Battle of Midway June 1942

posted Jun 07, 2017 by Kathy Pinna
Six months after Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy launched the Battle of Midway - June 4th through 7th, 1942. While the war in the Pacific didn't end until the surrender of Japan in August 1945, this battle was the beginning of the end for Japan. After Pearl Harbor, the United States was able to repair all but 3 of the ships that were damaged or sunk and, with a massive war effort on the home front, the United States effectively re-created a Pacific fleet that had been decimated. But Japan had been on the move and was taking over massive swaths of the Pacific. After the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy (and air support) were on the defensive, reacting to U.S. offensives. As well, it was an important victory for morale. As Admiral Spruance said: “We had not been defeated by these superior Japanese forces. Midway to us at the time meant that here is where we start from, here is where we really jump off in a hard, bitter war against the Japanese.”

The Japanese Navy had planned to lure the U.S. Navy into a trap at Midway, creating another demoralizing defeat - leading to the U.S. giving up the war in the Pacific. But U.S. cryptographers had (unknown to the Japanese) cracked the Japanese code and were aware of their plans. The U.S. Navy planned their own ambush - deploying 16 submarines, 15 destroyers, 233 ship based aircraft, 127 land based aircraft, 3 carriers, 7 heavy cruisers, and 1 light cruiser against 4 carriers, 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 12 destroyers and 248 ship based aircraft, and 16 floatplanes. It was a massive battle.

By the end of the battle, 3,057 Japanese had died. They had lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft. The U.S. had lost the carrier Yorktown and a destroyer. 307 Americans had been killed. The Japanese people were told that a "great victory" had been won. The U.S. fighting men knew better.
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