Roundtable Forum
Our 22nd Year
August 2019

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
The Gallant Hours
Fighter Directors
Wolfert review
USS Hammann
Then And Now
Questions and Announcements
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Every once in a while I get to have some fun.  Shortly after the 77th BOM reunion on Midway Island this year Mr. Ed Fox contacted me and asked me if I was coming down to visit my store in Springfield any time soon.  If I was he had a gift for me that he'd like to present in person.  I told him that I was planning on visiting my sister, who lives in Branson, MO (and is quick to point out that I don't visit her enough), as well as my store on Labor Day weekend.  With that in mind we met on Saturday at the American Legion at 1pm.  What a great experience.

We chatted for about 1/2 hour about all things but a few notes I'd like to pass on in no particular order.

First he was in good health and looking forward to attending the 80th reunion on Midway in a few years.  He also thanked me for keeping the BOM RoundTable going as well as Ron Russell's long tenure at the helm and of course Bill Price for starting the whole endeavor.  He told me a few personal experiences, not necessarily about Midway, but before the war as well as after Midway.  He also showed me some American Flag pins in his pocket that he says he gives out to kids, or maybe anyone, who thanks him for his service when they meet him in day to day life.  He says he buys them by the 100 and always keeps a few on him.

I have to say that his gift was perhaps the most thoughtful gift that I have ever received. He presented me with a flag that had flown over Midway Island from June 1st to June 3rd, 2019.  So here we are.  Close up of the box for the flag as well.

Thank you Mr. Ed Fox for taking the time and the flag.

The Gallant Hours

From Barrett Tillman
August 8, 2019

Agree that Cagney made an excellent Halsey but man-o-man:

Read the Goofs section. The most cogent (by ol' Whosis) noted the convoluted timeline with the Yamamoto intercept overlapping the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal. Then there's VF-11 at Cactus several months early, in 42.

Beirne Lay cowrote the script, and certainly he knew aviation (12 O'Clock High etc) but clearly not naval aviation.

The movie's format is odd: narration comes & goes amidst Navy Hymn type chorus fading in and out. Most peculiar.

Barrett sends

From Manuel Gil
August 10, 2019

Agree “The Gallant Hours” to be a very good film on the Guadalcanal Campaign. Have it in my WW2 movies collection of “good” films along with “classics”; Task Force, Midway (1976),They Were Expendable, Tora, name a few.

Many good scenes; when Halsey comes to meet Vice Adm Ghormley at his Headquarters (USS Argonne) at Noumea.

The dramàtic meeting with Daniel J. Callaghan and Norman Scott, previous to the crucial nocturne naval battle of 13 Nov 1942.

The interception of Japanese message of the Yamamoto´s visit to Bouganville.

Great movie directed by Robert Montgomery also as Producer with James Cagney,(both great actors an swell guys).

My best wishes for you all.

Manuel Gil

Attached two pics: Carl Benton Reid (the roll of Vice Adm Ghormley) and Ghomley himself.


Editors Note:  Every once in a while I come across a picture that I have not seen before.  This is one that is very popular but it always is re-produced very cropped.  Here is the full un-cropped version of that picture as taken on June 5th.  For reference I posted some of the other pictures of the Mikuma under attack along with the cropped version of the picture in our July 2016 issue.  Here is a link if you wish to compare.  BOM RoundTable July 2016

Fighter Directors

From Barrett Tillman
August 8, 2019

Excellent variety. Especially the fighter direction material (though I note in the Midway portion the author says Akagi took two bombs thru the flight deck.)

The FDO I knew best was Hank Rowe who contributed heavily to my 1970s Proceedings article "Coaching the Fighters." I sent the rediscovered tape recording to John Lundstrom in case he can use it. Hank mentioned a coupla interesting aspects: At one point fighter direction was the navy's No. 2 priority after the Manhattan Project.

Originally FDOs were to be aviators but the need quickly/immediately outgrew the supply. Hank got back into flying by volunteering for the B-17 ( PB-1 ) airborne FDO project at the end of the war.

Barrett sends

Wolfert review

From Scott Kair
August 8, 2019

Thanks for running the review of Wolfert's book. I hope the listees find it useful.

I do have a comment on your comments, and a question, though. I don't remember where I read it- either Mrazek's, Mears' or Gay's books- but in one of them it was rather forcefully stated that Waldron was determined to take lead the squadron into the coming battle even if he had to figure out how to fly the TBFs after they left Pearl. How that would have turned out if Larsen's detachment had arrived on time is anyone's guess, as none of the pilots ferrying the TBFs had launched or landed on a carrier. Mears described that phase of training, which took place afterwards aboard Saratoga, and I don't recall it being accomplished quickly.

The point, though, is that assuming that Waldron survived the type qualification, he'd have led the TBFs from Hornet come hell or high water, and on his own course rather than Mitscher's. The effect of that change would have been that VT8 would have arrived earlier, since the TBFs were able to fly roughly 50% faster than the TBDs. That raises the question of whether he'd have had to recalculate the course or whether he'd have found Kido Butai at all. Naturally, he'd have had more range for searching, but the change introduces yet another variable into Ron Russell's theory of a rigid chain of events being necessary for our victory there. It might be worthwhile to seek his input on such a variable.

Finally, would you mind if I posted the review on the Amazon page for Wolfert's book. Most of the reviewers seem to have the impression that it was written later than it was, and I think that misimpression needs to be corrected. I'd add to it a note that it was originally published in the July issue of BOMRT, and a link to the site. We might get a few new listees...

Editors Note: You are welcome to post the review on Amazon. It is your review after all. As for Waldron flying the TBF's as well as the other detachment not being qualified in carrier landings that is an interesting thought. Maybe it was thought at the time that the qualifications could be done on the way to Midway. Don't know. But if Waldron would have taken command an even more interesting take. We shall never know but interesting discussion topic nonetheless.

From Scott Kair
August 8, 2019

Thanks. Will paste it up.

Will also see if I can find the reference to Waldron's plan to learn to fly, and land the TBF on the way out from Pearl. VT8 seems to have been something of the Navy's expansion team, basically two squadrons worth of pilots packed into one unit and flying different aircraft. The men in Larsen's detachment had had opportunity to learn the new aircraft in flying them from the Grumman factory to Dan Diego, but hadn't learned how to bring them in for carrier landings. Allowing that many pilots aboard to qualify in 4 days or so on the way to what everyone knew was the most critical battle yet might have had unintended consequences, if only in starting another fight between Ring and Waldron. Ring scratching Waldron from the mission is a possibility, but it would have resulted in an explosion to rival that of Kaga going up, especially if a Hornet based unit all got shot down or splashed after not finding KB and running out of fuel.



From Jeffrey McMeans
August 8, 2019

Since you brought up Admiral Halsey and Admiral Spruance, I thought I would add this to the mix; Admirals Nimitz, Spruance, Richmond Kelly Turner (led all US amphibious attacks from Guadalcanal through Okinawa) & Lockwood (Commander of all US submarines in the Pacific which destroyed Japan's shipping), are all buried next to each other in one row, along with their wives at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California which is very close to San Francisco International Airport. I have been there and was touched to see them like that.

One of the 'gifts' of the Battle of Midway occurred 77 years ago today on August 7, 1942, when the United States Navy attacked on land offensively for the first time, landing 19,000 US Marines on the islands of Guadalcanal and Tulagi with the express purpose of capturing an almost completed Japanese airstrip which was quickly named Henderson Field and held on for six months of incredible land, air and sea battles, eventually forcing the Imperial Japanese Army to accept defeat and evacuate what they called Starvation Island, leaving more than 20,000 or more dead. The American losses were 1,500 US Marines and Army killed and 3,600 US Navy sailors died.

The Road to Tokyo really started at the Battle of Midway, then continued on extensively in that very long six month Battle of Guadalcanal.

Jeffrey McMeans,
US Navy veteran

USS Hammann

From Martin Bunch
August 7, 2019

I have interviewed a survivor of the Hammann and made a RC scale Hammann model boat which I told Joe Sannes about during the interview.. He was very happy.. He told me to read the book “Screened her going down” by Norman Shaw. I created a FB website for Hammann enthusiasts and have a few Hammann relatives on it.. Im fascinated by the Hammann and the events leading up the sinking and all that could have been prevented and the tragedy that happened when she sank with the depth charges and torpedoes and great loss of life. This is a very relevant book since only 2 US ships were sunk during BOM.

Here’s my site, not a whole lot going on but very much BOM relevant.

Editors Note: We have a short review of the book in the Battle of Midway Library which reminds me that I need to add serveral new books to the list.

Then And Now

Then - June 1942 - Midway Island - SBD-2 Dauntless 6 BuNo 2106

Now - National Naval Aviation Museum - SBD Dauntless BuNo 2106

This SBD-2 is the only known Dauntless that participated in the Battle of Midway that has survived.  On December 7th it was at Luke Field on Ford Island and survived the surprise Japanese attack.  Later it was assigned to Bombing 2 aboard the Lexington and participated in raids on Lae and Salamaua, New Guinea.    Lexington was refitted at Pearl Harbor in late March and the Dive Bomber did not accompany her on her last voyage back to The Coral Sea. 

In May it was transferred to Marine squadron VMSB 241 eventually making its way to Midway Island as part of the reinforcements sent to Midway shortly before the battle.

During The Battle of Midway the 16 SBD's that made up the squadron led by Major Henderson attacked the Japanese carrier Hiryu on the morning of June 4th but was unsuccessful in achieving any damage to the carrier.   However it survived the attack, despite considerable fighter opposition, and returned to Midway landing with over 200 bullet holes and other damage including a wounded rear gunner.

By mid 1942 the SBD-2's were being replaced by SBD-3's so it was repaired and then returned to the US and assigned to pilot training on Lake Michigan.  On June 11, 1943 the aircraft took off but ditched and was lost.  There it sat in deep cold water till 1994 when it was found and raised.

Sent to the National Naval Aviation Museum where it was restored and now sits with other planes from that era.

Announcements and Questions

Battle Participants

From Richard Scharff
August 20, 2019

Curious if the there is a database of rosters of all US ships rosters present at the BOM…looking for a Howard J Klingbeil.

Dick Scharff

Editors Note:  Unfortunately there is not. However I have some sources that might help. There is a military service record site that sometimes helps in this case giving deployments and times for each person. If you have his service number that would help as well although his name is pretty unique so wouldn't think there would be many matches. I'll look and see what I can find.

Update:  Did not find his record in fold3 but I was wrong.  There are a lot of matches.  Have not had time to go through all of them but looked at the most promising but found nothing that would indicate he was on a ship at Midway.

P40 Fighters

From Tom Galvin
September 6, 2019

Why were there no P40 fighters at the battle of Midway?

Editors Note: Interesting question and I'll post it in the next newsletter. Maybe someone has a definitive answer. But the best I can recall there simply wasn't any transport available to get them there. Plus the defense of Pearl Harbor was still a major concern given that the Army was not convinced that the Japanese were not going to attack Pearl Harbor again.

From Tom Galvin
September 8, 2019

The early models P40b had a range of 940 miles, not enough to make it from Hawaii to Midway (pre drop tanks) so I guess that some way of extending the range would have to be found! If the USAAC could have done that then the Marine F4Fs and the F2A (about 23 aircraft ) could have been used as escorts for the torpedo and glide bomber planes from Midway, maybe even scoring a hit! While the P40 is not a match for the Zero in turns and climb, if flown properly as the AVG did (in China) would be better than then F4F and F2A.

Tom Galvin

BOM Statistics

John Bond
September 6, 2019

Do you know if anyone has tabulated the actual KIA and WIA of the Midway Battle with actual names?

I know there is a site with Marine names but I cannot find anything about Navy or Army. For such a major important historic battle you would think these would have been done by now.

Also, who did these very interesting graphics: "Bomb damage of IJN Carriers"

Editors Note: There is a list under our tab 'The Battle' called 'Casualty List'. Maybe that would help. As far as I know its the most comprehensive list. As far as WIA I don't know of any specific document that lists those men. As for the 'Bomb damage of IJN Carriers' that was my work. The top view of the carriers themselves are not my drawings. Not sure where they originated or who did them. As for the bomb damage each bomb that landed I did the graphics for that. I had a lot more time when I first took over the RoundTable so could devote more to some enhancements. When time permits hopefully will get to more.

The Battle of Midway 1942: Told from the Japanese Perspective (1/2)

From Francine Kraus
September 2, 2019

Part One of a planned two part series

Editors Note: I have seen some videos done on the battle.  This one is pretty good.