The Battle of Midway (1942)

TV-PG   |    |  Documentary, Short, War

The Battle of Midway (1942) Poster

The Japanese attack on Midway in June 1942, filmed as it happened.


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10 July 2018 | SimonJack
| Actual combat documentary during WW II
This documentary, "The Battle of Midway," is a short film shot during the actual combat on June 4, 1942. The Battle lasted from June 3 to June 7, but the air attack on Midway Island was on June 4. This shows the bombing of the U.S. airfield and positions on Midway. It also shows the defenders in action, and one Japanese plane trailing smoke after it was hit by ground fire.

What is most striking about this film is the concussion of the actual bombs, which have a horizontal spreading impact with huge destruction. What one sees in most movies in which battle scenes are staged, is ground explosions that blow up laterally and dissipate in the air with much less near damage.

Hollywood's John Ford was a Navy officer who directed this and other films for the Navy during WW II. Henry Fonda is the principal narrator. There isn't much by way of aerial combat or Japanese aircraft pictured here. Other Armed Forces photography would capture that. But this documentary earns its stars for the men who shot the film while under heavy enemy fire.

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