Friday, June 07, 2019

Fullbore Friday

With this being the week of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of Midway has taken a back seat, rightfully.

At the end of April, I came across one of the best presentations about the Battle of Midway I have ever seen. What makes it so good is its presentation: from the Japanese perspective. The author has only published Part-1 of a two part series, but you need to see it now.

Not just that, it brings in to the light some of the lesser known stories from the American effort - specifically the heroic attacks from the land-based aircraft from Midway after the discovery of the Japanese fleet by a PBY just in time. They may not have directly done much, but they set the table for the carrier aircraft to catch lightning in a jar - as you'll see below.

I recommend that you watch the whole thing, but if you are running short of time, I ask you go to the 11:50 timestamp of the first video.

What especially hit me were the attacks of the Vindicator squadron. Even more obsolete than the Devastators - and their pilots knew this - they still pressed on.

First there was the defense of Midway by the fighters as the attack aircraft went to attack the approaching Japanese force:
- 13 of 18 Buffalo shot down.
- 2 of 6 Wildcats shot down.

The first Midway based attack: 0710:
- 5 of 6 USN Avenger torpedo bombers shot down.
- 2 of 4 USAAC Marauders shot down.
- No hits.
- 2 Japanese Zeros lost.

2nd at 0753:
- 8 of 16 USMC Dauntless dive bombers shot down.
- No hits.
- 1 Japanese Zero lost.

3rd at 0810:
- 15 USAAC B-17 at high altitude.
- No hits. No losses

4th at 0847:
- 11 USMC Vindicator dive bombers.
- 2 of 11 shot down.
- No hits.
- Avoided Japanese carriers and attacked IJN BB Haruna.

Watch 'em all. Next time people tell you how unrealistic the "Last Charge of the Dothraki" was in Game of Thrones ... think of the land based aircraft at Midway (including my Buffalos) - they did the same with the same foreknowledge of the odds.

You do it because it must be done.

Duty. Mission.

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