The Roundtable Forum

Official Newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable


9 April 2010

Issue Number:  2010-13

Our 13th Year








1.  From Our Archives: Torpedoing the Kaga

2.  Waldron’s Turn—to Port or to Starboard?



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Ed. note:  I’ve recently fielded a couple of questions from members about American torpedoes in the BOM, focusing on their unreliability as evidenced by the fact that all of the battle damage done to the Japanese at Midway came from dive bombers.  But one U.S. torpedo did strike a Japanese carrier during the battle.  Here’s a message from nine years ago in which Jon Parshall gives the amazing details of the attack on Kaga by the submarine Nautilus.



1 May 2001

From:  Jon Parshall


co-author, Shattered Sword


USS Nautilus attacked Kaga at 1359, about 3.5 hours after Kaga had been  dive-bombed.  Our latest interpretation of her movements (based on work that Jeff Palshook did at Nauticus when they went out looking for Kaga in 1999) is that she limped roughly north-northwest at between 2 and 3 knots before her engines conked at around 1300.  Nautilus, who had been tracking her for a while, had been unable to close due to Kaga remaining under power.  But at 1300 she noticed that the distance was now closing, and at 1359 she fired a spread of four torpedoes.  The first fish failed in the tube.  Two of the remainder missed fore and aft, although how one misses a target as large as Kaga sitting dead in the water is completely beyond me—apparently the fish ran wild.


The final shot hit Kaga on the starboard side amidships, but failed to detonate.  Lt. Kunisada Yoshio, a damage control officer who had just escaped the lower hangar deck with a small group of men, was standing on the top of Kaga's anti-torpedo bulge when the fish came in.  He rightly thought he was a goner.  But the fish impacted and was a dud, and broke in two.  The aft section of the torpedo, containing the buoyancy chamber and engine, remained afloat, while the front warhead section sank. As improbable as this sounds, my friend Fred Milford (who knows more about torpedoes than anyone on the planet) ran buoyancy calculations on the Mk. 14 torpedo, and it will indeed float if the warhead comes off.  Some of Kaga's survivors who were already in the water apparently used the torpedo as a flotation device.




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3 April 2010

From:  Scott Kair



The question of whether VT-8’s course can be extrapolated from S-turns performed by the high elements of the HAG is addressed on pages 14-15 of Weisheit’s The Last Flight of Ensign C. Markland Kelly, Junior, USNR.  Weisheit states that Waldron turned off before VS-8 and VB-8 reached their attack altitude of 15,000 feet.  VF-8, though, was already at 18,000 feet, performing a “constant series of S-turns to scrub off speed” while the SBDs were climbing to altitude. I’d leave it to those with more expertise in aircraft performance and procedures, but it seems safe to assume that a formation of SBDs with full loads of armament and fuel would not be performing S-turns while climbing to altitude.












-  Yorktown’s Most Popular Sailor

-  Link of the Week

-  BOM Anniversary and Unit Reunions

-  Editor’s Notes



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In No Right to Win, you read of ship’s baker Raymond “Jerry” Eichorn, who was one of the most popular sailors among the crew of CV-5.  Jerry was renowned for his pies, which were sometimes procured by crewmen through negotiation, barter, or occasionally by theft.  Jerry joined the Roundtable during its early years with the assistance of his daughter, Helen Imes, who handled the computer chores for him.


Jerry joined the Navy in 1940 and was assigned to the Yorktown directly out of recruit training, as was about half of his graduating company.  After four months with the forward port side five inch gun crew, he was assigned to the galley and commenced training as a ship’s cook and baker, rising to the rank of Baker 2/c by 1942.  He had a natural flair for baking, and his reputation as a master of the craft spread about the ship.  Over the years the Roundtable received several comments from Jerry’s former shipmates attesting to the quality of his baked goods and what the guys sometimes did in order to indulge.


Jerry endured the Yorktown’s tribulations at Coral Sea and Midway in the familiar manner.  After stateside leave, he was assigned to the USS Pinkney (APH-2), a transport employed to evacuate wounded personnel from the combat zone to rear area hospitals.  On the Pinkney, Jerry’s reputation in the galley was regenerated and he was kept very busy meeting the needs of some 500 men aboard the ship, including patients.


Shortly after being promoted to Baker 1/c, Jerry was transferred to USS Signet (AM-302), a minesweeper at Puget Sound.  The small ship was a drastic contrast from the likes of Yorktown and Pinkney with their huge galleys and large crews.  But a severe stomach ailment caused an abrupt end to his naval career in January 1945, and he was medically discharged.  Returning to civilian life in Illinois, Jerry worked a 36-year career in a bakery, retiring in 1981.  He continued to cook and bake for family and friends, never tiring of the art and never losing the reputation for quality that he earned aboard the Yorktown.


Jerry passed away on April 2nd at the age of 91.  His Yorktown shipmates and other friends on the Roundtable are invited to visit the funeral home’s web site in order to sign and leave comments in his memorial book:  click here


Farewell and following seas to an honored Midway veteran and friend of the Roundtable.



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John Rasor in northern California has provided a chart that many of you, particularly authors and historians, may find interesting and useful.  it’s a bearing and distance chart for Midway atoll, Kure atoll, USS Hornet, Kido Butai reported, and Kido Butai actual at 0755, Midway time, on 4 June 1942.  If you ever wanted to really know who was where, how far from anyone else, and in what direction as the BOM began, this may be a very good start.


Click here for the link of the week.



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Here are the BOM anniversary and reunion events for 2010 that have been reported to us.  Please click this link to add or update an event to the list.  Each event has an open invitation for BOM veterans, and many are seeking guest speakers.  Interested members can make direct contact with an event organizer via the e-mail address provided in your “new issue” announcement.  Non-members can request info here.



1.      May 12-16:  VF-42 reunion, Bryson City, NC.


2.      May 26:  NOUS BOM luncheon, Macao’s Restaurant, Phoenix, AZ.


3.      May 31 - June 5:  “Return to Midway” Pearl Harbor symposium and Midway tour.  For details, click here


4.      June 3:  NOUS “Dining Out” at Army-Navy Country Club, Arlington, VA.


5.      June 3 - 6:  Annual Yorktown CV-5 reunion, Little Rock, AR.


6.      June 4:  USN BOM commemoration at the Navy Memorial, Washington, D.C.


7.      June 4:  USN BOM commemoration, Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, VA


8.      June 4:  Naval War College, BOM commemoration with Jon Parshall as guest speaker, Newport, RI.


9.      June 4:  NOUS “Dining Out” Newport RI (Jon Parshall also guest speaker at this one).


10.  June 4:  NOUS BOM luncheon at the Hess Club, Houston, TX.


11.  June 5:  USN BOM commemoration aboard USS Midway museum, San Diego, CA


12.  June 5:  Navy League BOM luncheon, Phoenix, AZ.


13.  June 5:  NOUS “Dining Out” at Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. Details: click here.


14.  June 5:  NOUS “Dining Out” at Marines Memorial Club, San Francisco, CA.


15.  June 5:  NOUS & Navy League “Dining Out” at Renaissance Center, near Jacksonville, FL.  web site


NOUS = Naval Order of the United States



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~  I’ve been working a great deal to update our web pages due to the transition to a new web host.  There are some new pages and many others have been revised.  I will appreciate being informed of any links or pages that have any sort of problem.  I’m finding and fixing minor glitches on an ongoing basis, and all help in catching them will be welcome.


~  One of our new web pages worthy of special mention is CINCPAC’s Midway operations plan, 29-42, which has been at the heart of many of the Roundtable’s topics.  You can now read the original document by clicking the link under “Special Features” on our home page.  (With thanks to Rich Leonard.)





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


Unless otherwise noted, all original content in this issue of The Roundtable Forum, the Official Newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable is copyright 2010 by Ronald W. Russell (see the “About the BOMRT” page).  Permission to forward, copy, or quote from this issue is granted if the following citation is included:  The Roundtable Forum, official newsletter of the Battle of Midway Roundtable,”


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