Sunday, May 01, 2005
There is a memorial to the torpedo bombers from the Battle of Midway in June, 1942. In the confused attack against the Japanese carriers, the torpedo bombers ended up attacking without fighter escort and were literally massacred by the Japanese CAP (combat air patrol). These men pressed on into the face of certain death in heavy AA fire without retreating, paying the ultimate price.
This sacrifice brought the CAP down to the water's edge - and then the US dive bombers came out from above and destroyed 3 of the 4 carriers, with the 4th falling later, after its aircraft mortally wounded the original USS Yorktown.
The "miracle at Midway" as it is often called is truly a miracle - it has been said that they when the military "wargames" this battle, it hardly ever comes out as a US victory, and never a crushing victory as in real life. Yet this is what happened, no small part due to the heroism of these pilots...