Friday night movie: Midway (1976)

Here’s tonight’s movie:


The Battle of Midway, fought over and near the tiny U.S. mid-Pacific base at Midway atoll, represents the strategic high water mark of Japan’s Pacific Ocean war. Prior to this action, Japan possessed general naval superiority over the United States and could usually choose where and when to attack. After Midway, the two opposing fleets were essentially equals, and the United States soon took the offensive.

Japanese Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto moved on Midway in an effort to draw out and destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carrier striking forces, which had embarassed the Japanese Navy in the mid-April Doolittle Raid on Japan’s home islands and at the Battle of Coral Sea in early May. He planned to quickly knock down Midway’s defenses, follow up with an invasion of the atoll’s two small islands and establish a Japanese air base there. He expected the U.S. carriers to come out and fight, but to arrive too late to save Midway and in insufficient strength to avoid defeat by his own well-tested carrier air power.

Yamamoto’s intended surprise was thwarted by superior American communications intelligence, which deduced his scheme well before battle was joined. This allowed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander, to establish an ambush by having his carriers ready and waiting for the Japanese. On 4 June 1942, in the second of the Pacific War’s great carrier battles, the trap was sprung. The perserverance, sacrifice and skill of U.S. Navy aviators, plus a great deal of good luck on the American side, cost Japan four irreplaceable fleet carriers, while only one of the three U.S. carriers present was lost.

IMDB rating: [6.7/10]

Battle map:

Battle of Midway Map
Battle of Midway Map (click for larger image)

Image found here:

Happy Friday!

4 thoughts on “Friday night movie: Midway (1976)”

  1. Midway was an very interesting battle, which should not be fought in the first place. The United States have not fully recovered the Pearl Harbor shock by early 1942, so leaving them alone would be a portable strategy.

    Japan in 1942 is fighting on four fronts:
    – Central and Southern China, where they lost the Third Battle of Changsha in January; and barely won the Battle of Zhejiang-Jiangxi in early June.
    – New Guinea, and Solomons, they were bogged down by the Allies because a lack of trained army (ie. most them were tied at China front).
    – Southeast Asia, they swept through Philippines, Malaya, and is finishing off Indonesia.
    – Burma, the 33rd and 34th Division is trying to cut off the Burma Road, a vital supply route to China.
    From this point, an attack by the Navy at Midway would be total nonsense.

    This is what Japan should have done:
    – Move the well-trained divisions, such as 3rd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th, and 18th out of China, to New Guinea, and Solomons, leaving second line troops in China. Chiang Kai-shek’s KMT forces is too weak to attack, plus they were fighting Mao at the same time.
    – 33rd, 34th, 37th, and 40th to Burma, to keep the British wondering that Japan is going to invade India and link up with Rommel in the Middle East. (a diversionary strategy)
    – The main forces, combined with Navy and Air Force, plus troops in Southeast Asia, move South to secure New Guinea, Solomons, New Caledonia, and invade the Mainland Australia.

    In this battle, when you are outnumbered and out produced as Japan, strategy matters very much!


  2. Was it just me, or did the moviemakers miss an amazing opportunity for a very romantic scene at the end of this movie when Lt. Garth passed by his Japanese girlfriend on a stretcher coming off of the boat?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s