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Sunday, December 28

At the Battle of Midway: a mistake, orders disobeyed, an appointment with destiny

Midway and Torpedo Eight remind me of Gettysburg and the fight on Little Round Top on the second day. If the 20th Maine doesn't hold the flank, if Torpedo Eight doesn't draw the enemy fighters down to wave level -- and if Torpedo 6 off of Enterprise doesn't do the same right afterward -- then the coup de grace of Cemetery Ridge and the dive bombers would not have been possible.

If, if, if. History is accident with stage makeup.
John Batchelor. Who else? Writing about Torpedo 8 squadron's incredible heroism after they sighted the Japanese carriers that led the attack on Pearl Harbor:
Waldron tried several times to radio Stanhope Ring leading the rest of the group in the wrong direction away from the enemy. "Stanhope from Johnny One. Enemy sighted."

No answer from the stubborn, dutiful Ring, though the whole rest of the group could hear the call and knew where they should be. Waldron made a decision and radioed to the squadron a simple four-sentence speech that stands today as the epitome of duty and sacrifice in service to your people, "We will go in. We won't turn back. We will attack. Good luck."
The story, told tonight on John's radio show with Robert Mrazek, author of A Dawn Like Thunder: The True Story of Torpedo Squadron Eight.

See the show schedule (KFI-640 AM portion) for details and read John's Torpedo 8 "Still Out There." in preparation to examine the mystery at the heart of the battle:
Sixty-seven years later, the controversy continues as to why Hornet's group was headed in the wrong direction, west away from Midway, why Torpedo 8 had to disobey orders and attack alone to the southwest of Midway. ...

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