The Battle of Midway was one of the most important Pacific naval battles in World War II. The battle took place between the United States Navy and the Japanese Navy. It began on June 4, 1942 and finished 3 days later. The Japanese planned to lure the U.S. into a trap and capture Midway Atoll, which had a strategically important airstrip, for themselves. However, the Japanese did not realize that the Americans had been able to break the Japanese code and knew of the impending attack and were able to setup their own ambush of the Japanese. This led to an incredible victory by the U.S. Navy, which managed to sink 4 Japanese carriers, a cruiser and destroy over 240 aircraft. This was the first major victory for the Allies over the Japanese.
Where did the Battle of Midway take place?
Midway Atoll is a group of tiny coral islands with a larger lagoon. It is located in the close to the northwestern end of the Hawaiian islands. It is about 2,100 km (1,300 mi) from Honolulu, 4,100 km (2,500 mi) from the Japanese city of Tokyo and 5,200 km (3,200 mi) from San Francisco.
Although the atoll was the focus point for the battle, some of the fighting took place a considerable distance out to sea. For example, the first attack occurred approximately 1,060 km (660 mi) to the west of the islands.
Did you know?
The only populated island is Sand Island, which is home to Henderson Field Airport. This was one of the primary reasons that the Japanese wanted to take Midway Atoll. The airport is still operational today and in 2011 Delta Air Lines flight 277 made an emergency landing at the runway.