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Importance Of The Battle Of Midway Naval Battle

The battle of Midway is known as one of the most important naval battles of World War II. The battle took place between June 4- June 7 of 1942. The battle would be the great showdown of the imperial naval forces of Japan who had a considerable amount of experience under their belts taking on the Young Inexperienced American Fleet. Japan planned to use Navy to expand power. Japan possessed naval superiority over any nation in the war. The Japanese plan was to occupy the small atoll of Midway. Midway was a stretch of land laying out in the pacific just measuring over a mile long. This land was cresol for occupation because it could be used as a landing point for ships to refuel, to store weapons, and house planes.

But the task of not letting Midway fall into Japanese hands was not going to be easy. Japan had great success in taking over the central Pacific. The Man responsible for Japan’ successes was Admiral Yamamoto. The man in charge of the U.S. fleet was Admiral Chester Nimitz. Japan had planned to occupy Midway for several months. He based the attack off of that the American’s had thought they were planning to occupy Hawaii and that the USS Enterprise and the USS Hornet were the only carriers available to them at the time. During the battle of Coral Sea just weeks prior, The USS Lexington had been sunk. He also thought that the USS Yorktown had been sunk. The Americans battled furiously to save the Yorktown. What Yamamoto didn’t know, is that the USS Yorktown had been badly damaged but was still intact and being repaired in a Carolina harbor. Also he didn’t know that the USS Saratoga was being repaired in a Californian harbor. Not only did Yamamoto believe that they were not equipped for the battle physically, he thought they were not ready mentally because of the recent defeats. Just weeks prior to the scheduled attack, the American’s caught a huge break. Commander Rochefort and his team of Code breakers successfully cracked the Japanese code Jn-25. As a result of their efforts, the American’s were able to confirm that The Japanese had intentions of occupying Midway. Also, they had a good picture where there ships would be and the strategy they would be using. Yamamoto’s had expected to knock out the reinstate on Midway. Then once the resistance had been knocked out, he would invade the island drawing American carriers there but it would be too late to save the day. Unannounced to Yamamoto, the Americans were already in position and ready to strike.

Admiral Nimitz gathered all of his b-25 bombers onto the USS Hornet to bomb the Japanese capital and that showed that the Americans were ready to fight back. Just prior to the battle of Midway, the Japanese attacked was separated into 3 parts. Coming from the south were the reinforcements and men to invade the island of midway, coming straight from Japan were the battleships, but from the north came the big guns. The huge fleet of battleships would by around the four carriers and Yamamoto was in the Akagi. Since the Americans knew that the Japanese were going to strike Midway, they landed all the planes they could in its runways, set up defenses and misplaced marines on the island. Nimitz new where the Japanese were coming from, but didn’t know their exact location. The four Japanese carriers made there way to midway undected... At 5:40 AM, the American scout plane spotted the Japanese but it was too late. The attack was coming under attack. The American’s saw the Japanese attack coming so they got all their bombers and fighters off the grounds of Midway. The American Wildcats were no match for the Japanese Zeroes. Not only did the Japanese have the edge in the equipment they were also much more experienced. As expected the Japanese Zero’s annihilated the Wildcat’s. The Japanese bombers continued to rain hell on the defenses at Midway. It seemed that the Japanese were inflicting so much damage but it occurred to Nagumo, where were the American Bombers? Just as he searched for them, he found them hovering right over his ships. He was terrified. But there was no reason to be because the zeroes chased them out and those who could get there bombs out missed. Nagumo’s fleet had escaped this time. Yamamoto’s had planned to strike the returning American bomber’s as soon as they returned to Midway to refuel. Yamamoto’s planes were equipped with anti-ship weapons. He took the time to install anti-ground weapons. In the process of changing weapons, a scout plane had reported that he had spotted what had looked like ten American ships. This terrified Yamamoto. He wanted to know if they were carriers because if they were he would be in some hot water. As soon as he found out he ordered his men to reattach the anti-ship weapons. Aboard the American ships, they were making final preparations to take off. But many of the pilots aboard the USS Hornet were extremely nervous. For many of them they had just finished flight school. For some, they hadn’t even seen the process before. But just as they were ready to take off, Nimitz told them to “give them hell”. The American planes headed out with butterflies in their stomachs. But to make matters worse for the Japanese, their zeroes were just coming back to the carrier. He had set out aside of planes but they were equipped with the wrong weapons as well. Nagumo made a huge risk by landing all the planes and re-arming them with the right weapons. It was only then they could finish off the American’s with one huge attack. At 10:21 AM the American planes had reached the Japanese carriers. At that time though, the Japanese were not finished refueling and changing weapons. They sent up a few of their Zero’s to tangle with the American’s. The zeroes pounced on the American’s destroying thirty-five out of forty of their Wildcat’s. Only five American’s survived the attack, but those five were going to make all the difference. The hovered right over the Japanese carriers nothing to stop them, and no one in their way. They went down screaming with full force, anti aircraft guns rained hell on the bombers but it was too late. 4 bombs pounded into the Kaga sending it down to the bottom of the Pacific. Another bomb ripped through the heart of the Akagi. Yamamoto and his team fled the flaming ship. The USS Yorktown had finally arrived and when the sent their planes out, Yamamoto’s was finally getting word that the ships had been spotted could be confirmed that they were carriers. But it was to late anyway, the USS Yorktown’s fleet ripped three more bombs into the Soryu leaving them with one more carrier the Hiryu. But it was no the Japanese turn to make a move. They launched half of the Hiryu’s fleet to hit an American carrier. At just around 12:30, they found the USS Yorktown. The Yorktown’s crew was ready for an attack because it had been hit by the Japanese twice before. But never the less, the crew braced for an attack. The opened the guns and shells blackened the sky. The red tracers laced the sky. The planes that did manage to get through, let three bombs go into the Yorktown. The Yorktown’s crew went to work to put the fire out in the boilers. Again they fought desperately to save the ship and yet again they did. The Japanese planes went back to the Hiryu thinking they had sunk the Yorktown. As soon as the Japanese had landed the other part of their fleet was sent out again. At 1730 hours, they found the Yorktown again. The Japanese went right to work and let some bombs go into the Yorktown. This time, the Yorktown couldn’t be saved. Four attacks were just too many for the Yorktown. Now the Japanese thought that they had one carrier and the American’s had one carrier because they had hit the Yorktown twice. Nimitz was determined to find the Hiryu and destroy it. He sent his fleet out to find it. But the Japanese had made another cresol mistake. They thought the American’s were refueling so they gave there men time to eat. But then the American’s found them Hiryu and destroyed it. For Yamamoto the battle was lost and he ordered all of his remaining battle ships back to Japan.

Werstein,Irving. The Battle of Midway. New York. Thomas Y. Crowell Company. 2003?

<Smith, William, Midway the turning point of the Pacific. New York, Thomas Y. Crowell Company. 1966>

< Hough, Richard. The Battle of Midway. London. The Macmillan Company. 1970

<Tuela, Thaddeus. Climax at Midway. Berkley. A Berkley Medallion Book. 1960>

Smith, Chester. Midway 4 June 1942. Oxford, London. Regency Press London. 1959>

Cressman, Robert. No end save victory. “ www.history.naval.mil” 4 Novmeber < http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq81-1.htm>


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