The Oldest Submarine at Midway
A powerful Japanese force of four fleet carriers screened by fast battleships, cruisers, and destroyers launched 107 planes early on 4 June 1942, its commander believing that surprise had been assured. The U.S. Navy, however, knew of the Kido Butai's objective: Midway, the vital mid-Pacific base the Japanese deemed "the sentry for Hawaii." Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Pacific Fleet's commander-in-chief, wanted to give the enemy a warm reception. As part of his strategy, Rear Admiral Robert H. English, Commander Submarines, Pacific, deployed 12 subs to defend Midway, among them the Nautilus (SS-168).