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The Battle of Midway: What is a “Reliable Source,” really?

By Cla68

One generally accepted fact about the Battle of Midway is that the air groups from the US aircraft carrier USS Hornet, under the direction of its skipper, Marc Mitscher, and air group commander, Stanhope Ring, generally performed abysmally. On the crucial first day of battle, three out of the carrier’s four squadrons failed to locate the Japanese fleet. The squadron which did locate the Japanese fleet carriers, Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8), was completely wiped-out during their attack without scoring a single hit (although their sacrifice did help enable the subsequently successful dive bomber attacks from the other two US carriers). Many of Hornet’s aircraft from the three surviving squadrons were unable to locate their carrier after the failed mission and either ditched in the ocean or barely managed to make it to and land on Midway. The aircraft which ditched in the ocean included 10 of Hornet’s fighter aircraft, leaving ten pilots floating in the open ocean facing an uncertain future.

Until recently, the western historians who had written the most well-known books about the battle, including Samuel Eliot Morison, Walter Lord, Robert J. Cressman, and Gordon Prange, accepted and echoed the Hornet’s official report, signed by Mitscher, that the three squadron’s inability to locate the Japanese fleet was due to bad luck and inexperience. The true story of what took place did not emerge in a major publication until comparatively recently.

Yorktown at the moment of impact of an air-launched torpedo

Yorktown at the moment of impact of an air-launched torpedo

The truth is that Mitscher, after receiving the sighting report from US scout aircraft of the sighting of two of the Japanese fleet carriers, 240 degrees from the

…continue reading The Battle of Midway: What is a “Reliable Source,” really?