On This Day…
Ju88 crashed after take off in Holland, June 3rd, 1941.
On June 3, 1943, This MK.V1c Beaufighter ran off the airstrip into ditch when landing at Dobodura, Papua New Guinea.
Following the shock of Doolittle raid in April of 1942, the Japanese forces (after much posturing and politicking) decided on a strategy to destroy the American aircraft carriers they desired so much and which they’d failed to damage at Pearl.
Admiral Yamamoto decided on the tiny archipelago of Midway to act as their Trojan horse, using a feint on the Aleutian Islands to first provoke the Americans and then lure them into exposing their carriers in an ambush at Midway.
Yamamoto’s typically overthought plan relied on several key points of (mis)information. The Japanese thought the Yorktown had been sunk at the Battle of the Coral Sea, they seriously misjudged the American moral (and will to fight), and crucially, had no idea the Americans had broken their communication codes. The undoing of the Japanese codes, especially, meant that the Japanese tactic of holding back and dispersing their support ships (for obfuscation and surprise) was essentially an act of useless self injury.
Whereas Yorktown’s damage at the battle of Coral Sea was severe, she set sail for Midway only after round the clock repairs and with a team from Pearl still working on her even as she approached the Midway theatre. The Shōkaku (with several major hits at Coral Sea) and the Zuikaku (who lost half her aircraft and pilots there) were both left in Japan.
On the eve of battle, the Japanese fleet comprised four carriers; Kaga and Akagi in Carrier Division One, and Hiryū and Sōryū in Division Two. Due to factors such as fatigue, poor aircraft spares, and old aircraft stock, although the IJN could count almost two hundred and fifty aircraft (plus several floatplanes), the amount they could put up, and keep up, was much less.
Thus we stood before the first shots; the US with vital intelligence, three carriers, seven heavy cruisers, and fifteen destroyers. The Japanese with four fleet carriers, four battleships and heavy cruisers, twelve destroyers, and a whole fleet of ships who (because of complex tactics and poor comms) would never engage the enemy.
On the morning of Wednesday, 3rd of June a PBY Catalina patrol ship radioed that she’d spotted the Japanese Task Force, when in fact it was the decoy ‘invasion fleet’. A squadron of B-17s from Midway were sent to intercept this force but failed to hit any targets…
Above, IJN Petty Officer Koga’s A6M Zero which was damaged by AA fire over Dutch Harbor, Alaska, 3rd of June.
Often reproduced photo of F6F-3 Hellcat (VF-1) being ejected from the hangar deck catapult on the ‘new’ Yorktown (CV-10) during shakedown exercises near Trinidad, 3rd of June, 1943. The photo was taken exactly a year after the beginnings of hostilities at Midway which led to the loss of the Yorktown (CV-5).
USS North Carolina, Norfolk Navy Yard, US, 3rd June, 1942.
Someone may find it interesting; here she is again exactly three years later after the hostilities ended. USS North Carolina in the Naval Air Station, New York. Jayne 3rd, 1946.
Interesting shot of ‘FiFi’ B-29 Superfortress coming in for landing. Taken at the Reading Regional Airport, Pennsylvania, US. June 3rd…2018.
Same show as above, a Beechcraft Expeditor transport aircraft with a Mitchell B-25 in the background? Rd June, 2018.
@roofrat iModeler Robert Royes’s fantastic Expeditor.
The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk was coming to a close; it was a miracle, however, that cost over 60,000 lives.
On the third of June, the 32e Division d’Infanterie (French 32nd infantry) were ordered on a counterattack offensive to buy more interesting ire for the evacuation. French Officer Arnaud De La Portaliere wrote this letter to his mother the night before the attempted advance…
“My dear Mother,
Tomorrow is the big day. We must receive the ‘Fritz’. I am with my section in a dangerous place that I have demanded. Everything is going well.
I am currently in a Belgian farm not far from the Germans. It is 10 p.m. It is not very nice. If tomorrow I manage to survive, and I doubt I will, I will write to you. If not, I would like to tell you that I am happy to die for France, and I willingly give my life for you all.
I will not send this letter, but I will keep it in my wallet. The ideals I have always espoused are sustaining me, and I hope that the little I have sacriﬁced in this life will not be forgotten in the other.
I am sending you 100,000 kisses”.
The letter was found in Arnaud’s wallet the next day.
German soldiers examine a MiG-3 that was destroyed whilst on the airfield in southern Russia. June 1941.
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.