Post by Blackadder XVI
In Shattered Sword, the authors argue that the attack of the USN torpedo
planes did not prevent the IJN CAP from intercepting the USN divebombers
from the Yorktown and Enterprise- but their attack did distract the IJN and
cause their fighters to come down. If the torpedo planes didn't attack
before the divebombers - would the IJN CAP have been in position to molest
the USN carrier divebombing team?
I won't take time to look it up but I believe the SBDs came in at
something like 15,000 feet. 5,000 is awfully low for searching for a
group of ships whose actual location is very shaky, besides being too
close to the flak while positioning for the dive. One unit did come in
lower because one of the airplanes had oxygen problems, but that would
still be 10,000. Haven't read Shattered Sword - does it mention the
squadron leader who took his flight out of the battle entirely?.I
deliberately refrain from mentioning his name.
As for results - aircrews were lost and the IJN's flight training
program was very slow to replace them. But also lost were hundreds of
aviation technicians, and they, too, are hard to replace; ones worth
a damn, that is.
One effect not usually mentioned is the psychological shock - one
moment the IJN CV force had everything going tis way - the next moment
they were in the crapper. Genda's comment while he and Fujita were
looking at burning carriers is a classic - 'Shimatta' - we goofed.