WWII: Pacific Theater > Battle of Midway

1942-06-04 -- 1942-06-07

Six months after the Attack on Pearl Harbor, Japan mobilized its navy for an attack on the tiny Midway Atoll which housed a small US Marine air base. The tiny island located 1300 miles west of Pearl Harbor was a strategic location for Japan, allowing its navy a forward air base in pursuit of an attack on Fiji, Samoa and possibly Hawaii. Japan also hoped to lure US aircraft carriers out of heavily fortified Pearl Harbor, into open waters vulnerable to attack.

As Japan began to implement an overly complex battle plan, US Codebreakers uncovered the date and location of the surprise attack. Giving the U.S. Navy time to prepare a defense and counter attack.

On the morning June 4, 1942 at 6:20 am over 100 Japanese aircraft attacked the US airbase on Midway island. US Marines were able to shoot down 11 planes and and severally damaged 14 more. The US airbase suffered significant damage, but the airfield was able to continue operate as refueling point. Japan would need a second air attack before a land assault, planned for June 7th, could take place.

By 7:00 am, the US began their counter attack on four Japanese aircraft carriers. After two ineffective raids, the third raid reaching their targets at 10:20 was successful at sinking three Japanese aircraft carriers.

However, following the US flyers back to the Yorktown aircraft carrier, the Japanese counter attack inflicted serious damage which ultimately lead to the sinking of the US aircraft carrier.

All told, Japan lost over 3,000 casualties, 4 aircraft carriers, 1 heavy cruiser and , while the US lost 307 service men, 1 carrier and 1 destroyer.

The Battle of Midway was the first US Navy victory in the Pacific during World War II and inflicted a heavy cost on Japan's Navy in terms of experienced personnel, ships and momentum. The US was able to build on this success and move from a defensive stance to an aggressive position leading them to the battles of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands.

Featured Titles

    Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan by Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya

Widely acknowledged for its valuable Japanese insights into the battle that turned that tide of war in the Pacific, the book has made a great impact on American readers over the years. Two Japanese naval aviators who participated in the operation provide an unsparing analysis of what caused Japan's staggering defeat.

Year: 1955
Genre: Battle of Midway

    Incredible Victory by Walter Lord

On paper, the Americans had no chance of winning. They had fewer ships, slower fighters, and almost no battle experience. But because their codebreakers knew what was coming, the American navy was able to prepare an ambush of its own.

Year: 1967
Genre: Battle of Midway

    Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange

Six months after Pearl Harbor, the seemingly invincible Imperial Japanese Navy prepared a decisive blow against the United States. After sweeping through Asia and the South Pacific, Japan's military targeted the tiny atoll of Midway, an ideal launching pad for the invasion of Hawaii and beyond.

Year: 1982
Genre: Battle of Midway

    Shattered Sword by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully

Unlike previous accounts, Shattered Sword makes extensive use of Japanese primary sources. It also corrects the many errors of Mitsuo Fuchida's Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, an uncritical reliance upon which has tainted every previous Western account. It thus forces a major, potentially controversial reevaluation of the great battle.

Year: 2005
Genre: Battle of Midway

    Joe Rochefort's War by Elliot Carlson

Elliot Carlson's award-winning biography of Capt. Joe Rochefort is the first to be written about the officer who headed Station Hypo, the U.S. Navy's signals monitoring and cryptographic intelligence unit at Pearl Harbor, and who broke the Japanese navy's code before the Battle of Midway.

Year: 2011
Genre: Battle of MidwayWWII: Espionage

    The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds

There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force, the Kido Butai, had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever.

Year: 2011
Genre: Battle of Midway

    Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby

During the Battle of Midway in June 1942, US Navy dive bomber pilot Wade McClusky proved himself to be one of the greatest pilots and combat leaders in American history, but his story has never been told-until now.

Year: 2019
Genre: Battle of Midway

    I Will Run Wild by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver

This is a vivid narrative history of the early stages of the Pacific War, as US and Allied forces desperately tried to slow the Japanese onslaught that began with the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

Year: 2020
Genre: Attack on Pearl HarborBattle of Midway

    The Silver Waterfall by Kevin Miller

The Silver Waterfall is an unforgettable human story - a factual historic fiction account honoring those who fought in one of the most pivotal naval battles in world history.

Year: 2020
Genre: Battle of Midway

    The Eagle's Claw by Jeff Shaara

In a riveting tale that picks up where To Wake the Giant left off, bestselling author Jeff Shaara transports us to the Battle of Midway in another masterpiece of military historical fiction.

Year: 2021
Genre: Battle of MidwayWhats New




Want ItGot ItRead ItYearTitle

1955Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan by Mitsuo Fuchida Non-Fiction
the Japanese Navy's Story
1967Incredible Victory by Walter Lord
The Battle of Midway
1982Miracle at Midway by Gordon W. Prange Non-Fiction
2005Shattered Sword by Jonathan Parshall Non-Fiction
2011Joe Rochefort's War by Elliot Carlson WWII: Espionage, Non-Fiction
The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway
2011The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds Non-Fiction
2019Wade McClusky and the Battle of Midway by David Rigby Non-Fiction
2020I Will Run Wild by Thomas McKelvey Cleaver Non-Fiction
The Pacific War from Pearl Harbor to Midway
2020The Silver Waterfall by Kevin Miller
A Novel of the Battle of Midway
2021The Eagle's Claw by Jeff Shaara Whats New
A Novel of the Battle of Midway





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