“NORTHEAST OF MIDWAY JAPANESE STRIKING FORCE FLAGSHIP CARRIER AKAGI 0715”
“Through his binoculars, Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, commanding the Japanese strike force, watched the attack of the five remaining Avengers from the bridge of his flagship, the carrier Akagi. The torpedo planes were heading straight toward the carrier Hiryu, which was steaming southeast in a line parallel to his flagship. Both carriers had begun turning to port so that their starboard batteries could bring to bear a full barrage of antiaircraft guns against the Americans. Several other warships had already opened fire. Seeing the black bursts of smoke, the swarm of Zeroes that had been attacking the Avengers immediately darted away to safety. Exploding antiaircraft shells began blooming black in the sky all around the torpedo planes, still they came on. Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, the pilot who had led the Japanese carrier attack against Pearl Harbor and who was recovering from appendicitis, watched from the Akagi as the Americans continued to press home their attack in the face of such overwhelming firepower. Excited shouts from the Akagi’s lookouts warned that behind the five torpedo planes were four more American aircraft, also coming from the south. They were the B-26 Marauders. Suddenly, one of the Avengers burst into flames. It cartwheeled into the sea and created a great geyser of foam. Moments later, Fuchida heard a spontaneous roar of exultation erupt from the hundreds of sailors standing at their battle stations. Still, the four remaining Avengers came on through the hail of bursting shells. Several of the Japanese Zero pilots boldly decided to brave the ongoing antiaircraft barrage, and sped in to make more passes at the remaining planes. One by one, the Americans began to fall. Through his binoculars Fuchida saw two of them launch their torpedoes before they were hit, but the planes were still so far away from the Hiryu that the ship easily changed course to avoid them. When the last Avenger became a flaming torch in the sky, another exultant roar swept across the flight decks of the two carriers, as if the Japanese sailors were enjoying a spectacle at the Coliseum in Rome. They were gone. Ozzie Gaynier and Darrel Woodside. Vic Lewis and Charlie Brannon. And Lieutenant Langdon Kellogg Fieberling. He had chosen to follow his own course and had paid the ultimate price. The eternal sea closed over the small wisps of smoke that marked their final resting places.”
Excerpted from “A DAWN LIKE THUNDER”, author, Robert J.Mrazek. Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group. 237 Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10017.
Evidently the four B-26 bombers were also destroyed. To be continued. Islander.