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Japanese planes @ Midway

Discussion in 'Air War in the Pacific' started by Hummel, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    I could bludgeon everyone with some 17 pages of research on the Fleming story, but I'll spare you.

    Regards
     
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  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Gordon W. Prange's "Miracle at Midway"gives a good summation of how the myth came about, it is footnote #20 for chapter 36.

    Despite evidence to the contrary, Morison, in his book "Marines at Midway" quote Captain Akira Soji for Fleming crashing into the Mikuma's turret. In 1961, Soji denied the statement that was quoted. Even though Ugaki's diary also claimed no damage from the attack, Fuchida's account in "Midway the Battle that Doomed Japan" mentioned the "crash". Since, Prange took everything said by Fuchida as "Gospel", Prange put the "crash" in his book.
     
  3. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Sorry to repeat the story. My fundamental point, that the Japanese engaged in no such attacks at Midway, does stand. Further, the MOH citation also has him attacking a battleship. But then, it's not a primary source any more than this thread is and should be treated accordingly.

    R. Leonard, if you feel like bludgeoning me with the report I'd be much obliged. Call me an idiot. Didn't even remember the particulars. I had recalled some elements of the controversy, but thought it had primarily centered on whether or not the aircraft was even flightworthy by that late point.

    A bit of quick wiki research would seem to indicate that the myth comes from two sources: Fleming's wingman and an unnamed IJN officer. Near misses are often reported as hits in the heat of the moment, and I'm going out on a limb and guessing the shadowy IJN officer was probably aboard a different ship, possibly Mogami, since so few people survived from Mikuma. (And those that did would have had a better idea of the particulars of the damage to the ship. It does seem likely that they were giving interviews after the war and recounted their own memories of the battle, which then remained unexamined becoming gospel truth.

    Sorry to perpetuate this. My sincere apologies. This will teach me to post late at night off the top of my head when I don't have the (secondary) source I was looking for (Shattered Sword) close at hand. I'll even go out on a limb and guess that the book probably corrects the fiction, but I still blew it.
     
  4. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Not sure this system will let me post that many pages at once. How about I send you a PDF via PM?

    Rich
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    That is because the primary source had them attacking "two battleships."
    You can read the original VMSB-241 report here: http://www.midway42.org/aa-reports/vmsb-241.pdf
    What concerns this discussion begins with statement 35. Fleming's demise is recorded in statement 42. It mentions him scoring a very close miss and then going down in flames. No mention is made of whether he crashed into the ship or the ocean.


    You are correct, Akira Soji was captain of the IJN Mogami and the quote was taken from his post-war interrogation.
     
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  6. mac_bolan00

    mac_bolan00 Member

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    skill was more important than anything the bushido code might require. why, the japanese thought the american pilots were braver than they expected and certainly more "suicidal" than the over-confident japanese pilots at midway.

    get this: the american carriers launched three sorties at nagumo and failed to get in a single hit. they got them on the fourth when the japanese fighters were at sea-level having beaten off the earlier topedo bombers.

    the hiryu, on the other hand, launched two sorties against the americans and scored both times.
     
  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I remember reading about this and found in volume 7 of "Illustrated Encyclopedia World War Two", H.S. Stuttman Inc. pub. (page 961) a picture with the caption:

    "The shattered wreck of the Japanese cruiser Mikuma. ..... On the wrecked rear turret can be seen the remains of Captain Fleming's Vindicator bomber,..........."

    I'll try to get a scan of the page and post tomorrow.

    edit; just found this on the web, still looking for a better picture:
    http://mndeke.blogs.com/dke/2005/05/captain_richard.html

    that was quick

    [​IMG]
     
  8. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    Popular myth usually attributed to a post-war USMC history by a Colonel Robert Heinl. Not one contemporary report makes the claim, even Fleming's Medal of Honor citation specifically says "Undeterred by a fateful approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his attack to an altitude of five hundred feet, released his bomb to score a near-miss on the stern of his target, then crashed to the sea in flames." Contemporary accounts, the statements of the other pilots on the scene, are usually worded similarly.

    If you think about the explosions seen in films of Japanese planes crashing into US ships in the last 8 months of the war, had Fleming actually crashed into Mikuma, don't you think his squadronmates on the scene might have noticed?

    Truth be known, the attacks on Mikuma by USMC aircraft on 5 June 1942 were uniformly unsuccessful, no hits were scored, no damage incurred.
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I've read three sources (so far) and once again History raises as many questions and she answers. The photo is from wiki, forgot to add that.
     
  10. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Its a fine shot of the torpedo's partially ejected from their tubes.

    A lot of damage to this ship was caused by torpedo warhead detonations caused by fire and shock. Its sister ship, the Mogami jettisoned its torpedo's after colliding with the Mikuma, and was spared this type of explosions.
     
  11. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    And every history you find with this story draws straight from Heinl who got it wrong.
     
  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    According to wiki, there were two small carriers (CVEs) in the IJN that accompanied the invasion fleet to Midway. I haven't read anything about it, but possibly some of the aircraft that were aloft could have made it to them before ditching.
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    No. They were to far away for the remaining Hiryu launched AC to fly back to, even if they knew where to find them.
     
  14. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Ok, so much for that option. Nevermind.
     

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