Online Library of Selected Images:
-- EVENTS -- World War II in the Pacific -- Battle of Midway

Battle of Midway - Actions and Activities after 4 June 1942
Sinking of USS Yorktown, 7 June 1942



USS Yorktown, now with large torpedo holes on both sides amidships, floated through the night of 6-7 June 1942, while her escorting destroyers unsuccessfully pursued the Japanese submarine I-168, treated injured sailors and kept watch. As dawn approached, it was clear that the carrier was lower in the water with an increasing list. As the sun rose on 7 June, Yorktown rolled over on her port side and sank by the stern.

She was not seen again by human eyes until 19 May 1998, when an expedition led by Dr. Robert Ballard located and photographed her wreck, sitting upright on the sea floor with a approximate 25-degree "list " to starboard. On her starboard side amidships the "mud line" reached to about the hangar deck level, while on her port side her midships underwater hull was visible nearly to the turn of the bilge. Despite fifty-six years under 16,650 feet of salt water, Yorktown was in surprisingly good condition, with all but a little of her structure undistorted and readily recognizable. Measure 12 camouflage paint was still intact, and the white hull number "5" could be clearly seen at her bow and stern. Evidence of Battle of Midway damage and the subsequent salvage efforts was abundant: the bomb hole in her flight deck aft of the midships elevator; fire-damaged paint and metal on her smokestack; a huge torpedo hole in her port side; anti-aircraft guns still pointing skyward and other guns missing where they had been jettisoned by the salvage party on 6 June 1942. Damage incurred as the ship plunged to the sea floor was also apparent: Yorktown's bow was distorted by implosion; her tripod mast and aft flight deck overhang had disappeared; globs of the clay-like sea bottom still adhered to some vertical surfaces, where they had been driven by the force of impact.

Further discussion concerning the sinking of USS Yorktown, a controversy about her sinking and about the photographs of her sinking:

  • Sinking of USS Yorktown, 7 June 1942 - Commentary
  • This page features, and provides links to, all the views we have showing USS Yorktown as she sank.
    These photographs are presented in approximately the order in which they were taken, up to the point at which the ship began to settle rapidly by the stern.

    For the remainder of our views of the sinking of USS Yorktown, see:

  • Sinking of USS Yorktown, 7 June 1942 - Part II
  • Further pictoral coverage of Yorktown's loss, and of her survivors:

  • USS Yorktown Salvage and Torpedoing, 5-6 June 1942
  • Survivors of USS Yorktown Return to Pearl Harbor
  • For links to views of other aspects of the Battle of Midway, see:

  • Battle of Midway, Overview and Special Image Selection

  • Click photograph for a larger image.

    Photo #: NH 106000

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks forward, with Yorktown's forefoot in the right center. The large hole made by one or two submarine torpedoes is in the center of the photo. Yorktown's starboard forward 5-inch gun gallery is in the left center, with two 5"/38 gun barrels sticking out over its edge. The two larger thin objects sticking up, just aft of the 5-inch guns, are aircraft parking outriggers. When the ship's wreck was examined in May 1998, both guns were still in position, but the outriggers were gone.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 107KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106001

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks toward the ship's bottom, with Yorktown's bow off camera to the right. The large hole made by one or two submarine torpedoes is in the center of the photo, severing the ship's forward bilge keel. Note the strip of debris sticking up from the hole's lower rear.
    The stern of one of the ship's accompanying destroyers is in the extreme right distance.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 107KB; 740 x 605 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 95575

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge, with a large torpedo hole amidships severing the forward bilge keel. Yorktown's forefoot is at the extreme right. Her starboard forward 5-inch gun gallery can be seen further up her hull, with two 5"/38 gun barrels sticking out over its edge. The two larger thin objects sticking up, just aft of the 5-inch guns, are aircraft parking outriggers. When the ship's wreck was examined in May 1998, both guns were still in position, but the outriggers were gone.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 600 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106002

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks toward the ship's bottom, with Yorktown's starboard forward five-inch gun gallery at the right. Her bow is off-camera, further to the right. The large hole, made by one or two submarine torpedoes and severing the ship's forward bilge keel, is in the left center. Note the strip of debris sticking up from the hole's lower rear.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 82KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106003

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks toward the ship's bottom from off her bow, with Yorktown's forefoot in the right foreground and her starboard forward five-inch gun gallery beyond. The large hole made by one or two submarine torpedoes, severing the ship's forward bilge keel, is toward the left.
    USS Monaghan (DD-354) is in the left center distance.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 95KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 95576

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) capsized and sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has rolled over to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge, with a large torpedo hole amidships severing the forward bilge keel. Yorktown's forefoot is in the center foreground. The forward starboard corner of her flight deck is near the sea surface at extreme right, with the bow Landing Signal Officer platform extending upward from it.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 97KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106004

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks aft, with Yorktown's forefoot in the center foreground and the forward end of her flight deck in the right center.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 84KB; 740 x 615 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 95577

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized over to port, with her bow nearest to the camera. Her forefoot is at left, and her forward 1.1" machine gun positions, located just in front of the island, are very near the sea surface at right. Note froth on the water from escaping air.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 610 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106005

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks aft from off the forward end of Yorktown's flight deck. Her forefoot is at the left. In the center, severing the ship's forward bilge keel, is the large hole made by one or more submarine torpedoes.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 103KB; 740 x 615 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106006

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge.
    This view looks toward the ship's starboard flight deck gallery, with her forefoot at the left. The front edge of the flight deck is slightly to the right of the forefoot, with a .50 caliber machine gun tub and the bow Landing Signal Officer platform sticking up. Further aft is her starboard forward five-inch gun gallery, with two 5"/38 guns pointing upwards. Behind them are two aircraft parking outriggers and the front of her forward 1.1-inch machine gun position, located just in front of the island. Beyond that, in the right center, is the large hole made by one or more submarine torpedoes. Note the strip of debris sticking up from the hole's rear end.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 129KB; 740 x 615 pixels

     
    Photo #: NH 106007

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) sinking, just after dawn on 7 June 1942, as seen from an accompanying destroyer.
    The ship has capsized to port, exposing the turn of her starboard bilge, and is settling rapidly by the stern.
    This view looks over the ship's upper starboard structure, with her bilge beyond. Yorktown's forefoot and front edge of her flight deck are toward the left. In the right center is the large hole made by one or more submarine torpedoes. Note the oil slick surrounding the ship.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 112KB; 740 x 615 pixels

     




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