From the perspective of the events two years later at the Marianas Turkey Shoot, the U.S. victory at the Battle of Midway—including the sinking of the Japanese carrier Akagi—was anything but a sure thing.
For poet T. S. Eliot, April may have been the cruelest month, but for the Imperial Japanese Navy, it was June. First was the disastrous defeat of 4 June 1942 at Midway. Then, two years later, came the humiliating 19 June air engagements off the coast of Saipan, a debacle now known as the "Marianas Turkey Shoot." And this is not to mention fleet losses in the Philippine Sea in the days following.
But far more than the Battle of the Philippine Sea and its Turkey Shoot subset (which historian Samuel Eliot Morison called "the greatest carrier battle of the war"), the earlier Battle of Midway is the contest that triggered crucial tectonic shifts in the balance of naval power in the World War II Pacific Theater, its strategic and historical significance overshadowing Jutland’s and matching that of Actium, the Armada, and Tsushima.1 British military historian John Keegan considers Midway "the greatest naval victory of all time."2