Battle of Midway Facts

Here are some facts about the Battle of Midway, one of the key battles of the Pacific Campaign of World War 2.

  • The Battle of Midway was a naval battle fought between the United States of America and Japan. It took place between June 4 and June 7, 1942, (about six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor).

  • It is called the Battle of Midway because the fighting took place around the Midway Atoll, a Hawaiian island half-way (midway) between Asia and North America.
  • As the last part of their plan to conquer a Pacific Empire, the Japanese had decided to attack the American-held Island of Midway. The island was a key American airbase. The Japanese forces were led by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.
  • The battle began at 10.26 am on June 4. This was the exact time when 37 American Douglas Dauntless bombers, which had earlier taken off from the USS Enterprise, launched a fierce dive attack on two Japanese aircraft carriers.
  • American Admiral Chester Nimitz, whose command post was at Pearl Harbor, was hampered by a lack of ships. He nevertheless had a key advantage: American intelligence about the Japanese battle plans was very accurate.
  • The Japanese plan involved launching an attack on Alaska in an attempt to draw away some of the American fleet. This failed, as the Americans did not respond to the diversion.
  • The total Japanese losses for the battle were: four carriers, a heavy cruiser, about 3000 men and more than 200 aircraft.
  • Even though they won the Battle of Midway, it came at a cost. The Americans lost one carrier, more than 200 troops and more than 100 aircraft.
  • Many historians believe that the Battle of Midway was the key turning point in the War in the Pacific (in WW2). After it, the Japanese would never again enjoy the kind of naval dominance that they enjoyed at the beginning of World War 2.

What next? Find out more WW2 facts by visiting our World War 2 resources page.

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