“The Most Stunning and Decisive Blow in the History of Naval Warfare:” The Battle of Midway

Americans In WWII

Two American SBD's fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway. Two American SBD’s fly over a Japanese ship, presumably Mikuma, during the Battle of Midway.

Nearly six months after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the war in the Pacific was not going well for the Allies. A terrible beating by the Japanese at the Battle of the Java Sea on February 27, 1942, resulted in the dissolving of the ABDA (American-British-Dutch-Australian) Command and the threat of a victorious Japanese fleet sailing for Australia and possibly Hawaii. The next major encounter between the Japanese and Allied fleet, in May, was a tactical Japanese victory at Coral Sea which in turn set the stage for the Battle of Midway, which occurred from June 4-7, 1942.

US code breakers had broken the Japanese Navy’s JN-25b code, and knew that a carrier strike force under Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was heading for the island of Midway…

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