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Previously on Battle 360, Truk Lagoon, the Central Pacific.
Like a Hammer of Hell, Enterprise's airplanes nailed the Gibraltar of Pacific
and gave the Japanese Empire a Pearl Harbor of their own.
Now the Big-E turns towards the Mariana Islands,
one deadly step closer to the enemy homeland.
And the American submarines have the Imperial fleet locked in their sights.
USS Enterprise, a fighting city of steel
---She is the most revered and decorated ship of the WWII.
On this 360 degree battle,
where threats loom on the seas, in the skies, and in the ocean depth.
the Enterprise's enemy can be anywhere and everywhere.
There is nowhere to run when the battles are all around you.
The Battle 360...USS Enterprise...D-Day in the Pacific.
Dawn, June 13, 1944, in the waters off Saipan, in the Mariana islands,
aircraft carrier USS Enterprise clears for action.
Her massive flight deck is alive with revving engines
as the TBF Avengers of Torpedo Squadron 10 prepare to hit enemy positions on Saipan.
In command of Torpedo 10 is Bill Martin.
He's a seasoned leader with 2 bloody years aboard Enterprise under his belt.
The finest officer you'd ever meet. Everybody trusted him.
He was an excellent pilot, he had been around quite a while,
and he'd been in a scouting squadron before.
So, he was just an all-around, good officer.
Flying in the big Avenger with Martin are radioman first class Williams and ordnance man W.R. Hargrove.
Their target is a Japanese flak battery on the southern tip of the island,
where in just a few days, ground troops will be slogging ashore.
The enemy stronghold is covered with anti-aircraft artillery and it's Enterprise's job to wipe them out.
We were dropping bombs on land targets and any ships or anything that happen to be there.
It was not like we had at Guadalcanal. We didn't have much opposition there.
BY THEN, WE HAD THE F6Fs, and we were pretty well-protected.
For 2 days, Enterprise and the fleet of American carriers have been launching air strikes against Saipan,
pummeling the island with bombs in anticipation of a major invasion by U.S. marines and soldiers.
200 miles away, an American battleship division
moves within the range of the enemy island from a massive bombardment.
USS New Jersey and her sister Iowa-class battleships open fire with heavy broadsides from their 16" batteries.
These warships are the new generations of the fast battleships.
The Iowa Class battleship weighs in 45,000 tons with an overall length of 887 ft.
In addition to a dozens of 5", 40mm, and 20mm anti-aircraft guns,
they pack a ___ 9 16" 50 caliber rifles, capable of killing a target at 25 miles.
There's just one problem: The gunners on these ships are raw and inexperienced in shore bombardment.
10,000 yards away, enemy machine gun nests, pillboxes, and bunkers weather the incoming fire.
Most of the 2,400 16-inch projectiles, each weighing nearly a ton, are simply wasted.
They barely scrape the surface of the Japanese positions.
The Japanese were very, very good at entrenchment, cover, and concealment,
so it was very difficult to even see their targets first of all,
much less being able to put effective naval gunfire on top of 'em.
It's going to take a lot more to wipe out the enemy defenses.
10 miles away, Bill Martin's group of 7 TBF Avengers arrives over their target:
Japanese gun emplacements and bunkers.
Martin's plane peels off and heads for a Japanese flak battery.
He's got 2 500-pound bombs, enough ordnance to annihilate the enemy position.
But the Japanese see him coming and open fire.
At 12,000 feet, bursts of steel flak pepper the air all around his Avenger.
Martin rolls into a steep dive, heading right for his target at high speed.
Really, the plane should have been at about 250 knots for a diving profile.
This guy's going maybe 350, 360. It's pretty fast.
The plane wasn't really made for that. It's doing a mission it's not designed for.
At 350 miles per hour and in a near-vertical dive,
Martin's plane catches a load of shrapnel just as he releases his bomb load.
Martin's in a flat spin, out of control.
His Avenger begins a deadly, tumbling free fall towards the earth.
EXTREME NEGATIVE G's Are literally pulling the pilot out of his seat.
?==>You might not be able to reach your stick of throttle.
(?)You might not be able to actually calm ___ and talk to your crew member.
The blood has been pushed into your face. You just need to keep thinking straight.
He tries to call Williams and Hargrove on the mic. No answer.
His plane is on fire. Only seconds separate Martin from a fiery death.
At the last possible moment, he releases his harness,
jerks the ripcord, and is pulled out of the burning aircraft.
Martin's parachute blossoms just as his plane slams into a lagoon.
His body makes a rough landing in five feet of water as charred debris falls all around him.
30 ft away, his Avenger crackles under an oily, black plume, a funeral pyre for his veteran crew.
With Japanese machine guns and rifles firing at him from shore,
Martin slowly makes his way to a reef 1,000 yards away.
So he paddled outside the lagoon. They were shooting at him for a while but he got outside.
Somebody came in and picked him up.
Martin is later rescued by the cruiser Indianapolis.
And the next day, he is returned to the Big-E, very lucky to be alive.
And it is only the beginning.
ON THE NIGHT OF June 14th, An American submarine makes a startling discovery.
For the first time in more than 18 months, a massive Japanese fleet has taken to the seas
and it's headed right for Saipan and USS Enterprise.
Flash back. One month earlier, May 1944.
For 6 months, US fleet has been raising hell in the central Pacific,
and carriers like USS Enterprise have seen their share of the action.
Now the US command prepares for the next phase of battle,
a major drive on the central Pacific's Mariana Islands.
The US navy sets their sights on Saipan, the main focus of the operation.
(?)And the fleet is ___ ready for action.
By now the American war machine has built an Armada unlike anything ever seen.
That's what you have on the Pacific Fleet. It ends up with a large number of aircraft carriers.
These carriers can move quickly. More and more ships. Its bigger, faster, and much more deadly navy.
If the US can capture Saipan, the island will offer an ideal base
for the US Army B-29 Superfortress bombers.
From here, the massive warplanes can begin strategic bombing of the home islands.
We would be able to contribute to the battle
a major strategic air campaign against the Japanese home islands.
And it was thought that
by subjecting the Japanese home islands to a protracted, strategic air campaign,
the likes of which we were doing to the Germans in Europe, it would accelerate the end of the war.
Target: Saipan.
Objective: Seize the heavily defended enemy island; crush the Japanese garrison.
Strategy: Carriers like Enterprise will hammer the island with warplanes,
battleships will pummel it from the sea,
and US marines and soldiers will battle the enemy on land.
As Allied forces push in on the empire from all sides,
the Japanese army and navy will be divided, faced with fighting a multi-front war.
It poses a horrendous problem for the Japanese in that they're strained everywhere.
And planes that, you know, could be sent to the central Pacific navy,
in many cases, are going down to New Guinea to fight against the army down there.
By 1944, the Axis power was on the defensive.
As the Allies are prepared for the mass invasion in the Pacific, in France and Italy,
You can consider that the American forces are heavily engaged in combat in Italy
that the American forces are also about to conduct the landing in Normandy on June 6.
the US military is demonstrating its capable of engaging an broad offensive operations
on opposite sides of the world simultaneously.
Saipan will be one of the most important invasions of the war,
a Normandy of the Pacific. AND D-Day IS SET FOR June 15th.
At the Island base Majuro, the Marshall Island,
thousands of men from the Navy, Army and Marine Corps get ready for the invasion.
Most of the sailors and marines from different ships are strangers from every corner of USA.
Not all this fighting men are destined to get along.
By 1944, a 150 year rivalry still divides the marines of the fleet and the ship sailors.
Damage control men Pedro Sandoval from ___ of TX gets a close look at this rift
when he has a chance to run in a childhood friend from back home.
There is a marine came aboard ship, looking for me. He walked in the shop when I see him ___
He was just a brother to me before we even joined the service. And I gave him a big hug,
and everybody looked at me. What? What's wrong with him? You gave a marine a hug. You are..
The marines waiting there were surprised too.
As he was just like a brother to me and I hadn't seen him since I left for the war.
Enterprise will sail as the flagship of her task group, but she is only part of a massive armada of
15 carriers, 7 battleships, 14 cruisers, over 50 destroyer escorts,
and a score of transports, oilers, and supply ships.
One of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen: There were 14, 15 big United States carriers there,
as well as light carriers and cruisers, destroyers.
I have never, in my life, seen such a bunch of ships getting together.
The entire naval force is under the command of Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher.
At 57 years old, Wisconsin native Marc Mitscher is a hard-fighting admiral and former naval aviator.
As a career veteran with more than 30 years at sea,
he knows how to use carriers like Enterprise and their aircraft in mortal combat against the enemy.
Among the 15 carriers that Mitscher commands are 6 of the new Essex Class fleet carriers.
Each of these giant flat top with displacement more than 36,000 tons fully loaded,
10,000 more than Enterprise.
They also pack heavy armaments: 4 twin 5" guns, 8 single 5" guns, 8 quad mount 40 mms,
and more than 40 20 mm guns.
They can also carry 110 aircraft to Enterprise's 90.
June 6, 1944, Enterprise and her task group steam away from the island of Majuro, bound for Saipan.
As the ship cruises through the open seas, her Executive Officer comes on loud speaker
and announced the news of Normandy invasion in France. But the beaches of Normandy are half a world away.
Enterprise, the Pacific are heading for a D-Day of their own.
For the men of Enterprise, the road to victory and the way home is through Saipan and the Philippine sea.
But each time the Big-E heads into battle, her men can only wonder when their famous luck might run out.
Louisiana native and Enterprise marine Louis Michot already knows the risks after 6 months aboard ship.
You know your time might be coming which you keep-- you just get it off your mind and do your job.
Can't lie down. If you get hit, you get hit.
That's why war is hell. I knew I was in danger, but so was all my comrades.
And we were working like a team. We had to just keep going and do what we're trained to do.
This time, Enterprise, the fleet, and the marines are up against 32,000 Japanese troops.
Dug in on the hillsides of Saipan, like their brothers at Guadalcanal and Tarawa,
these defenders will fight to their death.
But for the first time since the battle of Santa Cruz,
a massive Japanese carrier fleet is also preparing for battle.
Battered by the bloodbaths at Midway, Guadalcanal, and Santa Cruz,
the Imperial Navy has finally rebuilt and is ready to meet the Big-E.
The Japanese navy has tried frantically to build their carrier force
into some sort of replica of what they had at the beginning of the war.
They have more carriers now.
Among the Japanese carriers are sister ships Shokaku and Zuikaku,
the very same vessels that the Big-E squared off against in the eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz.
And now they're back for a rematch with Enterprise.
So, we were longing for bearing(?) and we knew where they were and when they were coming.
The Imperial task force also includes the new mega carrier, Taiho.
It's unlike anything the Big-E has ever gone up against.
Taiho, which means "great phoenix," is 30,000 tons of imperial iron built by Kawasaki.
She has 2 enormous hangar decks, compared to Enterprise's one; 61 aircraft;
and instead of wood, her flight deck is plated with three-inch armored steel.
Her weaponry consists of 12 99-millimeter flak guns and 51 25-millimeter machine guns.
She is the flagship of the entire carrier force.
Commanded by Vice-Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa a.k.a. the Gargoyle.
He's six feet tall, has a chest covered with medals,
and is the mastermind of the empire's carrier fleet, veteran of Java, Sumatra, and Guadalcanal.
There's just one problem: Japan is running out of expert pilots.
Most of them wiped out in the first year of the war. Ozawa's pilots are raw and poorly trained.
There is a stark contrast to the fleet air arm that the Japanese began the second world war with,
when you consider that those were among the cream of the crop of naval aviation. But they're all gone.
And by this stage of the war, in their places are new, moderately trained pilots,
pilots who were not up to the task of going up against seasoned American naval aviators.
They were pretty far gone as far as skills concerned.
The differences between 1943 and 1944 was all the devils in the world. We had, they didn't.
June 11, 1944, D-Day, minus four.
The veteran Hellcat fighters called the grim reapers launch their first attack against the Marianas from the Big-E.
Admiral Mitscher, a former pilot himself, gives the reapers a simple order: "Cut their damn throats."
In the skies over Saipan, the Hellcats blast enemy aircraft and their pilots into the afterlife.
Next, the fighter planes strafe the airfields with hot .50 caliber lead.
Parked aircraft are destroyed and go up in flames.
Fuel tanks explode. And enemy gunners are blown to pieces.
For 2 solid days, American fighters and bombers ravage Saipan and the nearby islands
of Rota, Tinian, and Guam, doing all they can before the marines storm ashore.
Next, the Iowa-Class battleships turn their guns on Saipan.
And Bill Martin has a close call when his plane is blown out of the sky.
But after 3 days of hard fighting, Saipan is still a fortress island.
And for the crew of USS Enterprise, the battle for the Marianas has only just begun.
In response to the American attacks, Admiral Ozawa has taken to the seas,
headed for a showdown. He has one mission, crush the U.S. fleet.
June 15, 1944, D-Day in the invasion of Saipan.
Enterprise launches a major air strike of SBD dive bombers, Hellcat fighters, and Avenger torpedo planes.
It's part of a massive support mission. While the marines wade ashore,
planes from Lexington and Enterprise will hit the beaches and pillboxes with bombs and machine-gun fire.
The assault is led by commander William "killer" Kane of Enterprise.
The veteran pilot will lead 68 planes from the 2 ships in the brutal assault on Saipan.
This is before the marines landed. You'd go in first and hit all the anti-aircraft.
This is one of the major operations of the war as far as, you know, number of troops landing and all that,
'cause the Japanese, they didn't want you to take Saipan at all. I mean That was a big blow to them.
As Kane's strike force heads into the deadly airspace,
they can clearly see the marines heading for the beaches.
As the American airmen batter the Japanese positions with round after round of bombs and bullets,
20,000 US Marine wade ashore and face the Japanese defenders in hellish combat.
In one single day of battle, 2,000 Americans are killed or wounded on Saipan.
2,000 Men for less than a half a mile of Japanese real estate.
A gruesome start to one of the biggest battles in the Pacific war.
7:00PM, carriers Enterprise, Lexington, and Bunker Hill cruise the waters off Saipan.
As the sun begins to set on D-Day, the ships prepare for another night in the hostile central Pacific.
Suddenly, the main search radar on the Enterprise picks something up.
It's an incoming air assault. 22 miles away,
7 land-based Fran torpedo bombers head right for Enterprise and carrier Lexington.
Within minutes, the enemy planes will be within striking distance.
10 miles ahead of the Frans, spotters on Enterprise can now clearly see the incoming assault.
Seconds later, the guns of the task force roar into action.
5" 38-caliber rifles from Enterprise and Lexington thump out a volley of explosive projectiles.
40-mm and 20-mm anti-aircraft guns spray red-hot streams of fire into the air.
The American task force is formed up in a defensive circle.
Their mission is simple: Unleash an umbrella of fire, protect the Big-E and other carriers at all costs.
The typical battle line of an American naval task force in the summer of 1944 in the Pacific theater
consisted of aircraft carriers at the center of the formation;
uh...close to the carriers, battleships bringing the most guns to the battle area;
out from the battleships, you would have a ring of cruisers;
and then finally, destroyers on the outskirts of the battle formation.
And the purpose and point of this kind of battle formation was to engage incoming Japanese aircraft
as far away from the most important ship as possible,
and the most important ship, of course, was the aircraft carrier.
The enemy planes hug the air just over the waves, on a headlong charge into the fusillade of gunfire.
From his battle station, Enterprise Marine Lieutenant Richard Harte watches as one Japanese plane is torn by flak.
You could see the shells hitting, and inside caught fire,
and you can see the pilot silhouetted against the blaze inside the plane,
but still flying it, still concentrating.
In the confusion of battle, American ships fire in all directions.
US sailors now face the Japanese pilots and friendly fire.
I can see this right now. I'm on the flight deck again, lying low,
Bunker Hill is firing RIGHT INTO THE FLIGHT over there-- I fire across.
I fire at and the japs they come down there.
By flying low among the American ships, the Japanese pilots know
US gunners will have to fire into their own men.
Anybody who stick up was probably shot down. It's that bad.
All of the ships that were protecting the carriers
were putting up so much fire frantically and in a frenzied way,
attempting to bring down the Japanese torpedo aircraft.
They had rounds falling on friendly ships and friendly vessels.
A sailor manning one of the Big-E's batteries takes a 40 mm round to the head
just a bit from the powder locker for the 5" guns.
(???)Had a wrong luck, sailor on exploding would hit that ammunition storage locker
and detonated the ammunition on the inside
which would've caused enormous damage and would've led to even greater loss of life.
Enterprise holds her own, her 5" and 40-mm batteries hammer away into the night.
But 1,000 yards ahead, a Fran torpedo plane drops its payload.
In a matter of moments, it could be all over for the Big-E.
At the last second, the ship heels over into a hard turn and just barely dodges the warhead.
Her gunners destroy two of the enemy planes, smashing them into crumpled, burning steel.
Within minutes the chilling nighttime battle is over.
Amazingly, only 3 US sailors are killed, but more than 50 are wounded, all victims of friendly crossfire.
Well, friendly fire, fratricide, of course, I mean, it is gonna happen.
I mean, we don't accept it, but it does happen,
and it's happened in every war that we've ever been involved in,
every war that's ever been fought, you know?
And there are certain measures that you can take to avoid it, but there's no 100 % way.
But even more harrowing is what lies over the distant horizon.
1,200 Nautical miles away,
American submarine USS Flying Fish cruises through the waters off the Philippine islands
on the hunt for any Japanese vessels that might head for Saipan. Flying Fish is a Gato-Class submarine.
311 ft long, she has 10 21" torpedo tubes capable of launching 24 torpedoes
and is armed with a single 3" deck gun.
Right now, subs like Flying Fish are the eyes of the U.S. fleet.
Amazingly, the submarine spots admiral Ozawa's forces.
One by one, the dark shapes of six aircraft carriers appear on the horizon.
Immediately, the sub reports the sighting.
Admiral Marc Mitscher now knows that Ozawa and his carriers are on the way.
Thanks to the lone submarine, Enterprise and the US fleet know that an all-out carrier battle is coming.
The US command is now dead certain that Ozawa is on his way to Saipan,
so they order Mitscher to divide his forces.
While the older battleships, like USS Tennessee and Pennsylvania
remain at Saipan with the escort carriers,
Mitscher leads the 8 fleet carriers, including Enterprise, and 7 light carriers west to the island of Tinian
where they will intercept Ozawa's forces.
The new fast battleships and the cruisers form a battle line well ahead of the carriers.
They will provide an anti-aircraft barrier and will finish off any enemy vessels crippled in battle.
Ozawa's forces head northeast from the Philippines in 2 elements.
The first line of warships are light carriers, cruisers,
and the super battleships Musashi and Yamato
under the command of Admiral Takeo Kurita.
100 Miles to the rear are carriers Zuikaku, Shokaku, and Taiho,
with 3 additional light carriers.
Ozwa has 450 carrier aircraft and another Ozawa has 450 carrier aircraft and another 530 land-based planes on Guam.
He plans to use these planes to wipe out a third of Mitscher's force..
For 2 days, Japanese and American scout planes search the seas for each other's carriers,
but still the Americans have no idea where Ozawa's ships are
or if they're within punching distance of the Big-E and her task force.
Dawn, June 19, 1944. USS Enterprise launches a strike of radar-equipped TBF Avengers,
led by Bill Martin who survived a crash landing just days before.
Their mission: Find Ozawa's fleet and report their location back to the task force.
At the same time, the grim reapers' Hellcats will fly combat air patrol and intercept
any Japanese planes that may strike the U.S. carriers.
Among the reapers this day is Donald "flash" Gordon,
a seasoned fighter pilot and veteran of many Enterprise battles.
I was with pre-dawn launch for combat air patrol, so we knew the fleet was out there and headed toward us.
So we expected their strikes. We were 100 and some miles west of Guam.
For nearly 2 years, Gordon has been fighting in the skies over Enterprise
at Santa Cruz, Rennell Island, and Truk.
He has 4 confirmed enemy kills to his name,
but in order to become a fighter ace, he needs at least one more kill---
Will this be the day?
5:40 AM, Enterprise prepares for action.
Her crew mans battle stations, machine-guns are locked and loaded,
and 5" shells are ready to slam into the breeches of the long-range rifles.
And everybody is running up and down the ladders, the sailors are going where they belong,
and we're going where we belong.
And everybody's-- it's an emergency when they sound the general quarters, battle situations.
The buzzer goes off, and you know what that means.
That means battle situations, it means you're under attack or you're about to.
100 Miles away, land-based Japanese planes from Guam
are already on their way, ready to terrorize the American ships.
But the Hellcats of the US task force stop them dead in their tracks.
The air is filled with roaring 50-caliber machine gun fire
as a score of hard-hitting fighter planes tear into the Japanese air strike.
Everyone wanted to be in the action, I tell you. It was amazing.
Within minutes, 30 enemy planes are destroyed; burning wrecks chewed up and tossed into the sea.
Back on Taiho, Ozawa has no idea that the air strikes from Guam have failed.
He's now determined to slam Mitscher's spearhead, the American battleship force.
The Japanese carriers launch their first strikes against the American fleet.
As one wave of planes roars into the skies, another prepares to follow in its wake.
But at the same time, submarine USS Albacore, sister to the Flying Fish,
spots carrier Taiho just as she launches her warplanes.
Albacore immediately fires off a spread of 6 torpedoes against the giant ship.
Moments later, one of the torpedoes makes a direct hit against Taiho's starboard side.
The warhead slams into the ship and nails her aviation fuel storage tanks.
Oil and gas lines are opened to the sea, and dangerous fumes slowly start to fill the ship.
But the Taiho steams on, her crew unaware they are sailing on a ticking timebomb.
Back on Enterprise, radar picks up Ozawa's incoming air strike.
They're only 140 miles from the American task force.
IMMEDIATELY, THE Big-E's 5" guns level their barrels, ready to pound the incoming imperial war birds.
Inside the ship, the officers and men of the Combat Information Center are hard at work.
Here, the flight direction officers vector the Big-E's fighters into the oncoming Japanese.
Each ship with the task force had a fighter director officer sitting and the Combat Information Center.
In the use of radar through the use of the fighter director officers, the ships had an ability
to vector the combat air patrol in defensive of the aircraft
to engage inbound enemy aircraft intent upon attacking the task force.
As Enterprise prepares for the sting of enemy bombs,
her fighter planes charge headlong into the incoming storm.
10 miles out, the Grim Reapers close in on a formation of Kate torpedo planes.
Flying his second mission of the day is Flash Gordon, in the lead of a section of two Hellcats.
Now Gordon maneuvers into position behind the Kates and draws a bead on the enemy fliers.
We got behind a formation of 4, and shot those down.
And I saw a single one down on the water, and I got down behind him.
Flash Gordon chases the Kate into a solid wall of American anti-aircraft fire.
It looks like the enemy pilot is on a suicide run.
I wasn't going to fly into that AA, 'cause he wasn't gonna survive. I just wanna survive,
So just about the time I'm ready to do a 180,
he drops his torpedo a good 5 miles or more from any ship
and turned right-- and I shot him down.
Gordon immediately pulls out of the gunfire as the enemy plane tumbles to the sea.
Finally, after 2 years of battle with the Enterprise,
Grim Reaper Donald "flash" Gordon of Fighter Squadron 10 is a fighter ace.
I never had a dogfight. I either got a head-on or a tail-on.
They never saw us coming. And that's the way to fight a war.
The Japanese planes that aren't destroyed by Flash Gordon and the Grim Reapers
are blown to pieces by 5" .38 caliber rifles
and the thundering 40-mm cannons of Enterprise in the American fleet.
If he had a big gun going off it vibrates the whole ship. It goes the way you are.
You know we are under attack when you hear the 5" guns start firing
that made a lot of noises, big, big explosion because at battery the boys on duty are handling ...
When you hear the 20's are open, you know they were close.
Or we are under attack. When the 20 mm opens up, he is in range.
So there is a lot of excitment. there's no doubt about it whatsoever.
On his battle station on Enterprise, Marine officer Richard Harte helps direct the fire of Enterprise's flak batteries.
Suddenly he watches as a Japanese bomber slams into the battle ships South Dakota.
I remember seeing a bomb hit South Dakota
and being impressed with tremendous sheer flame that the bomb puts out when it hits.
The lives of 27 men are ended in an instant.
But still the South Dakota, veteran of Santa Cruz and Guadalcanal,
never loses its speed and keeps on fighting.
South Dakota is the only ship hit by the enemy assault.
Wave after wave of enemy planes are wiped out by the fighter planes of Enterprise and the other carriers.
The killing goes on for hours. The Japanese air attack is a complete failure.
Nearly 400 enemy aircraft are blown out of the sky by American Hellcats
and the guns of USS Enterprise and the U.S. fleet.
It's one of the greatest victories for the American navy and a horrific defeat for the Japanese.
The poorly trained enemy fliers are no match for the Big-E.
A young American pilot will later compare it to an old-fashioned turkey shoot. The name sticks.
(?)I have hit how many?
We downed nearly all of them and the pilots came back laughing---there was a turkey shoot.
If I'm not mistaken, Enterorise was credited with down around 70 of all those planes that day.
The great Mariana's turkey shoot completely devastates Japan's naval air forces.
Our fighters just completely annihilated them. The biggest real air battle of the war
-- that was a tremendous day for carrier, aircraft, carrier aviation.
For Gargoyle Ozawa, the losses are devastating, and his troubles are far from over.
That afternoon,
aircraft carrier Shokaku, Enterprise's nemesis from the eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz,
enters the crosshairs of USS Cavalla.
The American sub fires off a salvo of torpedoes and scores 3 direct hits on the carrier.
Burning and settling low in the water, the flames reach her powder magazine and blow the ship apart.
The flat-top that helped launch the Pearl Harbor attacks pitches into the deep. Payback.
Only miles away, carrier Taiho, Ozawa's flagship, presses through the surf.
Earlier that day, she was hit by submarine Albacore,
but the damage seems minor. Her crew has no idea that their fate is sealed.
A sudden explosion of gas vapors roars through the ship,
tears open her flight deck, bulges her sides, and punches holes in her hull.
As the sun sets over the bloody waters off the Marianas,
Ozawa watches as his flagship slips beneath the waves.
The American task force has just destroyed the pride of the Japanese carrier fleet.
2 of the enemy's fighter ships set to the bottom by American firepower
and hundreds of their war planes blow out of the sky.
But back aboard Enterprise, the day's victory is shadowed by frustration,
THE Big-E's OWN BOMBERS And torpedo planes have failed to hit the enemy fleet.
So then the problem was, we still had to find the Japanese.
Though Taiho and Shokaku have been sunk, Ozawa's task force still packs a menacing punch.
As the sun rises over the Philippine sea, Marc Mitscher knows that the surviving Japanese must be stopped.
The situation is getting desperate. If he doesn't find the Japanese within the next few hours,
it will be too late to launch a major air strike,
and he will simply have to fight the same ships again. Victory hangs in the balance.
June 29th 1944, the Imperial Navy has been sent to hault the American offensive at Saipan.
U.S. fleet has putting up a vicious fight,blasting hundreds of enemy's airplane out of the sky.
Yet Enterprise and the carrier comrades have been unable to locate the main enemy fleet.
Now the skies over the Philippine sea are filled with American airplanes on the hunt for Admiral Ozawa.
Target: the Japanese fleet.
Objective: drive the remains of Ozawa's task forces from the Philippines Sea.
Strategies: flight constant searches until the imperial ships are spotted and destroyed.
The seek and destroy mission goes on for hours and still Admiral Marc Mitscher cannot find Admiral Ozawa
Tension is high aboard the Big-E as the afternoon wears on.
But at 3:40 PM, they hit pay dirt.
300 Miles away, Enterprise search planes finally discover the enemy fleet.
Among the Enterprise's sailors in the sky is Tom Watts of Torpedo Squadron 10.
I was in one of the search planes. Found them there next day.
Now Marc Mitscher paces the deck of Carrier Lexington,
knowing that the next few hours could change the course of the entire campaign.
It will be 4:00 p.m., before he can refuel his bombers and get them airborne.
If they launch later in the day, the air groups will have to fly for 2 hours before they reach the enemy.
And even if they survive the battle, they'll have to find their way back to the carriers in the dark.
Sending the attack now could be a death sentence for hundreds of American pilots,
a disaster for the entire navy.
But as each minute passes, Mitscher realizes that complete victory slips further away.
Finally, he gives the simple order, "Lunch them".
Within minutes in the ready rooms of Enterprise and every flat-top in the fleet,
Mitscher's final orders are chalked on the blackboards: "Get the carriers."
4:30PM, 240 Hellcats, Avenger torpedo planes and dive bombers
roar through the skies over the wine dark Philippine sea.
They head right into the late afternoon sun, on the prowl for Admiral Ozawa.
Killer Kane leads the Enterprise strike.
11 dive bombers, 5 Avengers, and 12 F6F Hellcat fighters.
Among the pilots are Flash Gordon and James "Jig dog" Ramage.
Every pilot knows the facts of speed, distance. time, and fuel.
Flash Gordon is thankful he is in a Hellcat with a belly tank.
We have a lot of fuel in the Hellcat.. We have... I think you... if you just know how to conserve.
But leading the older, slower SBDs, Jig dog" Ramage is less optimistic.
He warns his rear seat gunners Dave Cawley.
So I called Cawley and said that "Looks like we are going to have a bath tonight. So get everything ready."
The Enterprise flyers head into a blood-red sun, uncertain of combat, dead certain that the next few hours could spell disaster.
6:30 PM, finally, after two hours in the air, Killer Kane's air group spots the enemy fleet.
12,000 ft below, they've discovered a major part of Ozawa's force,
3 carriers: Ryuho, Junyo, and Hiyo, and cruisers Mogami and Nagato.
It's a free for all. Kane's forces immediately split up and make a run for the enemy vessels.
The Japanese surface ships open up with a deadly fusilade of flak
as the dive bombers and Hellcats begin their assault.
But they keep right on coming.
Jig dog Ramage and 5 SBDs line up for a bombing run on the carrier Ryuho.
Jig dog wings over and makes a steep dive on the enemy ship.
I put the pipper, as we called it, just forward of the bow, went down to 2,000 feet,
maybe a little lower, dropped my bomb.
Ramage delivers 1,000 pounds of terror on the Ryuho
and immediately pulls out of his dive---it's a crippling near-miss.
One by one, four other SBDs drop their payloads over the imperial flat-top.
From his rear seat position, Cawley gets a choice opportunity to admire the grizzly work of his comrades.
Ryuho has been mauled and carrier Hiyo is wounded by torpedoes and is burning.
Enterprise bomb hits help finish her off.
Just as the Hellcats have rejoined the dive bombers, Flash Gordon spots a target of opportunity.
Right down on the water, maybe 10 miles east, I saw a zero...head west...at 900 ft.
Gordon immediately firewalls the Hellcat
and pulls the big plane into a half loop and a half roll.
He races after the zero. Draws a bead and cuts loose with his rapid-fire 50s.
Pull up and a top loop and shot him down. He blew up. We came back down and joined with the bombers.
The zero was Flash Fordon's 7th and final kill of WWII.
He and his fellow pilots escape the last enemy flight burst and head for home.
But though the battle with the Japanese task force might be over,
the struggle to survive the flight back to Enterprise has just begun.
as the last rays of light disappear over the horizon,
the Enterprise pilots and air crews continue their long trek home.
Ramage and his fellow dive bombers will have to carefully conserve their fuel supply.
That was very quiet. About halfway back then, I told Cawley: I..I.. think we're going to make it.
But for some american pilots thier lucks run out.
Many are battle damaged, and the heavy Avengers are already running out of gas.
There's no telling if any of the fliers will ever see Enterprise or the American fleet again.
In the confusion, groups of the planes scatter heading off in different directions into the unknown.
Situation seems hopeless.
Over the radio, Enterprise pilots can hear the painful distress calls of their fellow airmen,
followed by the sickening sound of aircraft hitting the water.
Patches of green phosphorescence, the dye markers for aviators in distress, dot the blackness of the pacific,
marking the spot where the journey has ended for some navy pilots.
The painful odyssey goes on for 2 hours.
It is absolute desolation, a dark sea that stretches endlessly in every direction.
But then, just as all hope seems lost, Grim Reaper Flash Gordon sees the impossible:
The destroyer escorts of the U.S. fleet.
One by one, the little gunships turn on their bright searchlights,
marking the way back for their fellow sailors in the sky.
And then some destroyers had been set out to meet us,
and their searchlights were up---'Home is that way.' I'll never forget.
Back on the Enterprise, her sailors and marines
can only wait and watch thedark skies for their warplanes and pilots.
(?)Our pilots had limited fuel left and to every body was ____, the gas made them home.
8:45 PM, the first warplanes arrive over the American task force. It's simply chaos.
Most are flying on fumes, and even worse,
distant lightning has confused some pilots and now they're headed off in the wrong direction.
Mitscher could have a catastrophe on his hands.
So, ignoring standard naval procedures, he utters one of the most famous commands in the Pacific War,
"Turn on the lights."
The entire fleet illuminates in a shower of search beams and running lights aboard the carriers decks.
Even escort vessels fire off star shells to light up the skies.
But the guiding lights are a mixed blessing for many of the pilots.
Sounds real good, light up all the ships,
but it was very difficult because you couldn't tell the carriers from the destroyers and cruisers and so forth.
Night carrier operations are a new strategy,
and most of the young pilots have never made a landing in the dark.
Many of them make rough water landings.The air is filled with crunching sounds of steel and salt water.
There was a fiasco down there. No one was getting aboard, and some did, they had an accident.
From their battle stations along the flight deck, the Big-E's marines have a dangerous front row seat.
Two of them are trying to land at the same time when they would--they'd go respective ways,
one go clockwise and one'd go counter-clockwise.
Within minutes, Enterprise's flight deck looks like a parking lot.
Jig dog Ramage and his fellow bomber pilots scatter across the fleet,
landing on any friendly deck they can find.
In the skies overhead, Flash Gordon and his fellow reapers orbit over the task force,
searching for a place to land.
But now, they're also running on fumes.
My #4 man said, his red light was on.
So we got down in the landing pattern,
and when I came around, the deck was foul, I landed aboard the Lexington.
That was 10:20. I've been in the air six hours.
10:20 PM, The last of the 23 planes that make it aboard Enterprise touches down on her flight deck.
Most of them are from other carriers.
In the confusion, the air groups have been completely jumbled up,
but miraculously, the Big-E only has one pilot missing in the desperate night carrier landings, Killer Kane.
Everyone else has either made it aboard a friendly ship or has been rescued.
The last ditch assault on the Japanese task force and the frantic night recovery fleet 99 war planes.
But thankfully, the human toll is much less;
only 49 pilots and air crewmen, and 6 flight deck sailors have been lost in a chaotic battle.
For the next two days, destroyer escorts crisscross the sea searching for Killer Kane.
For some of these ships, the reward for a salvaged flier is an extra ration of ice cream for the crew.
ON THE AFTERNOON OF THE 22nd, A destroyer approaches the Enterprise flashing its signal lights.
Suddenly, the hearts of everyone aboard are lifted.
The question from the destroyer: "How much ice cream is Killer Kane worth?"
And since he was a commander, they wanted 25 gallons of ice cream for a commander, a group commander.
They wanted extra rations of ice cream. They got it.
A few tubs of ice cream are small price to pay for the veteran aviator.
The battle of the Philippine Sea is a disaster for the Japanese navy.
Admiral Ozawa has failed to drive the US fleet from Saipan,
and the defeat has cost him hundreds of imperial pilots, and 3 aircraft carriers, Hiyo, Taiho, and Shokaku.
Some of the best news we got there was to hear that our own nemesis Shokaku had been put down.
For the Japanese, the aftermath of the battle is a recognition that their carrier force is finished.
They may still have vessels, but they no longer have aircraft or pilots to put aboard those vessels.
But the Japanese fleet is not finished yet.
The Big-E's nemesis, Zuikaku is still afloat and so are the battleships.
Massive battlewagons, Musashi and Yamamoto, along with an armada of cruisers and destroyers,
are ready to meet the Enterprise in battle.
The bloody combat on Saipan goes on for another 3 weeks.
It becomes one of the most costly battles of the entire pacific war.
More than 16,000 U.S. marines and soldiers are killed or wounded taking the island.
24,000 Japanese soldiers perish in the battle.
Even worse, some 5,000 Japanese soldiers and civilians, men, women, and children, commit suicide
rather than surrender to U.S. forces.
For the Americans, these nightmarish scenes only foreshadow the horrors to come.
As Enterprise moves closer to the Philippine islands, and the imperial homeland,
she faces an ominous future.
Soon on "battle 360," it's the greatest sea battle of all time and one of the deadliest.
American general Douglas MacArthur has vowed to return to the Philippines,
and Enterprise is going to help get him there.
In the epic battle of Leyte Gulf, the Japanese Navy makes an apocalyptic last stand.



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dave 2014 年 8 月 15 日 に公開


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