The Battle of Midway is one of the most significant battles that took place after Pearl Harbor. Today, there are Battle of Midway movies and Battle of Midway memes that remind us of the significant event, though nothing compares to the real story.
Just months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese navy fought in what is now known as one of the greatest victories for the U.S. Navy: the Battle of Midway.
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The Story Behind Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway was a five-day-long battle between the United States and Japan. The goal for Japan during this time was to remove power from the United States in the Pacific. Japan wanted to do this so they could gain territory within East Asia and the Southwest Pacific Islands.
However, the U.S. knew that Japan was planning to attack the Pacific. They were aware of this because U.S. Navy cryptanalysts deployed at Station HYPO in Hawaii began breaking down Japanese communication codes earlier in the year.
The United States knew the time and location that Japan was planning to attack because they sent the Japanese a false message. The false message was that the American base was short of fresh water, and shortly after that message went out, Japan replied with a code that read “AF.”
According to the decrypted code, the Japanese message confirmed that they were planning to attack the American base Midway. The cryptanalysts were also able to unearth the exact date on which the Japanese navy was planning to attack.
When Was the Battle of Midway?
The Battle of Midway lasted for five days. The Battle of Midway date started on June 4, 1942, on which the majority of the battle took place. There were plans and preparations made by the Japanese on June 3, which is technically included as a part of the battle.
June 4 was when the Japanese carriers made their first attacks and the major combat of the battle began. The Battle of Midway continued for the next two days and officially ended on June 7.
This Battle of Midway map gives more insight into where the battle took place during this four-day struggle.
Battle of Midway Summary
On June 4, 1942, the United States base on Midway was attacked by four Japanese aircraft carriers. The attack severely damaged the U.S. military base. After the first attack, the Japanese returned back to their carriers to refuel and rearm their aircraft.
While attacking the U.S. base on Midway, the Japanese were unaware of the U.S. carrier forces that were nearby and ready for battle. Once the Japanese returned for the second attack, the United States Navy was in the same area as the Japanese navy.
The attack on the Japanese was made by TBD Devastator torpedo bombers and SBD Dauntless dive-bombers from the USS Enterprise, the USS Hornet, and the USS Yorktown.
The attack hit the Japanese carriers Akagi, Kaga, and Soryu, which were destroyed and abandoned as a result. The only Japanese carrier that survived the attack was Hiryu, which responded with two waves of attacks bombing the USS Yorktown.
USS Yorktown was severely damaged, but it was still floating after the attacks from the Japanese carrier. A scout plane for the USS Yorktown had spotted the location of Hiryu, which then allowed for the USS Enterprise to send dive-bombers to attack.
The battle continued on for two more days after the USS Enterprise sunk Hiryu. On June 6, the USS Hammann, which protected and provided cover for the USS Yorktown, was bombed, and the ship sank in minutes. The same day, the Battle of Midway ended.
Who Won the Battle of Midway?
After five days of battle, the Japanese eventually surrendered, and the United States took victory. The Battle of Midway casualties weighed heavier on the Japanese than they did on the United States.
The Japanese had lost more than 3,000 men, hundreds of aircraft, four carriers, and one cruiser. The United States had lost approximately 362 men, 144 aircraft, one carrier, and one destroyer.
Battle of Midway Significance
Why was the Battle of Midway important? The Battle of Coral Sea and Midway are two significant battles that restricted the Japanese navy. After the Battle of Midway ended, the United States Navy patrols recovered many survivors and about three dozen crewmen who were a part of the engineering department of the Hiryu.
The U.S. recovering the Japanese crewmen gave them the opportunity to interrogate the prisoners and receive information about Japanese naval capabilities.
The Battle of Midway is said to be a “victory of intelligence” for the United States Navy. The victory of the battle stopped the growth of the Japanese in the Pacific. This put the U.S. in the position to shrink the Japanese empire in future years.
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