In mid-May 1942, when the United States was still gathering her strength for a full-scale war, a powerful Japanese naval force set out to capture Midway Island, 1,135 miles northwest of Honolulu. The enemy fleet included four of the six aircraft carriers that had devastated Pearl Harbor, nine battleships, and an occupation force of 5,000 men. While Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s Midway Strike Force moved eastward across the Central Pacific, a much smaller enemy flotilla, the carriers Ryujo and Junyo, six cruisers, a dozen destroyers, and miscellaneous support vessels, carried out a diversionary action in the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. The Aleutian strike had three objectives: to lure the U. S. Pacific Fleet north, opening the way for Yamamoto’s main force to capture Midway, to destroy the American installations at Dutch Harbor, and to cover enemy landings on Attu and Kiska.
The Day the Navy Caught a Zero
By Robert L. Underbrink