Far East and Pacific Theaters

The Battle of Midway

Azzole, Pete. "Afterthoughts: Rochefort on: The Battle of Midway -- June 1942." Cryptolog 17, no. 2 (Spring 1996): 8, 13.

One in a series of articles by Azzole "based on Captain Rochefort's oral history interview in 1969 by Commander Etta-Belle Kitchen." Rochefort was "assigned in June 1941 as Officer in Charge, Combat Intelligence Unit, Pacific Ocean Areas, located in Pearl Harbor." Admiral Nimitz' "daring gamble [at Midway] was based solely on Rochefort's communications intelligence."

Barker, Arthur J. Midway: The Turning Point. London: MacDonald, 1970. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1983. New York: Ballantine, 1971. [pb]

This work is substantially illustrated.

Carlson, Elliot. Joe Rochefort's War: The Odyssey of the Codebreaker Who Outwitted Yamamoto at Midway. Foreword, Donald "Mac" Showers [RADM/USN (Ret.)] Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2011.

Russell, NIPQ 28.1 (Jan. 2012), finds that this book tells Rochefort's "story in superb fashion." It especially recounts the story of "Rochefort's success with regard to Midway ... to a degree and with details not previously seen." For Dooley, Cryptologia 36.2 (Apr. 2012), the author "does an excellent job not only of leading us through Joe Rochefort's life, but also giving us a feel for how the US Navy operated in the interwar period." The book "has a journalistic flavor," but is also "very well researched and comprehensive."

For Peake, Studies 56.3 (Sep. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.3 (Winter-Spring 2013), this "[w]ell told and well documented" book tells the "story of a talented, sometimes abrasive, but always effective, officer battling the bureaucracy and unjustified criticism in a tradition-bound Navy."

Fuchida, Mitsuo, and Masatake Okumiya. Midway, the Battle that Doomed Japan. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1955. London: Hutchinson, 1957.

The authors track the Japanese side of the story of Midway.

Holmes, Wilfred J. Double-Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific During World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1979. Cambridge, UK: Patrick Stephens, 1979. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Pforzheimer says that Double-Edged Secrets is an "accurate and very readable" account of "all-source intelligence production, analysis, and dissemination" in support of CINCPAC. Holmes' accounts of the intelligence background to the battle of Midway and the shoot-down of Admiral Yamamoto's plane are "[p]articularly valuable."

To Petersen, this is an "important memoir by a ranking naval intelligence officer in Hawaii." Constantinides sees Holmes as "an invaluable contributor to our knowledge of naval intelligence organization, personnel, operations, and problems in fighting the Pacific war." For Kruh, Cryptologia 30.2 (Apr. 2006), the author's "compassionate understanding of the business of intelligence gathering is unique. Here, he not only captures the mood of the period but also gives rare insight into the problems and personalities involved."

Huygen, Michaele Lee, and Greta E. Marlatt. The Battle of Midway: A Bibliography. 4th ed. Monterey, CA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School, Apr. 2012. [Available as a PDF file at:]

From "Introduction": "This is a selected, partially annotated bibliography listing books, periodical articles, web sites, and videos related to the Battle of Midway. Certain entries have brief annotations, many of which are taken from annotations in other bibliographies, books, and book reviews, when attributed, and directly from library cataloger's notes when not.... The bibliography is intended to be a tool to assist researchers as they study this significant battle.... It is not intended as a comprehensive listing of all materials on the topic."

Kernan, Alvin B. The Unknown Battle of Midway: The Destruction of the American Torpedo Squadrons. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

Wildenberg, NWCR 59.3 (Summer 2006), finds that there is nothing new here. Although the book's subject, "the destruction of U.S. torpedo planes at Midway, is a worthy project," the author's "execution leaves much to be desired.... [T]he book is so full of errors and misconstructions of fact that it only further distorts the reasons behind the tragic slaughter of the U.S. torpedo planes and their aircrews."

Layton, Edwin T. [RADM/USN (Ret.)], with Roger Pineau [CAPT/USNR (Ret.)] and John Costello. "And I Was There": Pearl Harbor & Midway -- Breaking the Secrets. New York: Morrow, 1985.

Beesly, I&NS 1.3, calls this "a most convincing explanation of why US intelligence failed to prevent Pearl Harbor." It is simultaneously "as entralling as a first-rate thriller" and "a serious, well-documented history." For Kruh, Cryptologia 30.4 (Oct. 2006), "this is the best World War II naval history" he has ever read. Sexton notes that Layton blames "the failure to properly interpret MAGIC before Pearl Harbor and the near misinterpretation of Sigint prior to Midway" on Washington decision-making and Navy Department bureaucrats.

To Miller, IJI&C 1.2, And I Was There is a "notable contribution to the literature on Pearl Harbor." Layton was a "thoughtful, honorable, and honest man. His unique vantage point makes this book authoritative." The book provides an "extremely interesting history of the development, organization, and successes of radio intelligence (sigint), including cryptanalysis, between the two World Wars and until the end of the second one."

Lewis, Graydon A. "Setting the Record Straight on Midway." Cryptologia 22, no. 2 (Apr. 1998): 99-101.

Reprint of article in NCVA Cryptolog. The author tells of Forrest R. "Tex" Baird's efforts to convince participants at a May 1998 symposium in Pensacola, Florida, that the key to the U.S. victory at Midway was not recovered code books but human sweat and brain power.

Parshall, Jonathan B., and Anthony P. Tully. Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. Washington, DC: Potomac Books, 2005.

Wildenberg, NWCR 59.3 (Summer 2006), believes this "will undoubtedly become the definitive work on the Japanese navy at Midway." It includes an "enlightening analysis of why the Japanese lost this historically important battle.... Scholars, military buffs, and serious students of the subject will appreciate the detailed, comprehensive battle diary that constitutes the bulk of the work." Nevertheless, the work "is not flawless. Historians and academics accustomed to more scholarly writing may find some of the stylistic trappings somewhat disconcerting. The use of contemporary jargon and colloquialisms is, at best, misplaced."

For Porter, Military Review (Mar.-Apr. 2007), Parshall and Tully "have skillfully researched, analyzed, and drawn sound conclusions about the actual causes of Japan's defeat at Midway.... This is the first truly complete and balanced examination of the decisive battle of Midway."

On the other hand, Parrish, Air & Space Power Journal 22.2 (Summer 2008), does not view this as a fully developed presentation. He finds that "if there is a shortcoming in the work, it is by design. The authors purposely confine their examination to the Japanese side of things; thus, a novice should read their book in conjunction" with Gordon W. Prange's Miracle at Midway (1982) and Walter Lord's Incredible Victory (1967). Nonetheless, the authors provide a narrative that "is both enlightening and persuasive." They "systematically examine and debunk many of the prevailing myths of the battle."

Potter, E.B.

1. "Admiral Nimitz and the Battle of Midway." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Jul. 1976, 60-68.

2. "L'Admiral Nimitz et Son Utilisation Des Renseignements Secrets dans la Pacifique." Revue d'histoire de la Deuxième Guerre Mondiale et des Conflits Contemporains 34 (Jan. 1984): 29-42. See also "Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and the Use of Intelligence in the Pacific Theater." In American Commanders and the Use of Signal Intelligence, ed. Arthur L. Funk. Manhatten, KS: Military Affairs/Aerospace Historian Publishing, Sunflower University Press, 1984.

Sexton says that this is an "adaptation" of Potter's "Admiral Nimitz and the Battle of Midway," but "with the addition of an account of Comint in the Battle of the Coral Sea."

3. Nimitz. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1976.

This is the standard biography of Admiral Nimitz.

Prange, Gordon W., Donald M. Goldstein, and Katherine V. Dillon. Miracle at Midway. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987.

According to Sexton, the authors "attribute American success to the wise use of Comint by Admiral Nimitz."

Rochefort, Joseph J. "Finding the Kido Butai." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 118, no. 6 (Jun. 1992), 76-78.

The author was commander of the Fleet Radio Unit (Station HYPO) at Pearl Harbor. Here, he looks at the work of breaking Japanese naval signals leading up to the battle of the Coral Sea and Midway.

Schorreck, Henry F. Battle of Midway: 4-7 June 1942: The Role of COMINT in the Battle of Midway. Designated as SRH-230 in the U.S. National Archives, Washington, D.C. Text available at

Thanks to Comint, Admiral Nimitz "knew more about the Midway Operation than many of the Japanese officers involved in it. He knew the targets; the dates; the debarkation points of the Japanese forces and their rendezvous points at sea; he had a good idea of the composition of the Japanese forces; he knew of the plan to station a submarine cordon between Hawaii and Midway; and he knew about the planned seaplane reconnaissance of Oahu, which never took place because he prevented their refueling at French Frigate Shoals."

Smith, Myron J., Jr. The Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, 1942: A Selected Bibliography. Bibliographies of Battles and Leaders Series. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991.

Stillwell, Paul. "The Lead Code-Breaker of Midway." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 138, no. 6 (Jun. 2012): 62-65.

The author emphasizes that the breaking of the Japanese codes was a team effort, not just the the work of Commander Joseph Rochefort. Here he summarizes the life and work of Lt. Commander (later Captain) Thomas H. Dyer.

Weadon, Patrick D. The Battle of Midway: AF Is Short of Water. Ft. George G. Meade, MD: National Security Agency, Center for Cryptologic History, 2000. []

At Midway, "Yamamoto's worst fears" became "a reality. Due to an impressive mix of leadership, determination and skill on the part of Admiral Nimitz, the officers and men of Station Hypo, and the pilots soldiers, sailors and marines who carried the fight to the enemy, Japan would be on the defensive for the rest of the war."

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