Roundtable Forum
Our 20th Year
January 2017

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
John Greaves
The Mystery of the VT Painting
Two Unrelated Questions
A Grandfather's BOM Role
BOM Forum on Disk
2nd Lt. Ellwood Q. Lindsay at Midway
After Action Report of MAG-22 XO
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

I start off the new year with a rather sober announcement.  Our great artist John Greaves passed away this month.  For those that don't know him or of him let me explain.  John Greaves was an aviation artist and a member of the RoundTable since January 29th 2008.  He contributed to the RoundTable through his paintings and occasional comment and expertise on aircraft that participated in the Battle of Midway as well as others.  The drawing you see at the top of the RoundTable pages of the Dauntless is one done by John Greaves.

When I first took over the BOM RoundTable I contacted John about the drawing saying I'd like to get a better image of the drawing and asked if he had the original and could scan it again in higher resolution.  I told him that I'd like to present a better image for the heading of the pages and also possibly do some hat's, tshirts, polo's, patches, or whatever for members or anyone that was interested in some wearables.  I had a company I've worked with for many years and they said they could do embroidered as well as screen printings.  He told me that unfortunately he did not have a higher resolution image of the drawing and that he did not have a copy of the drawing any longer and could not remember what happened to it.  But he told me that he could do a much better drawing now and he would do one for me.

Well one thing lead to another and we just never got around to doing anything together on this.  It will forever be a bitter reminder that we never did get around to it.

Thank you John for being a great artist and hopefully someone I can call friend.  You will be missed.

John Greaves

From Janet Greaves:
January 16, 2017

Just wanted to let all on this forum know that my husband John Greaves passed away January 9, 2017. He will be dearly missed by me (Janet), and his 2 daughters (Emma & Katy). I know this group was important to John, a place of discussion for all that John loved, aviation/history/art.  With warm regards.

Editors Note:  Those wishing to send regards can do so by sending them to me and I'll pass them on and post them here on the RoundTable.  John Greaves as well as his brilliant artwork will be missed by all.  So as a reminder here is the last art that John sent to us of Earnest, Manning, and Ferrier's Avenger heading back to Midway after attacking the Japanese fleet.  You can see the smoke rising from Midway which is how Earnest found his way back to the island.

For more info on the painting as well as a link to John's web pages go Here.

From Ron Russell
January 29, 2017

I was stunned by the announcement in the newsletter concerning the passing of Canadian commercial artist John Greaves. John was a key player on the Roundtable through his own comprehensive BOM web pages plus his superb talent as an aviation artist. He generously worked with me on the creation of "No Right to Win" by providing one of his BOM paintings for the frontispiece, and especially for some Photoshop trickery on that front cover picture of a diving SBD. The plane is actually a meticulously accurate flying scale model of an Enterprise Dauntless from the battle, but its miniature engine only had a two-bladed prop. John edited the photo to show three spinning blades, making a look like the real deal. (That has generated a lot of surprised expressions from readers when I tell them the plane is actually a four-foot model.)

John also worked with me and Roundtable author Ian Toll to produce a custom painting for an article Toll wrote for "Naval History" magazine. The subject was three surviving BOM veterans, all rear-seat gunners; one from each of the three U.S. carriers at Midway. Since the trio included VT-3's Lloyd Childers, I thought the article needed a picture showing Lloyd's duel with attacking Zeros after his machine gun had jammed--he'd blazed away at one of them with his .45 pistol! John painted a masterful rendition of the event that the publisher included with the article.

You can see John's handiwork on his website: . Click "Enter" on the home page, then "Midway" on the top toolbar. That takes you to thumbnail images of his best BOM paintings--click each one to open the full picture. The second one, "Fighting Back with a .45" was for the above magazine article, and "Tom Cheek at Midway" is the picture John let me use in "No Right to Win." (Looks a lot better in full color on his website.) "SOC Over USS Portland" was another painting commissioned for a "Naval History" article, this one centered on the BOM experiences of Roundtable veteran Ralph Wilhelm.

I could go on about John's contributions to the Roundtable, but this message is already more than long enough. Suffice to say that, tough as it is to accept, we always expected that the BOM veterans on our roster would all eventually make their final muster in the foreseeable future. But this was not expected, so it's doubly hard to accept. Like I've had to say here so many times before, there goes a truly great guy and a cherished friend of the Roundtable.

--Ron Russell

The Mystery of the VT Painting

From Ron Russell:
January 8, 2017

Regarding the source of that dramatic VT painting that adorned the Roundtable's home page during my turn at the helm, that indeed was and is one of our more frustrating mysteries. It came to me early in my tenure that began in 2002, from one of our members who found it on a restricted-access website with no information about the originator. Over the next few years I made occasional mention that I'd like to find the painting's artist to give due credit, and neither I nor any of our 500 members (at the time) ever came up with anything.

As an interesting aside, we did make an effort to determine exactly which squadron the painting portrays, and here's the full discussion from issue 2010-41 of the Roundtable Forum:


One of the Roundtable’s minor mysteries has been the source of the VT painting that adorns our web site's home page. It’s been featured there for over eight years, but in all that time I’ve never been able to learn who the artist is, or exactly where the image comes from. (I originally acquired it from a member who found it on a web page with no other info.) Additionally, I’ve never known exactly which flight of TBDs the painting is supposed to represent.

While the artist still remains a mystery, I thought it might at least be possible to figure out which squadron is represented. A possible clue surfaced within our recent discussion about the ship indicator numerals being absent on U.S. naval aircraft in the BOM. That got me looking at the aircraft numerals visible in the painting, and at first it seemed evident that those planes would belong to VT-3 from the Yorktown. That’s suggested by the solitary “7” on the plane in the foreground. VT-6 and VT-8 included a “T” in front of the number, i.e. “T-14” for George Gay. But the Yorktown aircraft had no squadron designator in front of the aircraft number; just the number itself, as in the painting. (I came to this conclusion indirectly, since I haven’t found a photo of a VT-3 TBD at Midway that shows the side number clearly. But Tom Cheek’s VF-3 F4F clearly shows his number “16” without an “F” in front of it, and that’s my clue. See A Glorious Page In Our History, March 1998 edition, p. 124.)

However, there’s a problem with that theory: TBD #7 in the foreground has twin .30 cal. guns in the rear, and VT-3 planes had just the single gun.

That leaves us with no clear indication as to which squadron is seen in the painting, and in fact, the available clues aren’t precisely accurate for any of them. Perhaps that’s what the artist intended—a tribute to all three squadrons, done with a bit of creative license intended to honor them all without singling out one of them.
--Ron Russell

Editors Note:  I too have spent some time trying to track down the owner of the painting with no success.  My impression is that the painting might have been done during the war and appeared in a magazine perhaps.  There were a series of artists that did paintings of specific battles that went with articles or used as posters.  However every search that  I can think of returns no credited artist.  So it continues to be a mystery.

Two Unrelated Questions

From Timothy Borchers:
January 5, 2017

I have been a Member for a number of years but not asked a question.
1. How seriously did Nimitz consider not sending the fleet to defend Midway? Obviously he looked at an opportunity to surprise and destroy a key component of the Japanese fleet, but he didn’t have to fight there. With American production growing rapidly, deferring combat to more favorable terms was an option. I’m sure Admiral King would not have looked kindly at this. American public opinion would have wondered where the navy was.

The atoll was likely able to defend itself – per Parshall’s analysis in Shattered Sword – the Japanese lacked the landing craft to cross the reef, troops walking hundreds of yards over it would have faced a Betio like bloodbath, the assault lacked tanks, artillery and engineers to dig the Marines out, and there was a low attacker/defender ratio to ensure a foothold. If the Japanese bombed Midway, tried to land and failed, the Japanese would have sailed home with a bloody nose and short a number of aviators after using a year’s worth of oil. Yamamoto would have lost face.

The crucial battle might have been fought several months later near New Caledonia or New Guinea, when the Saratoga and Hornet would have had fully trained air groups and perhaps Yorktown repaired.

2. Why did Nimitz send the Saratoga to the Guadalcanal landings rather than Hornet? Saratoga was a less capable ship – its two slower elevators were one less than the Hornet’s three faster elevators. Was Hornet kept at Pearl for training purposes? Its air group performed poorly at Midway, but they had six weeks to build a fresh group from resources at Pearl. Saratoga’s air group was similarly freshly formed – it came from the West Coast largely with replacement aircraft and not well balanced group. Wasp and Enterprise make sense, but I have never understood why Nimitz sent Saratoga over Hornet, unless he wanted a good carrier in reserve.
Tim Borchers

Editors Note:  To your first point there were a lot of moving pieces to the decision to try to ambush the Japanese Fleet at Midway.  First and foremost the intelligence that lead to the discovery of the Japanese plans was only good if one acted upon it.  Much has been written about breaking the Japanese Naval Code and the back and forth with Washington about where and when the Japanese would attack.  I think Nimitz was committed to try to best the Japanese where ever he could.  One must also remember the abandonment of Wake Island just before he took command.  I'm sure he was not anxious to abandon another outpost without a fight.  Something ironically the Japanese fully anticipated.  To get a better understanding of the dilemma he faced I suggest reading 'And I Was There : Breaking the Secrets - Pearl Harbor and Midway' by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton.

As for why the Hornet was not sent to take part in the invasion of Guadalcanal.  There were several contributing factors.  Hornets air group, despite not participating fully in the morning attacks, suffered some of the most significant losses.  Well documented was of course the loss of Torpedo 8, but Bombing 8, Scouting 8 and Fighting 8 suffered significant losses in aircraft and to some degree pilots and aircrew.  The other factor was that since Hornet was the Navy's newest carrier many of the pilots, aircrew, and flight personel were reservists who although being on the ship for some time did not have the cohesion of the other carriers.  When Hornet returned to Pearl both Enterprise and Hornets air groups were depleted.   They had to be replenished which meant many men were transferred and assigned to other squadrons.  In doing so Hornet pretty much received an entirely new air group.  Fighting 72 was assigned to Hornet and Fighting 8 left the ship eventually being disbanded August 17th.  Many of the other officers from Bombing 8 and Scouting 8 were assigned other duties.

Saratoga on the other hand had a complete air group as they did not participate in the Midway battle.  They still needed training but not to the extent that Hornet's brand new air group did.  So Hornet stayed behind to not only train the air group but also to receive some much needed upgrades.  First the SC radar antenna did not work.  Word was that if the Hornet had to defend itself at Midway the radar would not be of much use.  Fortunately Hornet did not have to fight off an attack and even if she did it was fortunate Enterprise was riding shotgun.  The battleship California had been outfitted with the new CXAM antenna before the war.  With the ship being damaged the antenna was transferred to a radar watch station on Hawaii.  With the threat of the Japanese repeating the attack on Pearl Harbor curtailed the new radar antenna was removed and installed on Hornet.  The other thing that plagued the ship was the Oerlikon 1.1" quad machine guns.  They were prone to jamming or worse exploding and really were not heavy enough to provide sufficient protection especially against torpedo plane attacks.  The Bofors 40mm mounts dd not reach Pearl in time for installation on Enterprise and even though Hornet did not leave till August 17th she too left without the new mounts when the ship left for duty in the South Pacific.  The ship did receive more 20mm mounts and some other upgrades.  The Enterprise did arrive just in time for the Battle of Santa Cruz freshly outfitted with the new Bofors 40mm mounts and they worked well protecting the ship.  Hornet as far as I can tell never did receive the 40mm mounts and how much that contributed to the loss of the ship at Santa Cruz is anyone's guess.

A Grandfather's BOM Role

From Barrett Tillman:
January 5, 2017

The nonspecific search for a grandfather's BOM role reminds me of a CSPAN program recently aired with three WW II vets. It was egregiously described as "Three Navy fighter pilots of WW II." Well, one of them was navy and one was a fighter pilot, but none were VF pilots. The navy rep claimed he was in VB-8, implying he was a radioman-gunner but Jim Sawruk checked and found no mention of him--Lewis Varvel.

The third vet was Dick Cole, last of the Doolittle Raiders. Of course he did make one carrier takeoff!


BOM Forum on Disk

From Jesse Tetrault:
January 5, 2017

I was reading some of the older news letters from 2004 and they mentioned a ‘disk’ containing material from 1999 on. I was wondering if there is a single resource with all the BOMRT material news letters, etc that could be downloaded and/or zipped and emailed. This is for nothing more than my own personal archives as a BOM enthusiast. I planned on simply coping all the RT news letters into a word processor and removing the links to events etc to distill it down to nothing but the posts regarding the BOM itself.

I want/wanted (I dream these things up while forgetting I need to hold down a full time job) to make a youtube video with a large map and icons (and even film clips) showing the Battle of Midway in real time starting and include BOMRT quotes at the appropriate times and places. It’ll likely never happen but like I said earlier I’m an enthusiast.

Jesse Tetrault

Editors Note:  There is no comprehensive disk containing all BOM Forums on disk.  The disk that is mentioned is a complilation of emails sent to and from various veterans and others in the early days of the RoundTable.  Much of the information has been repeated but there is some interesting exchanges.  I have been working on getting these emails posted on the RoundTable in our archives.  Time has been a little tight so not a lot of them have been formatted and pages created.  More work to do.  But would like to make these available as well to everyone.

2nd Lt. Ellwood Q. Lindsay at Midway

From Mike Jensen:
January 14, 2017

I have been looking into the life of 2nd Lt. Ellwood Q. Lindsay and have been able to flesh out a good portion of his history. The family has in their possession several letters home and one of the saddest things was a letter that his mother wrote to him from Montpelier, Idaho. She wrote it June 3, 1942 and posted it the next day. It is postmarked 4 June 1942, Montpelier, Idaho, 5:00 pm. It is then stamped "USMC Reports Undeliverable" and "Return to Writer".

The family also has his Aviators Flight Log Book. The last entry was for June 4, obviously entered by a surviving member, that states "Combat with Enemy" "Missing in Action." The final staff signature in that Log Book is P. R. White.

Ellwood Lindsay was Capt. Daniel J. Hennessey's wingman and died on that June 4, flying a F2A-3. Several lists online state he was in BU# 01541, his Log Book shows him specifically in BU# 01524 on June 3 and then the last entry has ditto marks to say he was in BU# 01524 on June 4 also. Just one of those interesting discrepancies.

One interesting side story. Ellwood was apparently at NAS Pensacola on Dec. 7, 1941. He wrote a letter home on December 11, 1941 from Dallas and he says that on the Monday previous, which would have been December 8, 1941, he received orders to board a train that same day to Dallas (I believe along with others) and then they were to ferry some planes from Dallas to San Diego. This "ferry" is reflected in his Log Book and occurred in 5 hops from Dec 12 to Dec 14. I found it interesting that in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor they were redeploying aircraft around the country almost immediately. He was in San Diego training until Jan 25, then sailed for Hawaii where he continued training, then sailed for Midway on the USS Curtiss and arrived at Midway on March 28, 1942. According to his Log Book, it appears that he was initially attached to VMF-222 until that unit left Midway and then was with VMF-221.

Well, I was just wondering if you have any further info on 2nd Lt. Ellwood Q. Lindsay. I would certainly be interested in any further info.

Thank you very much for your work and service.

Mike Jensen

(By the way, Ellwood Lindsay is the uncle of my sister-in-law - her Mother's brother.)

After Action Report of MAG-22 XO

From Mike Jensen:
January 14, 2017

I was very interested in reading many of the After Action Reports that are on your website I was especially interested in the Report of the MAG-22 XO.

However as these pages were copied the bottom of several of them were cut off. Especially page 5. Right at the bottom of that page there is an entry that indicates what directions were given at 0605 to three VMF-221 fighter divisions led by Parks, Carey and Curtin. Then next entry is half cut off, but it refers to 2 divisions led by Hennessey and Armistead and the instructions they were given.

I was wondering if you know what that full entry is at the bottom of the 5th page. I sent you a message separately about Ellwood Q. Lindsay, he was wingman to Capt. Hennessey and so I was trying to piece together as much as possible what happened to their division. It appears they received orders to go to a position and hold and then about 9 minutes after the engagement began they were vectored in to the battle. Just trying to fill in the blanks.

If you can help with this at all I would sure be grateful.

Thank you so much.

Mike Jensen

Editors Note:  I know the reports were cut off and it's frustrating to say the least. I've looked for a complete PDF of the documents but with no luck in the past. I did inherit the pdf from the previous host of the RoundTable and maybe he has a full copy but it's doubtful.

I would suppose they'd be in the national archives. I may contact them and see if they can forward a copy to me. Long shot but worth a try since nothing else has worked.

Announcements and Questions

Halsey’s Bluff

From Larry Scheweikart
January 6, 2017

After much work, in a week I will have an opportunity to present “Halsey’s Bluff,” my counterfactual of the BOM that your vets so wonderfully read and corrected, as a screenplay to a major financing fund.

Editors Note:  Congratulations. That is a great opportunity. Hope it goes well. Keep us posted.