USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

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AginAf
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USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by AginAf » 12 Jul 2023 22:30

USS HORNET HAD A DISJOINTED,INEPT DAY ON THE FIRST US CARRIER STRIKE ON THE IJN'S KIDO BUTAI FORCE OF 4 CVS PLUS ESCORT. HER AIR GROUP COMMANDER, CDR STANHOPE RING GOT LOST, AND TORPEDO 8 SEPARATED FROM HIS LEAD AND FOUND THE JAPANESE ON THEIR OWN. THANKS TO THE ANTIQUITY OF THEIR AIRCRAFT, NO US FIGHTER SUPPORT, AND THE WORLD'S WORST TORPEDO IN WWII, THEY GOT NO HITS, AND THE SQUADRON WAS DESROYED, LOSING ALL 15 AIRCRAFT AND ALL AIR CREW BUT ONE PILOT.

MEANWHILE COMMANDER RING LED THE HORNET'S FIGHTERS, BOMBER AND SCOUT SQUADRONS IN A "FLIGHT TO NOWHERE", AND LOST A NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT WHICH HAD TO DITCH AS THEY RAN OUT OF FUEL. 18 AIR CREW WERE KILLED IN THIS DEBACLE, AND AN UNSPECIFIED NUMBER OF PLANES LOST.

HORNET'S AIR GROUP DID NOT DO MUCH IN FOLLOWING AIR US AIR STRIKES AGAINST THE JAPANESE, AND WORSE, THE SKIPPER LIED IN HIS AFTER ACTION REPORT. ADMIRAL SPRUANCE WOULD NOT ACCEPT THIS REPORT BECAUSE OF MENDACITY.

NATURALLY, NO ONE WAS EVER DISCIPLINED OVER THIS ABSOLUTE BUNCH OF SCREW UPS.

ESSENTIALLY, AMERICA FOUGHT THE 4 JAPANESE CARRIERS WITH 1 1/2 CARRIERS, THE DAMAGED LATER SINKING YORKTOWN, AND THE ENTERPRISE. THE HORNET SIMPLY LAID OUT OF THE FIGHT AND SUCKED ITS THUMB.

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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Richard Anderson » 13 Jul 2023 08:00

Could you please edit that out of ALL CAPS? It's impossible to read.
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AginAf
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by AginAf » 14 Jul 2023 04:19

sorry gents. my age situation requires me to use caps in order to successfully nproduce a written script.
AginAf

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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Richard Anderson » 14 Jul 2023 06:10

Thank you for explaining.
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Kingfish
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Kingfish » 15 Jul 2023 13:12

A bit unfair, no?

It matters little that Ring took his groups down the wrong heading. McClusky went to the correct location and found nothing but open ocean. Had he chosen to search in a different direction - he had almost 360 degrees to choose from - they would have suffered the same fate as Hornet.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
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AginAf
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by AginAf » 15 Jul 2023 18:29

THAT'S TRUE. AS SPRUANCE SAID AFTER THE BATTLE, THE USN WAS BLESSSED WITH LUCK THAT DAY. HE WAS ESPECIALLY CORRECT BECAUSE THE ACTUAL ODDS WERE A DAMAGED YORKTOWN AND A FULLY OPERATIONAL ENTEPRISE, 1 1/2 USN CVs, WERE UP AGAINST IJN's AKAGI, KAGA, SORYU & HIRYU, 4 CVs.
MY BURN WITH HORNET 'S COMMAND GROUP IS THAT (1) CAPTAIN MITSHNER REFUSED TO GIVE TORPEDO 8 FIGHTER SUPPORT AT THE GET GO, THUS SACRIFICING IT TOTALLY AND DECIMATING TORPEDO 3 AND TORPEDO 6 FROM THE OTHER 2 CARRIERS, (2) THAT HORNET CAG CDR STANHOPE RING, WHO WAS LOST, LED THE REST OF THE AIR GROUP INTO FUEL CRISIS AND A DITCHING SITUATION, KILLING 18 AIR CREW, INSTEAD OF IMMEDIATELY HEADING TO MIDWAY TO REFUEL BEFORE THE FIGHTERS WERE AT POINT OF NO RETURN ON FUEL, AND (3) HORNET'S AFTER ACTION REPORT CONTAINED SO MANY FALSEHOODS TO PROTECT THEV GUILTY, THAT SPRUANCE TOLD NIMITZ THAT THE REPORT WASW "NOT REFLECTIVE OF THE FACTS OF THE FIGHT." THEY LIED.
AMAZINGLY, CAPTAIN MITSHNER, ALREADY ON THE FLAG LIST AT MIDWAY, WENT ON TO BE AN OUTSTANDING CARRIER ADMIRAL, TAKING THE RISK TO TURN HIS TASK GROUPS' LIGHTS ON AFTER DARK IN THE BATTLE OF THE BATTLE OF THE PHILIPPINE SEA SO HIS RETURNING AIRGROUPS COULD FIND THEIR WAY HOME. RING NEVER AMOUNTED TO MUCH, BUT MADE ADMIRAL ANYWAY.
NEITHER McCLUSKY NOR DICK BEST EVER MADE ADMIRAL

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R Leonard
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by R Leonard » 16 Jul 2023 00:28

Mitscher, not Mitshner.

The fighter support was assigned to the VB-8/VS-8 formation and not with VT-8 was based on the information Mitscher got from the Coral Sea action where the VB and VS squadrons from both Lexington and Yorktown suffered disproportionate losses to enemy fighters when compared to the two ship's VT squadrons. Unfortunately the focus was on the SBD losses and not on the fact that the VT squadrons DID have fighter coverage at Coral Sea and thus, fewer losses.

Ring, no doubt got carried away with his search to nowhere, but it was the break up of his subordinates which resulted in the operational losses, most significantly, the loss of the entire VF-8 escort, which turned back before the bombers, through poor navigation, ignoring the YEZB homing system, and plain and simple poor leadership. VF-8 lost, without looking it up, ten planes, though, I believe, eight pilots were eventually recovered. Squadron commander, Mitchell, never had another combat command. VB-8 and VS-8 went their own ways, some to Midway, some bac to the ship, and a few into the water . . . there were gaggles which held together, but there was also a significant "every man for himself."

Personally, I think Mitscher and Ring went off the reservation with their morning strike. The fault for that lies with the TF-16 staff over on Enterprise, and specifically with one Miles Browning. Two carriers operating together and there was absolutely no effort to coordinate their activities. Shame, shame. Didn't even ask Mitscher what he was doing. So you had a CO and a CAG who in the absence of anyone above them lifting a finger to give them even a modicum of guidance, much less instruction, going off on their own without so much as a "by your leave."

As far as the Hornet report is/was concerned, those with more that a passing acquaintance with the action are, and have been for a long time, aware of its problems. What Spruance said was that the Enterprise report should be considered correct. And you might notice that when Mitscher went back to sea duty, it was under the watchful eyes of Spruance. I think it was on purpose and not because Spruance wanted it that way.

Also, you might also note that the Japanese turned on their search lights at Coral Sea to guide in the survivors of their dusk strikes on May 7 1942, so it was not exactly an original idea. Not to mention that Arleigh Burke, Mitscher's chief of staff, and Gus Widhelm, his operations officer, were the gents who pushed really hard to get those lights turned on.

Yes, Ring got his stars, was that good? I don't know. His subsequent career seemed okay, big OCNO staff job and a couple of carrier commands. There is always the possibility that the entire mission profile was decided by Mitscher and Ring was simply the good subordinate and carrying out the ordered mission to the best of his ability. I've always been unwilling to heap unnecessary calumny on Ring. He was a rear admiral when he retired for medical reasons and with that retirement he was advanced to vice admiral on the retirement list, what is known as a "tombstone promotion."

McClusky, despite a lot of hoopla on the internet, by the time his year group was up for flag promotions had not served in significant operational command. Staff jobs? sure, training facilities, yes those too, but not enough for an active duty promotion to rear admiral. When he retired in 1956 after 30 years commissioned service, on the date of that retirement, he was promoted on the retired list to rear admiral . . . another "tombstone promotion." Naval regulations are quite clear, if no promotion to flag rank by the time you hit 30 years, it is time to go. The tombstone provision in the laws govern the USN went away at the end of September 1959.

Dick Best was medically retired on 1 March 1944, a lieutenant commander. A hell of a nice guy, managed a couple of dinners with him back in the late 1990's. He once said at one of those Pensacola Symposium events that if he had not gotten sick he probably would have been an admiral ". . . just like my friend Bill . . ." pointing to my father. No doubt in my mind he would have. His funeral was attended by a who's who of the then still surviving naval aviators from the Midway period.

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Kingfish
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Kingfish » 16 Jul 2023 10:03

AginAf wrote:
15 Jul 2023 18:29
MY BURN WITH HORNET 'S COMMAND GROUP...
But why the burn? Is there a personal connection with you?

The war in the pacific is full of less-than-steller performances from both sides, so why Hornet?
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span the hours spent in fishing.
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R Leonard
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by R Leonard » 16 Jul 2023 13:57

Kingfish wrote:
16 Jul 2023 10:03
AginAf wrote:
15 Jul 2023 18:29
MY BURN WITH HORNET 'S COMMAND GROUP...
But why the burn? Is there a personal connection with you?

The war in the pacific is full of less-than-steller performances from both sides, so why Hornet?
A very good question, indeed.

From this range, years, that is, a "BURN"? How about a disappointment instead.

If Mitscher screwed the pooch with the plan he devised, Browning over on Enterprise certainly held the poor pooch down by failing to perform his due diligence as TF chief of staff.

My father flew at Midway, in VF-3 off Yorktown . . . as a naval aviation history aficionado I have no particular "BURN" over the HAG performance, just a shake of the head and "sure wish they'd done better."

My father ended up on 5 June, after flying a CAP off of Enterprise, landing aboard Hornet with the remnants of VF-3 to beef up their VF-8 after its losses. Thach of VF-3 was senior, so he was in command, the squadron was laughingly referred to as "VF-3-8-42" as it was made up of pilots from all three squadrons . . . Thach insisted that my father remain in his position as the XO even though just a LTJG (he'd be promoted to LT in 10 more days) and there were one or two VF-8 LTs around. My father never really said anything overtly derogatory about the HAG other then he, and his VF-3-42 compatriots having served on a "happy" ship, Yorktown, had an uneasy feeling that something was not quite right in the HAG. Probably the unkindest thing I ever heard him say was that he was glad they did not have to go into combat as part of that organization.

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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Delta Tank » 02 Aug 2023 23:57

R. Leonard,

What is a HAG? Not a witch? 😁

I don’t have the quotes handy but, why could the Japanese at Midway get a strike package in the air and heading towards Midway so quickly when it took us a very long time to get our strike package formed and heading towards the Japanese carriers.

Thanks in advance.

Mike

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R Leonard
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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by R Leonard » 08 Aug 2023 00:14

Sorry. Been away for a few days with family at OBX . . . no computers allowed.

At the time air groups were not numbered

SAG = Saratoga Air Group
RAG = Ranger Air Group
YAG = Yorktown Air Group
EAG = Enterprise Air Group
HAG = Hornet Air Group
WAG = Wasp Air Group

Because the Japanese were proactive and knew exactly where their target was and the US was reactive and only knew vaguely where the Japanese were. Not to mention poor command and control from TF-16 after Fletcher sent them off to make their strike.

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Re: USS HORNET AT BATTLE OF MIDWAY

Post by Delta Tank » 08 Aug 2023 00:36

R Leonard wrote:
08 Aug 2023 00:14
Sorry. Been away for a few days with family at OBX . . . no computers allowed.

At the time air groups were not numbered

SAG = Saratoga Air Group
RAG = Ranger Air Group
YAG = Yorktown Air Group
EAG = Enterprise Air Group
HAG = Hornet Air Group
WAG = Wasp Air Group

Because the Japanese were proactive and knew exactly where their target was and the US was reactive and only knew vaguely where the Japanese were. Not to mention poor command and control from TF-16 after Fletcher sent them off to make their strike.
Thanks for these abbreviations!! I would of never of figured this out on my own!

My understanding is that Japanese carriers worked in groups of two. Carrier 1 would launch some fighters and all their dive bombers, Carrier 2 would launch some fighters and all of their torpedo bombers. That made it quick and easy to get a strike package into the air. Then the carriers would bring up the second strike package, spot them on the decks and Carrier 1 would launch some fighters and all of their torpedo planes and Carrier 2 would launch some fighters and all of their dive bombers.
Is this correct?

But, the US Navy didn’t do it this way because before and in the beginning of the war we had always used carriers by themselves?? So, it took a long time for a single carrier to get a fighter, dive bomber, torpedo bomber strike package into the air?

Mike

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