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Buku Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

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Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

Author:David Rigby

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

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Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

Figure 12.3 Best/Penland map as modified by Lewis A. Hopkins.85

If Hopkins did dive on Akagi, he did not do so as part of a six-plane division, contrary to what he wrote on the map. First of all, his division comprised five aircraft total. Also, the leader of the Second Division of VB-6, Lt J. R. Penland, freely admitted that he (Penland) dove with Wade McClusky because he saw that the first few bombs dropped on Kaga (McClusky, Pittman, and Jaccard, respectively) were near misses and he wanted to add more weight to the attack on that ship. But, the corrections made by Hopkins to the map show that at least one aircraft from the second division of Bombing Six attacked Akagi.

Thus, perhaps Wade McClusky was correct in the way he described the attack in the first-person account that he wrote after the war, a copy of which is in the Walter Lord papers at the Naval History and Heritage Command:

 

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Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

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Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

Author:David Rigby , Date: June 23, 2019

,Views: 61

Author:David Rigby

Language: eng

Format: epub

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Figure 12.3 Best/Penland map as modified by Lewis A. Hopkins.85

If Hopkins did dive on Akagi, he did not do so as part of a six-plane division, contrary to what he wrote on the map. First of all, his division comprised five aircraft total. Also, the leader of the Second Division of VB-6, Lt J. R. Penland, freely admitted that he (Penland) dove with Wade McClusky because he saw that the first few bombs dropped on Kaga (McClusky, Pittman, and Jaccard, respectively) were near misses and he wanted to add more weight to the attack on that ship. But, the corrections made by Hopkins to the map show that at least one aircraft from the second division of Bombing Six attacked Akagi.

Thus, perhaps Wade McClusky was correct in the way he described the attack in the first-person account that he wrote after the war, a copy of which is in the Walter Lord papers at the Naval History and Heritage Command:

“In the meantime, our bombs began to hit home. Scouting SIX obtained at least eight direct hits. The first division of Bombing SIX obtained at least three direct hits on their assigned target with 1,000 lb. bombs. Both carriers were then enveloped in masses of flames and smoke. The second and third divisions of Bombing SIX, in accordance with squadron doctrine, then divided their attack between both carriers, obtaining many hits. Violent explosions resulted.”86

The process by which historians over the years have gradually whittled down the number of American dive-bombers that attacked Akagi to three is apparently based on one eyewitness account: that of Aviation Chief Radioman James F. Murray, who flew as Dick Best’s rear-seat gunner. Murray was there and he was facing backward. His view that he saw no other aircraft behind Best’s three-plane leading element during the dive is therefore not to be dismissed lightly. However, Bill Roberts, Lewis Hopkins, and George Goldsmith were also there and they were facing forward. Their views (in the case of Goldsmith, views that are admittedly somewhat contradictory) that they attacked the same target as did Dick Best should at least be given a fair hearing, instead of being utterly dismissed and ignored as they are in the current literature on the Battle of Midway. And there is also Delbert Halsey who, with Bill Roberts, brought up the rear as the fourth and fifth aircraft, respectively, of the First Section of Bombing Six, and the fact that Halsey could never be interviewed because he did not survive the battle.87

If, as seems likely, more than three SBDs dove on the Kaga, J. F. Murray’s observations must have been incorrect. His account differs from that of the other eyewitnesses to the attack on Akagi who spoke with Walter Lord – Roberts, Hopkins, Goldsmith (map version), and Dick Best himself. Dick Best was driving the airplane that Murray was riding in and Best was convinced that his five-plane division remained together and attacked Akagi. Granted, as the rear-seat gunner, Murray was facing backward and would thus seem to have had the best view of what was going on behind Best, Kroeger, and Weber.

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