WWII Footage of U.S. Pilot Scoring a Direct Hit on Japanese Carrier Hiryu
YouTube / Smithsonian Channel
Two In One Day
On June 4, 1942, Dusty Kleiss and 32 other SBD dive bombers were deployed to search for a Japanese carrier task force. That afternoon, the Dauntless fleet spotted the carrier Kaga and attacked it, managing to score multiple hits against the Japanese ship. Kleiss was the second pilot to score a hit by aiming his 500-lb bomb and two wing-mounted bombs on the ship’s flight deck.
Later that day, Kleiss went on another dive bomber mission in search of Hiryu, Japan’s fourth carrier. The fleet quickly pursued the carrier and started their dives.
But at that moment, Hiryu makes a radical turn to the left, forcing two dive bombers ahead of Dusty to miss. Still, Kleiss recalibrates his Dauntless fast:
“I aimed for where the ship was going to be as it continued that turn.”
At 1,500 ft, he yanks the release lever and scores a direct hit on the ship’s bow. Just like that, Hiryu was fatally crippled.
Dusty Kleiss was the only one of four dive bombers who managed to hit Hiryu. Most impressively, he managed to score a hit on two different carriers in one day. What a legend!