When did the Battle of Midway begin?

On June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway – one of the most decisive US victories against Japan during World War I – began. During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered US Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own, the Yorktown, to the previously invincible Japanese navy.

In six months of offensives prior to Midway, the Japanese had triumphed in lands throughout the Pacific, including Malaysia, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, the Philippines and numerous island groups. The United States, however, was a growing threat, and Japanese Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto sought to destroy the US Pacific Fleet before it was large enough to outmatch his own.

A 1000 miles North-West of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash US resistance to Japan’s imperial designs. Yamamoto’s plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska, followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the US Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the West. If successful, the plan would eliminate the US Pacific Fleet and provide a forward outpost from which the Japanese could eliminate any future American threat in the Central Pacific. US intelligence broke the Japanese naval code, however, and the Americans anticipated the surprise attack.