Midway was the turning point of the Pacific Campaign in World War II, but can actually be looked at as the culmination of a series of events. It started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In the aftermath of the devastating attack, FDR wanted to hit...
Midway was the turning point of the Pacific Campaign in World War II, but can actually be looked at as the culmination of a series of events.
It started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In the aftermath of the devastating attack, FDR wanted to hit back, by striking the Japanese homeland. This led to the daring Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942.
Despite the success of the Doolittle raid, US Naval Command feared that the success could "boomerang" on them, making Japan even more aggressive. They were right. The Doolittle raid convinced Japanese leaders to accelerate plans for an operation intended to capture Port Moresby in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and gain control of the Oil and Rubber resources. Naval Intel figured out that there was something going down in the Coral Sea, and the USS Lexington and USS Yorktown were dispatched to investigate. The ensuing battle raged from May 3-May 8. The USS Lexington was sunk, the Yorktown suffered significant damage, but survived. The Japanese lost a mini-carrier, and one of 6 "front-line" carriers suffered significant damage. A number of smaller vessels, escorting the carriers on each side were also lost. Although a tactical draw it was a strategic victory for the US as the advance on Moresby was called off.
About the same time as Coral Sea, intel began hearing chatter about an Objective AF, and by May 9 confirmed that AF was Midway. Based on further intel, command began to suspect that the next Japanese move was Midway Island. The US Carriers were dispatched to a point NE of Midway under the command of Rear Admiral Ray Spruance.
Between May 31, and June 3 US and Japanese carriers exchanged Aerial attacks that resulted in the destruction of 4 Japanese Carriers, fatal damage to the USS Yorktown, and significant damage to the US Airfields on Midway Island. This left the US and Japan on nearly equal Naval footing, and the US was able to recover faster with superior industrial capacity. Japan was on the defensive from that point until the end of the war in Aug. 1945.