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Midway Plan of the Day Notes

FOR THE FLEET

Plan of the Day Notes

Week 1

POD Note 1

On the night of 3 June 1942, CAPT Cyril T. Simard, CO of NAS Midway, told LCDR John Ford, USNR, famed Hollywood motion picture director called to the colors, that Midway expected to be attacked the next day. Used to "reporting, taking battle scenes and mob scenes and notice[ing] every detail," Ford believed "that’s why I probably would notice a lot more than the layman" and led to his being tapped to being stationed atop the power house to report the size and strength of the incoming Japanese formations. The footage obtained by Ford and PhoM2c John A. MacKenzie, his assistant, during the battle on 4 June would be utilized in the documentary, "The Battle of Midway," that won an Academy Award.

POD Note 2

CAPT James W. Steele, on ADM Chester W. Nimitz's staff, noted in the CINCPAC War Diary at the end of the day on 3 June 1942: "The whole course of the Pacific War may hinge on the developments of the next two or three days…"

POD Note 3  

After running a gauntlet of the Japanese combat air patrol that had splashed the other five planes of the Midway-based VT-8 detachment and badly shot up his own Grumman TBF-1 Avenger, ENS Albert K. "Bert" Earnest, USNR, fired his torpedo at what looked like a light cruiser. With his gunner, Sea1c Jay D. Manning, dead and RM3c Harry H. Ferrier, his radioman, unconscious, his hydraulic system smashed and his elevator wires shot away, his bomb bay doors hanging open, and his compass inoperative, Earnest nursed the crippled plane back, homing in on a pillar of smoke from the burning oil tanks at Midway. He was awarded one Navy Cross for carrying out his attack; a second for bringing the plane back so that it could be studied after its baptism of fire.

POD Note 4   

ENS Milton C. Tootle, IV, USNR, the tall, athletic son of a St. Louis, Missouri, banker, one of the last pilots to launch from Yorktown (CV-5) into a growing volume of antiaircraft fire to intercept rapidly approaching torpedo-carrying Nakajima B5N2 Type 97s from the Japanese carrier Hiryu, latched on to one Type 97 no more than a mile from the ship. Opening fire at short range, he saw his tracers hitting home, but soon noticed an increasing amount of smoke in his own cockpit. Having been hit by friendly fire, Tootle abandoned his pursuit of the Nakajima and climbed to 1,500 feet. He bailed out of the burning Wildcat; destroyer Anderson (DD-411) rescued him shortly thereafter in the wake of his first, eventful, aerial combat experience.

POD Note 5

With the Japanese attack on Midway over, the motor torpedo boats of MTBRON 1 returned to Sand Island. Although warned that the whole area was "extremely dangerous," LT Clinton McKellar, Jr., CO of MTBRON 1, and MM2c R. H. Lowell, S2c J. B. Rodgers, and F3c V.J. Miastowski cut their way through barbed wire and gingerly made their way through a minefield to organize fire-fighting parties at the fuel oil dump.

Week 2

POD Notes 1

Aviation

LCDR Eugene E. Lindsey, CO of VT-6, made a bad landing when the Enterprise (CV-6) Air Group returned to the ship on 28 May 1942. Fortunately, the destroyer Monaghan (DD-354) rescued Lindsey and his crew. Lindsey refused to let the injuries he sustained in the crash, however, keep him from leading his squadron into battle. He perished at the head of Torpedo Six on the morning of 4 June 1942.

Submarine

Although LCDR William H. Brockman, Jr., CO of submarine Nautilus (SS-168), had been given command of the boat without the usual PCO training, he foresightedly ordered his radiomen to monitor the aircraft search frequency in advance of the time in the operations orders. Thus prepared ahead of time, Nautilus intercepted the contact report that told of the enemy’s proximity. Nautilus would find herself in the middle of the Japanese carrier force, and cause such consternation that the destroyer Arashi was detached to drive her off or sink her. Arashi’s haste to rejoin the main Japanese force attracted the attention of LCDR C. Wade McClusky, Commander, Enterprise Air Group, the former CO of VF-6, who decided to follow the enemy ship when he had not found the Japanese where expected. McClusky’s dive bombers and the Yorktown Air Group strike arrived almost simultaneously over the Kido Butai, and changed the course of the Pacific War soon thereafter.

Surface

When Japanese planes roared low over Midway’s lagoon on 4 June 1942, TM2c Orville R. Mott, on board motor torpedo boat PT-24, manning one of the two twin-.50-caliber mounts, changed the inboard barrel of the starboard .50-caliber mount, wresting off the old, hot, barrel, and burning his hands while so doing, while firing the outboard gun simultaneously.

[END]

Published:Mon Nov 13 09:19:27 EST 2017