Roundtable Forum
Our 21st Year
July 2018

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Bill Howard, Capt USN Ret
The new Midway movie
Midway island aircraft destroyed
SBD Dauntless 100 Pound Bombs
SBD flight operations at LSFM
Frank Quady Action Report: June '42
BOM Power Point Presentations
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the July issue of the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  The month we lead off with some rather sad news on the passing of Bill Howard, long time member of the RoundTable and a Yorktown Survivor.  I never had any personal coorespondence with him on any subject but I'm sure he contributed to the conversations in the past.  He will be missed.

We have some updates on the Midway movie.  I have had many email exchanges with them and they are working hard to get the details right so I'm very encouraged.  I will try to help them in any way and may ask members for some help with details I cannot provide.

We also have a question on the number of aircraft destroyed on Midway Island itself during the Japanese strike, SBD bombs, and a few other items.

I hope everyone is having a great summer.  Enjoy this months newsletter.

Bill Howard, Capt USN Ret

From Jack Priest
July 30,2018

In case no one else has notified you, William Howard, Capt USN Ret, was found dead in his home on Monday, June 30, 2018.  I will send more info as it is received.  I am grateful to have been a friend.  I will forward the email about his death to you, also.  God Bless and guide all of you wonderful men and women!

From Brooks Moore
July 29, 2018

I heard the very shocking and sad news this morning at church that Bill Howard passed away. The only details I have is that someone was trying to reach him by phone over the weekend and got no response. They asked a neighbor to go check on him and she found him dead sitting in a chair. The estimate is that he passed away Friday. Please send the info on to your contact list.

Bill was one of a kind. He was here to see all of us come and most of us go. He survived the battle of the Coral Sea on the Yorktown and died in his own house. Not many of us will be here to drive our own truck when we are 95 years old. Goodbye to an old sailor and a member of the Saturn Astrionics Team.

From Andy Howard
August 3, 2018

Thanks for passing the news, Jack. The official date of death is 28 July 2018. Tomorrow, I should finish with most of my “gotta do it now” list and, then, I will provide more info.

Andy Howard

Editors Note: Capt. William Lee Howard Sea2c, 1st Div, was an  BOM Veteran on Yorktown (CV5) from 13 December 1941 to 4 June 1942.  He saw the Battle of Coral Sea and Midway and served on the Yorktown till she was abandoned.  Later in the war he served on the USS ALTAMAHA (CVE - 18) from December 1942 until June 1945.   He joined the RoundTable July 24, 2007.  I did not have any correspondence with him but I'm sure others did.  He was a valued member and will be missed.

The new Midway movie

From Ron Russell
July 18, 2018

I've read with obviously high interest the recent messages on the forthcoming new BOM movie. But I'm not overly confident in the outcome, based on other recent TV/movie treatments of the battle.

First we had the much-touted "The Pacific" miniseries on HBO, which initially had a full episode planned on the BOM. Some of our members, including Hugh Ambrose, myself, and possibly others were engaged in providing details to the producers. In the end, the series began with Guadalcanal; the BOM content wound up on the cutting room floor. The episodes that survived seemed to be very good--Midway may have missed a golden opportunity with that one.

Then, one of the cable channels is currently running a new WW2 in the Pacific series, with lots of CGI and colorized newsreel footage. Great! This late in the game, they'll surely do justice to the battle as we know it, right? Wrong--they labeled the Aleutians attack a "diversion," they said Hypo cooked up the water ruse because Rochefort didn't know what "AF," meant, and George Gay was back to being a sole survivor. I turned off the TV.

With fingers crossed, then, I wish the latest production team the very best and hope they'll engage and listen to some of our real BOM experts. The operative phrase there is "listen to," because we've seen earlier efforts that had the support of the likes of Robert Cressman or Jon Parshall, yet the end result was nothing that historians of that caliber would want in their resume'.

If those folks are smart, they'll contact you directly for suggestions. You could start by telling them to memorize "Shattered Sword" and Symonds' "Battle of Midway," then check with you liberally during production for any question of detail, regardless what other resources they've engaged. This is probably our one last chance to see the BOM factually rendered on the screen. I really hope they don't blow it yet again.

--Ron Russell

Editors Note:  I have been in constant contact with them to help in any way I can.  They are very much interested in getting the details and facts right.

From William Reece
July 9, 2018

Very interesting information regarding the BoM film. A side note. When I was at the BoM Symposium in 1998 at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola I was very honored to have lunch with Bud Kroeger and to speak one on one with Dick Best. It was almost like meeting Gods, these then old men who performed such heroic acts that day long ago that turned the tide of WW2. Kroeger was a rather gruff gentleman who told me quite a bit about that day. He was plenty scared, though well trained and led by Best. He told me the story of searching for the Japanese fleet on the 5th I think and meeting with Adm. Spruance after searching and sighting what I think was the Japanese heavy cruiser Mogami (note, check that detail). Anyway, upon reporting to Spruance, Kroeger was asked what ship he had sighted in his report, " I don't know Admiral but it was a Hell of a big one." Spruance was not amused and dismissed Kroeger forthwith.

Best and I had a conversation about the bombs they carried. He recalled a 1,000 lbs bomb on the crutch and no 100 lbs on the wing racks. I asked him about the color of the bombs and he was sure they were not Olive Drab. Those came later in the war. During this early period, live bombs were still from yellow colored prewar stocks. I mentioned to him that Halsey may have ordered the bombs painted from yellow to gray (haze gray?) and that seemed to catch his interest. With Halsey's fascination with security and camouflage (covering canopies and national insignia of aircraft on deck with blue canvas), I said that I could just about hear Halsey with a bullhorn shouting down to the ordnance division to cover those yellow bombs and to have someone 'Paint those God Damned Yellow bombs Gray'. Best and Kroeger at the table in front of me chuckled rather loudly and looked at each other chuckling and shaking their heads in agreement. That was good enough for me. Gray bombs on BoM Dauntlesses.

Please feel free to pass this along. I wonder if Hill Goodspeed of the Naval Aviation Museum has a recording or transcript of the Battle of Midway Symposium from May 1998? It may be helpful to the film crew. Lloyd Childers and Bert Earnest were on the panel as well as Taisuke Maruyama and two other Japanese I cannot recall right now. Bill Surgi was there as well and was a nice gentleman too. Our Bill Vickery was there and may have more information. I did find reference to the Symposium in a quick Google search, 1998 Battle of Midway Symposium, in the book Twenty-Five Yards of War by Ronald J. Drez.

I have details of the SBD markings that vary among carriers and squadrons. Especially details for Enterprise that may be helpful.

I hope this is of value.
Best Regards,
William Reece

Editors Note:  I have passed the information on to the Midway Movie crew.  They were most grateful for the clarification on the colors of the bombs.  Waiting to hear back on the markings and such so may be back in touch.  One other question came up on was which direction the rear seat man sat during launches.  I'm almost certain the sat facing forward with the guns stowed but I also told them the guns have to be stowed and the rear seat man had to turn around and read the altitude off to the pilot in the dive, something most others get wrong. So they are trying to get details right. Just hope they continue doing so.

From Ron Russell
July 19, 2018

Dick Woodson explained that for me in a phone interview in 2005, when we were talking about which way VT-8 went when they broke off from the HAG. He stated that the SBD radioman-gunner is always facing forward, unless actually working the guns. Everything he needs to be doing, save firing the guns to the rear, requires him to be facing forward.

For starters, his first job is as the aircraft's radio operator, and that equipment was all in the front portion his cockpit area. You also cited the altimeter callouts during a dive. In addition, the R/G served as the lookout during the flight--the pilot must concentrate on maintaining formation with the other planes close by; he can't be scanning the horizon ahead or to the sides, nor below the plane. It's up to the R/G to spot what's out there and pass the word. Case in point: Lloyd Childers spotting Kido Butai's smoke during VT-3's flight.

And finally, the R/G had some limited flight controls and could actually fly the plane in an emergency if the pilot couldn't.

This came up during the VT-8 turn discussion: Woodson said they broke left; contrary to the traditional assumption. I told him, "okay wait--you were facing aft so if they broke off left relative to you, they were turning away to the right from the flight path." He shot back quickly, "no way! The R/G never faces aft unless shooting," and he continued with the above explanation.

From Christopher Braund
July 8, 2018

Just read the latest issue. A side note, I too have been contacted for information and research on the new Midway movie. My history department runs the only Doolittle Raiders Staff Ride down here at Fort Rucker, Al and somehow that got passed around and we were contacted regarding Doolittle’s crash site, aircraft colors,and other miscellaneous things. I’m in the process of getting them more detailed information on LSOs and the Mark3a plotting board too, specifically what the pilots carried in it.

They seem to want to get this one right and are paying a lot of attention to the details.


Midway island aircraft destroyed

From Martin Bunch
July 14, 2018

I have multiple books on BOM like Shattered Sword and Miracle at Midway and honestly can't remember how many aircraft were destroyed on the ground on Midway island during the initial attack. I just watched a WWII documentary and the narrator while discussing Midway mentioned multiple aircraft destroyed on the ground even know the US was prepared. I thought most or all of the planes either fought the incoming aircraft or flew out of the area until it was over. Just curious..

Martin Bunch

Editors Note:  I will have to look a little. My own recollections are that the US knew the Japanese carriers were closing from the PBY contacts both on the 3rd and then the morning of the 4th when Ady found them. B-17's were already on their way to attack the transport group, the two dive bomber squadrons and the torpedo planes, TBF's and B-26's, were launched immediately to attack, and the fighters were put on CAP. The only planes I can think of that were destroyed on the ground were possibly a couple out of service. But I don't recall any mention of it in books. Don't recall if any on strike had to return due to engine problems or could not get off the ground for other reasons.

SBD Dauntless 100 Pound Bombs

From Scott M. Kozel
July 9, 2018

The SBD Dauntless dive bombers at Midway are frequently cited as carrying either a 1,000 pound bomb or a 500 pound bomb, depending on mission requirements.

Less frequently it is mentioned that the 500 pound loading on a SBD was normally accompanied by two 100 pound bombs, so that was actually a total mission loading of 700 pounds of bombs.

Obviously the damage caused by a 100 pound bomb would be much less than that of a 500 pound bomb, but it still could cause significant damage.

I have at least 8 books about the BOM, and have read this forum extensively.

I don't recall ever seeing these questions addressed --

1. Where and how were these 100 pound bombs affixed to the aircraft?

2. What were the design types - incendiary, high explosive, armor-piercing, or a mixture thereof?

3. Were they toggled in unison with the 500 pound bomb?

4. Where if anywhere did these 100 pound bombs hit the IJN carriers and what was the damage caused by each? There is precise accounting for all the 1,000 and 500 pound bomb hits, none for the 100s.

Scott M. Kozel

Editors Note: Some interesting facts on the 100lb bombs.  The bombs were attached under each wing.  There was a mount under each wing that was designed to carry any number of things.  I don't have a complete list of ordanance that could be deployed but 100lb bombs were definately on the list.  I believe they came in several variations but general purpose was probably the most likely deployed at Midway.  As for being deployed I remember reading on some of the Japanese mandate island attacks early in the war the pilots could release them independently and often did.  I have never read of any account that outlines where any of the 100lb bombs hit if any.  First they did not make enough of an explosion to be noticed during the battle but there is another more fundamental reason.

When the aircraft were deployed on the deck for a full launch the length of the flight deck each aircraft had to take off was a consideration on ordanance weight.  All bombing squadrons were armed with a 1000lb bomb as that was determined to be the max weight they could carry and still get off the deck.  The next 9 aircraft had 700lbs, one 500lb bomb plus 2 100lb bombs.  The first 9 aircraft could only carry 500 lbs and still have enough deck to be able to launch.

So bottom line only 9 SBD's of Scouting Six had 100 lb bombs on the morning attack on Kaga and she was hit in fairly rapid succession so the 100lb bombs, if any hit, were probably not noticed.  Later in the afternoon attack on the Hiryu both bombing six and bombing three were armed with 1000lb bombs.  Note there is conflicting information on after action reports where Enterprise says that only 11 aircraft were armed with 1000lb bombs while Bombing Three says all 13 of their SBD's were armed with 1000lb bombs.  I know that Best had a 1000lb bomb so hard telling the exact number that were loaded that morning.  Likely either VB-3 or VB-6 had at least some armed with only 500lb bombs as it appears only about 15 near the rear of the deck could be armed with 1000lb bombs or they would not have enough deck space.

I have not had any info on whether the Scouting six SBD's attacking Hiryu were armed with 100lb bombs as well as the 500lb bomb they carried, or for that matter whether any of VB-6 or VB-3 had 100lb bombs as well as the 500lb.  There was certainly enough deck space for 9 to be so armed.  The VS-6 aircraft at the front of the deck certainly only had 500lbs though.  And again Hiryu was hit pretty hard so the 100lb bombs if any hit probably didn't get noticed.

SBD flight operations at LSFM

From Brock Howe
July 22, 2018

Thanks again for coordinating the BOM Roundtable. I’m really learning a lot from your monthly newsletters and collective knowledge of the group. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about the BOM and the SBD and I have a long way to go.

I thought maybe you and/or the members might enjoy a few pics from our SBD operations this weekend. We performed our inaugural flights with the Lone Star Flight Museum’s SBD for customer passengers who sat in the tail gunner position. We had a great day of flying and the aircraft performed well for the three flights. It was a HOT day in Houston and so out of curiosity, I measured the wing surface temperatures and they were over 160 degrees in the early afternoon sun. I was ready to don my firefighting bunker gloves as my mechanics gloves just weren’t cutting it J I now have another reason to appreciate the job the Navy boys did servicing these birds on the carriers in the South Pacific!

Also, another little tidbit about our aircraft and this forum. Through your forum, I was able to meet Tom Doll and he and I have been exchanging emails and pictures for a couple years now. I treasure his knowledge of the aircraft and their operations. To top it off, Tom also actually worked on our aircraft back in the ‘60s when it was owned by Tallmantz Aviation. What a small world! See attached for a pic of Tom in the aircraft after he painted her.

Brock Howe 

Link to larger image Link to larger image Link to larger image
Link to larger image Link to larger image

Frank Quady Action Report: June '42

From Ron Russell
July 31, 2018

Scott, I'm forwarding this to Thom Walla, the current editor of the Midway Roundtable. He may be able to direct you to the answer you're seeking. As for me, I have a glossary in the front of No Right to Win, but it doesn't cover all the terms in your document.

The FAQs on the former Roundtable site dealt with the operation of the Roundtable itself, so that wouldn't help you.

Good luck,
--Ron Russell

Hello - A sibling has asked me what the terminology meant for our uncle's report (attached). I could loosely say it means rush the report of contact/more important than quantity of shots fired. Do you have a more succinct definition? I checked and was not able to access the FAQ's for the Roundtable. Thanks for any light you can shed on this and please direct me if there is a glossary associated with the Roundtable.
Best regards,
Scott Quady

From Ron Russell,
July 31, 2018


If you're mainly asking about the slang term "gundeck," that means to fill out a report for the sake of getting it filled out, not for actually providing the necessary information. For example, if a technician has a work order to clean grime from an engine compartment, he can gundeck the order by marking it complete without doing the work.

In this case, gundecking the enemy action report would meaning filling in the blanks with whatever the author thinks his boss would want to see, and what would help him get a favorable performance evaluation down the road.


Very helpful..thanks Ron!

Action Report

BOM Power Point Presentations

From Ray Rossa
July 19, 2018

I am a US military veteran and have been a long-time participant/member of BOMRT. Thank you for your monthly e-mail feeds. I am sure that it takes a ton of effort and I appreciate all of your hard work. I read with great interest that a new film story about the battle will be forthcoming. I have always been captivated and enthralled by PacWar carrier battles. So, I extensively researched, created and presented PowerPoint presentations on these epic struggles for historical societies and community college continuing education classes. Consequently, two recent battle episodes are attached which I hope you will view. If you think that they have merit, I would appreciate your kindness in forwarding them to the Midway Movie crew for consideration. Having done in-depth, long-term research on this battle, I would be happy to contribute in any way to the production of this film. Hopefully, it will accurately portray the fascinating characters, gripping events and coincidences/accidents of timing of this story and dispel some of the glaring misconceptions associated with this monumental event. No compensation is needed for any assistance that I might provide as I would love to contribute to the creation of this film story in some small way.  Thank you.

Ray Rossa

Editors Note:  Below are the links to the two power point presentations.
Presentation 1 Presentation 2

Announcements and Questions

USS Enterprise website

From Jack Parker
July 8, 2018

It never occurred to me to mention before, but CV6 has a great website that perhaps you should be aware of: . This includes after action reports, rosters and such. Quite a useful site for BOM researchers.

I always think of the Enterprise and the seemingly under-appreciated role she played when put up against VT8 and the legend of the Yorktown - even though her air crews accounted for 3 (ok 2.5) of the 4 Japanese carriers. Fred Mears was on the Hornet, although he did not fly, he did report events in “Carrier Combat”. You can still find used copies of it on Amazon. He doesn’t name ships, but it’s fairly trivial to figure out which is which.

Jack Parker