Monday, May 31, 2010

This Week in American History- The Battle of Midway

The Battle of Midway was one of the turning points in the Pacific in World War II. Japan's Navy was the strongest Navy at the time, but the United States wasn't far behind. The Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto recognized this and sought to destroy the United States Pacific Fleet before it became too mighty to defeat easily. Following Pearl Harbor, the Japanese enjoyed a string of quick victories, and were thinking that Midway was going to deliver a knockout punch. They were wrong in believing that, however. United States intelligence broke the Japanese Naval Code and learned of the Japanese Navy's scheme. Two U.S. attack fleets surprised the Japanese force and destroyed three heavy Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. The Japanese carrier, the Hiryu, was able to escape destruction and it attempted to overwhelm the U.S. task force by sending out all of its available aircraft. The Japanese air attack delivered damaging blows to the U.S. carrier, Yorktown, causing it to sink. The U.S. retaliated with dive-bombers from the U.S. carrier, Enterprise, that destroyed the Hiryu. The Hiryu sank the following morning. At the end of the battle, Japan had lost four carriers, a cruiser, 292 aircraft, and suffered about 2,500 casualties. The U.S. had only lost one carrier, one destroyer, 145 aircraft, and suffered approximately 300 casualties. The Japanese Navy was never as powerful after the Battle of Midway. The United States Navy, on the other hand, grew stronger and now was able to take the offensive in the Pacific theater.

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