WC vs History ReRelease: Tools of the Trade (June 6, 2012)

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
The plane types found during the Battle of Midway can be seen in museums around the United States and the world. Wing Commander borrowed many of those iconic names and turned them into ships we've all come to love. The "Tools of the Trade" found in today's WC vs History update represent the aircraft that played a role in the battle and their Wing Commander counterparts. Seventy years after the battle, the last surviving aircraft of it is an SBD Dauntless dive-bomber that now resides at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.

These aircraft defined the early part of the War in the Pacific. It is no surprise that the names of many of those aircraft and ships ended up in Wing Commander.

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In today's Battle of Midway commemorative update we're going to look at four aircraft and one ship that served during the battle--and the Wing Commander equivalents named in their honor!

At the close of the Terran-Kilrathi war the F2M Vindicator was one of the most popular Home Defense planes. A "jack of all trades but master of none", the Vindicator was an ideal choice for units on distant frontier worlds who might be called upon to fly many mission types with a single ship. Vindicator units went on to serve aboard the makeshift carriers that formed the backbone of the Outerworlds Fleet.

The Vought SB2U Vindicator was a mid-1930s American naval dive bomber design. It served on four American carriers during the interwar and early war years. It also served with the US Marine Corps, the French Navy, and the Royal Navy. By the outbreak of World War II, they were obsolete but were still in service in some roles until 1943. During the Battle of Midway, a group of Vindicators, part of Marine squadron VMSB-241, led by Major Benjamin W. Norris attacked the battleship Haruna at 0820 am. They bracketed the ship with five or six near misses but they caused no damage. Marine pilots who had gone on to fly the Douglas SBD Dauntless called the SB2U's with disdain ?vibrators? or ?wind indicators.?





Read the rest of the story here!

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Original update published on June 6, 2012
 
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rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
I hope you don't label me as "that guy." I'm a genuine armchair historian of the Pacific War looking for good discussion! I eagerly await these updates and appreciate your educational pieces.

The debate about Arizona's fatal strike continues to intrigue me. I'm curious as to what makes you state so definitively that a Soryu Kate put a torpedo into the Arizona. I'm not convinced one way or another about whether or not a torpedo (or torpedoes) struck her, but I'd love to be swayed.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Thanks and don't worry about it!

I think my wording was just poor or I screwed up. The fatal strike was clearly the modified 16" naval shell that destroyed the forward magazine.

The issue over whether any torpedoes did strike her is an ongoing debate. At the moment I'm completely spacing what source led me to write the line! I'll have to look later since I can't recall it because it's going to bother the hell out of me now. I'm thinking it might have been At Dawn We Slept. Some recent scholarship has proposed that a torpedo hit the Arizona but was fired from the "missing" mini sub, which was found outside the harbor. It had been dumped there following the massive LST explosion in 1944. No torpedo damage has been found on the ship though.

I'm starting to think I screwed up and typed "torpedo" instead of "bomb" because it was a Kate that dropped the fatal round. :confused:
 

rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
You'll find me a bit more in agreement with it being the naval round into or near the magazine that fatally wounded Arizona.

At Dawn We Slept is a great read, but definitely starting to show its age. Prange's friendship with Fuchida also has some unfortunate consequences at times.

Alan D. Zimm's recent Attack on Pearl Harbor attempts to tackle the torpedo issue head-on. It's one of the "angriest" histories I've ever read (not anger at the Japanese, but about the myths he's supposedly dispelling). His argument supposedly accounts for all of the torpedoes from the minisubs and, in his mind, leaves no room for any torpedo hitting Arizona. I'm not sure he's 100% correct, but it is a refreshing counter to the dreck of the Nova presentation on the Killer Subs of Pearl Harbor. Talk about history with an agenda...
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Yeah, but ADWS is still the best book on the entire Pearl Harbor saga. Ok, so the third strike stuff is all crap, but small piece of a larger work.

I actually got Zimm's book last month when I was in DC for the Society for Military History conference. I'm hoping to get to it...at some point. The NOVA was odd at times, but I think their goal was trying to be balanced with regards to the firsthand accounts. It's been a while since I've seen it, so many of the other points aren't sticking out.
 

rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
Honestly, I think At Dawn We Slept has been superseded by some more modern works. In particular, Toll's Pacific Crucible does a great job of the run up and politics, though it's not focused solely on the Pearl Harbor attack.

When watching Nova as a popcorn work without any real analysis, it was an enjoyable hour. However, going back after reading Zimm's book, it's difficult to take seriously. Their self-contradictions (the torpedo drop vs. rooster tails in particular) destroy any credibility.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Heh, I'd heard the opposite about Toll's work. Six Frigates was really good, but the PacWar book sounded more like pop stuff. I'm taking this from a few MH'ers and the review of it in the SMH journal. I haven't heard a lot of positive things about it.

I still think ADWS is the best single volume account of all aspects of the attack. There are better works about the entire war: The Eagle Against The Sun, The Pacific War, The Great Sea War, and so on.

I just finished Symond's The Battle of Midway and really enjoyed it. His analysis of the "Flight to Nowhere" is very good and expands on the work done by Parshall and Tully. Another good book for the entire war is Nimitz and his Admirals. It does a nice job of looking at the war through the eyes of Nimitz and his top brass.
 

rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
I read three books on Pearl Harbor quickly back to back. Maybe I'm getting Toll's work confused. I enjoyed the heck out of Six Frigates.

I guess I have an inherent distrust of Prange's work at this point given how he acted as a mouthpiece for Fuchida in Miracle at Midway.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
I think the issue with Toll's is there was nothing new in it. It's just another PacWar history.

I don't think you should distrust Prange's work because of his relationship with Fuchida. I mean what do you expect? Fuchida was a well-respected former naval officer who was on the bridge during battle. Was Prange too trusting? Perhaps, but Fuchida was presenting the IJN side of the battle for the first time. Americans were very curious to know what happened, so I think we can give him a little slack. Prange didn't know Fuchida was making a lot of that up to cover his own ass and reinforce the American mythos of the events.

I was wrong with the title of the Nimitz admirals book, that's actually the subtitle the main title is How They Won The War In The Pacific.
 
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