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There are few moments in American history in which the course of events tipped so suddenly and so dramatically as at the Battle of Midway. At dawn of June 4, 1942, a rampaging Japanese navy ruled the Pacific. By sunset, their vaunted carrier force (the Kido Butai) had been sunk and their grip on the Pacific had been loosened forever. In this absolutely riveting account of a key moment in the history of World War II, one of America's leading naval historians, Craig L. Symonds paints an unforgettable portrait of ingenuity, courage, and sacrifice. Symonds begins with the arrival of Admiral Chester A. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor after the devastating Japanese attack, and describes the key events leading to the climactic battle, including both Coral Sea--the first battle in history against opposing carrier forces--and Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid of Tokyo. He focuses throughout on the people involved, offering telling portraits of Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance and numerous other Americans, as well as the leading Japanese figures, including the poker-loving Admiral Yamamoto. Indeed, Symonds sheds much light on the aspects of Japanese culture--such as their single-minded devotion to combat, which led to poorly armored planes and inadequate fire-safety measures on their ships--that contributed to their defeat. The author's account of the battle itself is masterful, weaving together the many disparate threads of attack--attacks which failed in the early going--that ultimately created a five-minute window in which three of the four Japanese carriers were mortally wounded, changing the course of the Pacific war in an eye-blink. Symonds is the first historian to argue that the victory at Midway was not simply a matter of luck, pointing out that Nimitz had equal forces, superior intelligence, and the element of surprise. Nimitz had a strong hand, Symonds concludes, and he rightly expected to win.
Midway, the most famous naval battle in American history, has been the subject of many excellent books. However, none satisfactorily explain why the Japanese lost that battle, given their overwhelming advantage in firepower. While no book may ever silence debate on the subject, Midway Inquest answers the central mystery of the battle. Why could the Japanese not get a bomber strike launched against the American carrier force before being attacked and destroyed by American dive bombers from the Enterprise and Yorktown? Although it is well known that the Japanese were unable to launch an immediate attack because their aircraft were in the process of changing armament, why wasn't the rearming operation reversed and an attack launched before the American planes arrived? Based on extensive research in Japanese primary records, Japanese literature on the battle, and interviews with over two dozen Japanese veterans from the carrier air groups, this book solves the mystery at last.
Many consider the Battle of Midway to have turned the tide of the Pacific War. It is without question one of the most famous battles in history. Now, for the first time since Gordon W. Prange s bestselling "Miracle at Midway," Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully offer a new interpretation of this great naval engagement. Unlike previous accounts, "Shattered Sword" makes extensive use of Japanese primary sources. It also corrects the many errors of Mitsuo Fuchida s "Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan," an uncritical reliance upon which has tainted every previous Western account. It thus forces a major, potentially controversial reevaluation of the great battle. The authors examine the battle in detail and effortlessly place it within the context of the Imperial Navy s doctrine and technology. With a foreword by leading WWII naval historian John Lundstrom, "Shattered Sword" will become an indispensable part of any military buff s library. Winner of the 2005 John Lyman Book Award for the "Best Book in U.S. Naval History" and cited by "Proceedings" as one of its "Notable Naval Books" for 2005."
The best way for today's sailors to learn about a battle is from those who fought it. The Battle of Midway, commemorated annually in the U.S. Navy, warrants close attention. This Naval Institute guide includes some of the most vibrant and informed accounts by individuals who fought on both sides of the June 1942 battle. The anthology pulls together memoirs, articles, excerpts from other Naval Institute books, and relevant government documents to help readers understand what happened and explain why the battle was so significant to the naval service. The core of the book focuses on events.
“Something special among war histories . . . No other gives both sides of the battle in as detailed and telling a manner.” —Chicago Sun-Times Six months after Pearl Harbor, the seemingly invincible Imperial Japanese Navy prepared a decisive blow against the United States. After sweeping through Asia and the South Pacific, Japan’s military targeted the tiny atoll of Midway, an ideal launching pad for the invasion of Hawaii and beyond. The US Navy would be waiting for them. Thanks to cutting-edge code-breaking technology, tactical daring, and a significant stroke of luck, the Americans under Admiral Chester W. Nimitz dealt the Japanese navy its first major defeat of the war. Three years of hard fighting remained, but it was at Midway that the tide turned. This “stirring, even suspenseful narrative” is the first book to tell the story of the epic battle from both the American and Japanese sides (Newsday). Miracle at Midway reveals how America won its first and greatest victory of the Pacific war—and how easily it could have been a defeat.
This is the first biography of Capt. Joe Rochefort, the Officer in Charge of Station Hypo the U.S. Navy’s decrypt unit at Pearl Harbor and his key role in breaking the Imperial Japanese Navy’s main code before the Battle of Midway. It brings together the disparate threads of Rochefort’s life and career, beginning with his enlistment in the Naval Reserve in 1918 at age 17 (dropping out of high school and adding a year to his age). It chronicles his earliest days as a mustang (an officer who has risen from the ranks), his fortuitous posting to Washington, where he headed the Navy’s codebreaking desk at age 25, then, in another unexpected twist, found himself assigned to Tokyo to learn Japanese. This biography records Rochefort’s surprising love-hate relationship with cryptanalysis, his joyful exit from the field, his love of sea duty, his adventure-filled years in the ‘30s as the right-hand man to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet, and his reluctant return to codebreaking in mid-1941 when he was ordered to head the Navy’s decrypt unit at Pearl (Station Hypo). The book focuses on Rochefort’s inspiring leadership of Hypo, recording first his frustrating months in late 1941 searching for Yamamoto’s fleet, then capturing a guilt-ridden Rochefort in early 1942 mounting a redemptive effort to track that fleet after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor . It details his critical role in May 1942 when he and his team, against the bitter opposition of some top Navy brass, concluded Midway was Yamamoto’s invasion target, making possible a victory regarded by many as the turning point in the Pacific War. The account also tells the story of Rochefort’s ouster from Pearl, the result of the machinations of key officers in Washington, first to deny him the Distinguished Service Medal recommended by Admiral Nimitz, then to effect his removal as OIC of Hypo. The book reports his productive final years in the Navy when he supervises the building of a floating drydock on the West Coast, then, back in Washington, finds himself directing a planning body charged with doing spade work leading to the invasion of Japan. The Epilogue narrates the postwar effort waged by Rochefort’s Hypo colleagues to obtain for him the DSM denied in 1942—a drive that pays off in 1986 when President Reagan awards him the medal posthumously at a White House ceremony attended by his daughter and son. It also explores Rochefort’s legacy, primarily his pioneering role at Pearl in which, contrary to Washington’s wishes, he reported directly to Commander in Chief, US Fleet, providing actionable intelligence without any delays and enabling codebreaking to play the key role it did in the Battle of Midway. Ultimately, this book is aimed at bringing Joe Rochefort to life as the irreverent, fiercely independent and consequential officer that he was. It assumes his career can’t be understood without looking at his entire life. It seeks to capture the interplay of policy and personality, and the role played by politics and personal rifts at the highest levels of Navy power during a time of national crisis. This bio emerges as a history of the Navy’s intelligence culture.
Known throughout Japan as 'the unsinkable captain' of World War II, Tameichi Hara was a hero of the Imperial Japanese Navy. He led his destroyers into the thick of combat in practically every major naval battle in the Pacific. Here, originally published in 1961, is Hara's classic memoir of the great naval battles of the Pacific War.

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