Roundtable Forum
Our 20th Year
May 2017

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
SBD Pilot Robert K. Campbell
Midway as seen by a Midshipman
Ray Davis
Inquire Early Raids in the Pacific (Feb.,April, 1942)
Lessons From the Battle of Midway
The Curious Tale of CVAG-8
Howard Ady's call sign
Need some help with an A6M...
Annoucements, Questions, and Comments
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Today, June 4th, 2017 marks the 75th year anniversary of the Battle of Midway.  By now the day has passed at Midway atoll but the significance regardless of the time difference is no less celebrated.  There has been a whirlwind of requests from various authors and writers and event organizors for access to any veteran of the battle.  To those that stepped up thank you and to those that so graciously gave an interview or two thank you.  I think we all know what these men did for us on that day so I won't go into a summary or anything.  Enough to say thank you from all of us.

One thing that came to light this past month was the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.  Now many are asking what does that have to do with the Battle of Midway.  Well for one thing the horse that placed 3rd was named 'The Battle of Midway'.  The odds for Battle of Midway winning was 28-1.  A long shot for even showing.  If you had placed a $2 ticket on Battle of Midway to show you would have taken in $20.80.  Not too bad.  I'm sure someone made quite a bit of money on him.

I tried to get in contact with the owners but could not get much in the way of an answer.  I do know that they named the horse after The Battle of Midway but have not found out what tie they have to the battle.  At any rate I found this interesting.  Needless to say I was rooting for him to win.

This month there is a lot to get to.  So lets dive right in.

SBD Pilot Robert K. Campbell

Editors Note:  For those looking for a previous post I had to take down the post because the gentleman in the interview was not a pilot at Midway despite his claim.  Mark Horan pointed this out to me and I should have checked my sources first but did not and that's my failing regardless of the circumstances.  However there is still one pilot that did participate in the morning attack on the Japanese fleet, Robert K. Campbell.  He was in VB3 and flew in the first division.  The link below is about him and what he did in the battle.

Midway as seen by a Midshipman

From Bill Vickrey
May 3rd, 2017

I am fortunate enough to be an Associate Member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and thus get their regular publication known far and wide as SHIPMATE.

Attached is a copy of an article from the current issue of SHIPMATE written by Midshipman Khatavkar (class of 2019). I imagine this is copyrighted but doubt that the Naval Academy would sue you if it was distributed to the members of The Midway Roundtable.

I am sending a copy to my good friend Captain Jack Crawford, USN (Ret). Jack was a member of the USNA class of 1942 and thus was a newly minted Ensign in June of 1942. He jumped aboard YORKTOWN - just as she was leaving Pearl - and jumped off her just before she sank at Midway. He was later a key member of Admiral Rickover’s staff and is one of the living authorities on nuclear propulsion. Jack, you are welcome to join The Roundtable – just send Thom Walla an email. You will get nothing but a copy of the Roundtable’s monthly publication

Jack, please note that some half dozen of us established the online Roundtable several years ago. Included in the original group was Howard Ady, Jr. who was the PPC of the PBY which first spotted the IJN carriers on the morning of 4 June 1942.

Vice Admiral William Houser is mentioned in the preview of this article. Bill was also a member of the class of 1942 and was instrumental in establishing a Midway Memorial on the campus of the Naval Academy and in establishing the Battle of Midway Essay Contest. He was not involved in the “main” Battle of Midway but was aboard a cruiser on it’s way to the Aleutians.

My “main” scanner is on the fritz and the one I am using forces me – I think – to have each scanned page separate thus the four pages of attachments.


Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

Ray Davis

From Brandon Wood
May 9th, 2017

Checking to see if this address was still valid and hoping to contact Bill Vickrey.  I had remembered Bill saying that he had known, possibly interviewed Ray Davis, a BoM vet who later led VB-6 during the Guadalcanal Campaign. I was hoping to discuss Davis with him and see if he might have any info on his service in late-42. Thanks for getting in touch and I look forward to hearing back.

From Bill Vickrey

Over the years, Ray and I became close friends and I often stayed at his home when I was in Pensacola.

One of my most memorable evenings – in my Midway research – was when I had dinner with Dick Best (USNA class of 1932) and Ray Davis (USNA class of 1933). They, of course, knew a lot of the same people at The Academy and in their careers. Ray succeeded Dick as CO of VB-6 aboard ENTERPRISE. Sadly, I did not have a tape recorder with me but I was speechless most of the evening.

Among other events, Ray took VB-6 to Guadalcanal. Dick – as I am sure you know – never flew after Midway and spent much of the rest of WW II in the Army hospital in Denver.

I will try to answer any specific questions you have.

Bill Vickrey

From Brandon Wood

Bill, Thanks for getting back with me. I can only imagine the conversations that you had, and if they were anything like the ones I had with Marine aviators from the Guadalcanal Campaign, very humbling at times. I know that your primary area of expertise (passion) is the BoM, but have you done much work on the Guadalcanal Campaign? As you correctly stated, Davis took VB-6 south but wound up "marooned" at Efate after The Big E was damaged at Eastern Solomons. Their time ashore, while very briefly covered in the MAG-23 WD is relatively undocumented. I dug through the National Archives and VB-6 was on my list, but it was one of a handful of squadrons that does not have a squadron War Diary on file. It may have been lost after all these years, or they may not have submitted one. Regardless, I have always wanted to fill in the blanks a bit more but have pretty much come to the conclusion that there may not be anything to do that with. With the passing of all of the men that took part, even the ability to conduct oral histories has passed.

Do you have any suggestions, or by chance, did you have an opportunity to document Davis' and VB-6's time in SoPac? Perhaps his family retained his papers that could shed light on this period, or the museum in P-Cola (families have been known to donate collections). In the big scheme of things, I really do not need much more than I have, but I love adding as much detail to my work/project as possible and that one area has always been on my list.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions and look forward to hearing back.


From Bill Vickrey

Only as incidental to my studies of Midway did I do a much work from June, 1942 to the end of the war. Many of the books I have in my library extended the studies on past Midway times. John Lundstrom’s second “second team” book may be the best text I have covering the air war following Midway. Many of the pilots I knew also flew in combat following Midway and many of them shared their post Midway combat experiences with me.

I can immediately remember talking to only a few of my Midway friends about their experience in the Solomons.

A few come to mind. General Marion Carl got his second Navy Cross there and talked a good deal about his experience and also wrote a biography. Captain Bert Earnest (VT-8 Detached) got his third Navy Cross while flying off SARATOGA (VT-8). Commander Bill Esders also flew with VT-8 off SARATOGA. I am sure that many others have told me about their post Midway combat experiences but I would have to do a lot of digging to find out what they said. Captain Howell Sumrall (VF-6 at Midway) did talk a good bit about his experience in the Solomons while still in VF-6 aboard ENTERPRISE.

Here is one of my favorite stories about a couple of Midway pilots in their post World War II times. Marion Carl and Bert Earnest were in test pilot school in Maryland. Marion was one of the very early helicopter pilots and was flying a chopper one day. Bert was flying a German jet while Marion was above him. Bert ran the ME-262 off the end of the runway and into some trees. Marion landed and ran toward the spot where Bert had gone into the trees expecting to find his friend dead but was pleased when Bert came walking out of the trees with his parachute over his shoulder.

If you can give me some names of those pilots who flew in and off the Solomon's I will try to dig out as much information as I can about each of them.

I attended several YORKTOWN reunions, two or three reunions of ENTERPRISE, at least three HORNET reunions as well as several of the mud marines who were on Midway and a couple of the PBY squadron reunions. Perhaps the most interesting reunions I attended were those of the NAP reunions. These people knew that their times were running out and were happy to share their experiences. I was the guest speaker at a number of these. I was privileged to go to Midway for a week in 1992 with a Historical Expedition.

I’m sorry I can not help much.

BTW, I was a Navy Medical Corpsman - during the latter part of WW II - but did not see any combat.

Bill Vickrey
P. S. Note that I am copying Barrett Tillman on this correspondence

From Barrett Tillman

I last saw Bert at the Midway 50th in Crystal City. Have mentioned more than once that he introduced me to Harry Ferrier, "The third sole survivor of VT-8." Another former naval aviator from the lone star state said "Geo. Gay gave Texas blowhards a bad name."

Inquire Early Raids in the Pacific (Feb.,April, 1942)

From Manel Gil Cano
May 15th, 2017

I have been subscribed to the Midway RoundTable since 1997- yes, twenty years ago -, and receiving your always much appreciated info messages.

At present dedicating work to gather information on the Air Groups in the Early Respond Strikes in the Pacific (February/April 1942), such as the raids on the Marshalls, Rabaul, Wake, Marcus, Lae-Salamaua, and the Doolitle Raid. I notice there is no comprehensive information on all VBS (SBDs) squadrons participating in these missions.

Although in the USS Enterprise (CV-6) website there is action report information of Bombing Squadron Six (Tactical organization of the flight) signed by LtCdr. W. R. Hollingsworth giving full name of the crews listed by sections, divisions and a/c position number ( B-1... B-7...etc...), not much appears of Scouting Squadron Six (Lt W. E. Gallagher) apart of the mishap of Ltjg Perry L. Teaff / RM3c E. P. Jinks crashed on take off and the lost of a/c S-8 and crew Ens. Percy W. Forman / AMM2c John E. Winchester (MIA) last seen flying low smoking southwest some 5 miles off Wake Is.

Have learned, reported by a POW in Wake, that "two american airmen were captured" and a chinese worker serving in the canteen, witnessed two airmen blindfolded taken away. Last time seen.

That is more or less what have found about VS-6 on this account apart of S-18 (Ens. D. W. Halsey) included on VB-6 3rd Div., makes to me a bit of confussion wether he pertained to VS-6 or to VB-6 roster.

The same problem of information to me happens on USS LEX (CV-2) VBS-2 rosters related to Rabaul (20 Feb´42). Much information on VF-3 (attached from USS SARA -CV-3) and scarcely info on SBDs participation apart of mentions concerning to 2-B- Lt. XO Walter F. Henry and 2-S- Lt XO Edward H. Allen (both shotdown 2 "Bettys").

My inquire is of some of MRT members may afford more info on VBS rosters and action reports available on these above mentioned missions.

Thanks in advance for your kind attention
Manuel Gil

Editors Note:  Thanks for being such a loyal member. As for the comprehensive information on all the raids and squadrons I suppose your best source would be the national archives. I know several authors that have to resort to that due to the books that have been written don't list squadron components and personnel much if at all. I'm sure it has to do with publishing costs to have an extensive appendix.

However there is a book coming out called The War Begins: The Navy's Early Carrier Raids, February-May 1942 by David Lee Russell. You might find some additional information in the book. I have not seen an advance copy or anything so don't know much about it.  I do see that the publication date of the book has been pushed back to June of 2018 unfortunately.

From Manuel Gil Cano

Thanks for your kind prompt answer. Good to know about the new publishing on the Early Raids. It was “rare” to my understanding to find such scarcity of information about these so important “First Team SBD units”. Let´s expect the new book by David Lee Russell covers the issue as well as did J. B. Lundstrom with the VF units First Team ...and the Guadalcanal Campaign ( got both volumes during my visits to Chicago long time ago ).

Already sent my inquire to the national archives (Archive 2 section). The ”automàtic” answer is... hava a backlog that may take some 6 weeks to answer...feel sorry for the inconviniences . Well, I can wait, no problem.

By the way, is still a member of MRT, George Wayne McMullan. He used to be an indefatigable searcher and the best source for me of true information.

My best regards

Editors Note: I don't have George McMullen in the current list of subscribers and went back to the list I received from Ron Russell when I took over. His name is not there either. So I don't have any current or past information on him unfortunately.  Maybe someone else has his current contact information.

Lessons From the Battle of Midway

From Barrett Tillman
May 18th, 2017

Link to the Lessons From the Battle of Midway

From Jon Parshall

1) He still puts forward the standard mythos about the TBD sacrifice having pulled down the Zeros. I.e. he needs to read Tony and my book.

2) Re: "Before Midway, the Americans had rarely won a Pacific battle; afterwards, they seldom lost. America's culture of spontaneity, flexibility and improvisation helped win the battle; Japanese reliance on rote probably lost it.” Ummm, he might wanna talk to the survivors of Savo, and Tassafaronga about that. Makes the Slot fighting seem a little too blithe, if you ask me.


From John Lundstrom


I expected better from Hanson than just the old glop. Jon and Tony, I think he should have read my book, too. Whenever I see someone write the formula 'Spruance and Fletcher ' regarding Midway, I realize that individual has no idea of Nimitz's tactical plan, the USN command relationships, the role of the three carriers, and how the big 4 June strike was organized and dispatched. At least Hanson knows, unlike the current head of Naval History, that "Jack" was not Fletcher's nickname but his middle name.

It's past time to write a comprehensive history of the USN/AAF at Midway. It still hasn't been done.

Best wishes,

From Anthony Tully


You are right, it still hasn't been done. I have been surprised at some of the fresh material that has been found or figured out about the USAAF role, particularly the B-17s in attacking the carriers both in morning and Hiryu later. But they are barely ever covered other than just mentioning the bombing. Not the fact that they were diverted and the B-17's apparently came up from astern of Nagumo to bomb that morning, for example.

One of the things that concerns me is that if they make another Midway movie they will cement some wrong things rather than correcting them, but who knows. (It is worth mentioning the Japanese Yamamoto movie did not do that---seems to try to show, however short-hand some of the newer finds.

It should also be mentioned that there is STILL point to VT-8's sacrifice, so there is no need to feel need to keep repeating the myth. The smoke of the engagement they generated is itself the clue for the Yorktown planes to swing Northwest. That is why they arrive so precisely astern of Cardiv 2 in three layers of altitude in addition to their better navigation.

The VT-8 and VT-6 attacks still mattered- -- but not in relation to pulling the CAP too low.

- Tony

From Barrett Tillman,

Thought that'd evoke some heartfelt responses.

Surprising/disappointing to see VDH taking the path he did--normally his work is thorough and excellent. At least based on what I know about the Peloponnesian Wars...


From Barrett Tillmans Link from unknown

At least he illustrated the article with one of the finest examples of modern naval panoramic photography known to long-suffering humanity. That achievement, alone, more than atones for any alleged failures to consult "the latest scholarly research" (to borrow a term enshrined forever in the sagas of National Air & Space Museum curation).

Editors Note:  There are a lot of articles that have been published in the past month, not all of them well researched or even written.  I have received a number of emails from magazine writers and such asking for details of the battle or perhaps a veteran of the battle to interview.  A couple when faced with the daunting and lengthy task of actually doing the research opted to not write anything.  I think that is the right call.  Not because they didn't write but because they didn't want to further myths about the battle that they thought were facts.  Generally when I answered their questions they were taken back by some of the information received and surprised by 'facts' that were simply untrue.

The Battle of Midway: The Curious Tale of CVAG-8

From Herb Zinn
May 22nd, 2017

I am preparing a talk to present tomorrow (23 May) to the Arizona Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States in Phoenix. The talk is titled “The Battle of Midway: The Curious Tale of CVAG-8” in commemoration of the 75th anniversary coming up on 4 June 2017.

I have been doing loads of reading and research on the topic for several years and decided to focus my remarks on the Hornet’s Air Group during the battle, and inevitably, the argument over which course Ring took – 240 degrees or 265 degrees. I came to the conclusion that I would present the facts – both disputed versions -- and let the audience reach their own conclusions.

But something happened while I was reviewing my Power Point slides that gave me an “ah, ha!” moment and made me conclude it had to be course 265 degrees that Ring took and Waldron departed from.

And here is the reason why.

Waldron comes upon Kido Butai sailing in a northerly/northeasterly course to close with the American carriers for a massive strike about 10:30. When Chikuma spots Waldron and signals his approach (from about 20 miles out) the four Japanese carriers turn in a westerly direction to place their sterns to the attacking Devastators, making the carriers a smaller target. Waldron orders an attack on the nearest carrier, which is Soryu, being the northern most of the four.

All his squadron is annihilated.

Doesn’t it make sense that he had to approach from the north if Soryu was the carrier he chose to attack? He would not have wasted time setting up on another carrier with over 18 Zeros buzzing about, would he?

If he came in from the south as those who advocate in Ring’s defense claim, he would have first sited Hiryu and Akagi (in the lead) and then Kaga out front, all three traveling along the southern flank of the Japanese formation.

I have looked over your excellent forum but there is way more than I have time to digest. No doubt someone else has made this observation so I do not claim “pride-of-authorship” but this factoid struck me between the eyes as I prepared for tomorrow, and I think is pretty dispositive of the truth.

Waldron had to have come off a northerly course (265 degrees) as he attacked Kido Butai/Soryu from the north on what I believe was a straight-in approach. He could not have wasted precious time and his men’s lives maneuvering from the south to attack Soryu on the other side of the formation when there were two (or perhaps three) juicy Japanese flattops he could have chosen to attack before Soryu if indeed he came up from the south off course 240 degrees as Ring’s defenders claim.

Or am I missing something?

Herb Zinn

Editors Note: 

You are certainly not missing anything. The course has been and will probably continue to be the center of much controversy. From all our discussions on the topic and an excellent analysis by Ron Russell, who was the former host of the BOM Roundtable it is widely accepted here that the course was 265 rather than 240. Here is a good followup to his book No Right to Win that he published on the Roundtable in 2007.

Another good source for the argument that 265 was the course rather than 240 appears in Naval History Magazine by Ron Russell. I can't find the link right now but I'll see if I can when I get home.

And here is Craig Symonds excellent article

There are many more and I'm sure you've found quite a few. The best we can do is take what some of the aviators that were present at the time in the Hornet's air group and piece together their stories. While some may conclude 265 a few maintained 240 was the course and are just as adamant. And since we were not there hard to argue with what they saw.

Suffice to say we may never really know the truth but perhaps the most positive proof that the flight was 265 came from the aviators plotting their intercept points in the ready room. Here is the RoundTable newletter that stated that point from member Roy Gee.

I hope you have a great time giving the presentation. If I can be of any more help before tomorrow let me know. I'll try to find what you need.

From Herb Zinn

Thanks for your excellent response. I have been reading No Right to Win, along with various pieces on the BOMRT website.

But as I was building a slide for tomorrow's presentation - which includes the track of Kido Butai when VT-8 was sighted by Chikuma - the graphic jumped out at me and was for me the deciding factor: Waldron had to come in from the north if he was attacking Soryu which was positioned on the northern flank of Kido Butai. He wouldn't have maneuvered to get at Soryu from the south. The Zeros would have chewed him up before he could get in position. Seems dispositive to me. He had to make his approach from a northerly route since Soryu was his target. That means his approach had to come from the 265 degree route, not 240 which was VT-6's course - from which McClusky turned north to follow Arashi to the carriers.

Many thanks once more.
Herb Zinn

Editors Note:  I find almost none are arguing the point any longer as it's been pretty well established that they flew west instead of southwest. One very respected member on the RoundTable that was with VB8 said he saw smoke coming from the island due to the oil tanks burning from morning attack on Midway. Unfortunately it's been proven that if they flew 265 then he could not have seen the smoke. So that's a mystery that likely has no real answer. But again he was there and he saw what he saw. Can't really blame him. But even he admits that he thought at the time they were flying more west than southwest.

The excellent article that Ron Russell wrote for Naval History magazine was in the February 2006 issue. The article is called Changing Course: Hornet's Air Group at Midway.

However there is no online link that I can find for that particular article. Local library might have a copy. Depending on your schedule might get a peek at it before your presentation. Sorry I couldn't find a link for you. Good luck with your presentation.

From Herb Zinn

Thanks so much for your responses. They confirm my belief on the subject. Several of the links you provided led me to items I had stumbled upon before, which is a reassuring check.

For myself, I find it compelling, albeit circumstantial, that VT-8 attacked Soryu, the northernmost carrier in Kido Butai, again suggesting that Waldron came down from a northerly course, which could only mean he turned left from 265 and not right from 240 (which would have had him approach Kido Butai from the south, where Akagi and Hiryu were situated).

(Follow up)

Yesterday’s presentation went very well, to a packed house of about 40 attendees, mostly Navy vets from more recent times.

I think they found the case I presented compelling for the 265 degree route versus 240 degrees. Only one person chirped up during the Q&A period with an observation: "you can’t really hang fault on anyone on Hornet since they were all combat novices compared to their opponents and the vets of Enterprise and Yorktown."

 True enough, I suppose, but is that basis enough to excuse the mistake Mitscher made, compounded by Ring, especially in the face of strong arguments presented by Waldron and Mitchell that morning on the Hornet’s bridge? It’s not as if Mitscher made the decision in a vacuum.

I pitched the Roundtable to the attendees and several took note of your web address.

One attendee had known Clayton Fisher well and had visited him from time to time at his home in San Diego. He put up a mild defense of Fisher’s observation about seeing Midway smoke from his SBD. He is the one who observed that the Hornet Air Group were novices – as if to rationalize that Fisher may have been mistaken in his observation.

Another reminded the group that Howard Ady is buried here in Arizona, at a cemetery in Sun City on the west side of town. He lays a wreath of flowers on his grave each year at Memorial Day.

Thanks again for your time and patience with me.

Best regards.
Herb Zinn

Editors Note: I know the discussion with Clay Fisher on his sighting the smoke from Midway has always been the one oddity that remains unexplained. However I don't necessarily doubt him or even that he was wrong. I simply accept that he saw what he saw and anomalies happen in war. If the wind was just right and the smoke was drifting just right and etc. etc. etc. he could have seen it regardless. I'm not going to doubt him. What we can't do is recreate the situation and even if we could there was too much going on that day to be sure we got everything exactly right.

My own opinion on the matter is that he might have seen smoke from the Japanese ships when they were evading the early morning attacks. They made a lot of smoke. Some of it could have risen in a thin plume that looked a good deal like a smoke from Midway. And from my plots of the flight, ships, and Midway the Japanese fleet was somewhere between him and Midway when he reported seeing the smoke although by the time of the attacks and his likely position it might well have been aft rather than forward like he reported.  However that doesn't take into account the morning attacks from Midway or the B-17's.  But again that's only a rather optimistic guess.

From Ted Kraver
May 28th, 2017

Just a note to report 2017 Memorial Day mission accomplished. Having become well recovered from a stroke during last summer I had Bobbie drive me to the massive Sunland Memorial Park in the Sun City retirement community where Howard Ady is buried. Although I had been there many times before my memory has blanked on the location of his grave site. A very helpful lady showed us to the location, #167 in the Garden of Valor. I removed last year’s plastic flowers (rules: no paper or plant based flowers) and took a moment for a remembrance of his immense contribution to our success during the Battle of Midway that shortened WWII and has “thank you from all of us in the free world.” Ted

From reference: “The Battle of Midway,” Craig l. Symonds, 2011 pp.225-226

“He (Fletcher) knew Catalinas were Patrolling out of Midway and he relied on them to report any contacts to the west where, according to Hypo, the Kido Butai would be found. … At 5:34 the Americans at Midway received a report from Lieutenant Howard P. Ady, piloting a PBY (Catalina) northwest of Midway. `The first words of his report sent a jolt thought the listeners: Enemy Carrier bearing 320 distance 180.” At 180 miles from Midway, this target within easy range of the American bombers (B-17s) on Eastern Island. … “Then another PBY pilot, Lieutenant William A. Chase, called in to report: “Many planes headed Midway.”” …. Between 6:00 and 6:30 am … many planes scrambled from Midway Island. … Ady’s 5:34 sighting report did not reach the American carriers until 6:03, when it was relayed to from Pearl Harbor.

Howard Ady's call sign

From Barrett Tillman
June 2nd, 2017

The 75th anniversary has dug up the moldy-oldy "Strawberry Five" absurdity yet again. I've probably replied to half a dozen "history" emails and it's only the 2nd! Does anybody know Ady's callsign? Apparently Jack Reid was 8V55. Just wondering...

Editors Note: Howard Ady's call sign was 4V58. This comes from the Osprey book US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Pacific War By Louis B Dorny, page 33. Jack Reid's call sign is also in the book as 8V55.

Need some help with an A6M...

From Don Boyer:
May 3rd, 2017

In regard to Mr. John Mollison's enquiry on the proper painting of a Zero, I might recommend he checkout the Facebook site "Banzai" run by Mr. Phillipe Lambert. Although it's a "social media" site, it also has members who are noted Japanese experts on Japanese planes and Japanese plane models. If one of them couldn't provide total details for whatever Mr. Mollison needs, nobody can. The site is primarily in English but they have moderators and admins who can handle translation if needed.

Don Boyer

From William Reece
May 4th, 2017

This is for John Mollison with some assistance on his Zero illustration project.

John please check out the blog Aviation of Japan written by Nicholas Millman in the UK. Nick is well versed in colors and markings of Japanese aircraft. This is a link to his blog and his monograph specifically on Zero color schemes. Zero Paint scheme guide monograph.

John is welcome to contact me directly for information and help with his Zero project as I'm an avowed fan of the Zero in all its forms.

Keep up the fine BoM work,
All the best,
From Zsolt Szalanczi
May 7th, 2017

Mitshubishi A6M Zero colors and markings are an interesting topic especialy for modelers. I think at the time of Midway the Zeros still wore the same camoflage and marking as half year earlier at the time of the Pearl Harbour raid. My assumption is supported by illustrations I saw in the Osprey book "Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45" depicting A6M2 Zeros with similar light gray camo even at later dates. The Pearl Harbor raid is very well documented. I have the booklet Scale Aircraft Modeling Combat Colours Number 4 (Special) "Pearl Harbor and Beyond" with lots of illustrations. I can perhaps scan some pages if there is interest. By the way, some companies produced after marked decals for Zero models, the marking instructions of these are also good source of information. Here is an example:

best regards
From Chuck Wohlrab
May 12th, 2017

From Shattered Sword:

From the Consolidated Operations Log: VT 8 was engaged by 24 CAP fighters and 3 Zeroes of the Soryu Strike Force that had yet to land. The breakdown in CAP fighters were Akagi: 8, Kaga: 9 Hiryu: 7.

Soryu had CAP up later in the morning, but not then. There were 3 Soryu fighters still in the air from the Midway strike force, and apparently they did engage, but there were none on CAP at the time of  Torpedo Eight's attack.

No tail numbers or names are given. No fighters were lost during the intercept.

The tables in the appendices provide a lot of information. That was where I found it.

Chuck Wohlrab

Announcements, Questions, Comments

Mr. Bill Vickrey

From Alvin Simons:
May 3rd, 2017

I just wanted to add my thanks & appreciation for Mr. Bill Vickrey. He is truly an unsung hero to me. He graciously read & corrected the facts in my novel on the Battle of Midway. It was also through him and Mr. Ron Russell that I made the acquaintance of the late Mr. Donald Hoff. That relationship grew & is still maintained today with Mr. Don's wife, Ms. Elsie Hoff & their daughter Linda Brugetti. I urge all of the members to not forget about the loved ones these great veterans are leaving behind when they pass. Keep up the great work BOMRT. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

Alvin Simons
My Connection to Midway

From Donald McDonald
May 3rd, 2017

My connection to Midway is indirect, but because actual survivors are getting rare, I'll be happy to relate my connection whenever you think it would be useful. Here's what I recall.

Before the battle itself, I was a Y2/C in the Holding Facility at Terminal Island, San Pedro, CA. (I don't recall its official name), A request had come in for all of us Y/2C to report to OP20G in Washington---Just we 24 Y/2Cs at the time ---not the more numerous Y/3Cs or the rarer Y/1C. We were on our way in our private Pullman car at the time of the Battle.

We arrived at a scene of great euphoria. The Battle had just occurred, and OP20G had been (or soon would be) awarded a Decoration for its vital role. After several serious sessions about secrecy given by The Roofgang Chiefs, we Y/2C. were put to work typing intercepts onto work sheets. This was my introduction into the world of Cryptography.

We were also exposed to a series of increasingly complex cipher texts to solve, if we were interested. I found I had an aptitude for this which led to my commission and ultimately my career at NSA.

Don McDonald
Two responses to April edition

From Bob Jones
May 3rd, 2017

I don't know how you do this, but I did observe two comments asking you to give a previous questioner his address and he would answer. Fine with me, also OK if you choose to print the following.

Re Chris Lyons' question about reliability of American torpedoes, there is an excellent discussion of submarine torpedoes in Submarine Diary, by Corwin Mendenhall.

While the submarine torpedoes were bigger than aerial ones, they both experienced problems of failure to to explode when they struck the Jap ship. The detonation problem was finally solved by the submariners in Australia. The Navy and the torpedo manufacturer apparently did little or nothing to investigate the problem, saying simply that it was poor handling or shooting by the submariners.

Finally, the submariners operating out of Australia made such a fuss that the command there hoisted a torpedo up on a winch sufficiently high that when dropped, the warhead hit the ground with the same force as a fired torpedo on a ship. It didn't explode.

Taking the torpedo apart -- and think of who did that, take apart a torpedo which should, could, explode at any second -- they found that the detonating arm which was supposed to strike the torpedo's firing pin had been bent by the impact. Bent out of line, thus it wasn't striking the pin.

I don't recall what their fix was, but knowing the problem, they readily fixed it, and the problem was solved. I would guess, don't know, but it is logical, that the aerial torpedo might have had the same problem with its detonating device, and hence was solved by the information too.

To Tom Garner, History of War magazine, there are plenty of participant accounts in back issues of The Roundtable. One in particular, I'm not sure of the name, for some reason I'm thinking Dick Best, but he was a Dauntless pilot flying with McClusky on the 4th. Ron asked him what he thought when McClusky made the right turn to go hunting instead of turning back for Enterprise. He answered "I knew I was going swimming." (Knew he was going to run out of fuel.)

Another source Garner, and every student of the battle, will appreciate, is Eric Larabee, Commander In Chief. It is an excellent history of FDR and his generals and admirals. There are substantial sections in which Larabee details crisis moments, including Midway and later, Leyte Gulf. I generally read the sections on each battle every year on the anniversary, and it never gets old. Anyone who wants to know what Americans will do when pushed just needs to read about VS-6, VB-6, and VT-8 at Midway, and the USS Johnston and the taffy carriers at Leyte Gulf. Get our politicians out of the way and we are a fearsome damn lot to mess with.

Bob Jones

Tone Scout Plane #4

From Frank
May 21st, 2017

Nagumo's scout plane #4 in an interesting turn of events actually gave the wrong first position of the US ships....which why he waited to counter after recovering his MIdway strike aircraft... He thought the US ships were further away when in fact they were about 75-100 miles closer.. CAN YOU VERIFY THIS INFO..? By not launching immediately historians have suggested a tactical error..when in fact #4's incorrect intel made him believe he was still out of range.


New Midway Movie

From Timothy Tynan
May 24th, 2017

I just saw this article about a new "Midway" movie and thought it would be of interest.

Miles Browning

From Rosario Perry
May 29th, 2017

Can you give us your opinion of Miles Rutherford Browning and his role in battle of midway? Good bad ugly? There seems to be very little discussion about his contributions to the success of the operations.

Live broadcast from the USS Midway museum in San Diego

From Bill Vickrey
June 1st, 2017

Scheduled from Jun 05 2017 1:25 PM EDT to Jun 05 2017 3:30 PM EDT Live broadcast from the USS Midway museum in San Diego with live segments from Midway Atoll. Keynote speaker is CNO

Rear Admiral Mitscher's promotion after Midway

From Holt Schimmenti
June 1st, 2017

I read with keen interest Mr Lundstrom's account of Radm. Mitscher's assignment after Midway and would like to know if he (or anyone else) could explain Mitscher's rise to Command of Task Force 58 under Adm. Spruance. This would be especially unusual if Adm. Spruance thought Mitscher's Midway After Action Report was false. Thank you in advance and BTW I thoroughly enjoyed Black Shoe Carrier Admiral.

They made it to Dutch Harbor!

From Barrett Tillman
June 2nd, 2017

From Jim Flatley. Observing the 75th anniv. of bombing Dutch Harbor. I remember Jim Russell said he told Okumiya that the Kates dropped a straddle on the DH radio shack (?), and with olympian detachment, said "with accuracy that deserved better results."

June Proceedings has an article by a CV-5 officer who related the intel briefing before Midway. Shokaku and Zuikaku were thought to be possibilities for BOM. Never saw that before. Obviously Sho was never going to make it owing to Coral Sea damage but presumably Zui could have deployed with a composite air group. Interesting to game that scenario. Any CVG the IJN put together certainly would have been more capable than CV-8...but then maybe IJN woulda sent Zui north.

We had a great launch party on Saturday. Channel 2, Channel 11, and ADN all picked up on the event. (Please share the articles with all of your friends and family.) The pilots saw a good weather window this morning and decided to go for it. They launched from Merrill and Lake Hood respectively at 1400 today, made stops in King Salmon and Cold Bay, and arrived in Unalaska with perfect weather around 2300 this evening!! The airplanes flew wonderfully and the weather was great - the volcano was no factor. We are excited for the weekend's activities.

John Waldron

From Fran Kraus
June 2nd, 2017

John Waldron

Pictures from the Battle of Midway

From Fran Kraus
June 3rd, 2017

The Faces of Midway

From Barrett Tillman
June 3rd, 2017

Contains illuminating TraCom documents on several notables. Bob Elder's is only a transfer document--would be much more interesting to see some flight grades since he was one of the finest NavAvs of his generation.