Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway was fought from June 4 to June 7, 1942 between the United States Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was part of the World War II Pacific Campaign, and was fought at the Midway Atoll.

1,332 Questions
Battle of Midway

What was the significance of Battle of Midway?

Midway is considered the turning point of the War in the Pacific. Prior to this, the Japanese had inflicted serious damage on American naval power with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, only failing to damage the carrier fleets. The battle of coral sea and several other skirmishes had damaged American fleets even more. At the battle of midway, the U.S. was only able to send 3 aircraft carriers to defend the islands against the Japanese four. Even though the Japanese had more ships, they did not know the Americans knew of the attack. Americans had successfully cracked a Japanese encryption detailing the assault force prior to the battle. The smaller American fleet successfully defended the islands, destroying many Japanese planes and 3 carriers in the process. The battle proved the U.S. Navy could stand up to the might of the Japanese fleets. This battle not only inflicted serious physical damage on the Japanese forces in the area, it also lowered morale.

Battle of Midway

Why was the Battle of Midway a turning point for the war in the Pacific theatre?

The simple fact that the US emerged as victor from the battle of Midway is not the reason for it being the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

The carriers Kaga, Akagi, Hiryū and Sōryū were lost by Japan while only managing to sink one American carrier, the Yorktown. The two large carriers that Japan had left after Midway, Zuikaku and Shōkaku were not enough to provide enough support for offensive action. Although Yamamoto still had a good number of surface ships including the battleships Yamato and Musashi, the largest and most powerfull ships deployed in WW2, he new he could accomplish nothing without air support and thus avoided conventional offensive after Midway.

More InformationJapan entered the war with a navy that in conventional terms was the equal of its US counterpart, and in naval aviation somewhat superior. The Japanese, who had just one ocean to worry about, could field huge battleships and numerous aircraft carriers to any location in the Pacific. They used four of their large carriers -- Hiryu, Soryu, Akagi, and Kaga -- at Pearl Harbor. At that time, the US Navy's Pacific Fleet possessed only three carriers; all three were at sea and not at Pearl on December 7.

Somehow, the paradox of attacking battleships with aircraft carriers was lost for a while, especially with the Japanese. Pearl Harbor was the first of a completely new type of naval battle, a type that would come to be measured by the numbers of aircraft and aircraft carriers applied to the fight. In spite of their masterful demonstration of this principle at Pearl Harbor, Japanese Naval planners continued to lust for that one big slugfest, the battleship-to-battleship exchange of high-explosive naval artillery that would permanently destroy the US Pacific Fleet. Until nearly the end of the war, Japanese strategists sought that "big battle." It never happened.

At Midway, thanks mostly to code-breakers and excellent planning, US forces ambushed a Japanese attack/invasion force that featured the same four aircraft carriers that had launched the attack on Pearl Harbor six months earlier. In the end, Hiryu, Soryu, Akaki, and Kaga were all sunk, with the loss of thousands of Japanese seamen and, most importantly, the loss of hundreds of Japanese aircraft and pilots. On the American side, the USS Yorktown was sunk.

Japan, a relatively small island nation with practically no domestic natural resources, was unable to recover from the losses at Midway. While the US was able to launch dozens of new aircraft carriers and support ships during the war years, Japanese ship production was unable to even maintain the 1941 navy.


To summarize some of the above, and place more emphasis where it belongs:

The Battle of Midway was a turning point NOT because of where it was fought, or even over possession of the area. That is, in real strategic terms, it was insignificant who actually owned Midway Island. While Japanese ownership of Midway would have been an annoyance to the US, the islands themselves were not of great strategy significance.

Rather, the important "turning point" result of the Battle of Midway revolves around the material losses that both sides sustained there.

Firstly, due to organization and industry, Japan was in a situation that it would not be easy to replace any losses it sustained in any fight. That is, while the IJN (Imperial Japanese Navy) was superior to any other country's at that point in time, Japan could generally only provide few replacements for any losses, and replacements (both in ships and men) would be inferior in quality to any lost.

The United States was in an opposite position - the US Navy was smaller, less experience, and had inferior equipment to the IJN. However, it could reasonably expect to receive better and more replacements than the IJN, and could look forward to having both superior numbers and superior quality in a year or so.

Thus, the goal of the IJN was to take advantage of their temporary superiority in numbers and quality, to inflict a crippling loss on the current USN, forcing the US into a strategic corner, from where its material and manpower advantage could be nullified. Destroying the USN at Midway would likely lead to the loss of the Hawaiian Islands to the IJN in the near future, before the USN's replacements could arrive in mid-1943. A Japanese occupation of Hawaii would effectively prevent ANY US assault from the mainland, and cut off Australia from aid.

In effect, the IJN's strategy was "kick them while they're down, so they stay down, since if they get back up, they're bigger than we are".

The USN, on the other hand, was essentially fighting a holding action, trying to do just enough to keep the IJN at bay, while they waited for the US shipbuilding industry to kick into high gear. The US Pacific strategy was effectively a single line item: Hold the Hawaiian Islands at any cost for their strategic value. If opportunity presents itself, nibble down the IJN's strength, but don't go looking for a fight.

To summarize the USN position: "Just Hold 'em off, reinforcements will be here next year."

The reason why Midway became a turning point was that the US came out of the battle in far better shape than a "rational" assessment would have them achieve, while the IJN came out in practically a "worst-case scenario" condition.

The IJN lost 50% of its Fleet Carriers (4 of 8), and about 30% of its experienced flight crews. Neither would have any replacements - they were gone for good. The US lost 25% of its current carrier force (1 of 4), and would receive bigger, better replacements in less than a year. In addition, the USN lost only about 5% of its flight crews, and they were quickly replaced (in less than a month).

This loss imbalance meant that even at the current (mid 1942) time frame, IJN had lost the ability to dominate the USN. Which meant, that Japan would only be able to conduct defensive operations - it did not have the strength to continue to operate offensively anymore. Indeed, the change in strategy is huge - post-Midway, the IJN staff spends all its time trying to figure out how to lure the US into a defensive trap (which is the only place now where the IJN can win), while the US now moves into pretty much solely an offensive mindset.
Midway took out the IJN's cream of the crop in airmen and flight-deck crewmen.
The US Navy was able to sink or heavily damage 4 Japanese carriers while losing only one of our own. Japan was unable to achieve air superiority after Midway. I think some admiral said "it wasn't the beginning of the end of the war but it was the end of the beginning".

Battle of Midway

Where was the Battle of Midway fought and when?

Battle was between the Japanese and American carrier groups in the Pacific.

The American battle group was positioned north and east of Midway islands.

The Japanese battle group was positioned north and west of the island.

Midway island is west of the Hawaiian islands.

Battle of Midway

What escort carrier was with the USS Yorktown at the Battle of Midway?

There were no escort carriers at the Battle of Midway. The American carriers at Midway were the USS Yorktown, CV-5; USS Enterprise, CV-6; & USS Hornet, CV-8, all of the "Yorktown" class. Richard V. Horrell WW 2 Here is a complete list of US warships at Midway, Battle of Midway: 4-7 June 1942: United States Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, Commander in Chief Carrier Striking Force Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, USN Task Force 17 (TF 17) Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher, USN Task Group 17.5 (TG 17.5) Carrier Group Capt. Elliot Buckmaster, USN USS Yorktown (CV-5) -Capt. Elliot Buckmaster, USN (Yorktown was damaged by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942, and sank after being torpedoed by Japanese submarine I-168, 7 June 1942). USS Yorktown Air Group - Lt. Comdr. Oscar Pederson, USN Fighting Squadron 3 (VF-3) Lt. Comdr. John S. Thatch, USN 25 Grumman F4F-4 (Wildcat) Bombing Squadron 3 (VB-3) Lt. Comdr. Maxwell F. Leslie, USN 18 Douglas SBD- 3 (Dauntless) Scouting Squadron 3 (VS-3) Lt. Wallace C. Short Jr., USN 19 Douglas SBD-3 (Dauntless) Torpedo Squadron 3 (VT-3) Lt. Comdr. Lance E. Massey, USN 13 Douglas TBD-1 (Devastator) Task Group 17.2 (TG 17.2) Cruiser Group Rear Admiral William W. Smith, USN USS Astoria (CA-34) USS Portland (CA-33) Task Group 17.4 (TG 17.4) Destroyer Screen Capt. Gilbert C. Hoover, USN Commander Destroyer Squadron 2 (Comdesron 2) USS Hammann (DD-412) - torpedoed and sunk by Japanese submarine I-168 following the Battle of Midway, 6 June 1942. USS Hughes (DD-410) USS Morris (DD-417) USS Anderson (DD-411) USS Russell (DD-414) USS Gwin (DD-433) Task Force 16 (TF 16) Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN Task Group 16.5 (TG 16.5) Carrier Group Capt. George D. Murray, USN USS Enterprise (CV-6) Capt. George D. Murray, USN USS Enterprise Air Group - Lt. Comdr. Clarence W. McClusky, USN Fighting Squadron 6 (VF-6) Lt. James S. Gray, USN 27 Grumman F4F-4 (Wildcat) Bombing Squadron 6 (VB-6) Lt. Richard H. Best, USN 19 Douglas SBD-2 and SBD-3 (Dauntless) Scouting Squadron 6 (VS-6) Lt. Wilmer E. Gallaher, USN 19 Douglas SBD-2 and SBD-3 (Dauntless) Torpedo Squadron 6 (VT-6) Lt. Comdr. Eugene E. Lindsey, USN 14 Douglas TBD-1 (Devastator) USS Hornet (CV-8) Capt. Marc A. Mitscher, USN USS Hornet Air Group - Lt. Comdr. Stanhope C. Ring, USN Fighting Squadron 8 (VF-8) Lt. Comdr. Samuel G. Mitchell, USN 27 Grumman F4F-4 (Wildcat) Bombing Squadron 8 (VB-8) Lt. Comdr. Robert R. Johnson, USN 19 Douglas SBD-2 and SBD-3 (Dauntless) Scouting Squadron 8 (VS-8) Lt. Comdr. Walter F. Rodee, USN 18 Douglas SBD-1, SBD-2, and SBD-3 (Dauntless) Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) Lt. Comdr. John C. Waldron, USN 15 Douglas TBD-1 (Devastator) Task Group 16.2 (TG 16.2) Cruiser Group Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, USN Commander Cruiser Division 6 (Comcrudiv 6) USS New Orleans (CA-32) USS Minneapolis (CA-36) USS Vincennes (CA-44) USS Northampton (CA-26) USS Pensacola (CA-24) USS Atlanta (CL-51) Task Group 16.4 (TG 16.4) Destroyer Screen Capt. Alexander R. Early, USN Commander Destroyer Squadron 1 (Comdesron 1) USS Phelps (DD-360) USS Worden (DD-352) USS Monaghan (DD-354) USS Aylwin (DD-355) Destroyer Squadron 6 (Desron 6) Capt. Edward P. Sauer, USN USS Balch (DD-363) USS Conyngham (DD-371) USS Benham (DD-397) USS Ellet (DD-398) USS Maury (DD-401) Oiler Group USS Cimarron (AO-22) USS Platte (AO-24) USS Dewey (DD-349) USS Monssen (DD-436) Submarines Rear Admiral Robert H. English, USN Commander Submarine Force Pacific Fleet (ComSubPac) Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Task Group 7.1 (TG 7.1) Midway Patrol Group USS Cachalot (SS-170) USS Flying Fish (SS-229) USS Tambor (SS-198) USS Trout (SS-202) USS Grayling (SS-209) USS Nautilus (SS-168) USS Grouper (SS-214) USS Dolphin (SS-169) USS Gato (SS-212) USS Cuttlefish (SS-171) USS Gudgeon (SS-211) USS Grenadier (SS-210) Task Group 7.2 (TG 7.2) "Roving Short-Stops" USS Narwhal (SS-167) USS Plunger (SS-179) USS Trigger (SS-237) Task Group 7.3 (TG 7.3) North of Oahu Patrol USS Tarpon (SS-175) USS Pike (SS-173) USS Finback (SS-230) USS Growler (SS-215) Shore-Based Air, Midway Capt. Cyril T. Simard, USN Patrol Wing 1 Detachment (Patwing 1 Det) Comdr. Massie Hughes, USN Patrol Wing 2 Detachment (Patwing 2 Det) Lt. Comdr. Robert Brixner, USN 32 Consolidated PBY-5 and PBY-5A (Catalina) Torpedo Squadron 8 Detachment (VT-8 Det) Lt. Langdon K. Fieberling, USN 6 Grumman TBF (Avenger) Marine Aircraft Group 22 (MAG 22) 2ND Marine Air Wing Lt. Col. Ira L. Kimes, USMC Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221) Maj. Floyd B. Parks, USMC Capt. Kirk Armistead, USMC 20 Brewster F2A-3 (Buffalo) 7 Grumman F4F-3 (Wildcat) Marine Scouting-Bombing Squadron 241 (VMSB-241) Maj. Lofton R. Henderson, USMC Maj. Benjamin W. Norris, USMC Capt. Marshall A. Tyler, USMC 11 Vought SB2U-3 (Vindicator) 16 Douglas SBD-2 (Dauntless) Seventh Army Air Force Detachment Major General Willis P. Hale, USA Capt. James F. Collins, USA 4 Martin B-26 (Marauder) Lt. Col. Walter C. Sweeney Jr., USA 13 Boeing B-17 (Flying Fortress) Maj. G.A. Blakey, USA: 6 Boeing B-17 (Flying Fortress) Midway Local Defenses Capt. Cyril T. Simard, USN 6TH Marine Defense Battalion (reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, Col. Harold D. Shannon, USMC Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 1 (MBTRON 1) Lt. Clinton McKellar Jr., USN Midway Island: PT-20 PT-21 PT-22 PT-24 PT-25 PT-26 PT-27 PT-28 Kure Island: MBTRON 1 detachment: PT-29, PT-30. Also 4 small Patrol Craft deployed along lesser reefs and islands of Hawaiian Group French Frigate Shoals: USS Thornton (AVD-11) USS Ballard (AVD-10) USS Clark (DD-361) USS Kaloli (AOG-13) Pearl and Hermes Reef: USS Crystal (PY-25) USS Vireo (ATO-144) Lisianski, Gardner Pinnacles, Laysan and Necker 4 YPs (converted tuna boats) Midway Refueling Unit, Comdr. Harry R. Thurber, USN: USS Guadalupe, USS Blue (DD-387), USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) USS Long Island (CVE-1) was with Battle Group1 under Adm Pye. We were the back-up,5 old BBs 1 CA and 5 DDs We were too slow to join the CVs only 17 knots. If the Japs won at Midway we were to try to stop them from hitting Hawaii and San Francisco. The Jap Carriers would have sunk us all, but without carriers we would have had very good chance We were 1200 miles NW of SFO

Battle of Midway

How many people died in the Battle of Midway?

There were about 3000American deaths.

According to some sources, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost approximately 2,155 sailors & airmen during the Battle of Midway.

However, according to Sawachi Hisae's "Midowei Kaisen: Kiroku", which tabulates the name, rank, birth province, age at time of death, and term of service (as compiled from Japanese prefectural records), there were exactly 3,057 Japanese casualties, including one civilian technician assigned to Soryu. This information is considered authoratative.

AnswerAnswerUS casualties - 307

Japan casualties - Approximately 2,500.

Battle of Midway

What was the importance of the Battle of Midway?

Midway, being, has never held much strategic importance to anyone. It happened in 1942 to be where some hundreds of US servicemen were posted, along with a couple dozen airplanes.

At that time, the Japanese were spoiling for a fight -- THE fight, the one that would pit the vaunted Imperial Japanese Navy against the US Pacific Fleet. The philosophy that guided Japanese military thinking throughout WWII held that the US could be defeated in a single massive naval battle. It seems shallow and foolish now, but belief in that "one battle" theory guided Japanese thinking nearly to the end of the war.

In early 1942, Midway was picked by the Japanese, because it was a good spot close enough to the US they could plan a land based air attack.

In the six months since Pearl Harbor, the world had learned the "new truth" about naval warfare. It's not the size of the guns, it's the number of airplanes. The ultimate paradox and the proof of that truth is the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor itself! Carrier-based Japanese aircraft were used to destroy harbor-bound battleships on a massive scale. Ultimately, the Pacific war was shortened by at least a year precisely because the Japanese carriers at Pearl Harbor failed to sink the US carriers based there.

The key at Midway was intelligence, specifically US Naval Intelligence. The Navy had long before had some success decoding Japanese Navy codes. In the days leading up to the Midway battle, the Navy's decoders were able to determine that Midway would be attacked by the Japanese. The level of detail in the decodes was such that the Navy could plan and execute an "ambush" strategy aimed at catching the Japanese.

Books have been written about the battle, but the score goes like this. US shows up with 3 aircraft carriers, loses 1. Japan shows up with 4 aircraft carriers, loses 4.

The "importance" of the battle lies in the fact that it turned the war in the Pacific in favor of the US. The loss of four aircraft carriers essentially gutted the Japanese Navy as an offensive force. After Midway, Japanese power in the Pacific declined steadily, and the Japanese were defeated in every battle until the end of the war.

In addition, victory at Midway was a serious boost to morale in the US. The early weeks and months of WWII were filled with horror stories of places like Corregidor, Bataan, Pearl Harbor. The Coral Sea battle showed that the US Navy could hold its own against the Japanese. But Midway was a clean, clear victory.

The Japanese armed forces did not win a major battle after Midway.

Battle of Midway

How many Japanese died in the Battle of Midway?

Thousands of sailors were on each of the four carriers they lost, and most of them died.

And in addition to losing the men on the four aircraft carriers, well over 200 highly experienced and irreplaceable Japanese naval aviators were lost.

According to some sources, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost a total of approximately 2,155 sailors and airmen during the Battle of Midway.

However, according to Sawachi Hisae's "Midowei Kaisen: Kiroku", which tabulates the name, rank, birth province, age at time of death, and term of service (as compiled from Japanese prefectural records), there were exactly 3,057 Japanese casualties, including one civilian technician assigned to Soryu.

The end result of the battle was that Japan's march of expansion was halted and the strategic initiative in the Pacific would now pass to the United States.

Battle of Midway

How was it fought in the Battle of Midway?

With the exception of one or more submarine strikes to dispatch cripples; Midway was fought by naval airmen: planes against planes & planes against warships.

Battle of Midway

What ever happened to Lt Cammader Maxwell Leslie after the Battle of Midway?


Lt. Commander Maxwell Leslie had to ditch his airplane as he was unable to land on the damaged USS Yorktown. He was rescued by the USS Astoria.

Following the Battle of Midway, Commander Maxwell Leslie was appointed Commanding Officer of NAS Daytona Beach. Commissioned on December 16, 1942, NAS Daytona Beach served as a training facility for the Navy and Marine Corps pilots assigned the SNC-1 Falcon and SBD Dauntless. Later aircraft included the F4F and FM-1 Wildcats as well as the F6F Hellcat. The base operated from December 1942 through the end of the war.

Battle of Midway

What were the short term effects of the Battle of Midway?

Until more could be built, the US only had the carriers USS Saratoga, USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, and the USS Wasp left in the Pacific...USS Ranger was to remain in the Atlantic as she was considered an "easy target" in the Pacific. Lexington and Yorktown (and Langley) were gone. Hornet and Wasp would be lost shortly.

Battle of Midway

How many aircraft were lost in the Battle of Midway?

World War 2
Battle of Midway

What happened in the Battle of Midway?

The Japanese were trying to capture the island for use as an air base supporting operations against Hawaii. They also hoped to draw the U.S. Pacific fleet into a battle where it could be destroyed. The U.S. had broken their codes though, so they knew they were coming but they didn't know the U.S. knew. So The U.S. were able to deploy three aircraft carriers against their four (they also had battleships and a large invasion fleet) but they didn't know the U.S. was there. Thus, after they bombed the island, when their planes were sitting on their decks being refueled and reloaded, US planes found them and attacked. All four of their carriers wewr sunk. They attacked the USS Yorktown twice, thinking it was two different ships, and she had to be scuttled after the battle. It proved that the Japanese could be defeated in the Pacific Campaign, Turning the tide of war to the Japanese. Here are some particular facts about the Battle of Midway: * The first attack on 4 June, took place when the four night-flying PBYs attacked the Japanese transports northwest of Midway with one PBY torpedoing fleet tanker Akebono Maru. * During the battle, Japanese destroyers had picked up three U.S. naval aviators from the water. After interrogation, however, all three Americans were executed. * The last air attacks of the battle took place on 6 June when dive-bombers from Enterprise and Hornet bombed and sank heavy cruiser Mikuma. * It ended Japan's dominant naval power over the U.S. The balance of sea power in the Pacific shifted from the Japan to equity between America and Japan, and soon after the U.S. and their allies took sole control of the waters in the mid Pacific. * Although the performance of the three American carrier air groups would later be considered uneven, their pilots and crew had won the day through courage, determination, and heroic sacrifice.

Battle of Midway

Were the Australians involved in the Battle of Midway?

No. It was strictly between the U.S. and Japan.

Battle of Midway

What was a result of the Battle of Midway?

Japan never again threatened domination in the Pacific.

Battle of Midway

How many American casualties were there in the Battle of Midway?

There were about 300 American deaths. Of these, 49 of the deaths were US Marines. An additional 53 Marines were wounded. Other sources say there were 276 American casualties.

Battle of Midway

What nations was defeated at the Battle of Midway after its plans of an attack were intercepted?

Japan was the only Axis country involved in, and defeated at, the Battle of Midway.

Battle of Midway

Was Canada involved with the Battle of Midway?

No. Canada played very little part in the Pacific war. Their resources were directed to the European theater.

Battle of Midway

How could Japan have won the Battle of Midway?

All they would have had to do was send out scout planes to discover that the US fleet was hiding and waiting for them.

History of the United States
American Revolution
Battle of Midway

What did the American victory of the Battle of Saratoga do to help the Americans?

the victory of Saratoga gave the Americans confidence to continue and eventually win the Revolutionary War.

This was an extremely large loss for the British, who were planning a major invasion on Albany. With the victory of America, Britain lost its main advancement.

...*France decided to help the Americans.*

Battle of Midway

Why was the Battle of Midway important to the US?

first answer: The battle of midway was important to the US because the US destroyed the Japanese Imperial Navy. This gave the USA complete control of the Pacific Ocean.

second correct answer: The Battle of Midway resulted in the loss of four Japanese Fleet Aircraft Carriers & most of their aircrews, while the US lost one Fleet Aircraft Carrier. Both sides also lost a few other smaller ships. These losses forced the Japanese to turn-back their invasion forces targeting the Midway atoll held by the US. These losses were especially significant because it also permanently ended the Japanese offensive threat in the Central Pacific against Midway & Pearl Harbor, thereby freeing up US naval & air forces to concentrate initially on defeating the Japanese thrusts in New Guinea at Port Moresby, and in the Solomon Islands at Guadalcanal. This is often been called the Battle that turned the "Tide of War" against Japan. Essentially, Japan lost the ability to win the war through offensive action against the United States.

Battle of Midway

Is there any way to learn an account of Navy Cross recipient Jack Cosley's actions during the Battle of Midway?

If you are referring to Lt. Col. Jack Cosley, USMC of VMSB 241, then you may wish to read: Incredible Victory The Battle of Midway, By Walter Lord Also, any books on Marine Corps Aviation during WW 2. Richard V. Horrell WW 2

Battle of Midway

What event happened after the Battle of Midway?

Battle of Midway

Why is the Battle of Midway considered the turning point of the war?

It was considered the turning point of the war because 250 Japanese planes were destroyed, which started the beginning of island jumping to Japan.

Battle of Midway

Where did Battle of Midway happen?

Midway Islands, in the Pacific Ocean.

Midway Islands includes Eastern Island, Sand Island, and Spit Island

History of the United States
History of Europe
US in WW2
Battle of Midway

During the early 1900's which nations were in volved in a naval battle?

Germany and Britain


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