The balance of power
shifted from Japan to America in five minutes on June 4, 1942. The Imperial Japanese Navy enjoyed
victory after victory following the devastating attack on American forces at
Pearl Harbor. Who would have imagined
the Americans – outgunned by a ratio of three to one – could devastate three
Japanese flattops in five short minutes?
The Americans were
clearly the underdogs in this mismatched clash of naval air power. If the American carriers could just
prevent the invasion of Midway Atoll, their sortie from Hawaiian waters would
be deemed a success. But the
Americans achieved so much more.
Wave after wave, the
Americans kept coming. The torpedo
bombers, medium bombers, heavy bombers and a rag tag group of obsolete dive
bombers kept coming. The Japanese
Zero fighters were having a field day – but not without a cost. As the Japanese carriers zigged and
zagged in response to the incessant American attacks, it was impossible for the
Japanese to launch an attack on the American carriers whose position had been
reported by two Japanese scout planes.
And then it
happened. American Dauntless dive
bombers appeared overhead unmolested.
In rapid succession the Kaga, Akagi, and Soyru had their flight decks peppered with high explosive
Japanese accepted the futility of their position. The invasion of Midway was off. The Japanese task force would return to the Empire of the Sun.
The Battle of Midway aerial script by Alan Armstrong honors brave American warriors who fought and died so that we might be free.