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Thread: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

  1. #1
    Tail Tweaker Guest

    Default Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Does anybody have a good answer to why, the squadrans didn't work well
    togeather, when attacking the 4 Jap carriers during the Battle of Midway?

    Seems to me, it should be fairly easy, if they could see one another. Was it
    just all the excitement or what?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Well, from what I understand, first of all, a lot of the planes ran out of gas..maybe cause the pilots were nervous. Secondly a lot of the torpedoes they used did not go off and thirdly, the bombers that dropped the torpedoes did not have sufficient experience , and some had no experience at all at the art of dropping torpedoes specifically.Some of the torpedo bombers never even knew what type of torpdeo they were carrying and some never even dropped a real torpedo ever!! It is disgusting that despite all the advance warning that the Japs would become a reality, the US Navy simply was not trained or prepared. The top Brass boasted that their Navy was the best in the world and when the bombers were shot down by the Jap Zero's they called their airmen COWARDS. But they were not! They were the victim of a overzealous Army brass who did not do their job in training nor preparing the pilots for this type of battle.
    It is not the fault of the airmen. It is the direct fault of the Big Brass who couldn't take their head out of their *** to see far enough ahead that the airmen lacked proper guidance and training.
    Also, they had no fighter escorts, unlike the Japs. They also did not learn to split up. They stayed in a pack and were easy target to shoot down cause they did not seperate when required. Like a bunch of nervous chickens when the Fox comes in for the hunt (no assimilation to being a coward, by the term chickens used); What I mean is they did not spread out when the Japs came a shootin~
    It is actually a MIRACLE that they won Midway at all!!
    Last edited by herman2; 09-25-2009 at 09:38 AM. Reason: add
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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Why is ever single on of your posts some sort of redundant question as to how something could have been better? What carrier based air battles exactly are you comparing one of the most decisive naval victories ever too? Perhaps you can look for a related thread, do some reading, and then post a bit more background and specificity before starting a thread based on a rhetorically broad statement or question?

    As for the question, yes, obviously the attacks were carried out under ad hoc conditions and with some obsolete torpedo bombers that actually drew most of the Japanese fighter cover down and enable US Navy Devastators to pummel two or three carriers at will. So, in a sense, because we know this probably was not completely unintended, they were coordinated actually. As far as "seeing each other," I doubt other US planes were what the naval aviators were looking out for. And with two carriers launching aircraft and limited communications, how coordinated could they be? They were like sharks with blood in the water at that point....

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    Why is ever single on of your posts some sort of redundant question as to how something could have been better? What carrier based air battles exactly are you comparing one of the most decisive naval victories ever too? Perhaps you can look for a related thread, do some reading, and then post a bit more background and specificity before starting a thread based on a rhetorically broad statement or question?
    As for the question, yes, obviously the attacks were carried out under ad hoc conditions and with some obsolete torpedo bombers that actually drew most of the Japanese fighter cover down and enable US Navy Devastators to pummel two or three carriers at will. So, in a sense, because we know this probably was not completely unintended, they were coordinated actually. As far as "seeing each other," I doubt other US planes were what the naval aviators were looking out for. And with two carriers launching aircraft and limited communications, how coordinated could they be? They were like sharks with blood in the water at that point....
    I didn't START the Thread You dumbass. I simply replied to it based on what I read on the Web. I will post the Link momentarilly.
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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by herman2 View Post
    I didn't START the Thread You dumbass. I simply replied to it based on what I read on the Web. I will post the Link momentarilly.
    I was posting to Tailtweaker you dolt! How many frigging threads have you started asking questions about why the US Navy didn't have better food in WWII?

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I was posting to Tailtweaker you dolt! How many frigging threads have you started asking questions about why the US Navy didn't have better food in WWII?
    Sorry SORRY! I thought you meant me...anyways heres my sources..
    Go to:
    books.google.ca/books?isbn=1591148650
    for proof.

    ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ships/logs/CV/cv8-EnsGay.html
    Lieutenant Gay describes what he considers the United States' errors in the Battle of Midway.
    • we had old planes
    • *We had a dual job of not only training a squadron of boot Ensigns, of which I was one of course, we also had to fight the war at the same time, and when we finally got up to the Battle of Midway it was the first time I had ever carried a torpedo on an aircraft and was the first time I had ever had taken a torpedo off of a ship, had never even seen it done. None of the other Ensigns in the squadron had either.
    • As I said, we had had no previous combat flying.

    SORRY NICK!
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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    The Midway battle group of U.S. ships was split in two. And the two forces were something like 80 miles apart (and that just is asking for one of the carriers to be sunk.)

    As a result of that, and the hurried release of the attack force to find the Japanese carriers, the two attacking air units were split and not coordinated.

    Then, inside each air group, the fighters had a hard time either keeping sight of the torpedo bombers or simply not finding them all together.

    The trouble is, the cruising speed of the bombers was not the same as the fighters, and the altitude taken by the torpedo bombers was nowhere near that of the fighters. And keep in mind the aircraft don't all take off at one time! It takes much effort to keep the units together.

    Thus the attack became uncoordinated. Plus I have no doubt they were under radio silence till they had found the Japanese fleet so communication between the different elements was also very difficult (and time does not stand still! You have only so much time to make the distance and attack.)

    It’s easy to say what should have been done. Hindsight is 20/20. But for the circumstances they had they did an outstanding job.
    Last edited by Deaf Smith; 09-25-2009 at 09:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Tweaker -

    You're asking someone to answer your question in an internet squib explaining a battle upon which entire books have written. There are some simple features to the action most of which revolve around timing and some rather good, and rather bad, command decisions. I could answer your question, but I don't feel like writing the equivalent of a masters thesis

    May I suggest a visit to the library? If they don't have it on the shelf, ask about inter-library loads. You should read these and then self-ponder your question. I'm sure you will find enlightenment.

    A Glorious Page in Our History by Robert Cressman, Steve Ewing, et. al.(1990)
    The First Team - Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway by John Lundstrom (1984; revised 2nd edition 1990)
    Shattered Sword: the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully (2005)
    Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange (1982)
    Black Shoe Carrier Admiral: Frank Jack Fletcher at Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal by John Lundstrom (2006)
    Incredible Victory by Walter Lord (1967)
    That Gallant Ship by Robert Cressman (1985 reprint 2000)
    The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway U.S. Navy publication OPNAV P32-1002 (1947)
    http://www.history.navy.mil/library/special/midway.htm
    The Last Flight of Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Junior, USNR by Bowen P. Weisheit (1996)
    No Right to Win: a Continuing Dialogue with Veterans of the Battle of Midway by Ronald W. Russell (2006)
    Marines at Midway by R. D. Heinl (1948) http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-Midway.html
    A Dawn Like Thunder: the True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight by Robert Mrazek (2008)
    Battle Report, Volume III, Pacific War Middle Phase by Walter Karig (1947)
    History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume IV, Coral Sea, Midway, and Submarine Actions, May 1942 - August 1942 by Samuel E. Morison (1950)
    Midway Inquest: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway by Dallas W. Isom (2007)
    The Big E by Edward P. Stafford (1960)
    The Unknown Battle of Midway: the Death of the Torpedo Squadrons by Alvin Kernan (2005)
    Midway: Turning Point of the Pacific by VADM William Ward Smith (1966)
    Rendezvous at Midway: USS Yorktown and the Japanese Carrier Fleet by Pat Frank and Joseph D. Harrington (1967)
    They Turned the War Around at Coral Sea and Midway by Stuart Ludlum (2000)
    SBD-3 Dauntless; the Battle of Midway by Daniel Hernandez (2002)
    Midway: the Battle That Doomed Japan by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya (1955)


    Others of interest and bearing on the subject of Midway:
    And I Was There by Rear Admiral Edwin T. Layton (1985)
    Destined for Glory - Dive bombing, Midway, and the Evolution of Carrier Air Power by Tom Wildenberg (1998)
    Double-Edged Secrets by Captain C. Jasper Holmes (1979)
    Combined Fleet Decoded by John Prados (1995)
    A Priceless Advantage by Frederick D. Parker (1993) http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/...a/Forward.html
    A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy by Paul Dull
    Sunburst - The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941 by Mark Peattie (2002)
    The Barrier and the Javelin: Japanese and Allied Strategy, February-June 1942 by H. P. Willmott (1983)
    Thach Weave - The Life of Jimmie Thach by Steve Ewing (2004)

    Then there's actual reports:

    Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, Serial 01849 of 28 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid1.htm

    Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, Serial 01753 of 21 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid2.htm

    Commander Cruisers, Pacific Fleet of 14 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid3.htm

    Commander Task Force SIXTEEN, Serial 0144A of 16 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid4.htm

    Commanding Officer, USS Hornet, Serial 0018 of 13 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid5.htm

    Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise, Serial 0133 of 8 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid6.htm

    Commanding Officer, USS Yorktown, of 18 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid7.htm

    Commander Destroyer Squadron SIX, Pacific Fleet, Serial 094 of 12 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid8.htm

    Commanding Officer, USS Hammann, Serial 2 of 16 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid9.htm

    VB-6 (Penland) ACA on carrier attack, Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942
    http://www.history.navy.mil/docs/wwii/mid10.htm

    U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5), BOMB AND TORPEDO DAMAGE - Coral Sea, May 8, 1942
    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/mc/museum/War_Damage/23.pdf
    Photos
    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/cgi-bin/War...ls=3&PgConst=9

    U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5), BOMB AND TORPEDO DAMAGE - Midway, June 4 to 7, 1942
    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/mc/museum/War_Damage/25.pdf
    Photos
    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/cgi-bin/War...ls=3&PgConst=7

    Other interesting damage reports
    http://www.dcfp.navy.mil/cgi-bin/WarSummary.cgi

    NAVAL ANALYSIS DIVISION Interrogations of Japanese Officials OPNAV-P-03-100
    (Not just Midway)
    http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/...IJO/index.html

    VB-3
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ports/vb-3.pdf

    NAS Midway (these are page by page, individual downloads)
    http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/NASMidwayWarDiary

    VP recommendations for decorations (these are page by page, individual downloads)
    http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/NASMidwayCommendations

    VP folks memos noting awards of medals (these are page by page, individual downloads)
    http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/NASMidwayMedals

    NAS Midway documents / war diary May 42 (these are page by page, individual downloads)
    http://www.pby.com/Archives.nsf/NASM...enView&Start=1

    MAG 22 (Kimes) report
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ts/mag22co.pdf

    MAG 22 (McCaul) report
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ts/mag22xo.pdf
    (missing the last two lines on last page: “- - - to tell what happened to the remainder of his unit nor the results obtained by their attack.”

    VMF-221 report
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ts/vmf-221.pdf

    VMSB-241 report
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ts/vmf-221.pdf

    VT-6 Laub ACA
    http://www.cv6.org/ship/logs/action19420604-vt6.htm

    VS-6 report
    http://www.cv6.org/ship/logs/action1...vs6.htm#fourth

    VB-5 report
    http://home.comcast.net/~r2russ/midw...ports/vs-5.pdf

    Read all these, books and reports, chase down the paths they lead you and you'll have your own answer. If you don't, then we'll at least have a common ground for discussion.

    This BTW is my stock answer for Midway references, especially for those questions which require a more than basic understanding of USN and IJN doctrine and the events as they transpired as influenced by the individuals involve in order to understand not so simple answers.

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Thanks for the bibliography and links, R Leonard...

  10. #10
    Tail Tweaker Guest

    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    RE: "I could answer your question, but I don't feel like writing the equivalent of a masters thesis". This seems like a pretty arrogant
    answer, to a simple question. Add to that the name calling, and
    it does not seem to me, like this is a very good forum, or perhaps
    it need a more active moderator or something, so tell me what gives

    Sergeant Deaf Smith was able to give a pretty good answer, in a lot less
    space than a thesis. When I join a forum, I ask a few questions, to get a
    feel, for the forum and who are the active members.....don't see anything
    wrong with that approach. It has worked on other froums. But I have never gotten such negative responces, as I have on this forum!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tail Tweaker View Post
    RE: "I could answer your question, but I don't feel like writing the equivalent of a masters thesis". This seems like a pretty arrogant
    answer, to a simple question. Add to that the name calling, and
    it does not seem to me, like this is a very good forum, or perhaps
    it need a more active moderator or something, so tell me what gives
    Well, firstly, I am an "active moderator." No one called you anything. And every thread you've started has some overly broad question. If you'd like to keep starting threads here, fine. But I'd suggest you read the thread here we already have on Midway (for instance) and narrow your focus...

    Sergeant Deaf Smith was able to give a pretty good answer, in a lot less
    space than a thesis. When I join a forum, I ask a few questions, to get a
    feel, for the forum and who are the active members.....don't see anything
    wrong with that approach. It has worked on other froums. But I have never gotten such negative responces, as I have on this forum!
    Right. Well, since you've been critical, it is sort of interesting that your longest post here has been this one. Secondly, I've never had a good experience at any forum with posters that have a abnormally high thread-starting to posting-in-existing-thread ratios, usually that belies some sort of agenda. So start asking your questions in topics already open on the subject, please. And if you want a feel for the forum, maybe do more reading and less thread starting...

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    And, jeez, if you want the short answer, I can give you the short answer. You're just not going to like it because if you haven't read most of the books on the list you have no idea what the short answer means.

    The short answer to the question is . . . doctrine.

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tail Tweaker View Post
    RE: "I could answer your question, but I don't feel like writing the equivalent of a masters thesis". This seems like a pretty arrogant answer, to a simple question.
    It was an accurate and fair answer to a simple question.

    It just happens that the answer isn't simple, which you would discover if you bothered to dip into some of the references R Leonard supplied.

    It's not R Leonard's fault if you fail to get simple answers to simple questions which don't have simple answers.

    The only arrogance is your lack of courtesy in failing to thank R Leonard for his highly informative answer and choosing instead to post the following carping comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tail Tweaker View Post
    Add to that the name calling, and it does not seem to me, like this is a very good forum, or perhaps it need a more active moderator or something, so tell me what gives
    I am an active moderator.

    What gives is that you got a well informed and highly detailed answer from R Leonard but you're too bloody lazy to do any work to find out for yourself the factors which produce a complex answer to a simple question.

    What also gives is that you lack the courtesy to thank R Leonard for the trouble he went to to help you inform yourself, but instead choose to make baseless complaints about people calling you names, when they didn't.

    However, if you want to be called some names, try this.

    You look suspiciously like a troll to me, or a fool. We tolerate the latter here if they behave themselves, but not the former.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tail Tweaker View Post
    Seems to me, it should be fairly easy, if they could see one another. Was it just all the excitement or what?
    Are you sure that all attacking forces had each other in sight at all critical times leading up and during the attacks?

    Why would having each other in sight aid an aerial attack?

    As for being 'fairly easy', that is just idiotic bullshit from someone whose knowledge of or ability to appreciate the difficulties of aerial attacks on capital ships in any circumstances and especially at Midway must have been gained from a war game mini CD in a corn flakes packet.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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    Default Re: Reason US planes didn't coordinate attack well at Midway?

    As for the part of the thread title that the "US planes didn't coordinate attack well", which implies a serious deficiency in the American action:

    The Americans sunk Japan's main carrier force; stopped Japan's naval advance dead; and put Japan on the back foot for the rest of the naval war, didn't they?

    How much more effective coordination do you want?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

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