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Wake Island Raid - 24 February 1942

VB-6/A16/nhnU. S. S. ENTERPRISE (CV6) 
 At Sea,
   February 25, 1942.
From:Commander Bombing Squadron SIX.
To:Commander ENTERPRISE Air Group.
Subject:Attack on Wake Island, February 24, 1942.
Reference:(a) U.S. Navy Regulations, 1920, Art. 874(6).
(b) BuAer Conf. Mailgram 192115 of February 1942.
  1. Between 0750 and 0805, 24 February 1942, Bombing Squadron Six attacked the enemy air field and surrounding installations on Wake Island. The weather was clear, ceiling unlimited, surface wind 24 knots from 090° T., winds aloft strong southwesterly, with cumulus clouds beginning to form over the island, base at 1500 feet and rising in places to 6,000 feet.
  2. Tactical organization of the flight was as follows:
    6-B-1Lt-Cdr. W.R. HollingsworthMURRAY, J.F., ACRM(PA)
    6-B-2Lt. H.P. LanhamGARAUDY, E.J., ARM2c
    6-B-3Lt. L.A. SmithCARUTHERS, H.H., AMM2c
    6-B-7Lt. J.W. McCauleyJOHNSON, P.S., ARM2c
    6-B-8Lt(jg) J.J. Van BurenGEORGIOU, A.A., RM3c, V-3
    6-B-9Ensign A.L. RauschHALTERMAN, G.W., RM3c
    6-B-10Lt. R.H. BestNELSON, H.W., ARM1c
    6-B-11Lt(jg) E.L. AndersonJENKINS, J.W., RM3c
    6-B-12Ensign W.E. RobertsSHEA, J.H., AMM1c
    6-B-16Lt(jg) L.J. CheckMASON, S.J., ARM2c
    6-B-17Ensign K.H. HolcombWELCH, L.E., AMM2c
    6-B-18Ensign T.W. RamsayDUNCAN, S.L., AMM3c
    6-B-4Lt. J.D. BlitchSTEINMAN, W.B., AMM2c
    6-B-5Ensign N.F. VandivierKEANEY, L.E.J., Sea1c
    6-B-6Ensign T.F. SchneiderHOLDEN, G.L., RM3c
    6-B-13Lt. J.R. PenlandHEARD, H.F., ARM2c
    6-B-14Ensign C.R. WaltersTHOMPSON, W.T., AMM2c
    6-S-18Ensign D.W. HalseyALFORD, A.T., AOM2c
    GCCdr. H.L. YoungO'BRIEN, M., CRM(PA)
  3. The operation was a dive bombing attack, with each plane loaded with one five hundred pound and two one hundred pound bombs.
  4. The specific objective was as follows: First Division - Peale Island - radio station, seaplane ramps, beaches, and any planes present, (or oil tank adjacent, in absence of any seaplanes).
    Second and Third Division - Mop-up operations on air field to be accomplished a short time after Scouting Six attack. Because of delay, beyond the control of this command, the group did not arrive at the objective until some time after the cruiser bombardment had opened, and it therefore became necessary for the leader of the first division to change his objective and strike the air field, incapacitating any aircraft still on the ground and averting any such threat to the ships of the bombardment group.
  5. No enemy aircraft were encountered aside from one four engine patrol seaplane sighted by Ensign D.W. Halsey, USNR, in 6-S-18. He attacked and reported this contact to planes of Fighting Squadron Six who shot it down.
  6. All attacks were of the dive bombing type.
  7. Launchings of this squadron were commenced at 0545 and when the group rendezvous was completed at 0650 departure was taken. A free cruising formation was taken with Bombing Six next in line astern and above Torpedo Six who led. At 0725 a rapidly expanding AA barrage was sighted dead ahead about twenty or thirty miles. No aircraft were seen. Wake Island was sighted shortly afterward and divisions continued to climb and broke apart to attack separately. The attacks were dive bombing attacks with ripple release of all three bombs. High speed run-ins were started from 18,000 feet twenty miles out with final dive being entered between eight and twelve thousand feet. The first division attacked the air field from the west and was followed by all of Scouting Squadron Six, in turn followed by the second and third divisions of Bombing Squadron Six who came in from the southeast and east respectively. The first division diving toward the east pulled out up sun (about 110° T.), the second division attacked from the east and pulled out to the south, while the third division attacking slightly to the north of the field pulled out to the north and then retired to the east. Since the releases were by ripple drop, dropping was done between four and two thousand feet with pull outs at one thousand feet. In retiring, the second and third division encountered a small patrol type vessel of 120 or 150 feet in length. Two strafing runs were made by all planes. The vessel when abandoned was turning in aimless circles leaving large oil slicks. An approaching destroyer of the bombardment group opened fire and was seen to make at least two direct hits.
  8. The dive bombing attack was made with one five hundred pound bomb and two one hundred pound bombs fitted with instantaneous fuses. The fixed .50 caliber and flexible .30 caliber machine guns were used in strafing the surface vessel. Enemy fire was chiefly from machine guns which, judging by holes in planes of the group and bullets recovered, were .30 and .50 caliber. All bursts, some of which were seen to occur as high as 19,000 feet, were apparently from three inch or five inch guns.
  9. Evasive action used in the approach was limited to high speed, cloud concealment, and approach from the sun. During retirement frequent radical changes of course and altitude were made in addition to the above actions.
  10. Ammunition expended.
    500 lb bombs Mk.12 (instantaneous fuse)18
    100 lb bombs Mk.4  (      "        "  )36
    .50 caliber (70% AP, 30% tracer)approx. 2200 rds
    .30 caliber (   "       "      )approx. 1200 rds
  11. Results and damage as are shown on attached sketch.
  12. Damage to own aircraft was as follows:
    6-B-3BuNo.2186 Several bullet holes in right wing and fuselage.
    6-B-6BuNo.2176 .50 caliber bullet hole in belly and floorboards of the rear cockpit, shattered radio transmitter and tore holes in thin metal shelf above transmitter.
    6-S-18BuNo.2170 Several bullet holes in left wing.
    No tanks, armored or otherwise, were struck.
    The pilot's protective head plate in 6-B-6 deflected a bullet which might well have fatally wounded the pilot.
  13. No deficiencies of aircraft or armament were noted. The anti-aircraft fire was generally erratic and showed no evidence of director control.

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