Roundtable Forum
Our 23rd Year
January 2020

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
Midway Atoll: Remembering Midway’s Heroes
B-26's at Midway
How Ready were the Japanese Carriers
Medal of Honor for VT-8
Submarines at Midway
Mitscher and the Mystery of Midway
Shattered Sword
Announcements and Questions
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

Welcome to the new year.  This month I included a few sites that are interesting reads as well as some submissions.  One I thought was particularly interesting is the summary of one of the B-26's that attacked the Japanese Fleet on the morning of the 4th.  Another is an older article but now online for anyone to read that has some references to The Battle of Midway RoundTable and the article our former host Mr. Ron Russell did when writing his book.

I also have an update on the Yahoo Group for the Shattered Sword.   I'm sure there are a few of you that belong to that group and know that Yahoo is no longer hosting or storing any files for their Groups.  This was a really popular way to share interests with others and had been a staple for a long time.  I think I saved all the data so we might have the info hosted here in the next few months once I figure out what I have and how to put it all back together.


Midway Atoll: Remembering Midway’s Heroes

Editors Note:  Found this interesting read so passing it on.  This particular action did not occur during the battle but rather on December 7th, 1941 when the two Japanese destroyers bombarded Midway.

Midway Atoll

B-26's at Midway

Editors Note:  Here is a link to the fate of B-26 "Susie-Q" Serial Number 40-1391.  One of the four B-26's that were on Midway at the time of the battle and made contact with and attacked the Japanese carrier fleet.  Two were lost over the target but two made it back to Midway.  Susie-Q was too badly damaged to be repaired and so remains in the Lagoon at Midway Atoll.

How 'ready' were the Japanese Carriers to launching?

From William Longton
January 8, 2020

I was tossing the idea around in my head of what exactly was the visual presentation to the dive bomber pilots when they arrived over Kido Butai on June 4th. According to tradition, Cmdr Mitsou Fuchida stated that Nagumos carriers were loaded and ready to launch the air strike at 10:20 am. This was interpretted to mean that the FLIGHT decks were crowded with attack bombers all fueled and armed, ready to strike. Since that day, this image has been debunked (especially by John Parshall in his book "Shattered Sword") as the flight decks were clear of bombers and had perhaps only a few Zero fighters rotating through the CAP. Fuchida's statement therefore became something of a lie told to the higher command as a face-saving measure. I question this not as a matter of fact, but rather as a matter of perspective. According to Parshall, the Japanese carrier bombers would be kept below in the hanger decks where the equipment to hold (especially) the torpedoes would be mounted, followed by the weapon themselves before coming to the flight deck. Dive bombers would have their weapons actually loaded on the flight deck. Here is my point. Could Fuchida's statement that Nagumo's carriers were ready to launch the morning attack against the Americans been true after all according to JAPANESE doctrine (meaning that the torpedo planes were fully loaded in the hanger decks and that only the dive bombers needed to be equipped with AP bombs)? If so, then Fuchida was correct in his statement, and it was the American interpretation of those words which had the flight decks loaded with attack planes. Just some food for thought.....

Editors Note:  I think Shattered Sword pretty well explained why the Japanese carriers were not exactly on the verge of launching a strike.  However also according to Shattered Sword when Best hit the Akagi all eighteen Type 97 Torpedo Bombers were fueled and armed with torpedoes in the hanger deck.  So they were for all intents and purposes ready to be launched.  But it would take some time to get all spotted on the flight deck along with the Fighter escorts, warmed up and launched.  Japanese hanger's were not open like US carriers so there was no way to warm up the aircraft in the hanger.  They had to be brought topside. To give one a perspective on how long this might take the Akagi was bombed at roughly 10:25.  Hiryu which was untouched by the morning strikes launched her dive bombers at 10:57, or about half hour later.

Was Fuchida correct in his statement?  That depends on perspective.  His statement that they were ready to launch at 10:20 has a bit of an immediate ring to it.  None were ready to actually take off so in that regard he was wrong.  Were they ready to launch, well again they were armed and fueled so technically one could infer that they were as ready as they could be.  But they were still a ways away from actually getting in the air.

Medal of Honor for VT-8

From Barrett Tillman
January 19, 2020

Have you seen Mitscher's recommendation for wholesale Medals of Honor to VT-8? I've looked online and in what papers I have without success. I'd like to quote the relevant document if possible (aside from the absurdity of the notion and ignoring the near-equal sacrifice of VT-3 and 6.)

Am hopeful of getting a publisher for a 2nd edition of Above & Beyond: The Aviation Medals of Honor, and want to include a chapter on nominations that failed. That includes Birney Strong and (apparently) Vejtasa at Santa Cruz; definitely Alex Vraciu. Am trying to confirm that Marion Carl was nominated as the family related (JL Smith of course already had it, which no doubt was to Marion's detriment, and evidently Henry Stimson was cranked about so many MoHs going to marines.)

As ever

Editors Note:  I believe the after action report by Mitscher was the only reference he made but I might be wrong. If you do not have the following here is a link. The recommendation is in paragraph 7.

Do you think Mitscher made other official requests? Would not surprise me as he went Patrol Wing 2 I believe after leaving Hornet after the battle so might have written a request while at Noumea for the rest of 1942. But he could have written something up much later too. But I do not remember reading where he pursued it after being turned down the first time. I'll look a little more. There might be some reference in the book on him, The Magnificent Mitscher. I have a copy and will look after company leaves tonight.

Thank you! I was looking for a specific MoH reference but obviously "the highest honors" alludes to little else. Sorta like Flatley's letter saying Swede deserves "the highest possible award/decoration."

Taylor (I believe) is the source of MM seeking the MoH for the entire squadron over the next 3 years. Frankly, Mitscher was medal-obsessed. He jumped on Van Voorhis' ill-reported single-plane attack on Kapangaringi (?) Atoll and postwar sent Chick Hayward to investigate. By then the Japanese were gone, apparently, and there was not yet access to IJN records. Short version: it didn't happen.

Mitscher also (again) foolishly proposed four or more pilots on the Yamamoto mission for The Big One. Lanphier blabbed to a reporter and Halsey went ballistic, reluctantly permitting Navy Crosses. In the early-mid 90s some friends of John Mitchell revived the process and it reached SecNav's desk the same time that some marines kidnapped and raped a girl on Okinawa. That ended that. I knew John and Rex Barber pretty well, and they both said they did nothing above & beyond. As Rex said "We were assigned a mission and we accomplished it."

Always thought it notable that only Dave McCampbell got the MoH among the fast CVs. Wonder who else might have been nominated...


Editors Note:  The Magnificent Mitscher still eludes me.  I know I have a copy, or at least I think I do.  But despite all efforts to find it I cannot.  I know when it I checked it out of a library and read it I looked for a copy to buy but it was out of print.  Thought I bought one when it was printed again but I may be wrong.  At any rate maybe someone that has a copy can look to see if there is any reference to the Metal of Honor recommendations.

Submarines at Midway

From Bill Vickrey
February 7, 2020

I had acme mail contact with a few men who were aboard submarines at or around Midway during the battle. Sadly my records are in terrible order. For most of my fifty years in the business world I had a secretary and never captured the art of orderly care of files. This really came to disarray in my Battle of Midway filing.

One of my most interesting contacts was with Captain Ned Beach, USN (Ret) who gained his greater claim to fame by sailing TRITON (SS-586) – he was CO - around the world submerged. Ned (USNA 1935) was a Lieutenant aboard TRIGGER (SS-237) in June, 1942’

For the life of me I cannot find the written information of the following event.

At any rate, Ned was Officer of the Deck on – I believe – 3 June 1942 when TRIGGER ran aground on a reef off Eastern Island and here is what followed.

The Marines on Eastern were signaling “identify yourself” and TRIGGER was responding with her identity. These messages were for night as the Marines were guarding one radio circuit and TRIGGER was on another. Just before the Marines were ready to fire a tug saved the day by pulling TRIGGER off the beach and she got to sea post haste. I had some limited contact with men who were aboard tugs on Midway and I may have heard from one of their crewmen. I also went to three reunions of the SIXTH DEFENSE BATTALION and I likely got some of this information from someone in person. Somewhere in my array of files I have details of this episode but – sadly – I cannot find it so I am speaking from memory. Some of it may have come from Ned’s books.


From Howard Ady III
February 7, 2020

Capt. Beach, son of a Navy Captain, was in my dad’s 1939 US Naval Academy class, graduating 2nd of 576 Midshipmen. He was awarded many Navy Valor medals including the Navy Cross. He wrote “Run Silent, Run Deep,” made into a successful movie in 1958, starring Clark Gable & Burt Lancaster.

I had much with Ned & his wife, Ingrid, and others at a Washington DC restaurant to celebrate his 79th birthday in 1997. He was an outstanding Naval Officer and author.

Here is a Wikipedia recap of his Battle of Midway and other WWII heroic accomplishments:

After graduating from Submarine School, Beach was assigned to USS Trigger (SS-237), which was commissioned on 30 January 1942. Aboard Trigger Beach held several shipboard positions, including communications officer, engineering officer, navigator, co-approach officer, and executive officer. While aboard Trigger, he participated in the Battle of Midwayand served on 10 war patrols. Trigger was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Citation during Beach's time aboard her.

Beach was assigned to the new commissioned USS Tirante (SS-420) late in 1944. He served as executive officer under Lieutenant Commander George L. Street, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for a making a daring attack in a heavily defended Japanese harbor during Tirante's first war patrol from 3 March to 26 April 1945. Beach received the Navy Cross for heroism during the same patrol and Tirante received the Presidential Unit Citation.

Beach assumed command of USS Piper (SS-409) at Pearl Harbor on 25 June 1945. Piperdeparted on her third war patrol on 19 July and entered the Sea of Japan on 13 August. The war ended on 14 August and Piper was in Japanese waters when the formal surrender was signed on 2 September and started her return to Pearl Harbor the next day.

During World War II, Beach earned 10 decorations for gallantry, including the Navy Cross and three unit citations, and participated in 12 war patrols that damaged or sank 45 enemy vessels.[2] More info at:

Vty, h

Mitscher and the Mystery of Midway

Editors Note:  This is an old magazine article published in Naval History Magazine May 2012 Volume 26, Number 3 titled Mitscher and the Mystery of Midway By Craig L. Symonds.

Nothing really knew here especially since it was published 8 years ago but thought for those that have not had the change to read it you'll find it a worthwhile few minutes.

Mitscher and the Mystery of Midway

Shattered Sword

Editors Note:  In the late summer last year Yahoo made the announcement that Yahoo Groups was being phased out.  What this meant was that even though the Group could still share information via email they were not longer going to host any content.  All content would be taken down on December 14th and if anyone wanted any of it they had to request a data dump of their group.  After December 14th the data would be deleted.  Since I have been a member of this group I contacted the Administrator to see if he wanted an alternate place to host the files.  Unfortunately his email no longer worked to log into his site so he could not retrieve the files and it seemed nobody else could either.  After several attempts to resolve the situation there seemed to be no solution to his email problem.  Yahoo eventually extended the deadline to retrieve the data till January 31st, 2020.

Late January after going though all the work of finding out just how to get a data dump of a site you did not have administrator privileges to I found a link to a place explaining how to get a data dump of any site you were even member of.  So with nothing to lose and time running out I put in my request getting a very ambiguous reply that I would receive an email when my data dump was ready to be downloaded.

Eventually just before the cutoff date I received said email and proceeded to download the very large file containing quite a few Yahoo groups I belonged to over the years.  It was one large zipped file with many other zipped files inside with no organization or names of the groups at all.  As I proceeded to unzip some of the files, many of the groups I had forgotten, I came across the data of the Shattered Sword group, or at least the first part containing documents, pictures, and some other files.

So long story short I think I retrieved all of the Shattered Sword Yahoo group files.  After I put them in some kind of order and unzip the rest I'll add a new section to the web site for the information from this group.  Don't really know what I've got yet but have it backed up in three different places just to make sure I don't lose it.  Keep everyone posted on what I find and when the first pages will be posted.

Announcements and Questions

Carol Hipperson's book, Radioman

From David Luck
December 14, 2019

Question for Mr. Lundstrom.

Mike Brazier, Esder's radioman-gunner in VT-3, was KIA at Midway. Ray Daves, as interviewed by Hipperson, details a pre-battle conversation with Brazier. So my question is this: does Yorktown's roster, when Daves was aboard Yorktown, i.e., early 1941, list Mike Brazier? 

David Luck

Those 8 Inch Guns on Lex and Sara

Editors Note:  Ever wonder what happened to the 8 Inch guns that were removed from both the Lexington and Saratoga shortly after the war began?

Lexington and Saratoga 8 Inch Guns

The Fall of the Japanese Empire: Memories of the Air War 1942-45

From Ron Werneth
January 26, 2020

I appreciate Ron Russell's review of my commentary in the Zero documentary & my first book. I have been a member for many years since Bill Price was involved.

I still regularly read all Roundtable newsletter & of course, have a strong interest in WW II Pacific Aviation.

Would you mind sharing this book update with the BOM members?

I am very proud to announce my second book, The Fall of the Japanese Empire: Memories of the Air War 1942-45 was published last year after many years of work.

This book really cover the Pacific Air War from both sides; essentially from after the BOM until Japan's surrender.

The majority of the veteran stories/pictures (Japanese/Allied) are unpublished & are my personal work with these amazing men.

For more information, please visit:

Keep up the great work!
Ron W.

Editors Note:  Thank you. I will update your email address and post a note about your new book. I have your previous book and so look forward to reading the new book.

From Ron Werneth
January 27, 2020

Thank you for your kind words & support. My second book has received a lot of great reviews, which help make a the work worthwhile.

It is readily available on Amazon, B & N, etc.

Here is the book's FB page as well. Loads of additional multi-media resources & rare pictures posted here:

BTW, any idea if longtime BOM Roundtable member USMC BOM vet. Ed Fox is still with us? I couldn't reach him so a bit concerned.

Ron W.

Editors Note:  I'll check out the Facebook page. As far as I know Ed Fox is fine. Traded emails with him late October. Also went to visit him in September as he lives not far from my sister who is always bugging me to travel down and see her. Was in good health and looking forward to the next trip to Midway Island. Maybe you have an old email? Just guessing.

From Ron Werneth
January 27, 2020

GREAT to hear about Ed! He was a close friend of many years and I visited him many years ago.

Thanks again,
 Ron W.

Book about LT. JG. Robert Whitman

From Alex Coutts
January 27, 2020

This small book was written by one of the survivors of the crash. The book mainly focus's on Scottie. I am trying to find a copy of this book. Any advice on how to find one would be Appreciated.

Alex Coutts

Editors Note:  I have not been able to find anything on the book but without a title or author it's kind of hard to track down.  As a part of the story he was a VP-44 pilot in a PBY-5A sent to look for the Japanese fleet on June 4th.  His aircraft made contact with the Japanese Occupation force and was shot down.  Several men made it into a rubber raft and were picked up on June 6th and returned to Midway.  Lt. Robert Whitman was lost with the PBY.  Perhaps someone here has info on the book or at least a title I can try to track down.