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USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

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Guadalcanal Landings - 7-8 August 1942

Enterprise CV-6, Saratoga CV-3 and Wasp CV-7 supported the initial US landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi in August 1942. The carriers' primary mission was providing air defense for the transports and close air support for the Marines on the ground. 7 August 1942 was the most intense day of air operations for Enterprise up to that time, as she launched 237 aircraft and recovered 230. Her air group clashed with Japanese war planes several times during the day, and demonstrated why American aviators no longer dreaded the Zero as they had just a few months before.

Action and Flight Records, 7 August 1942
Flight Records, 8 August 1942
Conclusions and Recommendations

CV6/A16-3 (95-mmb)
Serial 0019
August 24, 1942.
From:Commanding Officer.
To:The Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Via:(1) Commander Task Force 16.
(2) Commander Task Force 61.
   (Vice Admiral F.J. Fletcher, U.S. Navy).
Subject:Operations in Support of Occupation of Tulagi - Guadalcanal, August 7 - 8, 1942 - Report of.
Reference:(a) Articles 712 and 874, Navy Regulations, 1920.
  1. Track Chart.
  2. Executive Officer's Report.
  3. Report of Commander ENTERPRISE Air Group, VT-3, VB-6, VF-6 and VS-5.
    1. The ENTERPRISE, flagship of Rear Admiral T. C. Kinkaid, U.S. Navy, Commander Task Force Sixteen, in company with Task Force Sixteen departed Pearl Harbor July 15, 1942, for Nukualofu, Tongatabu. Search, patrol, and training flights were carried out en route. Gunnery and tactical training was stressed as the ENTERPRISE Air Group was composed mainly of relatively inexperienced flying personnel.
    2. Upon arrival Tongatabu at 1100 July 24, 1942, the ship refueled and provisioned until the sortie that same afternoon at 1500. The sortie was made immediately after that of numerous transports. Task Force Sixteen became the escort for the convoy. Rendezvous was effected with Task Force 61 the following day, July 26, 1942, and the combined force proceeded north toward the Koro Sea. ENTERPRISE Air Group participated in the landing attack rehearsal operations at Koro Island on July 30.
    3. On August 3, 1942, a flight of aircraft flew in to the U.S. Marine field at Efate and obtained excellent photographs of the Tulagi - Guadalcanal area taken by the Eleventh Bombardment Group, U.S. Army, on August 1, 1942. Copies of these photographs, with a photographic interpretation prepared by personnel of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, were delivered to the Task Force and Task Group Commanders. Subsequent visual inspection by our occupation forces revealed that the photographic interpretation made by the photographic section in the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE was remarkably accurate.
    4. After topping off with fuel on August 3, TF-61 proceeded westward to Longitude 158-45 E and then northward to the Solomon area. The weather August 5 and 6 was generally overcast with scattered showers in which the visibility was greatly reduced. Generally speaking, the weather favored the attacking force and made interception by enemy aircraft most difficult. However, one unidentified aircraft, probably enemy, was thought to have sighted the force. The ENTERPRISE arrived in position Latitude 09-39 S, Longitude 159-03 E, the early morning of August 7, 1942, and at 0535 commenced launching aircraft for the attack.
    1. Prior to launching for the attack, each pilot had been provided with charts and photographs showing the exact location of various targets. The first three flights were launched in darkness just prior to dawn. The weather had cleared and only a few scattered cumulus clouds were present. The light of a quarter moon greatly assisted the flight operations. Aircraft were permitted to show only a dim white light on the tail until at least five miles clear of the carrier where they were permitted to turn on running lights in order to expedite the rendezvous. Due to the proximity of the carrier groups and the inexperience of the pilots a certain amount of confusion ensued, and the rendezvous was not as expeditious as desirable. Complete surprise was effected by our aircraft in the intital attack which followed.
    2. Following is the detailed chronological record of all flights from the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE on August 7 and 8:
      August 7, 1942
      FLIGHT 301
      0535-0539Eight VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Destroy all enemy aircraft in GUADALCANAL area. Strafe and destroy AA installations, PT's, troop concentrations, supply dumps.
       Action:Strafed AA and buildings on LUNGA field. Strafed buildings, small boats, and supplies along beach from TENERU to KUKUM. Little opposition no aircraft or PT's.
      0712-0724Landing all planes in the Flight
      07117-F-26 from the WASP Air Group returned with this flight and made an emergency landing. Was refueled and launched at 0755.
      FLIGHT 302
      0539-0542Eight VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Six VF maintained patrol. One VF joined up with Flight 301 and one VF joined up with Flight 303. (VSB).
      0713-0724Two VF returned early and landed with Flight 301.
      0805-0818Six remaining VF landed.
      FLIGHT 303
      0543-0548Launched nine VSB with 1000# bombs, Lieut. T.E. CALDWELL, Jr., leader.
       Mission:Bomb and strafe targets along SW Coast of TULAGI.
       Action:Dropped all bombs. Strafed enemy positions.
      0805-0818All planes in the Flight landed.
      FLIGHT 304
      0601-0604Five VF launched. Lt.(jg) G.E. FIREBAUGH, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Vectored several times to friendly bogies and returned without incident.
      0805-0818All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 305
      0643-0653Launched eighteen VSB with 1000# bombs. Lieut. R. DAVIS, leader.
       Mission:Bomb troop concentrations and AA positions on SW Coast of TULAGI Is.
       Action:Eight planes carried out original mission. Seven bombed GAVUTU and three bombed TANAMBOGO upon orders of Group Commander.
      0805-0810Three VSB landed.
      0908-0934Fifteen VSB landed.
      FLIGHT 306
      0642-0643Four VF launched. Lieut. A.O. VORSE, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Maintained patrol without incident.
      0937-0938Landed all planes.
      FLIGHT 350
      0620-0625Launched three VTB. Lt.Cdr. C.M. Jett, leader.
      0707-0709Launched five VTB. (Two duds delayed launching). Seven VTB were armed with 500# bombs and one with a torpedo.
       Mission:To conduct a 200 mile search of sector 270°-030°, point of origin Lat. 9°-44'S., Long. 159° 16'E.
       Action:Covered area assigned with 15 single plane searches. At 0740, 6-T-6, Ens. G. R. STABLEIN, pilot, contacted a small enemy AO seventy five miles west. Released one 500 lb. bomb scoring a near miss. On radio instructions 6-T-8, Ens. F. MEARS, pilot, made an unsuccessful torpedo run on same ship and two strafing runs. On return ship could not be located. No other contacts. Obtained aerial photos of GIZO and TUNNIBULI.
      1035-1039Landed four VTB.
      1129-1141Landed remaining four VTB.
      FLIGHT 307
      0755-0757Eight VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Maintained patrol.
      1023-1034Landed all planes aboard.
      FLIGHT 308
      0755-0757Seven VF launched. Mach. D.C. BARNES, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Maintained patrol without incident.
      1023-1034Landed all planes in the Flight.
      FLIGHT 309
      0801-0803Launched five VSB with 1000# bombs. Lieut. R. B. WOODHULL, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:Bombed AA position NE of light on BUNGANA IS. and strafed town and beach HALAVO.
      0939One VSB landed.
      1023-1034Four VSB landed.
      FLIGHT 310
      0900One VT launched. Lt.Cdr. M.F. LESLIE.
       Mission:To act as Air Commander of Air Support Group.
       Action:Observed progress of our attack and directed aircraft in support of landing forces in GUADALCANAL area, through the Air Support Director.
      1810Landed aboard.
      FLIGHT 311
      0858-0900Six VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Two VF escorted the Group Commander. One of the VF strafed troops in the vicinity of KUKUM. Four VF maintained Combat Patrol.
      FLIGHT 312
      0902-0905Launched nine VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. T.F. CALDWELL, Jr., leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:Bombed GAVUTU Island and strafed GAVUTU and TANAMBOGO.
      1124-1128All planes landed aboard.
      FLIGHT 313
      1011-1015Five VF launched. Lt.(jg) G.E. FIREBAUGH, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Two VF acted as escort to AGC. Two VF maintained Combat Patrol.
      1035One VF made deferred forced landing.
      1226-1230Four VF landed.
      FLIGHT 314
      1011-1015Eight VF launched. Lieut. A.O. VORSE, Jr., leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Mission carried out without incident.
      1226-1231Landed all planes in this Flight.
      FLIGHT 315
      1016-1021Launched twelve VSB with 1000# bombs. Lieut. R. DAVIS, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:Bombed GAVUTU and strafed TONAMBOGO. All but one bomb dropped.
      1356-1408All aircraft landed.
      FLIGHT 316
      1112-1114Six VF launched. Mach. D.E. RUNYON, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Two VF were escorts for AGC, and four maintained patrol without incident.
      1334-1337Landed all planes in this Flight.
      FLIGHT 317
      1114-1119Launched eleven VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. R. B. WOODHULL, Leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:Bombed and strafed along the NE Coast of TULAGI.
      1356-1408Landed all planes in the Flight.
      FLIGHT 318
      1215-1217Six VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Two VF were escorts for AGC. Four VF maintained patrol. Received vectors which took them directly away from enemy attack.
      1408-1414Landed four VF (Patrol).
      1513-1518Landed remaining two VF (Escort).
      FLIGHT 319
      1217-1221Launched eight VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. G.H. HORENBURGER, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:No targets assigned - no bombs dropped. One of the rear gunners in formation shot down a Zero which attacked them.
      1415Landed one VSB.
      1513-1518Landed seven VSB.
      FLIGHT 320
      1212-1215Eight VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Group ordered to patrol at 18000 feet. At 1300 four VF were vectored to TULAGI. Sighted an enemy formation of about 30 twin-engine bombers protected by an unknown number of Zero fighters at 12,000 feet, going north from south tip of FLORIDA Island. An interception was made. One bomber was shot down by Lt. V.P. DePOIX and four other bombers were probably damaged before the Zeros forced our VF to take refuge in a nearby cloud.
      1408-1414Five VF landed.
      1513One VF landed (6-F-4 was badly shot up). 6-F-35, Lieut. V.P. DePOIX, pilot, made emergency landing on the WASP. 6-F-11, Mach. J.A. ACHTEN, pilot, was not observed during the attack and did not return to the ship.
      FLIGHT 321
      1311-1313Six VF launched. Lt.(jg) G.E. FIREBAUGH, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Sighted about 23 enemy bombers and 10 Zeros at SE tip of SANTA ISABEL Island. The Zeros attacked three VF. Results not known as pilots are missing. The other three VF attacked the bombers. Ens. R.M. DISQUE shot down one bomb er, and Radio Electrician T.W. RHODES shot down a Zero. No other result observed before Zeros forced them into the clouds.
      1529One VF landed (badly shot up).
      1620One VF landed.
      17446-F-34, Ens. R.M. DISQUE, pilot, was very low on fuel and made an emergency landing on WASP. Was refueled and launched to return to ENTERPRISE. Landed aboard at this time.
      The following VF did not return from this flight:
      6-F-25:Lt.(jg) FIREBAUGH, USN, pilot.
      6-F-21:Mach. W.H. WARDEN, USN, pilot.
      6-F-22:W.J. STEPHENSON, Jr., AP1c, USN, pilot.
      FLIGHT 351
      1313-1320Fourteen VTB were launched. Lt.Cdr. C.M. JETT, leader.
       Mission:Intermediate Air Patrol, sector 090°-180°, distance 50 miles ahead of Task Force 16.
       Action:Patrolled sector assigned, also sector 285°-345° and made a search of SAN CRISTOBAL Is. and RENNELL Is.
      1730-1747All VTB returned aboard.
      FLIGHT 324
      1313-1320Nine VF launched. Lt.(jg) H.E. RUTHERFORD, leader.
       Mission:Special Flight to get planes in the air for attack. Took the place of Flight 324.
       Action:Five VF patrolled over Carriers. Four VF went to TULAGI. At about 1430 Lieut. A.O. VORSE, Jr. sighted three enemy dive-bombers at 10,000 feet, half way between TULAGI and GUADALCANAL. Shot one down in a dive. Remaining VF did not get close enough to open fire.
      1522Landed one VF.
      1605-1609Landed six VF.
      1620-1624Landed one VF.
      1639Landed one VF.
      FLIGHT 323
      1354-1355Six VF launched. Mach. D.E. RUNYON, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Screen (Special Flight in place of 323).
       Action:Two VF were escorts for AGC and four maintained patrol. About 1430 enemy dive-bomber attack developed. Just after the attack four dive-bombers were sighted and shot down near LUNGA POINT. Mach. D.E. RUNYON shot down two. Ens. H.A. MARCH, Jr. and PACKARD, AP1c, each accounted for one.
      1605-1609Two VF landed.
      1620-1624One VF landed. The other three VF made emergency landings on the SARATOGA about 1530 and were refueled and launched for the Combat Area.
      18446-F-12 Ens. J.D. SHOEMAKER, pilot, returned aboard from Combat Area.
      19156-F-17, Ens. E.W. COOK, A-V(N), USNR, pilot and 6-F-16, Mach P.L. NAGLE, USN, pilot, were forced to make water landings when fuel was expended on their way back to the ENTERPRISE, between 1830 and 1915.
      FLIGHT 326
      1500-1502Six VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over the Transport Screen.
       Action:Two VF escorted AGC. Four VF maintained patrol. No enemy planes sighted.
      1730-1747Landed all planes in the Flight.
      FLIGHT 327-A
      1502Launched one VSB (6-B-17) Lieut. A.L. DOWNING, pilot.
       Mission:Photographic Reconnaissance.
       Action:Obtained vertical and oblique photos of vital areas along northern coast of GUADALCANAL.
      1857Landed 6-B-17.
      FLIGHT 327
      1503-1509Launched twelve VSB armed with 500# bombs. Lieut. T.F. CALDWELL, Jr., leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:Bombed TONAMBOGO and strafed MOKAMBO ISLAND upon order of Group Commander. All bombs dropped.
      1730-1747Landed nine VSB.
      1808-1810Landed three VSB.
      FLIGHT 352
      1503-1509Four VSB launched.
       Mission:Inner Air Patrol.
       Action:Maintained patrol.
      1730-1747Landed three VSB.
      1808-1810Landed one VSB.
      FLIGHT 329 (328)
      1557-1559Five VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Maintained patrol. Vectored for a low bogie and picked up Ens. J.D. SHOEMAKER 18 miles from the ship.
      1818-1820Landed two VF.
      1841-1844Landed remainder of the Flight.
      FLIGHT 330
      1600-1604Launched twelve VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. R.B. WOODHULL, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI
       Action:Six bombs dropped on sampans in LUNGA RIVER and along beach near KUKUM. Three bombs on area between prison and hospital, TULAGI. Three bombs on concentration of troops and sampans in TENERU RIVER area, GUADALCANAL.
      1830-1835Landed nine VSB.
      1851-1852Landed two VSB.
      1906Landed last plane.
      August 8, 1942
      FLIGHT 301
      0559-0601Four VF launched. Lieut. A.O. VORSE, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Carried out mission without incident.
      0811-0813Landed all planes in the Flight.
      FLIGHT 302
      0602-0604Four VSB launched.
       Mission:Inner Air Patrol.
       Action:Maintained Patrol without incident.
      0927-0928All planes landed aboard.
      FLIGHT 303
      0700-0701Four VF launched. Ens. G.W. BROOKS, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Patrolled at 20,000 feet over area.
      0925-0926All planes in #303 landed.
      FLIGHT 304
      0701-0702Launched four VF. Mach. D.E. RUNYON, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Carried out mission without incident.
      0933-0935Landed all four VF.
      FLIGHT 305
      0800-0803Four VF launched. Mach. D.C. BARNES, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Carried out mission without incident.
      1006-1008Landed all planes in the Flight.
      1009Landed 6-F-35, Lieut. V.P. DePOIX, pilot. Made emergency landing on WASP yesterday and returned at this time.
      FLIGHT 306
      0800-0803Launched eight VF. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Carried out mission.
      1009-1012Landed all planes aboard.
      FLIGHT 342 (Special Search)
      0804-0807Six VSB launched. Lieut. T.F. CALDWELL, Jr., leader.
       Mission:Searched for VF pilots missing after action of August 7.
       Action:Searched in a scouting line area south and south east of GUADALCANAL (approx. 2,000sq. mi.)
      1110-1112Landed all planes in the Scouting Flight.
      FLIGHT 307
      0906-0907Four VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Patrolled at 25,000 feet.
      1108-1110All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 308
      0908-0917Four VSB launched.
       Mission:Inner Air Patrol.
       Action:Carried out mission.
      1238-1249All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 350
      0908-0917Launched eighteen VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. R.B. WOODHULL, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI
       Action:Searched for SS between FLORIDA I. and GUADALCANAL. Bombed MBANGI ISLAND. All bombs dropped.
      1238-1249All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 309
      1002-1003Three VF launched. Mach. D.E. RUNYON, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Received notice of attack from Black Base. Sighted enemy TB low over the water and not in formation. Attacked and shot down four twin-engine TB and one single-engine plane. Mach. D.E. RUNYON got one TB, and one single-engine plane not clearly identified by probably a Zero fighter. Ens. W.M. ROUSE accounted for two TB, and Ens. J.D. SHOEMAKER, got one TB.
      1249-1250All planes in the Flight landed.
      FLIGHT 310
      1002-1004Four VF launched. Ens. G.W. BROOKS, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Mission carried out without incident.
      1231-1233Landed all four VF.
      FLIGHT 311 and 352
      1101-1105Thirteen VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Patrolled over Carriers at various altitudes.
      1407-1417All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 353
      1105-1107Launched five VSB with 500# bombs. Lieut. C.H. HORENBURGER, leader.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI
       Action:Bombed western side of TANAMBOGA ISLAND. All bombs dropped.
      FLIGHT 354
      1101-1105Six VF launched. Lt.(jg) T.S. GAY, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Carried out mission.
      1407-1417Landed all VF from the Flight.
      FLIGHT 355
      1224-1226Launched six VSB.
       Mission:Inner Air Patrol.
       Action:Maintained patrol.
      1518-1530All planes landed.
      FLIGHT 357
      1342-1343Launched four VF.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Maintained Patrol.
      1407-1417Landed all planes in the Flight.
      FLIGHT 356
      1343-1347Launched nine VSB with 500# bombs.
       Mission:Air Support Group - TULAGI.
       Action:No targets assigned, no bombs dropped.
      1550-1554Landed all planes in the flight.
      FLIGHT 314
      1347-1354Fourteen VTB launched. Lt.Cdr. C.M. JETT, leader.
       Mission:To conduct a 200 mile search of sector 270°-015° from Point Xray (Lat. 09°-32' S, 159° 30' E.) and a 200 mile search of sector 345°-090° from Point Yoke. (Lat 09°-50' S, 160°-56' E.)
       Action:Searched sectors assigned.
      1741-1749Landed twelve VTB.
      1835-1839Landed two VTB.
      FLIGHT 358
      1444-1447Six VF launched. Lieut. L.H. BAUER, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Transport Screen.
       Action:Carried out mission without incident.
      1741-1759Landed all planes in Flight 358.
      FLIGHT 360
      1513-1515Six VF launched. Mach. D.E. RUNYON, leader.
       Mission:Combat Patrol over Carriers.
       Action:Carried out mission.
      1556One VF made deferred forced landing.
      1737-1740Landed remaining five VF.
    3. During the operations involved in the occupation of Tulagi - Guadalcanal, the ENTERPRISE launched 237 aircraft on 7 August and recovered 230, and on 8 August there were 135 launchings and 136 landings. The operations on 7 August were the most extensive that this carrier has ever conducted in a single day.
    4. During the night of August 8 - 9, Task Force 61 retired to the southeast.
    1. The personnel of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE carried out their duties in a highly satisfactory manner. The performance of plane handling personnel on the flight and hangar decks was magnificent, and the plane handling crews carried out at double time all duties involving re-spotting of the deck. The stamina of these crews, who have been hardened by continuous service in war, is worthy of mention.
    2. The performance of duty of Machinist D.E. Runyon, U.S. Navy, is considered outstanding in that he shot down four enemy aircraft with short deadly bursts and received no hits on his plane from return fire of enemy aircraft. In separate correspondence Machinist Runyon is being recommended for promotion to Chief Machinist and the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
    3. Fighting Squadron SIX under the command of Lieutenant L.H. Bauer, U.S. Navy, displayed aggressiveness and skill in all contacts with the enemy. The pursuit and determined attacks of the enemy horizontal bombers protected by fighters on 7 August by fighter sections led by Lieut(jg) T.S. Gay and Lieut(jg) G.E. Firebaugh, U.S. Navy, were carried out in such manner as to indicate a complete disregard of the personal hazard from the enemy's defensive firepower. From subsequent information it is believed that these attacks were very effective and that more enemy bombers were shot down and damaged than were claimed.
    4. As a result of the operations of 7 and 8 August, the following personnel were missing:
      Lieut.(jg) G.E. Firebaugh, USN
      Ensign E.W. Cook, A-V-(N), USNR
      Machinist W.H. Warden, USN
      Machinist J.A. Achten, USN
      Machinist P.L. Nagle, USN, and
      W.J. Stephenson, AP1c, USN
      Subsequent information reveals that Lieut.(jg) Firebaugh, Machinist Achten, and Machinist Warden made forced landings and were picked up by friendly personnel. Machinist Achten has been returned to this vessel.
    5. On August 2, 1942, Lieut-Cdr. W.E. Townsend, USN, Lt.(jg) G.E. Douglas D-V-(G), USNR, Ensign P.L. Ross, A-V-(S), USNR, and three radiomen, with necessary radio equipment, were transferred to the staff of Rear Admiral R.K. Turner in the U.S.S. McCAWLEY. These officers and men set up the communications necessary for direct control of the air support force assigned to Group Xray of TF-62. This group was given the radio call "Orange Base" and later on handled all radio traffic between the ground forces and the supporting aircraft overhead.
    1. There were no engineering casualties in the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE during the operations in connection with the attack on the Solomon Islands. The arresting gear and all equipment assigned to the Air Department functioned without incident. There were no known forced landings which resulted from material failures of aircraft. The ordnance equipment in all aircraft functioned satisfactorily except for minor stoppages in the .50 caliber guns of the F4F's from undetermined causes. The following ammunition was expended:
      41,350 rounds .50 cal. ammunition
      10,550 rounds .30 cal. ammunition
      79 500-lb. bombs
      51 1000-lb. bombs.
    2. Enemy aircraft destroyed by aircraft of the ENTERPRISE Air Group on 7 - 8 August were as follows:
      Shot down by VF
      5 dive bombers, type 99.
      6 twin-engine horizontal bombers, type 97, Mitsubishi (4 used as torpedo planes).
      2 fighters, type Zero Zero
      Shot down by VSB
      1 fighter, type Zero Zero
    3. Aircraft losses sustained by ENTERPRISE Air Group on 7 - 8 August were as follows:
      F4F4#5235Missing in action.
      F4F4#5228Missing in action.
      F4F4#5082Missing in action.
      F4F4#5236Missing in action.
      F4F4#5071Night water landing returning from operations.
      F4F4#5068Night water landing returning from operations.
    1. It is considered that the outstanding weakness of the air operations was the lack of direct communication between the attacking ground forces and the air support. The fact that twelve 500-lb and two 1000-lb bombs on August 7, and twenty-three 500-lb bombs on August 8, were returned to the ENTERPRISE after having been held in the air over good enemy targets is offered in substantiation of this conclusion. It is believed that if the forces on the ground had been able to call for and receive direct air support, such as the Germans employed in their attack on Crete, our losses in personnel would have been reduced and the time required for subjugating the enemy forces on Tulagi, Tanambogo, and Makambo materially shortened. It appears logical that the most desirable employment of air support for a landing force is immediate delivery of heavy caliber bombs on focal points of enemy resistance followed immediately by charges of our ground troops. It is most essential that our forces completely mop up objectives as they advance, as Japanese permit advancing troops to penetrate and then attack them from the rear. Any attempt to handle requests for immediate bombardment through a third party, such as a transport out of visual communication with troops on the ground, is bound to be inefficient.
    2. Our forces operated in such close proximity to high land areas that the effectiveness of search radar was greatly reduced.
    3. The F4F-4, considering equality of pilots, is no match for the Japanese Zero fighter in a dog fight, plane for plane, due to the superiority of the Zero in climb, speed, maneuverability, and endurance. However, in its ruggedness, ability to "take it", and fire power the F4F-4 is superior to the Zeros. These factors of superiority, combined with an apparent superiority of our pilots in deflection shooting, give the F4F-4 a reasonable chance of attaining a successful outcome in an engagement in which there are several fighters involved on both sides. The principal weaknesses of the Zero are (1) inability to absorb hits, and (2) ineffective fire power. The modification of the design of either airplane toward that of the other probably would result in a fighter superior both to the F4F-4 and the Zero.
    4. It is now believed that the best defense for F4F's against Zero attack is for each plane of the two plane element to turn away and then turn immediately toward each other and set up a continuous "scissors". Thus, when a Zero bears on one of the F4F's the other F4F is in position to fire on the Zero. A short accurate burst from the F4F is generally sufficient to knock down the Zero whereas the F4F can absorb almost unbelievable punishment from the Zero.
    5. The Japanese Zero pilots have a very healthy respect for the free gun fire from our SBD's.
    6. The free gunners in our SBD's believe that they are more than a match for Zero fighters.
    7. The .50 and .30 caliber incendiary ammunition is not effective in setting wooden houses and canvas tents on fire.
    1. It is recommended that -
      1. Landing forces be provided with pyrotechnics such as rockets which may be fired toward enemy focal points of resistance to indicate a request for dive bombing attack.
      2. Our landing forces be provided with distinctive flags or colored panels to insure instant recognition by friendly aircraft.
      3. Landing forces be provided with radio communication such as "walkie-talkie" sets supplied to civil police forces in the United States.
      4. An officer experienced in conduct of operations of ground warfare be airborne in the combat area and in direct radio communication with the airborne director of the air support flights.
      5. The following sub-paragraph be added to Article 712, U.S. Navy Regulations:
        "(4) Commanders of carrier Air Groups and of carrier based squadrons will submit the battle report outlined above to the commanding officers of aircraft carriers to which assigned. These reports will be forwarded as enclosures to the reports of the commanding officers of the aircraft carriers"
(Signed) A. C. DAVIS.

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