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  1. #11
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    Thanks for all the replies! I was pretty sure Coral Sea was the first for both but wondered if maybe there'd been a land-based strike from the Brits/Aussies on a Japanese carrier prior, that maybe I was unaware of.
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    When I was in high school we had a history teacher that was a WWII veteran. He talked about the mistakes and losses at Midway. One of the subjects was the loss of Torpedo Squadron 8 VT-8. No fighter cover and the first squadron off the Hornet going in. All lost without inflicting any damage and one survivor in the water. He talked about how much of a waste it was.

    I surprised him when I said it wasn't a waste. I told him they set the stage for what was to come and threw the Japanese off their plans. Much of their fighter cover had to drop and chase them down. They were not prepared when the Enterprises torpedo planes showed up a few minutes later, and Yorktown torpedo planes a half hour later. 25 minutes later they were low on fuel, not back at patrol height when 30 dive bombers from the Enterprise showed up. At this point, there was no recovery or regrouping for the Japanese.

    All because of VT-8 having to be chased down and eliminated pulled too much of the fighter cover down to sea level and their AA guns not being able to be depressed enough. All three torpedo squadrons made little damage, but did pull the fighter cover away and cause precious fuel to be expended, leaving openings for the later waves to come.

    He never thought of that.

    Maloy
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by maloy View Post
    When I was in high school we had a history teacher that was a WWII veteran. He talked about the mistakes and losses at Midway. One of the subjects was the loss of Torpedo Squadron 8 VT-8. No fighter cover and the first squadron off the Hornet going in. All lost without inflicting any damage and one survivor in the water. He talked about how much of a waste it was.

    I surprised him when I said it wasn't a waste. I told him they set the stage for what was to come and threw the Japanese off their plans. Much of their fighter cover had to drop and chase them down. They were not prepared when the Enterprises torpedo planes showed up a few minutes later, and Yorktown torpedo planes a half hour later. 25 minutes later they were low on fuel, not back at patrol height when 30 dive bombers from the Enterprise showed up. At this point, there was no recovery or regrouping for the Japanese.

    All because of VT-8 having to be chased down and eliminated pulled too much of the fighter cover down to sea level and their AA guns not being able to be depressed enough. All three torpedo squadrons made little damage, but did pull the fighter cover away and cause precious fuel to be expended, leaving openings for the later waves to come.

    He never thought of that.

    Maloy
    It could actually be said that it was a single US submarine, that brought about the Japanese defeat at Midway. In the early morning hours of the first day, the USS Nautilus came upon the Japanese carrier force and while trying to get in for a shot, was spotted by a Japanese plane. The Destroyer Asashi was alerted and spent the next several hours lagging behind the task force, trying to sink the Nautilus. It was after finally giving up the chase, that the destroyer went to flank speed and made a beeline to catch up with the fleet. This was the destroyer spotted by Cdr. McClusky, that he followed to locate the Japanese carriers. Had that destroyer stayed with the TF, it's likely most or all of the dive bombers never would've found the fleet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trotline View Post
    I recommend to all history geeks, particularly WWII history geeks, I heartily endorse Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Tully and Parshall. This is the real deal, describing what really happened during the battle in incredible documented detail. Great story telling as well.
    Have it on my bookshelf. Good read.
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  6. #15
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    I've been somewhat of a student of the carrier battles since I did a report on Midway in 5th grade. Even then, I was intrigued by the "what are the freakin' odds" events of that battle, particularly in the earlier hours leading up to it. I suppose some of it might be that earlier that year, I'd done a report on Gettysburg and noticed a striking similarity in the preludes and aftermath of both battles. Midway was much like a Gettysburg at sea for the Japanese Navy.
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  7. #16
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    Not sure if it was the first attack on a Japanese carrier, but the Shōhō was the first Japanese carrier to be sunk by American aircraft. That was 7 May 1942 in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
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