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History Is Driven By Chance

I found these videos fascinating, high def video of several aircraft carriers sunk during the pivotal battle of Midway. You have to get past the nasally voiced Hawaiian chick that keeps yammering about their sea gods and Hawaiian poetry but it is still amazing footage from something that happened more than 80 years ago, an event that changed the course of world history.

Midway is a fascinating event, turning around the war in the Pacific in the earliest days. Two years before D-Day and the Normandy Invasion and only six months after Pearl Harbor, the balance of the war in the Pacific was very much undecided but leaning toward the Japs.

A month earlier the U.S. thwarted the Japanese at the battle of the Coral Sea but it was a costly victory as the carrier Lexington was sunk and Yorktown was badly damaged. Lexington was one of only four aircraft carriers in the Pacific so losing that ship was a major blow. The U.S. Navy was fairly evenly matched with the Japanese Imperial Navy at the beginning of the war, minus a bunch of battleships from December 7th, so we weren’t in a position to trade light carriers for fleet carriers. That would change later in the war and the Japs knew that once the U.S. industrial machine started working we would simply swamp them. Japan was an island nation with limited natural resources with a little over 70 million people in 1940 while the U.S. is an enormous, resource-rich landmass with over 132 million people as of 1940. By the end of the war, it is hard to fathom how large our navy was compared to the beginning:

The U.S. built around 6,000 vessels in less than four years, for a fleet with 28 fleet carriers and 23 battleships. Not even counting replacing the ships that were sunk, 21 carriers in 4 years is more than 5 aircraft carriers built per year in an era before modern manufacturing, and that doesn’t even count all of the aircraft for those carriers. The feat of American industrial might is difficult to understand today, I wrote about it briefly last year: We Aren’t Those People Anymore

In short, the Japs needed to knock us out of the fight quickly before we started to crank out carriers. The attack on Midway was intended to accomplish this, drawing the U.S. carriers into a battle, destroying them and being poised to threaten U.S. soil in Hawaii, the Aleutian Islands and even the West Coast. I don’t know that the Japanese ever planned on actually invading the U.S. but if they could keep our navy bottled up it would free them to rampage across the Pacific to secure the natural resources they needed.

Midway is a small “island” in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific, a whopping 2.4 square miles. It was basically an airstrip, an immobile but also unsinkable aircraft carrier capable of launching and recovering larger aircraft than a carrier.

I didn’t realize it but it is considered part of the Hawaiian archipelago although it is over 1300 miles northwest of Honolulu.

I won’t recap the whole battle, there are lots of good books about it and the 1976 movie Midway with Charlton Heston and Mr. Miyagi as part of an amazing cast, is one of my favorite war movies. I downloaded and it we watched it last night. The movie Midway is incredibly refreshing in one major way: the utter lack of diversity. I don’t think I saw a single black in the entire two plus hours of the film, certainly not in a speaking role.

What is amazing as a casual student of history is how major events like Midway are in large measure the result of chance. A lot of small, seemingly random events led to the U.S. victory, like torpedo bombers showing up early and getting massacred drawing away the air cover for the Jap carriers, leaving them wide open to the dive bombers that quickly struck three of the carriers, but the big one was that one Japanese recon plane was delayed from launching because of a problem with the catapult and it happened to be the one covering the location of the U.S. carriers in it’s search pattern. Because of this and an inability to refuel a different scout earlier tasked with spying out Pearl Harbor meant that the Japs had no idea if they would be facing just land-based aircraft launched from Midway or U.S. carriers (they also thought that Yorktown was out of the battle because of the damage suffered at Coral Sea).

Had a few things gone differently, it might be three U.S. carriers sitting on the ocean floor at Midway instead of four Japanese carriers. The war might have gone very differently had the Japs succeeded in capturing Midway. Not entirely but significantly because one scout plane was delayed in taking off. Sure there was a lot more to it, like American code breakers breaking the Japanese code and knowing they were heading for Midway, but the battle still could have gone badly for the U.S. if that Jap scout had spotted our carriers earlier.

While land war in the Pacific was a grueling, brutal slugfest on place like Iwo Jima and Okinawa, the naval fights seemed more like two blindfolded boxers stumbling around a 63 million square mile ocean trying to find each other. In a fight like that, blind luck is going to play a significant role.

Anyway I just found those videos fascinating other than the annoying chick.


  1. Moe Gibbs

    ‘Midway’ is a great movie. Another one that could not possibly be made today. Not without numinous, noble negroes in critical roles they never served in. And hottie superchicks schooling dumb White boys on how to wage war. I am sure that the Japanese would prefer that there never be a ‘woke’ Midway storyline, either, in which they were outwitted by black trannies and lesbionic super fighter pilots.

    • Scot Irish

      I can see hollyweird making a movie about admiral “Silverback Halsey” and the heroic “69th intersectional dildo squadron ” attached to the the carrier battle group
      “Harpy Bitches know what’s best”.

      • Moe Gibbs

        A token, small bone for any ladies in the audience, but forgivable. Funny, I forgot all about that. I was in high school when that movie came out, and my Catholic school actually paid to take us to see it at a midweek matinee. Do they even do that, anymore? School trips to see ‘historically significant’ movies in the theater?

        Tora! Tora! Tora! was another one that we were bussed in to see when I was in elementary school.

  2. Bobsuruncle

    A recent article: “China has the capacity to build PLA combat ships at 200 times the rate that the US can, per leaked US Navy intelligence”

    How else can a billion man army set boots on US soil after our politicians, businesses and banks sell out the US and collude with the Chicoms? Besides the ant-army of chinks that have made up over 50% of illegals crossing into the US via the southern border for the last ten plus years.

    I wonder why the makers of “Red Dawn 2.0” were for ed to change the movie from Chicoms invading the US to the DPRK.

  3. Greg

    Not to be off topic, but Hawaii rises from a volcanic hot spot. The tectonic plate is moving northwest. There is a new island erupting from the sea floor southeast of the big island now, and some of the older islands have eroded below sea level between Midway and the existing islands.


        Hahaha. I remember when that poo flinger made that ridiculous comment. That was one of those moments that parked me permanently in Camp Dissident.

        He should have been laughed out the District of Congo and sent back to sharecrop in Alabammy the rest of his existence.

        If YT made such as asinine comment on the floor of the house there would have been non-stop, 24/7 GloboHomo media coverage until he/she was forced to resign, tarred and feathered and sent back to their red district.

  4. John Wilder

    For that battle, certainly, but when you look at naval production during WWII, the United States had 97 aircraft carriers, the IJN had 24. The overall outcome was never in doubt.

    • Zorost

      I think there was a narrow route to victory for Japan. They’d never be landing troops on American shores, but they could have kept us backed off long enough to get their conquered economy running while also burning off our morale.

      One argument I’ve heard is that Japan never should have built any carriers, as they are only practical for projecting power across long expanses of ocean. Japan should have built nothing but shore-based bombers and fighters, doing their own version of an island-hopping campaign. Spot our fleet, fly out a horde of planes to base at a nearby island. But countries often seem to focus on dick-waving gear.

  5. pyrrhus

    As the novel Dec.6th, 1941 points out, Japan’s huge mistake (so stupid that it makes one wonder) was not knocking out the fuel tanks at Pearl, which would have crippled the Pacific fleet for between 12 and 18 months, as confirmed by the Pentagon…

  6. Zorost

    One of the many flaws with Marxism is thinking that history is inevitable. If you study history, there are many pivotal moments where a small change would have lead to massive future changes. Like what would have happened if Al the Great’s dad had died fending off a massive Scythian invasion? Horse archers should have wrecked a phalanx. Or Al the Great dying in an early battle, which was a good possibility as he often fought personally. Or just dying of disease, since back then about 1/3 of an army dropped dead every time they crossed a major geographic boundary.

  7. Brewer

    Check out the book “Shattered Sword”. Looks at Japanese naval doctrine and reveals a few unknown facts about some of the post war Japanese books, essays and the authors. Great technical data on the jap carriers.

  8. Don't Moon Me

    A true story demonstrating individual initiative among our armed forces that occurred during the Battle of Midway in 1942.

    From Jeff Cooper’s Commentaries, 2004:

    “It is interesting to learn that “McClusky’s Turn” has now become a recognized figure of speech for war buffs.
    If you do not know about McClusky’s Turn, you should. When Lieutenant Commander Wade McClusky,
    leading 32 SBD’s, turned left instead of right on his approach to the Japanese fleet at Midway, his decision
    determined the outcome of the battle, and thus the outcome of the war in the Pacific. If you ever make a
    chance decision which results in overwhelming triumph, you have made a McClusky Turn.”

    This may have never happened in a society that devalues individual initiative in favor of a top-down,
    authoritarian mind set.

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