October 29, 2011

The Flight To The Battle of Midway Roundtable

Back on October 6th, I posted a 3000-word article on The Flight To Nowhere, the disastrous mission of the USS Hornet's Air Group on the first day of the Battle of Midway.  After I posted it, I realized that it was actually pretty decent.  On a whim, I sent a link to the post to Ronald Russell, author of the book No Right To Win and the webmaster of the Battle of Midway Roundtable.

The BOMRT is an online gathering of historians, authors, interested amateurs, and (most importantly) veterans of the Battle of Midway.  It's probably the foremost online resource on the events of Midway, which explains why pretty much anybody who's written a book on the Battle or related topics in recent years is a member; Jon Parshall and Anthony Tully, John Lundstrom, Robert Cressman, Alvin Kernan, Robert Mrazek, Norman Polmar, amongst others.

A few hours after I sent the link to Mr Russell, I got a response with a few notes and a willingness to use the post in the next "issue" of the BOMRT Newsletter.  To say this is something of an honor is understating the matter a bit; short of the article actually being published somewhere, that's about as good as it gets for an "interested amateur" like myself.

The new issue of the Newsletter was posted today.  You can find the relevant "Now Hear This" page right here

I'm somewhat chuffed.

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October 06, 2011

The Flight To Nowhere

At 7am on June 4th, 1942, the signal was flashed to the American aircraft carrier USS Hornet: "Begin launching aircraft."  The plan to ambush the Japanese Kido Butai had worked perfectly so far.  The Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu were some 155 miles away, long range for the 59 planes of the Hornet's Air Group launched that day, but quite doable. 

By noon, only 31 planes had landed at Midway or on the Hornet.  All were SBD Dauntless dive bombers.  None of the TBD Devastators of Torpedo 8 or the F4F Wildcats of Fighting 8 had landed aboard, and never would.  None of the SBDs of Scouting 8 or Bombing 8 had even seen the Japanese carriers.  One third of the striking power that the US Navy had so carefully positioned had been completely wasted.

What had happened during those five hours became one of the US Navy's deepest (but open) secrets, suspected but unproven for over 45 years.  It cost the lives of 31 airmen.  It should have torpedoed the careers of two men destined to become admirals.  It was The Flight To Nowhere.


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