Britain launches its first 1000-plane bomber raid – the target: Cologne, Germany.


Myitkyina, Burma is again hit by B-17’s. Again no activity is observed and the attacks are discontinued. HQ 7th Bombardment Group transfers from Karachi to Dum-Dum, India.


77th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 28th Composite Group, based at Elmendorf Field, Anchorage, Territory of Alaska, begins operating from Umnak, Aleutian Is with B-26’s.


7th Air Force begins flying B-17’s from the Territory of Hawaii to Midway in the face of an expected attack on that. 394th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), transfers from Hickam Field to Bellows Field, Territory of Hawaii with B-17’s.

Pearl Harbor: On the 27th of May, USS Yorktown arrived at Pearl Harbor bearing the wounds of her action from the Coral Sea action. Grievously wounded by both direct-hits and near-misses (even while having avoided a spread of eight air-launched torpedoes), Yorktown required at least a three month overhaul and refit. However, Nimitz knew Yorktown was the only carrier available to add to the task force that had previously sailed with Hornet and Enterprise. Two carriers against Kido Butai would not be sufficient – Saratoga, enroute from the West Coast, would not arrive until 7 Jun, too late to be of use. Ranger was otherwise engaged and Lexington, well, Lexington was lost after a valiant fight at Coral Sea. The third carrier had to be Yorktown.

When she entered Pearl on the 27th, over 1,400 shipyard workers swarmed aboard and immediately set to work repairing the damage, along with ship’s company. On 28 May she entered dry dock to repair cracks in the hull and fuel holding tanks from the near misses. In forty-eight hours another in a series of miracles ensued and Yorktown made ready for sea. At 0900L 30 May 1942, Yorktown put to sea, her airwing replenished with three of Saratoga’s squadrons (VB-3, VF-3 and VT-3 replacing VS-5, VF-42 and VT-5, all of which had suffered heavy losses at Coral Sea).

How significant was this action? In a word – it was pivotal. The urgency to turnaround Yorktown, bring aboard squadrons who had never operated off her before and in so doing, get a third carrier into action was one of the key points in the outcome of the coming battle – and make no mistake everyone from Nimitz down to the seaman on the Yorktown knew it. This was in studied contrast to the almost leisurely approach the Japanese took in repairing Zuikaku and replenishing her air wing (the Japanese did not rotate airwings between carriers and didn’t think about doing it until later in the war).

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  • Andy (JADAA)

    “…bring aboard squadrons who had never operated off her before and in so doing, get a third carrier into action was one of the key points in the outcome of the coming battle…”

    IIRC, wasn’t this also a first for the US as well? I don’t recall air wing swaps before this date, but then again, we hadn’t lost carriers outright, although Saratoga’s hard luck has already started to dog her.

    I think some lose sight of the fact that a lot of what was happening in aerial warfare, both land and sea-based was very much “learn by doing” and very trial-and-[bloody]error at this point.


  • Andy:

    Affirm and that was kind of the point – heretofore csrriers and their air wings were petty closely integrated but the necessities of war were already forcing changes in what had been ironclad procedures. Reading “The Big ‘E'” really drives home the pre-war and wartime differences in air wing/ship integration…

    In a (relatively) more modern scenario, I well recall when Jerry Tuttle, CARGRU-2 at the time, seriously looked at putting all the fighters in a 2-CVBG force on one carrier and all the strike a/c on another (IKE would be the fighter carrier, JFK the new strike CV) for a 2 week exercise in ’82.
    – SJS

  • SJS,

    Can you imagine today if the Yorktown pulled into a shipyard needing a 72-hour turnaround? We, as a nation, still would be drafting the environmental impact statement, tryig to get it in the federal register, etc….

  • Much less trying to find the numbers of skilled bodies en masse to effect the repairs. Can we clone Byron?
    – SJS

  • Byron

    If you took 30 years off of him, hell yes!

    Doable. First, make sure no one from NAVSEA gets anywhere near it. Second, make sure that OSHA and EPA are locked out of the yard. Then you give us a stack of steel, a few miles of pipe and wire, don’t sweat the paint, or how pretty the weld is, and we could get it out. Just promise how much money and beer would be at the gate when we leave, and we’d get it out the dock 😉

    You’d have to do a wartime powers thing, strip several yards, promise to make good any demurage on contracts. But given a decent amount of warning (which Pearl had), a sufficient number of skilled craftsmen could be assembled. Oh…and lock the shop stewards out with NAVSEA, they’re about as useful.