Midway, 4 - 6 June 1942 ©
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
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.
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.
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MORE WEB-SITES FOR THE HISTORY ENTHUSIAST
THE PEARL HARBOR AND WORLD WAR II PACIFIC WAR RING
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