Free Essay: The Battle of Midway
The Battle of Midway was fought in June 1942. It is one of the battles that were considered across the globe as quite decisive because of its impact. The battle of the 2nd World War effectively destroyed the naval strength of Japan when the US destroyed Japan’s aircraft carriers.
Japan’s Navy did not recover from the destruction at Midway bearing in mind that it was on the defensive after the battle. Towards the end of May, there was intensive activity at the port of Pearl Harbor. The Hornet and Enterprise carriers had moored for a long time and they needed support. It is during the same period that the carriers were joined by the battle-damaged Yorktown.
On May 28, the Enterprise led the Task force 16 to sail through the Harbor. The force was commanded by Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance. On the other hand, the USS Enterprise was accompanied by two tankers, nine destroyers and six cruisers. A newly repaired Yorktown left the Pearl Harbor on May 30th for a rendezvous at Point Luck with the Enterprise. This was 350miles away from the Midway Island.
Admiral Chester Nimitz, the Commander in Chief of the Pacific then received an intelligence report that Japanese were planning a decisive battle against American navy. This was after the failure at the Coral Sea. He knew that the intentions of the Japanese army were to capture the Midway Island. The Japanese according to Nimitz were particularly interested on the western extremity of Hawaiian Islands as it would help them extend their control of the Pacific.
The Commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, Yamamoto also believed that Japan could easily gain full control of the Pacific after a naval battle with the US. The plan would be implemented to make America suffer a great defeat leaving Japan free and in a better position to control the Pacific. What’s more, Nimitz could not avoid the battle.
Therefore, an attack was launched on Midway even though it was quite complex. Diversionary tactics and perfect timing had to be put into consideration to enhance chances of success in the Battle of Midway. Besides perfect timing and the right tactics to lure the American force, there was also need for Japanese fleet and four out its aircraft to take part in the battle.
Smaller battleships also had to be included in the fleet including Mutsu and Nagato. Destroyers and numerous cruisers were also called in to ensure the success of Yamamoto’s plan. Even so, the plan had two major defects
- Yamamoto had a strong belief in supremacy of battles. He therefore failed to realize than a carrier or aircraft carrier could easily deliver a massive blow to its enemy. However, the distance has to be greater than the battleship could manage. He only saw the aircraft as supporting mechanism.
- The Americans were also fully aware of Yamamoto’s next course of action. Therefore, they were more than ready for any form of attack. On 2nd June, Fletcher and Spruance had taken control of two task forces and Yamamoto wasn’t aware that he was heading towards a larger battle force. His attack on Dutch harbor therefore failed.
The 1st US attack took place after Japanese main fleet was spotted by a Catalina flying boat.
Japanese planes attacked Midway targeting oil installations and power plants. Japanese however lost four aircraft carriers that were hard to replace while the US only lost the Yorktown and it could easily rebuild it.
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