Roundtable Forum
Our 18th Year
October 2014

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Some notes from Ted Kraver
Lack of army planes at Midway
VT-8 veteran Charles E. Monroe
Zero Footnote
USN War Games
Model Building Question
RoundTable Notes and Announcements
BOM Books for the asking
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

This month we have a number of topics from our members ranging from more about Army Airplanes at Midway including an interesting find off Midway Atoll just recently to details about the Dauntless Dive Bombers and crews on that day in June.  We also have some follow up information on the captured Zero and VT-8 Veteran Charles Moore and more.  I have also repeated the Book offer from our very generous Book Santa Claus Ted Kraver for those that missed it last time.  I added it a day or so after the newsletter was announced as Mr. Kraver contacted me on October 2nd asking why his books were not listed earlier in the year so those that read it immediately probably didn't see the offer.  My appologies.

Also remember that November 11th is veterans day.  If you have the opportunity and see a veteran stop and say Hi.  I know the old cliche of thanking them for their service is seen as a passing statement anymore but I never use that as an excuse.  Also maybe exchange a few pleasantries before moving on.  I'm sure all appreciate it. 

And to all our Veterans here on the RoundTable whether you were actually at the Battle of Midway or not, Thank YOU for your service!

Some notes from Ted Kraver

From Ted Kraver:

A Little Midway Magic:

Bobbie and I learned about the project to bring the USS Midway from NoCal to North Island in San Diego Harbor and provided a substantial donation. A couple of years later we were canoeing in the harbor and decided to take a closer look. Not a good idea with Naval security around that part of North Island. A year or two later the USS Midway had been structurally “museumIzed” and Bobbie and I were invited to take a ride as it was towed from North Island to its final berth at the San Diego Embarcadero. For us it was a thrill of a lifetime. We have enjoyed follow-on museum visits and BOM Celebration dinners when we were in San Diego visiting daughter and granddaughter.

Battle of Midway Remembrance Day and Celebration Dinners

Clayton (Clay) Fisher and his wife Anne become friends of ours in the late 1990’s. I remember sitting in his study and my jaw dropping as he pulled out file after file of his BOM memorabilia. He then put me in touch with Bill Price and the BOM Roundtable. He also connected me with Admiral William Houser. I had a number of conversations with the Admiral as he organize the national set of BOM Celebration dinners. His issue was that the Brits had a naval day for their victory at Trafalgar and the US Navy needed a special remembrance and celebration day. He was instrumental in getting the BOM day recognized by the United States Navy.

Battle of Midway Presentations Available

At the request of the Secretary of State (military history guy) a couple of years ago for a dedication at the Arizona Capital History Museum, I made up a 40 slide PowerPoint presentation on the Battle of Midway. My contrarian theme was that based on the work of current historians (Barrett Tillman, Craig Symonds, Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully and our own Ron Russell with our BOMRT book No Right to Win). My belief is that Japanese brought a weaker force and outmoded strategy to the Battle of Midway and the battle was ours to lose. The presentation is richly illustrated with maps and photos and includes the Yorktown being sunk 4 times and memorial to our own Howard Ady.

I have made this presentation a half dozen times to various groups including to our Phoenix chapter of Naval Order of the US. I usually include a table display of desktop models of the 16 (yes sixteen) different type of aircraft that played a role in the Battle of Midway. A number of the models had to be special ordered from Factory Direct Models  such as the E13A Jake. I would like to email anyone a copy of the presentation that requests it from My new presentation that I am now presenting to similar groups is the history of the development of the dive bomber (Barrett Tillman and Thomas Wildenberg) that ends with the Battle of Midway. This presentation is also available to anyone who wants to take a look.

Continue to enjoy our monthly news letter.

Cheers! Ted

Lack of army planes at Midway

From Ron Martell:

I could only quickly find one source but I believe there are more. Potter, Bull Halsey, p. 3 states that army pursuit plane pilots were forbidden to fly more than fifteen miles from land as they had no training in over-water navigation. There is the problem of how army planes could have gotten to Midway in the first place. Lexington and Yorktown were in the South Pacific from February until the Yorktown arrived at Pearl Harbor on May 28. The Saratoga was in Bremerton undoing repairs from a torpedo strike in January. The Enterprise accompanied Doolittle and the Hornet beginning in early April and the two carriers went to the Coral Sea before returning to Pearl Harbor in late May. No army planes went to Midway by carrier and the planes lacked the range to fly to Midway from Pearl Harbor. Hence, no army planes on Midway.

VT-8 veteran Charles E. Monroe

From Steve Moore:

I was reading through the August issue of the Roundtable and noticed the question from Margaret Riggs regarding VT-8 veteran Charles E. Monroe. Since I have quite a bit of material on men who flew with the Cactus Air Force at Guadalcanal, I thought I'd drop a belated answer to the question.

ARM2c Charles E. Monroe flew with Torpedo Eight on the USS Saratoga during the Guadalcanal campaign and then went ashore with the detachment that served with the Cactus Air Force. On August 24, 1942, Monroe flew in T-7 with Ens. Robert A. Divine during the attack on the carrier Ryujo at the Battle of the Eastern Solomons.

Divine's crew flew into Cactus on September 28 to join those serving at Henderson Field. His crew was forced to ditch in the ocean on October 1, but all were recovered. Monroe also flew with Lt. (jg) Jack Barnum from Henderson Field, but was flying with Lt. (jg) Divine again on November 7, when he was credited with possibly shooting down a Japanese aircraft. Divine, Monroe and AOM3c Wiley Bartlett also participated in the strikes against the Japanese battleship Hiei on November 13.

I have quite a bit on VT-8 going back to my research on VT-10 from by "Buzzard Brigade" book. Hope this helps, even if it is a couple months late.

Steve Moore

Zero Footnote

From Gregory Finnegan:

I'm pasting below a footnote to the Zero story in the Sept. BOMRT.

The eventual Commodore Jurika went on to, among other things, brief the Doolittle squadron on HORNET before their raid. I mostly lurk on the Roundtable, but find it invaluable. My connection is hereditary: my late father, Capt. Joseph Finnegan USN (ret.), was a Japanese Language Officer (Tokyo 1934-37) and spent the entire war as a translator-cryptananalyst in Joe Rochefort's unit at Pearl Harbor. He also was a 'plankowner' in the pre-NSA CIA from 1947-50, involved with signals intelligence. Incidentally, Capt. Packard's book (from which the note below was taken) is the only book until Elliot Carlson's Joe Rochefort's War (USNIP 2011) to be able to utilize my father's oral history. That's because Packard was writing for the Office of Naval Intelligence. My father's oral histories, done in 1969-70 were, and are, classified. (Indeed, only 1.5 of the 11 volumes of transcripts done for what is now the Naval History and Heritage Command were allowed to be held there. The rest eventually wound up with NSA. Elliot Carlson was able to shake loose some, but far from all, by a Freedom of Information Act request. If the Jurika story is better known than I think it is, feel free to disregard it. But insofar as the BOM, particularly from the FRUPac perspective, is centrally linked to "intelligence," it's good to be reminded that simply having it isn't enough.

On another point, my father was one of the people involved with decoding the Yamamoto itinerary, but I don't remember him ever speaking about how high the intel went afterwards. Not that he ever spoke much about that whole duty--those folks *never* really spoke about it. As late as 1981, when I met him, Capt. Roger Pineau got permission first before accepting invitations to speak about WW II codebreaking. In re Adm. Yamamoto, tho', my father did stress that he and the rest of the Tokyo-trained language officers all knew Yamamoto personally, from their time in Tokyo. (A minor virtue of Capt. Packard's ONI Centennial history is that it contains a full list of all the pre-war Japanese language officers, with summaries of their subsequent careers in intelligence, drawn from my father's oral history.)

Thanks again for such a great resource!

Greg Finnegan

Zero Footnote:

I much appreciate Fran Kraus’ piece on the recovery and analysis of PO Koga’s Zero; I knew the basic story, but numerous details were news to me. The basic point, as noted, was the importance of the eventual analysis, “Five months after America's entry into the war, the Zero was still a mystery to U.S. Navy pilots.”

That’s certainly true, and important. But it’s worth noting that intelligence is only useful if its significance is recognized! There’s a wonderful cautionary tale that’s directly relevant here. In A Century of U.S. Naval Intelligence (Capt. Wyman H. Packard, USN Ret., Navy Dept., 1996) is the following:

“In 1940, a Japanese Zero fighter aircraft was on display at the Haneda International Airport. [Then Lt.(jg) Stephen] Jurika, a naval aviator, went to see it [while he was Asst. Naval Attaché for Air] and was allowed to sit in the cockpit, where he found the nameplate written in English. He noted that the weight of the Zero was about half that of the U.S. Navy’s F4F Wildcat, but that the horsepower was the same, giving the Zero better speed, climbing, and maneuvering capabilities. About three months after he submitted his report, ONI chided him that he should be more careful in reporting the characteristics and estimated weight of Japanese aircraft.” (pp.71-72)

Jurika’s report wouldn’t have provided solutions for dealing with the Zero, but operational squadrons clearly could at least have been given a better awareness than they initially had of what they’d be facing.

USN War Games

From Mike Allen:

I'm a long time reader of the roundtable newsletter and want to thank you for taking over! It would have been a huge loss if it hadn't continued.

I was wondering, the Japanese seemed to do a lot of war gaming prior to major operations according to many books I have read. In fact in a war game exercise prior to the BOM a group did put our carriers right where we ended up having them. I'm wondering, did Adm. Nimitz utilize war games to find the strengths and weaknesses of any given campaign?

Thanks again for all you do!

Editor's Note:  I have read much about the Pacific war but don't recall reading any instance of the US utilizing War Games to plan for an operation with D-Day being the sole exception that I can think of and that was more maneuvers than table top games.  I believe since the Pacific War was mostly a defensive battle for the most part during 1942 and to a certain extent even in 1943 there would be little chance to actually 'game' much of anything.  Plus our only real offensive in 1942 at Guadalcanal was more of a reaction than an offensive.  Now that's not to say the US did not use table top games as part of a planning strategy it's just that I haven't heard much about them.

Model Building Question

From John T Leyland:

I am a model builder with a passion for accuracy. My current project is a 1/48 scale SBD-3 to represent Dick Best and Chief Murray on June 4 1942 in their dive on Akagi with the bomb descending still attached to the “crutch”.

I have a few questions regarding the aircraft and the clothing worn:

- did the propeller hub have the cone shaped spinner attached or had it been removed? If present what color?
- would the pilot sliding canopy have been open or closed in the dive?
- would the oxygen masks have been worn or hanging loose? I know they were having problems with the oxygen system.
- from what I have read, Chief Murray would have been facing forward to call the altitude to the pilot. Would he have stowed his guns or left them ready? Would he have closed the aft canopy behind him?
- what color was the bomb? Alvin Kernan in “Crossing the Line” often refers to “yellow bombs”- would this still have been true at Midway?
- Did the propeller still have the three color tip? - on both sides or just facing away from the pilot?
- would the plane have been carrying the empty pylons for the 100 lb bombs or would they have been removed to save weight?

- I assume both would have worn tan coveralls and yellow life vests. What color would their headgear have been- tan cloth or leather? Would they have worn brown leather flight jackets and pants? I have read that at Midway, crews were wearing only seatbelts, that shoulder harnesses had not yet been issued- is this correct?

I realize that some of this information may no longer be remembered at this late date, but any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!

John T Leyland MD

Editor's Note:   When I was growing up my father, who was an avid model builder of flying balsa wood models before the war, taught me the skills of building model airplanes.  I remember my first plastic model, which was quite a different experience due to the detail, was an SBD Dauntless which interestingly enough I still have.  Seems my father saved that one model all these years and displayed it with his ship models which he took to building after retiring.  I don't have much more info than you possibly do from books and such but maybe some of our RoundTable members have more information or remember some of the details you need.

RoundTable Notes and Announcements

From Jack Parker:

I’ve started sharing the RoundTable Newsletter with the USS Enterprise Facebook page.
USS Enterprise CV6 Facebook Page

Somehow I became an administrator.

Jack Parker

Editor's Note:  Thank you.  I've thought about setting up a Facebook page for the RoundTable several times.  I like the Enterprise page very much and maybe I'll get around to doing one for the RoundTable some day.

From James Leffler, Jr.:

Godspeed and R I P to Mr Kight. It’s a shame to lose these precious veterans of such a major battle. It’s always fun and interesting to hear their first hand accounts. God bless him and his family.

James Leffler, Jr. , A1C U S Air Force

Midway film link & P-40 found off Midway Atoll

Editor's Note:  Here is an interesting film showing the attack on Midway Island during the Battle of Midway.  Many have probably already seen this but for those that haven't enjoy.  There are also quite a few other raw films on the site that are also very worthwhile.

Midway Film

Editor's Note:  And just when you thought that Army fighters weren't operating from Midway Atoll we find this.  As a note of caution this does not mean any were on Midway Atoll during the Battle of Midway because there weren't but apparently later in the war they were indeed operating from Midway Atoll.  Something I at least never knew.

P-40 found off Midway Atoll

Battle of Midway Books

 - Repeat from last month in case anyone missed it.

From Ted Kraver

Book Santa Claus is back.
Sorry I missed last year but got to the VNSA book sale this spring. Fewer books this year, hope Military History is not going out of style.

I was in Washington D.C. last year (April) at same time that the US Naval Institute was having its 2013 annual meeting with Authors, Historians, Publishers and Naval Officers. I dropped into the Park Hotel, and as the after-speaker questions dwindled I raised my hand to ask a question. I introduced myself and introduced myself to the audience “I was not one of the above but was a Reader.” Got a goodly round of applause.

So as a son of Elizabeth the County Librarian I offer these books to you on my 3 (three) strict terms of lo these many past years:

$0, no cost, nada dinero, free of charge.  I pay postage.  First request gets the book.

It’s my way of saying, thanks for the past fifteen+ years of having fun together. Unfortunately there were a dearth of BOM books.

Respond to: Ted Kraver email:

Midway Books

Miracle at Midway   Gordon Prange   1982  Hardcover

Incredible Victory    Walter Lord          1968  Pocket Books

Incredible Victory    Walter Lord          1976  Pocket Books

Designed for Glory    Thomas Wildenberg 1998  Innovation of the heavy dive bomber and BOM.

The First Team  (Pearl Harbor to Midway)  John Lindstrom   1984  Naval Inst. Press First Edition


Others – Pacific Theater

Up Front         Bill Mauldin  1945

Up Front         Bill Mauldin  1968

At Dawn We Slept Gordon Prange (2)

Wake Island     Duane Schultz   1978

Guadalcanal Diary    Richard Tregaskis  1959  (17th Printing) Popular Library Paperback

Guadalcanal Diary    Richard Tregaskis  1943   (1st Edition, Random House)

Guadalcanal    Richard Frank    1992  Penguin                   

Lonely Vigil    Walter Lord   1977   Viking hardback  (coast watchers)

The Battle of Leyte Gulf    Edwin Hoyt  1972  

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors  James Hornfischer   2004 Bantam (I get tear’d up every time I think about Taffy 3 and St. Lo, Gambler Bay, Samuel B. Roberts, Johnson, Fanshaw Bay, Hoel, Kalinin Bay, Kadashan Bay, Marcus Island,...)

The Two-Ocean War    Samuel Eliot Morison   1963 Little Brown & Co.

Editor's Note: Mr. Kraver sent me this list earlier this year but for some reason I did not get the email.  He has kindly sent it again and as you can see the books are available to the first person that asks.  Thank you Mr. Kraver.  Much appreciated.