Battle of Midway, Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise, Serial 0133 of 8 June 1942

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CV6/A16-3/(60-Br)
( 0133 ) U.S.S. ENTERPRISE (CV6)

At Sea
June 8, 1942

From: The Commanding Officer.
To: The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Via: Commander Task Force Sixteen.
(Rear Admiral R.A. Spruance, U.S. Navy).

Subject: Battle of Midway Island, June 4 - 6, 1942 -- Report of.

Reference: (a) Articles 712 and 874, U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920.

Enclosures: (A) Track Chart.
(B) Photographs of enemy CA, damaged in the action of June 6, 1942.
(C) Executive Officer's Report.


I. PRELIMINARY.

1. On the afternoon and evening of June 3, 1942, the general situation prior to the battle was as follows (times throughout are Zone plus 10): Task Force Seventeen and Task Force Sixteen had previously rendezvoused in the general vicinity of "Point Luck", approximately 350 miles northeast of Midway Island and were operating in that area closing Midway during darkness and opening during the day, remaining east of the longitude of Midway. Both Task Forces had completed fueling to capacity and the oilers despatched to their rendezvous. The Senior Officer Present Afloat and Officer in Tactical Command was in Yorktown. The two task forces were separated but were within visual contact. They were operating independently but generally conforming in their movements. At 2150 course was changed to 210? T. toward a 0630, June 4, rendezvous (31? 30' N; 176? 30' W) designated by Commander Task Force 17. At 1812 a radio message from Flight 312 to Radio Midway was intercepted "2 enemy destroyers 2 cargo vessels course 020 speed 13".

2. At 2000, June 3, 1942, Enterprise, Flagship of Commander Task Force 16 was in position 33? 16' N, 175? 46' W, course 100? T, speed 15 knots and zigzagging according to Plan Number 7. Wind south 9, clouds cumulus 7, visibility 30, sea smooth.

3. The following significant messages were received during the night of June 3 - 4:

At 0447 -- from Flight 44 t Radio Midway "large enemy forces bearing 261? T, distance 500 course 080 speed 13 x ten ships".
At 0734 -- from Flight 58 to Radio Midway "enemy carriers".
At 0753 -- from Flight 58 to Radio Midway "many planes heading Midway bearing 320 distance 150".
At 0803 -- from Flight 92 to Radio Midway "2 carriers and battleships bearing 320? distance 180 course 135 speed 25".
At 0807 -- from Commander Task Force 17 to Commander Task Force 16 "proceed southwesterly and attack enemy carriers when definitely located".

II. THE ACTION.

Time

0906 Commenced launching attack group of 33 VSB, 14 VT, 10 VF.
15 VSB armed with one 1000 lb. bomb each.
12 VSB armed with one 500 lb. bomb and two 100 lb. bombs each.
6 VSB armed with one 500 lb. bomb each.
14 VTB armed with torpedoes.
1015 Type 97 enemy twin-float seaplane sighted bearing 180? T., distance 72,000 yards. Combat Patrol failed to find this plane although radar and lookouts confirmed its position.
1129-1132 Launched 8 VF for second Combat Patrol
1145-1152 Landed first Combat Patrol 8 VF.
1202 Commander Enterprise Air Group sighted Japanese Force composed of 4 CV, 2 BB, 4 CA, 6 DD.
1220 VT commenced attack; probably one hit on CV.
1222 VSB commenced dive bombing attack; two (2) CV badly damaged with many direct bomb hits, left in flames. Position of enemy force, Lat. 30? 05' N, Long. 178? 50' W.
1244-1247 Launched 8 VF for third Combat Patrol.
1255 Commenced landing VF escort.
1316-1329 Landed second Combat Patrol 8 VF.
1337-1340 Launched 8 VF, fourth Combat Patrol.
1405 20 enemy planes reported bearing 310? coming in. (Attack on Yorktown followed).
1410 Completed landing attack group.
1433-1435 Launched 8 VF, fifth Combat Patrol.
1437-1438 Landed 5-B-3 and 5-B-16 (Yorktown planes). Yorktown pilot reported Yorktown in bad shape. Heavy smoke seen from Yorktown.
1442-1448 Landed 5-B-7, 5-B-8, 5-B-9, 5-B-10, 5-B-12, 5-B-14, 5-B-15 (Yorktown planes).
1451-1459 Landed 5-F-2, 5-F-3, 5-F-8, 5-F-21, 5-B-4, 5-B-5, 5-B-6, 5-B-11, 5-B-13, 5-B-17 (Yorktown planes).
1504-1505 Landed 5-F-10, 5-F-15 (Yorktown planes).
1539-1541 Launched 6 VF, sixth Combat Patrol.
1547-1559 Landed third and fourth Combat Patrol, 16 VF.
1610 VF shot down seaplane tracker 50 miles south of our force.
1645 Received message from Yorktown scout, "1 CV, 2 BB, 3 CA, 4 DD, 31? 15' N, 179? 05' W, course 000, speed 15."
1730 Commenced launching second attack group composed of 24 VSB.
11 VSB armed with one 1000 lb. bomb each.
13 VSB armed with one 500 lb. bomb each.
1742-1752 Landed fifth and sixth Combat Patrols 10 VF. 6-F-12 Mach. Warden missing and reported to have landed in water out of gas. Also landed 3 VF and 3 VSB from Yorktown. Landed 6-S-16 from Attack Group.
1835 Combat Patrol (6-F-1 shot down 4-engine enemy seaplane).
1842-1846 Launched 12 VF for ninth Combat Patrol.
1850-1852 Landed 5 VF of seventh Combat Patrol. Also landed 1 VF and 4 VSB from Yorktown.
1905 Attacked Japanese Force composed of 1 CV, 2 BB, 3 CA, 4 DD, position Lat. 31? - 40' N, Long. 179? - 10' W. Left 1 CV and 1 BB severely damaged and mass of flames.
1928-1930 Landed 2 VF of eight Combat Patrol and 1 VF from Yorktown.
1958-2005 Launched 20 VF for tenth Combat Patrol.
2008-2034 Landed 20 VSB of Attack Group. (3 did not return). Landed 9 VF of ninth Combat Patrol. Landed 2 VF of tenth Combat Patrol.
2034 Completed landing attack group.
2046-2056 Landed 17 VF of tenth Combat Patrol.
2120 Landed 1 VF of tenth Combat Patrol. Last plane landed.


During the night June 4 - 5 distance from Midway of approximately 150 miles was maintained by steaming east and north and then retracing the track.

June 5, 1942.

Wind SE 9, clouds cumulus 9, visibility 20, sea smooth.

1025-1029 Launched 12 VF for first Combat Patrol. 6 Yorktown VF to land aboard Hornet upon completion of patrol.
1300-1302 Launched 6 VF for second Combat Patrol.
1315-1318 Landed 6 VF of first Combat Patrol.
1616-1619 Landed second Combat Patrol 6 VF.
1700 Commenced launching attack group composed of 32 VSB (VB-3, VB-6, VS-5, VS-6). Objective 1 burning CV, 2 BB, 3 CA, 4 DD. Position of objective given as at 1000, Lat. 32? - 00' N, Long. 179? - 32' W, course 310, speed 12 knots. (Approximate distance estimated to be 230 miles.)
32 VSB with one 500 lb. bomb each.
2030 Objective not found. Attacked 1 CL position Lat. 33? - 00' N, Long. 177? - 00' E. Damage undetermined.
2058-2100 Landed third Combat Patrol
2203 Completed landing group; 30 VSB plus 5 VSB from Hornet.


During the night June 5 - 6, the course was 280? T, the speed 16 knots and zigzag Plan Number 6 was followed during moonlight.

June 6, 1942.

Wind SW 16, clouds cumulus 2, visibility 50, sea smooth.

0702 Launched search group of 18 VSB to search relative sector 180? - 360? (t) distance 200 miles. 18 VSB with one 500 lb. bomb each. Four of these landed on Hornet. Fourteen returned with bombs.
Launched first Combat Patrol 6 VF.
0759 Landed 6-B-17 -- Deferred forced landing.
0845 8-B-2 (operating from Enterprise) contacted enemy, 1 CV, 5 DD, position Lat. 29? - 33' N, Long. 174? - 50' E, course 270?.
0930 (about) -- Contact report on enemy -- 2 CA, 2 DD, Lat. 28? - 55' N, Long. 175? - 10' E, course 215&deg, speed 15.
0952-0954 Launched 6 VF second Combat Patrol.
0959-1009 Landed first Combat Patrol 6 VF.
1015-1039 Landed 14 VSB from morning search.
1231 Launched 8 VF third Combat Patrol.
1245 Commenced launching attack group composed of 31 VSB, 3 VT, 12 VF, position of objective given as of 1350, Lat. 29? - 33' N, Long. 175? - 35' E, course 270? speed 15 knots, armed as follows:
31 VSB with one 1000 lb. bomb each.
3 VTB with torpedoes.
1315-1316 Landed second Combat Patrol, 6 VF.
1350 Commenced attack, dive bombing and VF strafing. VT did not attack. Damage: left 1 CA (Mogami) severely damaged and aflame, 1 CL damaged, 1 DD damaged with minor explosions. (Note: There was no CV in this group.)
1527-1615 Landed third Combat Patrol, 6 VF. (Hornet took over Combat Patrol). Landed 10 VF of Attack Group. Landed 28 VSB of Attack Group, Two Hornet planes and 6-B-1 landed on Hornet.
Landed 3 VTB of Attack Group with torpedoes, attack not completed.
1753 Launched 2 VSB for photographic flight of above damaged ships. Photographs are Enclosure (B).
1829-1835 Launched 12 VF for fourth Combat Patrol.
1844 Landed 6-F-7. Could not retract wheels.
1950 Landed 6-F-26. Deferred forced landing.
2100 Landed fourth Combat Patrol.
2107 Recovered photographic group.


III. PERSONNEL AND MATERIAL.

1. The attack delivered upon enemy carriers by the torpedo squadrons of our forces is believed to be without parallel for determined and courageous action in the face of overwhelming odds. These crews were observed to commence their attack against heavy anti-aircraft fire from the enemy carriers and supporting vessels while opposed by enemy Zero fighters in large numbers. The enemy fighter opposition was so strong and effective that ten torpedo planes out of fourteen of Torpedo Squadron SIX did not return. It is recommended that the Navy Cross be awarded to each pilot and gunner of Torpedo Squadron SIX who participated in this bold and heroic attack. A separate letter containing details of all aircraft attacks and specific recommendations for awards will be submitted.

2. Personnel losses in the Air Group were heavy, particularly Torpedo 6. A summary to date which is subject to final check is as follows:

TORPEDO SIX
Plane Pilot Gunner
6T1 LtCdr. E.E. Lindsey, USN. GRENAT, C.T., 279 45 11, ACRM, USN.
6T2 Ens. S.L. Rombach, A-V(N), USNR. GLENN, W.F., 360 18 53, ARM2c, USN.
6T6 Lt.(jg) J.T. Eversole, USN. LANE, J.U., RM2c, 299 90 90, USN.
6T9 Ens. R.M. Holder, A-V(N), USNR. DURAWA, G.J., 300 32 99, ARM3c, USN.
6T10 Lt. A.V. Ely, USN. LINDGREN, A.R., 223 42 69, RM3c, USN.
6T12 Ens. F.C. Hodges, A-V(N), USNR. BATES, J.H., 368 48 44, RM2c, USN.
6T13 Lt. P.J. Riley, USN. MUSHINSKI, E.J., 268 28 74, ARM2c, USN.
6T14 Ens. J.W. Brock, USN. BLUNDELL, J.M., 410 41 61, ARM3c, USN.
6T7 Lt.(jg) L. Thomas, USN. LITTLEFIELD, H.F., 238 59 08, ARM2c, USN.
6T8 Mach. A.W. Winchell, USN. COSSITT, D.M., 413 55 55, RM3c, USNR.
BOMBING SIX
6B5 Lt.(jg) W.E. Roberts, A-V(N), USNR. STEINMAN, W.B., 376 01 68, AMM1c, USN.
6B6 Ens. D.W. Halsey, A-V(N), USNR. JENKINS, J.W., 372 17 00, RM3c, USN.
6B8 Ens. T.F. Schneider, A-V(N), USNR. HOLDEN, G.L., 300 09 02, ARM2c, USN.
6B9 Ens. E.A. Greene, A-V(N), USNR. MUNTEAN, S.A., 401 42 22, RM3c, USNR.
6B11 Ens. T.W. Ramsay, A-V(N), USNR. DUNCAN, S.L., 376 06 50, AMM2c, USN.
6B13 Lt.(jg) J.J. VanBuren, USN. NELSON, H.W., 382 02 50, ARM1c, USN.
6B14 Ens. N.F. Vandivier, A-V(N), USNR. KEANEY, L.E.J., 283 21 96, Sea1c, USN.
6B15 Ens. G.H. Goldsmith, A-V(N), USNR. PATTERSON, J.W., 387 23 15, ARM3c, USN.
6B18 Ens. B.S. Varian, A-V(N), USNR. YOUNG, C.R., 356 55 07, ARM3c, USN.
6B3 Ens. F.T. Weber, A-V(N), USNR. HILBERT, E.L., 382 18 65, AOM3c, USN.
SCOUTING SIX
6S3 Ens. J.Q. Roberts, A-V(N), USNR. SWINDELL, T.R., 262 28 14, AOM1c, USN.
6S15 Ens. J.R. McCarthy, A-V(N), USNR. HOWELL, E.E., 382 11 71, RM3c, USN.
6S12 Ens. C.D. Peiffer, A-V(N), USNR. JECK, F.C., 224 16 97, Sea1c, USN.
6S4 Lt. C.R. Ware, USN. STAMBAUGH, W.M., 287 22 69, ARM1c, USN.
6S5 Ens. F.H. O'Flaherty, A-V(N), USNR. GAIDO, B.F., 300 20 05, AMM1c, USN.
6S6 Ens.F.H. Shelton, A-V(N), USNR CRAIG, D. W., 412 11 15, RM3c, USNR
6S14 Ens. J.C. Lough, A-V(N), USNR. HANSEN, L.D., 368 49 16, RM3c, USN.
6S1 Ens. J.N. Vammen, A-V(N), USNR. GLARY, M.W., 356 14 29, AMM2c, USN.


3. Aircraft losses as the result of 3 days action:

Torpedo SIX
Bureau No.
(Ten (10))
6T1 - TBD-1 0289
6T2 - TBD-1 1512
6T6 - TBD-1 0366
6T7 - TBD-1 0294
6T8 - TBD-1 0367
6T9 - TBD-1 0378
6T10 - TBD-1 0342
6T12 - TBD-1 0365
6T13 - TBD-1 1505
6T14 - TBD-1 0327
Bombing SIX
Bureau No.
(Eleven (11))
6B3 - SBD-3 4682
6B5 - SBD-3 4581
6B6 - SBD-2 2153
6B7 - SBD-3 4532
6B8 - SBD-2 2105
6B9 - SBD-2 2123
6B11 - SBD-3 4620
6B13 - SBD-2 2180
6B14 - SBD-2 2125
6B15 - SBD-3 4542
6B18 - SBD-2 2145
Scouting SIX
Bureau No.
(Nine (9))
6S1 - SBD-3 03207
6S3 - SBD-3 8524
6S4 - SBD-3 03206
6S5 - SBD-3 03224
6S6 - SBD-3 03225
6S10 - SBD-3 03208
6S12 - SBD-3 4600
6S14 - SBD-3 4612
6S15 - SBD-3 4615
Fighting SIX
Bureau No.
(One (1))
6F12 - F4F-4 5062


4. Ammunition expended:

Expended
57 1000-lb. bombs
67 500-lb. bombs
22 100-lb. bombs
48,000 .50 caliber
40,000 .30 caliber


5. Steps have been taken to replenish Air Group losses of personnel and material.

6. The ship, although subjected to threat of air attack on several occasions experienced no actual attack and suffered no damage during actions on June 4-5-6.

7. It is extremely difficult to determine the extent of the damage inflicted upon the enemy by Enterprise, as the air groups of all carriers, as well as land based aircraft at Midway, participated in continuous attacks on enemy units throughout the three days action. Based upon reports available to Enterprise, it is estimated the following damage was inflicted upon the enemy:

3 CV's sunk.
1 CV on fire and badly damaged (probably sank night of June 5).
1 CA wrecked and abandoned.
3 CA heavily bombed.
3 DD sunk.

8. The efficiency of the ship for war operations is considered outstanding and all munitions of war are considered satisfactory.

[signed]
G.D. MURRAY.

  
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