Battle of Midway Facts

Battle of Midway Facts
The Battle of Midway took place from June 4 through June 7, 1942 on the Midway Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The Japanese fleet, led by Admiral Yamamoto, hoped to draw out what was left of the American fleet from Hawaii. He reasoned that the American fleet would be defenseless without its land based aircraft, so the small American controlled Midway Atoll was chosen as the battle location. The Japanese miscalculated the size of the American fleet and the ability of the Americans to repair ships damaged during the Pearl Harbor attack, which meant that when the two fleets finally squared off they were of nearly equal size. American codebreakers were also able to ascertain the exact location of the Japanese fleet, which gave the Americans the element of surprise. The battle was a complete victory for the Americans-they sunk four Japanese carriers, shot down 248 Japanese aircraft, and killed more than 3,000 Japanese sailors. The Battle of Midway proved to be the turning point in the Pacific Theater as the Allies were on the offensive from that point forward.
Interesting Battle of Midway Facts:
The Battle of Midway came less than two months after the "Doolittle Raid," where sixteen U.S. bombers launched from an aircraft carrier hit Tokyo and other Japanese cities.
Before the war in the Pacific began, Midway was considered the second most important American base in the region after Pearl Harbor.
Naval Air Station Midway was completed just before hostilities began with Japan. A submarine base was also complete around the same time.
Midway gets its name because it is roughly halfway between North America and Asia.
The majority of the American military installations on Midway Atoll were located on two islands: Eastern Island and Sand Island.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was the American commander at the Battle of Midway.
Despite losing three aircraft carriers in the initial battle, the Japanese launched a counterattack from the aircraft carrier Hiryu. The Hiryu was damaged and then sunk by an American counterattack.
Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi and Captain Tomeo Kaku went down with the Hiryu.
Three Americans captured by the Japanese - Wesley Osmus, Frank O'Flaherty, and Bruno Gaido - were interrogated, thrown overboard, and drowned.
Only two Japanese prisoners were taken alive from the battle. They were sent to Hawaii where they were interned for the remainder of the war.
The American aircraft carrier Yorktown was involved in most of the fighting and was heavily damaged. It was tied to another ship and evacuated to be salvaged when it was hit with a Japanese torpedo and sunk.
Salvage operations and archaeological research of the sunken ships has been nearly impossible because the ocean floor near Midway is nearly 17,000 deep.
Today, the Midway Atoll is a National Wildlife Refuge with a human population of zero but with thousands of albatrosses.


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