Official newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable


"To promote awareness and understanding of the great battle and to honor the men who fought and won it."


27 AUGUST 2006.........ISSUE NO. 2006-35..........OUR 9th YEAR


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*   *   *   Around the Table   *   *   *






1.  TBD Questions

2.  Dogfight Over Guadalcanal


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"TBD QUESTIONS"   (see issues #32, 33, 34)


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21 August  2006

From:  Frank DeLorenzo


    The subject of plywood fins on torpedoes has come up twice recently.  In early 1941 I flew as co-pilot to ADM Red Raborn, who was then a LT or a LCDR.   (He later on headed up the marriage of the Polaris missile to our submarines.)  We made several flights out of North Island at San Diego testing different sizes and shapes of plywood fins on torpedoes being dropped from our PBY.  There were cameras mounted in the seaplane ramp area of the NAS and they would capture the angle of entry of the torpedoes we dropped to determine an optimum entry angle.
    The purpose of the plywood fins was purely aerodynamic to get a good entry so the torpedo wouldn't run too deep, nor so shallow that it would porpoise.  The plywood fins would destruct upon impact with the water.

    The process was laborious as we would drop a torpedo, then land, get beached, load another torpedo and make another run.  It took a few days to get the results desired.  To the best of my knowledge, the final plywood design was promulgated to fleet "aerial torpedo droppers" and adopted as doctrine.

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"DOGFIGHT OVER GUADALCANAL"   (see issues #30, 33, 34)


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21 August  2006

From:  Paul Turner   (Australia)


    The Dogfight series is being shown on pay TV in Australia, but I have yet to see the one we are waiting to see.  Also there is a show called Battle Plan on the History Channel over here this week.  It is about Midway on one day, and the next day Pearl Harbour.

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    Ed. note:  Paul (or any of our Australian members), please give us a report on any of those programs if you get a chance to see them.




*   *   *   Now Hear This!   *   *   *






--Remembering Phil Jacobsen

--Forum Notes

--TV This Week


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    Last Thursday, Roundtable members received an e-mail bulletin announcing the final muster for veteran member Phil Jacobsen.  Phil joined the Roundtable very early in its history and quickly became known as an expert in his field, naval cryptology in the Pacific theater of World War II.  He had a direct hand in the victory at Midway, as a Japanese radio intercept operator in CDR Joseph Rochefort's communications intelligence organization ("Station HYPO" in most history texts).

    In recent years, Phil has been noted as a champion of the factual history of USN cryptology during the war, especially in refuting revisionist claims that his contemporaries were part of a pre-Pearl Harbor conspiracy that resulted in the debacle on 7 December 1941.  An eloquent writer, Phil's contributions to various publications, and of course, here on the Roundtable have ably demonstrated such claims to be baseless nonsense, founded on contrived evidence and faulty conclusions that mainly serve to enrich the writers of sensational books.

    His expertise in the history of ComInt in the Pacific Theater of WWII has also been of great help to young students and others on Roundtable seeking to learn the causes of the American victory at Midway, and in some cases to craft history contest entries that have excelled in state and national competitive events.  Perhaps his generosity in that regard is his greatest legacy.

    I've made a significant addition to the home page on our Roundtable web site, thanks to Phil.  It's the text of a speech he gave to a gathering of Naval Security Group personnel in 2000, on the subject of cryptology and the BOM.  I've added it as a primary link on the home page, under "What You'll Find at This Site."  Click the "Communications Intelligence" link that immediately follows, or you can get there directly with this URL:


I urge you to read Phil's speech, for it tells the story of the Navy's codebreaking triumph at Midway about as well as you'll find anywhere in a small package.

    I've also just completed the entry for Phil in our veteran stories section.  Click the "BOMRT Veterans' Stories" link on the home page (second item under "Communications Intelligence"), or here's the direct URL:


    For anyone who will attend Phil's funeral and internment on Tuesday, please send us a report.

Funeral:  10:00 AM, August 29th, Humphrey Mortuary, 753 Broadway, Chula Vista.

Internment with full military honors:  Greenwood Memorial Park, 4300 Imperial Avenue, San Diego.

    And finally, here's his detailed biography, from the San Diego Union-Tribune:



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~    The current (August) issue of USNI Proceedings has an interesting announcement on page 79.  It's for a symposium entitled "Desperate Days," focusing on the "early losses of the Pacific War."  It will be held on September 16 - 17 at the National Museum of the Pacific War (a.k.a. the Nimitz Museum) in Fredericksburg, Texas.  For more info, check the museum's web site at this URL:


Click the "Events" button on the home page.  (And check that great painting of a TBD buzzing the Shoho at Coral Sea!)


~    Here's a quick reminder that Bill Archer wants to hear from you if you are a veteran of USS Hornet (CV-8), and from anyone else who can contribute memories, information, stories, photos, or anything to the new CV-8 web site that he's building with Fred Branyan.  Contact Bill at:


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    Here are television listings of possible interest for the period of Aug 28 - Sep 4 (eight days).  The times shown below may not be the same in your area--be sure to check your local guide.



  AMC = American Movie Classics

  DC = Discovery Channel

  HC = History Channel

  FNC = Fox News Channel

  PBS = Public Broadcasting System

  TCM = Turner Classic Movies


Note:  "12:00 AM" means midnight at the start of the indicated date (0000 hours).  "12:00 PM" means noon.


Wed, Aug 30


    12:00 PM    (HC)    Super Tools: Ship.  About the construction of the latest CV, USS George H. W. Bush.


    6:00 PM    (HC)    Super Tools: Ship  (repeated)


Sun, Sep 3


    8:00 AM    (HC)    Spitfire Ace.  A bit off topic, but aviation buffs should find it appealing.  About the modern-day training of two pilots to fly a restored Spitfire.



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    For a glossary of abbreviations, acronyms, and terms used in The Roundtable Forum, click the following URL or go to our home page and click "The Roundtable Glossary" link.




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