In the obsolete days of naval warfare Midway would have been different. An old-fashioned attack fleet would have been carrying less-powerful explosives and far less fuel (and the American planes wouldn't have been equipped with such large bombs); its ships could probably have survived the attack at Midway with only moderate damage. But the Japanese carrier attack force was on the hair trigger of total catastrophe -- ready not only to self-destruct in an instant, but to cause a vast, unpredictable, and wholly uncontrollable wave of secondary disasters. It took only a couple of fluke hits to trigger the cataclysm; the Japanese empire was lost at Midway in five unlucky minutes.


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