Midway 1942 Turning Point in the Pacific
by Mark Stille
This book is number 226 in the Osprey Campaign series of Books.
The Contents of this book are:
- Origins of the Campaign;
- Opposing Commanders-The IJN-The US Navy;
- Opposing Fleets-The IJN carrier force-The US Navy Carrier force-Orders of Battle;
- Opposing Plans-The Japanese Plan: Yamamoto gets his way-The US Plan;
- The Battle of Midway;
- The Aftermath.
There are many books written on this topic, however, Mark Stille summarizes it without missing a beat…His creative style in presenting all this information makes for a quick overview and interesting read of one of perhaps the most important battles in the Pacific. The underlying fact about the Battle of Midway was the element of surprise or lack thereof was key to its success or failure depending upon what side you were.
The author begins Origins of the Campaign by putting the myths of Midway to rest. He discusses the original Japanese plan and its fatal compromise between the Combined Fleet and the Naval General Staff. He also gives a brief overview of the US Pacific Fleet and its plan.
In Chronology the author presents a colander of battle strikes and events from 5/7 to 6/7/42, plus hour by hour on 6/4 to 6/7/42.
Opposing Commanders are introduced, and the strengths and weaknesses of the IJN and US Navy Commander’s plus their character and personalities are briefly discussed.
IJN Commanders were:
- Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku
- Vice Admiral Nagumo Chuichi
- Rear Admiral Kusaka Ryunosuke
- Commander Genda Minoru
- Rear Admiral Yamaguchi Tamon
- Capts. Aoki Taijiro, Okada Jisaku, Kaku Tomeo, Yanagimoto Ryusaku Vice Admiral Kondo Nobutake Vice Admiral Kurita Takeo Rear Admiral Tanaka Razio
US Navy Commanders were:
- Admiral Chester Nimitz
- Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher
- Vice Admiral William Halsey
- Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance
- Capt. Elliot Buckmaster
- Capt. Marc A. “Pete” Mitscher
- Capt. George Murray
- Capt. Cyril Simard
Opposing Fleets section is broken down into the IJN and US Carrier Force, Air Groups, Air Defense, and Aircraft. The author discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each group and type of craft in some detail. He also touches on ‘intelligence.’ He continues with the Orders of Battle in a clear concise format beginning with the IJN and then the US Forces.
The Opposing Plans in brief – the Japanese Plan: Yamamoto gets his way, the Surprise attack had flawed assumptions, disregard for and under estimated the enemy, they were arrogant and overconfident, and it had the Japanese trademark of being a complex operation.
The US Plan was brief but detailed – it shows the confidence Nimitz had in his commanders and it was a carefully calculated plan.
Battle of Midway which is obviously the main section is expertly handled by the author given the size constraint of the book, less than 100 pages. He broke it down into sub-sections beginning with the Japanese ‘Opening Moves,’ in fact, it reads like a chess game in that, the facts, details and descriptions alternate from the Japanese side to the American side throughout this section. In this way you are able to see who, why and where each side made some crucial mistakes. As a result of it presentation you can see the humanity in an inhumane situation that is war.
The author includes 3 brand new 3-D “birds-eye-view maps” so you can visualize the air war like never before. There are over 75 photographs, many are from the US Naval and NARA archives. Plus, there are 3 new spectacular 2-page battle scenes illustrated by Howard Gerrard. The addition of the artwork, photographs, maps and various charts enhances what is already a remarkable book.
The last section is the Aftermath which answers the question ‘was Midway a decisive battle?”