The Battle of Midway was one of the more famous naval battles in the Pacific. Here are a few of the first pages from the "Battle of Midway" chapter:
By April 1942, the
Japanese Empire stretched from Manchuria to New Guinea on the
outskirts of Australia; after Pearl Harbour Japan's advances in the
Pacific had been almost entirely victorious. Allied armies in the
Philippines, Malaya, Singapore and the Dutch East Indies had all been
defeated. Victory for Japan was seemingly close, but the Pacific War
was far from over.
the Pearl Harbour debacle, the United States had little to
celebrate in the Pacific. Salvage teams at the Hawaiian base were
restoring and repairing U.S. battleships and other warships, but the
survival of the U.S. aircraft carriers did give the Allies something
to counter further Japanese naval advances. It was not long before
they were called into action for naval support in the Pacific.
aircraft carriers also provided a platform for early bombing missions
such as the Doolittle Raid. With aircraft carriers the United
States launched its first bombing raid of the war towards Japan. In
the month of April, a squadron of B-25s, even though they were
not carrier aircraft, somehow took off from the decks of an aircraft
carrier and bombed Japanese cities. The Doolittle Raid proved that
Japan could be bombed, and was celebrated by the Allies.
naval battles in the Pacific took place in May. At the Battle of
Coral Sea the IJN was targeting Port Moresby, which if taken could
provide a base for a potential invasion of Australia. The occupation
of southeast New Guinea was another part of the plan. For this
operation Japan sent out two fleet aircraft carriers to intercept any
Allied naval fleets.
U.S. Navy was ready and waiting for the IJN at Coral Sea. It was here
that the first aircraft carrier naval battle of the Pacific War
emerged, as both sides launched aircraft sorties from their carriers.
The U.S. aircraft carriers Lexington and Yorktown were both
attacked by the Japanese bombers. The Lexington was struck by
torpedoes and was lost, while the bomb damaged Yorktown survived the
battle and returned to Pearl Harbour for further repairs.
the loss of the Lexington, the Battle of Coral Sea was not entirely a
defeat for the United States. The IJN withdrew from the battle, and
so the Allies still held Port Moresby which would remain out of reach
for the rest of the Pacific War. Japanese fleet aircraft carriers
required repairs after the battle, and they also lost a light
remaining U.S. aircraft carriers were a primary target for the IJN.
They had escaped Pearl Harbour, and three of those remained intact
after the Battle of Coral Sea. Indeed, the next battle was less than
a month away.
this operation, Admiral Yamamoto aimed at the occupation of the
Midway Atoll, a small island in the Pacific, approximately 1,300
miles northwest of Hawaii, which was a U.S. naval and flying-boat
base. For Japan, it was a good location to establish a forward
position in the Pacific with airfields. It was expected that U.S.
aircraft carriers could be trapped, and wiped out, by the Japanese
carrier fleet in a naval battle around Midway Island. Japanese troops
would also land at and occupy the Aleutian Islands to the north to
divert some U.S. vessels away from Midway.
divided the Japanese Combined Fleet into five naval groups that were
dispersed across hundreds of miles of ocean. The most essential of
these groups was the Carrier Striking Force, under Admiral Nagumo,
which included four Japanese aircraft carriers with approximately 280
aircraft. These were the ships that would target the U.S. carriers,
and aircraft, around Midway.
the Carrier Striking Force were further supporting Japanese fleet
groups. These fleets included a variety of cruisers, destroyers and
battleships such as the 72,809 ton Yamato. One of the groups was also
a transport group which was expected to carry approximately 5,000
Japanese troops to occupy Midway. Japanese submarines would also play
their part in the operation. Japan sent out a forward screen of
submarines between Midway and Pearl Harbour to intercept U.S.
aircraft carriers approaching Midway....