No. 93 July 1, 1942
The Navy Department today issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 8:30 a. m. (e. w. t.):
1. Reinforcements in the form of airplanes were recently carried through the Mediterranean to Malta to aid the British in their defense of the embattled island.
2. These trips were accomplished by the U. S. aircraft carrier Wasp and were completed without damage either to the escort or the Wasp.
3. During one of these ferry trips after British aircraft manned by RAF pilots, had been launched from the Wasp and were in flight over the Island of Malta the enemy attacked the island. Completely surprised by the increased number of defending fighters the enemy suffered considerable losses.
4. The planes which took off from the Wasp engaged the enemy over Malta before landing on the island. After landing and hasty refueling at the airdrome they were again in the air continuing to repel the enemy attack within 30 minutes after arrival.
5. The expertly timed arrival of reinforcement planes on the Wasp was most fortunate for the heroic defenders of the British stronghold and the cause of the United Nations.
No. 94 July 4, 1942
The Navy Department today issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 2 P. M., July 4, 1942:
North Pacific Area.
1. Since the issuing of communiqué No. 90 on June 21, the situation in the Aleutian Islands has not changed materially. Long-range Army
and Navy aircraft have engaged in reconnaissance and attack missions whenever weather permitted.
2. On June 21 Army planes dropped bombs on shore installations at Kiska but due to fog, results could not be observed.
3. On June 25 Navy reconnaissance aircraft over the Kiska area observed one large cruiser and three destroyers in the harbor of Kiska. The bow of the Japanese transport, which was sunk by Army aircraft on June 18, was clearly visible near the center of the harbor. During these operations a Navy patrol plane was attacked and damaged by enemy aircraft but returned safely to its base.
4. On June 26 two Army planes attacked shore installations at Kiska but again fog did not permit results to be observed.
5. On June 28 Army bombers again attacked Kiska, doing further damage to shore installations. From June 28 to July 2 the weather was such as to render flight operations inadvisable.
6. On July 2 a patrol plane observed three Japanese transports with escorting vessels off the island of Agattu, about 35 miles to the southeastward of Attu. Army bombers attacked this force that afternoon inflicting damage, the exact extent of which could not be observed. Our aircraft returned safely having suffered only minor damage from antiaircraft fire.
7. On July 3 Kiska was again bombed by Army aircraft but again observation of results was not possible.
No. 95 JULY 6, 1942
The Navy Department today issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 12:30 p. m., July 6, 1942:
North Pacific Area.
1. On the Fourth of July, U. S. submarines torpedoed four Japanese destroyers in the Aleutian Islands.
2. Three of these destroyers were attacked at Kiska. Two were sunk and the third, when last seen, was burning fiercely.
3. The fourth destroyer was torpedoed and sunk at Agattu where enemy transports and escorting vessels were located on July 2 and attacked by Army bombers.
No. 96 JULY 8, 1942
The Navy Department issued the following communiqué based on reports received up to 4:30 P. m., July 8, 1942:
North Pacific Area.
1. On the afternoon Of July 5th a U. S. submarine, operating in the Aleutian Islands, torpedoed and is believed to have sunk a Japanese destroyer in the vicinity of Kiska.
2. This is the fifth enemy destroyer to have been sunk or damaged by our submarines in this area during the 2-day period, (July 4th and 5th).
3. Low visibility continues in this area.
No. 97 July 14, 1942
1. Early in June, near the island of Midway about 1,100 miles to the westward of Pearl Harbor, units of our Army, Navy, and Marine Corps joined action with a strong Japanese invasion fleet which was approaching our Midway outpost. The voluminous reports of the details of the battle of Midway have been studied and evaluated so that this resume now becomes possible.
2. After the defeat of the Japanese in the Battle of the Coral Sea between May 4 and May 8, our shore-based reconnaissance aircraft and submarines reported a general withdrawal of enemy naval ships from the Southwest Pacific toward Japan. Concentrations of enemy naval units made it apparent that large-scale offensive operations were planned by the enemy, but the exact nature of the plan of attack could only be guessed. The enemy had learned in the Battle of the Coral Sea that the sea approaches to Australia were strongly defended. It appeared logical, therefore, to assume that the enemy's next thrust would come in some other area-possibly Hawaii, Alaska, the Panama Canal Zone, or even the Pacific Coast of the United States. In accordance with this estimate, United States naval surface forces were deployed in the area between Midway and the Aleutian Islands. Bases in the outlying islands and in Alaska were reinforced by long-range, shore-based aircraft. Similar precautionary measures also were taken on the Pacific Coast and in the vicinity of the Panama Canal.
3. At about 9 a. m., June 3, U. S. Navy patrol planes reported a strong force of enemy ships about 700 miles off Midway, proceeding eastward.
Nine United States Army "Flying Fortresses" based on Midway immediately were ordered to intercept and attack the approaching enemy. Japanese force was observed to be approaching in five columns and was composed of many cruisers, transports, cargo vessels, and other escort ships. The Army bombers scored hits on one cruiser and one transport. Both ships were severely damaged and left burning. Some lesser damage was done to other vessels in the formation. Later, during the night, four Navy "Catalina" flying boats located and attacked the same enemy group by moonlight. These four planes scored two torpedo hits on large enemy ships, one of which is believed to have sunk.
4. About dawn on June 4, several groups of Army medium and heavy bombers, and U. S. Marine Corps dive bombers and torpedo planes took to the air from Midway to attack the approaching enemy. The results of this attack were as follows:
(a) Four Army torpedo bombers attacked two enemy aircraft carriers through a heavy screen of enemy fighter protection and a curtain of antiaircraft fire. One torpedo hit on a carrier is believed to have been made. Two of the four bombers failed to return.
(b) Six Marine Corps torpedo planes attacked the enemy force in the face of heavy odds. It is believed this group secured one hit on an enemy ship. Only one of these six planes returned to its base.
(c) Sixteen Marine Corps dive bombers attacked and scored three hits on a carrier, which is believed to have been the Soryu. Only half of the attacking planes returned.
(d) Another group of 11 Marine Corps dive bombers made a later attack on enemy ships and reported 2 bomb hits on an enemy battleship, which was left smoking and listing.
(e) A group of 16 U. S. Army "Flying Fortresses" carried out high-level bombing attacks, scoring 3 hits on enemy carriers. One carrier was left smoking heavily.
5. Meanwhile, at 6:35 a. m. (Midway time, June 4th), shortly after the Marine Corps planes had left Midway to carry out an attack mission the island, itself, was attacked by a large group of carrier-based enemy planes. They were engaged by a badly out-numbered Marine Corps fighter force, which met the enemy in the air as he arrived. These defending fighters, aided by antiaircraft batteries, shot down at least 40 of the enemy planes. Several more were damaged. As the result of this
fighter defense, the material damage to shore installations, though serious, was not disabling. No plane was caught grounded at Midway.
6. The Midway-based air forces had struck the approaching Japanese fleet with their full strength, but the enemy did not appear to have been checked. It was estimated that only about 10 enemy ships had been damaged out of a total enemy force of approximately 80 ships then converging upon Midway.
7. It was learned later that our aerial attacks had caused the enemy carrier force to change its course. They began a retirement to the northwestward some time between 8:30 and 9:30 a. m., on the morning of June 4. Their complete change of course was not observed by our shore-based planes because the change came after the planes had delivered their attacks and while they were returning to Midway to rearm.
8. Meanwhile, U. S. naval forces afloat were being brought into position. Our carrier-based aircraft were launched and were proceeding to the spot where the enemy's previous course and speed would have placed him had he chosen to continue the assault, as expected. Unaware of the enemy's change of course, one group of carrier-based fighters and dive bombers searched along the reported track to the southeast until shortage of gas forced them to abandon the search and go in to Midway. Some were forced down at sea when they ran out of gas. Most of those forced down were later rescued. The commanding officer of a different flight composed of fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo planes made an accurate estimate of the situation and concluded that the enemy was retreating. Fifteen torpedo planes from this group, therefore, located the enemy to the westward and proceeded to attack at once without protection or assistance of any kind. Although some hits were reported by radio from these airplanes and although some enemy fighters were shot down, the total damage inflicted by this squadron in this attack may never be known. None of these i5 planes returned. The sole survivor of the 30 Officers and men of this squadron was Ensign G. H. Gay, Jr., U. S. N. R, who scored one torpedo hit on an enemy carrier before he was shot down.
9. Other Carrier-based groups of torpedo planes proceeded to press the attack after the enemy had been located. In spite of heavy losses during these attacks, the torpedo planes engaged the attention of the enemy fighters and antiaircraft batteries to such a degree that our dive bombers were able to drop bomb after bomb on the enemy ships
without serious interference. As the result, the Navy dive bombers scored many hits and during this phase of the action inflicted upon the enemy the following damage:
(a) The Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu, aircraft carriers, were severely damaged. Gasoline in planes caught on their flight decks ignited, starting fires which burned until each carrier had sunk.
(b) Two battleships were hit. One was left burning fiercely.
(c) One destroyer was hit and is believed to have sunk.
10. Shortly after this battle, a force of about 36 enemy planes from the undamaged carrier Hiryu attacked the U. S. aircraft carrier Yorktown and her escorts. Eleven of 18 Japanese bombers in the group were shot down by your fighters before their bombs were dropped. Seven got through our fighter protection. Of these 7, one was disintegrated by surface ship's antiaircraft fire; a second dropped its bomb-load into the sea and plunged after it; while a third was torn to shreds by machine-gun escaped after scoring fire from U. S. fighter planes. Four enemy bombers escaped after scoring three direct hits.
11. Shortly afterward, 12 to 15 enemy torpedo planes escorted by fighters attacked the Yorktown. Between 4 and 7 of this group were destroyed by our fighters and 3 were shot down by antiaircraft fire before they could launch torpedoes. Five succeeded in launching torpedoes but all 5 were destroyed as they attempted to escape. The Yorktown was hit during this assault and put out of action. The damage caused a list which rendered her flight deck useless for landings and take-offs. Her aircraft, however, continued the battle operating from other United States carriers.
12. While this attack on the Yorktown was in progress, some of her own planes located the Japanese carrier Hiryu in company with battleships, cruisers, and destroyers. Our carrier planes immediately launched an attack against this newly located force. The Hiryu was hit repeatedly and left blazing from stem to stern. She sank the following morning. Two of the enemy battleships were pounded severely by bombs and the heavy cruiser was damaged severely.
13. During the same afternoon (June 4), a United States submarine scored three torpedo hits on the smoking carrier Soryu as the enemy was attempting to take it in tow. These hits caused an outbreak of fresh flames which engulfed the carrier and forced the crew to abandon ship.
At about sunset heavy explosions and huge billows of smoke were observed. The Soryu sank during the night.
14. Just before sunset (June 4) United States Army bombers delivered a heavy bomb attack on the severely crippled and burning ships. Three hits were scored on a damaged carrier (probably the Akagi); one hit was scored on a large ship; one hit on a cruiser which was left burning; and one destroyer was damaged and believed to have sunk.
15. The situation at sundown on June 4, was as follows:
(a) United States forces had gained mastery of the air in the region of Midway.
(b) Two carriers, Kaga and Akagi, had been hit by many bombs and torpedoes from Army planes and carrier-based naval aircraft in the morning, and the Akagi had been further damaged by Army aircraft in the late afternoon. One of these two carriers was reported by Ensign Gay to have been shelled and finished off by a Japanese cruiser. Both enemy carriers sank or were sunk by the Japanese before morning.
(c) The Soryu had been hit heavily by Marine Corps dive bombers, Army bombers, carrier-based planes, and a submarine. She sank during the night.
(d) The Hiryu had been put out of action by carrier aircraft after her own planes had damaged the Yorktown. The Hiryu sank early the following morning.
(e) Two enemy battleships had been damaged, one severely.
(f) One enemy destroyer had been sunk.
(g) One enemy transport and several other ships had been damaged.
(h) The U. S. S. Yorktown had been put out of action.
16. Early in the morning of June 5, an enemy submarine shelled Midway briefly but caused no damage. Our shore batteries returned the fire. At dawn our forces were marshalling their strength for further assaults against the enemy fleets which by now had separated into several groups, all in full retreat. Unfavorable flying weather made search to the northwest of Midway difficult and hazardous but a flight of U. S. Army "Flying Fortresses" managed to contact an enemy contingent of battleships and cruisers to the westward of Midway. They attacked, and scored a direct hit on the damaged cruiser. Another bomb
damaged the same cruiser's steering gear. She was last observed listing badly and turning in tight circles. This attack was followed quickly by a second Army Air Force attack which scored a hit on the stern of a heavy cruiser. Meanwhile, at about noon (June 5) U. S. Marine Corps aircraft located the damaged enemy cruiser and delivered one direct hit.
17. In the afternoon of June 5, Army "Flying Fortresses" attacked enemy cruisers again and scored three direct hits upon one heavy cruiser. On the return trip, one of these planes was lost; a second was forced down at sea i5 miles from Midway. All except one of the crew of the second plane were rescued. A local bad weather condition to the northwest of Midway hampered the search operations of our carrier planes which were seeking the enemy in that area. Throughout the night of June 5-6, our aircraft carriers steamed to the westward in pursuit of the enemy.
18. Early in the morning of June 6 a search by carrier aircraft discovered two groups of enemy ships, each containing cruisers and destroyers. Between 9:30 and 10 a. m., our carrier planes attacked one cup which contained the heavy cruisers Mikuma and Mogami and three destroyers. At least two bomb hits were scored on each cruiser. One of the destroyers was sunk. The attacks were carried on until 5:30 p. m. The Mikuma was sunk shortly after noon. The Mogami was gutted and subsequently sunk. Another enemy cruiser and a destroyer also were hit during these series of attacks.
19. It was during this afternoon (June 6) that the U. S. destroyer Hammann was torpedoed and sunk by an enemy submarine. Most of her crew were rescued. The Hammann was the destroyer announced as lost in Admiral Nimitz' Communiqué No. 4 (June 7, 1942).
20. After June 6 repeated attempts were made to contact the remainder of the Japanese invasion fleet but without success. It was on June 9, while one of these searches was being carried out by a group of long-range Army medium bombers under the command of Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, U. S. A., that the plane carrying General Tinker was forced down at sea and lost.
21. The following is a recapitulation of the damage inflicted upon the enemy during the battle of Midway:
(a) Four Japanese aircraft carriers, the Kaga, Akagi, Soryu, and Hiryu were sunk.
(b) Three battleships were damaged by bomb and torpedo hits, one severely.
(c) Two heavy cruisers, the Mogami and the Mikuma were sunk. Three others were damaged, one or two severely.
(d) One light cruiser was damaged.
(e) Three destroyers were sunk and several others were damaged by bombs.
(f) At least three transports or auxiliary ships were damaged, one or more sunk.
(g) An estimated 275 Japanese aircraft were destroyed or lost sea through a lack of flight decks on which to land.
(h) Approximately 4,800 Japanese were killed or drowned.
22. Our total personnel losses were 92 officers and 215 enlisted men.
23. Our forces fought under the command of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, U. S. N., Commander in Chief of the Pacific Feet. Other officers who held important commands during the battle were Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, U. S. A., Commanding General, Hawaiian Department; Maj. Gen. W. W. Hale, U. S. A., Head of the Bombing Command of the Army Air Force in Hawaii and Brig. Gen. Henry K. Pickett, U. S. M. C Commander of U. S. Marine Corps forces in the Hawaiian area.
24. Among the officers who held important commands at the scene of the action were Maj. Gen. C. L. Tinker, U. S. A., Commander of the Army Air Force in Hawaii. General Tinker was lost in action. Vice Admiral, then Rear Admiral F. J. Fletcher U. S. N, Rear Admiral R. A. Spruance, U. S. N., Rear Admiral T. C. Kinkaid, U. S. N., and Rear Admiral W. W. Smith, U. S. N., had commands at sea throughout the action. Capt. C. T. Simard, U. S. N., had command of the Naval Air Station at Midway. Col. Harold D. Shannon, U. S. M. C., was the Commanding Officer of Ground Troops at Midway. Lt. Col. Ira L. Kimes, U. S. M. C., was the Commanding Officer of the Marine Corps Aircraft at Midway. Lt. Col. W. C. Sweeney, Jr., U. S. A. commanded a formation of heavy Army bombers.
25. The battle of Midway was a complex and widespread action involving a number of engagements lasting more than 3 days and nights. Even our active participants in the numerous attacks and counterattacks are unable to give confidently an accurate account of the damage inflicted by any one group in the many individual and unified attacks of our Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel.
No. 98 July 17, 1942
1. In early June, Japanese naval forces made a two-pronged thrust at our westernmost possessions Midway and the Aleutian chain. The presence in each attacking force of troop transports indicated that these attacks were aimed at capture and occupation. The thrust at Midway was made by approximately 80 ships including 4 carriers, at least 3 battleships, and a large number of cruisers, destroyers, and transports.
A simultaneous thrust was made on the Aleutians employing a far smaller force of approximately two small carriers, two seaplane tenders, several cruisers and destroyers and from four to six transports. The size of the forces involved shows the attack on Midway to have been the primary objective.
2. The attack on Midway was repelled as described in Navy Department communiqué No. 97. A resume of operations in the Aleutian Islands to date is given in the following paragraphs.
3. The first attack on Dutch Harbor and Fort Mears was made at about 6 a. m. on June 3d, concurrently with the early stages of the Japanese attack on Midway. Five waves of three planes each, launched from carriers to the southward of Dutch Harbor, participated in the 20-minute attack, which was concentrated on Dutch Harbor and the nearby Army station at Fort Mears.
4. Three U. S. destroyers, an Army transport, a mine sweeper and a Coast Guard cutter were in the harbor, as well as an old station ship, the Northwestern, which had been beached and was used as barracks for contractors' personnel. The attack was not unexpected, and anti-aircraft crews, who were at their battle stations, both aboard the ships and at the shore batteries, opened fire 5 minutes before the first bomb was dropped. To obtain maneuverability the ships present got under way, continuing their antiaircraft fire. No ship was hit during the raid. Two of the attacking aircraft were shot down.
5. A few barracks and warehouses at Fort Mears and Dutch Harbor were bombed and set afire and a Navy patrol plane which was about to take off with official mail was strafed.
6. On June 4, Army bombers and Navy patrol planes located and attacked the enemy carriers which had launched the attacking planes.
Several bomb and torpedo attacks were made but results could not be observed.
7. One enemy plane was shot down during the several reconnaissance flights which the Japanese made over the Dutch Harbor area following the initial raid.
8. About 5 p. m. on June 4, 18 carrier-based bombers and 16 fighters attacked the installations at Dutch Harbor and Fort Mears. This attack was made simultaneously with an attack on the Army post at Fort Glenn, about 70 miles west of Dutch Harbor on the island of Umnak, where 9 enemy fighters strafed shore installations. Two of the attacking planes were shot down by Army pursuit planes and the remaining withdrew without inflicting damage.
9. The alarm at Dutch Harbor and Fort Mears was sounded well in advance of the attack and the enemy was met with heavy antiaircraft fire from ship and shore batteries. The station ship Northwestern was bombed and destroyed by fire. A warehouse and a few fuel oil tanks were hit and set afire, and one empty aircraft hangar was hit.
10. Casualties amounted to approximately 44 military and naval personnel killed and 49 wounded, and 1 civilian employee killed.
11. Since June 4, there have been no further attacks on Dutch Harbor Fort Mears, Fort Glenn or any other U. S. military installations in Alaska or the Aleutian Islands.
12. Our naval patrol planes, Army bombers and submarines under the unified command of the Navy, have conducted the following attacks on the enemy forces which have made landings in the westernmost island groups which include Attu and Kiska:
(a) On June 5, Army aircraft attacked an enemy cruiser with undetermined results.
(b) On June 11, a naval patrol plane reported enemy forces in Kiska Harbor. During the night this force was attacked by patrol planes and Army bombers. Results were not observed.
(c) On June 12, enemy ships were observed at both Attu and Kiska, and about 20 tents and temporary structures were observed on the shore at Kiska. The enemy ships at Kiska were attacked by long-range Army aircraft and hits were made on the ships in the harbor but the exact extent of the damage could not be determined.
(d) Various bombing and reconnaissance missions against Kiska were conducted in the week from June 12 to 18 with no important
results or major changes in the situation. Weather prevented observation of Attu.
(e) On June 18, the ships in Kiska were bombed by Army aircraft, resulting in the sinking of one transport near the center of the harbor.
(f) All operations from June 21 to July 3 have been covered by Navy Department Communiqué No. 94.
(g) On July 4 U. S. submarines torpedoed three destroyers off Kiska, sinking two and leaving the third badly damaged. A third destroyer was sunk by a U. S. submarine off Agattu.
(h) On July 5, a U. S. submarine torpedoed and is believed to have sunk a fourth Japanese destroyer off Kiska.
(i) On July 6, Army aircraft dropped 56 bombs on the enemy shore installations at Kiska.
(j) On July 11, Army aircraft bombed an enemy cruiser in Kiska with undetermined results.
(k) Since July 11, there has been no material change in the general situation.
13. The military results of the Aleutian campaign to date are as follows:
(a) The enemy inflicted minor damage to the naval station at Dutch Harbor and the Army post at Fort Mears but did not seriously impair their military effectiveness.
(b) The enemy has occupied the undefended islands of Attu, Kiska, and Agattu in the westernmost tip of the Aleutian chain and has constructed temporary living facilities ashore.
(c) At least seven enemy aircraft have been destroyed and our pilots' reports indicate damage and possible destruction of several others. A number of our aircraft have been lost.
(d) As previously reported, the following damage has been inflicted on the enemy naval forces since June 3:
Four cruisers. Three destroyers.
Three destroyers. One transport.
14. Operations against the enemy in this area continue.
No. 99 July 21, 1942
The following communiqué is based on reports received up to 3 p. m., (e. w. t.), Tuesday, July 21, 1942:
North Pacific Area.
1. U. S. submarines have sunk three Japanese destroyers in the vicinity of Kiska in the Aleutian Islands.
2. These sinkings are in addition to those previously announced in Navy Department communiqués.
3. Several air attacks against enemy-occupied Kiska Island have been made recently by long-range Army bombers. These attacks have centered on the enemy encampment at Kiska and on ships in Kiska Harbor. It has been impossible to observe and appraise the results of these raids.
4. U. S. Army and Navy aircraft are continuing joint operations against the enemy forces occupying islands in the western Aleutians.
No. 100 July 25, 1942
Navy Department today issued the following communiqué:
1. U. S. submarines have reported the following results of operations in Far Eastern waters:
(a) One modern Japanese destroyer sunk.