The World War II Multimedia Database

For the 72 Million

B-17E Flying Fortress Attacks Hiryu

Image Information
American bombs from 20,000 feet splash all around Hiryu at 0814 Hours as she maneuvers to avoid three sticks dropped by a flight of USAAF B-17E bombers. This composite group of fifteen aircraft, designated Flight 92, is from the 31st and 431st Bomb Squadrons, 38th Bomb Group, Seventh Air Force and is led by USAAF Lieutenant Colonel Walter C. Sweeney, Junior. Sweeney is in the B-17 nicknamed “Knucklehead.“ Lacking training and experience, the B-17 crews let loose their bombs individually and without coordination. Two planes carried eight 600-pound bombs each and the rest eight 500-pound bombs each. Japanese fighters were reluctant to engage the B-17 because of its heavy defensive firepower. Captain Cecil Faulkner‘s B-17 is the only one attacked; losing his number four engine, his tail gunner is shot in the index finger, the only American casualty from Flight 92. Antiaircraft fire is heavy but inaccruate, following the planes as they made their approach from the northwest on the sterns of the ships of First Air Fleet. Sweeney‘s group claims twelve hits, but after the war an examination of Japanese records shows that while some ships were near-missed, not hits were scored. The B-17 attack did delay the landing of Lieutenant Joichi Tominaga‘s returning planes from Midway. This helped to increase the congestion of planes, bombs, torpedoes and fuel on the Japanese carrier decks, which would lead to their destruction when Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers would attack later that day, sinking three of them within five minutes at 1020 with bombs planted amid the jumble of rearming aircraft. B-17s were not a good platform for antishipping attacks from high altitudes, because of the need for large numbers of aircraft to adequately perform saturation bombing of a target. Much more success was gained using “skip-bombing“ attacks at low altitudes or specialized dive bombing from on high.
Image Filename wwii1315.jpg
Image Size 177.32 KB
Image Dimensions 595 x 744
Photographer Unknown
Photographer Title
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed June 04, 1942
Location 20,000 Feet Over Hiryu
City Hiryu
State or Province Battle of Midway
Country Oceania
Archive United States Naval Historical Center
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

Next Post

Previous Post

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2024 The World War II Multimedia Database

Theme by Anders Norén