The Battle Of Midway Essay

2514 words - 11 pages

The Battle of Midway by Craig L. Symonds is an in depth look at the events and decisions both before and during The Battle of Midway, which started on June 4th, 1942. Symonds uses a combination of words, pictures, and maps to drive home his message in a beautifully crafted work. Over all the book focuses on the war in the Pacific starting from just after Pearl Harbor and then focusing in on The Battle of Midway. The author uses the Americans, as well as the Japanese, point of view to portray the many factors of war at sea. Throughout his novel, Symonds investigates the many aspects that would lead to an American victory as well as a turning point of the war in the Pacific. “A history of what is perhaps the most pivotal naval battle in American history necessarily must explore the culture of both the U.S. Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy, as well as the politics and technology of the age.” (Symonds 5).
The book begins right in the midst of the clean up effort in Pearl Harbor; Admiral Chester Nimitz was sent immediately after the bombs fell to take command of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz would obtain control of the Pacific fleet for the entirety of the novel. He contributed many key decisions that would lead to an American victory. On the opposing side Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku would lead his feared task force against the American fleet. A large advantage dealing with the way the tasks forces operated is revealed early in the book and would prove vital in the battle. Throughout the book it was made obvious that air craft carriers where essential for victory. When attaching an American Fleet or land based asset the Japanese combined all their carriers in a task force called The Kido Butai. While this task force had much heavier offensive firepower due to its greater number of carriers, it also made it easier for the Americans to locate and strike all the Japanese carriers. Contrary to the Japanese, the Americans separated all their carriers into many smaller task forces. By doing this, the Japanese had a much harder time locating all carriers and always had to account for the missing carriers. This would prove disastrous in the Battle of Midway when the Japanese couldn’t locate all American carriers.
The Americans had a much easier time locating Japanese carriers due to their possession of radar technology, advanced decoding abilities, and their superior search planes. One of the biggest advantages the United States possessed over the Japanese, both before and after the battle, was radar. While the Japanese relied solely on search planes the Americans had radar to help locate both the enemy carriers and oncoming attackers. Radar at this time had a very limited range, but was used to determine when The Kido Butai was entering water close to Midway. A popular and widely used form of sending key information during this time was by way of coded messages. Both sides used this method extensively; the difference was that...

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