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Rick Wilkes
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Skymax 1/72d TBD-1 & Airfix 1/72d A6M2

June 7, 2017 · in Aviation · · 13 · 2.5K

I've decided to concentrate on the history rather than the models in my Midway GB posts.

12 -1's of VT-3 led by LCDR Lance E. (Lem) Massey spotted the Japanese carriers at about 1015. Initially the Zeros were kept at bay by their fighter escort led by LCDR Thach, but as they made their run on the IJN Soryu she maneuvered away, and Massey was forced to switch targets to the IJN Hiryu which was the farthest away but was turning toward them. At around 1020 as Massey split his force into two 6 plane divisions they were jumped by upwards of 20 Zeros. According to the only gunner to survive the attack, Massey's plane was hit and began to burn. LCDR stood in the cockpit to avoid the flames trying to make that last mile to the drop point. As his gunner ACRM Leo E Perry continued to fired at their attacker, the aircraft slammed into the sea and disintegrated. The remnants of Torpedo 3 pressed on, 5 aircraft making drops at 600 to 800 yards, but 30 knot torpedos aren't going to catch a. 34 knot carrier and no hits where made. 12 crews went in, 5 made it to the drop point, 2 got clear, but had to ditch before sighting TF 17 and the Yorktown. All 4 were picked up but one of the gunners died of his wounds while his pilot pulled him from his seat.

Represents a operating as part of the Hiryu's CAP

T-1 LCDR Massey and ACRM Perry's TBD-1

LCDR Lance Massey April 1942 shortly after taking command of Torpedo 3.

He was credited with sinking a Japanese ship while XO for Torpedo 6.

Reader reactions:
4  Awesome

13 responses

  1. Beautiful work Rick. Excellent story too. I never realized the difference in speed between the carriers and torpedoes, but it makes perfect sense. From what I have read about the early Navy torpedo's, when they did get a hit, often they failed to detonate. Thanks for sharing these with us.

    • Louis, one of the (IMHO) major ignored scandals of early WW II. There was a problem with the detonators, and the bureau that oversaw torpedos refused to believe the evidence sub skippers were telling them. Clay Blairs 2 volume history of the silent service notes how frustrating it was when the sub skippers did war shots with no results. It took a lot of unnessesary back and forth before the problem was realized and corrected.

      There should have been reliefs, demotions and court martials. But that's just vicious old me!

  2. Nice presentation,'ve done well with this.

  3. Looks good Rick, nicely done.

  4. Thanks, guys. I wanted to do this TBD, to tell a little bit of the story of Torpedo 3, which like Torpedo 8, lost every aircraft committed.

  5. Like that TBD.

  6. Rick, that really turned out well!

  7. Great addition to the project - and good-looking models!

  8. Great duo! nicely done .Is that an original Airfix stand the Zero is on?

  9. Really nice, Rick! You did a helluva job on the canopies!


    • Thanks Jeffery, l can't take all the credit. I used the Eduard mask set on the Zero, and on the Devestator, I hand painted the frames then cleaned up the edges with a sharp toothpick. Don't remember who taught me that trick but i use it whenever I can.

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