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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND

Photo # 80-G-17061:  USS Yorktown being abandoned by her crew after she was hit by two Japanese aerial torpedoes, 4 June 1942

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

Japanese Attacks on USS Yorktown, 4 June 1942 --
USS Yorktown is Abandoned

Within a few minutes of her torpedoing, USS Yorktown had listed heavily to port, almost bringing her hangar deck to sea level. More importantly, she had lost all steam and electrical power, and therefore could not effectively control and counter flooding. Facing a threat that the stricken carrier might capsize, drowning most of her crew, her Commanding Officer, Captain Elliot Buckmaster, made the reluctant decision to abandon ship.

At about 1500 hours on 4 June, the grim process got underway, as crewmen began to go down knotted ropes into the oily water surrounding their ship. Escorting destroyers sent boats and stood by to pick up the survivors. One destroyer, USS Benham took in over 700 men, three times as many as in her own crew.

This page presents views of Yorktown's abandonment.

For additional coverage of this attack and its results, see:

  • Japanese Torpedo Planes Approach Yorktown;
  • Japanese Torpedo Planes Hit Yorktown; and
  • Scenes on Yorktown during and immediately after the Torpedo Plane Attack.

    For links to pages on the dive bombing attack earlier in the day, see:

  • Japanese Attacks on USS Yorktown, 4 June 1942 -- Overview and Special Image Selection.

    For views of the effort to salvage USS Yorktown, her torpedoing by a Japanese submarine on 6 June 1942 and her sinking on 7 June, see:

  • Yorktown Salvage and Torpedoing, 5-6 June 1942; and
  • Sinking of USS Yorktown, 7 June 1942.

    For links to views of other aspects of the Battle of Midway, see:

  • Battle of Midway, Overview and Special Image Selection.


    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."

    Click on the small photograph to prompt a larger view of the same image.

    Photo #: 80-G-17061

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) being abandoned by her crew after she was hit by two Japanese Type 91 aerial torpedoes, 4 June 1942.
    USS Balch (DD-363) is standing by at right.
    Note oil slick surrounding the damaged carrier, and inflatable life raft being deployed off her stern.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 104KB; 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-21664

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5), in the distant left center, being abandoned after suffering torpedo damage, 4 June 1942.
    A destroyer is standing by off the listing carrier's stern, and USS Vincennes (CA-44) is steaming by in the middle distance.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 74KB; 740 x 605 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-21694

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    Destroyers stand by to pick up survivors as USS Yorktown (CV-5) is abandoned during the afternoon of 4 June 1942, following Japanese torpedo plane attacks.
    Destroyers at left are (left to right): Benham (DD-397), Russell (DD-414), and Balch (DD-363). Destroyer at right is Anderson (DD-411).
    Photographed from USS Pensacola (CA-24).

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 78KB; 740 x 605 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-22231

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) is abandoned after receiving damage from two Japanese aerial torpedoes, 4 June 1942.
    Destroyers at right are picking up survivors. The most distant of the two destroyers is USS Balch (DD-363).

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 60KB; 740 x 615 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     
    Photo #: NH 95574

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Benham (DD-397), with 720 survivors of USS Yorktown on board, closes USS Portland (CA-33) at about 1900 hrs, 4 June 1942. A report of unidentified aircraft caused Benham to break away before transferring any of the survivors to the cruiser and they remained on board her until the following morning.
    Note Benham's oil-stained sides. The abandoned Yorktown is in the right distance.

    U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

    Online Image: 89KB; 640 x 675 pixels

     
    Photo #: 80-G-21666

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) lists heavily after she was abandoned during the afternoon of 4 June 1942.
    Note that two F4F-4 "Wildcat" fighters are still parked on her flight deck, aft of the island.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives.

    Online Image: 55KB; 740 x 555 pixels

    Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

     


    For additional coverage of this attack and its results, see:

  • Japanese Torpedo Planes Approach Yorktown;
  • Japanese Torpedo Planes Hit Yorktown; and
  • Scenes on Yorktown during and immediately after the Torpedo Plane Attack.

    For links to pages on the dive bombing attack earlier in the day, see:

  • Japanese Attacks on USS Yorktown, 4 June 1942 -- Overview and Special Image Selection.

    For views of the effort to salvage USS Yorktown, her torpedoing by a Japanese submarine on 6 June 1942 and her sinking on 7 June, see:

  • Yorktown Salvage and Torpedoing, 5-6 June 1942; and
  • Sinking of USS Yorktown, 7 June 1942.

    For links to views of other aspects of the Battle of Midway, see:

  • Battle of Midway, Overview and Special Image Selection.


    NOTES:

  • To the best of our knowledge, the pictures referenced here are all in the Public Domain, and can therefore be freely downloaded and used for any purpose.

  • Some images linked from this page may bear obsolete credit lines citing the organization name: "Naval Historical Center". Effective 1 December 2008 the name should be cited as: "Naval History and Heritage Command".


    If you want higher resolution reproductions than the Online Library's digital images, see: "How to Obtain Photographic Reproductions."


    Return to Naval History and Heritage Command home page.

    Page made 11 April 1999
    Coding updated 25 April 2009