Belmont Club

The lost squadron

The Battle of Midway is often remembered as triumph of codebreaking; and it was. But victory on that June 4 was not automatic. It still required the the Navy’s squadrons to go in.  One of them, Torpedo 8, was annihilated down to the last airplane. Wikipedia has the bare details.

Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) was a United States Navy squadron of torpedo bombers assigned to the Air Group operating from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8).  …  VT-8’s first and best-known combat mission came during the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942. Flying the vulnerable Douglas TBD Devastators, Commander John C. Waldron‘s 15 planes were all shot down during their unescorted torpedo attack on four Japanese aircraft carriers. The squadron did not destroy any enemy aircraft with their rear .30-caliber machine guns, nor did they damage any of the Japanese carriers.

All members of Torpedo Squadron 8 who flew from the Hornet on that day perished in the action, with the exception of Ensign George Gay. Torpedo 8 was afterwards awarded the American Presidential Unit Citation. … However, it is possible that the act of drawing away the Japanese Zero fighters during the doomed attack allowed a subsequent wave of American dive bombers to later sink three of the four Japanese carriers.

The Hollywood director John Ford, who was taking movie footage for the Navy (Ford was wounded on Midway Island itself) during the naval engagement, subsequently produced a short film memorializing the men of Torpedo 8 for their families. It is after the “Read More”.

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What happened after Torpedo 8’s last attack.