THE BATTLE OF MIDWAY
(VERSION – 1)
By any ordinary standard, they were hopelessly outclassed. They had no battleships, the enemy eleven. They had eight cruisers, the enemy twenty-three. They had three carriers (one of them crippled), the enemy had eight. Their shore defences included guns from the turn of the century. They knew little of war. None of the Navy pilots on one of the carriers had ever been in combat, nor had any of the army fliers of the marines. Seventeen of twenty new pilots were just out of flight school, some with less than four hours flying time. Some of their dive-bombers could not dive-the fabric came off the wings. Their torpedoes were slow and unreliable, the torpedo planes even worse. Yet they were up against the finest fighting plane in the world. Their enemy was brilliant, experienced and all conquering. They took crushing losses – 15 out of 15 in one torpedo squadron…….. 21 out of 27 in a group of fighters …… many, many more.
They had no right to win. Yet they did and in doing so they changed the course of the war. Gentlemen, the Midway showed that once in a while. “What must be” need not be at all. Even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit – a magic blend of skill, faith and valour that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory.
Therefore, gentlemen, in next thirty minutes I along with my panel member would introduce you to the Battle of Midway which harnessed entire course of subsequent events and shaped the globe as of today.
We shall present before you the sequence of events as flashed:
Area of Operation
Comparison of Forces
Conduct of Operations
Analysis in light of Principles of War
Japanese surprise attack on Pearl harbour on 7 December 1941 can be termed as strategic failure as it neither crippled US Pacific Fleet nor did it effect US moral too much. Rather it lured a hesitant US in to war.
“If I am told to fight regardless of the consequences, “ Admiral Yamamoto confessed to his premier in 1941,”I shall run wild for the first six months or a year, but I have utterly no confidence for the second and third years of the fighting”. To Admiral Yamamoto there was only one solution: a quick, decisive victory before America got rolling. If he could crush the weakened US fleet especially carriers missed at Pearl Harbour, he would control the Pacific completely. Then just possibly Washington might settle for a peace favourable to Japan.
April 18, 1942, was just another spring day when Prime Minister Hideki Tojo took off on a routine visit to a small port of Mito. Suddenly “most curious” brown planes were seen flying toward them. Puzzling moments: then the frantic realization that these were American bombers. Whole Japan was just as surprised, as Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle’s 18 B-25s swept in on their famous raid on Tokyo. The damage caused was small, but the shock and wounded pride were enormous. Japanese Imperial considered it as humiliation and to avoid such attacks in future Imperial General Headquarters issued a directive on 5 May 42:
“Commanders In Chief Combined Fleet will, in cooperation with the Army, invade and occupy strategic points in the western Aleutians and Midway Islands”.
Later, in the battle of Coral Sea Japanese loss of one light carrier and damage to two carriers strengthened the Japanese Supreme Commander, Admiral Yamamoto’s, belief that top priority be given to destroy the American Pacific fleet. Hence the stage was set for Midway campaign.
AREA OF OPERATION
Midway islands lay about 2500 miles to the east of Tokyo and about 1200 miles to the NW of the famous Pearl harbour. There two small islands, Sand and Eastern, with a total area about 1300 acres. It named Midway because it is...
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