Roundtable Forum
Our 18th Year
February 2015

In this issue.

Roundtable Opening Remarks
New McClusky bio in the works.
F4Fs v F2As at Midway:
Torpedo Eight
Interview with Mac Showers
Book Reviews on the RoundTable
Showdown in the Pacific
Against the Sun
Missing Marines - June 1942
New Midway Article
RoundTable Notes and Questions
Strawberry 5 Found
The Battle of Midway Roundtable Opening Remarks

As many of you have seen from the last newsletter I have changed the monthly publication into an ongoing discussion.  I try to take every email that comes in and publish it as soon as practical.  As a result the RoundTable becomes more of a discussion rather than a once a month newsletter.  I will have to say from the reponses this month it is off to a good start.

This month we have information that a new book on the life of Wade McClusky is in the works as well as a look at the book cover from Showdown in the Pacific.  I also found a  movie based on a true story of the crew of a VT6 Devastator that had to ditch in the early part of the war and spent over a month in a life raft before being picked up.  While not directly related to Midway it nonetheless is well done and interesting.  Also a great article from the authors of The Shattered Sword based on new information since the book was published in 2006 and much more.  Thanks for all that contributed this month and I hope the current format helps bring more discussion to the RoundTable in the future.

New McClusky bio in the works.

From Barrett Tillman:

Just heard from a Naval Institute author, David Rigby, working on a McClusky bio. Will forward him this issue.


Editors Note:  Thank you Mr. Tillman.  I have subsequently been trading emails with Mr. Rigby regarding the book and providing any help the RoundTable can provide.  One particular request he had was getting in touch with Dusky Kleiss.  So far the emails I've sent did not get a response.  I'm going to send him a letter next week.  His email is still active so if anyone has any idea how to get a hold of him let me know.

Also I did provide a narrative included in the 1964 game Midway by Avalon Hill.  It might be the report that McClusky wrote after the battle.  I always thought this report was fairly commonly available but Mr. Rigby says it appears to be the full report where only edited versions remain elsewhere.  At any rate I thought I'd include it here for everyone to read.

Midway Box

McClusky Page 1

McClusky Page 2

McClusky Page 3

McClusky Page 4

F4Fs v F2As at Midway:

From Barrett Tillman:

Marion Carl of course survived BOM in a Wildcat but he had very little time in the type (would have to check) whereas he had at least a few hundred hours in Buffalos. He did not think he would've done any worse in a Buff, partly because he preferred the Brewster as a gunnery platform.

According to the specs, the dash three Buffalo's initial climb rate was 2,400 fpm. The dash three Wildcat was c. 2,300. Both were rated at c. 320-330 mph Vmax with identical armament, thought the F4F might have had a bit more trigger time.

What many people ignore in denigrating the Buffalo is that 221 was multi-multi damned:

Committed piecemeal to the interception
outnumbered by superior aircraft
flown by more experienced pilots
mostly with an altitude advantage.

Unless 221 had flown Corsairs, the fight could only have gone one way. The crucial factor, IMO, was rate of climb since Midway scrambled with the raid c. 60 nm out. The F4U-1 climbed at better than 3k fpm, which could've been significant.

Barrett sends
From Chuck Wohlrab:

Had the squadron been reequipped with F4F-3s at the time it actually received the 7 aircraft it would probably have done little, if any, good. The F4F-3s that were received came in aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (AKV-1) on 26 May. IIRC, VMSB-241 also received their SBDs on the same ship. Neither squadron had any time to train for the transition. They were already making combat patrols. Additionally, there was a shortage of aviation fuel on the island due to the accidental destruction of the main AVGAS tanks, and there just wasn't enough fuel to conduct the transition training. Putting the inexperienced pilots of VMF-221 into the air in new aircraft with, at best, an hour or two of flight time would have done little good. You have to know your aircraft well to take advantage of her strengths and weaknesses.

Torpedo Eight

From Bill Vickrey:

In your last issue, Mr. Morgan made some comments and kinda asked a question or two.

George Gay was the Navigation Officer of Torpedo 8. On page 113 of SOLE SURVIVOR George said: “’As I went up to the flight deck----I met the skipper coming down from the bridge. ‘I’m glad I caught you,’ he said. ‘I have been trying to convince them the Japs will not be going toward Midway – especially if they find out we are here. The Group Commander is going to take the whole bunch down there. I am going more to the north and maybe by the time they come north and find them, we can catch up and all go in together. Don’t think I am lost. Just track me so if anything happens to me, the boys can count on you to bring them back.’” There seems to be little doubt that Waldron meant to take the route which he ultimately took.

The last time I saw George was at a symposium on YORKTOWN (CV-10) and he – once again – confirmed this conversation with Lieutenant Commander Waldron. George got a lot of bad press but I found him to be a great guy who was very helpful to me. Aboard YORKTOWN that day was – among others – Waldron’s daughter. Also present was Commander Robinson who was an AP in the PBY which plucked George out of the Pacific. They had a great time together. You may recall that the PBY flew over George as they carried out their assigned mission. They wiggled their wings to let George know they had seen him. Robbie said to George – “as we flew over you looked like the loneliest man in the world” to which George quickly responded “I not only looked like the loneliest man in the world – I was the loneliest man in the world!”

Present at this meeting on YORKTOWN – along with Gay – were Bert Earnest and Bill Esders and several other Midway fliers.


Interview with Mac Showers

From William Reece:

I found this video interview with Mac Showers at the Digital Collections of the National World War II Museum:

There's some great material there. I found interviews with Lloyd Childers, Harry Ferrier and Sumner Whitten (VMSB-241) in the listing as well. I've only scratched the surface there. I'm sure there are others.

The home page is: The Digital Collections of the National World War II Museum

William Reece

Book Reviews on the RoundTable

From Ron Schultz:

I enjoy reading the book reviews and rankings of BOM books. There are three related books on the battle that are not listed or reviewed.

Pacific Payback, the carrier aviators who avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway by Stephen L. Moore. June 2014.

The Battle of Midway, the Naval Institute guide to the U.S. Navy, greatest victory edited by Thomas C. Hone. 2013.

The Midway Campaign by Jack Greene. 1995. (Revised and expanded edition)

I just wanted to bring these books to your attention. You are doing a great job carrying on with the Roundtable. Thank you.

Ron Schultz

Editor's Note: Thanks for your comments. The Pacific Payback announcement appeared in the June 2014 issue of the newsletter but I have not gotten around to writing a review on it yet.  Here is a link to the newsletter with the authors comments.

Mr. Ron Russell who was the previous host of the RoundTable wrote most of the reviews on the site. Anyone is free to write a review so if you are so inclined by all means send one in and I'll add it to the list.

Battle of Midway was in one of our previous newsletters. A compilation of Naval Institute articles. Again had it in the newsletter but didn't really write a review. Should add it to the list but here is a link to the newsletter.

The Midway Campaign. Didn't notice that one was missing. Will have to put a review together for this book.

Showdown in the Pacific

Ron Martell has a new book coming out later this year.  It is a biography of two commanders, Nimitz and Yamamoto, who's paths inevitably cross when war breaks out in 1941.  The history is 'seen' through the eyes of the top aids to both admirals who's fictional meeting many years after the war should not be seen as anything more than a vehicle to tell a facinating story.  Mr. Martell was kind enough to send me a picture of the book cover.  Below is the front cover and inside dust jacket text. 

Below is the back cover and inside dust jacket text.

Against the Sun

I found this little gem of a movie released in January of 2015 in limited theaters and even though it is not directly related to the Battle of Midway is nevertheless an interesting part of the early Pacific War.

On January 16th, 1942 a Enterprise Devastator Torpedo bomber from VT-6 launches on an anti-submarine patrol.  However they drift off course and get lost and have to ditch and spend 34 days on a life raft in the Pacific Ocean.  I have not seen the movie yet but apparently you can rent or buy it on their website.  From reviews it looks to be well done and for the most part accurate with only a little 'chrome' added for movie audiences.

And if your interested in reading another account here is a link to an article published in 2011 about the story.

Missing Marines - June 1942

From John Greaves:

A friend sent me this link from the Missing Marines website - the section for June 1942 has info (and in some cases photos) of the Marine airmen lost at Midway - and thought it would be of interest.

Editors Note:  This site looks to be a good source of the marines that fought and were lost during the battle.

New Midway Article

From Lu Yu:

A new article by Tony and me on Midway will appear in 2015 spring issue of Naval War College Review. The online version (in pdf format) can be found here:

We hope it will shed some new light on this pivotal naval battle.


Editors Note:  The article goes into depth analysing the reconnaissance the First Air Fleet used during the battle in light of new information that has surfaced since The Shattered Sword was published in 2006.  The article is well written and the arguments are solid.  Plus it's a really good read.

Yorktown pilot
From Glenn Chrisman:

I just recently learned about your website. Was hoping it would contain an expanded Order of Battle to include a roster of pilots which flew off Yorktown. Specifically, I was hoping to see my old friend Ray Osterhoudt listed. He flew either a Dauntless or a Wildcat ... and survived. Made it to Midway without running out of fuel. He went on to have a remarkable Navy career. Made Adm and spent his final tour on the staff of CNO Arleigh Burke.

If you could look him up and tell me what he flew and which squadron he was in I would be most appreciative.

Thank you very much.

Glenn Chrisman

Editors Note:  I could find no record of Ray Osterhoudt flying with any Yorktown air group that day.  Perhaps someone else has info that we could pass on.  Here is my reply to Mr. Chrisman based on all the information I have:

There is a list of pilots and crew that flew in the dive bomber squadrons and torpedo squadron on the site but there is not one for the fighter squadron. Go to this page to see the after action reports which list the pilots and crew for the Yorktown dive bombers and torpedo bombers.  I don't see his name on any of the after action reports on our site for the squadrons.

I looked up all the pilots from Fighting 3 which was the fighter squadron Yorktown had during the battle. There is a complete list of pilots in the book 'The First Team' By John Lundstrom but his name does not appear in the list.

As a side note none of the Yorktown aircraft diverted to Midway as far as I know but all returned to Yorktown or the Enterprise after Yorktown was disabled. A number of Hornet dive bombers in the morning attack diverted to Midway and that is well documented. Could he possibly have been in the Hornets air group instead.

Perhaps if you have some more information it would help track him down.

I'll continue to look through my references and see what I can find but so far the only Ray Osterhoudt I could find flew off the second Yorktown CV10 and flew a Dauntless. He also served in the Korean War and Vietnam war flying A1's and F4's. I don't have any more than that on him. Same name could be a coincidence or maybe he flew off the new Yorktown later in the war. His unit is listed as VB3 which fits as that was the dive bombing squadron on Yorktown during the battle. However VB3 also flew off the new Yorktown later in the war so no real help there.

I'll post this in the current newsletter. Perhaps one of our members has the info on him.

Thanks for contacting us. Sorry I couldn't be of more help tonight. Let me know if you have any other info that might be helpful and I'll look into it.

Strawberry 5 Found

From Glenn Chrisman:

What an interesting coincidence that a friend of mine who flew C-130 gunships in Viet Nam just forwarded this to me. I have no idea how old the video is or when the historic PBY was restored.

The GM, and later President, of the company Ray and I worked for was a PBY pilot. He had just finished training at Pensicola and was getting ready to ship out to the So Pacific .... when the war ended.

We see a lot on the restorations of WWII era bombers and fighters, but this is something quite unusual…

The story of PBY-5A CATALINA (Strawberry 5) discovery and restoration for the US Navy museum in San Diego. It was the only remaining intact PBY 5 Catalina remaining in the World, and it was discovered in South Africa.

PBY "Strawberry 5" was the plane that found the Japanese Carriers at the Battle of Midway which became the turning point in the Pacific Theater of WWII.  Beautifully done - Enjoy.

PBY Strawberry 5 Video

Editors Update:  The PBY in the video is not the actual VP-23 PBY that Howard Ady flew at Midway.  This particular PBY was built later in the war and was found in South Africa, restored, and sent back to San Diego.  The person talking in the video never actually says the PBY is the one flown at Midway but more referred to the fact that a PBY was the aircraft that spotted the Japanese fleet.  Also the term 'Strawberry 5' was made up for the 1976 movie Midway.  No such designation actually existed for the patrol craft assigned to Midway.  My fault for using a term for the aircraft that didn't exist except in Hollywood.  Sorry for the confusion.

Editors Note: Thanks for the link. I remember seeing this video a couple months ago or so. At the time I didn't catch that it was the actual PBY Strawberry 5. The person in the video says so more in a passing reference to the fact that a PBY found the Japanese Fleet. Watching it again it appears that he is referring to the plane he's sitting in. A couple other sites refer to the restoration and retrieval from South Africa and do say it is Strawberry 5, even though that's not correct. Amazing it survived all these years.

However it is not the only PBY still flying.  Another person in Florida has one.  I believe his name is Kermit Weeks and he has a collection known as 'The Worlds Greatest Aircraft Collection'.  See the PBY in his collection here:  The Worlds Greatest Aircraft Collection