Midway, 4 - 6 June 1942 ©

The battle that turned the tide of the Pacific War against Japan and
freed Hawaii and Australia from the threat of Japanese invasion

TEXT AND WEB-SITE BY JAMES BOWEN. THIS WEB-SITE CREATED MAY 2002 AND LAST UPDATED 12 JULY 2008

Midway was one of the most remarkable battles in world history. It would be difficult to nominate another battle that included the combination of brilliant intelligence gathering, astute planning, extraordinary heroism, and plain good luck that turned a likely defeat for the United States into an amazing victory over a much more powerful Japanese force.

MIDWAY: THE TURNING POINT

A powerful Japanese aircraft carrier strike force has just attacked America's Midway Atoll on the morning of 4 June 1942. This dramatic image depicts SBD Dauntless dive-bombers from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) inflicting fatal damage to the Japanese fleet carrier Soryu. The infuriated Japanese struck back at Yorktown during the afternoon of 4 June, and eventually were able to sink this gallant American ship


Permission to illustrate the Midway section of the Pacific War Web-site with this superb painting was generously given by internationally recognised and award-winning American artist Stan Stokes. A range of his aviation and marine art can be viewed on-line at The Stokes Collection.
Perhaps it is the sheer drama of Midway and the fascination that exceptional heroism is capable of producing in those who study history that has caused its pivotal role in the Pacific War and its potential to alter the course of World War II to be neglected by many military historians. This neglect puzzled me when I first began a close study of the Battle of Midway several years ago. I was also puzzled by the wide acceptance by military historians that the largest and most powerful armada in the history of the world had been assembled by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto simply to capture a tiny American coral atoll in the mid-Pacific and to destroy three American aircraft carriers that had survived Pearl Harbor. One of my compelling reasons for writing this account of the Battle of Midway was to make this remarkable story readily accessible to all who have access to the internet. I also wanted to set Midway in its historical context, and hopefully, redress what I perceived to be a long-standing neglect of Midway's rightful place in world history and answer the question whether Admiral Yamamoto had a third aim in launching his Midway offensive.

I also felt a compelling need to acknowledge participants in Midway whose contributions to this great American victory have not always appeared to be sufficiently appreciated. I am speaking now of the need to acknowledge the vital roles played by the US Navy, Marine, and Army defenders of Midway Atoll and the US Navy carrier-launched torpedo squadrons in laying the foundation for that victory. The sequence of five torpedo and bombing attacks from Midway Atoll, followed by three torpedo attacks from American carriers, caused no significant physical damage to the powerful Japanese carrier force, but those eight attacks combined to throw the Japanese carrier force off balance, and render it vulnerable until dive-bombers from USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown were able to exploit that vulnerability.

After placing Midway in its historical context, and tracing the course of the battle in these chapters, I have acknowledged the pivotal place of Midway in the Pacific War, and the potential of an American defeat at Midway to alter the course of World War II in a chapter titled: Assessing the Place of Midway in World War II.

IMPORTANT NEWS
A new Pacific War web-site featuring interactive animations of key Pacific War battles, including Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal is now online. These excellent animations should assist viewers to follow text descriptions of very complex battles such as Midway and Coral Sea. Strongly recommended.

© Unless otherwise expressly indicated, all material on this web-site is copyright to James Bowen, and all rights are reserved. The copyright in paintings remains with the artists who gave permission for their display on this web-site. The copyright in eyewitness stories remains with the veterans who provided those stories to the Pacific War Web-site (or their families). Subject to the foregoing, the author of this web-site will permit use of not more than 300 words of his text provided that the source is acknowledged. Any institution or person wishing to use more than 300 words of the author's text for any purpose must contact the author at the address below. Unless otherwise indicated, all maps have been produced by the author and their source from this web-site must be acknowledged.
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