Reblog: Battle of Midway Torpedo Eight Survivors

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which was fought 4-6 June 1942.  It was the turning point in WWII in the Pacific.  In April, the United States and Japan had fought an inclusive battle in the Coral Sea.  The Japanese hoped that the Battle of Midway would serve as the knockout punch for the American Navy.

One of the many factors that helped the  American Navy win the Battle of Midway was the attack of Devastator torpedo bombers

Meanwhile, a wave of U.S. Devastator torpedo bombers from the U.S. carriers Hornet and Enterprise arrived to attack the Japanese ships. Unescorted by fighter planes, nearly all of them were shot down by Japanese Zero fighters. But about an hour later, as the Japanese refueled and rearmed their planes, another wave of U.S. carrier-launched bombers struck, hitting three Japanese carriers—Akagi, Kaga and Soryu—and setting them ablaze.

Popular culture has ENS George Gay Jr. as the sole survivor of that attack, but two other naval personnel also survived.

battle_coral_sea_midway

Additional (Corrected) Info About VT-8

Eventhough I now live in Virginia, I still volunteer for the USS Midway Carrier Museum in their Library.  One of my library shipmates, Carl Snow, provided more accurate information about the crew and layout of the plane.

From Mr. Carl Snow:

In the TBF-1 that VT-8 flew, there were three positions: the pilot, the turret gunner, and the radioman. The turret gunner manned the single .50 caliber machine gun in the powered turret and was almost always an Aviation Machinist’s Mate petty officer. The radioman was in the compartment below and behind the turret gunner and operated the radio equipment. He was an Aviation Radioman petty officer. He had a single .30 caliber machine gun that protruded through a window at the bottom rear of the fuselage, just in front of the tail wheel. If it had to be fired, the Radioman would fire it, but his primary duties were radio communication (he made sure that the pilot’s radio was tuned to the correct frequency and operational, in addition to monitoring any other necessary communication). The “other” .30 caliber gun was mounted forward of the pilot’s cockpit and fired by the pilot through the propeller with an interrupter gear synchronized with the propeller blades. This was soon deleted as inadequate and unnecessary, and replaced by two .50 caliber machine guns in the wings, also fired by the pilot.
AM3 Ferrier was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate third class and not an Airman third class. He manned the turret gun and not the radio, although he could talk to the other two crewmen by internal communication (intercom). Sadly the Radioman did not survive the flight, and AM3 Ferrier was seriously wounded.
Thanks for the correct dope, Carl.
Much obliged,
Pat