Roundtable Forum
Our 20th Year
August 2016

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
SBD Procedures and Gear
Lessons From the Battle of Midway
Torpedoes: Mk XIII mod 0 vs Mk XIII mod 1
VT-8 Deck Launching order
Midway Island
Horse Named Battle of Midway
Task Force 16 Organization
Announcements and Questions

The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

This month we have a variety of topics including quite a bit of discussion on the Mark 13 Torpedoes, or more specifically the Mod 0 vs Mod 1.  Something that came out of the discussion was the difference between the performance of the torpedo squadrons at Coral Sea vs Midway and more specifically the performance of the Mark 13 torpedo Mod 0, or at least the perceived performance.  Many who were there are not convinced the Shoho for instance was struck by the number of torpedoes credited with hitting her.  However the evidence suggests that despite no hits on the Shokaku the Mod 0 torpedoes at least ran true unlike the Mod 1's that ran erratic.  One of the other lesson's not learned at Coral Sea is just how vulnerable the TBD's were.  None were lost attacking Shoho and one ran out of gas returning from the strike on Shokaku and Zuikaku.  This might have been due to fighter escorts for both attacks where at Midway there were none despite the fact that the carriers had more Wildcats on board than at Coral Sea due to the F4F-4 having folding wings.

A couple lessons learned that produced responses that lead to decisions that affected Midway were as it turned out wrong.  The Japanese were somewhat affected by the effectiveness of the torpedo attack on the Shoho and with their own philosophy that the torpedo bomber was the ship killer probably over reacted at Midway.  However given the fact that no dive bombers were present when all three torpedo squadrons attacked it is hard to imagine any other response than to defend what is attacking at the moment.  Plus it is possible that they did not take into consideration that the two fleet carriers despite being attacked by 21 torpedo planes failed to receive even on hit.

The US on the other hand were influenced by the Lexington's loss and what they considered insufficient number of Wildcats to defend the fleet from enemy attack.  It is entirely possible this led to the sparse number of escorts assigned to accompany the strike forces, especially Yorktown where Thatch had to argue to even get 6 Wildcats assigned as escorts.  But this might also be attributed to the light air losses at Coral Sea so reducing escorts for strike aircraft seemed a compromise worth making.  One must remember that the loss of the Lexington was one quarter of their Pacific fleet carriers.  And also that Fletcher most likely felt the sting of that being on him and he was not going to let another carrier be shot out from under him if he could help it.  As it turned out he couldn't and he was only attacked by one Japanese carrier so in retrospect he was probably right to keep most of his Wildcats as defense.

So much for my ramblings this month.  Enjoy the newsletter and as always glad to have anyone chime in with opinions, comments, or articles of their own.

SBD Procedures and Gear

From Barrett Tillman:
August 6, 2017

Ref. Johan's query about SBD procedures and gear:

When we restored our Dauntless (A-24B as SBD-5) in the early 70s it lacked just about all mission-oriented gear including the gunner's seat, mount, rear pit brackets, etc. Also of course the bomb displacing gear ("trapeze") and tailhook. Dad had offered the bird to Douglas Aircraft which issued an immediate no-thanks but I was acquainted with ace photog Harry Gann. He was a Serious History Guy and bless him, sent us drawings of the gear and hook, which we had duplicated for display, being non-functional.

The trapeze had a honking big coil spring that in the real world slammed the two-pronged fork back flush with the belly after bomb release. We would've liked to have a replica 500-lb GP bomb but it was hard enough maintaining the bird without armament. (Dad sold it to Oklahoma collector Doug Champlin in 1974. He finished some of the details and won Grand Champion Warbird at Oshkosh. Later traded it straight across the the USMC Quantico museum for two other planes, and at a time I don't know the Marines swapped straight across to the USAF Museum, which despite internet allegations, is not "on loan" from quantico. My erstwhile museum pal and retired curator said "We have the pink slip.")

Two photos attached--I shot 'em from an SNJ in 1972. Wonderful days--that was about the time I started my first book, the Naval Institute SBD history.

As Johan notes, the bird needed dive brakes retracted unless diving. I got about 6-8 hours in type and still remember the pilot's manual: "The SBD-5 airplane will not maintain level flight with the dive brakes extended."

More than most want to know but:

The dive/landing flaps were activated separately by handles with differently-shaped knobs for tactile use: one was round (I think) and one was diamond-shaped; been too long to recall which was which. But you selected one/both and hit the "power pack" (hydraulic pump) handle to extend the flaps. Reverse to retract them.

During restoration I took time to count the holes in both flaps: total of 318. That summer (71) I spent a lot of time on my head in the rear cockpit with a shop light in my face and a rivet gun in hand. One of my brothers dated an Oregon high-school tennis star and stopped by the hangar to show her the project. She had a ball with her and my brother idly tossed it to me. I bounced it a coupla times, then eyeballed back & forth to the flaps.


I inserted the ball into one of the holes and dang if it wasn't a perfect fit--about 2 1/4 inches diameter. Several years later I was oafishly proud to be able to tell Ed Heinemann something he did not know about the SBD!


From Kent Walthers:
August 6, 2017

Under the topic of "SBD Questions" and comments from John Lupander in how they initiated the dive bomb attack with his reported description of: "Any way whatsoever as dictated by circumstances, in particular the targets relative position. This included wing-overs, a half-roll and even just diving straight ahead (disregarding the negative G's)."

That agrees with what I was told from two of the Midway pilots before they past away including Dick Best that favored the straight ahead push over as well as the half-roll that George Goldsmith described to me in a letter he provided since I was documenting his airplane for RC Scale competition. That is also the SBD-3 Douglas Dauntless portrayed on the front cover of Ronald W. Russell's book as recognized in the "Authors Acknowledgement" section (page xvi).

Regards, Kent Walters (US Scale Masters Champion 1980, 1982, 1985, and 2002).

From Thomas Wildenberg
August 7, 2017

SBD Bomb Release Mechanism

In 1928 a trio of engineers at the Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, Virginia, came up with the idea for a new type of release mechanism that would swing the bomb free of the aircraft structure. the bob "crutch" later used on the SBD Dauntless and SB2C Helldivers consisted of two arms hinged under the plane with attachment lugs on either side of the bomb. When the bomb was released, the arms forcibly moved the bomb away from the fuselage, ensuring that it would clear the propeller. As the bomb disengaged, a spring-loaded retracting device pulled the arms back into position.

Thomas Wildenberg
Tucson, AZ

Lessons From the Battle of Midway

From Warren Heller:
August 6, 2017

As a long time reader and admirer of BOMRT, I can appreciate the great spirit and intent of Robert Jones’ comment. May I add a bit of nuance directed toward some younger readers who might mistakenly become adherents of “victory disease.” Yes, when we have our backs to the wall, Americans will bet “all of the marbles.” However, we prefer not to play that way. Over the long term, many (most?) of our successes have come from hard “roll up our sleeves” efforts to understand the playing field, work the odds, avoid unnecessary gambles and always seek the advantage -- as well as “fighting to win.” That national characteristic filled out the physical extent of our country, brought us through the cold war without a nuclear escalation, drove our space program to success after success (especially after some tough lessons learned) and, when not followed, contributed to several recent international setbacks. The current BOMRT newsletter provides an example in that Nimitz did not want to risk sending his few remaining TBDs against actively defended lower priority cruiser targets.

Warren Heller (son of Yorktown survivor)

From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

In your response to Don Boyer: >>Problem was men like Nagumo did not understand Naval Air power. When spotted and unable to strike he turned towards the enemy instead of away from them. He was operating under the training he had been indoctrinated with in that you close range when trying to destroy your enemy if you have the superior force.<<

This was not so much training as to the Code of Bushido. The Code taught that one does not shy away from battle, and that offense was the best way to defeat an enemy. You see this repeatedly on land and sea during the Pacific War. One of the great fallacies of the Pacific War, that Nugumo did not send a third wave into Pearl Harbor to destroy the oil tank farms and facilities, was a myth. Under the Code of Bushido you strike at the enemy to destroy him, you don't attack his horse or his armor. Genda even said at one point that the reason the facilities were not attacked was because he never thought about it as a target. It was just not in their culture, just as withdrawing in the face of the enemy to fight at another time or day was not.

Chuck Wohlrab

Editors Note:  Here is a link to the June newsletter article.  June Article

Torpedoes: Mk XIII mod 0 vs Mk XIII mod 1

Editors Note:  Before we continue this conversation here is a link to last months newsletter on the topic to refresh memories.  VT Squadrons and Mark 13 Torpedoes

From Thomas Wildenberg:
August 7, 2017

The Mark XIII torpedo was designed to a General Board specification issued in the fall of 1929 for an aircraft torpedo capable of being launched at 100 knots ground speed from an altitude of 50 feet. It was to have a range of 7,000 yards at 30 knots, would weight 1700 lbs., and have an explosive charge of 400 lbs. Production was started in 1934 and was intended for use with the new torpedo bomber then under consideration (which would become the TBD Devastator), prototypes for which were ordered the same year from the Douglas Aircraft Company and the Great Lakes Aircraft Company. By 1938, 144 Mk XIII mod 0 torpedoes (enough to supply the 18 plane TBD squadrons on board the Lexington and the Saratoga with four load outs per squadron as was then customary) had been delivered.

By August 1937, tests conducted by the air detail at Gould Island with a T4M and a PBY patrol plane indicated that the Mark XIII torpedo might be successfully launched at a speed of 125 knots from a height as great as 100 feet. Note: drops had not been made from any TBDs, which yet to be delivered.

For reasons that remain unknown, the Bureau of Ordnance modified the design of the Mark XIII mod 1 torpedo relocating the control surfaces of the Mark XIII mod 1 – the next model manufactured – forward of the propellers. They also added plywood extensions to the horizontal control vanes in an effort to improve its airborne stability during the drop phase. The latter changes were presumably made at the urging of Bu Air, which recognized the need to improve the aerial performance of the Mark XIII torpedo.

As I wrote in Destined for Glory (Naval Institute Press, 1998):

“Unfortunately for the pilots who would later have to rely on this weapon in battle, the modified design was plagued with so many defects that one writer called it ‘the worst piece of ordnance ever forced upon the Navy.’ The Mark XIII-1 was so bad that four of ten torpedoes launched during its first operational use in a gunnery exercise sand from sight and were never seen again. Of the remaining six, five experienced erratic runs. Only one of the ten dropped ran hot, straight and true.”

From the information available, it seems logical to conclude that the torpedoes dropped by VT-2 in their successful attack on the Shoho were the Mk XIII mod 0. Bear in mind that the attack by VT-2 was unopposed by enemy aircraft conducted against a relatively slow moving target, an ideal situation which would not be repeated at Midway.

Thomas Wildenberg
Tucson, AZ

Editors Note:  Thanks for the information. I read a book on the history of the American torpedo problems during the war and thought maybe there was some further info there. It's called Hellions of the Deep. As I recall it detailed exactly the problems but not sure if it had what squadrons had what version when the war broke out. Looking for it now in my library but it escapes me for the moment.
From Thomas Wildenberg:
August 7, 2017

Are you familiar with Ship Killer: the History of the American Torpedo? Wrote it with Norman Polmar. Don't think Hellliions of the Deep has that information.

Tom Wildenberg.

Editors Note: I am now. I had not seen that book before so I must have missed it when it came out. I will look for a copy. I have 2 or 3 other books of yours and enjoyed them. Destined for Glory was particularly good.

From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7,2017

Regarding American Torpedoes:

The US had good success at Coral Sea because Yorktown had Mk 13 Mod 0 torpedoes, which seemed to function much better than the Mk 13 Mod 1. The USN had problems with their three main torpedoes until mid '43. The Mk 13 (aerial), Mk 14 (submarine) and Mk 15 (surface ship) torpedoes all used a common magnetic exploder that was crap. It had been developed during the late '30s and never was tested properly. In fact it was tested only once and since that one exploder worked that one time it was assumed it was good. The backup contact exploder had a poorly designed and manufactured firing pin that usually broke instead of causing the exploder to fire. The older Mk 8 (surface ship) and Mk 10 (submarine) torpedoes had a simpler, more rugged contact exploder design that functioned well. Unfortunately, these weapons were used on the older Flush Deck destroyers and the S-Boat submarines and could not be used on newer vessels. In any event, the powers that be, back at BUORD refused to recognize that there was anything wrong with their torpedoes, and only relented when Admiral King, when presented with the torpedo exploder test results from Pearl Harbor, forced them to do something.

The one torpedo we copied from the Germans was an acoustic torpedo. It was reverse-engineered by Westinghouse and had significant problems that were never corrected. It was used later in the war, but since it never worked well it was discarded around 1950.

Interestingly, the Mk 13 eventually became a pretty good torpedo. A number of modifications were made in 1943. First, was an improved exploder. Then a Nose Drag Ring and a Tail ring were added for stability, and the body of the torpedo was strengthened. The result was that the torpedo, which originally had to be dropped from 100 feet at 100 knots, could now be dropped from as high as 2,400 feet and at 410 knots. A big improvement. The final mission flown with Mk 13s was actually in Korea. The NKs had closed up the flood gates of a dam, planning to open them when they could catch advancing US/Allied troops in the flood. A flight of AD-4 Skyraiders, each carrying a single Mk 13 attacked the flood gates of the dam. One torpedo ran erratic, but the others all struck the flood gates blowing them away.

Scott Kozel wrote: >>Or were the needs at Midway so critical that it justified deploying obsolete aircraft and problematic but usable torpedoes?<<

There is an interesting book, by George Walsh (a late war WWII dive bomber pilot), entitled Searching for the Truth, The Battle of Midway, where the author maintains that ADM Halsey had stated he would not use Devastators in the attack in battle because he felt it was a deathtrap. He stated that both he and Dusty Kleiss knew of this order. He also said that Spruance and Fletcher were unaware of the order, and, not being aviators themselves, did not understand how poor an aircraft the TBD really was. He blames them for the loss of the TBD squadrons. The book is quite interesting, but some of the information in it is pretty controversial. That can be discussed another day.

Chuck Wohlrab

Editors Note:  Thanks for the insightful comments. Much appreciated. I thought at some point I had read that the Yorktown and Lexington didn't have the newer Mod 1 Mark 13's because Lexington was the last carrier to get newer equipment and airplanes, having Buffalos at the start of the war, and the Yorktown came from the Atlantic where the torpedo was not considered useful so never received newer versions. Both carriers were in constant use from the time the war started till Coral Sea so never received the Mod 1's.
From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

I know that Yorktown had them. I had read that a number of times. I saw something recently that said only Yorktown had them at Coral Sea. I will have to find it again and check.

Editors Note:  Great. Where did you find the info on the Yorktown. I too remember reading it but haven't been able to find the source.
From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

From the Yorktown After Action Report:


In recent operations against enemy forces, VT-5 had occasion to drop 41 torpedoes, of those 32 were Mark 13, and 9 were Mark 13 Mod 1. All of the Mark 13 apparently functioned perfectly: but 3 of the Mark 13 Mod 1 ran erratic. The reason for this is unknown, they were inspected carefully before use and apparently were in perfect condition. An examination of Photograph No. 9 shows what may be two torpedo tracks that might have some relation to the erratic runs.

The Lexington AAR does not mention the type of torpedo, but claims 9 hits from 12 dropped on Shoho. Lots of wishful thinking there.

I'll keep looking.

Editors Note:  That is probably what I remember reading about the torpedoes at Coral Sea. So they did have a mixed load of torpedoes. Makes sense that Lexington probably had the same as they were probably not just going to dump the Mod 0's if they had some left to use. Plus the newer Mod 1's were probably not all that plentiful yet.

From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

Actually, only 156 Mod 0s were made when the line was opened in 1938. The Mod 1 was more numerous by the time the war started, and I think Yorktown carried the only Mod 0s into battle. I've got to find that source. For a lot of good information on weapons of all sides, check out:

Weapons are listed by country and organized by Pre-WWII, WWII and Post-WWII. Then proven down by model or size. The US torpedo page he here:

Editors Note:  I have a book on the American Torpedo development before the war and during. I'll have to find that book. I don't know if it helps identify what ship had what torpedo.  (Edit: See above on Hellions of the Deep)  Since the Yorktown was on convoy escort in the Atlantic before Pearl Harbor and it was unlikely they'd need to attack German or Italian ships the Pacific fleet probably received the supply of Mod 1's while the Atlantic fleet just kept what they had. But if that's the case not sure why Lexington would have not received Mod 1's.

I knew the Mod 0's only had 156 produced but since we didn't expend any before the war I would suppose the ships they were on kept them. Maybe that explains Lexington. Possibly Wasp would have had Mod 0's but I don't think Ranger had a torpedo squadron till January 1942 but they did have TBD-1's when formed so possibly had Mod 0's as the squadron was formed with pilots from VS-41, VS-42 and the old VT-3.

From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

The purchase of Mod 0s was based on 4 VTs of 18 aircraft each, times two loadouts. That accounts for 144 Weapons and 12 spares. Some were used up in training (even though they tried to recover them) and some for testing, like the test Dusty Kleiss participated in, in June/July 1941. Presumably, the four squadrons were VT-2, VT-3, VT-5 and VT-6. Neither Wasp or Ranger had VT squadrons at that stage.

It's also possible that the Mod 0s were being removed from the ships, but that is just speculation.

Editors Note:  So it is likely that Lexington had Mod 0's when she went to war and more than likely had the majority of them still on board by Coral Sea.  I don't believe Lexington attacked any Japanese shipping during the first 5 months of  the war except possibly the raid on Lae but I'm unsure.  Certainly they didn't use all the torpedoes so even if they did expend some it was probably not very many.  Seems likely they wouldn't have offloaded them at any point either.

Interesting that the Yorktown after action report says that they dropped 41 torpedoes during the Battle of Coral Sea, 9 of them being the Mod 1's. If the original order of Mod 0's were 36 per torpedo squadron for each of the 4 carriers then Yorktown still had at least 32 of them left by the Battle of Coral Sea. The early carrier raid on the Gilbert Islands and Lae I know they expected shipping to be present so loaded up the TBD's with torpedoes although it's been a long time since I read how many were actually launched. So it seems logical that when Yorktown arrived at Pearl some Mod 1's were loaded on board, probably in anticipation of more than 36 torpedoes being expended during operations.

Now a much more interesting point is that since the Enterprise was one of the carriers that was originally loaded with Mod 0's and like Lexington did not attack all that many Japanese ships in the 6 months leading up to Midway did VT6 have Mod 0's during Midway?

Going back and looking at photographs of VT8 and the only one I can find on VT6 during Midway on the deck of the Enterprise it is unclear one could tell because none show the tail which would be the only distinguishing feature.  Still if Yorktown and Lexington didn't off load their Mod 0's hard to imagine any scenario where the Enterprise would have had a reason.  And even if Enterprise did have some Mod 0's left did VT6 load Mod 1's or Mod 0's for the morning attack.  I find nothing to indicate either way and given the fact that VT6 never really got a chance to launch much of an attack that morning we don't know if the squadron was loaded with Mod 0's whether they were any more effective against Japanese fleet carriers than they were a month earlier at Coral Sea.

From Ron Russell
August 8,2017

Scott Kozel's message in the July newsletter (re the suggestion by Dusty Kleiss that the TBDs should have never launched at Midway) reminded me of our discourse on that idea in the old Roundtable Forum. In brief, Dusty's thesis certainly has merit--after all, he was there and he was an acknowledged expert on the subject. But his suggestion presents an obvious hazard: the Law of Unintended Consequences. As I've said many times, just about any tactical or strategic change you can dream up for conducting the BOM would likely turn out worse than what actually happened. I'm convinced that withholding the TBDs, even with their rotten torpedoes, would be in that category.

See the link below for the full discussion. The relevant passages are "Carrie Doctrine Failures at Midway" by Dusty, and my editorial, "What If at the BOM."

--Ron Russell

From Scott Kozel:
August 18, 2017

Another point from Dusty Kleiss' book, you can post this to the Roundtable Forum if you want --

Dusty's opinion about the "incredible victory" and "miracle" narrative that some Midway authors have advanced in the past, he said yes it was a glorious victory, but he took considerable offense to the "incredible victory" narrative. He was there, and I think he has some good points.

He obviously had a first hand view of the intensive training of carrier pilots over the months before the battle, and the intensive training of carrier aircraft mechanics and aviation support personnel. He said that the SBD Dauntlesses got much attention from the engineers who designed and fabricated them and produced updated models, and that both the manufacturers and the units they were deployed to worked regularly to extract every ounce of performance out of them that they could. He mentioned the well known price in blood paid by USN aviators that day. He said that they were fortunate that the battle turned out as well as it did, but gave LOTS of the credit for the outcome of destroying the four IJN carriers to the skill and performance of the people who built and serviced the SBD, and to the skill and performance of the aviators, and to the skill and performance of the carrier operations personnel, and of course to all the other aircraft types and aviators. A great victory but a lot of very skilled and sacrificing U.S. personnel was the major factor.


Editors Note:  One last thought before we leave this topic for this month. I have a link to a video that someone had done as a tribute to the Pilots of the three TBD squadrons.  While I'm sure many have seen this before it is worth watching again.

VT-8 Deck Launching order

From Marc Poole
August 12, 2017

My name is Marc Poole, and I an an aviation artist and have followed the BOMRT for several years. I have been fascinated by the Battle of Midway since I was a kid, and I appreciate the vast knowledge that has been shared here and that has been written about it. I recently spent some time analyzing the John Ford film about Torpedo Eight, and made numerous screen shots that I edited in Photoshop to glean any information not apparent at first glance. In viewing the segments of the last 4 TBD's to take off from the deck of the Hornet, the first one rolls out before I can make out the fuselage code, leaving 3 TBD's , one with wings extended, two folded.

The next ship to roll is clearly Abercrombie's T-13, and there are 2 TBD's left behind it as it begins it's roll.

Waldron's T-16 is next, and in the first frame of the clip, you can still see the wing of a ship remaining.

The last plane to depart, leaving a clear deck, is Moore's T-2.

This may or may not be common knowledge, but I had always assumed that Waldron had departed last. Mark Horan had shared with me that they would have normally been assigned to take off in reverse seniority, with George Gay being the first, and Waldron last. Apparently, Abercrombie was shuffled back as well. Just thought I would share what I found, and would be interested in any other observations or comments.


Marc Poole, M.F.A.

Editors Note:  Mr. Poole was kind enough to send along his screen grabs but the files are so large that they would take forever to load and display on this page.  I took the images and reduced them and posted them here with a link to the actual image if you click on the picture.  But beware the image does take some time to load on slower internet connections.  Here is a link to the film as well.

HyperLink HyperLink
HyperLink HyperLink

I will have to go over the past newsletters to see if this has been discussed before. I don't recall any discussion on whether Waldron was the last off or not. I know the film has been discussed many times.

Midway Island

From Ed Fox:
August 25, 2017

While on a search project for the USFWS in Attu, I stumbled over a pictorial history file of subjects relating to US Naval History. I could not locate a index to narrow my search, but had to view each as I began.  While searching I came across a few Midway Island images. Some I had never seen, one in particular of Eastern island. The photo of Sand, no detail, must have been taken early in 42.

I began at the beginning last night at 2200 of this file and by 0300 and I still had not reached the final image.

And you may already have knowledge of this file, "Naval History & Heritage Command Time Line"

Edgar R Fox USMC/ARMY Ret almost
Midway - Iwo - Korea

Horse Named Battle of Midway

From Ed Fox:
August 25, 2017

BTW at the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby, there was a horse entered with the name of "Battle of Midway".. no further caption as to who entered the horse or owner. There is a image but I am unable to locate it right now.

Edgar R Fox USMC/ARMY Ret almost
Midway - Iwo - Korea

Editors Note:  Thank you for the note.  I had written something about the horse in the May issue in the opening remarks.  Link here.  BOM RoundTable May 2017 Issue

As I indicated in the May issue Battle of Midway took 3rd place in the Kentucky Derby.  Here is an update.  August 26th at the Shared Belief Stakes Battle of Midway won for the 4th time in his career.  Here is a link to the article as well as a video of the race.

Battle of Midway's next race looks to be in November.  Here is a link to Battle of Midway's race history.

I also called a good friend of mine who is a horse racing enthusiast and asked him to see what he could find about the horse's name.  He made some calls to the owner and found the answer.  Seems the owner has no real connection to the Battle of Midway but is a big supporter of the military and names his horses after important battles as a tribute to our military.  Simple as that.

Task Force 16 Organization

From Timothy Tynan
August 27, 2017

Could you help me with this question. Unfortunately, my resources are unclear on this issue.

For the Doolittle Raid TF16 consisted of Enterprise and Hornet. After returning to Pearl Enterprise (using TF16 designation) went south to deal with the threat to Oceana. My question is, did Hornet go with Enterprise or remain in Pearl?

This is in preparation of a larger question about Midway.

Timothy Tynan

Editors Note: Yes, Hornet went with Enterprise south to join Lexington and Yorktown in the Battle of Coral Sea. However the two carriers arrived too late for the battle. They stayed in the area and intentionally allowed the Japanese to spot them. They transferred their air operators (know Enterprise did and pretty sure Hornet as well) to a cruiser (forget which one) and proceeded back to Pearl. The cruiser stayed in area broadcasting air operations signals as if the carriers were in the area to convince the Japanese that the carriers were still down south. Japanese intelligence placed the two carriers south before the Battle of Midway so the ruse worked.
From Timothy Tynan
August 27, 2017

So the carriers sailed together as one TF. Not separated, in conjunction, or coordination like our carriers at Coral Sea.
Editors Note: Yes.  Task Force 16 was centered around a single carrier, in this case the Enterprise, as were all carrier Task Forces at the start of the war and before.  When the Doolittle raid was planned Hornet was added to Task Force 16 as Enterprise was needed to provide air cover for Hornet due to the B-25's crowding the deck and they just stayed together till Midway.  After Midway Hornet was detached to train new flight crews while Enterprise went on to support the landings on Guadalcanal still as Task Force 16.  So the two carriers were part of the same task force not two seperate task forces.  I would assume they were organized much like they were at Midway.  Task Force 16 was made up of the following at Midway.  They were most likely organized the same way during the Doolittle raid and the subsequent journey to the South Pacific.

Task Force 16
  Task Group 16.5
    USS Enterprise
    USS Hornet
  Task Group 16.2
    CA USS Pensacola
    CA USS Northampton
    CA USS New Orleans
    CA USS Minneapolis
    CA USS Vincennes
    CL USS Atlanta
  Task Group 16.4
    Destroyer Squadron 1
      USS Phelps
      USS Worden
      USS Monaghan
      USS Aylwin
    Destroyer Squadron 6
      USS Balch
      USS Conyngham
      USS Benham
      USS Ellet USS Maury

Announcements and Questions

Regarding John Waldron:

From Chuck Wohlrab:
August 7, 2017

I too, got Midway, shortly after it came out. And took it off to college (Virginia Military Institute) where I had similar experiences. We tried out the idea of putting people in different locations, in our case different rooms, using Army field phones as radio comms. It drove many of the players nuts that they could not see the board. Like Barrett, I too had Jutland, and I added the British carriers to it for playing later battles. I also collected 1/1250 ships and we war gamed with them. My "fleet" consisted of the US and Japanese fleets as they would have looked in 1931, the date of Hector Bywater's Great Pacific War, though I had a number of WWII ships as well. We had one guy who liked the Germans and another that was a collector of Italians and played in the Surveying Lab, a huge room just stacked them up to one side. Safer when away from pedestrians.

Bert Earnest/Ernest

From Barrett Tillman:
August 17, 2017

Just noted a continuing discrepancy in his surname

Spelled with an A in his Golden Eagles

And on his Navy Cross citations

And in Bob Mrazeks book

Midway Survivor

From Lynn Rose:
August 6, 2017

A very good friend of mine has asked me to research any groups or associations that might include any living survivors of the USS Yorktown. His father, James Curtis Woods who is now 95 was on the ship and lives in Long Beach, Calif. He was also on the USS West Virginia in Tokyo when the Japanese surrendered. Any information would be appreciated. Mr. Woods is still active and of sound mind and I am sure would love to hear from anyone else that is still alive.

Editors Note:  For any Yorktown survivors out there that would like to coorespond with Mr. Woods send me and email and I'll get you in touch with him.  I'm sure his best information might come from the Yorktown's reunion group.  I sent information to them and just waiting to hear back.

Dakota Warrior

From John Mollison
August 15, 2017

Editors Note:  John Mollison is the man who is behind 'Old Guys and their Airplanes' and is producing a new episode called Dakota Warrior about John Waldron.  He has also done artwork for the dedication at the airport in South Dakota.  Here are two links.  The first is a radio interview about making the episode, the second is the teaser.  The radio interview is the second link in the page and is worth listening to all of it.  They used real airplanes in the film and yes we know they are not authentic as not any TBD's are around any longer, at least in flyable condition so you'll have to induldge a little.  John Mollison is a talented artist and dedicated to the history of our military through the eyes of men who were there.  This looks to be an amazing film about a true American hero who sacrificed everything for his country.