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June 4, 1942

Collection photo# NHF-004.01: USS Yorktown (CV-5) burning, photographed during the Battle of Midway, June 1942.

As a long time student of Word War II some battles and events have fascinated me more than others. Among these are, of course, the Normandy invasion on D-Day, Stalingrad, the air war over Europe, the Bulge, Patton’s amazing campaign to the Rhine, the end of the Japanese war machine after Hiroshima and the failed coup against the Emperor.

But the naval battle that started on this day 75 years ago, Midway, has always stirred something in me, some great feeling of pride and patriotism, like no other. To think that just short of six months after the entry of the United States into the war after Pearl Harbor, a series of events conspired to give America one of its most decisive and fantastic victories of the Pacific war. In one day, thanks to happenstance, good intelligence, skill and blind luck, we almost crippled the Japanese fleet by sinking four of its aircraft carriers. America began its long and arduous march towards the Japanese islands in this, a crucial decisive battle of the long Pacific campaign, and it would inexorably lead us to the unconditional surrender of the Japanese and military victory on August 15, 1945.

For an excellent overview, go here to learn more about this battle.

A month after striking in the Coral Sea, the Japanese launched an all-out assault against Midway Island in what was obviously intended as the first step of a grand attack upon Hawaii and continental United States. The Navy was ready, and the heroic pilots from naval aircraft carriers inflicted a major sea defeat upon two great converging forces northwest of Midway. The enemy lost four aircraft carriers, at least two heavy cruisers, and a number of light cruisers, destroyers and transport – all by aerial attack. The artist here depicts a withering attack upon a Japanese cruiser by Navy dive-bombers with a fighter escort.

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About George

An irritable, but lovable, constitutional conservative who loathes and detests collectivists and statists of all persuasions and parties...

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