Eyes in the skies - The 'Jake'

The Japanese reconnaissance mostly consisted of float planes dispatched from their cruisers. Their first search pattern in the morning of June 4 was a fan of aircraft sent eastwards to find any potential threats. The launching of the 'Jake' from Tone was however delayed by half an hour due to technical problems. The delayed Jake finally found task force 17 and subsequently the USS Yorktown. It came as a surprise to the Japanese who had planned to draw out the carriers from Hawaii by their attack to find one already there.

When the Japanese force received this news they ordered the cruiser Chikuma to launch a search to keep track of the American carrier. Pilot Officer 3rd class Hara Hisashi and his gunner/radio operator climbs into their Aichi E13A1 'Jake' JII-5 and it was hurled into the air from the cruisers catapult. At 10:45 they found the Yorktown and radioed in the contact. Hiryū, the by now only Japanese carrier, launches a strike force consisting of 18 'Val' dive bombers and escorting Zeroes. Meanwhile Hisashi continues to track the Yorktown going in and out of the clouds guiding the attackers to their target. At one point the American Combat Air Patrol (CAP) spots him but before they can reach him he disappears into the clouds. At 12:00 the strike force arrive and, sustaining heavy losses, they manage to cripple the carrier. All the time the Hisashi continues to spot the action.

Just before the Vals reach the Yorktown Hiryū launches another attack force this time torpedo equipped Kates. Hisashi continues track the American force giving their position but just as the oncoming force is detected by the Americans Hisashis luck runs out. The American CAP finds him again and this time there is no cover. At 14:09 VF-6’s MM William H. Warden and Lt (j.g.) Ronald J. Hoyle shoots him down and the Jake crashes into the sea just before the torpedo planes reaches the Yorktown (see 16. Japanese revenge - The 'Kate')

This kit in scale 1/48 is an old kit from Nichimo (see here). I have written a review of the kit here.

Read more (sources)

Shattered Sword - The untold Story of The Battle of Midway (Book)

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