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Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, the…
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Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy's Story (Bluejacket Books) (original: 1955; edição: 2001)

de Mitsuo Fuchida (Autor)

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323980,533 (3.66)12
The great air and sea battle of the Pacific, as seen through Japanese eyes . . . On June 4, 1942, Admiral Yamamoto launched his attack on Midway with the largest fleet yet assembled in the Pacific. His strike force included 350 ships and over 100,000 officers and men. His objective: to smash the U.S. aircraft carriers based at Midway and break the Navy's power in World War II. Now, for the first time, Japanese officers open the sealed archives to tell the authoritative, dramatic story of what really happened at Midway -- the battle that doomed Japan!… (mais)
Membro:NamrataHere
Título:Midway: The Battle That Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy's Story (Bluejacket Books)
Autores:Mitsuo Fuchida (Autor)
Informação:Naval Institute Press (2001), 352 pages
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Informações da Obra

Midway de Mitsuo Fuchida (1955)

  1. 20
    Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway de Jonathan Parshall (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Challenges Mitsuo Fuchida's opinions about relative fleet strength, etc.; extensive Japanese sources.
  2. 10
    The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. de John Toland (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: The entire story of World War II from Japan's perspective.
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t has been a rather enjoyable read. The book has a foreword by Adm Raymond Spruance and is essentially told in the first person, by Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the first wave of the IJN at Pearl Harbor.

It seems to have been well researched and has a good number of maps.

The dialog is even and mad e me aware of several facts I was not aware of.. ( )
  Slipdigit | Nov 26, 2021 |
It occurred to me that while I had read any number of magazine articles and sections from longer books on the Battle of Midway, I’d never read an entire book devoted to the subject (despite three in the “to be read” stacks. This was the one closest to the top. It might not be the best choice for a first, as it’s pretty old (1955) although my copy is a 2001 paperback reprint. OTOH the authors are Japanese – Mitsuo Fuchida and Masatake Okumiya. Fuchida was present at Midway; he was supposed to be in the air but had suffered an emergency appendectomy; Okumiya was a squadron commander aboard the Ryūjō during the diversionary attack on the Aleutians. All of the first-person narration in the book is by Fuchida. (Added later: further reading discloses most historians discount Fuchida as a reliable source; nobody calls him a liar, but much of his reporting on the battle has been falsified by later research).


I assume I don’t have to tell anybody what happened at Midway. The actual description of the battle – only occupies about a quarter of the book. The rest discusses the IJN’s decision to engage in the battle in the first place, and there are some things of interest there.


According to Fuchida, the Japanese tossed around many plans before settling on the Midway campaign. The three general strategic directions were toward India, toward Australia, and toward Hawaii. According to Fuchida, Matome Ugaki, the Combined Fleet Chief of Staff, first favored Hawaii, with an initial attack on Midway, Johnston Atoll and Palmyra Island (and the ultimate goal of bringing the US Navy to battle and destroying it). However, staff work suggested this would be infeasible – the IJN wouldn’t be able to obtain control of the air over Hawaii. Ugaki then began planning for an attack toward India and an attempt to link up with the Germans in the Middle East; however, the Germans didn’t seem to display much enthusiasm for the idea so the IJN planned to go it alone, with a seizure of Ceylon. The Army rejected that idea saying that they could not spare enough forces to take Ceylon and still guard against the Russians. The Naval General Staff (not the same as the Combined Fleet Staff) favored Australia, reasoning that the American attack on Japan would eventually come from that direction. The Army again vetoed any attempt to occupy Australia outright, so an isolation strategy was proposed – finishing up the conquest of eastern New Guinea and the Solomons, then taking Fiji, Samoa, and New Caledonia.


The end of the debate came with the Doolittle raid. It’s always been sort of a factoid that the Japanese knew that B-25s were land-based bombers, and therefore they must have come from land, and the closest land was Midway, and therefore they must have come from there. Fuchida notes that it was realized almost immediately that the planes had been launched from a carrier or carriers, an example (Fuchida’s words) of “characteristic Yankee boldness and ingenuity”. What did puzzle the Japanese briefly is where the planes went after they bombed – it was thought they might have flown to Russia or ditched at sea and been picked up by submarines or a Russian merchant vessel – but when reports from China came in it was realized they had gone there. A further component of the factoid is that the Doolittle raid was such an insult to the Japanese psyche that their desire for some sort of revenge overwhelmed strategic considerations; again Fuchida notes that the raid wasn’t much of a concern at all; those Japanese officers that knew English amused themselves by noting it was a “do-little raid”. However, it did defuse the “Australia first” school by demonstrating that an advance through the Central Pacific was just as possible as one from Australia; thus attention turned back toward Midway. The final plan called for occupation of Midway and Attu, Kiska and Adak in the Aleutians. The Aleutian force would destroy harbor installations, then lay mines and withdraw. The Midway force would regroup at Truk, then move to take New Caledonia and Fiji, then conduct raids against Sydney and other Australian targets, then back north to raid Hawaii and seize Johnston Atoll and Palmyra Island. The assumption is that somewhere along the line the American carrier forces would be brought to battle and destroyed.


As we know, it didn’t work out that way. Fuchida blames Yamamoto on a number of counts – devising an overly complex plan; not waiting until the carriers Zuikaku and Shokaku were available (they were being repaired after damage at the Battle of the Coral Sea; delay until they were repaired would have resulted in unfavorable moonlight conditions for the Midway landing force); not being in a position to exercise overall command (Fuchida thinks Yamamoto should have either been on shore in Tokyo directing things from there or with the carriers and Nagumo); and not concentrating forces at Midway (Fuchida contends that the antiaircraft support from Japanese capital ships would have prevented successful attacks against the carriers). He also casts a minor amount of blame Nagumo’s way, saying that Nagumo should have used one of the cruisers as a flagship instead of Akagi, as the cruisers had better communication facilities. Finally he places some blame on the overall “victory disease” attitude of the Japanese navy, and, lastly, just bad luck.


It might be fun to wargame all of these. The overall Japanese strategy – other than going to war with the US in the first place – probably wasn’t all that bad. Linking up with the Germans has a lot of appeal in various alternate history scenarios; but even if the Japanese and Germans had somehow joined hands in the Middle East it isn’t clear what good that would have done either of them – both would have been at the narrow end of long supply lines. There was oil to be had, of course, but it would have taken a long time to be able to do something useful with it. The Australia option might have been more promising; the US almost certainly would have committed resources to try and keep the sea lanes open, and they would have been much farther from base resources fighting around New Caledonia than fighting around Midway (of course, so would the Japanese). The tactical options are also gameable – I wonder how much air defense Japanese capital ships would have been able to provide at this stage in the war. Would the presence of capital ships have distracted American pilots from attacks on the carriers? The Aleutian operation was supposed to distract the Americans, but didn’t; OTOH the forces used in it weren’t that large. Two extra fleet carriers at Midway might have made a difference – but it also might have been that many more to sink. One final game option might be to just withdraw and let the Japanese have Midway. It would have been almost impossible to keep supplied and could have acted as a magnet to draw more and more Japanese resources in a futile attempt to hold on to it (sort of the way Guadalcanal did).


Fuchida’s description of the actual battle is almost anticlimactic. He was slightly wounded while disregarding his doctor’s orders and coming on deck to watch. His general comments are the same as the others I’ve read; Japanese reconnaissance techniques were poor; the attack on the American carriers should have been launched as soon as they were detected rather than waiting for the Kates to be rearmed from bombs to torpedoes; the suicidal American torpedo attacks drew the Zeros down to the deck; Japanese damage control techniques were poor. Not much new but interesting to hear it from the other side.


I was interested by Fuchida’s claim that the Aleutian operation was never intended to permanently occupy any islands; instead the forces were supposed to destroy installations, mine harbors, and withdraw (and Adak as well as Attu and Kiska was to be included). However, (according to Fuchida) the troops were left at the end of yet another tenuous supply line just so some positive result could be claimed.


The overall tone of the book is self-abasing, with Fuchida recounting all the Japanese mistakes without mentioning any American ones. Still, there’s sort of an undertone that given another chance the IJN would do it better. I was surprised to find that Fuchida converted to Christianity after the war and became a Lutheran bishop; it’s surprising because I was raised Lutheran myself and didn’t know we had bishops. One of those “other” Lutheran sects, I suppose; not Missouri Synod. Decent maps; photographs of the major participants (people and ships); Order of Battle in the appendix. Some corrections (in footnotes) from earlier editions. Not bad for my first detailed book on the battle; we’ll see how it stands up against more recent works. ( )
  setnahkt | Dec 15, 2017 |
A detailed account of the Battle of Midway from the viewpoint of one of the major players of the Japanese Navy. A well balanced account. ( )
  Waltersgn | Sep 16, 2015 |
The Battle of Midway from the Japanese perspective. A bit slow and detail focused for the first half of the book where the lead-up to the battle is described.
As a former US Navy officer, I found the battle descriptions fascinating and horrifying. I can't imagine a worse nightmare than being trapped aboard a flaming warship during battle.
One significant takeaway that I got from this book - and something that I'm finding as a constant in all of the history accounts I read - is that "experts" are not to be relied upon. ( )
  Scarchin | Nov 12, 2013 |
A gripping, well-told tale of both the strategic and boots-on-the-deck perspectives from the Japanese side; probably as good an accounting as could have been had from Japanese records, aided by the fact the authors were senior officers who participated in the battle first-hand. For a book that's only two hundred pages long there's a ton of information packed into this. We get the background on Japan's reasons for war and all events from Pearl Harbour onward, so that we have the full rationale and context for decisions at Midway. The simultaneous attack on the Aleutian Islands and its reasons are here as well, and an in-depth post-analysis of reasons for Japan's losses in the conflict.

The authors were extremely fair to both sides with their frequent citations of individual bravery, strategic failures and success. Only on the final page did I feel they went too far, when they harshly judged the Japanese national character and ultimately chalked their failure up to that. Editors supplied valuable footnotes that compared post-war statistics with during-war assumptions. If I hadn't already read other accounts, I would feel deeply compelled to pursue an American perspective on this same conflict and get the other side of the story. If this book grabs you then I strongly recommend John Toland's "The Rising Sun", the entire story of World War II from Japan's perspective. ( )
  Cecrow | Sep 13, 2013 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Mitsuo Fuchidaautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Okumiya, Masatakeautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kawakami, Clarke H.Editorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Pineau, RogerEditorautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Spruance, Raymond A.Prefácioautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Kondo, NobutakeIntroduçãoautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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As day broke over the western Inland Sea on 27 May 1942, the sun's rays slanted down on the greatest concentration of Japanese fleet strength since the start of the Pacific War.
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The great air and sea battle of the Pacific, as seen through Japanese eyes . . . On June 4, 1942, Admiral Yamamoto launched his attack on Midway with the largest fleet yet assembled in the Pacific. His strike force included 350 ships and over 100,000 officers and men. His objective: to smash the U.S. aircraft carriers based at Midway and break the Navy's power in World War II. Now, for the first time, Japanese officers open the sealed archives to tell the authoritative, dramatic story of what really happened at Midway -- the battle that doomed Japan!

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