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Mike Yee
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Douglas SBD3 - June 4-6, 1942 - USS Enterprise - Scouting Six - Dusty Kleiss - S-7

Exclusive to Members · January 16, 2022 · in Aviation · 10 · 1.1K

I'm trying to replicate this SBD3 as flown by Dusty Kleiss during the Battle of Midway. He was the only SBD pilot to land his main bomb (500 lb) on three different Japanese warships (Kaga, Hiryu and Mikuma). He flew with Scouting Six and his aircraft was S-7.

I have two questions regarding the placement of the plane number on the fuselage and the white slash(s) on the rudder. I've seen two different renditions of these placements after searching through the internet.

  1. Pic 1 - Has plane # (S-7) in front of the star and two slashes on the rudder.
  2. Pic 2 - Has plane # (S-7) behind the star and a single slash on the rudder.

Can someone tell me if one or the other is correct?


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10 responses

  1. Well, Bombing-Six had their numbers ahead of the insignia, so my bet would be that Scouting-Six would be similar. Also, VB-6's numbers were in black, so ditto VS-6. I can also tell you that the SBDs of Bombing-Six were "the cleanest airplanes I ever saw" as their CO Dick Best told me; they were right out of the Ford Island airplane pool and fresh-delivered from Douglas, to replace VB-6's ancient SBD-2s. Scouting-Six had some of the first SBD-3s and they had been through the Marshalls raid and escorting Hornet to Japan, so they'd have been more worn-looking.

  2. Mike Yee, @micrometer

    Here's a link that will tell you everything about the actions of Scouting Six during the Battle of Midway. It's a very interesting read, and it also lists the aircraft by number, and the associated crew. Lt. JG "Dusty" Kleiss is shown as flying "S-7' along with RM3C Snowden as his back seat gunner, on at least 4 different missions. It also lists the targets they were after, as well as the crew dispositions, ordnance expenditures and so on. This document should also tell you the size of the bombs carried on each mission.

    You can do some digging around on this website and also find out things about Bombing Six, Torpedo Six and Fighting Six.

    The first illustration shown looks correct to me. The white "slashes" on the vertical fin are there for the LSO. Landing Signal Officer. He used these markings to determine the angle of approach during the carrier landing, and he would give paddle signals to the pilot based on how he observed these two white lines.

    I have read somewhere that these markings were only present on the Port side of the fin. But I have a picture showing them on the Starboard side too. It would be best to locate some good pictures from the late May to mid June 1942 to be safe.

    Hope this helps.

  3. This is a copy and paste directly from this website. It details the first attack on June 4th. I only took the crew names from the first flight / division.

    Thursday June 4, 1942, forenoon and afternoon.
    On Thursday, June 4, 1942, Scouting Squadron Six participated in an attack on a Japanese force consisting of four aircraft carriers, several battleships or heavy cruisers, and many destroyers, about 150 miles Northwest of Midway Island. The attack group was led by the Enterprise Air Group Commander and consisted of thirty-two SBD's, fifteen from VB-6, loaded with one 1,000 lb. bomb each, sixteen from VS-6, loaded with one 500. lb bomb and two 100. lb bombs each, and the EAGC plane loaded with one 500 lb. bomb and two 100 lb. bombs. The squadron tactical organization was as follows:

    First Division
    6-S-2 Ens. R.W. STONE BERGIN, W.H., RM1c
    6-S-3 Ens. J.Q. ROBERTS SWINDELL, T.R., AOM1c

    6-S-7 Lt.(jg) N.J. KLEISS SNOWDEN, J.W., RM3c
    6-S-18 Ens. C.E. DEXTER HOFF, D.L., RM3c

  4. Several years ago we had a Battle of Midway group build. I built several aircraft from the Enterprise CV-6. One happened to be the plane flown by Dick Best.

    Here's a link to the build if you are interested.

    I also have this picture of a SBD from the Enterprise, but this plane was from Bombing Six, not Scouting Six. The only difference would be the alphabet letter "S" would replace the "B". This particular aircraft has two LSO stripes on the Starboard side of the rudder. Chances are they are present on both sides.

    Hope this helps.

  5. Thanks Tom and Louis.

    It does make sense to go with Pic 1 from above.


    • @micrometer
      You’re absolutely welcome. The only deviation from the first illustration is that I would place the fuselage insignia a little bit farther forward. Judging by the picture it seems like the aircraft numbers were centered on the rear cockpit.

      Otherwise I think that you are good to go.

      Take care.

  6. Hello Mike, please note that questions such as this should be posted in the Groups area, not in the Headlines.
    You can refer to our moderation guidelines for details.

    I'm leaving this post alone (just limiting visibility to "Exclusive to members"), but please remember for the next time. Thank you.

  7. Sorry about that. I'll post in the Group area next time.


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