The Battle of Midway

June 3 - 6, 1942



U. S. Confidential - British Secret

Publication Section, Combat Intelligence Branch




COMBAT NARRATIVES were written to fill a temporary requirement before the appearance of official and semiofficial complete histories. Due to hastily gathered and oftentimes incomplete information there are certain inaccuracies.

Track of the Battle of Midway.

Japanese Mogami class cruiser left "gutted and abandoned" after attack by our carrier-based planes on June 6th.


Office of Naval Intelligence


March 13, 1943.

Combat Narratives are confidential publications issued under a directive of the Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, for the information of commissioned officers of the U.S. Navy only.

Information printed herein should be guarded (a) in circulation and by custody measures for confidential publications as set forth in Articles 75½ and 76 of Naval Regulations and (b) in avoiding discussion of this material within the hearing of any but commissioned officers. Combat Narratives are not to be removed from the ship or station for which they are provided. Reproduction of this material in any form is not authorized except by specific approval of the Director of Naval Intelligence.

Officers who have participated in the operations recounted herein are invited to forward to the Director of Naval Intelligence, via their commanding officers, accounts of personal experiences and observations which they esteem to have value for historical and instructional purposes. It is hoped that such contributions will increase the value and render ever more authoritative such new editions of these publications as may be promulgated to the service in the future.

When the copies provided have served their purpose, they may be destroyed by burning. However, reports acknowledging receipt or destruction of these publications need not be made.

Rear Admiral, U.S. N.,
Director of Naval lntelligence.


January 8, 1943.

Combat Narratives have been prepared by the Publications Branch of the Office of Naval Intelligence for the information of the officers of the United States Navy.

The data on which these studies are based are those official documents which are suitable for a confidential publication. This material has been collated and presented in chronological order.

In perusing these narratives, the reader should bear in mind that while they recount in considerable detail the engagements in which our forces participated, certain underlying aspects of these operations must be kept in a secret category until after the end of the war.

It should be remembered also that the observations of men in battle are sometimes at variance. As a result, the reports of commanding officers may differ although they participated in the same action and shared a common purpose. In general, Combat Narratives represent a reasoned interpretation of these discrepancies. In those instances where views cannot be reconciled, extracts from the conflicting evidence are reprinted.

Thus, an effort has been made to provide accurate and, within the above-mentioned limitations, complete narratives with charts covering raids, combats, joint operations, and battles in which our Fleets have engaged in the current war. It is hoped that these narratives will afford a clear view of what has occurred, and form a basis for a broader understanding which will result in ever more successful operations.

E.J. King
Commander in Chief, U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations.


Designation of aircraft and ships in the battle VIII
The Battle of Midway, background 1
Preparations at Midway 5
Preliminary air patrols 7
First contact with the enemy, June 3 9
The enemy attack on Midway, June 4 11
Midway's attack on the enemy carriers, June 4 16
Our carrier attack on the enemy carriers, June 4 19
The attack on the Yorktown, June 4 27
The fourth Japanese carrier, June 4 31
The attacks from Midway 32
Pursuit of the fleeing, June 5:  
  Task Force SUGAR 35
  Midway planes 39
Last contacts, June 6 43
End of the Yorktown, June 6-7 51
Summary of enemy losses in the Battle of Midway 54
Summary of our losses 55
Observations 55
Appendix: Designations of United States naval aircraft 58
  Symbols of United States Navy ships 59


Chart: Track of the Battle of Midway. Facing Page
Illustration: Japanese Mogami class cruiser after attack by our carrier-based planes June 6th Frontispiece
Chart: Midway Islands 1
Chart: June 3d.  
Illustrations: Army planes: B-17 and B-26 10
Chart: June 4th.  
Illustration: Direct hit on the Yorktown by Japanese dive bombers 11
Chart: June 5th.  
Illustration: Navy planes: TBD and TBF 42
Chart: June 6th.  
Illustrations: Destroyers standing by the Yorktown  
  Deck of the damaged Yorktown 43
Chart: Hawaiian Islands:  
Illustrations: Burning oil tanks on Midway  
  Interior of hangar, Midway 60

Last updated: February 28, 2003

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation