumo's failure was because he did not realise what was out there on his eastern flank until around 10am - way too late.



#24 Rich

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 0946 AM

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.  

 

Why? Okay, well, because McClusky maintained too high a cruise speed in his eagerness to get to the Japanese, burning precious fuel the Americans needed to get back. One VB-6 SBD ran out of fuel in the run in after spotting Arashi. Then, instead of following a doctrinal attack where the lead squadron VS-6 would take the carrier farthest away (Akagi) and the trailing squadron VB-6 the near carrier (Kaga), he simply ordered "all planes attack!" and led VS-6 in a hard turn to port to hit Kaga. The turn took them in front of Best, forcing him and his two wingman to turn to starboard, but the rest of the now thoroughly confused VB-6 instead turned to follow VS-6.

 

Meanwhile, Best and his wingmen lost altitude in their aborted dive, and could not expend time or fuel in attacking Akagi.

 

Where Pashall apparently did get confused was indicating the attack on Kaga was from stern to bow. It was not, it was bow to stern.

 

 

 

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, 

 

http://www.ibiblio.o...umo/Chart-2.jpg

 

 

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.

 

 

Akagi was launching aircraft while under attack from VT-6 and VT-8? It was executing radical maneuvers under attack, so I doubt it was launching.

 

Meanwhile, do you mean fig. 11-1 on page 208 or figure 11-3 on 218? 11-3 does not show individual ships, 11-1 shows the situation up to c. 0937. 11-2 up to c. 1000. 11-5 on 222 shows the situation at c. 1015 when the dive bombers began their attack. During the period they were all making extreme turns to avoid the VT and were just forming up again. The disposition of Kaga and Akagi match what VS-6 and VB-6 saw...Kaga closer and to port, Akagi farther and to starboard, which again is the reason for the McClusky-generated kerfluffle.



#25 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 03 June 2017 - 1335 PM

I wanted to create a new thread but it sort of fits here.

Imagine being the intercept officer that read the words "AF is short of water".  Maybe it was Rochefort himself, so few words to turn history on



#26 shep854

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Posted 04 June 2017 - 0903 AM

I wanted to create a new thread but it sort of fits here.

Imagine being the intercept officer that read the words "AF is short of water".  Maybe it was Rochefort himself, so few words to turn history on

It's easy to visualize a bit of predatory gleam in commanders' eyes.  Yes, the odds were long, but there was a blood debt to be collected...


Edited by shep854, 04 June 2017 - 0904 AM.


#27 glenn239

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 0936 AM

 

Rich …Then, instead of following a doctrinal attack where the lead squadron VS-6 would take the carrier farthest away (Akagi) and the trailing squadron VB-6 the near carrier (Kaga), he simply ordered "all planes attack!" and led VS-6 in a hard turn to port to hit Kaga. The turn took them in front of Best, forcing him and his two wingman to turn to starboard, but the rest of the now thoroughly confused VB-6 instead turned to follow VS-6.

 

 

 

A good summary, except that McClusky was following doctrine to assign Best the "right hand target, which SS's reconstruction shows in a reasonable location to be assigned to Best.  So if Best did not receive the instruction the mix-up was technical (glitch radio), not McClusky's fault.  But if he did receive, the fault is Best's for failing to attack the target he was assigned.

 

Meanwhile, Best and his wingmen lost altitude in their aborted dive, and could not expend time or fuel in attacking Akagi.

 

 

 

Best’s account from 1995 was that he went over to Akagi.  Best doesn’t say what direction, but Cressman (104) says “northeast”.  He was  at full throttle and his chief worry was not fuel, but rather that he can’t open the dive flaps above 130kt.   He was down to 11,000 or 12,000 feet so he “horsed back” (his words) on the stick and shot up to 14,000 feet and then opened the flaps while coming back down the other side – this apparently bled the speed and gave him the altitude he needed.  (His attack on Kaga was going to be at 15,000 feet, so he’d regained most of it).  Best mentions a “long easy dive”, but  nothing about a glide bomb attack.  Nor were they in a ‘vic’ formation – Bests says after his bomb release he hauled up at 1,200 feet and orbited the target.   His no.2 told him that Best’s plane was orbiting Akagi so low it was still in his no.2's bomb sight as he was aiming for release - that's a line ahead formation.  Best’s account was that his bomb hit first (no simultaneous drops, no splash).  He stated while orbiting he witnessed 3 direct hits on the target, unlike Akagi, considerably more like Soryu .

 

Akagi was launching aircraft while under attack from VT-6 and VT-8? It was executing radical maneuvers under attack, so I doubt it was launching.

 

 

 

Akagi is known to have been launching fighter aircraft while Best was lining up on her at 1024.  At that moment, when launching fighters she should be sailing into the wind and holding a straight course., just like Soryu is said to be doing so for the Yorktown attack.  SS has her launching fighters in an emergency turn with the wind running at right angles to her flight deck.   Maybe, but I doubt it.

 

Meanwhile, do you mean fig. 11-1 on page 208 or figure 11-3 on 218? 11-3 does not show individual ships

 

 

 

Fig. 11-1 shows Akagi’s bomb position having migrated in Shattered Sword from the location as shown in the Nagumo report.  SS shows Akagi bombed about 4-5 nautical miles west of the Nagumo Report Course Track, whereas in the Nagumo Report itself the bomb location is a few miles east of the Nagumo Report Course Track - about ½” up and right of the position marked “1030” on fig. 11-3.   The NR position of Akagi is southeast of Kaga, not northeast.  In fig. 11-5 on SS pg 222 the Nagumo Report position for Akagi would be about where “Chikuma” is labelled.   Why would Leslie (VB-3, Yorktown) go for a light carrier if twice-as-large Akagi, which he can see, is where the Chikuma is?  Leslie said he had a small and very large carrier to pick from, and he picked the big one, (SS does not relate any of these statements by Leslie, AFAIK, but I would have to check).  SS does a track chart for Akagi based on their reconstruction, but I see no convincing reason for them having moved the bomb position of the Akagi from the NR, and nowhere on any of the action charts (that I can see) is the NR location of the bombing position ever shown. 

In Fig 13-2 it shows Akagi doing an sharp turn at 1024 to evade VT-3, which in the Nagumo Report says looked like it was about to launch torpedoes (at Akagi).  But the shift of Akagi 8nm to the west makes this evasion incomprehensible – on fig. 13-1 (pg 233) the Akagi is something like 30 kilometers from VT-3.  Why would it do an emergency turn when about to launch fighters unless Akagi was actually much closer to VT-3 at 1024, like the Nagumo Report bomb location and unlike the SS location?

 

The disposition of Kaga and Akagi match what VS-6 and VB-6 saw...Kaga closer and to port, Akagi farther and to starboard, which again is the reason for the McClusky-generated kerfluffle

 

 

 

That’s the SS conclusion and I fully agree could be correct. 

 

But there is a second explanation in the data, one that SS did not see. (AFAIK, no one has ever seen it).  Check out the link of the Nagumo Report Action Chart I posted, which shows the bomb/sinking locations of Kaga, Soryu and Akagi.  Let’s say McClusky and Best are flying northeast right on the word “bomb” by Kaga, as in “bomb hit on the Kaga causing fires”.  See how Soryu can be both the “right hand” carrier and the “far” carrier at the same time?  The second explanation would be that Best never saw the Akagi because inbound he was distracted by a squadron emergency and did not see more than 2 carriers before pushover  So, when McClusky assigned him Akagi, he’d only seen the Soryu which under doctrine should be McClusky’s target.


Edited by glenn239, 05 June 2017 - 0941 AM.


#28 Rich

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 1306 PM

A good summary, except that McClusky was following doctrine to assign Best the "right hand target, which SS's reconstruction shows in a reasonable location to be assigned to Best.  So if Best did not receive the instruction the mix-up was technical (glitch radio), not McClusky's fault.  So if Best did not receive the instruction the mix-up was technical (glitch radio), not McClusky's fault.  But if he did receive, the fault is Best's for failing to attack the target he was assigned.

 

 

"Attacking the right hand carrier" or "attacking because it was convenient" was not the doctrine. I'm afraid you are simply making that up. Doctrine as expressed in USF-74 was that the CEAG would designate targets; except he failed to do so. In that event, doctrine was that the lead squadron would attack the farthest carrier and the trail squadron would attack the near carrier. The problem was McCluskey, while he had plenty of time flying SBD's, had never commanded a Scout or Bomb Squadron and never led them before in battle and for whatever reason failed to follow either the doctrine as given in USF-74 or as accepted in practice by VS-6 and VB-6.

 

The only "instructions" given by McCluskey "all planes attack". He was heard clearly by the pilots that survived. There was no designation of targets by radio and no glitch.

 

 

 

Best’s account from 1995 was that he went over to Akagi.  Best doesn’t say what direction, but Cressman (104) says “northeast”.  He was  at full throttle and his chief worry was not fuel, but rather that he can’t open the dive flaps above 130kt.   He was down to 11,000 or 12,000 feet so he “horsed back” (his words) on the stick and shot up to 14,000 feet and then opened the flaps while coming back down the other side – this apparently bled the speed and gave him the altitude he needed.  (His attack on Kaga was going to be at 15,000 feet, so he’d regained most of it).  Best mentions a “long easy dive”, but  nothing about a glide bomb attack.  Nor were they in a ‘vic’ formation – Bests says after his bomb release he hauled up at 1,200 feet and orbited the target.   His no.2 told him that Best’s plane was orbiting Akagi so low it was still in his no.2's bomb sight as he was aiming for release - that's a line ahead formation.  Best’s account was that his bomb hit first (no simultaneous drops, no splash).  He stated while orbiting he witnessed 3 direct hits on the target, unlike Akagi, considerably more like Soryu .

 

Oh, I missed where you made up the bit about the glide bombing. It says nothing in Shattered Sword or Best's account about anything of the sort. Page 239:

 

"The Japanese also noted that the Americans didn't appear to dive as steeply as Kaga's assailants had. It may well be that Best had lost some altitude during his abortive dive on that ship." From the Nagumo Report:

 

"0726 Three bombers dive on Akagi from position bearing 80 degrees to port, altitude about 2,000 meters (angle of dive, about 50 degrees)."

 

The supposition that they dove in a V was just that, a supposition generated by where the bombs struck. OTOH, you are making a declaration of fact...supposedly Shattered Sword declares they made a "glide bombing" attack when it says no such thing that I can see.

 

 

So, when McClusky assigned him Akagi, he’d only seen the Soryu which under doctrine should be McClusky’s target.

 

McCluskey "assigned" no targets to anyone. That is a fiction.

 

 

Akagi is known to have been launching fighter aircraft while Best was lining up on her at 1024.  At that moment, when launching fighters she should be sailing into the wind and holding a straight course., just like Soryu is said to be doing so for the Yorktown attack.  SS has her launching fighters in an emergency turn with the wind running at right angles to her flight deck.   Maybe, but I doubt it.

 

That is right; I missed that they were trying to launch the CAP at 1025 when they missed the approach of Best's three-aircraft element. They had been launching and recovering most of the day without changing course though, which is reasonable...the fighters did not necessarily require the additional air speed to launch and turning into the wind and sailing a straight course was the last thing they were going to do while under air attack.

 

 

 

Fig. 11-1 shows Akagi’s bomb position having migrated in Shattered Sword from the location as shown in the Nagumo report.  SS shows Akagi bombed about 4-5 nautical miles west of the Nagumo Report Course Track, whereas in the Nagumo Report itself the bomb location is a few miles east of the Nagumo Report Course Track - about ½” up and right of the position marked “1030” on fig. 11-3.   The NR position of Akagi is southeast of Kaga, not northeast.  In fig. 11-5 on SS pg 222 the Nagumo Report position for Akagi would be about where “Chikuma” is labelled.   Why would Leslie (VB-3, Yorktown) go for a light carrier if twice-as-large Akagi, which he can see, is where the Chikuma is?  Leslie said he had a small and very large carrier to pick from, and he picked the big one, (SS does not relate any of these statements by Leslie, AFAIK, but I would have to check).  SS does a track chart for Akagi based on their reconstruction, but I see no convincing reason for them having moved the bomb position of the Akagi from the NR, and nowhere on any of the action charts (that I can see) is the NR location of the bombing position ever shown. 

In Fig 13-2 it shows Akagi doing an sharp turn at 1024 to evade VT-3, which in the Nagumo Report says looked like it was about to launch torpedoes (at Akagi).  But the shift of Akagi 8nm to the west makes this evasion incomprehensible – on fig. 13-1 (pg 233) the Akagi is something like 30 kilometers from VT-3.  Why would it do an emergency turn when about to launch fighters unless Akagi was actually much closer to VT-3 at 1024, like the Nagumo Report bomb location and unlike the SS location?

 

You are confused. The scale of the Nagumo chart does not allow a display of the ships positions when attacked. I suggest you plot the lat-long as given in the action report. You will find that given the approach of VS-6 and VB-6 to the NNE, Kaga was the far carrier to the left and Akagi the near carrier to the right. Soryu was far beyond the Kaga to the north. Absent orders from McCluskey, doctrine was for VS-6 in the lead to attack Akagi, while the trailing squadron, VB-6, would attack Kaga.

 

So where in the Nagumo Report does it say that it looked like VT-3 was about to launch torpedoes at Akagi? Do you mean?:

 

0724 Noting that the two torpedo plane groups to starboard of the Akagi were preparing to launch their torpedoes, she goes into evasive action. Then, seeing that she was about to be dive bombed, she makes maximum reverse turn.

 

If they were about 30 kilometers away then they were perhaps 7 or 8 minutes away. Evading away was logical. She then saw she was about to be dive-bombed...until then all the dive bombers appeared to be hitting Kaga...and then went into an "emergency turn".

 

 

That’s the SS conclusion and I fully agree could be correct. 

 

But there is a second explanation in the data, one that SS did not see. (AFAIK, no one has ever seen it).  Check out the link of the Nagumo Report Action Chart I posted, which shows the bomb/sinking locations of Kaga, Soryu and Akagi.  Let’s say McClusky and Best are flying northeast right on the word “bomb” by Kaga, as in “bomb hit on the Kaga causing fires”.  See how Soryu can be both the “right hand” carrier and the “far” carrier at the same time?  The second explanation would be that Best never saw the Akagi because inbound he was distracted by a squadron emergency and did not see more than 2 carriers before pushover  So, when McClusky assigned him Akagi, he’d only seen the Soryu which under doctrine should be McClusky’s target.

 

Again, you are confused and assuming the ship symbols on the chart are where they were when attacked. They are not. That data is in the individual ships action reports. Akagi's position was given as 30-30N, 178-40W. Kaga's at 30-23.3N, 179-17.2W, and Soryu's at 30-42.5N, 178-37.5W. The ship symbols give the presumed position of their sinking...and given the problems locating any of them are not that accurate either.

 

Yet again, McCluskey did not "assign" anything to anybody. That is what he and various hagiographers have claimed. The problem is that none of the surviving pilots corroborated him giving any other direction via radio other than declaring "enemy sighted" and then "all planes attack". The problem was then that absent the CEAG giving orders as prescribed in USF-74, the bombing doctrine as practiced by Enterprise was scrambled. It is also notable that both of McCluskey's wingmen were shocked that McCluskey attacked immediately, since there expectation was that he would observe and direct before attacking.

 

Did McCluskey fail to give the order or did his radio fail? That is unknown. Were his actions a surprise to the pilots of VS-6 and VB-6? Yes.



#29 Rich

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 1540 PM

I just reviewed the action reports and they make it even more interesting. I had forgotten that Best indeed heard McCluskey's instructions, but understood him to say VB-6 should take the left carrier. Nor was it just Best that had oxygen problems. He reportedly took the squadron to 15,000 feet because other pilots were having trouble, and then took off his own mask so he would "have the same reactions". Gallaher also heard instructions, but apparently just understood he was to follow CEAG "one CV target for himself [McCluskey] and VS-6" and one for VB-6. Dusty Klaiss of VS-6 was always adamant that he only heard McCluskey say "all planes attack".

 

The Enterprise report only deepens the mystery.

 

"At 1222 the dive bombing attack commenced from a high altitude, the Group Commander Section and VS-6 attacking the carrier in the northwest sector and VB-6 the carrier to the immediate right. These are believed to have been KAGA and AKAGI. Upon initial sighting and during the dive no apparent damage had been inflicted on this enemy force. This statement is based upon interrogation of the Air Group Commander and all pilots who returned from the attack. Scouting Six (each armed with 1-500 lb. bomb, 1/100 second fuse, and 2-100 lb. bombs) obtained at least 8 direct hits on assigned target, the smoke from resulting fires making an accurate count impossible. Bombing Six (each armed with 1-1000 lb. bombs, 1/100 second fuse) first division commencing attack on right hand carrier which was observed to be landing planes. This division obtained at least three (3) direct hits and this carrier became a mass of flames and smoke. The second division leader, delaying attack momentarily, observed misses near the left hand carrier and decided to dive on that target. Several hits with 1000 lb. bombs were observed with violent explosions resulting. The third division divided between both carriers under attack. Hits cannot be accounted for, as only one pilot of the third division returned. When this attack was completed, three (3) carriers were left severely damaged with raging fires and mountainous clouds of smoke filling the horizon. It was later learned that VB-3 from YORKTOWN arrived at approximately the same time and attacked one of the two remaining carriers."



#30 glenn239

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 1602 PM

Rich  "Attacking the right hand carrier" or "attacking because it was convenient" was not the doctrine. I'm afraid you are simply making that up. Doctrine as expressed in USF-74 was that the CEAG would designate targets; except he failed to do so.

 

 

 

McClusky assigned the targets in the exact same fashion as did Leslie of VB-3, (to VS-5, which he did not know was following).  What is not clear is what caused the double-up on the same target.  It does not appear to have been McClusky’s fault, and may not have been anyone’s fault.

 

Oh, I missed where you made up the bit about the glide bombing.

 

 

 

I’ve never heard of formation dive bombing.   It doesn’t sound possible unless the wingmen ignore their bomb sites and watch the leader and drop when they do, which did not happen here.   Best says a gentle approach, but Best’s definition of ‘gentle’ is relative to his usual 90 degrees straight down...

 

(What caught me up two days ago is that I’d read the Cressman account, which states the dive on Akagi was vertical, straight down.  But in double checking Best yesterday, he said differently.  Cressman might have misunderstood, or the account Best relayed might have changed.  I assume Cressman misunderstood).

 

 

The supposition that they dove in a V was just that, a supposition generated by where the bombs struck. OTOH, you are making a declaration of fact...

 

 

 

Yes, they have an improbable theory that gives Best the Akagi and a direct hit.  But the first bomb on Akagi was a miss and there was a delay before the second dropped, so whoever the lead bomber was, they missed.   So, from my perspective it's either an improbable theory, or Best missed Akagi, or Best tagged the Soryu with a direct hit.  

 

They had been launching and recovering most of the day without changing course though…

 

 

 

Japanese carriers turned into the wind to launch aircraft.  Shattered Sword states on 226 that Soryu was turning to do while VB-3 was approaching push-over.   So what Soryu is said to be doing Akagi has to be doing as well.   If they were able to launch planes without course changes, it’ll be because the base course was into the wind already.  Akagi was launching, so she’s running into the wind, which SS thinks was from about 45 degrees, but other sources indicate was from the south.  If the wind was from the south then Akagi’s course when attacked was 160-180. 

 

The scale of the Nagumo chart does not allow a display of the ships positions when attacked….The ship symbols give the presumed position of their sinking...and given the problems locating any of them are not that accurate either.

 

 

 

This chart here is the action chart,

 

http://www.ibiblio.o...umo/Chart-2.jpg

 

When you zoom in the bomb position of Akagi is shown on the chart and  considerably to the northeast of the point given in Shattered Sword.  The sinking position of Akagi is also marked, as is a little flag, which is the position where Akagi’s staff transferred to Nagara.  It’s also east of the track line, whereas SS has Akagi hit west of it.  The wreck of Akagi and Soryu, their relative position, should help clear the matter, when found. 

 

 

 

If they were about 30 kilometers away then they were perhaps 7 or 8 minutes away. Evading away was logical.

 

 

P

ossible, but the entry states that evasive action was taken because the torpedo bombers were preparing to launch, which can’t be the case unless the TBD’s were within a mile or two.  Nor can they mean Hiryu – they won’t be in range of Hiryu for another 5-10 minutes.  SS has a large degree of separation between VT-3 and Akagi, but if the entry is referring to a threat to Akagi from torpedo bombers, Akagi has to be further east than marked on the SS track.    

 

Yet again, McClusky did not "assign" anything to anybody.

 

 

 

Leslie said that inbound he had his eyes glued to the fleet with his binoculars marking targets, and at the same time, trying to coordinate with Massey far below.  He saw both carriers of 1st division and at least one of 2nd division, and he talked a lot about how big the big ones were relative to their smaller stablemates.  (SS relays all the stuff about coordinating with Massey, but not his study of and selection of the largest carrier as his target).

 

McClusky said that inbound he had his eyes glued to the fleet with his binoculars marking targets.  He saw all four carriers.  He noted how big the big two were compared to everything else.  He marked them for bombing.

 

Best said that inbound he was dealing with a squadron oxygen emergency.  Whatever scouting he did of the target, the squadron emergency distracted him because McClusky saw four carriers and Best saw two.  (Lord wrote he saw three, but Best said he saw only two before turning on Kaga, and Kaga was one of those two).  So, the second possibility is that the mix-up was caused because Best got distracted and did not scout the enemy fleet properly, meaning that he did not understand the assignment he was given, because the only other carrier he could see at the moment he was finally paying attention, was the Soryu, which should be McClusky’s target.

 

It's a theory.



#31 Rich

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 2355 PM

McClusky assigned the targets in the exact same fashion as did Leslie of VB-3, (to VS-5, which he did not know was following).  What is not clear is what caused the double-up on the same target.  It does not appear to have been McClusky’s fault, and may not have been anyone’s fault.

 

No, we do not know that McCluskey did it "in the same fashion" as Leslie, because we have at least five contemporaneous accounts of what McCluskey did, all of them contradictory.

 

 

 

I’ve never heard of formation dive bombing.   It doesn’t sound possible unless the wingmen ignore their bomb sites and watch the leader and drop when they do, which did not happen here.   Best says a gentle approach, but Best’s definition of ‘gentle’ is relative to his usual 90 degrees straight down...

 

(What caught me up two days ago is that I’d read the Cressman account, which states the dive on Akagi was vertical, straight down.  But in double checking Best yesterday, he said differently.  Cressman might have misunderstood, or the account Best relayed might have changed.  I assume Cressman misunderstood).

 

 

I am not sure how Cressman knew better? Meanwhile, Best was at 15,000 feet when he began his abortive dive on Kaga. He may well have climbed to 15,000 feet again before diving. The Japanese commented that the dive was shallower. The bomb pattern suggested to Parshall & Tully that they attacked in a V rather than in succession, but it is also quite possible for them to have dived in succession and gotten the same results. It is really immaterial.

 

 

Yes, they have an improbable theory that gives Best the Akagi and a direct hit.  But the first bomb on Akagi was a miss and there was a delay before the second dropped, so whoever the lead bomber was, they missed.   So, from my perspective it's either an improbable theory, or Best missed Akagi, or Best tagged the Soryu with a direct hit. 

 

No, they had a theory as to why the bombs struck as they did. However, the evidence the bombs were dropped by Best and his wingmen is rather strong.

 

1. The Japanese counted 3 aircraft attacking them. There were 9 on Kaga (they lost count in the carnage). There were 12 counted on Soryu.

2. Best would have had to overfly both Kaga and Akagi to hit Soryu to the NNW and some miles away.

3. Leslie and company would have had to overfly Soryu and bomb Akagi.

4. Or else Akagi is still afloat because nobody bombed her.

 

 

Japanese carriers turned into the wind to launch aircraft.  Shattered Sword states on 226 that Soryu was turning to do while VB-3 was approaching push-over.   So what Soryu is said to be doing Akagi has to be doing as well.   If they were able to launch planes without course changes, it’ll be because the base course was into the wind already.  Akagi was launching, so she’s running into the wind, which SS thinks was from about 45 degrees, but other sources indicate was from the south.  If the wind was from the south then Akagi’s course when attacked was 160-180.

 

No, it says no such thing. She was turning to the east and intending to launch, but if she was turning into the wind, then she had a ways to go. The wind was from the SE at 5 to 8 knots that day.

 

 

This chart here is the action chart,

 

http://www.ibiblio.o...umo/Chart-2.jpg

 

When you zoom in the bomb position of Akagi is shown on the chart and  considerably to the northeast of the point given in Shattered Sword.  The sinking position of Akagi is also marked, as is a little flag, which is the position where Akagi’s staff transferred to Nagara.  It’s also east of the track line, whereas SS has Akagi hit west of it.  The wreck of Akagi and Soryu, their relative position, should help clear the matter, when found. 

 

Um, notice the square boxes? Those are called latitude and longitude. There is 69.172 miles between them. The scale makes your "zoom" in a joke. All these events took place in a space a little wider than the inked line of the Kido Butai's track.

 

 

P

ossible, but the entry states that evasive action was taken because the torpedo bombers were preparing to launch, which can’t be the case unless the TBD’s were within a mile or two.  Nor can they mean Hiryu – they won’t be in range of Hiryu for another 5-10 minutes.  SS has a large degree of separation between VT-3 and Akagi, but if the entry is referring to a threat to Akagi from torpedo bombers, Akagi has to be further east than marked on the SS track.

 

Yeah, considerably more possible than the notion that Best bombed Soryu and Akagi is still afloat.

 

 

Leslie said that inbound he had his eyes glued to the fleet with his binoculars marking targets, and at the same time, trying to coordinate with Massey far below.  He saw both carriers of 1st division and at least one of 2nd division, and he talked a lot about how big the big ones were relative to their smaller stablemates.  (SS relays all the stuff about coordinating with Massey, but not his study of and selection of the largest carrier as his target).

 

McClusky said that inbound he had his eyes glued to the fleet with his binoculars marking targets.  He saw all four carriers.  He noted how big the big two were compared to everything else.  He marked them for bombing.

 

Best said that inbound he was dealing with a squadron oxygen emergency.  Whatever scouting he did of the target, the squadron emergency distracted him because McClusky saw four carriers and Best saw two.  (Lord wrote he saw three, but Best said he saw only two before turning on Kaga, and Kaga was one of those two).  So, the second possibility is that the mix-up was caused because Best got distracted and did not scout the enemy fleet properly, meaning that he did not understand the assignment he was given, because the only other carrier he could see at the moment he was finally paying attention, was the Soryu, which should be McClusky’s target.

 

Soryu was McCluskey's target now?

 

Sorry, I've finished wasting my time.



#32 glenn239

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 1238 PM

 

Rich No, we do not know that McCluskey did it "in the same fashion" as Leslie, because we have at least five contemporaneous accounts of what McCluskey did, all of them contradictory.

 

 

 

McClusky radioed Best to take the second carrier.  Best either did not receive, did not understand, or did not accept the instruction.  Provided McClusky is not lying when he says he radioed, then he did nothing wrong.  Doctrinally, what is certain is that it was Best that was not supposed to be at 15,000 feet flying in front of him and Best that failed to do a proper scouting of the Japanese fleet, (seeing only 2 carriers when McClusky saw 4 and Leslie at least 3). 

 

 

I am not sure how Cressman knew better?

 

 

 

Cressman talked to Best and reported on page 104 of Glorious page that the dive on Akagi was ‘vertical’.  Best in 1995 suggests an easier approach.  Perhaps Cressman misunderstood, or perhaps Best’s account chanced.  (In the 1960’s he was 100% insistent the carrier he attacked had its bridge on the starboard side, meaning Kaga or Soryu, but in 1995 he omits that detail and does not say which side of the ship the bridge was on).

 

Meanwhile, Best was at 15,000 feet when he began his abortive dive on Kaga. He may well have climbed to 15,000 feet again before diving. The Japanese commented that the dive was shallower. The bomb pattern suggested to Parshall & Tully that they attacked in a V rather than in succession, but it is also quite possible for them to have dived in succession and gotten the same results. It is really immaterial.

 

 

 

No, it's no "immaterial".  It's too much bloody speculation.  This isn't the only example.  SS states the VT-6 attack on Kaga was over by 10am.  This is not correct.  The Kaga was attacked before 10am by torpedo bombers then again after 1005 by torpedo bombers. 

Anyways, the only way Best gets a hit on Akagi is if another dive bomber’s bomb reaches the water first.  But if the formation was line ahead like how dive bombers attack, then Best’s bomb dropped first and he missed.  If there was some ‘vic’ formation drop, then it was non-doctrinal for no purpose and two out of three pilots would need to maintain formation with their eyes glued to the lead plane, not aim a bomb through a bombsight. 

 

No, they had a theory as to why the bombs struck as they did. However, the evidence the bombs were dropped by Best and his wingmen is rather strong.

 

 

 

Yes, it’s a strong theory that Best’s group attacked Akagi.   What’s much less likely is that the first plane to drop (and miss) was other than Best's.  Best is clear he dropped first and hit, (ie, Soryu, not Akagi).  SS’s reconstruction has him diving perpendicular to the wind.  Best says he dove into the wind, not perpendicular to it.  This is the problem of writing history and providing too much detail.  When a lot of information is unknown, too much detail becomes too much speculation, and speculation can often be wrong.

 

 2. Best would have had to overfly both Kaga and Akagi to hit Soryu to the NNW and some miles away.

 

 

 

If the Soryu’s wreck is the most north and west of the three, than whoever bombed Soryu had to fly over Kaga or over Akagi (not “both”).  McClusky did not fly over a carrier to bomb another beyond.  Leslie did not fly over a carrier to bomb another beyond.  Best did fly over Kaga and bombed another beyond.  So, if Soryu is NNW, Best is the most likely candidate as having bombed her.  If Soryu’s wreck is NNE of Akagi’s, the Best bombed the Akagi and Leslie bombed the Soryu.   (Shattered Sword puts Soryu NNE of Akagi to be bombed on page 222, then moves it to the west to sink it on page 360.)

 

3. Leslie and company would have had to overfly Soryu and bomb Akagi.

 

 

 

Shattered Sword loops VB-3 far to the north but Leslie could see Akagi inbound and on page 218 Shattered Sword even shows the flight path that would take Leslie straight to Akagi without overflying any other carrier.

 

 

No, it says no such thing. She was turning to the east and intending to launch, but if she was turning into the wind, then she had a ways to go. The wind was from the SE at 5 to 8 knots that day.

 

 

 

SS stated on page 226 that Leslie attacked Soryu from “upwind”, meaning travelling with the wind.  SS shows the direction of VB-3’s final approach on Soryu on pg233, travelling southwest.  So, SS has the wind travelling to the southwest.  So SS  seems to have Leslie taking account of wind direction for his bomb attack while Best does not.

 

 Um, notice the square boxes? Those are called latitude and longitude. There is 69.172 miles between them. The scale makes your "zoom" in a joke. All these events took place in a space a little wider than the inked line of the Kido Butai's track.

 

 

 

When you zoom in on the action chart it shows Akagi’s bomb position marked consirably to the east of the position on Shattered Sword’s “Derived Akagi Course Track” on page 218.  I didn’t see where the authors discussed why they moved the bomb position from the Nagumo Report.  The “derivived” track has Akagi recovering aircraft at 0900-0910 travelling due east, and launching aircraft at 0932 (5 fighters launched) while travelling west.  At 0945 she completes the trifecta by launching fighters with the wind blowing perpendicular across her flight deck.

 

My understanding is that carriers conducted air operations sailing into the wind, not sometimes with it, sometimes against it, and sometimes at right angles to it.  The net effect is that by ignoring the wind for launching aircraft, the Akagi migrates west to be bombed, (if you correct the track to have Akagi launch into the wind SS assumes, its bomb location is very close to the NR location.)

 

There are a couple instances where the course of Akagi is marked in the Nagumo Report.  This one,

 

Akagi sights 15 enemy planes bearing 48 degrees starboard (118 degrees), distance 45,000 meters.

 

Puts Akagi on a course of 70 degrees.  In checking the SS track, they have her on a course of 30 degrees at 1006, which is wrong.  So, with only a couple data points and one of them shows the reconstructed track is wrong, why not go with the NR location for Akagi’s bombing?  

 

 Yeah, considerably more possible than the notion that Best bombed Soryu and Akagi is still afloat.

 

 

If McClusky bombs Kaga, Best Soryu, Leslie Akagi, how's Akagi still afloat?

Anyways, even Shattered Sword has VB-3 closer to Akagi than Soryu at points of the run in, and SS admits Leslie could see three carriers, one of which was Akagi (36,000 tons to Soryu's 16,000).  What SS does not discuss is why Leslie would bomb a light carrier with an intact heavy one in sight.

 

Soryu was McCluskey's target now?  

 

 

McClusky bombed the Kaga.  Best either bombed the Akagi or the Soryu.  Best’s account most closely matches the Soryu’s demise, but other evidence (such as Soryu’s plane guard being attacked by VB-3) suggests the Akagi.


Edited by glenn239, 08 June 2017 - 1249 PM.


#33 Marek Tucan

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 0135 AM

Supposedly Best radioed "Am attacking according to doctrine". It is possible this was in the same moment McClucky radioed which target he is attacking. In any case, doctrine called for lead squadron to attack more distant target. However both by Japanese accouints and by logic, those targets would be Carrier Division 1 ships. CarDiv 2 crews saw their sister close by and the CarDiv 1 further away.

 

According to Shattered Sword, several times (esp. under attacks by VT-8 and VT-6) carriers launched fighters during evasive maneuvers when they got close to wind, not necessarily into the wind, as Zero could make takeoff under less than ideal conditions (unlike loaded bombers).

 

Leslie did assign targets by radioing to VS-5 (whom he did not know were back on Yorktown) that he is taking the more distant carrier. It makes sense to have Hiryu at the tail of formation as she was attacked by VT-3 and TBDs  generally tended to try to go for closest target due to their speed. They also did not report their target being bombed. Leslie thus assigned closer target to what he thought was trailing swuadron and took his to the target further away, which was attacked (according to Japanese) by more than 3 bombers for sure ;) Also do not forget US underestimated the Soryu and Hiryu's displacement... They certainly would classify as "Big ones". In any case, Leslie did assign targets according to doctrine as it seems. For Hiryu to be in the lead, the TBDs would have to have passed Soryu which does not seem to fit.

 

To attack Akagi, Leslie would have to ignore Soryu and Hiryu (amd despite all the confusion he might be spotted by lookouts on them). In the same fashion Best would have to ignore the closer unattended target and burn through the formation to attack the most didstant target (he actually did not even see).

 

Note that supposition Best attacked Soryu would also give his element a 100% hit rate as she was hit by 3 bombs. Best's account (his element attacking alone) best matches Akagi both from US and from Japanese side. As for pattern of bombs vs. sequence, sould also simply have been a case of the other two bombers dropping earlier than Best. Their describd aiming marks would actually make sense if they knew they were in a hurried dive with other planes limiting their manuvers. However whether they were in a vic (not because of some novel tactic, but simply because they did not have time to properly arrange) or if they did manage to go into line doesn't really change anything as to target selection.


Edited by Marek Tucan , 10 June 2017 - 0136 AM.


#34 glenn239

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 1101 AM

Supposedly Best radioed "Am attacking according to doctrine". It is possible this was in the same moment McClucky radioed which target he is attacking. In any case, doctrine called for lead squadron to attack more distant target. However both by Japanese accouints and by logic, those targets would be Carrier Division 1 ships. CarDiv 2 crews saw their sister close by and the CarDiv 1 further away.

 

 

 

It’s possible that the communication breakdown was that Best and McClusky radioed at the same time, in which case the mix-up was a case of “shit happens”, and SS’s criticism of McClusky is unwarranted.   In any case, it’s hard to see how McClusky is at fault for Best getting his squadron below and in front of McClusky’s squadron such that McClusky dives right through him on the way down to Kaga.  So, I don't agree with SS's conclusion that the mix-up was McClusky's fault.  It was Best that got his squadron out of position and didn't scout the enemy fleet inbound, such that he was not aware the formation was 4 enemy carriers, not the two he could see.  (Lord tries to suggest Best saw the 3rd bombed carrier just before pushover, but Best is clear he never saw the carrier Leslie attacked until after he was on his way out).

 

 

According to Shattered Sword, several times (esp. under attacks by VT-8 and VT-6) carriers launched fighters during evasive maneuvers when they got close to wind, not necessarily into the wind, as Zero could make takeoff under less than ideal conditions (unlike loaded bombers).

 

 

 

Sure, that's cool.  But landing aircraft while travelling due east at 0910 and launching aircraft 20 minutes later while travelling due west still seems to be too much latitude in the reconstruction, IMO.  There’s not much data, so anything’s possible, but if Akagi was recovering running due east at 0910, then at 0932 when she launches fighters I want to see the track showing her at least pulling around to a course broadly into the wind, like a NNE course, then quickly turning back west after  0935.  But,  as  I mentioned, if they did that, then the bomb location of Akagi migrates to northeast, and for Richard Best she needs to be southwest.   

All in all, with no data, I don't see the reason to have moved the Akagi’s bomb position from the point shown on the NR.   And, if I'd done it, I'd have marked the NR point on the Akagi to inform the reader of the difference.    Find the carrier on the bottom of the Pacific, map the debris field, then move the bombing point.  If that point is where SS marks it, and Soryu is northeast, then Parshall and Tully are right.  But if the NR is where the carrier was bombed, the suspect squadron is VB-3, not VB-6.  Either way, until the carrier is found, I disagree  the carrier should be moved from the NR bomb position.

 

Leslie thus assigned closer target to what he thought was trailing swuadron and took his to the target further away, which was attacked (according to Japanese) by more than 3 bombers for sure Also do not forget US underestimated the Soryu and Hiryu's displacement...  

 

 

The VB-3 squadron report contains a map of the squadron’s approach to target.  This map is not easy to find (it is not reproduced in many places that have the report).  When you compare it to the Shattered Sword version of the VB-3 attack, they’re not the same.  The VB-3 report shows the squadron coming up from almost due south and bombing the “large” carrier south to north as it wheeled over to a southerly course to launch aircraft.  A second carrier marked, “small carrier” is shown northwest, with VT-3’s path going past the “large carrier” to attack it.  (SS wonders why VT-3 went after Hiryu but the answer seems pretty clear that by the time it was near to the IJN carriers three out of four were already burning haystacks, making Hiryu the only game in town).

 

So, while Soryu was bigger than thought, this wasn’t the way Leslie did it.  He made a direct comparison of two shis, a “large” carrier and a “small” carrier right beside each other.  After the battle the report marked them “small” and “large”.  In 1959-1960 Leslie told Tuleja this (pg216 Climax at Midway),

 

“As he approached his dive position from the southeast he found two carriers below him, one large, the other small, but both potential targets.  He chose the larger one simply because it was large and was just as accessible as the small one.  This was no hasty decision made in the heat of battle…Leslie’s vision was clear, he could see plainly that there was an unmistakable difference in the size of the two enemy carriers and he had sufficent time to compare the two and select the heavier and therefore more valuable…target….Leslie at first believed that he had attacked the Kaga, but after reading more battle reports he concluded his target must have been the Akagi, a view supported by some of his former squadron members.” 

 

To attack Akagi, Leslie would have to ignore Soryu and Hiryu…

 

 

If Leslie attacked Akagi, then Soryu was too far to the northwest to be viable (and Hiryu was not ignored – he assigned VS-5 to the second carrier.  If Leslie attacked the Soryu, he has to have some sort of reason why he’d pick a 16,000 ton carrier with a 36,000 ton carrier also in easy reach.  (SS lightly touches upon it, but Leslie saw both 1st and 2nd division carriers, knew they were different sizes, and could see no damage to any of them).

 

Note that supposition Best attacked Soryu would also give his element a 100% hit rate as she was hit by 3 bombs. Best's account (his element attacking alone) best matches Akagi

 

 

Best’s account best matches the bombing of the Soryu.  He saw the bridge on the starboard side.  In later years he’d not say which carrier he thought he bombed, he’d only say that he was supplying names according to the information Lord provided. His bomb hit where the 1st bomb hit Soryu.  He reported two more hits on his target in the places where Soryu was hit, (but in opposite order to the NR).  Akagi was hit once or twice, Soryu 3 times.  Best reports 3 hits, the first direct.  Akagi's first bomb was  a miss.

 

Anyways, the main point is that there isn’t enough information to be so specific about a lot of details about the battle.  When the battlefield is mapped it’ll fill in a lot of these details.



#35 Rich

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 1214 PM

The "bomb positions" of Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu on the "NR" all occurred in little more than the space of the width of the penciled course track between the marks for 0721 and 0730. The positions of the vessels as shown is their "sinking positions": Kaga 30 - 23.3 N, 179 - 17.2 W, Akagi 30 - 30 N, 178 - 40 W (her western position is misplaced on the chart), and Soryu 30 - 38 N, 179 - 13 W.



#36 Rich

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 1401 PM

Resolving the conflicting accounts always seems to revolve around either accusing McCluskey of being incompetent and Best saving the day, or Best being incompetent and McCluskey saving the day. No one seems interested in looking at the actual reports and participants accounts in order to understand how the fog of war played its part.

 

McCluskey never commanded a group attack before. He attempted to follow USF-74 Section 3-101 and 3-207 and designate targets as CAG. Those sections relate to air group bombing.

 

Best never commanded a squadron attack before. "The Enterprise Air Group Commander designated by voice radio one CV target for himself and VS-6 and another CV target for VB-6. Commander Bombing Squadron Six understood his target to be the "left hand" CV." He likely understood it to mean that because he heard what he expected to hear, the trailing bombers - his - would attack the near target (Kaga) as in USF-74 Section 2-218. That section relates to squadron bombing, which was all Best ever had done and all the Enterprise Air Group had ever done...in combat. In postwar accounts, Best said he never heard McCluskey designate targets, but told McCluskey he was attacking "according to doctrine". He also remembered the oxygen incident differently in later accounts, stating he had the problem himself early when the group reached 14,000 feet and went on oxygen. However, in his action report he said "Shortly before reaching the objective several VB-6 pilots encountered difficulties with oxygen supply. The Squadron Commander noted the oxygen difficulties of his wing men. He removed his oxygen mask so that he would have the same reaction as other pilots and led the squadron to a position directly below the remainder of the attack force at an altitude of 15,000 ft." That actually concurs with his later account of his wingman (singular) running out of oxygen and him ordering the squadron to a lower altitude.

 

[edit] BTW, one of the last participant survivors of VB-6 recalled that Jim Murray told him Best actually breathed in the caustic soda during his dive on Akagi and not earlier as Best recalled it.[/edit]

 

Dusty Klaiss of VS-6 heard no orders from McCluskey other than the simple command to attack or any responses from Gallaher or Best. Klaiss also confirmed that VB-6 dropped down to a lower altitude just before the attack.

 

Gallaher commanding VS-6 heard "The Enterprise Air Group Commander designated by voice radio one CV target for himself and VS-6 and another CV target for VB-6." Notably he does not say which ones were designated for which squadron.


Edited by Rich, 10 June 2017 - 1405 PM.


#37 Marek Tucan

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Posted 10 June 2017 - 1403 PM

Again, Soryu survivor reports speak of multiple planes, in multiple elements. Her AAA engaged the first element spotted and the first hit came from another group of SBDs. Akagi survivors reported small amount of planes diving shallower than expected. And yes, Leslie would have to have ignored Soryu and Hiryu while Best would have to ignore Kaga AND Hiryu.
As for island, it was not uncommon to mistake the low bent smokestacks for it in other sighting reports.

#38 glenn239

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Posted 05 August 2017 - 0958 AM

 

Mark Tucan Again, Soryu survivor reports speak of multiple planes, in multiple elements. Her AAA engaged the first element spotted and the first hit came from another group of SBDs.

 

 

 

The combat accounts are less important than the reconstruction of the relative positions of the carriers at the time of attack.   That’s why Shattered Sword spent a hundred pages setting up their conclusions on the relative positions of the carriers during the dive bombing.  If Soryu’s bombing location is eventually shown to have been northeast of Akagi’s then the Lord/Cressman/Shattered Sword reconstruction is correct.  If Soryu’s bombing position is proven to have been northwest of Akagi’s (as in the NR action chart) then Shattered Sword's version can not be correct and Akagi must have been bombed by Yorktown.  That’s all there is to it.  It literally is as simple as that. 

 

Lord’s reconstruction gave Akagi to Best.  He admitted he was less certain of this conclusion than McClusky vs. Kaga.  His main arguments were (a) both Best and Leslie saw the target’s bridge on the starboard side so their conflicting accounts were a “wash” on this detail; ( b ) Best’s wingman (I believe his no.5) saw the bridge on the port side so that Best was wrong and Leslie was right; ( c) that Soryu’s plane guard was bombed in the vicinity of Akagi by Yorktown aircraft.  His stated reservations were that Best’s account of the first bomb hitting matched Soryu and not Akagi and that Best was 100% certain his target’s bridge was on the starboard side, (Soryu, not Akagi).    

 

Lord’s reasoning is solid.  But (a) Leslie (with no bomb) pulled up at a much higher altitude than Best and departed quickly while Best loitered at low altitude for some time.  Leslie’s account of the location of the target’s bridge therefore carries considerably less weight than Best’s.  (Akagi has a noticeable series of platforms 1/3rd the way back on the starboard side just ahead of her funnel that could be mistaken for a bridge from 4,000 feet); ( b ) Lord seems to have assumed Best’s no.4 and 5. Wingmen and Best all bombed the same ship.  But it appears they may not have, which would undermine Lord's original reasoning; ( c) The Nagumo report states that around 10am the escorts were charging into the oncoming torpedo bombers for AA support.  Soryu’s plane guard could have moved southeast at high speed to engage VT-3 while Soryu herself continued northwest - this would put distance between the two at the moment of attack.

 

Akagi survivors reported small amount of planes diving shallower than expected.

 

 


The Nagumo Report says the dives were at 50 degrees.   Most Akagi survivor accounts I've read don't even discuss dive angles, save the NR and one other.  That, ironically enough, is Fuchida’s.  His 1951 version is very cryptic, basically the Nagumo Report without personal exposition.  His account in For That One Day (memoires) is that he counted 9 US dive bombers stacked over Akagi and saw the first three attack with the first two missing to starboard, then the third nearly killed him right on the flight deck, (his legs were smashed at the moment the first bomb went off, not later while leaving the bridge on a rope).

 

 

And yes, Leslie would have to have ignored Soryu and Hiryu while Best would have to ignore Kaga AND Hiryu.

 

 

 

Leslie stated he had a 1st (large) and 2nd (small) division target near to each other.  He says he bombed the 1st division ship only because it was noticeably the larger of the two.  Hiryu and Soryu were virtually identical in size, with Soryu being a little smaller, so the two ships he talked about cannot have been them.   Just after the battle Leslie thought he’d bombed the Kaga, but later after careful study he concluded it was the Akagi.  (As Shattered Sword mentions none of any of this you need to get a copy of Climax at Midway to get anything of Leslie’s real account). 

 

Best stated he bombed a “Kaga” type carrier in his report.  But, in his oral history (1990’s) he declined to offer a personal opinion on his target, instead informing the reader that he identified the carriers in his account only by using the information Lord gave him.  That I found unusual, as Leslie and McClusky both freely offered their opinions on their targets based on their personal eyewitness recollection.

 

 


Edited by glenn239, 05 August 2017 - 1003 AM.





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