Roundtable Forum
Our 22nd Year
November 2018

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Air Zoo's SBD-2
Midway Movie TBDs
Flight to Nowhere
100 lb Bombs Loaded on the Scout Bombers
Midway Round Table Obituaries?
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the November Issue of the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  This month we have some continuing discussions as well as a few thoughts and suggestions.

As we pass December 7th I always pause a bit to reflect on the people's lives at the time.  For most Americans the events leading up to the attack were not well known.  In fact I'd venture to guess that most Americans did not know the situation in the Pacific with the Japanese.  While the codebreakers toiled away to help the diplomats and the military tried to keep in mind that the war was a real possibility and prepared as they could the home front was quietly going about their business and lives.  The news that the Japanese had attacked a US Naval base in Hawaii certainly took everyone by surprise.

The Battle of Midway was the counterstroke that ended the Japanese aggression in the Pacific and to a certain degree avenged the attack on Pearl Harbor.    The attack on Pearl Harbor and to a certain degree the first 6 months of the war the carrier had replaced the battleship as a Nations capital ship.  At the start of the war the Japanese had 6 fleet carriers and the US had 6 fleet carriers.  Battleships on both sides still outnumbered carriers even with the loss of some at Pearl Harbor.  After Midway the new measuring stick for capital ships shifted 4-2 favoring the US.  From that the Japanese never recovered the initiative.

This is something I'm sure all on the RoundTable know.  What interests me at times is reading the magazines from 1940-42.  Life magazine is particularly interesting.  In it you get the feeling of the times, the people, events, and lives.  So when December 7th rolls around each year and we get further and further from the day I pick up one or two magazines from the era and page through them.  Those people in the pages of each magazine had their lives forever changed by one event so significant that they never returned to a life previously led.

I want to wish everyone a great holiday season and give the gift of history to someone this year.

Enjoy the Battle of Midway RoundTable.  Till next year.

Air Zoo's SBD-2

From John Steward
November 8, 2018

I noted with interest, the article on the Kalamazoo Air Zoo’s restoration of the SBD-2P. I am a docent there, and encourage anyone who’d like to see it, to drop on in if you’re in the area.

I have photos of the ongoing restoration if you’d like to pass them along.


Editors Note:  Thank you very much.  Hopefully someday the Dauntless will have a prominant display along with the history of the aircraft for all to see and learn a little something on the Battle of Midway.

From Chuck Wohlrab
November 8, 2018

Just an FYI. There is an SBD-2 at the museum at Pensacola, #2106, that was a veteran of Pearl Harbor, the Lae-Salamaua Raid and Midway. She belonged to VB-2 and was at Ford Island awaiting an engine change on December 7th. She survived the attack was was returned to VB-2 on Lexington. She was flown on the Lae-Salamaua Raid, then turned in to CASU-1 in April ‘42 when Lexington was in refit at Pearl. She was then assigned to VMSB-241 at Midway and was flown by LT Daniel Iverson during the morning attack on the carriers. Iverson dove on Hiryu and then had a running gunfight with two Zeroes as he retired. The damaged aircraft was returned to the US for repair and was lost on a training mission over Lake Michigan in June 1943. She was raised in 1994 and sent to the Naval Aviation Museum for restoration.

Chuck Wohlrab

Editors Note:  Okay I stand corrected.  There are two SBD-2's that are or will be on display that were in the Battle of Midway.  Good to know.

Midway Movie TBDs

From Russ Matthews
November 9, 2018

Don’t worry .. I’m not going to ask you to spill any information about the current “Midway” film. I’m well aware of how important it is to honor that confidentiality request. It’s actually just encouraging to me to know that the production team sought out your expertise and I admire how you handled things with the Roundtable .. protecting the integrity of the picture, yet letting people know that their questions will be answered when the time is right.

What I would like to do at this point is simply plant a “seed.” On the chance that the filmmakers chose to create one or more full size mockups of the extinct Douglas TBD-1 Devastator (rather than rely entirely on CGI, I’d like to suggest that we could find a museum (or museums) eager to acquire one for display after the shooting is done .. as was the case when Avalon pictures donated their full size reproduction of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B (built for the Hillary Swank picture “Amelia”) to the San Diego Air & Space Museum back in 2010.

I’m sure the Midway Museum, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, or the Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola (to name a few) would be interested. I have a new non-profit (Air/Sea Heritage Foundation) and good connections at all of those museums (as I’m sure you do as well) and would be happy to help facilitate things if that is something the production company is willing/interested in doing. And no, I would not expect to be compensated in any way. I just happen to think that these mockups (if they even exist, that is) would be the closest we’ll ever get to having a battle-ready Devastator exhibited with an SBD and F3F .. and that would be pretty cool to see.

Best Regards,
Russ Matthews

Editors Note:  Thank you very much for the suggestion.  I do not know if they are going to build a full size replica of a TBD.  A lot of the scenes take place in one but probably more from a closeup standpoint in the cockpit or aft radio/gunner position.  But again hard telling.  They were asking about the bombs and torpedoes for the prop department to build when the aircraft are on deck so maybe.  Bottom line I really was never given that kind of information.  But I can certainly ask.

From Russ Matthews
November 10, 2018

Terrific. Thanks. I’m glad to know you “get” where I’m coming from. It never hurts to ask! I’ll be standing by. If you hear back that the production did indeed utilize full scale TBD mock up(s) and would entertain the idea of seeing it/them preserved in a museum setting .. please let me know. I’d be eager to help find the right home and offer to assist with accession and transportation, etc.

Best Regards

Flight to Nowhere

From Sam,
November 9, 2018

Dear BoM Members,

Has anyone seen the August edition of Flight Journal magazine? In it there's a story of "the Flight to Nowhere" that claims the Bowen Weischeit book is the "end all" to the controversy. Mystery solved. I know that Mr. Russell has disagreed What do you all think of the story?

Best Regards,

Editors Note:  I tried to find a copy of the magazine but when you sent the note the store where I buy most of the History or Aviation magazines did not have a copy left.  So I can't comment on the authors conclusion.  I'm sure a few others have a copy and can chime in.

'The last flight of Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Junior, USNR, Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942' is the book the article was based on but I don't think it definitively answers the question.  It does provide some clues about the flight.


100 lb Bombs Loaded on the Scout Bombers

From Scott Kozel
November 13, 2018

My take --
The main bomb that was mounted under the fuselage was either 500 lbs or 1,000 lbs. The two 100 lb bombs were mounted under each wing and could at least provide a third bomb loading of 700 lbs if an aircraft could carry more than 500 lbs but less than 1,000 lbs for a particular mission.

I suspect that if 4 or 6 or 8 of the 100 lb bombs hit a carrier, it would do more damage than we might think, especially if one or more entered the hanger deck and/or the island structure. Obviously less than a 500 lb bomb but every hit would do something, may as well carry them along when feasible.

Editors Note:  True, they carried them for a reason.  Still have not found anything that clearly states what kind of bomb the 100lb were.  I suppose general purpose would be the logical choice for ground targets and considering they were going after Carriers with wooden decks probably as logical for them as well.


From Richard Douglass
December 3rd, 2018

I have an extra copy of Shattered Sword. It is the first trade paperback version from 2007. Excellent condition, no tears writing, etc. Unfortunately not signed by Admiral Nimitz (joke of course). Free for the first person that contacts me and sends me $4.00 for postage.

Also have an extra hardback copy of The First Team from 1984. Same deal. Send me $ for shipping.

Richard Douglass Kent,

PS - Love the Roundtable even if I rarely comment. Thank you so much for keeping it alive. Too bad there is not one for Coral Sea.

Editors Note:  Your offer is very generous.  If anyone wants the books let me know and I'll pass on the information to Mr. Kent and you both can make arrangements for the purchase.


From Bill Rowe
November 8, 2018

The Roundtable has been interesting and informative since I first learned of it.  It has a broader aspect too.  It may be the best documented, analysised, and discussed naval battle of WW2.  Many of the participants and documents were available for cycles of study and clarification.  Yet there are action and decision components that are not known or understood, and short of a time machine the questions won’t be answered.  If that is true of the Battle of Midway, then we should have reservation about our understanding of older battles.  So I often refer the Roundtable to people who enjoy history.

Bill Rowe

Editors Note:  Thank you very much.  I hope it teaches students about the Battle of Midway in particular but also hopefully helps future historians understand that no matter how much information we might have on a battle there are still unanswered questions.

Midway Round Table Obituaries?

From Ken Richards
November 6, 2018

Good Evening Sir, I am looking over your website, and think it's neat that you got the participation of Battle of Midway veterans. Do you have obituaries on your site? I'm sure most participants, unfortunately, have died. Certainly having their birth dates, and death dates, provides for a kind of completeness to any reference to them on your site. Or at least where their pictures are presented.

Great site,
Ken Richards

Editors Note:  While that would certainly be information that some might find useful the Battle of Midway RoundTable has always been about the men who participated in the Battle and their stories.  The obituaries of these great men has always been posted in the monthly newsletters so it would take some searching to find them all.  I will see about putting a page together linking the specific issue of the RoundTable where their obituaries were posted.