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Fighters at Midway

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by GunSlinger86, May 30, 2016.

  1. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    Why didn't the army keep the front-line fighters of the time at Midway when they were expecting a major attack by the Japanese? P-40s and P-39s were they two best fighters we had at the time, and was the P-38 battle-ready at that point? Sending up Brewster Buffaloes seems moot when they had the other fighters in the arsenal... Unless it was strictly a Navy and Marines operation, but would the Marines have access to P-40s and P-39s as well, seeing as they used P-38s and so did the Army Air Force?
     
  2. PA.Dutchman

    PA.Dutchman recruit

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    The 11 TH Bomb Group Heavy that was at Hickam on 12/7/1941 was also at Midway. Their Commander Clarence Tinker was flying to Midway when his plane went down and he and his crew were lost. I will try to find THE JOHN FORD LINK THAT HE MADE OF THE B-17'S THAT WERE AT MIDWAY during the Battle. My father was there in the 42 nd Squadron and received a combat star for Midway. It is also on his discharge papers. Give me a moment and I will try to locate something.

    IF YOU WATCH THIS JOHN FORD film it shows the B-17s that landed the night before the Battle for Midway.


    https://youtu.be/vDvdrp4Uyy0
     
  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Hey, welcome back!
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Didn't we cover this once before recently?

    Midway was principally a Navy/Marine base, and aircraft assigned to those services would be found there. The P-38/39/40's were aircraft approved for service with the Army Air Corps, but not as yet (if ever) by the US Navy and Marines. It would be mistaken to assume a plane is a plane and pilots could simply hop from type to type seamlessly as they seem to do in movies.

    The basic's of aerodynamics remain the same of course, but just how this affects any particular type of plane varies. Take off speed. landing speed, climb rate etc. were all different and this is critical when trying to use these in time of war. Then there is of course the more complex matter of servicing said aircraft as each required different training and spare parts. Certainly they could as the pilots 'wing it', but not in the case of the parts.

    There is also the availability of these aircraft in theater with trained pilots/ground crew. This is more critical considering Nimitz was gambling that Midway was the target, Washington was not fully convinced. and this would require some cooperation with the Army Air Corps who had their own priorities.

    There is a certain bureaucratic nature to total war that produces a friction that, while allowing one to fight the long battle, makes it difficult to pivot as quickly as we see in popular media.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    When Kimmel got orders to upgrade the defenses on Wake and Midway with additional fighters he consulted with Short. The plans to put Army fighters (with Army pilots, of course) fell through when it was determined that there were no Army pilots with over-water navigation training on Oahu.

    I don't know if that changed after Dec. 7th, but if it didn't there wouldn't have been any Army planes there in June, '42.
     
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  6. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    So the Army fighters weren't trained to fly over open waters, so they didn't bring in Army Air fighter units with their planes? That makes sense in terms of training, but you would think it would be worth the risk to bring in better fighter planes with their army pilots for the defense of an important base.
     
  7. PA.Dutchman

    PA.Dutchman recruit

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    The 11 th was at Midway and Guadalcanal ADMIRAL JOHN MCCAIN PRESENTED THE 11 TH BGH WITH THE SAME DUC HE PRESENTED TO HIS OWN MARINES. This was the first time ONE BRANCH GAVE ANOTHER BRANCH THEIR OWN DUC.

    By February 1943 the 11 TH had lost nearly all its' B-17S and came back to Hickam to reequip with NEW B-24s, I have the page but it is a little too big to post. THERE WAS SUCH OPPOSITION BY OFFICERS AND CREW TO THE B-24 because they did poorly in water landings in the Pacific that many of the men and officers were assigned to Europe..

    Lou Zamperine was a replacement in the 42 Squadron and in his book and MOVIE UNBROKEN he went down in a B-24 in very poor condition.

    Here is the preview of the movie.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrjJbl7kRrI

    After seeing the MOVIE UNBROKEN, watch this documentary made years before by Billy Graham and Lou Zamperini

    https://youtu.be/hRM6dA-hwFs
     

    Attached Files:

  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    If the carriers won their battle the base would be safe. If the carriers lost nowhere would be safe for Army fighters, and USN fighters wouldn't be in any better shape. They kept enough fighters on Midway to make it look like that was the main defense. Remember that we weren't supposed to know they were coming, and big buildup of planes would have tipped them off that something was up.
     
  9. PA.Dutchman

    PA.Dutchman recruit

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    I know in the early days they did not provide radio units for the downed Bomber crews, they thought the Japanese might monitor them. Eddie Rickenbacker the AMERICAN WORLD WAR ONE ACE did a Morale Trip to the Pacific for the President THE BOMBER HE WAS ON WENT DOWN and they floated around the PACIFIC FOR WEEKS. Rickenbacker's wife pleaded to look ONE MORE WEEK AND THEY WERE FOUND IN THE 6 TH WEEK OF THE SEARCH. The B-17 crews when shot down over Europe might parachute into Europe but in the Pacific if they did get out they were lost to time floating in rubber rafts. After Rickenbacker then began to equip the Bombers with radio units for the rubber rafts.

    Lou ZAMPERINI floated 47 days the longest by a recorded and living airman, HOWEVER THE JAPANESE PICKED HIM UP. THEY ALMOST ALWAYS SHOT THE US AIRMEN THEY FOUND IN RUBBER RAFTS. In January of 1945 a Major Pratte went down on his last mission in the Pacific, he and his crew were never recovered. Later on evidence was found that the Japanese on a near by island had cannibalized the crew members who had survived the downing.
     
  10. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    The Dauntless divebombers were able to get through because the Jap carriers had no fighter cover as they were refueling or at Midway? Why did we send the outdated Devastator Torpedo bombers to be slaughtered when they also had no fighter cover?
     
  11. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    Did the Grumman Avengers based at Midway attack the Japanese carriers? They would have had a better shot than the Devastators which were smashed and annihilated.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    You need to read Shattered Sword, by Pershall and Tully, 'cause this was a very complicated fight.
     
  13. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    AFAIK, the P-39s were all still stateside, only having just entered operational service in spring/summer 1941. There were however, P-40s on Oahu.


    The USAAF did not yet consider the P-38Ds & P-38Es to be combat ready, but some were flown up to defend Alaska just prior to the Midway. There has been some debate as to if the P-38Es sent to Alaska had drop tank plumbing or not.


    Ummm...AFAIK, the only P-38 used by the Marines was the can opener.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I thought it was a problem of control between the two services. If Short was to provide the aircraft for defending Midway & Wake then he wanted to have control of the islands, as the Navy opposed Short having control of the islands so they decided to provide their own aircraft for defense.

    I'll have to check on this.
     
  15. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    The Japanese fighters were unavailable when the dive-bombers came in correct? Which is why they made it thru, but the Devastators were outdated and had no fighter escort, were pretty much doomed, like sacrificial samurais?
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    No there NO deliberate sacrifice by the USN. There was a lot of mistakes, bad luck, and poor timing.

    Why the fuck do people think other people are so casual with the lives of their troopers?
     
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  17. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Active Member

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    eyewitnesshistory.com/midway explains it from the POV of Japanese crewmen on the carriers during Midway... the "martyrdom" of the US torpedo planes allowed for the success of the Dauntless dive-bombers, according to the Japanese crewmen. The fighters were preoccupied with the torpedo bombers and consequently had no time to gain altitude or refuel, etc., to fight the SBDs.
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Something of the Kurasawa effect. Your position at a event has a impact upon how you perceive an event. That and the need for a simple answer to a complex catastrophic occurrence.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, of course, the Japanese had attended the morning briefing and knew that the Devastator crew had agreed to be killed to provide a possible distraction for the dive bombers. In exchange the dive bomber crews promised to check in on the widows when they got back to the US. Damn kind of them, you know.
     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    As has been said already read "Shattered Sword" by Parshall & Tully.

    VT-8 went to their graves a good hour before the divebombing attack. VT-6 was finished some 20 minutes before the divebombing attack. Finally, VT-3's attack, with VF-3 fighters defending them, was ongoing - It is said that this attack occupied only about 1/3rd of the Japanese CAP aloft.

    The sacrifice of the VT prevented Kido Butai from launching it's attack on the American carriers, it did not give the VB the easy attack on Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu.
     

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