Yorktown’s bombers had just delivered… a devastating blow to the Japanese carrier Soryu. Within minutes the ship was destroyed. Two other enemy carriers met the same fate that morning- the battle of Midway was becoming a decisive encounter. The remaining Japanese carrier, Hiryu, launched their only attack of the battle- and her planes found Yorktown.
A fierce defense by her fighter screen… and massive anti-aircraft barrage allowed only 3 of 18 dive bombers to reach the ship. Rapid work by repair crews got the ship moving again after the 3 bombs hit the flight deck. Skillful maneuvering avoided the wave of aerial torpedoes launched at the carrier, but 2 found their mark. Yorktown lay dead in the water, quickly developing a 26 degree list to port- the ship was abandoned.
The salvage attempt of June 5… was almost successful. Extra weight was dropped, the fires extinguished, and Yorktown’s list was corrected nearly 3 degrees. Tugs from Pearl Harbor were able to place the huge carrier under tow. The destroyer Hammann was alongside providing power and supplies as the ship began the slow, painful tow back to Pearl.
The Japanese submarine I-168… utilized the chaos and debris of battle to evade America sonar and creep to within 12oo yards of Yorktown. The sub launched a battery of 4 torpedoes- Hammann was struck directly, cracked and sank in minutes. Two torpedoes hit the carrier midships while the fourth missed its mark aft. All hopes of salvaging the great ship were lost… her task force had to watch helplessly as Yorktown capsized and slipped beneath the waves on June 7, 1942.