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Midway: The Battle that Doomed Japan, the Japanese Navy's Story
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Manufacturer: Bluejacket Books
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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 359
EAN: 9781557504289
ISBN: 1557504288
Label: Bluejacket Books
Manufacturer: Bluejacket Books
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 352
Publication Date: 2001-03
Publisher: Bluejacket Books
Studio: Bluejacket Books

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Editorial Reviews:

This landmark study was first published in English by the Naval Institute in 1955 and was added to the Classics of Naval Literature series in 1992. Widely acknowledged for its valuable Japanese insights into the battle that turned that tide of war in the Pacific, the book has made a great impact on American readers over the years. Two Japanese naval aviators who participated in the operation provide an unsparing analysis of what caused Japan's staggering defeat.

Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the first air strike on Pearl Harbor, commanded the Akagi carrier air group and later made a study of the battle at the Japanese Naval War College. Masatake Okumiya, one of Japan's first dive-bomber pilots, was aboard the light carrier Ryujo and later served as a staff officer in a carrier division. Armed with knowledge of top-secret documents destroyed by the Japanese and access to private papers, they show the operation to be ill-conceived and poorly planned and executed, and fault their flag officers for lacking initiative, leadership, and clear thinking. With an introduction by an author known for his study of the battle from the American perspective, the work continues to make a significant contribution to World War II literature.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: View of Midway from 'other side of the hill'
Comment: Battle of Midway is often considered the turning point of Pacific war. This book co authored by two Japanese participants of the battle must be considered a naval classic.

It may look slightly outdated by modern standards . But core facts need no revision. Certain aspects ,however, demand elaboration . For instance, role played by intelligence in deciding the outcome of battle. US Navy was privy to Japanese plans on Midway thanks to its ability to read Japanese naval ciphers. Being forewarned is almost like forearmed. Consequently, Americans frustrated Japanese bid to seize Midway and push defense perimeter farther west. Authors have acknowledged the contribution of intelligence to American victory. However documentation to this effect is minimal.

The important thing is the phenomenal luck enjoyed by Americans. Lt. Cdr Wade McClusky was leading 33 Dauntless dive-bombers from USS Enterprise in a hunt for Japanese fleet..Where he expected to find enemy fleet ,he found nothing. Soon his planes would have to return because fuel was running low. But McClusky took a risk and upon an hunch decided to search farther west. This gamble paid off. Little later he saw the wake of a Japanese destroyer and decided to follow it. The enemy fleet hove into view. American dive-bombers swooped down to attack . The time 10.25 am June 4, 1942 and rest is history.

McClusky strike could not have come at a better moment. Nearly 100 planes crammed on Japanese carriers preparing for an assault on US fleet. All were loaded with high explosives and high- octane fuel. Bombs were loosely stacked on hangar decks and tiniest spark could turn them into a blazing inferno. However principal credit for American victory should go to torpedo-bomber pilots. It was they who first found Japanese carriers . Dive- bombers capitalized on the sacrifice of brave torpedo-bomber pilots from carrier USS Yorktown . Japanese combat air patrols drawn down to sea level while engaged in repelling latter's assaults lacked sufficient time to regain altitude for intercepting the onrush of dive-bombers.

These are some interesting facts conspicuously absent in this book. To me, MI plan resembled a huge Cannae type manoeuvre at sea. Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo while engaged in action with US fleet will facilitate Admiral Yamamoto's main body to sneak from behind and strike at the American flank. Soon they would be joined by Rear Admiral Kakuji Kakuta's Second Air Fleet who will descend upon American rear returning from operations in Aleutian island chain. The result would be annihilation of US pacific Fleet.

Unfortunately for Japanese the battle did not unfold in this manner . MI plan was exceedingly complex based on false assumptions. Japanese anticipated American reaction only after they neutralized Midway. But sudden appearance of American fleet derailed their plans. Failure of Japanese naval planners to foresee such a contingency was deplorable. This speaks volumes of Tokyo's pre battle reconnaissance ,intelligence gathering capabilities inadequacy of which prevented Adm Nagumo from exploiting his victory at Pearl Harbor.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Mitsuo Fuchida was a liar...
Comment: As a Navy brat who grew up in the postwar era, Midway was a big deal. Of course, I read and enjoyed Fuchida's book. However, I recently finished reading "Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway" by Jonathan Parshall. In this book, it's clearly demonstrated that Fuchida did more than shade the truth. He lied in such a way to push blame upon others for Japan's defeat at Midway. For example, Fuchida makes the claim that the Japanese were getting ready to launch their strike just at the time the American SBDs dive bombed their carriers. Parshall shows how that was impossible given both Japanese carrier practice and the logs of flight activity. Sadly, Fuchida's book has enjoyed an unwarranted popularily due to our ignorance of Japanese documents and our lack of desire to question something that fits right into our own prejudices.

The Japanese historians consider Fuchida to be a liar. It's time that we do the same.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: One of the best works on the Battle of Midway
Comment: I first read this account of the battle of Midway almost fourty years ago. As an avid student of World War II, I have read many books dealing with this battle, but this is the best in telling the Japanese side of the battle. It gives the American reader an account of the battle from the Japanese viewpoing, with emphasis on the fatal minutes when the Japanese fighters were wave-hopping after the last of the torpedo planes, leaving the sky above open to the three squadrons of American dive bombers to change the course of the battle and the war itself. I have read many versions of this battle from the American viewpoing, but this is still the best coming from the Japanese viewpoint. I have had a copy of this work in my library since I first read it back in the late sixties, and still consider it one of the best.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: More grist for the revisionist theory behind Pearl Harbor.
Comment: Considering that this book was written in 1955, shortly after the Official US occupation of Japan ended, and considering that the author was indeed a fairly high ranking operational and planner of both Midway and Pearl Harbor Attacks, this book should be part of anyone's libraray whose shares an interest in the war between Japan and the US.

The author's knowledge and his particular place in the pecking order must be considered. As a former US combat pilot, with some operational planning experience, I am well aware that I was not informed of all details, only those that I had a need to know. Mitsui Fuchida was a staff officer, not a flag officer. He may have gained additional knowledge after the war's end, but most of the Admiral's who had overall knowledge of Pearl Harbor and Midway Operations were killed before the war ended.

There were also political concerns Fuchida had to navigate, in order to get his book published in 1955.

As a pilot, I was sympathetic to many of Fuchida's views. I enjoyed his descriptions of a warrior's duties, regardless of nationality. In some respects, we have more in common with our fellow aviators, than with our leaders.

For years, I accepted the standard version of the Pearl Harbor Attack on 7 Dec 41. I was at Pearl during the time the movie Tora Tora Tora was filmed. It was that event that lead to my discovery by talking to some older personnel of Japanese Ancestry, that unlike those in California, they were not sent to camps. I began reading whatever I could find on the subject, which includes this book.

Fuchida's book offers two major questions. How could two task forces covering the same sea lanes, confronting the same terrible sort of weather, without radar, within less than one year do so, under comletely "radio silence". Fuchida admits that during the Midway attack, low power radio signals were used, but were picked up in Japan. The generally accepted Japanese version of the Pearl Harbor attack, was that radio transmissions were not sent. But the question immediately arises. How would Fuchida, an Air Officer, know what conditions were confronting the various ships that comprised the Pearl Harbor attack force? Fuchida and the world knows that the Pearl Harbor force faced terrible weather and had to refuel in less than ideal conditions. They had to make course corrections. Is it unreasonable to think that the same reasons applied in May of 1942, would have applied in December of 1941?

Revisionists have challanged the traditional view of radio silence, by presenting numerous examples of transmissions from the "empty sea" during both periods. Traditionalists have maintained that Japan's sneak attack suceeded because they maintained strict radio silence. Men like Fuchida inforce that view. But was Fuchida the right person to ask? Did he mearly assume that what he was told by his superiors was correct?

Since Midway was a "victory" for the US, knowledge of the attack was acceptable and did not inflict any harm to anyone's careers or poltical postions. The same could not be said of Pearl Harbor. A Japanese Author in 1955, would be less likely of publishing something that discredited miltary and politcal reputations. I would not accuse Fuchida of deception, I would only suggest that he did not know as much about the Pearl Harbor Operation as he did about Midway.

Read the book, see if you come to the same conclussion.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Who Won At Midway Anyway?
Comment: This classic work of the battle of Midway is basically an entertaining and well written account of the Japanese view of the battle as voiced by the opinions and personal observations of Fuchida. There are many inaccuracies and the book is not nearly as scholarly as "Shattered Sword" which also describes the battle from the Japanese viewpoint.

My first review of this book came from no less than R. E. Best, the American bomber pilot who likely dropped the critical bomb on Akagi. He pointed out several errors and several other attempts to justify Japanese actions. Fuchida's book is comparable to the Lord classic "Incredible Victory" but this one has little place as a reference work. The book has many editor's notes which explain some of the problems but there are many others which are small but basically errors in the account. An example was the American B-26 attack on the Akagi. He describes the one plane that came low over the ship as passing from port to starboard then crashing into the sea. In fact the plane flown by LT. Mori passed straight down the Akagi flight deck from bow to stern and returned to Midway with significant damage. This event should have been directly in front of Fuchida as he reports he was lying on the flight deck. Minor point but it makes one wonder how many other errors in detail exist in the first person account.

The book appears to have been written as an post-war apology to the Japanese readers and contains continual excuses. The author criticizes the Japanese leadership with justification but the book could be titled "20-20 Hindsight at Midway".

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