Academic journal article Military Review

MIDWAY INQUEST: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway

Academic journal article Military Review

MIDWAY INQUEST: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway

Article excerpt

MIDWAY INQUEST: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway, Dallas Woodbury Isom, Indian University Press, Bloomington, 2007, 408 pages, $29.95.

Dallas Woodbury Isom's Midway Inquest: Why the Japanese Lost the Battle of Midway attempts to answer the question of why Japanese Admiral Chuichi Nagumo failed to launch his ready aircraft against U.S. carriers on the morning of 4 June 1942. Long a controversial issue, the failure to launch a second strike, either against the island of Midway or against the U.S. carriers, made the four Japanese carriers vulnerable. When dive bombers from the Yorktown and Enterprise attacked the Japanese carriers, the carriers had torpedo bombers and some dive bombers in the hangar decks. Three were damaged beyond repair, turning the tide in the Pacific War. When read in conjunction with another book on Midway, Shattered Sword: the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan B. Parshall and Anthony P. Tully, Isom's book provides some tantalizing answers to this critical question.

Isom concludes that the launch of the second strike was delayed due to mechanical issues involving unloading bombs and loading torpedoes on the Nakajima B5N2 Kate torpedo planes. After extensive interviews with aircraft mechanics, Isom believes the procedure, frequently assumed to be only 40 minutes in duration, was at least 1 hour long. …

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