71 Years Ago Today

Discussion in 'News' started by FLYBOYJ, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    On this day in 1942, the Battle of Midway--one of the most decisive U.S. victories against Japan during World War II--begins. During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own, the Yorktown, to the previously invincible Japanese navy.

    In six months of offensives prior to Midway, the J...apanese had triumphed in lands throughout the Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines and numerous island groups. The United States, however, was a growing threat, and Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto sought to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet before it was large enough to outmatch his own.

    A thousand miles northwest of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash U.S. resistance to Japan's imperial designs. Yamamoto's plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the west. If successful, the plan would eliminate the U.S. Pacific Fleet and provide a forward outpost from which the Japanese could eliminate any future American threat in the Central Pacific. U.S. intelligence broke the Japanese naval code, however, and the Americans anticipated the surprise attack.

    In the meantime, 200 miles to the northeast, two U.S. attack fleets caught the Japanese force entirely by surprise and destroyed three heavy Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. The only Japanese carrier that initially escaped destruction, the Hiryu, loosed all its aircraft against the American task force and managed to seriously damage the U.S. carrier Yorktown, forcing its abandonment. At about 5:00 p.m., dive-bombers from the U.S. carrier Enterprise returned the favor, mortally damaging the Hiryu. It was scuttled the next morning.

    When the Battle of Midway ended, Japan had lost four carriers, a cruiser and 292 aircraft, and suffered an estimated 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft and suffered approximately 300 casualties.

    Japan's losses hobbled its naval might--bringing Japanese and American sea power to approximate parity--and marked the turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. In August 1942, the great U.S. counteroffensive began at Guadalcanal and did not cease until Japan's surrender three years later.
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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  3. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    Pay back time begins.
     
  4. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Short and sweet. Nice overview of the battle.

    :salute: to all involved
     
  5. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    :salute: A fitting piece Joe, well done! If you don't mind, I liked to add a piece of my own. I had it published last year in my regions newspaper.
    Midway letter. 50%.jpg
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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  7. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Had the very great pleasure of meeting Bill Brooks, VMF-221 survivor from the Battle of Midway. A great man!

    Thanks for helping us remember this day, Joe!
     
  8. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    My favorite battle. A mix of new (Avenger, Maurader and D4Y) and old (Buffalo, Vengence) . A turning point. Read "Shattered Sword", recommended to me by Syscom(?)
     
  9. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Don't you mean Vindicator rather than Vengeance? Or maybe Devastator? Agree on Shattered Sword, though - one of the all-time best history books bar none.
     
  10. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    :salute: well put Joe
     
  11. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Yes! Vindicator! I'll turn in my "junior birdman" wings... (I feel shame) And yes, how could I forget the Devastator! Double shame!

    A few cool factoids that I remember from "Shattered Sword":

    1) Likely the only successful torpedo hit was made by attacking PBY's on the troop transports the night before the battle realy got going.
    2) IIRC Hornet's planes played almost a non-role in the battle, at least on the first day, AND we still won a battle we were supposedly out-numbered in.
     
  12. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    A great victory yes, but I disagree on Midway being the turning point. The Japanese where still very much the superior navy and still on the offensive.
     
  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Midway leveled the playing field, look where they were in the spring of 42 and where they were by 1943.
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    If the battle had been lost, ther would have been significant consequences. I dont know how many times I have simulated this battle using the best and most detail systems available. Its a difficult battle to get as good a result as was achieved by the USN. There is a reason why it is sometiimes refrred to as "the incredible victory"
     
  15. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    I believe after the loss at Midway, the Japanese where a bit more cautious with their navy. But between mid 1942 and into early 1943, the Japanese were the most powerful force in the Pacific and still on the offensive.
    When the Japanese pulled back from Guadalcanal, then the tide turned in favor of the Allies.
     
  16. Coyote

    Coyote Member

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    The main consequence of Midway was the experienced carrier pilots were not available for the Guadalcanal campaign. Had KAGA, AKAGI, SORYU and HIRYU been there at full strength the USN would have been in dire straits. Plus adding a healthy Mogami and Mikuma to the Battle of Savo in Oct of '42 would not help the USN either.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Its a bit of a myth Im afraid that large numbers of japanese pilots were lost at Midway im afraid. More than 250 were rescued.


    What the battle did was to tear the heart out of the japanese fast carrier forces. They no longer enjoyed a clear advantage in the number of carrier based aircraft they could bring into battle. Further, their grandiose plan to corner and destroy the US Fleet and from there obtain the peace terms they wanted, was in tatters at their feet.
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #18 FLYBOYJ, Jun 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013
    What naval advances did they make after Midway aside from occupying part of Alaska (a real strategic and pleasant piece of real estate)????? They were a force to be recon with but was far from being on the offensive...

    The Japanese "offensive" was crippled at Midway, although the IJN made strides to get their momentum back, the losses at Midway were wounds that never healed.

    Says it right there....
     
  19. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    Not advances, but offensives in and around Guadalcanal.
    Agree with parsifal, Midway did tear the heart out of Japanese carrier forces, but they did come back and much more cautious.
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    after midway, the Japanese did not alter their plans for their "2nd operational phase". This was the isolation of Australia by cutting the sea route to Australia by the capture of Noumea and Fiji. They believed the US was down to a single carrier and would not be able to mount much offensive actioon for many months.

    After the failure of the "mO" operation, the IGHQ modified the plan of attack to an overland assault. I get the didtinct feeling they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They planned an overland assault through the mountain, which on paper, with the inadequate maps available looked like a relatively easy attack. It was anything but. To outflank Moresby, which was already beginning to hurt them with sustained operations against Rabaul, they planned to also outflank that as well by captureing the auxiliary airfield at Gili Gili near Milne Bay.

    These decision were all based on the premise that the Americans were hurting as much or more as they. When the American counterattacked in early August, they were surprised and reacted very irrationally....they decided to fight the Americans in an attrition battle. when the assault on Moresby and Milne also went sour, they did not retreat as they should have....they simply stood and died where they stood.

    The allies were successful and turned the tide after Guadacanal, Milne Bay and Kokoda, but it came at a high cost. byt the end of it, the allies were also exhausted, but they, unlike the japanese, had significant reserves and powers of recovery. The corner to the victory in 1945 had been reached however.
     
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