AIR: Scratch One Tinpot

"It was sort of an impromptu affair."

Captain Thomas G. Lanphier Jr., Army air hero (TIME, May 31), was shop-talking, with the professional airman's elaborate understatement, about one of the strangest engagements of this or any war—a battle in which U.S. fighter planes sank a Japanese destroyer by gunfire.

"We came out of the floatplane base on Poporang Island—there were six of us, five P-38s and one Vought Corsair—and we spotted the destroyer. It turned broadside to me. We were firing our four .50-caliber machine guns and one cannon.

"There were Japs jumping overboard everywhere. It took a couple of runs to clear...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!