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Swordfish conundrum


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2 hours ago, John B (Sc) said:


All this has now got me re-reading more about the early naval air battles of the second war and reminded me again just how important Midway was: I must check on how American Intelligence got wind of that.


(This is what makes this forum and this hobby, so interesting)


John B


Yes this makes a very interesting read John


USA intelligence in Hawaii monitored the Japanese radio messages.

Within those messages a code name kept cropping up. It appeared to

refer to a geographical location.


The intelligence officer decided that it must be somewhere between

Hawaii and Japan. He guessed Midway.


But how to prove it. He got Midway to send a message saying that the

water condensers were playing up and not working.


The Japanese monitoring USA radio reported back to base about the

condensers quoting the coded geographical location name.


Game set and match.




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14 hours ago, Graham Boak said:

  I have certainly read comments (Hugh Popham's Sea Flight?)  about disappointment among the Albacore crews because they were not allowed to launch that night. 


Correct.  "The T.B.R. boys were equally galled.  The thought of an enemy fleet just over the horizon, simply waiting to be torpedoed, was not to be borne."  Instead "we lurked over the horizon and chewed our nails and followed the tracks of the dive bombers [sinking Hermes, Cornwall and Dorsetshire] on our radar screens".


But one has to have some sympathy with Somerville: 5 aircraft carriers and 4 fast battleship against 2 aircraft carriers and Warspite.  The potential annihilation of his ramshackle fleet-in-being, coming so soon after the loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse, put him in a position similar to Jellicoe's as "the only man able to lose the war in a day".

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