Never was there a naval battle like Midway. It was fought at a place thousands of miles from land, by hundreds of planes over distances of hundreds of miles. It saw four massive Japanese aircraft carriers pitted against three similarly huge American carriers in a battle for domination of the Pacific.
The battle is the story of the young Japanese empire seeking to challenge the established industrial power of America. Japan had smashed America at Pearl Harbour, shaken her at Coral Sea. Now she was ready to risk all in one mighty attempt to drive the United States Navy from the Pacific Ocean.
Japan’s admirals put to sea confident that they could take the Americans by surprise, take the Midway atoll and destroy the American carriers. American espionage ensured that Admiral Nimitz had full knowledge of the planned attack, so turning a Japanese trap into an American ambush.
The battle that followed raged over three days, full of set backs and disaster for each side. But Admirals Yamamoto and Nagumo had over-reached themselves and suffered the greatest naval defeat in history.
America entered Midway on the defensive, still a hesitant participant in the war. She left the battle as the world’s first super power.
Richard Freeman graduated in mathematics before following a career in distance education. He now writes on naval history. His other books include 'The Great Edwardian Naval Feud'.