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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND

Photo # 80-G-21641:  USS Yorktown under attack by Japanese dive bombers, 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 --
The Bombing Attack on Yorktown

After about an hour's flight, the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu's eighteen dive bombers approached the reported position of the U.S. carriers. They were detected by radar on USS Yorktown (CV-5) several minutes before noon on 4 June, and combat air patrol was vectored to intercept. Shortly thereafter, the Japanese flight commander, Lieutenant Michio Kobayashi spotted Yorktown. Defending F4F-4 "Wildcat" fighters shot down most of Kobayashi's Type 99 shipboard bombers (a type later called "Val" by the Allies). However, seven Japanese planes were able to carry out an effective dive bombing attack.

Three Japanese bombs hit Yorktown, and a near-miss astern caused casualties on the ship. One bomb, dropped by a plane that had been shot down, burst on impact with the flight deck just aft of the midships elevator. It opened a hole about twelve feet in diameter and showered nearby gun positions with fragments, killing and wounding many Yorktown crewmen. It also started fires on the hangar deck below, but these were quickly extinguished. Another bomb hit Yorktown's forward elevator, penetrated through several decks and exploded, causing a persistent fire but no serious damage.

The third bomb, however, pierced the flight deck just to port of the island, blew holes in the boiler room uptakes, started a severe fire in the smokestack area and put most of the boilers out of action. This bomb's effects brought Yorktown to a stop.

This page presents views of the bombing attack on USS Yorktown, including a diorama of her fighters intercepting the Japanese bombers.

For further coverage of the results of this attack, see:

  • Yorktown Stopped after the Dive Bombing Attack;
  • Scenes on Yorktown after the Dive Bombing Attack; and
  • Scenes elsewhere in Yorktown's Task Force after the Dive Bombing Attack.

    For links to pages on the torpedo plane attack later in the day, see:

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

    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-701874

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    Diorama by Norman Bel Geddes, depicting combat air patrol intercepting the incoming Japanese dive bomber raid on USS Yorktown (CV-5), at about noon on 4 June 1942.
    Most of the Japanese planes were shot down by F4F-4 fighters, but several survived to drop bombs on or near Yorktown.
    Markings on the F4Fs are not accurate for this time period, as the fuselage stars are too small.

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

    Online Image: 119KB; 740 x 555 pixels

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

     
    Photo #: 80-G-32355

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) under attack by Japanese dive bombers from the carrier Hiryu, shortly after noon on 4 June 1942, as seen from USS Astoria (CA-34).
    One Aichi Type 99 carrier bomber is falling ahead of the ship, with its tail shot off. A bomb has just hit a few hundred feet astern.

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

    Online Image: 91KB; 740 x 615 pixels

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

     
    Photo #: 80-G-21641

    Battle of Midway, June 1942


    USS Yorktown (CV-5) under attack by Japanese dive bombers, shortly after noon on 4 June 1942, as seen from USS Portland (CA-35). She has been hit just aft of the midships elevator, with white smoke visible streaming from that area. This bomb exploded on the flight deck, causing many casualties in the vicinity. It also started fires in the hangar below, but these were quickly extinguished.
    Foreground objects are the wing and tail of two of Portland's SOC floatplanes.

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

    Online Image: 94KB; 740 x 625 pixels

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

     


    For further coverage of the results of this attack, see:

  • Yorktown Stopped after the Dive Bombing Attack;
  • Scenes on Yorktown after the Dive Bombing Attack; and
  • Scenes elsewhere in Yorktown's Task Force after the Dive Bombing Attack.

    For links to pages on the torpedo plane attack later in the day, see:

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

    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 8 April 1999
    Coding updated 25 April 2009