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This is the Times that tries men's souls

US SUFFERS MAJOR DEFEAT IN PACIFIC

Key Island Falls To Japan

June 14, 1942

(Honolulu) -- In a series of stunning moves, the Japanese have scored two bold victories against the United States -- and inflicted grave damage on the already-battered American fleet.

Anonymous sources within the Navy have confirmed reports that the Japanese have invaded and occupied two islands off the coast of Alaska and the strategically-critical atoll of Midway, about 1300 miles northwest of Honolulu.

The Japanese struck with complete surprise, the Japanese attacked US bases in the Aleutian Islands on June 3. They followed up by invading and occupying two of the islands, Attu and Kiska.

Then, on June 4, the main blow fell.

Planes from at least three and as many as five aircraft carriers attacked the two islands that make up Midway Atoll, savaging the base's defenders, who were equipped with obsolete fighters and ill-suited medium bombers. The defenders fought valiantly, but like the Marines abandoned by the government on Wake Island last December, were unable to fight off the Japanese. By June 7, the atoll was firmly in Japanese hands.

The Navy dispatched its two battleworthy aircraft carriers, the Enterprise and the Hornet (fresh from launching the Doolittle raid on Japan last April), to fight the Japanese, but they sailed into an ambush. A submarine attack sank the Hornet, while the hopelessly outnumbered Enterprise was badly mauled and barely made it back to Pearl Harbor. She now sits in a drydock awaiting lengthy repairs, alongside her sister, the Yorktown.

(The Saratoga was badly damaged in the Battle of the Coral Sea slightly over a month ago, when the Navy's oldest aircraft carrier, the Lexington, was lost.)

The navy has not released official casualty figures, but sources tell the Times that at least 1600 sailors were killed, and they have no information on the several hundred Americans stationed on Midway about how many were killed and how many were taken captive.

Navy officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, say that the attack came as a surprise due to a failure of American intelligence -- of the magnitude of that which allowed the Japanese to strike so devastatingly at Pearl Harbor last December, when eight American battleships were heavily damaged or destroyed.

As we reported last May, Naval Intelligence had made great strides in cracking the Japanese codes. But a sudden change in those codes shortly after the Battle of the Coral Sea (in which the Navy traded one of our largest aircraft carriers for one of the Japanese's smallest) left the Navy woefully unprepared for the attack at Midway.

The battle also casts doubt on the navy's claims to be making progress in the war against Japan. After the devastating defeats at Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, and the Philippines, naval officials stated that "the tide had begun to turn" at the Coral Sea. They said that although American losses were greater than the Japanese, the fact that we had kept them from invading and occupying Port Moresby on the island of Papua/New Guinea was actually a victory.

But the loss of the Aleutians, Midway, and the blow to our carrier forces represent the single greatest blow to the navy since Pearl Harbor. And with Lexington and Hornet sunk, Enterprise and Yorktown in drydock for at least a month, and Ranger and Wasp assigned to the Atlantic, the only carrier we have left is the battle-scarred Saratoga to stand against an estimated six large and six smaller Japanese aircraft carriers.

Officials say they have no firm plans on retaking Midway or the Aleutians, but preliminary plans are to bombard Midway with long-range Army bombers from Hawaii, then eventually to follow up with raids by aircraft carriers, and finally an amphibious assault. They say that the Japanese will be hard-pressed to support their forces on Midway, which lies 2,200 miles east of Japan. There are currently no plans to contest the Japanese conquest of the Aleutian islands, which represent the closest the Japanese have come to occupying part of North America.

But to date, the Japanese have not been driven from any place they have captured. Meanwhile, at least 10,000 Americans have been killed in the six months since the war began.


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Comments (19)

Fake, but accurate.... (Below threshold)
Joe Edmon:

Fake, but accurate.

I noticed that this posting... (Below threshold)
MichaelC:

I noticed that this posting was filed under "Media". But it occurs to me that it ought rather to be filed under "If They Reported It Then, Like They Report It Now". I am fairly certain, but way too tired to authenticate but it is my understanding that no reporting at all was made at the time concerning the Japanese incursion onto the North American continent. It was considered much too risky to the homefront morale to speak of it when it happened.

I have spent time on the Island of Onalaska which is where Dutch Harbor is located and in off hours I walked the beaches inspecting the WW II coastal bunkers which face the sea. Spent munitions can still be found on those beaches. People are for the most part still relatively unaware of the intense nature of the miliary confrontation at Onalaska. There were ferocious battles and heavy loss of life.

Key paragraph, for those of... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Key paragraph, for those of you who missed it:

"As we reported last May, Naval Intelligence had made great strides in cracking the Japanese codes. But a sudden change in those codes shortly after the Battle of the Coral Sea (in which the Navy traded one of our largest aircraft carriers for one of the Japanese's smallest) left the Navy woefully unprepared for the attack at Midway."

Loose lips sink ships. But apparently the NYT has forgotten that lesson.

Good work, Jay.

Mike: "Loose lips sink s... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

Mike: "Loose lips sink ships. But apparently the NYT has forgotten that lesson."

Sadly, Mike, I do NOT believe they have forgotten that lesson. The NYT wants those "ships" sunk. ANYTHING to harm the Bush Administration...the cost to America be damned.

According to the <a href=""... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

According to the NYT:

"Allied forces have cracked the Enigma Code. And are making liberal uses of their new found capability to violate the civil liberties of primarily Ethnic Germans."

fake but true

I agree whole heartedly wit... (Below threshold)

I agree whole heartedly with Tea's post here and gotta compliment him on his knowledge of World War II, a passion of mine. I would point out, though, that the Japanese actually did change their codes before the Battle of Midway. Not because they suspected their codes had been broken, but in line with their security procedures. It took some time for US Intelligence to decipher it and they still weren't sure of it, which is why they sent the famous "AF" message to confirm the Japanese werre targeting Midway. They never suspected that we had broken thir codes.

Any Leaks Are Fit To Print<... (Below threshold)

Any Leaks Are Fit To Print

Time to "cut and run" from ... (Below threshold)
ted:

Time to "cut and run" from the Pacific!

I know this is satire but t... (Below threshold)
Bill:

I know this is satire but the Saratoga was never at Midway(Or Coral Sea for a fact). She was still being repaired after being torpedoed in Jan 1942. The Yorktown was at both those battles and sunk by a Jap Sub after the later.

The death toll should have ... (Below threshold)
cstmbuild:

The death toll should have been in the opening paragraph or shoe-horned into the Headline. The MSM would never let a "good" number like that be tossed in at then end.

That would be more Fake, but accurate

Excellent post, btw.

Since when does the MSN get... (Below threshold)

Since when does the MSN get all its facts right? Perhaps Jay Tea did it on purpose...

And yet, isn't it ironic...... (Below threshold)

And yet, isn't it ironic...

Millions of Americans supported the Germans, or were doing business with the Germans. They formed groups like the German-American Bund(GAB), the American Liberty League(ALL), and others. Heck, 1924 Democratic nominee for President was a prominent member of such a group, and Charles Lindbergh, of the A.L.L., was one of the most famous Americans.

Meanwhile, this time, the biggest business partner with Iraq in America was Halliburton (majority (over 50%) subsidiary based in Europe Dresser-Rand, and another plurality owned European subsidiary), but none of these groups were celebrated the way Lindbergh and ALL were in the press.

Isn't that sorta strange?

All told, there were seven Americans tied to Al-Qaeda.

John Lindh, aged 16.
A Yemeni who left America at aged 2.
And five Bible and Koran studying strange-os recently arrested in Miami.


I wonder if anyone caught t... (Below threshold)
stan25:

I wonder if anyone caught this little ditty:
Officials say they have no firm plans on retaking Midway or the Aleutians, but preliminary plans are to bombard Midway with long-range Army bombers from Hawaii, then eventually to follow up with raids by aircraft carriers, and finally an amphibious assault.

It would be just like the Times to reveal what we were planning. It is a wonder that they have not revealed any future ops in Iraq.

Update: At the battle of ... (Below threshold)
Robert Jarvis:

Update: At the battle of Iwo Jima 7 Marines and a navel medic were charged with murder when somebody shot what turned out to be an Iraqi militant.


Jay, you gotta do more of t... (Below threshold)
shark:

Jay, you gotta do more of these....I'd love to see your take on how the media today would treat the Doolittle Raid (buried in the back of the paper perhaps) or Hitler's death (akin to their magical downgrading of Zarkawi's importance once they got him)

Well there's Suleiman Faris... (Below threshold)

Well there's Suleiman Faris aka JW Lindh, now calling himself Hamza; according to Esquire's
laudatory piece in their "Men of the Year Issue;
There's Andersen, the Oregon NG, Hamdi; the Louisiana born (Hm) Saudi, There's that fellow
Abu Bakr from South Central, who fragged our
troops at the beginning of our Mesopotamian campaign. That's just off the top of my head.

Actually, I thought the Bat... (Below threshold)

Actually, I thought the Battle of Midway happened 200 miles away. I don't even know if the Japanese were really looking to attack and take over the Midway atoll? I've been to the island of Kiska, one of the Aleutians horribly devastated as a "ruse" for the Japanese while our main forces actually surprised them. The whole place is a battlefiend of craters and shells and old rusty guns. Oddly enough I've been to Midway island as well, twice in fact...each time I've been to Kiska or Midway, it was on training cruises with The California Maritime Academy... Midway was such a tiny island...barely 3 feet above sea level, and the only point of note is either the albatross, dubbed "gooney birds" that literally COVER the island, or the tiny naval installation there (barely enough for just a few office buildings and barracks).

Henry:I was always... (Below threshold)

Henry:

I was always more of an ETO/Battle of the Atlantic man myself, but IIRC the Japanese plan was to take Midway and use it as a base for attacking (and perhaps invading) Hawaii. That would have forced the U.S.Armed Forces to withdraw from Hawaii. Whether the plan would have worked or not is debatable because of the long supply lines (a problem U.S. defenders of Hawaii would also have had).

Excellent piece of satire..... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Excellent piece of satire...perhaps you can write one for each major event of WWII




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