Battle of Midway (June 3-5, 1942). Midway was the turning point of the Pacific war. The U.S. breaking of the Japanese naval code was again the key element as it had been at the Battle of Coral Sea a month earlier. A huge Japanese armada of 160 warships was involved, but Commander-in-chief Admiral Yamamoto split his force, sending some ships north to the Aleutian Islands in a diversionary attack. The Japanese retained superior numbers approaching Midway which included 4 aircraft carriers and 11 battleships. At Midway, the U.S. had 3 carriers and no battleships. The Americans knew what was coming because of the broken codes, and Admiral Nimitz positioned his 3 carriers (the Hornet, Enterprise, and Yorktown) out of Japanese reconnaissance range. As the Japanese carriers launched their planes to assault the Midway defenses, the U.S. planes headed for the enemy carriers. It took many attacks, but finally the U.S. crews got through and sank 3 Japanese carriers. The next day the fourth carrier was sunk. Japanese planes sank the Yorktown. In one day, Japan lost its bid for control of the Pacific.
Battle of Normandy (June 6, 1944). The Navy's most notable Atlantic action may have been its part in the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy—the largest amphibious operation in history. The greatest armada ever assembled carried out minesweeping, shore-bombardment, amphibious operations, and transported supplies and troops. These operations enabled the Allies to complete D-Day landings successfully and eventually push into Germany.
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