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THE LEGACY OF WORLD WAR II: THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY
utsandiego.com ^ | 3 June 2012 | Peter Rowe

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 triumph’s 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 battle’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Japan; US: California; US: Hawaii
KEYWORDS: anniversary; california; hawaii; history; japan; midway; navy; worldwareleven; worldwarii; wwii
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1 posted on 06/03/2012 3:51:12 PM PDT by smokingfrog
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To: smokingfrog

4 Japanese fleet carriers sunk in one day. Kaga, Akagi, Soryu and Hiryu. 4 June 1942 was the death of the IJN.


2 posted on 06/03/2012 3:55:45 PM PDT by moonshot925
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To: smokingfrog

Here’s a great commemorative short film about some of the men who gave all at Midway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aYVko3zJrQ


3 posted on 06/03/2012 3:58:47 PM PDT by Argus
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To: smokingfrog
American victory at Midway couldn't have been any more dramatic, and it did swing momentum from the Japanese to the Americans.

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.

4 posted on 06/03/2012 3:59:36 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: smokingfrog

Great Story, Thanks for posting.


5 posted on 06/03/2012 4:00:08 PM PDT by onona (So long Doc Watson, you were an inspiration.)
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To: moonshot925
The day the war turned in the Pacific. The Japanese were on the defensive from this point on.

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.

6 posted on 06/03/2012 4:00:48 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: smokingfrog

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.


7 posted on 06/03/2012 4:01:41 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: yarddog

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.


8 posted on 06/03/2012 4:05:24 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Fat, drunk and stupid = Dumb, dependent, and Democrat)
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To: yarddog

Agreed. No better example than the VT squadrons’ hopeless attacks on the Japanese carriers flying 150 MPH deathtraps.


9 posted on 06/03/2012 4:06:13 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: smokingfrog

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.


10 posted on 06/03/2012 4:08:00 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: smokingfrog

The hero of midway - the SBD Dauntless.

11 posted on 06/03/2012 4:08:46 PM PDT by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Former Proud Canadian

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.


12 posted on 06/03/2012 4:11:53 PM PDT by moonshot925
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To: central_va

Well and the pilots that flew them


13 posted on 06/03/2012 4:12:20 PM PDT by al baby (Hi Mom)
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To: smokingfrog
When Yamamoto was asked for his assesment of a war with the US if Japan got in the first punch he said the IJN would run wild for a year but the correlation of forces would eventualy crush us.

He was off by exactly 6 months.

14 posted on 06/03/2012 4:16:14 PM PDT by AU72
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To: A_Former_Democrat

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.


15 posted on 06/03/2012 4:18:02 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: smokingfrog
America's Trafalgar.

For some reason, unlike the RN and Trafalgar, the USN does not hold fleet-wide Midway celebrations.

16 posted on 06/03/2012 4:18:43 PM PDT by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves)
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To: Argus

Thanks for sharing the link.
They sacrificed so much.


17 posted on 06/03/2012 4:24:29 PM PDT by NEWwoman (God Bless America)
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To: Jacquerie

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.


18 posted on 06/03/2012 4:27:26 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: Jacquerie
I was privileged enough to meet a number of survivors, among them navy & marine pilots and sailors, during a 55th anniversary ceremony aboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. Jack Reid, the PBY pilot who first spotted the Japanese main body at the outset of the battle, was there.

I'm so glad I had the opportunity to meet them. Those guys really had something special.

19 posted on 06/03/2012 4:28:07 PM PDT by skeeter
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To: moonshot925

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.


20 posted on 06/03/2012 4:30:13 PM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: moonshot925
The Japanese were simply not equipped, in any aspect, to win a long war.

It is kind of amazing, when you think of it. The Japs had years to prepare, train their forces, and plan their initial and follow on attacks. The US was basically caught unaware and not really on a war footing.

Yet, within a few months, the US had organized itself to build the mobile strike forces (carriers), the air forces (B-29's and long range fighters) and the ultimate atomic weapons that would win the war. The training, tactics and logistics involved were figured out and implemented. Meanwhile the Japs were spreading their forces thinly all across the Pacific. Training, logistics, and a strategy to actually defeat the US were sorely lacking.

VDH writes about the "western way of war" and how western nations, from ancient Greece to now, are better able to organize their societies to destroy their enemies. I don't think anything has changed.

21 posted on 06/03/2012 4:31:53 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: central_va

Too bad that Laser Guidance timing lagged so much.


22 posted on 06/03/2012 4:34:56 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: smokingfrog

The attack of the SBDs was 15 minutes that changed the world. I’ve sailed over the spot where the Yorktown sank in RIMPAC 1994 Very moving to sail those same seas.


23 posted on 06/03/2012 4:34:56 PM PDT by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG-49) Freedom's Fortress)
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To: Former Proud Canadian

The Japanese thought we(and all their opposition) would just fall over dead or run away. There is not much need to create a long term plan for victory if you are racially superior.


24 posted on 06/03/2012 4:41:07 PM PDT by AceMineral (Will work for money.)
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To: Former Proud Canadian

The Japanese plan had been to strike as close as possible to “out of the blue” (only translation difficulties in the Japanese embassy in D.C. prevented a “formal” declaration of war being announced before the start of the Pearl Harbor attack), overrun and grab as much territory as possible while the Western colonial powers were still reeling, establish themselves in their new lands, then step forward with a peace offering before the Americans and British could recover and mount a counteroffensive.

How little the Japanese understood their foes....


25 posted on 06/03/2012 4:43:10 PM PDT by M1903A1 ("We shed all that is good and virtuous for that which is shoddy and sleazy... and call it progress")
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To: moonshot925

Do you think that if things had gone very badly at Midway that there may have started a “peace with Japan” movement in late 1942?


26 posted on 06/03/2012 4:44:29 PM PDT by AceMineral (Will work for money.)
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To: AceMineral
Well, not all of them. Yamamoto knew better. He went to Harvard. A quote from him.

"In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."

A disputed quote, but it sounds good:

"You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."

27 posted on 06/03/2012 4:48:28 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian (Obamanomics-We don't need your stinking tar sands oil, we'll just grow algae.)
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To: yarddog
An old shipmate of mine flew A-6s aboard the USS Midway in the early 1980s. They pulled an inport visit to Australia.

He said he lost track of the number of times the Aussies thanked him for the Battle of the Coral Sea.

28 posted on 06/03/2012 4:52:24 PM PDT by Jacquerie (No court will save us from ourselves)
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To: Former Proud Canadian

Japan never had a chance in a war with the United States. In 1939 the USA produced 51.3 million tons of steel. Japan produced 5.8 million tons of steel.


29 posted on 06/03/2012 4:55:14 PM PDT by moonshot925
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To: rlmorel

One thing I recall from Saburo Sakai’s book is he considered the American Pilots early in the war to be of really high quality but their planes were very inferior.

I also remember him saying the best pilot he ever faced was a Dutchman very early in the war. He was flying an old obsolete fighter but every time Sakai was ready to shoot, he would evade. He eventually did shoot him down but Sakai clearly thought he would have lost to him if the Dutchman had a good plane.

Sakai also said the reason the Americans eventually prevailed was the quality of their planes fairly soon became better than the Japanese. He said they did develop some fighters which were just as good as the mustang but they were too few and too late.


30 posted on 06/03/2012 4:57:10 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: A_Former_Democrat
"Should be mandatory viewing by every liberal. Let them see the horrors brought on by concentrated central power."

It doesn't really matter. Liberals would point out the "divinity" of the Japanese emperor and blame the war on religion...

31 posted on 06/03/2012 5:00:25 PM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: central_va

Otherwise known as the speedy three.


32 posted on 06/03/2012 5:01:16 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life's tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: smokingfrog
 
 
Would have been a great article except for the manipulative way it was written. They put it as if all he was or allowed to be was a steward. BULL****. When the feces hit the fan, everbody had a battle station. Everybody. Cooks, orderlies, stewards and so forth weren't just hiding below decks, washing dishes and polishing the silverware when the shooting started, they had battle duties to attend to and were cross-trained to perform those duties, such as loading and operating the elevators from the magazine below decks to keep the guns above fed and operating, shell handling at the gun emplacements, damage & fire control - many jobs that required participation by all personnel to insure the survival of the ship and crew. Going by what was in the article, it seems Mr. Mills was certainly involved in damage control and firefighting and consider it an insult to him and his service that they did not go into detail concerning his full duties and capabilities. But that wouldn't fit the agenda of fueling racial tensions and keeping old wounds picked open and bleeding, would it?
 
 
 

33 posted on 06/03/2012 5:03:41 PM PDT by lapsus calami (What's that stink? Code Pink ! ! And their buddy Murtha, too!)
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To: AceMineral

No. The American people did not forget about Pearl Harbor. They wanted victory and a defeat at Midway would make them even more motivated, not less.


34 posted on 06/03/2012 5:10:00 PM PDT by moonshot925
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To: skeeter

Wow..... You were certainly privileged and you have my envy.


35 posted on 06/03/2012 5:13:00 PM PDT by Gator113 (***YOU GAVE it to Obama. I would have voted for NEWT.~Just livin' life, my way~)
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To: yarddog

One of the things I’m amazed with is how quickly they could get things done, developed, invented, repaired, etc. All the new weapons, ship repairs, The Bomb, conversion of factories to wartime use....training of personnel . . .what an incredible effort home and abroad.


36 posted on 06/03/2012 5:15:59 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Fat, drunk and stupid = Dumb, dependent, and Democrat)
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To: moonshot925

Fortune was in our favor on this day.

Good fortune, and untold bravery.


37 posted on 06/03/2012 5:16:21 PM PDT by SomeCallMeTim ( The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them)
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To: smokingfrog
The major thing I took from reading Herman Wouk's War and Remembrance was the courage and valor of the pilots of the torpedo planes who knew that, without a fighter escort, they were on a suicide mission.

But they went in anyway.

38 posted on 06/03/2012 5:19:40 PM PDT by Bratch
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To: Former Proud Canadian
And don't forget, we were a God fearing and worshiping country at that time. With the murdering of babies and a queer loving Congress and removing the Lord from all our schools and everywhere else we can get away with it, we may lose the next big one. God was on our side then because we were on His.
39 posted on 06/03/2012 5:19:54 PM PDT by fish hawk (Religion: Man's attempt to gain salvation or the approbation of God by his own works)
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To: A_Former_Democrat

I think the great depression had something to do with it. It toughened us and also our enemies.

Also our morality and sense of national patriotism was far far stronger than now. I can recall my Father mentioning that all their officers were fine men.


40 posted on 06/03/2012 5:27:08 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: yarddog

I agree and I came to realize my parents didn’t really talk much about it, nor toss it back at me when I complained about something. Their generation and the one before it just went out and got it done. Then went on about their business working and raising a family.


41 posted on 06/03/2012 5:30:37 PM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (Fat, drunk and stupid = Dumb, dependent, and Democrat)
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To: yarddog

Yeah...the deck eventually became stacked against them.

Funny thing is, you talk to people today, and they talk as if the outcome of WWII was a foregone conclusion.

Early on, when we met the Japanese around the Solomons, they were a tough, evenly matched foe with us, and superior in some facets.

We learned from our mistakes. They did not. A great book that explains how we embraced technology and tactics, and how they stubbornly refused to change is “Neptune’s Inferno”, about the naval battles around the Solomon Islands. Of course, it also highlights how some of our leadership refused to learn as well, particularly with respect to torpedoes...we were stuck on gunnery. Even as late as November 1942, there were commanders in the fleet who did not understand either the deficiencies with our torpedoes, or the clear superiority and performance specifications of theirs (Long Lance).


42 posted on 06/03/2012 5:40:54 PM PDT by rlmorel ("The safest road to Hell is the gradual one." Screwtape (C.S. Lewis))
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To: yarddog
I wouldn't say we lost it, we did turn back the Japanese invasion fleet, so it was a strategic victory, even though we did suffer greater losses.
43 posted on 06/03/2012 5:55:04 PM PDT by fortheDeclaration (Pr 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation:but sin is a reproach to any people)
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To: fortheDeclaration

Well before my time, yet tears streaming. Unfortunately the Greatest Generation didn’t teach their young well. They are the long grey haired freaks pretending to teach their Grand Children about right and wrong.


44 posted on 06/03/2012 6:02:11 PM PDT by DAC21
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To: smokingfrog

Another thing these early battles proved was just how vulnerable aircraft carriers were to dive bombers. A single 500lb bomb could destroy one.


45 posted on 06/03/2012 6:16:42 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: smokingfrog

The Navy had broken the Japanese Naval Code(JN25), that helped. The Japs didn’t have radar, that helped too. Personally, I think just six months after Pearl Harbor the US Navy was just Hell-bent for revenge. God Bless the US Navy and Naval Aviation..


46 posted on 06/03/2012 6:17:56 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: smokingfrog

Six months after Pearl Harbor the war was lost for all intents and purposes in this one battle. There were a lot of battles to be fought yet, but the Japs weren’t going to win the war


47 posted on 06/03/2012 6:18:41 PM PDT by Figment
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To: smokingfrog

Midway, El Alamein and Stalingrad, 1942 a bad year for the Axis forces


48 posted on 06/03/2012 6:19:13 PM PDT by redangus
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To: central_va

Wow. I’m impressed Reb.(Don’t forget LT. Cmdr. Wade McCluskey.)


49 posted on 06/03/2012 6:21:02 PM PDT by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
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To: DAC21

I think the problem is these hardened WWII and depression era veterans and their equally hard working wives wanted to make things easy for their children. They did not realize the hard times they went through is what made them tough and in some sense, good.

Also the end of WWII coincided with Marxists taking control of the country just as McCarthy said. they did it without the average American even knowing it.


50 posted on 06/03/2012 6:21:29 PM PDT by yarddog
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