The Battle of Midway
Porch, Douglas | Wirtz, James J.
The Battle of Midway, fought between 4 and 7 June 1942, marked the turning point of the Pacific War. Until Midway, the Japanese navy, building on the 7 December 1941 surprise attack against the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor, held the strategic initiative. The Philippines, Singapore, Burma and the Dutch East Indies fell to the seemingly unstoppable Japanese juggernaut. After Midway, the Japanese march to victory turned to defeat. Midway so reduced Japanese carrier strength that henceforth the Rising Sun was condemned to react to the relentless American advance across the Pacific toward Japan's home islands. Operationally and tactically, defects in U.S. command and control, the technical shortcomings of U.S. aircraft, and the inexperience of American pilots revealed at Midway have caused some historians to attribute the American victory to Japanese mistakes and sheer blind luck. While both factors certainly assisted the American triumph, the victory at Midway was in fact constructed on a solid framework of U.S. strengths unmatched by those of the enemy. These included the tactical brilliance of the untested and until then relatively unknown Rear-Admiral Raymond Spruance, the superiority of U.S. intelligence, and a forward-looking operational concept that saw the carrier task force, rather than the battleship, as the core and main organizing principle of fleet action. U.S. aircraft losses at Midway were significant largely because officers inexperienced in combat were condemned to fly obsolete aircraft. But the courage and perseverance of American pilots of all services in the face of technologically and tactically superior Japanese forces held out the promise that, once the materiel and tactical battlefield was leveled, they would sweep their adversaries from the skies.Show more [+] Less [-]
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