With director Roland Emmerich’s (Independence Day) own WWII film Midway on the horizon, there’s actually another film that beat it to the punch. Set during the same pivotal battle in June 1942, Dauntless: The Battle of Midway focuses on a two-man crew of a U.S. Navy dive bomber who are forced to ditch their plane in the sea after they crash.
Set adrift, the men look towards their comrades for rescue; namely, the ragtag crew of a PBY Catalina, who are sent to search for survivors. Amid the vast openness of the Pacific, with days passing and the chance of rescue fading, the men are forced to face their own mortality.
This new movie stars top Hollywood character actors Judd Nelson (TV’s Empire, New Jack City) and C. Thomas Howell (TV’s SEAL Team, The Punisher) and is a tense, moving story, with a great of care and attention paid to honouring the true events of history.
To get ready for Dauntless: The Battle of Midway, we take a look at some true facts behind the battle…
- The battle was fought between the Allies and the Empire of Japan from 4th to 7th December 1942 and took place just six months after Pearl Harbour. The U.S. Air Force and Navy were majorly depleted following this earlier attack which directly affected their resources
- The U.S. Navy defeated an attacking Japanese fleet inflicting devastating damage. Still today, it’s said to be “the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare”, according to Military historian John Keegan
- The attack was partly foiled by American cryptographers who were able to decipher the date and location of the planned attack, allowing the U.S. Navy to prepare its own ambush.
- Ultimately, four Japanese and three American aircraft carriers participated in the battle, with four Japanese fleet carriers (part of six that had attacked Pearl Harbour) being sunk
- Admiral Raymond Spruance (played by Judd Nelson) was awarded the Navy Distinguished Service Medal for his service
- After the end of the war, Chicago Municipal Airport, considered important to the war effort, was renamed Midway Airport in 1949 in honour of the battle.