Douglas SBD-3 Dauntlesses Attack Japanese Cruisers

Bombing Squadron 8 (VB-8) and Scouting Squadron 8 (VS-8) Doulgas SBD-3 Dauntless dive bombers from USS Hornet (CV-8) approaching the burning Japanese heavy cruiser IJN Mikuma during the third set of attacks on her at 1445 Hours, June 6, 1942. 12 SBDs ignored the burning Mikuma to concentrate on the escorting destroyers and IJN Mogami. Mikuma had been hit earlier by strikes from Hornet and USS Enterprise (CV-6), leaving her dead in the water and fatally damaged. Photo was enlarged from a 16mm color motion picture film. Note bombs hung beneath these planes. On June 5, Mikuma erroneously made a 90-degree turn while the rest of Cruiser Division 7 made a 45-degree turn to avoid submarine USS Tambor (SS-198). The cruiser was hit by Mogami, which was heavily damaged; Mikuma suffered slight damage to oil storage tanks. The two cruisers were left behind, with destroyers IJN Arashio and IJN Asashio as escorts, making slow progress for Wake. The cruisers were bombed by US Army Air Force B-17s at 0534 Hours and near-missed by VMSB-241 Vindicators and Dauntless at 0805. 81 SBDs from Enterprise and Hornet score hits with five bombs, blowing up torpedoes and ready ammunition and killing or wounding many on the bridge, including Captain Shakao Sakiyama. He died on June 12 from his wounds. Mogami is so badly damaged during the attack that she is out of the war for two years. 650 Mikuma crewmen are killed; 240 are rescued by IJN cruiser Suzuya. On June 9, USS Trout (SS-202) rescued Chief Radioman Yoshida Katsuichi and Fireman Third Class Ishikawa Kenichi. They are the last survivors of the cruiser Mikuma.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
National Archives
Date Photographed: 
Saturday, June 6, 1942
Over IJN Mikuma
Battle of Midway