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Battle of Midway - Discovery of sunken vessels

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Prelude to battle
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Mikuma shortly before sinking.
Discovery of sunken vessels

U.S. vessels

Because of the extreme depth of the ocean in the area of the battle (more than 17,000 feet/5200 m), researching the battlefield has presented extraordinary difficulties. However, on 19 May 1998, Robert Ballard and a team of scientists and Midway veterans (including Japanese participants) located and photographed Yorktown. The ship was remarkably intact for a vessel that sank in 1942; much of the original equipment and even the original paint scheme were still visible.

During an attempt to salvage Yorktown both it and the destroyer Hammann were struck by torpedoes from I-168.
The Battle of Midway has been featured in several motion pictures. The first was a documentary directed by John Ford, a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve at the time and on temporary duty at Midway Island during the battle as a photographic and intelligence officer. While shooting 16 mm color footage from atop the island's power plant, Ford was exposed to enemy fire by attacking aircraft and wounded in the arm by shrapnel. He received a Purple Heart and later the Legion of Merit. The footage Ford shot is included in his 1942 Academy Award-winning documentary, The Battle of Midway.

Subsequently, the battle was given in-depth coverage by the 1960 big-budget Japanese war film Storm Over the Pacific directed by Shuei Matsubayashi for Toho studios. The film focuses on a young Zero pilot aboard Hiryū who participates in both the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway. It was barely released in the United States in a dubbed, abridged version, under the sensationalized title I Bombed Pearl Harbor.

The miniature and pyrotechnic effects were considered by Universal Studios to be good enough to reuse 16 years later in the star-studded Midway, directed by Jack Smight, starring Charlton Heston, and released in 1976. It strongly fictionalized events and relied heavily on stock footage (for which it was criticized) from various World War II battles, as well as some previously filmed for Tora! Tora! Tora!, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Away All Boats, and especially Storm over the Pacific.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 16 April 2009 20:56 )  

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