WC vs History Rerelease: Source Code (June 4, 2012)

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
midwayheader.png

Seventy years ago today, the Battle of Midway began as forces from the Japanese Combined Fleet bore down on the small Pacific atoll of Midway. The majority of the Combined Fleet had been sortied for the battle. Admiral Yamamato himself steamed on the flagship Yamato as part of the Japanese "Main Body" force. However, only one element of the Japanese force, Kido Butai, was to play a role in the most famous of carrier battles. The Japanese set out to crush the remaining power of the American Pacific Fleet, their carriers, and instead saw the four core units of their carrier strike force destroyed in a single day. The penultimate moment of the battle being the five minute American dive-bomber attack between 1020 and 1025 am that put three of the four carriers of Kido Butai permanently out of action.

In remembrance of the battle and all its participants seventy years on, we present again our multipart WC vs History series on the Battle of Midway.

"In less than a month the Kilrathi will be above Earth demanding our surrender if we're lucky, though if past practices are any indication they'll flatten us with a full antimatter warhead bombardment and then come down to gloat over the wreckage and tear out the throats of the survivors with their claws when their next Sivar ceremony comes around." - Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, 2668

The Empire of Kilrah has broken the armistice agreement. A massive fleet of heavy carriers is poised to strike at the heart of the Confederation. Thrakhath's advance should be unstoppable. He has new ships, fresh pilots and believes he has achieved total surprise. What he does not know is that Admiral Sir Geoffrey Tolwyn, supposedly disgraced for sinking a Kilrathi carrier hours after the formal armistice, has actually been working with Confederation intelligence to learn the Empire's plans for months. Now Tolwyn is the newly minted commander of Third Fleet--and he is struggling to piece together an armada capable of stopping the Kilrathi.

Read the rest of the story here!

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Original update published on June 4, 2012
 
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Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
“They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so they changed the course of a war.” - Walter Lord

While I might not fully agree with the first part of Mr. Lord's quote, these two sentences help define the classic naval engagement that is the Battle of Midway. It was an "Incredible Victory" and a "Miracle", according to the first historians. It is impossible to play down the importance of the battle, but looking back now, one can see that it's actually not that much of a "Miracle" or "Incredible Victory." Admiral Nimitz played to win. He wouldn't have sent the Fleet off if he didn't think he had a chance. And by taking that chance, he gave himself the right to win.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
That quote presents kind of a weird way of looking at the battle - it actually sounds like something a land warfare historian might say. At sea, victories of this kind are generally the norm rather than the exception. It never seems to just come down to numbers, tactics play a huge role - and it's not unusual for a smaller force to not only win but take little or no losses.

But of course, there is still quite a "miraculous" aspect to the whole thing. Didn't the first American strike wave only barely find their target, because of the weather? At first glance, it seems like the Americans had prepared so extremely well ahead of the battle, that they were "doomed to win". But it turns out even this was almost spoiled by the weather.
 

rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
Based on some of the more recent sources, I'd argue that the ruse to "discover" AF might be a bit overstated here. The group at Hypo was convinced AF was Midway- the broadcast ruse was designed to convince the higher-ups. Admiral King, in particular, was hearing from the local cryptos in DC that the target was the US West Coast and that the folks at Hypo were missing the point (due in no small part to an intraservice rivalry with the Hypo group).

It was absolutely a critical point for the overall operation, but wasn't the moment the US discovered Midway was being targeted.
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
While we're talking about this battle, I have a question, since you seem to be very well informed about WWII: How historically accurate is Universal's "Midway" from 1976 (except of the fact that Charlton Heston's plane changes its type during flight)?
For all who might not know about this movie: Here's a trailer:
 

Ilanin

Captain
Interesting that you've gone for the Sirius/Earth campaign as the WC parallel for Midway - I had always regarded Midway as being Vukar Tag (I once explained the plot of End Run to someone as "the Terrans get the bright idea to try the Dootlittle raid and the Battle of Midway at the same time").
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
But of course, there is still quite a "miraculous" aspect to the whole thing. Didn't the first American strike wave only barely find their target, because of the weather? At first glance, it seems like the Americans had prepared so extremely well ahead of the battle, that they were "doomed to win". But it turns out even this was almost spoiled by the weather.

Nope, the planes from Midway flew a direct route to Kido Butai. You might be thinking of McCluskey and his SBDs using a Japanese DD to lead them in. Weather played almost no role in Midway. (The only thing that comes to mind is that Kido Butai should have been seen on 3 June but was covered by a rain squall.)

Yeah, Rochefort's ruse wasn't to confirm it for him or HYPO, it was to convince people back in DC that they had the right target.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
While we're talking about this battle, I have a question, since you seem to be very well informed about WWII: How historically accurate is Universal's "Midway" from 1976 (except of the fact that Charlton Heston's plane changes its type during flight)?
For all who might not know about this movie: Here's a trailer:


Ehhhhh, the movie is based on Fuchida's book which has been shown to have a number of errors. So the short answer, not very accurate. John Lundstrom once told me he walked out of the theater during the movie because of the issues he saw.
 

rtheriaque

Rear Admiral
Fuchida's book has done more to misinform the general public on Midway than it has to improve any understanding. Unfortunately, as first-person witness to the events, he was taken at his word for many years. He was dispelled in Japan long ago, but the lack of Japanese-language research Stateside has held up US understanding until recently. We've had a blast of great research of late, however- we live in great times for historical research!
 
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