Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Documentary Movie Review: *****The Battle for Midway: National Geographic

This documentary tells three stories, the search for the sunken carriers, Japanese and American, the reaction of veterans of the battle, overlapped with the historical story of the battle.  This battle took place only four months after Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese thought the Americans were down to two carriers.  However the Yorktown was repaired in Hawaii in just three days.  The Americans had an advantage, in that they had deciphered Japanese code, and knew where the Japanese would be, attacking the island of Midway.  On the morning of June 4, the Japanese attacked.  The U.S. counter attacked from the carriers.  The initial attacks were unsuccessful as the torpedo crews were devastated.  Of the crews, only a handful survived.  However when the Japanese fighters were chasing them, the dive bombers were able to attack free from fighters, and destroyed three of the four Japanese carriers.

A subsequent attack against the Yorktown crippled it with both dive bombers and torpedo planes.  As it limped back to Hawaii it was downed by submarine torpedoes.

Subsequent attacks finished off the last Japanese carrier.  The battle had a precarious balance at several stages.  The five minutes of the dive bomb attack changed the battle, and possibly history.

They did find the Yorktown, but not the Japanese carriers.  I really enjoyed this movie, especially the story of the battle.  I must admit, seeing the Yorktown after over 50 years was pretty exciting.  You could see the anti-aircraft guns on the deck.

1 comment:

  1. Sergio Ortiz Robert Hamann- You teach this stuff- what if the Japanese had won at Midway- say the result was reversed- they lose one carrier and we lose three (We didn't have a fourth to lose obviously). Would it have put them in a secure position?

    Robert Hamann Japan was doomed by it's very decision to make war. It was a total economic mismatch- no matter what happened at Midway. The Japanese Army was already fully extended and industry in Japan was already suffering because so many men were taken from it to fight in China.

    The 'Big Six' was evenly divided on war between the US and Soviet Russia- the more vocal group were Admirals Toyoda and Yonai- who correctly viewed Soviet Russia as a natural enemy and Yonai argued that war with Russia only need 'tie down' the Red Army while the Germans advanced.

    The Japanese embarked on what can only be described as a suicidal disaster against us- but their greatest mistake was being clueless as to misreading the will of the American people. It's the same as Jeff Davis at Fort Sumter- only one member of his cabinet pointed out that the attack would be a catastrophe.