Home - Search - Site Map

USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

Home > Action Reports And Logs > VB-6 - Marshall Islands >

At Sea,
CONFIDENTIAL       February 2, 1942
From:Lieutenant _____________________________________.
To:Commander Bombing Squadron SIX
Subject:Action, report of - Attack on TAROA ISLAND, MALOELAP ATOLL, 1 February 1942 by nine bomber land planes.
Reference:(a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920, Article 874.
  1. At 1015, nine bombing planes were launched for an attack on Taroa Island, Maloelap Atoll. This group under my command was composed of eight planes of Bombing Squadron Six and one plane of Scouting Squadron Six. Departure was taken immediately and course set for Wotje. Planes were armed with one five hundred and two one hundred pound bombs apiece, and full load of fixed and flexible gun ammunition.
  2. The group climbed steadily swinging to the east when Maloelap was sighted in order to make an attack out of the sun or down wind (090° T). While still climbing about fifteen miles off shore at 13,000 feet on course southeast, a fighter section was sighted slightly above on reverse course a little north of Taroa. The attack group leveled off in order to gain speed and swung toward the south. When due east of Taroa the fighters were seen to turn toward the formation, and it was judged that the attack must be commenced at once. Accordingly the formation went into column sacrificing mutual firepower support for the chance of better observation and early selection of targets, the designation of which had not been made clear at departure. The turn toward Taroa placed the enemy fighters broad on the starboard bow. As the attack group went into a 200 knot power glide, the fighters held altitude and when they neared made firing approaches from the above quarter of the planes at the end of the line. At this time there were two two-plane sections of fighters.
  3. Just as the fighters started their runs A.A. bursts were put up over the field, the ground batteries apparently having been warned on the radio by the fighters. The bombers were still seven or eight miles away and apparently were not visible from the ground since the fire continued as a barrage directly over the field at ten to twelve thousand feet, and did not creep toward nor seek out the attacking planes. Course was altered to arrive just north of the field to preclude heading directly into A.A. bursts and enfilading the group. The leading planes attacked the hangars and area close by while the following planes attacked large bombers on the field. Just prior to entry in the dive Ensign _________________, pilot of 6-B-15, the last plane in column, flew under and ahead of 6-B-12 the next to last plane. As they went over in the dive Lieut (jg) ____________, pilot of 6-B-12, saw an enemy fighter on the tail of 6-B-15 and opened fire with his two fixed guns, and shot down the fighter.
  4. All planes except 6-B-10 dropped all bombs in ripple salvo on the first dive. The attack came in at 1130 from the north and northeast on the far side from developed to be an effective A.A. fire. During pull out the planes were immediately engaged by what must have been a low level fighter patrol, and defensive maneuvering prevented rendezvous. Action broke up into individual dog fights, during which __________RM3c, USN, the radioman gunner in 6-B-12, and ___________, RM3c, V-3, USNR, the radioman gunner in 6-B-11 each shot down an enemy fighter. It was also in this phase that Ensign ________ was last seen dodging into a cloud with a pursuing enemy fighter, and during which one other enemy fighter was possibly damaged or downed. All planes were attacked at least once by fighters and had to make defensive use of the excellent cloud layer from two to four thousand feet. Overcast was from four to six tenth.
  5. Japanese fighter tactics were standardized in almost all cases being from somewhat above on either quarter. They were generally characterized with a lack of aggressiveness and a desire to break off just outside of effective gun range. In most cases break off was accomplished by a nose high pull out and turn away, which, to well trained free gunners should prove a "sitter". The planes were fixed landing gear - low wing monoplane - single seat fighters. Although their speed was not greatly superior their maneuverability and small turning circle was impressive. Apparently this was due to their light construction. Armament consisted of two guns in each wing presighted for a range one half or one third of the closest ranges reached. Guns were converged and not parallel as found at Pearl Harbor. Several head on approached were made against bombers who had worked into a scissors but they were quite ineffective and no tendency to ram was noted. The fighter pilots evidenced a great reluctance to press home the attack and to attain decisive results, but preferred sniping attacks at ranges which, although yielding some hits, were not effective (with the possible exception of Ensign ________). An inspection of planes hit indicates that their armament consists of two .30 caliber and two .50 caliber guns.
  6. Planes made individual departures and rendezvoused enroute in three groups. Because of fighter opposition no opportunity was afforded to strafe or evaluate damage.
  7. The group leader was particularly pleased with the aggressiveness with which all pilots pressed home the dive bombing attack in complete disregard of A.A. fire and fighter opposition.
  8. (Omitted).
  9. Pilots during pull out noted damage caused by their bombs as follows:
    6-B-10 500 lb bomb direct hit on northern hangar. Whole south side erupted into smoke and flames.
    6-B-7 500 lb bomb hit at door of north hangar, added to general conflagration just started.
    6-B-2 Two 100 lb bombs on administrative building west of landing field.
    6-B-9 All bombs on the field destroyed one two engine bomber.

Image Library - Action Reports and Logs - News Stories
Message Boards - Bookstore - Enterprise CV-6 Association

Copyright © 1998-2003 Joel Shepherd (webmaster@cv6.org)
Sources and Credits
Hosted in Santa Barbara