The Battle of Midway 1942: Told from the Japanese Perspective (1/2)

  • Published: 27 April 2019
  • (Animated Battle Map)

    This is part one of a planned two-part video covering Operation MI. As you can see I spent a considerable amount of time covering Nagumo’s Dilemma. To me it's one of most striking examples of how tough it can be for a commander to make a decision based on the information at hand. I found that to be the most interesting aspect of the battle.

    I don’t have a Patreon but if you want to show appreciation for my work feel free to donate.
    » patreon


    "Strength" , "Auxiliary", and "unknown" are misspelled in the video.

    At 22:55 I should have stated “North of Midway” instead of Northeast of Midway. The illustration shows a 10 degree 240 nm from midway location. Not so Northeast as I audibly stated.

    At 23:43 I should have stated 79 aircraft instead of 78 and I should have displayed 35 instead of 34 torpedo bombers. the “mistake” came about because sources still differ on whether there were 27 or 26 Carrier attack planes (Kates). If it was 27 it would have been 79 Planes. if it was 26 it would have been 78. During the recording I somehow mixed up the numbers.

    Additional Notes:
    notice that the carriers started off the battle in a box formation. This provided further mutual support for their rather weak AA fire. however, due to the incessant air attacks from VT-8, VT-6 and VT-3, the carriers were never able to reform in a box formation, instead they were in a ragged line which further worsened their AA capabilities.

    -----------------------------------------Spoiler Below regarding Nagumo's Dilemma---------------------------------------------

    So what was the answer to Nagumo’s Dilemma?

    “Taking all together, and admittedly operating with the benefit of hindsight, the “right” answer to Nagumo’s conundrum probably should have emphasized maneuver, offensive speed in preference to mass, and passive damage control. With fifteen minutes in which to act, he didn’t really have time to implement anything terribly fancy. But he could have helped himself immensely by immediately spotting every strike airplane in his hangars, whether they were armed or not, and launching them at the Americans. The sixty-four armed aircraft he had in had were perfectly capable of doing enormous damage to his enemy. And by emptying his hangars, he removed the single greatest danger to his carriers --- the presence of fueled and armed aircraft within them.”

    Parshall, Jonathan B.; Tully, Anthony P.: Shattered Sword. The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Potomac Books: United States, 2007 : p. 170

    Music :
    Ride of the Valkyries - Wagner

    Isom, D. W. (2007). Midway inquest: Why the Japanese lost the Battle of Midway. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.

    Lundstrom, J. B. (2013). The First Team Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway. New York: Naval Institute Press.

    Parshall, Jonathan B.; Tully, Anthony P.: Shattered Sword. The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Potomac Books: United States, 2007.

    Stille, M. (2010). Midway 1942: Turning-point in the Pacific(Vol. 226, Campaign). Oxford: Osprey Publishing.

    Toll, I. W. (2012). Pacific crucible: War at sea in the Pacific, 1941-1942. New York: W.W. Norton.

    Willmott, H. P. (2008). The barrier and the javelin: Japanese and Allied Pacific strategies, February to June 1942. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.

    And of course:

Comments • 11 110

  • Kingwaffleton
    Kingwaffleton  1 hours back

    Come on, man, I need some of that good midway video....I’m sick, man...come on and gimme some of that shit

    • Abejo MG
      Abejo MG  1 hours back


      • Jason Irwin
        Jason Irwin  2 hours back

        japanese carrier pilots: we are the best pilots in the world
        japanese recon pilots: hurr durr i think that's a american floaty boat thing.

        • Mr. KoolKid
          Mr. KoolKid  2 hours back

          Japan: "Let's win the war by making the Americans negotiate"
          America: "We don't do that here"

          • Robert Kreutzer
            Robert Kreutzer  4 hours back

            I think
            Montemayor must have worked as a technical advisor for the movie Midway. He's that good and the movie was that accurate. Kudos to both. Really, really can't wait for part 2...

            • islandnites
              islandnites  5 hours back

              Soldiers are the most tested of men - and appears Admiral Nagumo was tested over & beyond

              • Chutney
                Chutney  7 hours back

                “Sand Island”

                **THE UNSUNG WAR INTENSIFIES**

                • banjiu10
                  banjiu10  8 hours back

                  Best video of midway analysis

                  • NY Plantings
                    NY Plantings  8 hours back

                    Thank very much for making this great vid! Excellent and thought provoking. What would I have done? Not partnered with evil nazi socialist scum or attacked a great nation by dishonorable sucker punch in the first place!

                    • Sem Claassens
                      Sem Claassens  9 hours back

                      Better info then the movie

                      • BMrider75
                        BMrider75  9 hours back

                        FYI : there was a very good boardgame - 'Midway' from Avalon Hill (1965).
                        Back in the 80s, I played it 14 times with a boardgamer friend - he always US and me always Japan.
                        Japan always won... except for the one time I played more or less the actual historical version of the plan (unbeknownst to my more experienced opponent).
                        Our conclusion was amazement that the Japanese lost the encounter in 1942. Their forces should have been able to knock out the 3 US Carriers.
                        Truly a turning point of the war.
                        (I'd recommend playing this game for anyone interested in the historical reconstruction)

                        • Zerknautscher
                          Zerknautscher  9 hours back

                          It's been six months since the release of part 1 and so far the reception has been triumphant for Montemayor. He had achieved a string of views across the channel and posted many, information rich videos. However, Montemayor still found himself in a difficult position: Despite all of his success, his biggest project, part 2 of the video on the battle of midway, had yet to show.

                          Long way of saying 'I've watched this again and again and can't wait for part 2, keep it up!

                          • jee sanch
                            jee sanch  10 hours back

                            Send a strike after recovery

                            • Ag3nt0fCha0s
                              Ag3nt0fCha0s  11 hours back

                              I cannot remember the battle well.
                              Up until pausing (I do was working, listening to this in background) I chose to attack immediately. After pausing and reading the options I chose to wait.
                              Now let us see if I chose wisely.

                              • Ragkit Suvannaboon
                                Ragkit Suvannaboon  11 hours back

                                This is so fucking cool but sir where the hell is 2/2?

                                • Travis Rouillard
                                  Travis Rouillard  14 hours back

                                  It appears the 1942 US navy went to the stormtrooper school of aiming

                                  • SoleSamson50
                                    SoleSamson50  14 hours back

                                    The question at (27:33) this is just my opinion:

                                    Opinion: I would have sent another scout aircraft to check it out in case it was false or bad information and hold the next wave in case it was a carrier force. Next, my move would be to either A follow the surface fleet and discover where it was going or if it was linking up to another fleet or B say fak it and attack the fleet to get it dealt with cuz I got an invasion to do soon. Now sure some aircraft got the wrong ordinance but hell if its a bomb its a bloody bomb cause fire to the bastard or at least dent a gun so they won't use it. Either way, I would just follow it and just stayed from a distance just in case something actually happens, for example, some SBD dive bombers coming outta fen nowhere to bomb my Carriers. All in all, this is what I would have done.

                                    • Grant Smith
                                      Grant Smith  15 hours back

                                      Instead of northwest, they should have headed Southwest. Being parallel to their objective while being able to stay head on into any American numerical superiority that they have already proven to defeat

                                      • Neurofied Yamato
                                        Neurofied Yamato  16 hours back

                                        Still waiting :D
                                        While I already know this battle, this video really puts it in to perspective and I keep coming back to rewatch.

                                        • Leonardo Barba
                                          Leonardo Barba  16 hours back

                                          esperando la segunda parte! excelente trabajo

                                          • Bohemianflower Plays
                                            Bohemianflower Plays  17 hours back

                                            is it just me or do the Japanese carriers look like pencils?

                                            • vcv6560
                                              vcv6560  17 hours back

                                              Well I saw the movie; the writers obviously read Shattered Sword, I'll gonna guess they watched this video too. Included (visual) details down to how small the AA gunner magazines were on the Japanese aircraft carriers. They included the B26 attack on the Akagi, and even had an homage' to Esn. Wesley Osmus and his being killed as a POW by the Arashi's Cap. Sato.

                                              • Christopher Martin
                                                Christopher Martin  17 hours back

                                                resource rich

                                                • Norad2
                                                  Norad2  18 hours back

                                                  Hiryu at 40:51: Frickfrickfrickfrickfrickfrick!

                                                  • Drew Wesely
                                                    Drew Wesely  18 hours back

                                                    Today is Nov. 10th, Happy Birthday and Semper Fi to all the USMC vets of Midway! (Respect to the Navy & Army pilots as well.) Remarkable that it's been over half a year waiting for Battle of Midway Part 2. @Montemayor is basically the George RR Martin of youtube, and this is the Winds Of Winter of WW2 history videos in the level of anticipation for his next work.
                                                    I'm honestly becoming a bit concerned about whether he is OK. Hope he's alright!

                                                    • Anakin Skywalker
                                                      Anakin Skywalker  19 hours back

                                                      Haha that was “devastating”

                                                      • Norad2
                                                        Norad2  19 hours back

                                                        Carrier has arrived!

                                                        • Kaden McClendon
                                                          Kaden McClendon  20 hours back

                                                          How did 53 planes

                                                          • dylan reynolds
                                                            dylan reynolds  22 hours back

                                                            I know that these things take a while, but do you think part 2 will be coming out anytime soon? Really love your videos! And I have anxiously been waiting for part 2 since April xd

                                                            • F430 Ferrari
                                                              F430 Ferrari  22 hours back

                                                              Folks need to understand that if the IJN Main Force was the lead group then the entire outcome would have been different.

                                                              The Main Force consisted of 7 battleships, 3 cruisers, and 15 destroyers. Had this force been out front and headed east even beyond Midway it most likely would have drawn the US carriers into battle. 2 battleships and support ships could have veered south and start shelling Midway after an initial bombing run by the IJN.

                                                              Kondo’s invasion force to the south could have been a Midway attacking force and two battleships from this unit could have shelled Midway from the south.

                                                              • Bogdan Jaliu
                                                                Bogdan Jaliu  23 hours back

                                                                One of the best breakdowns of any battle I’ve ever seen. Subscribed. Please do part two. Incidentally I just saw the newly released Midway. It was OK, but the battle scenes were a bit too video-game like and they showed way too many SBD’s from the American carrier group getting shot down by Japanese AA fire, which I don’t think is correct at all. I was hoping that this video addressed this but it didn’t! Does anyone know how many carrier SBDs were lost during the destruction of the 3 Japanese carriers? Again, the movie, I believe, totally exaggerated SBD losses at that point. IMHO though this was the most epic battle of WWII. Part II please!!!

                                                                • not me
                                                                  not me  24 hours back

                                                                  Part 2. Ghad this is good.

                                                                  • Happy Blitzkrieg
                                                                    Happy Blitzkrieg  1 days back

                                                                    When is the next!

                                                                    • gladsley xxx
                                                                      gladsley xxx  1 days back

                                                                      JUST GOT BACK FROM WATCHING MIDWAY, HERE'S OUR SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😁👍

                                                                      • Robb Richardson
                                                                        Robb Richardson  1 days back

                                                                        Hey bud, don't mean to rush you, but I'm super interested for part 2. I honestly can't think of a video I've been waiting for more. Hopefully you are well whatever the status though!

                                                                        • Scott Hurst
                                                                          Scott Hurst  1 days back

                                                                          Monumental work. I hope I found this just in time for part 2 to soon arrive.

                                                                          The History Channel (and their Ancient Aliens) should be embarrassed. I bet they could become an asset to America again if they put someone like Montemayor in charge.

                                                                          Everything about this was done right. Everything.

                                                                          • Herald B.
                                                                            Herald B.  1 days back

                                                                            My grandfather was in the south Pacific in WW2. The only time I saw him cry was when he talked about those brave Devastator pilots at Midway.

                                                                            • Patrick Kenyon
                                                                              Patrick Kenyon  23 hours back

                                                                              My grandfather flew with Torpedo Squadron 8 off the Hornet. KIA at Midway.

                                                                          • Jon Smith
                                                                            Jon Smith  1 days back

                                                                            Very good, arguably better than the history channel. When is part 2 going to be finished?

                                                                            • Andrew Brinser
                                                                              Andrew Brinser  1 days back

                                                                              This is an excellent video.  Your research, narration, and graphic recreation are exceptional.  Looking forward to Pt. 2.

                                                                              • welshpete12
                                                                                welshpete12  1 days back

                                                                                Excellent , the best explanation I have seen !

                                                                                • captmack007
                                                                                  captmack007  1 days back

                                                                                  Go see the Midway movie it's goood

                                                                                  • BTownBrew32
                                                                                    BTownBrew32  1 days back

                                                                                    Just imagine being one of those admirals or in the Japanese high command during that last battle... Everything is going their way, they're confident that the Americans can't penetrate their ship defenses... (5 mins later) "WE LOST 3 OF OUR BEST CARRIERS AND EVERTHING HAS GONE TO HELL!!!"

                                                                                    Great dramatic presentation of the battles. The movie probably won't be as good as this. xD

                                                                                    • WTFPurpleAlpaca
                                                                                      WTFPurpleAlpaca  1 days back

                                                                                      Meh, Midway can be dealt with at any time, those carriers were the real target, I'd have gambled on that surface force being the carriers, especially not ignoring the clues.

                                                                                      Then again after having been spotted by that Catalina & the attack, I'd have had half a mind to withdraw and sound an abort to all the other forces. Sinking the US carriers was important but not losing your own carriers was even more important.

                                                                                      Then again attacking America and pulling them into the war was a bit of a dumb move anyway.

                                                                                      • Chhoeut Sun
                                                                                        Chhoeut Sun  1 days back

                                                                                        Here after watching Midway 2019.

                                                                                        • Mariusz Fidzinski
                                                                                          Mariusz Fidzinski  1 days back

                                                                                          and not a word about Yamamoto, awaiting /supervising/ from the back seat?

                                                                                          • José Teixidó
                                                                                            José Teixidó  1 days back

                                                                                            This was AMAZING!!! Where is the patreon account info, I'd much love to contribute to second part!

                                                                                            • Jr Germany Lufrwaffe
                                                                                              Jr Germany Lufrwaffe  1 days back

                                                                                              I come here after the movie it was terrible

                                                                                              • JamesGBarnard
                                                                                                JamesGBarnard  1 days back

                                                                                                This is amazing work!