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World War II
Battle of Midway Island

Battle of Midway Island
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.2

     challenging words:    interception, twin-engine, refueling, capability, divert, lieutenant, squadron, military, radical, command, homeland, torpedo, purpose, naval, ambush, aircraft
     content words:    American Air Force, Coral Sea, Pacific Ocean, United States, Great Britain, Port Moresby, Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel James H., Pacific Islands, On April

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Battle of Midway Island
By Jane Runyon

1     The American Air Force and Navy took heart after the Battle of the Coral Sea. They hadn't defeated the Japanese fleet, but they hadn't been defeated either. The Japanese had marched across the Pacific Ocean. It looked as though no one would be able to stop them. The combined forces from the United States and Great Britain and had slowed them down. They had kept the Japanese from taking over Port Moresby. This newly found confidence gave the American forces the push they needed to try and to stop the advance.
2     In the early part of 1942, the American Air Force came up with a radical new idea. During the air raids that were taking place in the Pacific, it was noted that it might be possible to launch twin-engine planes from an aircraft carrier. This had never been attempted before. These planes were larger and could carry heavier bombs. They had the capability of flying hundreds of miles without refueling. Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle was given command of a new project. He was to train pilots to fly B-25B bombers from carriers in the Pacific to the islands which make up Japan. The whole purpose of this plan was to divert the attention the Japanese were giving to the Pacific Islands back to their homeland. On April 18, 1942, Doolittle and his squadron flew from the deck of the USS Hornet to Tokyo. They covered 600 miles of ocean and bombed the cities of Tokyo and Nagoya. They didn't do a lot of damage to the cities. What they did do was embarrass the Japanese military leaders who had promised the citizens of Japan that there was no way the Americans could reach them.
3     Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto was the leader of the Japanese combined fleet. He resolved to keep this from ever happening again. It was his goal to destroy every American aircraft carrier there was. His focus on this target was to cost him dearly in the next naval battle. He wanted to draw the U. S. Pacific Fleet out into the open so that he could destroy the aircraft carriers. Without aircraft carriers, he reasoned, there would be no threat from American bombers.

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