From a tactical point of view, the losses of Japan and the United States are equal, but from a strategic point of view, Japan is the loser.
The war frustrated the Japanese Navy’s offensive edge in the Pacific for the first time, failed to realize the strategic attempt to occupy Port Moresby, and restrained the Japanese army’s southward advance.
Nevertheless, the Japanese army’s strong attempt to curb the US military’s march into the Pacific and destroy the US fleet has not weakened.
On May 5, 1942, the Japanese army and Navy headquarters reached an agreement on the operation of attacking and occupying Midway Island and the Western Aleutian Islands, which stipulates that the army and Navy cooperate to “attack and occupy Midway Island, block the maneuver of the enemy fleet in this regard, and promote our combat base.
While attacking and occupying Midway Island with strong support and cover, the Navy will capture and annihilate the enemy ship team coming to counterattack”.
In addition, the army and Navy worked together to capture and destroy the important western part of the Aleutian Islands, making it more difficult for the U.S. military to move from there and attack in the air.
On May 26, 1942, the joint fleet finalized the specific operation plan, including three independent but mutually supportive operations: occupying the West Aleutian Islands.
Occupation of Midway.
The purpose of the campaign is to obtain a forward base for the Japanese naval aviation, continue to expand to the central Pacific and southwest Pacific, and lure and annihilate the US Pacific Fleet at the same time.
The Japanese war plan stipulates that the landing date of Midway Island is June 6.
The plan takes the landing day as the center and arranges the operation schedule of each force in detail.
Since one of the purposes of the attack on the Aleutian Islands is to cooperate with midway, the attack will begin from the north.
According to the plan, on June 3, the second mobile force of the northern army carried out a repressive air attack on the Dutch port.
On June 5, it began landing on Adak Island and Kiska island.
The landing operation of Adak Island was carried out by the attack and occupation forces of ATU Island, and the troops were withdrawn after destroying the military facilities on the island and laying mines in the harbor and Dutch Harbor.
On June 11, it landed on ATU island.
On Midway Island, from late May to June 2, long-range reconnaissance aircraft and submarines conducted advance reconnaissance in response to the situation of the US military.
At dawn on June 4, the carrier based aircraft of the first mobile force carried out a large-scale air attack on Midway Island from the waters 250 nautical miles northwest of Midway Island, targeting US aviation forces, defense facilities and any nearby surface forces.
The day before landing, Kure Island, a small island 60 nautical miles northwest of Midway Island, should be occupied in order to directly support the landing operation of Midway Island.
On June 6, they captured Midway Island.
After that, the troops entered the standby position and were ready to meet the US fleet coming for rescue.
If the U.S. fleet is not dispatched within a week, all troops should return respectively on June 13 to prepare for the third phase of the second phase of operation, that is, to cut off the maritime traffic line between the United States and Australia.
According to the deciphered Japanese code telegram, by early April 1942, the U.S. military learned that the Japanese army would soon launch a battle to capture Eastern New Guinea, and then would use most of the troops of the joint fleet to launch a larger-scale offensive in the front of the Pacific Ocean.
Accordingly, while sending the 17th and 16th aircraft carrier task forces to the southwest Pacific, the Pacific Fleet asked the two fleets to return to Pearl Harbor immediately after the situation in the coral sea was stable to prepare for the Japanese attack.
In mid May 1942, according to the newly decoded Japanese telegram, the U.S. military further mastered the information on the specific operation plan of the Japanese army, including its operation attempt, basic troop composition, approach direction and attack date, and made it clear that the Japanese army would attack the Aleutian Islands and Midway Island on June 3 and 4, respectively.
However, the U.S. military has few offensive and defensive forces that can be used to resist the Japanese army.
The aircraft carrier Lexington has sunk in the Coral Sea.
Although the USS Sarawak arrived at the west coast for training on June 6, it was delayed due to the maintenance of the USS Sarawak.
The aircraft carriers Hornet and enterprise were ordered to sail rapidly from the South Pacific to Hawaii and enter Pearl Harbor on May 26.
The damaged aircraft carrier “York City” was originally scheduled to be repaired in three months, but the repair was completed within three days and was ready to go to war.
These three aircraft carriers and their escort ships were the main forces that the US military could use to resist the Japanese attack at that time.
Faced with the situation of great disparity with the Japanese army, general Nimitz’s first choice was to concentrate his forces to defend Midway Island, abandon the Aleutian Islands, or release some troops to strengthen the Aleutian Islands.
He chose the latter and decided on May 17 to form a North Pacific force dominated by the eighth task force.
On May 22, the army’s 11th air force was assigned to the North Pacific force under the command of rear admiral Robert Theobald.
As for the defense of the central Pacific, because the area of Midway Island was very small and the deployment was not enough to repel the large-scale attack of the Japanese army, Nimitz focused on strengthening the defense forces on the island.
Mines were laid on the beach and the surrounding waters to strengthen the garrison strength of the Marine Corps, and some anti-aircraft guns were added.
In addition, the air force on the island has been strengthened.
On May 27, Nimitz issued a battle plan to the commanders of all land, sea and air forces participating in the war, pointing out that due to the great difference in strength between the two sides, the U.S. aircraft carrier forces should avoid confrontation with the Japanese army in the west of Midway and adopt wing ambush tactics to suddenly attack the Japanese aircraft carrier forces.
To this end, the 16th and 17th aircraft carrier task forces were required to leave Pearl Harbor on May 28 and 30, and secretly arrived at 325 nautical miles northeast of Midway Island on June 2 to meet, hide and stand by, and prepare to raid the Japanese aircraft carrier forces expected to appear in the northwest of Midway Island.
Nimitz ordered the commanders of the two aircraft carrier fleets to use powerful consumption tactics to destroy the enemy to the greatest extent, that is, to carry out air strikes on Japan with shipborne aircraft.
At the same time, Nimitz’s special instruction to the aircraft carrier fleet commander pointed out that when performing the specified tasks, you must follow the principle of not taking risks easily.
This principle must be understood as: if the superior enemy is not sure to suffer greater casualties than our side, we must avoid exposing ourselves from its attack.
From the perspective of the US military’s operational plan and force deployment, the US military’s operational focus is on Midway Island.
In the Aleutian Islands, a force was used to carry out interference and destructive operations.
In Hawaii and the west coast of the mainland, it is on alert.
According to the plan, before the battle of Midway, the Japanese army first attacked the Aleutian Islands with the second mobile force of the northern armyOn the one hand, the carrier aircraft of four aircraft carriers of the first mobile force of the Japanese army on the other.
Not knowing that the US aircraft carrier was nearby, the Japanese first mobile force still ordered 108 aircraft of the first attack wave to take off and fly to Midway Island at 4:30 on June 4 as originally planned, and sent reconnaissance aircraft to search the eastern sea for possible US fleets.
At 0534, the US patrol aircraft found the Japanese aircraft carrier fleet in the northwest of Midway Island.
A large number of Japanese planes were also found in the same direction.
After receiving the report, almost all the planes on Midway took off after 6 o’clock to avoid being wiped out on the ground.
From 7:05, US aircraft attacked Japanese warships in three waves for one and a half hours.
However, due to the fierce anti-aircraft fire of the Japanese army and the interception of fighter planes, as well as the lack of actual combat experience of U.S. pilots, the U.S. aircraft failed to break through the Japanese defense, and none of the torpedoes and bombs were hit.
Among the 40 US planes participating in the attack, 15 were shot down, 6 were damaged and scrapped, and only 19 were still operational.
The US fighter plane taking off to confront the Japanese plane encountered the Japanese plane in the airspace 30 nautical miles away from Midway Island.
Because the air combat performance of the Japanese “zero” fighter is far superior to that of the US Fighter, shortly after the two sides fought, the US Fighter turned to attack and defense and tried to get rid of the pursuit of the Japanese fighter.
The Japanese aircraft fleet bombed Midway Island for nearly 30 minutes, almost all ground facilities were damaged, and only the runway was spared.
The result of the first confrontation between the United States and Japan was beneficial to the Japanese army.
The Japanese warships have not suffered any loss, while half of the US aircraft on Midway Island have been lost.
However, although the US Army’s Midway shore based air force failed to severely crack down on the Japanese aircraft carrier force, it restrained half of the Japanese air force through active attack, posing a threat to the flank of the Japanese aircraft carrier fleet, forcing the Japanese army to consider one thing and lose another in force use and battle command.
This battle also enabled the US military to confirm the position of the Japanese aircraft carrier, creating necessary conditions for the next assault.
When the reconnaissance aircraft sent by midway first reported the discovery of the Japanese aircraft carrier, the US aircraft carrier formation was located about 200 nautical miles northeast of the Japanese aircraft carrier formation.
General Fletcher, the commander of the two aircraft carrier formations of the US Army, immediately ordered the aircraft carriers Hornet and enterprise to advance rapidly to the southwest.
Once the location of the enemy aircraft carrier was found out, they were attacked immediately.
York City followed up after recovering the reconnaissance aircraft.
Commander of the Japanese fleet, the 16th fleet, took off at an estimated distance of 150 nautical miles.
At 7:45 and 8:06, 117 bombers, torpedoes and fighter planes of “enterprise” and “hornet” attacked the Japanese aircraft carrier in two batches.
Shortly after 8:30, Fletcher decided to use 35 planes on the York City to fight.
During this period, the Japanese Nanyun No.
1 mobile force has kept half of the carrier aircraft to prepare for the possible occurrence of U.S. aircraft carriers, but it has never found the whereabouts of the U.S. ships.
Meanwhile, Nanyun troops were frequently attacked by shore based aircraft on Midway Island.
In this case, Nan Yun ordered the second wave of Japanese assault aircraft ready to attack the US fleet to immediately replace torpedo bombs, modify bombs for bombing land targets, and be ready to attack midway again at any time.
At 7:28, the Japanese army searched the aircraft and found 10 US warships.
But it was not until 8:20 that the Japanese aircraft reported that there seemed to be an aircraft carrier.
At 7:45, Nanyun ordered the troops to change the bombs into torpedoes and prepare to attack the enemy fleet.
However, due to the time required to change weapons, the plane could not take off immediately.
In addition, from 7:05 to 8:35, the Japanese fleet was frequently attacked by midway shore based aircraft and U.S. submarines, and was forced to conduct evasive movements again and again, which not only hindered the take-off of carrier based aircraft, but also plunged the Japanese fleet into chaos.
It was not until around 8:30 that the group of aircraft returning from the attack on Midway began to recover that the chaos ended.
At 9:18, after the last aircraft was recovered, the first mobile force of Nanyun began to withdraw North in order to organize the formation and attack the US warship.
However, it was too late, and the US carrier based aircraft had flown over the Nanyun troops.
From 9:23 to 10:20, 41 torpedo planes of “hornet”, “enterprise” and “York City” launched the attack first in three batches without the cover of fighter planes, but they were intercepted by Japanese fighter planes, 38 planes were lost, and none of the 13 school torpedoes fired hit.
Although the attack of the US torpedo aircraft did not work, it led the Japanese fighter plane to low altitude, creating favorable conditions for the attack of the bombers that then dived down from high altitude.
At 1010 hours, the bomber team from the enterprise flew over the Japanese aircraft carrier force.
At 1024 hours, 25 US bombers, without being intercepted by Japanese fighters, swooped down at the aircraft carrier “Kaga” and directly hit four bombs.
The other five bombers bombed the Japanese aircraft carrier “Chicheng” at about 10:26, hitting two bombs.
At 1025 hours, 17 bombers of “York City” attacked the Japanese aircraft carrier “Canglong”, hitting three bullets.
Three Japanese aircraft carriers exploded and caught fire after being shot, lost combat capability, and then sank one after another or launched torpedoes to sink.
In this way, the only force that the Japanese army can use to counterattack is the “Feilong” aircraft carrier.
At 10:58, the “flying dragon” took off, with 18 bombers and 100 fighters attacking the US aircraft carrier.
At about 12:00, the Japanese plane flew over the “York City” and bombed in a fierce battle with us fighters, hitting three bombs and losing 13 bombers and three fighters.
At 13:31, the “flying dragon” concentrated all the available attack forces, a total of 10 torpedo aircraft and 6 fighter planes, and took off again to attack the US aircraft carrier.
At about 14:40, York City was struck by two more torpedoes.
15 minutes later, the captain ordered to abandon the ship.
The successful Japanese army mistakenly believed that it had seriously damaged two US aircraft carriers and attempted to carry out the third attack on the remaining US aircraft carrier with the remaining five bombers, four torpedo aircraft and 10 fighter planes of the “flying dragon” at dusk.
The U.S. military, which has seriously damaged three Japanese aircraft carriers, is eager to find a fourth aircraft carrier.
At 1430 hours, the US military search plane found the flying dragon.
At 15:30 and 16:03, the US military concentrated 40 bombers to attack the Japanese ship in two batches.
At about 16:45, the first group of bombers approached the target with their backs to the sunset.
Eight minutes later, they began to attack, and four bombsHit the target, “Feilong” ignited a fire.
At 12:00 on June 5, the Japanese army launched a torpedo to sink the aircraft carrier “Feilong”.
The second batch of U.S. bombers turned to attack Japanese battleships and cruisers.
In vain, the U.S. military lost five bombers.
So far, the US military destroyed all four aircraft carriers and carrier based aircraft of the Japanese first mobile force, won a decisive victory in the naval ambush, and forced the Japanese army to give up the attack on Midway Island.
Since then, in order to avoid a night war with the Japanese army, the US military recovered the aircraft and evaded to the east at 1907.
The first mobile force of the Japanese army, whose combat effectiveness was greatly reduced, retreated to the Northwest for fear of American pursuit.
In the battle of Midway, the Japanese army lost 4 aircraft carriers, 1 heavy cruiser, 1 battleship, 1 heavy cruiser, 2 destroyers and 1 oil tanker, another 2 destroyers collided and were injured, and 332 aircraft of all kinds were lost.
The US military lost one aircraft carrier and one destroyer each, and 147 aircraft.
In view of the serious losses, the naval department of the Japanese base camp decided to suspend the attack and occupation of Midway Island on June 6.
On the 10th, it was decided to postpone the offensive war against morzby and the islands of New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoa in eastern Australia scheduled to be carried out in July.