The Battle of Midway

6542 words 27 pages
Battle of Midway was a major naval battle, widely regarded as the most important one of the Pacific Campaign of World War II.[3] It took place from June 4 to 7, 1942, approximately one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, five months after the Japanese capture of Wake Island, and exactly six months to the day after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. The United States Navy decisively defeated a Japanese attack against Midway Atoll.
Both sides sustained significant losses. Four Japanese aircraft carriers and a heavy cruiser were sunk in exchange for one American aircraft carrier and a destroyer. The heavy losses permanently weakened the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), in particular the four fleet carriers and over 200 experienced naval
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Critically, Yamamoto's supporting battleships and cruisers would trail Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo's carrier striking force by several hundred miles. Japan's heavy surface forces were intended to destroy whatever part of the U.S. Fleet might come to Midway's relief, once Nagumo's carriers had weakened them sufficiently for a daylight gun duel to be fought;[17] this was typical of the battle doctrine of most major navies. However, their distance from Nagumo's carriers would have grave implications during the battle, since the battleships were escorted by cruisers, which possessed scout planes invaluable to Nagumo.[18]
[edit] Aleutian invasion
Likewise, the Japanese operations aimed at the Aleutian Islands (Operation AL) removed yet more ships from the force striking Midway. However, whereas prior histories have often characterized the Aleutians operation as a feint to draw American forces northwards, recent scholarship on the battle has shown, by the original Japanese battle plan, AL was designed to be launched simultaneously with the attack on Midway.[19] However, a one-day delay in the sailing of Nagumo's task force had the effect of initiating Operation AL a day before its counterpart.

In order to do battle with an enemy force anticipated to muster four or five carriers, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean

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