Posts Tagged ‘Turning Point’
When the Empire of Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Japanese thought that they had scored a great victory. In truth, the Japanese had sealed their fate and assured their defeat by not completing the job of destroying the Pacific Fleet. While it is true and undeniable that the Japanese did deal the Pacific Fleet a hard blow, that blow was hardly decisive. The Japanese aviators that attacked Pearl Harbor that morning left the job unfinished. While the battleships lay smoking and sinking in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbor, the American aircraft carriers were either at sea ferrying aircraft to far flung Pacific bases, or back home, safe in the continental forty-eight. The failure of the Japanese to eliminate the threat of American aircraft carriers would come back to haunt them 6 months later off Midway Island.
The Japanese Plan of Attack
Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew that in order for Japan to have a free hand in the Pacific, what was left of the American Pacific Fleet, especially its aircraft carriers must be destroyed. Yamamoto first hatched his Midway plan in March. His plan was to lure the American aircraft carriers out of Pearl Harbor so that the Japanese carrier strike force could destroy them in one final decisive battle on the high seas. Yamamoto decided that the Japanese objective should be a place that put Hawaii in imminent danger. Surely, the Americans would come to the defense of an island that put their most precious remaining base in jeopardy. Yamamoto settled on the island of Midway as the objective of his attack.
Admiral Yamamoto devised that the Japanese carrier strike force would eliminate Midway’s island-based air power, allowing his army to invade and occupy the island rapidly. Once word of the attack on Midway reached Hawaii, the island would already have been captured and the Japanese carriers would be waiting for the American carriers to come to Midway’s rescue. In the ensuing battle, the Japanese carriers would destroy what was left of the Pacific Fleet. On May 27, 1942 the Japanese first carrier strike force, known as Kido Butai, weighed anchor at Hashirajima Harbor and set off for what they thought would be the deciding victory in their war with the United States.
Ensign Austin Merrill participated in both the Doolittle Raid and the Battle of Midway as a Dauntless dive-bomber pilot. Merrill's identification. Gift of Austin Merrill, The National WWII Museum Inc.
On April 18, 1942, 16 Army Air Force B-25 medium bombers launched from the pitching deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8). Led by the already legendary Lt. Col. James Doolittle, the small group of B-25s skimmed the waves towards their target — Tokyo. Doolittle’s all-volunteer force was on a one-way mission to exact a small taste of vengeance for the attack on Pearl Harbor four-and-a-half months earlier.
Seventy years later, The National WWII Museum explores the critical time in the Pacific war when victory was anything but certain. Turning Point: The Doolittle Raid, Battle of Coral Sea and Battle of Midway runs from April 18 – July 8, 2012.
Find out more about the Doolittle Raid.
On April 2, 1942, the USS Hornet steamed out of San Francisco with sixteen B-25s secured to the flight deck. Also on board was the already legendary Lt. Col. James Doolittle and his crew. He and his all-volunteer force were on a secret, one-way mission to exact a small taste of vengeance for the attack on Pearl Harbor just four months earlier.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of what came to be known as the Doolittle Raid and the succeeding actions that turned the tide of the Pacific war, culminating with the battle of Midway in June 1942,The National WWII Museum presents the special exhibit Turning Point: The Doolittle Raid, Battle of the Coral Sea, and Battle of Midway. On display April 18 – July 8, 2012, Turning Point tells the David and Goliath story of how a woefully out-gunned and outnumbered task force of aircraft carriers, diligent intelligence work and handful of intrepid aviators halted Japanese expansion in the Pacific.
Get a sneak peek at images, artifacts and exclusive oral histories that will be featured in the exhibit at turningpoint1942.org. The site also includes classroom resources for teachers and information on how to bring Turning Point to your town with the new, affordable Green Traveling Exhibit option.
Find out more.
Turning Point: The Doolittle Raid, Battle of Coral Sea and Battle of Midway
April 18, 2012 – July 8, 2012
In the early, dark days of World War II, the remnants of the US Pacific Fleet fought a defensive withdrawal as the seemingly invincible Imperial Japanese forces extended the borders of their empire closer and closer to the US mainland. Stopping the Japanese onslaught would come down to a woefully out-gunned and outnumbered task force of aircraft carriers, diligent intelligence work and a handful of intrepid aviators. Through a series of bold gambles, the American underdogs turned the tables on the Japanese, effectively ending the threat of future Japanese advances in the Pacific.
Turning Point focuses on the pivotal Battle of Midway and the events that led up to it, told by the men who witnessed these events as they unfolded. Archival photos and footage interlaced with the veterans’ recollections give a mind’s eye view of what these men experienced seventy years ago. Accompanying artifacts illustrate the equipment, uniforms and weaponry of our fighting men.
Coming soon to the web
Stay tuned for information on the Turning Point microsite with images and video from the exhibit.