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Date: Thursday, 4 June 1942
Place: Midway, Oceania
After the 4 June mid-morning U.S. Navy attacks on the Japanese carrier force, only the Hiryu remained operational. Shortly before 1100 she launched eighteen dive bombers, escorted by six fighters, to strike a retaliatory blow. At about noon, as these planes approached USS Yorktown (CV-5), the most exposed of the three American aircraft carriers, they were intercepted by the U.S. combat air patrol, which shot down most of the bombers. Seven, however, survived to attack, hitting Yorktown with three bombs and stopping her. While Yorktown's crew worked to repair damage and get their ship underway, a second force left Hiryu, this one consisting of ten torpedo planes and six fighters. Though the U.S. carrier was moving again by 1430, and even launched more fighters, the Japanese aircraft penetrated heavy air and gunfire opposition to hit Yorktown with two torpedoes, opening a huge hole on her midships port side. The stricken ship again went dead in the water and took on a severe list. Concerned that she was about to roll over, her Captain ordered his crew to abandon ship. On 6 June 1942 the Japanese submarine I-168 scored another two torpedo hits on the crippled aircraft carrier and she sank on 7 June. Destroyers spent an entire day seeking out the Japanese submarine that sunk the Yorktown and her escort destroyer, USS Hammann (DD-412), but failed to sink I-168. The submarine was finally sunk by the USS Scamp (SS-277) on 27 July 1943.
U.S. Navy photo 80-G-17062; National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 2003.001.223