The Battle of Midway
June 3 - 6, 1942

Note: Times and date is parenthesis are approximate.
Japanese events are given in Japanese time until June 3, after which times are local.

7 December Nagumo carrier force attacks Pearl Harbor
10 December Guam falls
16 December VADM William S Pye assumes temporary command of the US Pacific Fleet
23 December Wake Island falls. Pye calls off attempted rescue
31 December Adm Chester W Nimitz assumes command of the US Pacific Fleet
January 11 Saratoga torpedoed and goes to Bremerton for repairs
1-14 January Ukagi writes scetch for future operations, including the occupation of Midway
20-22 January Nagumo force covers Japanese landings at Rabaul
25 January Ukagi turns project over to Kuroshima, who recommends instead a strategy centered on India and Burma
15 February Singapore surrenders
19 February Nagumo force hits Darwin
20-25 February Table maneuvers aboard Yamato where Army turns down India project
March (mid) Japanese plans now center of Midway
28 March Kuroshima and Combined Fleet staff begin work on Midway operation
2-5 April Wantanabe and Kuroshima discuss Midway at Naval General Staff and obtain reluctant approval
5 April Nagumo force strikes Colombo and sinks two British crusiers
9 April Nagumo force strikes Trincomalee and sinks British carrier Hermes and destroyer Vampire
18 April Doolittle raid on Japan
21 April Stinson warns Marshall and Arnold of possible attack on West Coast
22 April Nagumo's carriers return to Japan. Shortly thereafter he and his staff learn about the Midway project
24-29 April Yamamoto holds critique aboard Yamato
29 April Nimitz advises King Midway could hold off a moderate attack but would need fleet support agains a major one
1-4 May Preliminary war games for Midway (Japanese)
2 May Nimitz flies to Midway to inspect defenses
5 May Nagano orders Midway and Aluetians operations
6 May Corregidor surrenders
7-11 May Battle of the Coral Sea. Lexington sunk and Yorktown damaged; Shoho sunk and Shokaku damaged
(10 May) Midway at Hypo's arrangement sends a trap message that they are short of water
(12 May) Hypo intercepts a Japanese message that "AF" is short of water
15 May Nimitz orders Halsey's task force back to Pearl Harbor
17 May Triton sinks I.164
18 May 7th Air Force placed on special alert, and new B-17s begin to arrive from the mainland
20 May Yamamoto issues offical order of forces to participate and estimate of US strength
20 May Midway Transport Group and Seaplane Tender Group sortie from Japan for rendevous in Saipan
21 May Midway begins its alert phase
22 May Yamamoto's Main Body exercises at sea
22 May Marshall flies to West Coast because War Department fears attack there
22 May Demolition charge tripped and blows up Midway's gasoline dump
22 May Midway initiates search and reconnaissance phase
22 May Part of VP-44 arrives at Midway
23 May Rest of VP-44 reaches Midway
24 May Final table maneuvers aboard Yamato
25 May Midway receives more reinforcements for VP-44
25 May Marine 3d Defense Battalion AA battery, and Companies C and D of 2d Raider Battalion arrive at Midway
26 May General Tinker, CG 7th AF visits Midway, brings with him Maj Warner as AF Liasion Officer
26 May More aircraft and personel of MAG-22 arrive at Midway
26 May Enterprise and Hornet reach Pearl Harbor. Halsey too ill to command the operation. He recommends Spruance
27 May Navy Day in Japan
27 May Nagumo Force sorties; Fuchida stricken with appendicitis
27 May Midway Transport Group and Seaplane Tender Group sortie from Saipan
27 May Close Support Group sorties from Guam
27 May Nimitz meets with Spruance and gives him his instructions
27 May Enterprise and Hornet refurbishing and remanning
27 May Yorktown enters Pearl Harbor and repairs begin immediately
28 May Northern Force sortie from Japan
28 May Fletcher named commander of US task forces
28 May Nimitz briefs Fletcher and Spruance
28 May Nimitz briefs Ramsey and sends him to Midway to take charge of air operations
28 May Task Force 16 (Spruance) sorties from Pearl Harbor
29 May Main Body of Midway Invasion Force sorties
29 May Yamamoto's Main Body sorties
29 May Midway receives another B-17, 4 B-26's and their crews
30 May I.123 finds two ships at French Frigate Shoals; Operation K postponed
30 May Task Force 17 (Fletcher) sorties
30 May Midway initiates air search
30 May 2 PBYs encounter 2 Japanese land-based bombers from Wake. Both PBYs are damaged
30 May Seven more B-17s arrive at Midway with crews
31 May I.123 reports two US flying boats at French Frigate Shoals; Operation K cancelled
31 May Nine more B-17s reach Midway, including B-17 commander, Lt Col W C Sweeney, Jr
31 May B-17s scouting from Midway
31 May Last cargo of drummed gasoline aviation reaches Midway
31 May Mitscher, captain of Hornet, promoted to Rear Admiral
31 May - 1 June Two Japanese midget submarines attack Sydney harbor
1 June Genda ill, ordered to sick bay
1 June Japanese land-based aircraft report US submarines and hear US dispatching many "Urgent" messages
1 June 2 PBYs encounter 2 Japanese land-based bombers from Wake; Fuchida decides this means US search arc has been extended and Tanaka's Transport Group may be sighted prematurely
1 June RADM Theobald, commanding Task Force 8, leaves Kodiak in Nashville to rendezvous with his Main Body
1 June Spruance orders radio silence after a freak TBS interception
1 June Saratoga sorties San Diego in attempt to reach Midway in time to participate in the battle
2 June Fog hampers Japanese refueling
2 June Nagumo breaks radio silence to insure change of course
2 June Task Forces 16 and 17 meet at Point Luck
3 June  
Time unknown Japanese submarine cordons arrive on station two days late
0415 Ramsey sends up B-17s on reconaissance
0600 Nagumo's oilers drop away
0700 2nd Carrier Striking Force attacks Dutch Harbor
0800 Aleutian Guard Force breaks from Yamamoto's Main Body
0820 B-17s return to Midway from scouting
0825 Abe orders next day's antisubmarine patrols
0900 Escort Force spots a US plane
0904 Ens. Eaton advises Midway of sighting (part of Minesweeper Group)
0925 Midway receives Ens. Reid's message of "Sighting Main
1130 Body"PBY 7V55 reports "two cargo vessels..."
1158 B-17 OV 58 (Lt Smith) up on reconaissance
1200 2nd Carrier Striking Force begins to withdwaw toward Adak
1228 Nine B-17s under Sweeney take off to hit Invasion Force
1325 Nagumo signals fleet movements to be taken on June 4
1611 Smith reports two transports and two destroyers
1640 B-17s begin attack on Transport Group. No hits
1830 Abe signals changes in the antisubmarine patrols
1950 Fletcher changes Yorktown's course toward launching point
2115 4 PBYs equiped with torpedoes take off
4 June  
0130 Catalinas begin attack on Transport Group
0245 Catalinas report attack completed
0245 Akagi air crews awakened
0300 Reveille on Midway
0400 Nagumo orders all hands to stations
0400 6 F4Fs of VMF 221 take off from Midway on cover patrol
0400 11 Catalinas of VP-44 take off from Midway on search sector
0405 16 B-17s take off for second strike on Transport Group
0430 Nagumo begins launching Midway attack force
0430 Akagi, Kaga, and Haruna launch reconnaissance planes
0430 Yorktown launches 10 SBDs to cover northern arc
(0430) Midway aircraft begin to warm up
0435 Chikuma launches No. 5 reconnaissance plane
0437 Dawn
0438 Chikuma launches No. 6 reconnaissance plane
0442 Tone launches No. 3 reconnaissance plane
0500 Tone launches No. 4 reconnaissance plane
(0500) On Midway, aircraft engines off, pilots return to flight shacks
(0505) Kimes calls in the six patrol fighters
0510 Tone No. 4 plane reports "two enemy surfaced submarines..."
0520 Ady reports an unidentified aircraft
0530 Ady reports an enemy carrier
0530 Air crews alerted at Midway
0534 Enterprise receives report of a carrier
0545 Chase reports "Many planes heading Midway..."
0552 Ady reports "Two carriers and main body ships..."
0553 Enterprise receives "Many planes" report
0553 Sand Island radar reports incoming planes
0555 Tone No. 4 plane reports "15 enemy planes are heading towards you."
0556 Air raid alarm on Midway; Brewsters and Wilcats up
0600 B-17s ordered to divert to carriers
0600 A messanger advised B-26s and TBFs to "attack enemy carriers"
0603 Enterprise receives word of "two enemy carriers..."
0607 Fletcher orders Spruance to proceed westerly and attack
(0610) VMSB 241 bombers take off
0610 Japanese planes 47 miles out of Midway
0612 Wildcats make initial contact: "Hawks at Angels Twelve"
0615 TBFs take off from Midway
0615 B-26s take off from Midway
0615 Japanese planes 30 miles out
0616 Midway fighters engage attackers
0620 Japanese planes 22 miles out
0630 Battalion HQ orders AA to open fires
0632 "One plane in a formation of 20 is on fire"
0632 "Hanger and runways have been hit several times"
0633 "Eastern Island has been hit several times"
0635 An enemy plane downed. Laundry hit; hospital on fire
0638 Power plant hit; electricity out
0638 Eastern Island being dive bombed
0641 Hanger of fire. One Japanese plane crashed on the ramp
0643 Nagumo receives radio from Tomonaga-attack complete
0658 Tomonaga reports that he has been hit
0700 Hornet begins to launch
0705 Tomonaga radios "There is a need for a second attack wave"
0706 Enterprise commences launching
0707 Air officer of Kaga reports "Sand Island bombed and great results obtained."
0708 Akagi and Tone begin firing of US planes
0709 10 Zeros head off US planes
0710 Nautilus sighted smoke and AA fire and investigated
0710 The US planes "divided into 2 groups." Actually the TBFs and B-26s were attacking independently.
0712 Akagi in full turn, evaded torpedo to starboard and another to port
0714 US level bomber attack on carriers, no hits
0715 "All clear" sounded on Midway
0715 Nagumo ordered planes to stand by for a second wave, and to re-equip with bombs
0720 Spruance split his command to assist operations
0728 Tone No. 4 plane reported "what appears to be 10 enemy surface ships"
0732 Sweeney (B-17) sighted the enemy but no carrier in sight
0745 Nagumo prepared to attack and ordered torpedoes left on those planes not yet switched to bombs
0748 Soryu sighted "6 to 9 enemy planes." These probably VMSB-241
0755 Hornet completed launch
0755 Nautilus strafed
0755 Soryu under attack, no hits.
0755 Soryu reported 14 "twin-engine planes" coming in. This was Sweeney and his B-17s
0756 Akagi and Hiryu under attack
0758 Tone No. 4 plane reports enemy change of course
0800 Nagumo orders Tone No. 4 to advise ship types
0800 Akagi sights enemy planes and assumes battle speed
0806 Chikuma reported what they thought were carrier-based planes. Probably Tomonaga coming in or the SB2U-3s
0809 Tone No. 4 reports enemy fleet consists of 5 cruisers, 5 destroyers
0810 Nautilus depth bombed
0810 Akagi and Hiryu under attack
0812 Miss astern Kaga
0819 "many bombs" near Soryu
0820 SB2U-3s reach outskirts of Mobile Force
0820 Tone No. 4 advised the enemy ships include "what appears to be a carrier." Yamamoto asks if he should order Nagumo to attack at once. Kuroshima does not think necessary
0820 Miss astern Akagi
0821 Akagi assumes maximum battle speed
0822 Akagi heads into torpedo planes
0824 Soryu under attack
0827 Haruna under attack
0830 Ten enemy planes dive on Haruna
0837 Akagi commences landing Tomomaga's planes
0838 Yorktown launches
0839 Akagi sights U.S. torpedo planes and stops landing
0840 Akagi resumes the recovery
0855 Nagumo orders force to proceed northward after completing homing
0859 Homing of bombers completed
0905 Akagi receives Tone No. 4 report that 10 enemy torpedo planes are heading for the task force
0905 Leslie's VB-3 launches off Yorktown
0910 Nautilus attacked by Arashi
0917 Akagi changes course to 70 degrees, away from Midway to close U.S. task force
0918 1st Air Fleet completed homing of all attack units
0918 Chikuma sights VT-8 and opens fire; Akagi evades
0925 Akagi maneuvers to bring VT-8 astern
0930 Arashi advises of Nautilus attack
0945 Leslie flies over VT-3 and 6 VF-3 fighters, follows VT-3
0952 Gray wires Task Force 16 he is over target
0955 McClusky sees Arashi's wake and follows
0958 Akagi sights 14 enemy planes in 2 groups (Ely and Lindsey had split forces);Kaga under fire
(1005) McClusky sights the Mobile Force
1005 Leslie's gunner spots the Mobile Force about 35 miles off
1014 Akagi under attack; no hits
1015 Akagi spots torpedo planes (VT-3)
Torpedo drops; no hits
1020 Dive bombers spotted over Kaga; Akagi goes into maximum turn
1022 Kaga being dive bombed (Best-VB-6)
1024 Akagi maneuvers to avoid torpedo; sees dive bombers and makes maximum reverse turn
1024 Fires break out on Kaga
(1025) Leslie and Holmberg (VB-3) start dive on Soryu
Soryu hit twice
1026 Three dive bombers attack Akagi; 1 near miss, 2 hits
1033 Akagi goes into maximum turn to avoid 4 torpedo planes
1036 Akagi can still proceed at cruising speed
1042 Akagi's steering gear damaged and her engines stop
1043 Fighter planes aboard Akagi catch fire
1046 Nagumo and his staff abandon bridge and commence transfer to Nagara
1050 Chikuma sees 5 torpedo bombers
1050 Nagumo radios Yamamoto that fires are raging on Kaga, Soryu, and Akagi
1050 Yamaguchi wires Abe that planes are taking off to destroy enemy
1054 First wave off Hiryu
1055 Yanagimoto orders abandon ship on Soryu
1058 Takeoff from Hiryu completed
1100 Hornet dive bombers jettison bombs off Midway
1127 Akagi stopped
1130 Akagi air personnel and wounded ordered transferred to destroyers
1140 Hiryu bombers report U.S. force of 3 carriers and "22 destroyers"
1145 Nagumo's flag hoisted aboard Nagara
1200 Hiryu attacks Yorktown
1201 Hiryu reports fires breaking out on Yorktown
1203 Akagi starts turning on her own
1220 Yamamoto orders Main body, Occupation Force and 2d Mobile Force to rendevous
1235 Spruance detaches 2 cruisers and 2 destroyers to Yorktown
1237 Enterprise begins to recover VB-3
1310 Yamamoto temporarily postpones Operations AF and AO
1310 Nagumo hears U.S. task force of 5 large cruisers and 1 carrier, the latter "burning fiercely"
1313 Fletcher transfers to Astoria
(1320) Hiryu launches second attack wave
1350 Akagi stopped
1355 Nagumo now hears U.S. force of 5 cruisers and 5 carriers, the latter all burning fiercely
1359 Nautilus fires 3 torpedoes at Kaga. All miss
1434 Tomonaga orders his planes to attack
1437 Yorktown able to make 19 knots
1445 Adams message locating Hiryu and her support ships. Spruance immediately arranged to attack
1454 Hiryu reports two certain hits in Yorktown, which is believed to be a second U.S. carrier
1455 Buckmaster orders Abandon Ship on Yorktown
1531 Yamaguchi plans a dusk attack
1550 Nagumo shifts course from northeast to northwest
1550 All dive bombers (from VS-6, VB-6 and VB-3) clear Enterprise
1600 Yamaguchi advises he has hit two carriers
1600 All air personnel off Akagi
1640 Amagai orders abandon ship on Kaga
1645 Gallaher sights Hiryu
1701 Chikuma sights U.S. planes. They dive on Hiryu
1705 Hiryu on fire from several hits
1707 Haruna under attack
1712 VB-8 and VS-8 come from Hornet. They attack Tone and Chikuma. No hits
1715 Isokaze taking Kaga survivors aboard
1730 Yamamoto reinstated occupation of Aleutians
B-17s attack Tone and Chikuma. No hits
1750 All Kaga survivors aboard Maikaze
1800 Nautilus sees Kaga burning
1915 Soryu sinks
1915 SB2U-3s and SBD-2 take off from Midway for night attack
1925 Kaga sinks
2000 All hands abandoning Akagi
2030 I.168 ordered to "shell and destroy" air base on Midway
2200 SBD-2 returns safely to Midway. They did not sight the objective
2340 Nagumo ordered to turn around and back up Occupation Force's night engagement
5 June  
0020 Yamamoto cancels bombardment of Midway by Kurita's cruisers
0130 I.168 fires on Midway. No damage. Shortly thereafter he is ordered to sink a U.S. carrier some 150 miles away
0200 Following various movements since midnight, Spruance turns west
0215 Tambor sights 4 large ships
0230 Kaku ordered "abandon ship" aboard Hiryu
0238 Tambor reports many unidentified ships
0255 Yamamoto cancels Midway operation
(0300) Mikuma crashes into Mogami
0315 Kaku orders all hands to leave Hiryu after farewell ceremonies
0350 Nagumo receives orders to scuttle Akagi
0415 Tambor report reaches Midway
0430 12 B-17s seeking the enemy ships
0430 Evacuation of Hiryu completed
0500 Akagi scuttled
0510 Makigumo torpedoes Hiryu
0630 Patrol planes report 2 Japanese "battleships."
0700 MAG-22 sends up Dauntlesses and Vindicators to find above
0700 Patrol plane reports 2 enemy cruisers
0800 Patrol plane reports 2 BBS, 1 CV and 3 CAs
0800 Hosogaya recommends suspension of Aleutians operation
0840 Vindicators attack Mikuma
0900 Hiryu sinks
1100 TF 16 detaches Monaghan. Turns northwest by west to seek Nagumo force
1205 Chikuma sights Main Body and Occupation Force (Japanese forces rendevousing for retreat homeward.
1259 Yamamoto returns 2d Carrier Force to Northern Force
1430 Vireo begins to tow Yorktown to Pearl Harbor. Boarding party working to lighten the ship
1435 B-17s attack "a heavy cruiser."
1545 Enterprise and Hornet begin launching 58 bombers. Find only Tanikaze. No hits
after dark Enterprise and Hornet recover planes and Spruance heads due west
2320 Yamamoto transfers a large body of surface ships to the Northern Force
At night Nagumo's destroyers transfer wounded to the battleships
6 June  
0410 I.168 lookout spots Yorktown in distance
0502 Enterprise launches 18 SBDs
0600 I.168 sees destroyers on guard near Yorktown
0630 Mikuma reports two U.S. planes sighted
0645 Plane 8B2 reports sighting a carrier and 5 DDs (erroneous)
0730 Plane 8B8 reports two CAs and 3 DDs
0759 Hornet launches 26 dive bombers and 8 fighters
(0945) Hornet planes attack, hits on Mogami, Mikuma, and Asashio. Minor damage
1045 Enterprise launches 31 dive bombers and 12 fighters. Midway sends out 26 B-17s after the cruiser. Bomb Grayling in mistake for cruiser
1230 Enterprise planes score hits on both cruisers
1237 I.168 within 500 meters of Yorktown; moves back
1245 In Honolulu Star Bulletin, Nimitz announces "midway to our objective"
1331 I.168 torpedoes Yorktown, but she still does not sink. One of the torpedoes hits Hammann, which sinks immediately
(1336) Depth charges begin on I-168 and continue several hours
1445 Second Hornet group of 23 dive bombers hit Mikuma
1500 Yamamoto orders all-out battle risking Main Body, but air search fails to find U.S. fleet so plan is abandoned
(after sunset) Mikuma sinks
1850 I.168 has evaded all depth charges
1900 Spruance has completed air operations, turns east to rendevous with oilers
7 June Yorktown sinks at 0458
Task Force 17 breaks up. 3 DDs join Task Force 16, the other ships return to Pearl Harbor.
General Tinker lost in an abortive air expedition against Wake.
Isonami collides with destroyer Uranami. Slowed but not sunk.
Article in
Chicago Tribune strongly implies the JN25 break.
9 June Conference aboard Yamato with representatives of the Nagumo force to discuss reasons for the defeat. Yamamoto promises Nagumo and Kusaka another chance. He accepts full responsibility for the defeat.
11 June Japan claims a great victory.
12 June AAF claims most of the credit for the victory.
13 June Task Force 16 returns to Pearl Harbor.
15 June Fuchida and about 500 wounded taken aboard hospital ship, thence to Yokosuko where they are kept incommunicado.
18 June USS Ballard saves 35 survivors of Hiryu.

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