Skip to comments.THE LEGACY OF WORLD WAR II: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY
Posted on 06/03/2012 3:50:59 PM PDT by smokingfrog
Spanning hundreds of leagues and four days, June 4-7, 1942, the Battle of Midway pitted an overmatched American fleet against a Japanese armada in a desperate struggle for command of the Pacific. What unfolded more than 1,000 miles northwest of Hawaii was, British historian John Keegan maintains, the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare.
Saturday in San Diego, the U.S. Navy celebrated this triumphs 70th anniversary. Aboard the retired aircraft carrier named for the battle, 1,000 guests were to hear videotaped comments from a handful of survivors.
They included aviators, Marines and one plucky steward.
The Japanese had the most ships, that steward, 97-year-old Andy Mills, said during an earlier interview in his San Diego home. But we knew they were coming we had cracked their codes. We had the upper hand.
The U.S. Navy may have had another advantage it was stocked with flexible, creative officers and sailors. Mills, a black man in the then-segregated Navy, began the Battle of Midway as a steward aboard the carrier Yorktown, making meals and cleaning rooms. Before the battles end, he would crack a safe, struggle to save a doomed vessel and abandon ship twice.
Midway turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific, snapping a string of Japanese victories that had begun six months earlier at Pearl Harbor.
(Excerpt) Read more at utsandiego.com ...
4 Japanese fleet carriers sunk in one day. Kaga, Akagi, Soryu and Hiryu. 4 June 1942 was the death of the IJN.
Here’s a great commemorative short film about some of the men who gave all at Midway.
But because of the Japanese distribution of forces we weren't as overmatched as is commonly thought - it really boiled down to three American decks & and island base with 450 aircraft versus four Japanese decks and 270 aircraft.
Though they had momentum on their side the Japanese were beaten before the battle even started by virtue of their tactical plan - forces to widely spread - and strategic goal - split between taking Midway and destroying US naval airpower.
Great Story, Thanks for posting.
I don't know what would have happened if the Midway came out differently. I guess the final outcome would have been the same, but it might have taken longer.
Every time I read or see on film the accounts these WWII battles by the Navy, Marines, Army etc. it astounds me.
They were incredibly brave and also incredibly capable.
I do too. I’m in the midst of my second consecutive viewing of the series “The Last Days of WWII” Just incredible, everything. The heroism, the dedication, the suffering. And yet today people complain about such little things.
Should be mandatory viewing by every liberal. Let them see the horrors brought on by concentrated central power.
Agreed. No better example than the VT squadrons’ hopeless attacks on the Japanese carriers flying 150 MPH deathtraps.
The Japanese Naval aviators before WWII were the most selective and also most highly trained of any. They were so selective that once they lost a lot of those prewar aviators their replacements were not even close.
They also lost a lot of maintenance crews.
they probably could replace the carriers but not those superb air crew.
The hero of midway - the SBD Dauntless.
You are correct. Even if the USN lost all 3 carriers at Midway and the Japs lost none, the outcome would still be the same. By 1 July 1944 we would have 10 Essex class, 9 Independence class and 50 Casablanca class carriers in commission. The Japanese were doomed even if we had a terrible defeat at Midway.
Well and the pilots that flew them
He was off by exactly 6 months.
A couple of years ago, a guy sent me the complete U.S. Signal Corps history of my Father’s battalion in WWII. They were Combat Engineers.
The thing which totally got my attention and really surprised me is just how capable they were. They would accomplish jobs in a few days which one would think would take months or even longer.
I also am impressed with our enemies courage and capability. I recently saw a show on the History Channel or maybe another similar show about a German Tank Battalion. Goodness they went through hell and kept fighting. I also remember an interview and real film of one of the German veterans. Even those tankers were impressed with their own combat engineers, although he called them sappers.
They showed film of the tanks crossing pontoon bridges while the Russians were shelling them. He said they were basically safe from the artillery but the sappers had nothing but their helmets to protect them.
For some reason, unlike the RN and Trafalgar, the USN does not hold fleet-wide Midway celebrations.
Thanks for sharing the link.
They sacrificed so much.
I think the Battle of the Coral Sea was also very important.
Although we lost, it showed the American Navy could go head to head with the Japanese. This was the first time any allied forces fought them effectively.
I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet them. Those guys really had something special.
Almost the death of the IJN...they still had enough to kick our butts at Savo Island a couple of months later, and continued to make life tough for another six months to a year, but...I do think Midway spelled doom for japanese military aviation.
They continued to throw their best pilots back into the meat grinder until they were all gone. We rotated our best pilots out, and over time, that was the difference.
Even as early as the battle of the Eastern Solomons or Cape Esperance, gunners on ships noticed a clear change in the quality of the Japanese pilots they encountered, fighters, bombers and torpedo planes. Earlier in the war, they had been tenacious and good. They became, even that early, much less persistent and noticeably less capable.