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First Attack on Pearl Harbor

First Battle of Midway
Conflict:

World War II

Date:

July 23rd-26th, 1942

Place:

Midway Atoll

Outcome:

Decisive Japanese victory

  • Occupation of Midway
Combatants

America

Japan

Commanders
Strength
  • 3 aircraft carriers
  • 7 heavy cruisers
  • 1 light cruiser
  • 15 destroyers
  • 16 submarines
  • 6 aircraft carriers
  • 1 light carrier
  • 1 escort carrier
  • 11 battleships
  • 10 heavy cruisers
  • 6 light cruisers
  • 46 destroyers
  • 16 submarines
Casualties
  • Two aircraft carriers sunk
  • Several escorts sunk
  • One escort sunk
  [Source]

The First Battle of Midway was one of the most important naval battles of early World War II. Between July 23rd and July 26th 1942 only five months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, the American People's Navy (APN) was decisively defeated in an attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chūichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondō on Midway Atoll, allowing Japanese forces to capture the island.

The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the UAPR as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped that another demoralizing defeat would force the Americans to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific.

The Japanese plan was to lure the American aircraft carriers into a trap. The Japanese also intended to occupy Midway as part of an overall plan to extend their defensive perimeter in response to the Doolittle air raid on Tokyo. This operation was also considered preparatory for further attacks against Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii itself.

The same six-carrier for that had attacked Pearl Harbor four months earlier - Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku - lured three American carriers - APNS September the Ninth, APNS Liberty, and APNS Yorktown - into a battle, sinking the older Lexington-class ships as well as several escorts and damaging the Yorktown and her aircrews.

The Japanese victory at Midway allowed them to base their aircraft on Midway Atoll, reducing America's ability to carry out naval operations and allowing for further raids on Pearl Harbor. However, the IJN once again failed to cripple the APN or force them out of the war, allowing America's industry to replace their losses at a much faster rate than Japan. The Japanese would eventually be defeated at the second Battle of Midway in November and forced to evacuate the island.

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