Pacific Theater:

ALASKA (11th Air Force): A B-17 flies the first armed reconnaissance from the secretly constructed airfield at Unmak , Aleutian over the Aleutian Chain, but finds no sign of the enemy. XI Fighter Command elements are not deployed at Unmak (P-40’s and P-38’s), Cold Bay (P-40’s), Kodiak (P-39’s), and Elmendorf Field [P-38’s and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Kittyhawks].
USA - Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson warns Americans along the west coast to expect a Japanese attack as retaliation for the Dolittle raid on Tokyo.
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA (5th Air Force): B-26’s attack the airfield at Lae, New Guinea.
New Hebridies – U.S. forces arrive at Espiritu Santo.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii:

USS Enterprise, Hornet and escorts have sortied to meet the Japanese fleet bound for Midway. USS Yorktown, which arrived 27 May from action in the Coral Sea is in the shipyard undergoing desperate repairs to enable her to join Enterprise and Hornet.

In an inauspicious beginning, perhaps future, LCDR Lindsey, CO of VT-8 crashed astern of Enterprise while flying aboard Enterprise. He and the rest of his crew are rescued by the planeguard, USS Monaghan.
While Yorktown is in dock, her airwing receives new aircraft and performs maintenance on the others.

Kido Butai:

After clearing the Inland Sea on the 27th, Nagumo’s forces have set a north-easterly course at 14 knots. Ships crews turn to the daily routine of maintenance, cleaning and participating in drills while the embarked aircrew amused themselves playing cards in the ready room or passing around novels while sunning themselves on the flight deck – some had brought wooden deck chairs for this purpose. (ed – It would appear there were (are) some universal similarities across naval aviation…). The overall mood of the crews was relaxed. Duty carrier rotation was set with Soryu taking the first watch on the 27th. However, overnight on the 27th, CDR Fuchida Mitsuo, CAG for Akagi’s air group, was diagnosed with acute appendicitis. Although he pleaded otherwise, the flight surgeon overruled him and operated immediately. Fuchida would miss the coming battle, at least leading the air group in battle, and this was dismaying to the veteran crews.
1430, 28 May – Kido Butai’s supply ships are sighted and once they were joined in the force, a course change to east-northeast was ordered. Speed remained at 14 knots in consideration of the destroyers and other fuel hogs in the fleet.



    Posted by SteelJaw in Navy
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    • UltimaRatioReg

      SJS,

      A GREAT series of posts. Have you ever found any detail of just what was done to Yorktown while she was in the yard for 72 hours? I once talked to an old Navy codger (by definition any old Navy person is a codger) who theorized that Yorktown was structurally reinforced but her watertight integrity was still compromised from the damage at Coral Sea, and that may have played a role in her loss at Midway.

      Anyone hear anything similar?

    • http://steeljawscribe.com/ SteelJaw

      Thx – more to come ;)
      Re. Yorktown repairs – I seem to recall reading something in “The Big ‘E'” a long while back that metioned the extent and gave a gross summary of the repairs to Yorktown. May have been some elaboration as well in “Shattered Sword” – I know for sure the latter talked about the damage from CSEA action in detail.
      – SJS

    • UltimaRatioReg

      SJS,

      Roger that. The theory (from the codger and others) was that the near miss bomb off Yorktown’s starboard bow bent in a number of plates, but the 550lb bomb that penetrated her flight deck damaged Frame 109 and warped Frame 110 as well as the transverse bulkhead.

      Even to a dumb-a** Marine, that seems like more than could have been repaired in 72 hours. I am wondering if the plating (and fuel bunkers) was repaired, and the decks patched, but the bulkhead and frame damage was only shored up. We sometimes have some yard guys that contribute here. Wonder what they might know/guess.

    • Byron

      “Yard guys” would be this old shipfitter. The repairs COULD be done in 72 hours, especially with wartime footing, 24 hour work cycle, and no NAVSEA oversight (think serious sand in wartime gears). With beams and plate, these frames could have been brought back up to 90% of nominal, more than good enough for the action at Midway. My opinion is that she took one hell of a pounding, and if it were not for getting torpedo’d after all this, she would have made it back to Pearl and fight another day. As it was, the Long Lances struck a mortal blow to here weight and stability. Keep in mind the list that Yorktown carried before the final blows; the water she was already carrying was probably the tipping point.

      Weight and stability, combined with free surface effect are things all ships must keep a close guard on if they want to keep the red side down.

    • http://steeljawscribe.com/ SteelJaw

      IIRC, I think she got underway with workers still onboard…
      – SJS

    • UltimaRatioReg

      Byron,

      You are exactly the “yard guy” to which I was referring. And thanks for the perspective. I had wondered whether or not Yorktown’s material condition coming out of Pearl would have made any difference to her survival at Midway. I don’t suppose that “war footing” meant time out for a half day of sexual harassment training, or a daily two-hour “TIGER team” meeting before the workday began. Bet they even skipped the Lean Six Sigma workshop. Yet, they managed to perform a near miracle….

      Has anyone found a summary of the repairs affected during those 72 hours in the yard?

    • UltimaRatioReg

      *Burma Shave*

      Byron, got your contact data from SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed) but my e-mails got kicked back. Perhaps we can try again.

      URR

    • Byron

      URR: “what I do for a living” @comcast.net

    • Grampa Bluewater

      Byron:

      The coup de grace was most likely the dangerous effect from free communication with the sea in a flooded wing compartment upon transverse stability.

      That and the total superiority of the long lance torpedo in terms of warhead size and reliability undoubtedly put her beyond recovery. No chance of reducing the cross section of those holes,
      and the additional internal damage from shock made the progressive flooding unstoppable.

      The damage she soaked up before succumbing is amazing. What superb ship designers, builders, maintainers and DCmen our predecessors were.

      The main thing is Yorktown’s planes were present and effective when it was essential that they were, due to heroic effort (which started when they inked the first ship’s print and carried through to the end).

      We don’t make ‘em like we used to (and the ships too).

    • Byron

      Grampa, I didn’t want to bore the audience with a lot of technical details, but you’re exactly right. Something a lot of folks don’t know, but everything down to the sheetmetal pop rivets has to be included in the calculations for a ships weight and stability. Get it wrong, and you have a class of ships that tend to fracture the superstructure, or another that rides unnaturally high out of the water, and will embark “modules” of undetermined weight (since they haven’t been fully tested yet) at one end of the ship. The water king on that ship is going to have a lot of grey hair, I can tell you that!

      Yes, Yorktowns main punch was there when it was needed, and more importantly, the aviators and all the experience they gained from the superb victory was there to used again. The IJN aviation arm? Never again would it be the lurking monster of the Pacific.

    • UltimaRatioReg

      “What superb ship designers, builders, maintainers and DCmen our predecessors were.”

      Well said, Grampa. And what magnificent fighting sailors, too. All of that is the lens through which the stories of Franklin, Bunker Hill, San Francisco, Hazelwood, Laffey, Cassin Young, and many others, should be told. Magnificent ships, sturdy and powerful, with skilled, brave, and resolute officers and crews.

      Byron, I’ll tell you that for some of us, the details of how those ships were patched together to get home and repaired to return to war is as interesting as the actions in which they were so badly damaged. The legends and tales of your profession from that generation (and yours) are of great interest.

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