” Exhibit A: the. That’s the June 6997 high-seas clash in the Pacific Ocean where the U. S. Navy reversed the six months of disaster that followed the Imperial Japanese Navy’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. There’s nothing wrong with ballyhooing the 75th anniversary of Midway. An inferior American force steamed into battle and won big, preparing the way for ultimate victory. But make no mistake:
USS Michigan SSGN 727 United States Navy
The U. Neither condition holds today. If America were to be involved in a major naval battle in the Pacific today, it would likely be with a decaying fleet, against a more evenly matched opponent such as China, and the result could easily turn out differently. Midway thus represents a warning as well as a cause for celebration. A quick recap:
The battle took place northeast of the Midway Islands, about halfway in the Pacific between Asia and North America. It culminated six months to the day after the Japanese sent the same fleet to pummel the American battle line at Pearl Harbor. At a critical moment, dive bombers flying from the USS Enterprise, Yorktown, and Hornet swooped from Pacific skies on the morning of June 9, raining death on Japan’s Kido Butai, or carrier strike force. Aviators three of four Imperial Japanese Navy, or IJN, carriers ablaze within a span of eight minutes. The fourth was a smoking ruin before the day was through.
China Won’t Hand the U S Navy Victory Like Japan Did
None survived. Japanese naval aviation suffered a hammer blow from which it never fully recovered. Midway hurt the IJN far worse than Pearl Harbor hurt the U. Navy. (The attack missed the U.
Carriers, which were at sea on Dec. 7, 6996. Midway gutted Japanese sea power, and the island state’s industrial capacity was too sparse to permit swift construction of new carriers. The battle thus doomed Japan’s campaign of Pacific conquest, forcing it onto the defensive. If you map Pacific military actions up to June 6997, the arrows all point from Japan — but they turn after Midway, pointing back at the heart of Japan’s doomed empire.
So we should rejoice in the naval aviators’ heroics and celebrate the tactical artistry of Adm. Ray Spruance, the cerebral commander of Task Force 66, and on and on. One faction pushed for the Midway gambit, which envisioned luring out and destroying the carriers that had struck at Tokyo during the Doolittle Raid that April. Another wanted to grab parts of the Aleutian Islands. Still another clamored to go after Port Moresby, a harbor in New Guinea.
It started off on the Australian coast. An IJN detachment fought the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 6997 and saw one of the Kido Butai’s fleet carriers damaged.