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The Efficacy of Aerial Search During the Battle of Midway

The Efficacy of Aerial Search During the Battle of Midway
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Author(s): Denis J. Dean (University of Texas at Dallas, USA)
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 20
Source title: Emerging Methods and Multidisciplinary Applications in Geospatial Research
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Donald P. Albert (Sam Houston State University, USA) and G. Rebecca Dobbs (University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1951-7.ch004


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The Battle of Midway (June 4 – 6, 1942) is considered one of the pivotal naval encounters of the Second World War. The battle has been examined in detail within both popular and scholarly literature, and a common opinion found in virtually all of these examinations is that Japanese search efforts on the morning of June 4, which were intended to determine if any U.S. naval forces were present, were inadequate. Japanese search procedures have been criticized on many separate grounds, but one fault implicit in many of these criticisms is that Japanese search plans were based upon the assumption that a searching aircraft that came within a predefined range of an enemy surface ship would inevitably sight that vessel. Intuitively, a 100% detection rate seems highly unlikely. It seems more probable that a myriad of factors influence detection probability, including characteristics of cloud cover, number and sizes of surface ships involved, relative courses, and speeds of the search aircraft and surface ships. This study employed a Monte Carlo approach built around modified GIS viewshed analyses techniques to investigate the influence of these and other factors had upon detection probability.

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