Miracle at Midway
© 1983 Gordon Prange, Donald Goldstein and,Katherine Dillon,
Miracle at Midway is a thorough history of the June 4-7 effort of the Japanese to simultaneously seize the most likely U.S. approaches to the Empire and lure the US Pacific Fleet into a general engagement wherein it might be destroyed in total. Though colossally outnumbered in ships, the US Navy and Army Air Forces on Midway island had a slight advantage in planes which was used to enormous effect; in this David and Goliath battle, the Japanese carriers were the object of a surgical strike, though one of dive-bombers instead of stones. While there was definitely an element of luck on the American side — one Japanese carrier’s planes were caught pants down, trying to refuel and re-arm — Midway was a victory of intelligence and courage more than fate. Although suffering from a paucity of maps, the authors bring extensive analysis and heavy research into the Japanese side to the table as well. Midway is one of the more important battles of the second World War, at least for Americans: just six months after the humiliating surprise of Pearl Harbor, the Pacific Fleet had utterly reversed its fortunes, destroying in a day the pride of the Japanese imperial fleet. Dai Nippon lost not only four carriers, but hundreds of planes and thousands of veteran men whose talents and experience could not be replaced. It’s also an extraordinary moment in the history of naval warfare, the first battle in which the competing surface fleets never saw one another but through their air wings.