Battle of Midway ends/D-Day +24 hours…

Due to an erroneous voice report that transposed BB to CV in the retreating Japanese forces on 6 June, the American forces under Spruance continued chasing the Japanese to the west. A second element of Japanese ships was located by the Enterprise scouts at 0730 and attacks launched against both groups.

In the meantime, attempts to salvage the Yorktown were continuing…

The timeline for the Yorktown was as follows-

June 5th: 1308 Vireo takes Yorktown in tow.
June 6th: 0200 HammannBalch, and Benham join.
0415 Hammann puts salvage party aboard.
0600 Hammann ties up alongside Yorktown.
1335 Torpedo wakes sighted.
1339 Hammann sinks.
1845 Submarine sighted on horizon.
June 7th: 0501 Yorktown sinks.

The Yorktown had been abandoned on the afternoon of June 4th. That night the Pensacola and Vincennes departed to rejoin Task Force SUGAR, while Task Force FOX moved off to the eastward, except for the Hughes, which was detached to stand guard over the Yorktown

By the morning of 7 June, all American forces were enroute to Pearl Harbor to refuel/reprovision after Yorktown sank.

This was a ‘win’ for America, and many consider it the turning point in the battle with Japan. Thanks to HYPO, the Battle of Midway was essentially a victory of intelligence, allowing the Americans to know when/where the Japanese were going and roughly who was there. The Japanese didn’t know the US carriers were there until attacked.

Two years later, almost to the day, Operation Overlord would kick off at Normandy with the landings. D-Day was actually postponed until 6 June due to weather.

Some facts from 6 June-

  • 150,000 Allied soldiers land on the shores of Normandy.
  • 5,000 vessels with 30,000 vehicles crossed the English Channel to France.
  • 13,000 men parachuted into France.
  • 11,000 planes were involved.
  • More than 300 planes dropped bombs.
  • 9,000 allied soldiers were dead or wounded after the first day.

The main fighting had started moving inland on the 7th and places like Bréville became synonymous with the determination NOT to give up! The Brits held Breville and eventually took Caen in what became a seven day battle.

American parachute troops had a 9 mile bridgehead on the evening of June 7th, even after the blown drops on the morning of the 6th, with disassociated dribs and drabs fighting and joining together as a coherent force against the completely surprised Germans. The two bridgeheads of Omaha Beach and Gold Beach at Port-en-Bessin were still being contested by the Germans.

The 1st and 29th infantry divisions, which have had very heavy losses since the landing on Omaha Beach, but continued to advance. The 29th Infantry, on its way to Isigny-sur-Mer, but behind schedule.  The 90 survivors of the Rangers battalions at Pointe du Hoc, are isolated on a thin strip of Land at Pointe du Hoc and are so understrength they cannot fight their way out to Grandcamp, their assigned target.

From a scattered start for the Americans, things began to come together and they begin to press the Germans into retreating.


Battle of Midway ends/D-Day +24 hours… — 9 Comments

  1. In a real sense, the blown drops were a blessing because the Germans weren’t able to get an accurate sense of how many jumped and what their true purpose was. Had they landed as planned, it might have tipped the Germans that something bigger was happening. As it was, it was mostly chalked up to a large scale raid until the landings were underway. Even then, Berlin continued to believe it was a large scale raid or feint. It bought the allies valuable time to consolidate and advance.

  2. In about 3.5 months it will be the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

    • That’s right. My father worked for a RADM in the 60s who was the CO of VF-20 on Enterprise during Leyte Gulf. He was shot down making rocket strafing runs. He was seen in the water by friendlies and they dropped a larger raft to him. He survived seven days adrift in that raft in the Sulu Sea before being rescued by a sub.

  3. Mike- True! And Rommel not being their was definitely a factor.

    TOS- Yes, sir!

    Papa- That had to have been RADM Frederick E. Bakutis. He also got the Navy Cross for Leyte Gulf!

    • But I goofed, the anniversary is 4.5 months out. I had the approximate dates flipped in my head with Operation Market Garden. Market Garden was late September, Leyte was late October.

    • Spot on, Sir! Yes, RADM Bakutis. He was an Ace with 11 kills, as I recall.
      Apparently, a Helldiver crew saw him in the water and dropped him a 2 man raft and he spent 6 or 7 days in that raft before being picked up by Hardhead in the Sulu Sea and was later transferred to Angler and ended up in Australia.
      My father worked for 12 months out of Long Beach on the Kearsarge as Flag LT. to an Admiral Caraberra (same cruise that John Wayne was on prior to filming In Harms Way) and dad thought he was out of there. When Bakutis arrived he informed dad that he would be spending another 12 months on Hornet with Bakutis as his Flag LT. lol
      However, Bakutis told him that at the end of their 12 months, he could have any billet he wanted as long as there were spaces and he was qualified. About the end of their time together, dad tried to get P-3 transition at Moffett in 47 and was told no space for you, pal. He told Bakutis and a few days later, he had orders to Moffett. lol It’s good to be an Admiral, eh?

  4. Why the National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, VA.

    Thursday, February 02, 2006
    After 145 years, Western Union has terminated its telegram service. (Telegraphy in the broader sense, though, is still very much alive: the Internet, along with other forms of data communication, represents an evolution of telegraph technology.)
    In his post on this subject, Don Sensing observed that “For military members telegrams always had a measure of foreboding.” This comment reminded me of an incident that took place during WWII.
    At the time of the D-day invasion, Bedford, Virginia had a population of only 3200–but 170 soldiers from that town went ashore in the first assault wave. For whatever reason–congested communications facilities, fog of war–their fate remained unknown for several weeks to those back home.
    On the morning of July 17, a 21-year-old telegraph operator named Elizabeth Teass went to work as usual. The telegraph office was located in Green’s Drug Store. She switched on her machine, pressed a key that rang a bell in the hub office at Roanoake, and typed a “Good morning” message.
    Back came a message from Roanoake, “We have casualties,” and then the machine started printing a telegram. A sequence number, a name and address, and then the sinister words THE SECRETARY OF WAR REGRETS TO INFORM YOU.
    Elizabeth had received casualty telegrams before. But this time, when the telegram ended, the machine did not stop. Another message header and then again THE SECRETARY OF WAR REGRETS TO INFORM YOU.
    As the teleprinter clacked out telegram after telegram, she sat there in increasing horror, taking the narrow strips that emerged from the machine and glueing them to the message forms. Sometimes the machine would fall silent, and she could hope that there would be no more telegrams. But then it would start again.
    On that day, Teass received nine casualty telegrams. But there were still more to come. By the end of the summer, it was known that 21 Bedford men had been killed on D-Day.