1025 local time
4 June 1942
It’s 4 June 1942, the dawn of the epic “Battle of Midway,” a clash of giants, three US carriers vs four Japanese carriers that proved to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific. For more information, both real-life and how I’m running this campaign, please check here:
Yesterday at 0900 a US Navy PBY Catalina spotted Japanese ships 500nm west southwest of Midway; B-17s from the island were dispatched but failed to hit anything. US Navy PBYs continued to shadow the Japanese surface force, and actually attacked at 0100 this morning, scoring a torpedo hit on a Japanese merchant ship. Unbeknownst to US personnel, the Japanese carrier task force, as yet still unspotted, launched its first strike group against Midway at 0430. At 0530, the PBYs spotted the Japanese carriers, and noted their strike group inbound.
At 0610, the VMF-343 “Dirt Divers” scrambled six F4F Wildcats to intercept an inbound group of six D3A “Val” dive bombers escorted by four A6M “Zeros,” but were roughly handled, having three Wildcats shot down and the other three damaged, as the Japanese lost one Zero and one Val. The Japanese aerial attack caused 18/30 damage points.
At 0625, Captain Haynes led six Wildcats to intercept an inbound group of six B5N “Kate” torpedo bombers escorted by four A6M “Zeros.” Again it was rough: the Marines lost five of six aircraft, with one pilot KIA, one MIA, and two WIA, while the Japanese lost four of their six torpedo bombers, which did light damage to Midway’s shore installations (26/30, total).
At 0645, Major Chandler led four Dirt Divers in escort of a flight of six TBF torpedo bombers to attack the Japanese carriers, running right into the Japanese CAP of six Zeros, and it was a debacle: the Americans lost one Wildcat and five TBFs, the last being damaged and forced to return to base without even spotting the Japanese carriers. Oh, and the Japanese did lose two Zeros, but they were both to the TBFs!!!
At 0715, 2nd Lt Herman led a flight of four Wildcats in escort of six SBD Dauntless dive bombers from Marine Scouting-Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241), up against six Zeros of the Japanese Combat Air Patrol. The mission was sort of a success: five Zeros were downed (two by SBDs!) and the sixth was shot up, no Wildcats were lost, only three Dauntlesses were lost, but no hits were scored on the enemy carriers.
At 0800, Major Chandler is led a flight of four Wildcats on an escort mission for four US Army Air Corps B-26s specially modified to carry torpedoes. The Marines lost two Wildcats and had another damaged, and two B-26s, with another damaged, while the Japanese lost all four CAP Zeros, though one was shot down by a US bomber. The lone B-26 to reach the Japanese fleet missed on its torpedo run and, to add insult to injury, Major Chandler was one of the Marines shot down, and he was badly wounded.
At 1010, and LtCmdr Case, the Ace squadron leader of the Killer Pelicans and winner of the Medal of Honor, lead a flight of four Wildcats in escort of six TBD Devastators against the Japanese carriers. They faced six Zeros, and it wasn’t pretty: Ensign Warren was shot down, two more Wildcats were damaged, and all six Devastators were shot down, at the cost of only three Zeros, two of which were shot down by the torpedo bombers!
It’s now 1025, and Lt (jg) Dahgren is leading a flight of four Wildcats in escort of six SBD Dauntless dive bombers from VSB-6 (“Scouting Six”), hoping to replicate what their real life predecessors did (“Scratch Four Flattops!”), facing a Japanese CAP of four Zeros.
The Japanese waste no time in getting after the Dauntlesses.
But the Wildcats have done a good job of sticking close and get right after them.
So the Japanese peel off some Zeros to deal with the escorts.
Did something good just happen for the Pelicans? ‘Bout time!
To see how the fight went, please check the blot at:
So not great, but some damage was done as part of the overall war effort. Lt French spots Lt Cmdr Case inbound at the head of a formation of SBDs from “Bombing Six,” and the boss is signaling him to have all airworthy fighters form up to escort them in. Tally ho!