Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

This Day In History | World War II - 1942 The Battle of Midway begins
http://www.historychannel.com ^ | June 4

Posted on 06/04/2006 6:17:01 AM PDT by mainepatsfan

This Day In History | World War II

June 4

1942 The Battle of Midway begins

On this day in 1942, Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, commander of the fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor, launches a raid on Midway Island with almost the entirety of the Japanese navy.

As part of a strategy to widen its sphere of influence and conquest, the Japanese set their sights on an island group in the central Pacific, Midway, as well as the Aleutians, off the coast of Alaska. They were also hoping to draw the badly wounded U.S. navy into a battle, determined to finish it off.

The American naval forces were depleted: The damaged carrier Yorktown had to be repaired in a mere three days, to be used along with the Enterprise and Hornet, all that was left in the way of aircraft carriers after the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

On the morning of June 4, Admiral Nagumo launched his first strike with 108 aircraft, and did significant damage to U.S. installations at Midway. The Americans struck back time and again at Japanese ships, but accomplished little real damage, losing 65 of their own aircraft in their initial attempts. But Nagumo underestimated the tenacity of both Admiral Chester Nimitz and Admiral Raymond Spruance, commanders of the American forces. He also miscalculated tactically by ordering a second wave of bombers to finish off what he thought was only a remnant of American resistance (the U.S. forces had been able to conceal their position because of reconnaissance that anticipated the Midway strike) before his first wave had sufficient opportunity to rearm.

(Excerpt) Read more at historychannel.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: militaryhistory; wwii
Of course the Americans obtained knowledge of the Japanese plans by illegally listening to their military coversations without a warrant. /s
1 posted on 06/04/2006 6:17:03 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
IIRC the attacks in the Aleutians preceded the Midway battle. It was a feight to draw the US north so that Japan could more easily attack and win at Midway.

In my opinion the aleutians were a more valuable target and they would have been wiser to concentrate their attack there.

2 posted on 06/04/2006 6:21:23 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bear_Slayer
feight - feint

*Note to self. Get more coffee

3 posted on 06/04/2006 6:22:18 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Bear_Slayer
Japanese propaganda trumpeted the seizure of Kiska and Attu. They had to in order to distract the public from wondering where were the carriers Hiryu, Kaga, Akagi, and Soryu.
4 posted on 06/04/2006 6:25:17 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
The damaged carrier Yorktown had to be repaired in a mere three days, to be used along with the Enterprise and Hornet, all that was left in the way of aircraft carriers after the bombing at Pearl Harbor.

The previous sentence would lead one to conclude that one or more crriers were lost during the Pearl Harbor attack. No carriers were lost in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The USS Lexington was lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The USS Saratoga was in drydock in San Diego.

5 posted on 06/04/2006 6:32:14 AM PDT by FDNYRHEROES (Always bring a liberal to a gunfight)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan

There is an apparent misconception in the narrative that leads one to believe that our carriers were somehow damaged at the Pearl Harbor raid. In fact none of the US aircraft carriers were at Pearl during the day of infamy. Had they been, the Battle of Midway might have had a different conclusion, instead, the Battle of Midway was perhaps the decisisve battle of the war when all of the Japanese carriers involved were sunk.


6 posted on 06/04/2006 6:33:08 AM PDT by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
As historian Gordon Prange noted, Nimitz called Midway "a miracle." And after finishing his study of the battle, he tended to think Nimitz understated matters.

Cracking the Japanese code and Nimitz daring to act on it was a providential turn even greater than the discovery of Lee's Special Orders 191. The stakes were greater and the number of things that had to go right were greater as well.

Hats off to the brave men who gave their all 64 years ago.

7 posted on 06/04/2006 6:35:04 AM PDT by The Iguana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Bear_Slayer
In my opinion the aleutians were a more valuable target and they would have been wiser to concentrate their attack there.

The Aleutians were utterly worthless, and one of the tragedies of the war is that we spent so many lives and resources pointlessly recapturing them - it actually prolonged the war.

8 posted on 06/04/2006 6:37:44 AM PDT by Strategerist
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: wita
Actually, only half of the Japenese carriers in the Midway op were actually sunk.

The two light carriers in the Northern (Aleutians) operation of course were undamaged - they were raced south after the first attack sinking the Akagi, the Kaga, and the Soryu. But they failed to arrive in time.

There were also, I believe, two light carriers protecting the Japanese Main Body. Not part of Nagumo's striking force.

But the four fleet carriers the Japanese lost were the ones that mattered. They were four of Japan's six biggest carriers, with her best pilots and crews. And she never recovered from that loss.

9 posted on 06/04/2006 6:39:25 AM PDT by The Iguana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
A study of Midway shows that the ability to read the Japanese coded military communications was the key to winning at Midway. A fake message was broadcast from Midway back to Hawaii that their water treatment plant was inoperative. When the Japanese forwarded this bit of information to their fleet which was enroute the US tactics were completed and the feint to the Aleutians was ignored.

A historical argument continues, to this day, as to whether FDR knew of the Pearl Harbor attack. Cordell Hull, Secy of State, had seen the translation of the 14 part message which was to be Japan's official declaration of war and was to preceed the Pearl Harbor attack. In the movie Tora Tora it is accurately portrayed that the Japanese were "late" in delivering the message and the declaration was moot since the bombs had already fallen!!!

10 posted on 06/04/2006 6:39:32 AM PDT by Young Werther
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wita

Midway was important not just in terms of the Pacific war but the entire world war as well. A Japanese victory would have made it very difficult for the U.S. to contribute much in Europe for some time.


11 posted on 06/04/2006 6:42:04 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: The Iguana
Especially to the pilots of the torpedo squadrons who drew the Japanese zeroes down and opened up the path for the dive bombers.
12 posted on 06/04/2006 6:54:22 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Strategerist
The aleuts, once taken were easily defended. Coupled with bad decision in retaking her, many US soldiers were lost.

Previously, the aleuts were not consider a strategic asset. What good were they? Too far a way and too difficult to support in a cold weather environment. We did however, use them to make 2 bombing runs into northern Japan, demostrating their long term usefulness. The amount of dollars spent in the Aleuts and all of Alaska to this day continue to demostrate their value.

If the japanese had concentrated on the aleuts and been able to take mainland alaska, she would have been in a far better place for attacks up and down the Pacific Coast, then we would have been for attacks into Japan.

utterly worthless? Hardly. We wouldn't have spent so many men and dollars retaking them or the great numbers of dollars that have been spent their since.

13 posted on 06/04/2006 6:54:46 AM PDT by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Strategerist

What a miserable campaign that was.


14 posted on 06/04/2006 6:55:16 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan

I'm not so sure that the European support had not already taken place and the Pacific war was the one less supported from the beginning. The first two to three years we were fighting on our terms, bypassing the large islands and choosing our battles very carefully to husband the limited resources we had in the pacific.

I think the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 marked the first full scale invasion against a very large Japanese force and the full brunt of the Kamikaze pilots. By April 1945 the Euorpean war appeared to be won, and so it was time to step up the pressure in the Pacific.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the huge losses we and the japanese experienced at Okinawa probably figured into the decision to use the BOMB, instead of invading Japan proper. According to an article read, the losses were so great, over 12,000 US dead, and 38,000 US wounded, they sparked congressional crys for investigations.


15 posted on 06/04/2006 7:10:34 AM PDT by wita (truthspeaks@freerepublic.com)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan

bump


16 posted on 06/04/2006 7:14:24 AM PDT by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: wita

It was but a Japanese victory on that scale (the destruction of the American carriers) would have changed all that.


17 posted on 06/04/2006 7:16:09 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
Of course the Americans obtained knowledge of the Japanese plans by illegally listening to their military coversations without a warrant.
LOL!

Midway was one of the crucial battles of the Pacific War, and was a victory by an nth. Had the Japanese used all the force available (instead of launching a strange diversionary attack with two carriers etc on Aleutian targets), it could easily have gone the other way. The Japanese defeat was so complete and so devastating that the Japanese public didn't learn all the details until 1955.
18 posted on 06/04/2006 7:26:01 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Strategerist
The Aleutians were utterly worthless, and one of the tragedies of the war is that we spent so many lives and resources pointlessly recapturing them - it actually prolonged the war.

I have no idea what the specific thought process was of those making the decisions back then, but I'm guessing that it was plan-B.

19 posted on 06/04/2006 7:28:08 AM PDT by Fruitbat
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv
Today's media would have been too focused on the loss of the Yorktown to grasp the significance of the victory.
20 posted on 06/04/2006 7:28:38 AM PDT by mainepatsfan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan

:'D


21 posted on 06/04/2006 7:33:26 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

I have a genuine Japanese Imperial War Bond, sold in 1942. It features 3.5 percent interest coupons, worth 50 Yen each. The last coupon could be redeemed December 1, 1959.


22 posted on 06/04/2006 7:41:09 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: FDNYRHEROES
The USS Lexington was lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea. The USS Saratoga was in drydock in San Diego.

And a whole lot more were abuildin' in yards all over the US. The Japs were going to be ground into dust, they just didn't know it yet.

23 posted on 06/04/2006 8:31:01 AM PDT by glorgau
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
For fun, here's an article first posted on FR that's been picked up elsewhere: If Today's Media Reported the Battle of Midway

When I wrote it, my intent was to show how a completely factual account can distort the essence of an event. Just as today's media hide behind the "factual"-ness of their one-sided reporting on Iraq.

24 posted on 06/04/2006 11:58:21 AM PDT by Dilbert56
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mainepatsfan
It was but a Japanese victory on that scale (the destruction of the American carriers) would have changed all that.
---
There was very little that could have been done. The Essex and Independence Class carriers would not start to be ready until 1943. If the American carriers at Midway had been sunk, there would have been nothing to do but wait.
You would have had to wait for ships to work their way through the pipeline.
As it was, with the change in fortunes that resulted allowed the U.S. to oppose the Japanese advance in the Solomons, probably a year earlier than otherwise.
25 posted on 06/04/2006 12:42:47 PM PDT by Cheburashka (World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson