Courtesy Kazutoshi Hando, U.S. Navy
1942: Without ever sighting one another, Japanese and American task forces engage near the Midway Atoll, marking the turning point of the Pacific war and ringing down the curtain on the battleship as a dominant offensive naval weapon.
The Battle of Midway began only a month after the inconclusive Battle of the Coral Sea, which was the first time two opposing fleets slugged it out without making visual contact. Airplanes, specifically the dive bomber and the torpedo plane, were the weapons that made this possible and changed the nature of war at sea.
As a result, aircraft carriers now emerged as the most important ships in the fleet, relegating other surface ships to carrier-escort and picket duty, and — in the case of the battleship and heavy cruiser — to shore bombardment in support of troop landings.
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This post was written by Richard Rodriguez, Rescue Tug Captain, and US Coast Guard approved instructor for License Training. You can read more of his articles at the BitterEnd of the net.