Battle of midway results with causes development context Consequences

Battle of Midway

The air-naval confrontation took place in June 1942 in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, between forces from Japan and the United States. In this article we will provide you the results of the Battle of Midway.

Dates June 4-7, 1942.
Place Midway Atoll and Pacific waters.
Belligerents Empire of Japan vs. USA.
Outcome Victory of the United States.

The Battle of Midway was an air- naval confrontation that took place in June 1942 in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, between forces from Japan and the United States .

It took place six months after the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , which had marked the beginning of the United States‘ involvement in World War II .

The Japanese tried to take Midway and put the American fleet out of action, but failed.

The victory of the Americans put a brake on the Japanese expansion in Oceania , which until then seemed unstoppable.

Midway was then a turning point of the War of the Pacific , as it gave the Americans the strategic initiative by causing irreparable damage to the Japanese fleet and aviation.

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Historic context

Since the beginning of World War II, the Japanese Empire appeared to the world as an invincible power. Japanese troops had defeated the Allies several times , victories that had allowed them to conquer Hong Kong, Shanghai, Malaysia, Singapore, Burma, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Wake Island, Guam Island, the Solomon Islands, and the Solomon Islands. Gilbert.

The Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had been a remarkable but incomplete tactical success, as the American carriers were not anchored in port, as the Japanese expected.

From one of these aircraft carriers, the Hornet, 16 B-25 Mitchell planes left that on April 18, 1942 bombed the city of Tokyo , causing panic in the population.

In May of that same year, the Americans used their aircraft carriers to prevent Japanese movements towards Australia, during the Battle of the Coral Sea .

These two incidents convinced the Japanese high command that they had to eliminate enemy aircraft carriers in order to carry out the plan to conquer a large strategic space for Japan , both in Southeast Asia and Oceania.

According to information provided by Japanese intelligence, the US aircraft carriers were sailing in waters near Midway, an atoll in the Hawaiian Islands archipelago.

Towards Midway, the Japanese fleet, made up of 4 aircraft carriers, 9 battleships, 8 destroyers, 4 cruisers, and 433 combat aircraft then set out.

The Americans had 3 aircraft carriers (the Hornet, the Yorktown and the Enterprise), 8 cruisers, 15 destroyers and 360 combat aircraft.

Development of the Battle of Midway

At dawn on June 4, 1942, Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo launched a wave of 108 aircraft against Midway. At the same time, he launched reconnaissance aircraft to detect the position of the enemy fleet.

The Zero, Japanese fighters, managed to shoot down 17 American planes that came out to face them. From that moment on, the Japanese bombed and machine-gunned the atoll, destroying gasoline tanks, seaplane hangars, surveillance turrets, vehicles and antiaircraft artillery.

The Japanese officer in charge of the attack informed Nagumo that a second raid was necessary to complete the destruction of the base.

Nagumo then ordered the planes he had left in reserve to go down to the hangars to replace the torpedoes with those armed by ground bombs. But while the rearmament of the planes was being carried out, a Japanese reconnaissance hydroplane reported that it had sighted an enemy fleet of ten ships, including two or three aircraft carriers.

In a panic, Nagumo ordered all planes to be brought back up on deck and the bombs exchanged for torpedoes. But at that precise moment, a squad of 30 American aircraft detected the Japanese aircraft carriers and dropped their bombs on the decks of the enemy ships. The explosion of the Japanese torpedo-armed aircraft produced devastating deflagrations that also blew up the fuel tanks, causing the three aircraft carriers hit to sink.

The Hiryu, the only Japanese aircraft carrier that was intact, launched its planes against Yorktown, causing serious damage. Shortly after, the Hiryu was attacked in turn by aircraft from the Enterprise and was seriously damaged, to sink the next day.

Upon being informed of the loss of the 4 aircraft carriers, Admiral Yamamoto gave the order to retreat . On June 6, during that withdrawal, US planes bombed the cruiser Mikuma, which sank with 650 sailors on board.

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Causes and consequences of the Battle of Midway


The main causes of the Battle of Midway were as follows:

  • The decision of the Japanese to completely eliminate the US naval forces from the Pacific , to avoid their interference in the Japanese campaigns in Oceania and Southeast Asia.
  • The belief that the Japanese had that the Americans were very demoralized by the defeats suffered in the last six months.
  • The information that the American intelligence services had about an imminent Japanese attack, which made the American armed forces alert and not unprepared as had happened at Pearl Harbor.


The consequences of the Battle of Midway include the following:

  • The Japanese lost 4 aircraft carriers (the Akagi, the Kaga, the Hiryu and the Soryu), a cruiser (the Mikuma), 250 aircraft and 3,057 men, including sailors and pilots. Those pilots were the most experienced and veteran of the Japanese Air Force.
  • The United States recorded the loss of one aircraft carrier (the Yorktown), one destroyer (the Hamman), 150 aircraft, and 307 men.
  • The United States achieved a decisive victory that not only prevented the occupation of Midway and the destruction of its Pacific fleet, but also allowed it to sink the vast majority of the aircraft carriers of the Japanese Empire.
  • For Japan, the defeat at Midway was of devastating magnitude because by losing 4 of its 6 aircraft carriers, it was unable to carry out further conquests in both Asia and the Pacific Ocean. After Midway, Japan lost the military initiative and went on the defensive.
  • For the first time in the war the number of Japanese and American ships was equaled , with the advantage that American industry could build new aircraft carriers more quickly. In fact, until 1945 the Americans managed to launch 35 aircraft carriers while the Japanese barely made up for those lost at Midway. As American industry manufactured more carriers and more planes, the balance tipped more in favor of the United States , sealing the outcome of the war.

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