On This Day of Days…June 6th.
The USS Hornet, seen with USS Atlanta (CL-51) in the foreground, behind is USS New Orleans (CA-32). June 6th, 1942, Midway.
On June 6, 1942, aircraft from the carriers Enterprise and Hornet pursued the retreating Japanese fleet from Midway. They made three attacks, sinking the heavy cruiser Mikuma and damaging the destroyer Mogami (below).
Later in the day, an Enterprise plane flew by the shattered Mikuma, and took the War’s first close-up photographs of a sinking Japanese warship. Mikuma sank about dusk on 6 June, leaving hundreds of her crewmen to die in the water. Three days later, the U.S. submarine Trout found and rescued two survivors and took them to Pearl Harbor.
In the early hours of the 6th, the abandoned USS Yorktown was reboarded and salvage attempts were started.
Bill Roy, 21 year old photographer’s mate, describes the last moments of a famous ship.
“Captain Buckmaster was on the Hammann and sent word he was organizing a salvage party of 29 selected officers and 141 enlisted men. I volunteered. USS Hammann returned us to Yorktown early morning June 6, 1942. First order was to put out the fires in the forward rag locker. It was still burning near the forward bomb and torpedo magazines, and the aviation gas storage tanks. We next cut away the port 5 inch guns. I made photos. Then I was asked to help the medic identify and bury the dead left on the flight deck.”
“Next, I helped lower new aircraft from the hangar deck overhead and push them overboard to get the weight off the port side. I asked Captain Buckmaster, to give me one of the new torpedo planes. He said “you got it Roy” as it went over the side to 17,000 feet below. I then went back to the bow to help remove the second 5 inch gun and make photos.”
“At 1.36 pm the 20mm gun started firing and I ran across to starboard just in time to see the bosun on the bow of Hammann using a fire axe trying to cut the bow lines. The port turbines were screaming as they were backing down. Commander Arnold True was trying to break loose from Yorktown.”
“Gunfire was shooting at the four torpedoes that had been fired from the Japanese submarine I-168. Hammann, hit by one torpedo under the bridge, blew up alongside Yorktown and broke in two. Sailors were catapulted off the bow forward through the air. Sailors were blown overboard. Yorktown was hit by the next two torpedoes on her starboard side. She rocked up and rolled hard.”
“Great explosive sheets of fire, oil, water and metal blew up between the two ships. The 4th torpedo passed astern. I was knocked over into a bulkhead. Some Yorktown sailors were blown overboard. Sailors were thrown in every direction. I got up and made three sequential photos of the Hammann stern going back with sailors clinging on (below). When the stern sank many men were in the water. Then the eighteen depth charges on Hammann’s stern reached their set depth, and they exploded with a mighty explosion and eruption of water.”
“The Yorktown rose up out of the water shaking and rolled again. There was only foaming water showing in the last photo I made, where the Hammann stern had sunk.”
“I went off the starboard side to board the minesweeper Viero (below) which had cut its tow on Yorktown. We picked up survivors and wounded and dead. Captain Buckmaster performed sea burial services for two officers and one enlisted man.”
“We then transferred to a destroyer. Next day, early dawn, at 5.30 am June 7, 1942, Yorktown seemed to be on an even keel. We had hopes to salvage the ship and save her. The list of Yorktown was then noticed to be increasing rapidly to port and, at 7.01 am, Yorktown turned over to her port side and sank stern first in about 3000 fathoms of water with all battle flag’s flying.”
“I was on the bridge of the destroyer with Captain Buckmaster taking pictures with a K-20 aerial camera. It was the only camera that had film. Buckmaster told the destroyer captain, “take me through the debris where Yorktown sank”. We cut through the flotsam.
Buckmaster said “come about and go through again”. We did. Then, Captain Buckmaster said “go through again”.He wanted me to take more photos…the destroyer skipper said,”I am taking her back to Pearl”.
June 6th, 1941 in southern Russia.
Spitfire of the VCS-7 led by Lieutenant Commander William Denton, D-Day 6 June 1944.
Ace Paul A. Mullen (‘Moon’) of VMF-214 (Black Sheep) in Guadalcanal, June 6th, 1943.
Sherman tank leaves a landing craft during an exercise on the North African coast, 6 June 1943.
Lt. Robert F. Doyle shaking hands with his wingman Ensign John F. Mudge after their return from a gunfire-spotting and strafing mission over Normandy.
Gun camera still taken by Flight Sergeant Batchelor (No. 457 Squadron RAAF) of Japanese G4M1 bombers in flight near Darwin, Australia, 6th of June, 1943.
Lastly, my dear friends, this will be my last post of ‘On This Day…’
My intentions to run the blog for a complete year have run up against something of a barrier. This is a disappointment as it was a personal challenge to keep a journal for 365 days to contextualise the subjects we model, learn something of the history of the things we make, and yes, sometimes to think of the philosophical and moral issues around our hobby.
It has come to my attention that the series does not have the majority backing of the administration team, and although I have been told I can continue the series, it has kind of holed the motivation under the waterline. It seems there is a belief that this series is actively harming the iModeler community. The decision to stop, I want to be clear, is my decision. You live by your values, or life becomes meaningless.
I want to say thanks to all the iModelers who have supported the series and who have ‘liked’ the entries. The response has been quite overwhelming, especially from those of you who don’t write much but tell me you read and enjoy the series every day.
This decision in no way reflects my feelings about iModeler; this is a wonderful place to showcase our work, the editorial team, especially Martin, do a fantastic job, and the overall atmosphere is supportive, encouraging, and very, very, welcoming. The whole iModeler community have my unending support.
Lastly (and this is important) – you may want to, but please do not use the general boards to discuss the reasons why the series stopped today. As I said, this is my own decision, and if you really need to say something (even if it’s just ‘thanks’) – you can do it on the private messaging.