They would start by capturing Port Moresby in New Guinea, then attack Midway and the Aleutians to gain a decisive victory. Thanks to Allied progress in deciphering JN-25, Japan’s plan to press south to Moresby was identified. The US navy was able to thwart the invasion of Port Moresby in the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 7, 1942. “For the first time in the Pacific war, American intelligence had been able to give adequate warning of enemy plans” (Bath 178). This was due to collaboration among agencies to decipher codes, and the newfound dedication of the agencies to report their findings. The trend was to continue in the Battle of
Assisting its European allies in the war against the Nazi’s, the U.S. was focusing much of its attention on the Atlantic and European theatre. During this time most of the United States was focusing on the war planes and sending soldiers to help fight. With the focus being almost entirely on the Atlantic the U.S. Navy was slowly cannibalizing the Pacific fleet to help block shipping lanes and fight the German U-Boats that were ravaging the Atlantic coastlines and shipping lanes. With the war raging on so far to our east and at the time, no viable threat laid to our west. During this year diplomatic peace talks had begun with the Japanese in the attempt to strengthen our relationships with non allied countries in the western pacific. The Japanese on the other hand had a different idea of things to come. Prior to 1941, the Japanese thought that if a war were to begin that the United States would be their only enemy, however, Japan's entry into the Tripartite Alliance and the United States' aid commitments to Britain had created a new international line-up which made previous Japanese naval planning obsolete.  With previous planning now obsolete a new concept to include war against the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands was now a necessity. In January of 1941 Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the Japanese combined fleet conceived a plan of a surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl
The Battle of the Philippine Sea was the end of Japanese competiveness in the air. This Battle gave way to the United States’ ability to project its military power further into the heart of Japan with little to no resistance from the Japanese Fleet in the form of aerial warfare. It also left the Japanese desperate to find new ways of fighting American naval forces in ways other than the standard convention. The Battle of the Philippine Sea was “not the decisive battle in World War II”7; however, it did help accelerate the United States’ takeover of the auxiliary islands with the destruction of Japanese conventional air warfare.
Despite all the success Japan had early in the war, they did not do as much damage to the United States Pacific fleet as they would have like to have done. This gave America a false sense of security at the time when Japan was preparing to take stronger action. Rear Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s plan was to draw in the remaining American ships into an area where they could be attacked and destroyed by a much greater number of Japanese vessels. Admiral Yamamoto thought that if Japan captured valuable territory like the Midway Islands that the United States could not afford to give up, he could destroy the remaining American ships with ease because the Americans would have no supply chain.
Japan’s wanted to attack Midway to gain power in the Pacific Ocean and to eliminate the United States Navy for a long time. Since the U.S. suffered a major defeat at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet, felt he could take advantage of the U.S. since they were weak in his mind (Hone). Japan was fixated on settling their differences with the U.S., so they began risking large naval units in Pacific battles. An article posted in the Los Angeles Time, “Japs Risk Large Naval Units in Blows at U.S.” says, “For the sixth time in six months Japan made a deadly bid to capture the mastery of the Pacific, and for the sixth time she has failed after paying a price that is fast becoming prohibitive,” (Symonds). Posted just after the Battle of Midway it showed that the Japanese had been planning this.
……….The Battle of Midway was one of the most important battles of World War II. It was the turning point of the war in the Pacific between the United States and Japan. One of Japan’s main goals during WWII was to remove the United States as a Pacific power in order to gain territory in East Asia. The Japanese formulated a plan to sneak up on the U.S. forces. However, American code breakers had intercepted a number of Japanese transmissions.
On November 26, 1941, the Japanese Task Force comprised of six aircraft carriers. A support force, which included two battleships, three cruisers, nine destroyers, three submarines, escorted it and eight oil supply ships, began their trek to Hawaii. They must travel four thousand miles across open sea and remain undetected by the UNITED STATES Forces. (Wisniewski 20) The UNITED STATES Military knew a surprise attack by Japan was possible and they thought they were prepared. Adm. Husband E. Kimmel and Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short, the commanders of the UNITED STATES Naval and Army forces in Hawaii, respectively, had regularly scheduled training exercises and had taken many precautions to avert disaster. (Pearl Harbor’s History, Filmstrip)
(Morison, 2002) Being able to establish bomber in the Marianas allow the US to begin Operation Scavenger conducting bombing runs on mainland Japan. (Morison, 2002) The start of these mission greatly increased the strategic value of Iwo Jima as it served as the early detection position for the mainland Japan air defense system radioing any approaching US bombers. These early warnings and the amassing of near 21,000 men to bolsters Japan inner line of defense made Iwo Jima a must have the planners by February 1944. (Morison, 2002) Before the planners could develop an amphibious assault they had to understand the island of Iwo Jima.
On the Japanese side of intelligence, Yamamoto believed to have the element of surprise at Midway, which was thought to draw the Americans out of Pearl Harbor. Yamamoto had numerical naval superiority in the Pacific to defeat the Americans at sea but remained unaware that the code breakers ascertained its operational and strategic plan to attack at Midway. Spector argues that Japanese submarines knew the American forces were planning something at Pearl Harbor, but the intelligence was never passed on to Yamamoto. Additionally, Yamamoto believed that two of the American carriers were sunk at Coral Sea, which the Yorktown was hastily being repaired in Pearl Harbor. In reality, the Japanese had no idea where the American fleet or carriers were leading up to the Battle of Midway.
During her first battle in August of 1942, the Japanese gathered powerful forces at the Battle of the Eastern Solomon’s, to destroy the American ships. The USS North Carolina was guarding the carrier USS Enterprise when dive bombers began fiercely attacking the ship. The Battleship’s
On May 2nd, American radio nets picked up encoded orders from Japan to their navy. It wasn’t long before the orders were deciphered, this gave the American army the information they needed to surprise Japan’s navy; they were to be destroyed, once and for all. The American Army picked up where the intelligence left
Before their attack on Midway Island, the Japanese had to take over Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in early May of 1942. Yamamoto planned the Battle of the Coral Sea with hopes of gaining new islands in the Pacific Ocean that would aid the Japanese during its attack on Midway
Typical of Japanese naval planning during the Second World War, Yamamoto's battle plan was quite complex. Additionally, his designs were predicated on optimistic intelligence information suggesting USS Enterprise and USS Hornet, forming Task Force 16, were the only carriers available to the U.S. Pacific Fleet at the time. USS Lexington had been sunk and USS Yorktown severely damaged (and believed by the Japanese to have been sunk) at the Battle of the Coral Sea just a month earlier. The Japanese were also aware that USS Saratoga was undergoing repairs on the West Coast after taking torpedo damage from a submarine.
Vice Admiral Ozawa’s plan had worked. The 3rd fleet was drawn off and orders were given to the center and southern force to attack. Even though the US Fleets did not communicate with each other, the same can be said for the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). If the IJN had better communications and timing, there is a much greater chance that their overly complicated plan could have possibly worked. Instead they attacked in an uncoordinated fashion which led to the overwhelming defeat of the IJN.