The Battle of Midway June 3-6, 1942

Midway Atoll is 600 miles away from Hawaii. Almost immediately upon taking command, Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC) Chester W. Nimitz asked the island commander what he would need to defend the island against attack. "More of everything," the commander replied. Nimitz responded with more men, planes, barbed wire and guns. If Midway fell, as Wake and Guam did in December, than Hawaii itself would be threatened with constant air attack, even invasion. Midway would hold.

Across the Pacific, Nimitz’s counterpart, Isoroku Yamamoto, was drawing up plans for the biggest operation since the start of the war, even bigger than Pearl Harbor. All of his four active fleet carriers, one light carrier, and even his new battleship, IJN Yamato, the most powerful gunship afloat, would commit to a two-pronged attack. Yamamoto planned to take Midway after a sustained air bombardment, and feint to the North Pacific. While the US Fleet would try to stop landings on Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians near Alaska, his main body would be landing on Midway. Running the Americans around the Pacific, the superior numbers of the Imperial Japanese Navy would sink the US Pacific Fleet in a decisive engagement. Yamamoto was under no illusions. This would decide the fate of the war — soon the industrial output of the United States would begin to surpass his forces in size and technology. All the Americans would need then was skill and experience, which they were gaining every day.

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