Today marks the 70th anniversary of the decisive Battle of Midway. It is widely regarded as one of the most important naval battles of all time, marking the turning point of American military power in the Pacific during World War II.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese devised a plan to finish off the weakened American Navy by attacking the U.S. naval base at Midway and drawing the remaining ships into a trap. What they didn’t know was that American cryptologists had already managed to intercept and break the Japanese communication codes, which gave them the time and place of the planned attack. It was Fleet Commander Admiral Chester Nimitz that used the opportunity to set a trap of his own.
Even with the advance preparation, U.S. forces found themselves outnumbered 4-to-1, with fewer experienced pilots and less maneuverable planes. Still, by the end of the battle three days later, the Japanese had lost four aircraft carriers, 291 planes and 4800 men, while the U.S. had only lost one carrier, 145 planes and 307 men. This defeat proved so devastating for the Japanese Navy that it was unable to fully recover and remained on the defensive for the remainder of the war.
Today we would like to take a moment to remember those who fought and died to preserve our way of life, and to give thanks for their bravery and sacrifice.
Photo courtesy of Official U.S. Navy Imagery.