tv U.S. Dive- Bombers at Guadalcanal CSPAN March 17, 2019 9:10pm-10:01pm EDT
illustrated talk on the importance of american dive bombers in the guadalcanal and their role in japan. is the author of the battle for hell's island. of a50 minute talk is part daylong symposium on the battle of guadalcanal, hosted by the national world war ii museum in new orleans. >> welcome back to our guadalcanal symposium on the anniversary of the end of the guadalcanal battle. we have looked at the land fighting and the naval battles, in around guadalcanal, two fantastic presentations. now we'll rise into the air with the expert guidance of stephen moore.
he is a wonderful writer. he has written multiple books on the two greatest conflicts in modern history, world war ii and the war for texas independence. [laughter] that one never fails. i said multiple books. there is an actual number, 19 published books. he does not watch much television in his free time. i would recommend "pacific payback" and "the battle for hells island: how a small band of carrier dive bombers help save guadalcanal." stephen lives in north texas. we realized that we had daughters who went to the same high school.
both of whom are named emily. here to speak on the air battles above guadalcanal, welcome stephen moore. [applause] mr. moore: we had me for the air portion of this, but i will preface this by saying i'm mainly going to talk about the sbd's dauntless dive bombers. there are a lot of different people taking part with the carrier battles and the cactus air force. our challenge at this point was to stop japan from gaining complete control of the pacific. after pearl harbor, carrier aviation came to the forefront, as far as battle tactics, replacing the old-school battleship navy.
here are a few images from the day of infamy, december 7, 1941. in the battle of hells island, i cover the role of the. list dive bombers from this popo of time -- of the dauntless dive bombers from this period of time. on december 7, the enterprise is coming in on what should be a routine flight -- they're caught up in the chaos and about one third are shot down. the results are devastating for the fleet. the enterprise quadrant regroups quickly and gets back to the business of war.
within three days, clarence dickinson attacked the japanese submarine. this became the first combat ship of world war ii sunk by carrier forces. the dauntless sbd, the dive bomber was ideally suited for carrier work. we happened to be blessed having one here with us, thank you, sir. [applause] if i slip up, let me know if i have the facts wrong. with a top speed of 250 miles per hour, the dauntless was
slower than the japanese fighters that they had at the time. some people called them slow but deadly. if you talk to some of the pilots that flew the plane, they felt otherwise. they give it credit for being highly maneuverable in dog fights and being able to absorb a severe amount of punishment in battle. the pilots had 50-caliber wing guns with which to strafe targets or attack in the air. the rear gunner originally had a single machine gun. enterprise were among the first to have dual 30 calibers mounted. the plane could carry a 1000-pound bomb underneath. it could also carry a 500-pound bomb with 100-pound charges under each wing. it could be rigged with depth charges. it was a versatile dive bomber. these navy dive bombers paid a heavy price in 1942.
case in point was scouring squadron six, which went out with the enterprise. in a short period of time, 50% of its pilots were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. 14 of scouting six's radio gunners were killed, captured, or wounded within that same six month timeframe. pretty good attrition. before we get to guadalcanal, we'll do a background on something that they did during the early month. this was our first chance to get payback. the first one came february 1, 1942, when the yorktown and enterprise air groups go out and attack the marshall and -- islands. the fact that the americans were
striking back against the japanese at all was a significant morale booster. february to march through wake island, marcus island, and new guinea. along the way, we lost more pilots and men. but they gained considerable experience with that dauntless. now in the book "hell's island," i tried to bring a personal line to it by getting into the memoirs to see what they were feeling like. four rear seat gunners with the uss lexington went through training before the war, and before the war began, they made a pledge to each other. as america was on the brink of the war, they expected rough times. at least one of them was married. a lot of them were single. they decided that if something
happens during the war, our pledge is that the rest of us, for any of us that survive, will talk to the wives of the family and let them know what did he do, what was his last action, what happened. they have this pledge. you can see these guys in december 1941, on the uss lexington. in name, slim cowley, j.b. jule, and lenny wheeler. we will follow them all the way to the guadalcanal. if you haven't looked at the book, i won't give away the story of what happens to each one but i will tell you a little about what some of them went through. one of them is lost in an island attack in a japanese harbor. his dauntless is blown apart by an anti-aircraft shell. another one is lost on a night training exercise when his plane
spins into the ocean during a storm. another member of this party spends four hours in the ocean trying to keep his injured pilot afloat after they had to ditch their sbd, and he later receives accommodation. the fourth man was so badly wounded in a bomb explosion that some of the medics initially declared him to be dead. none of them had it easy. we hear more about the pilots sometimes, but to me there are a lot of good stories of what went on in the front and back ends of those sbd's. earlier we talked about the doolittle raid. that was a significant morale boost as well.
the enterprise followed them out and helped escort the doolittle to japan. weeks after that, we have our first carrier versus carrier battle. the first time opponents are going at each other without being inside each other from each carrier there. the yorktown and lexington groups put her under the waves. the battle went on for a couple days. these are some of the heroes. two of the successful scouting teams. johnny liska and his pilot. they were given credit for destroying five japanese air bombers.
wayne cowley was credited with shooting down planes with his 30 caliber machine gun. by the end of world war ii, he had a nickname of ace collie. three of these four would go on to guadalcanal and continued that survival pledge that i mentioned. at the coral sea, i had some significant heroes. among them were two men who earned the middle of honor. one of them was jojo powers who said i will make a hit if it kills me. i'm paraphrasing him. he did just that. he went down to the carrier within 500 feet and put his bomb aboard. he didn't survive the mission, but he would get the medal of honor later. a number of the pilots earned a medal of honor for dogfighting with the sbd off coral sea against japanese torpedo planes, bombers, and fighters. that is a big portion i talk
about. they didn't have enough fighters in the fleet and they had to bring in the dive bombers to help. we lost the lexington and the battle. the yorktown was badly damaged. she makes it back to pearl harbor where she is given three days to enact quick repairs because the battle of midway is shaping up. the dauntless had one of its biggest days on june 4 when the enterprise and yorktown squadrons took out three japanese carriers. they accomplished this in the miraculous feat of about 5 minutes. this is dick best making a bombing attempt on the japanese flagship. their victory was paved by the sacrifice of three torpedo squadrons. for the dauntless to achieve what they did, there was some
sacrifice that day. not only from the carrier torpedo squadrons, but the marine and navy pilots from midway. in a span of five minutes, three flat tops were destroyed. in securing these carriers, the dive bombers paid a heavy price that day. they launched 64 but only half of that number would make it back to the flight deck. some were shot down, some ran out of fuel. the lucky ones were rescued several days later. a few of the aviators were picked up the japanese. unfortunately, they were interrogated and usually executed. if you were lucky, this guy ditched his sbd and was picked up the same day. we lost a lot of dive bombers in that battle.
there is still one undamaged japanese carrier left. the yorktown, although she was damaged that day, her group goes out and her scouts find the other carrier. they are left with a mixed bag of yorktown and enterprise dive bombers that find the japanese ship and managed to pound her with bombs, destroying a fourth japanese carrier in one day. the battle of midway goes on for some days. there is another carrier, the hornet. there is a whole other story of why they didn't get into action with her. they did get into some of the action during the next couple of days, attacking the retiring japanese cruisers and various destroyers.
one cruiser on june 6, the maikuma, was sunk. the other was so badly damaged she would be out of the war for a year. this was important because it was retribution against the japanese and it was primarily handled by the dauntlesses. some of the pilots would get back to pearl harbor and would get into fistfights with navy corpsmen who claimed they had bombed these carriers but it was the dive bombers who achieved the majority of it. it would be the dive bombers who played a majority of the role in the guadalcanal. this was not all dive bombers, not carrier-driven bomber squadrons. that is the focus here. we can speak for an hour on the fighters. the marine and navy fighters. john lundstrom has done a
terrific book on the navy fighters. my focus is the dive bombers. was the start of it. we have had a couple of great speakers talk about the campaign. when the ground forces moved ashore, you had the carrier air groups giving them flight support for two days during this early period in august. this photo shows the dirt strip that the japanese had started to build. it was named henderson field in honor of a hero of the marines from the battle of midway. we would capture that quickly once we went ashore. several major naval battles will be fought. two aircraft carrier battles.
this will be a pivotal point, trying to keep and maintain control of henderson field, because of what it offers as far as trying to protect transports, cruise ships, and carrier fleets. during the initial part of the campaign, the japanese quickly came to call this island hell's island. not only was it filled with swamps and vietnam-like jungles, but alligators and mosquitoes carrying malaria and dysentery. you had a lack of supplies. the japanese called this hells island because they had to rely on the rat patrol to run
supplies, ammunition, and food in under the cover of darkness. the americans don't have planes on the island for the first couple of weeks. the rat patrol comes in during the night. at the start of the campaign, you see an spd taking off, that is the plaintiff turner caldwell. we had planes cover the landings for two days. admiral fletcher pulled out to keep the carrier safe. lots of criticism from everyone about him being cowardly, but there were reasons for it on his side. he did and took the criticism for it. the carrier hornet would also take part in the guadalcanal campaign.
these are the ones that served during the landing days. talking about a few people who served, i pulled out a couple here. this is lieutenant stockton and birney strong. he goes back to the beginning of the war flying dive bombers. he was with the scouting five on the yorktown. he was involved with those early strikes. he had earned some navy crosses and other commendations. he'd attacked the carrier shoho at the battle of coral sea. he was given commendation for using his dive bomber as a fighting plane. nobody questioned his abilities. that is, until he gets to the first carrier battle of the guadalcanal. this is a few weeks after the landings of august 24. you have the enterprise and saratoga groups going up against japanese carrier. birney is one of the pilot sent out from the enterprise to scout out the carriers and send them back. they do that.
the way he conducted himself would draw the ire of his air group commander. bernie strong and his wingman found the carriers and reported them as they were supposed to, but they didn't stick around to make an attack. they went back to the ship and arrive safely. that didn't impress the commander. bernie strong remained in trouble with the commander for a period of time. after this battle in which a light carrier was sunk and the carrier is banished with bombs, the scouting five are rotated stateside. they've been out from the beginning of the war since december 7. they're rotated back so good pilots can help train new air groups.
and just a few of these guys would stick around with the new and incoming air group 10. and among them was lieutenant strong. in fact, he was ordered to remain behind by the commander because he was ticked off at him for being a coward and not attacking those carriers. you can imagine strong's got the desire to prove his name and is worthy of the fight. he does just that and a matter of weeks later at the second carrier battle. the battle of santa cruz. bernie strong is part of the scouting effort that goes to look for the japanese, to find and report the carriers. now before the battle, the commander addressed the pilots. bernie got pissed at this, kind of took it personally. cromlin said, if you're not going to make your bombs count, you should stay home and let me send good pilots.
strong took that personally. when they did find their weho, they pressed home their attacks. two dive bombers against the japanese carrier and they landed their bombs on the flight deck and made them count. knocked her out of the battle of santa cruz. made a huge difference with just two pilots. and for that, bernie strong was recommended later for the medal of honor for that valor, although it would be reduced to a navy cross, his third for 1942. here's another character with the dive bombers. i found him to be pretty interesting. robert gibson. had the nickname hoot that he picked up. long story about that. but hoot gibson was there from the early days. he was one of the replacement
pilots. he was a junior dive bomber pilot at the battle of midway. he got to take a swim at the battle when the yorktown went down. he went right back out and was with the enterprise during the battle of the eastern solomons. he's another one, like bernie strong, that would remain with air group 10 when it went out again. he goes back out with bombing 10 and continues the guadalcanal campaign. we'll hear more about who hoot gibson is as the battle progresses at guadalcanal. then there's the cactus air force. thomas miller has done a great book. i applaud. i hope to see that. me, it's very interesting. this is a pivotal battle to keep
guadalcanal, help the marines and maintain the shore. maintaining air supremacy from that dirt strip that we took from the japanese. they came to call this the cactus air force, the folks that served on that. and again, you've got a lot of air force, a lot of fighters. navy avenger squadrons. because of brevity, because of we're going to focus more on the dive bombers. i don't mean to diminish anyone's role. the first to fight from henderson field was a group called flight 300. that happened to be the flight number from the uss enterprise during the battle of the eastern solomons. now, when enterprise is so badly damaged that they can't land. they have orders, if need be, to continue to guadalcanal and landed henderson field, which
in fact they do. they didn't have any idea how to land. it was a comedy of errors getting them down safely without crashing. but this was a mixed bunch. scouting five and bombing six air crewmen who had been launched safely. here they are landing on a dirt strip on an island barely held by the marines close by, still japanese within mortar range and within firing range of where they would sleep at night. so begins six weeks for the enterprise flight 300 dive bomber guys on hells island. now, the leader of this flight was lieutenant caldwell. he was the skipper of scouting five. his gunner was a guy named rocky glidewell. and rocky had more experience flying from the rear seat than most of his pilots, including even his skipper. he had flown with the air group previously and the several squadron commanders.
and by the time he got to guadalcanal, rocky had more than 1000 flight hours in the rear seat. he'd been a boxer early in his career. that's where he picked up the nickname rocky. he was a scrappy guy, which you needed to be to live in this environment. the jungle, the heat, the rain, the lack of food. they were forced to sleep in what they could scrounge up for weeks on end. wash your clothes in the river, take a bath maybe once a week if you were lucky, eating army rations or japanese rice, sometimes filled with worms or maggots. the airfield is continually bombarded by the japanese forces under cover of night. or you've got frequent raids from japanese planes.
sometimes just an individual plane that comes in with the thumping of the engine they come to call washing machine charlie. he developed a system of air raid alarms to know when he's coming. that's what they looked like down there. rough conditions. the guy at the bottom with the white t-shirt and the bandage is rocky glidewell. he'd actually gone out on a mission, got shot in the arm, took one day off and is back in the air the next day with his bullet wound and everything. that's what these guys were made of. that's what they had to be made of. the planes were wiped out on a regular basis from bombardments. you can see the picture whether it's enemy ships coming in or aerial bombardments, planes were wiped out from the aerial raids. men scrambled to get aboard as
quickly as they can. because if you don't, you will lose your plane. they also attack other islands ended japanese bases and troop positions. anything they can to keep things going. and at night, they just write out the attacks. but they felt that they lost a plane per day on average. and this is what your camp could quickly become. so in addition to the enemy and the other leeches and bad things to deal with, you've got the tropical front that could turn the whole camp into a quagmire overnight. replacement planes were flown up as available from the closest base where we could stage the planes when they were available. the rear gunner, as i mentioned before, played a big role. and actually, they could help
fly the plane at times, when need be. this is elmer, his nickname was spike. he was part of flight 300 on the enterprise. on the night of august 30, he goes out to attack a destroyer, part of the rat patrol coming in. his plane is hit, badly, by antiaircraft fire. he's wounded. he's bleeding. he's kind of delirious, kind of stupid, flying uncontrollably back over the japanese ship, toward the island, away from the island. and finally, his gunner decideds he's not with it. he puts his stick in in the rear seat and begins helping to fly the dauntless back. he saves it. spike is one of the people airlifted out later because of battle injuries. the rear gunner not only shot
zeros off their tail but in this case, had to help land a plane. they also took part in working on the planes in between attacks, helping to gas them, helping to scavenge parts. put them back together. this is the boneyard at cactus. that's a marine dive bomber. they're stripping it apart . this is the torpedo eight, which came in and served for the cactus air force, they came to a point -- jim was talking about bombardments wiping out the planes. there was a point where there were no injured torpedo flyers that would fly at all. they built frankenstein avengers, put them together, got them in the air. and that's what you had to do, that's life on the canal, stripping everything you could. the flight 300 guys, the first couple weeks, first couple days
of being there, they helped sink two japanese destroyers, but it was constant action and hell to keep the aircraft flying. this is what they look like after some of the attacks. after a month, many of the planes were too heavy to fly. this one was blown apart by a japanese bombing attack. some of his pilots were wounded or too sick to fly. the battle 300 was taken out at the end of september after six weeks on hells island. now fortunately, there was no shortage of planes because of what was called torpedo junction. these were aviators that could be brought in thanks to japanese submarines. the waters became so deadly, the people called it torpedo junction. the carrier saratoga -- she's forced to go stateside to make repairs. on september 15, the carrier
wasp is hit by torpedoes and fatally damaged, finally sunk that day. but many of her aviators were able to land on the carrier hornet and fly onto espiritu santo. among those was scouter 71, which was commanded by lieutenant commander john eldridge. he would take scouting 71 into cactus air force to serve with the marines, as well as scouting three, which had been aboard the saratoga, commanded by a former football star named bullet lou kekrnern. you've got the guys to come in here to serve with the cactus air force. this is one of the guys here, nate murphy from the wasp scouting 71. he's beside his plane in one of the lower photos. and then the bearded look he has assumed after a number of weeks on guadalcanal -- they didn't want to shave because of fear of getting infection from rusty razors.
and last i knew, nate was one of the few spd pilots still living that flew with the air force. the big carrier battles we mentioned, eastern solomons and santa cruz. this whittles down to carrier strength between the japanese and the americans. the enterprise is damaged at the eastern solomons battle and the santa cruz battle. so badly damaged she has to be taken out of action for a short period of time, but we did lose the carrier hornet. she's hit by bombs, by torpedoes , and even, as you see in this picture, it would be japanese kamikaze. one of the first planes to hit a ship that was trying to be done so. they thought the hornet would be lost, to be scuttled eventually. which leaves only the big e, the last operational carrier in this
part of the pacific to handle the rest of the campaign. the biggest push comes in november, 1942, when admiral halsey receives intelligence the japanese has a major undertaking to take guadalcanal back, which will take a major ground assaults, battleships, and cruisers for actions and large convoy bringing new soldiers in. he has little choice but to get the big e back under way and stop this. her air group will become the salvation for guadalcanal there. the forward elevator is in the bad habit of sticking in the down position so the skipper decides we'll not use that for flight operations. during the course of the action after the big night battle, they begin flying off, her air group, little by little. on the 13th, they send off the
buzzer brigade, torpedo squadron 10. they help the cactus air force to sink a japanese battleship the first day. and torpedo bomber crews stay -- atght at chronicle now the guadalcanal. and the next day, more aircrews joined the cactus. the marine commander has one marine tbf and two marine dive bomber squadrons. by the next day, november 14, the majority of the air group will have been flown into guadalcanal. so this map here will give you an idea how busy it became for the cactus and group. scouts found not only the retiring warships and bombardment force but this troop convoy coming in.
and you can see a couple different courses and a series of different attacks. you guys will have to let me know how i'm going on time here. we can spend a long time talking about each of these strikes and attacks. among the guys that go out this morning, gibson, he and his wingmen go in and take out a japanese cruiser. didn't hit her as they thought they did, but they landed near misses that were so close that it helped flood and sink the cruiser, which already had a serious amount of damage. the marine dive bombers, torpedo planes, enterprise, and the two dive bomber squadrons are literally ferrying back and forth all day long through cactus, making strike and strike on warships and convoys in what would be the busiest day for the cactus air force. 15 minutes after lou gibson's
group knocks out the cruiser, two guys find bombardment ships. two of them attack. one of them is paul halloran. his sbd is damaged and he bombery crashes his dive into the japanese cruiser maya, wrecking it and killing 17 japanese sailors. here's kind of what the frenzy looked like. the dirt strip, this picture is actually earlier because you have the control tower over there. eventually, the pagoda and other structures were taken down because they became prime targets. they learned a lot of hard lessons. the marines and the navy spent one of their busiest days continually putting these guys back in the air. read comedy and bill johnson ended up landing at the field. one of them was shot down by
japanese zeros he encountered before he made it there. other strikes from the enterprise began to ferry in from the day, including a 17 sbd strike group and the grim reaper's of the fighting 10. you've got wildcat fighters from the navy and from the marines that day. they finish one of the japanese cruisers and continue to repel this incoming troop transit convoy coming in with fresh soldiers. by the end of the day, they crippled a couple of those and sink them outright. another couple of guys i will try to talk about, bruce mcgraw, he was a dive bomber pilot at santa cruz. he ended up being on the carrier after the bombing attack when enterprise was damaged, and had to work in a first aid station, holding a guy literally until he
died in his arms. he gave him resolve he would go out and kill as many japanese as he could with his dive bomber when he got the chance. he got to do that november 14. the commander told him you get those transports when you guys leave here. that's exactly what mcgraw did. his first dive going in, he had no dive brakes and pretty much reached terminal velocity in three-mile dive going down, but he on in and made his bomb a direct hit the blue out the site of one of those transports. three other pilots achieved hits on the japanese transports. leonard robinson, his nickname was robbie robinson, he was a buddy with mcgraw. he came in on the first strike and had to divert to anderson field because of lack of fuel. but he would go out and make two more strikes that on the japanese convoy coming in. the third mission, his group of
dauntlesses had no fighter cover, which was protested throughout the mission. but they still send them out. they lost three sbd's. one of the guys would survive many days in the ocean. but robbie made it back, barely. his conner was wounded, his plane was badly shot up and he had trouble outrunning japanese zeros. and when he did make it back to henderson field, he had 68 bullet holes that they could count in his dauntless. by nightfall, one of the troops was forced to turn back. two had been sunk outright great -- outright. others were crippled, hit by bombs and tornadoes, drifting further out to sea. four undamaged transports were still inbound, heading for guadalcanal. they would beach themselves. you can see from these burning hulks right here.
that's a famous photograph taken , doingot gibson's plane recon, trying to find out where the transports went. that's where they found it on the coast. they ran themselves to ground, let the troops out, tried to get supplies they could on to the beaches. and what ensues is just a sickly a field day for the dive bombers and the torpedo planes the next day to go in and bomb the stuff put ashore on guadalcanal. while others went off that were still drifting offshore. this is the hulk of a japanese ship. hoot gibson was one of the guys that bombed this ship. these hulks will remain for decades off the coast of guadalcanal. some of it's been destroyed and
taken down for safety purposes, but scuba divers still swim around these hulks of japanese transports that tried to win this furious battle november 1942 of the guadalcanal. it was costly, but you can see from the stats as far as the japanese, two days of airstrikes and the big naval battles there had cost the japanese two battleships, a heavy cruiser, three destroyers, 10 troop transports, about 64 aircraft, and thousands of lives. as i mentioned, those transports remained there for decades, but in terms of american cost, we lost two light cruisers, seven destroyers, and only about three dozen aircraft in this period of time. so it was a huge victory for the americans, not just by the spd's, but by the cactus air force playing a pivotal role in what combined with ground forces
and big naval battles offshore. the battle for guadalcanal was the beginning of the end for the japanese on the island. as we know, celebrating today's date, it didn't happen immediately. it was another few months of fighting that went on before the japanese withdrawal. but it was a major victory for the u.s. as far as the first major islands offensive in the pacific war. now, the dive bombers and the cactus air force played a huge role in turning back this assault. in the months prior to november, sbd squadrons participated in two carrier battles off guadalcanal and they'd made attacks on numerous warships from carriers and henderson field. hoot gibson, that dive bomber i mentioned a couple of times, he reflected on what they accomplished by helping to turn the tide.
and quoting him, he said, "midway was not the turning point, nor did we have superiority over the japanese after midway. we didn't have air superiority until november 1942." i'll have to agree with them. midway was a huge victory but this was a big tide turned at guadalcanal. as far as the sbd's, wrapping up their success, there have been through four major carrier battles, including guadalcanal. they have helped or contributed to sinking six japanese carriers and badly damaged three others. a battleship, three cruisers and four destroyers had gone down under sbd bombs and avenger torpedoes. the sbd's would claim more than 140,000 combatant ships sunk and more than 50,000 tons shunk -- tons sunk with shared claims. nearly one third of japan's prewar naval strength and
carriers, battleships, and cruisers have been sunk or disabled by dive bombers. this figure doesn't include merchant ships of which sbd's could claim eight of those exclusively. in addition, the dive bomber crews claimed nearly 80 japanese aircraft during this time, and the significant part as many of these crews would be the nucleus or the backbone for the next few years in the pacific rebuilding carrier air groups stateside. and their experience would go a long way for 1943 and 1944. if you look at okinawa campaign in 1945, there's a lot of names leaving the squadrons that flew the coral sea and the guadalcanal battles. the fighting spirit and combat experience not only helped turn
the tide at guadalcanal, but would go a long way making a major difference in america's success in world war ii. i know we need to try and wrap this up for questions. i'll throw it back to you. >> thank you very much, steve, for a great presentation. [applause] we have time -- we'll go over a bit into the break. time for one or two questions but the rest will stay for the roundtable. >> we had a forum here about 10 years ago on midway. the guy that came in was dusty cleese. he died, i think, maybe last year, age 101, but he got two hits and said in five minutes it was nonsense. it was less than four minutes.
>> dusty cleese was a heckuva guy. i had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple of times. he was living in san antonio. my pacific payback book, he was kind enough to answer a lot of questions for that. if you haven't read his autobiography, first-rate book on the first year of the dive bombers, it's "never call me a hero." great guy. >> we will go with one on the floor and one in the mezzanine next. >> i was just wondering why they were using the largest, slowest planes as scouts. is it because of further range or was nothing else available? >> as far as the dive bombers? >> yes. >> well, the carriers only had so much range. they had more range, and they could -- later in the war they learned to put on the drop tanks and get additional distance which the fighters could as
well. it was just a very versatile plane. they used the spd for all kinds of missions. the avengers also went on scouting missions. more often than not, the fighters were not used for reconnaissance. >> upstairs to your right, steve. >> i want to ask about the logistics of supplying these dive bombers because as i'm listening to this, i wonder how they got the bombs in and the ammunition? >> any replacement groups like the wasp and the saratoga and other ones when they brought planes in, they would bring bombs or tornadoes. other stuff was brought in by shipping, delivered there and offloaded. some guys would go out and enlisted men would leave on these transport ships. and in one case, a japanese dive
bomber hit one of these, loaded with aviation fuel and bombs, killed guys with torpedoes and bomber crews that were evacuating the island after a long time. but anybody that came in from espiritu santo would fly in with them. if you didn't drop on a target on your mission it went out the next day. bombs were precious. >> and i think this is probably a good time to give steve another round of applause. and we'll have any more questions at the roundtable. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> follow us on twitter @cspanhistory for information on our schedule and keep up with the latest history news. monday night on "the
communicators" democratic congressman mike doyle. neutrality.ut net he is interviewed by david mccabe. now is toority right get this net neutrality issue in statue and finalized once and for all after 15 years of watching this issue ping-pong back and forth between fcc commissioner. i think the public overwhelmingly supports net neutrality rules and wants to see some certainty and permanence. >> next on american artifacts, we traveled to independence, missouri, to tour the harry truman library and museum. he became president in