Could Japan have won at Midway? And if so, what would change?

Could Japan have won the Battle of Midway? How would that affect World War II?
It is debated whether they could have taken the island (it was quite heavily defended, and the actual invasion force for the island was not all that strong), but the real goal, of course, was destroying the American carriers. A total wipeout of the American carriers with no Japanese carrier losses was very unlikely, but not impossible, as both sides made lots of mistakes and the outcome was heavily influenced by luck. If the Japanese make implausibly few (but not impossibly few) mistakes and the breaks go their way to an implausible (but again not impossible) degree, you get a totally different outcome. As for the effect on the war, not much; the Japanese didn't have enough replacements for the carrier aircraft they would have lost even in a total victory, and their fuel situation was also becoming critical, meaning they couldn't have done much more with their carriers until they rebuilt fuel reserves even if the carriers had all survived (helpful as it would have been for the Japanese to send the Kido Butai to Guadalcanal, for example, they definitely didn't have the fuel for that kind of operation). The Americans having fewer aircraft carriers and having to be a bit cautious about remaining Japanese strength would have slowed their eventual offensives a little bit, but not very much.
 
Could Japan have won the Battle of Midway? How would that affect World War II?
USN would send their subs to target the IJN oilers as they sailed back to Japan.
Good luck trying to get back.

Overall, a Japanese victory at Midway doesn't do much.
It only encourages the US to step up their game and strike back, except the US are now harder, faster, and stronger than they were at Pearl Harbor.
 
Is it true that the IJN had a pilot shortage,even before Midway,win or lose?
What they had was a totally inadequate system for training replacements, and a rigid unwillingness to break up air groups.

They had enough veterans to fill all the slots on the Midway operation. They also had enough to fill all the slots on Zuikaku, the one other available fleet carrier they *could* have also sent on the operation, but the IJN declined to send Zuikaku, because it would involve rebuilding Zuikaku's air group on the fly.
 
Yes they could have won, long term it won't make a lick of difference, see this video (you can start watching about 26 minutes in):

 
Yes they could have won, long term it won't make a lick of difference, see this video (you can start watching about 26 minutes in):

Yeah, at worst, it butterflies away the Solomons, and Nimitz just kicks off his offensive in the Gilberts and Marshalls instead when the Essexes and Independences start arriving in force in late '43, and IJN air crews end up just getting chewed up there instead.
 

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The IJA takes over New Guinea and the Solomons, resulting in the isolation of Australia and thus better acquisition of NEI oil. Between this and the American public's reaction to the defeat, President Roosevelt will be forced to adopt a Japan-First Strategy, at least for a time, and this will result in the abandoning of TORCH as American naval assets are transferred to the Pacific. Possible from here the USSR could collapse in 1942/1943, with all the implications from that. Back in the Pacific, the USN will find itself in an absolute slugging match for the Solomons come late 1943 when they finally have enough carriers; the IJN has enough to match them and has the benefit of land based air. 50/50 the U.S. wins here but the casualties will be heavy but they'll finally win it for good in the first half of 1944.

From there, we then see a gradual campaign against the Japanese in the rest of the Pacific that will be an extremely bloody affair, given greater time for the Japanese to build up and strengthen their defenses. My take? Japan pulls off a Versailles style peace sometime in 1946 or so, retaining their "Core Empire" of the Home Islands, Formosa, Karafuto, Korea, Manchuria and the Kuriles. Whether Germany survives or not depends on what happens with the USSR, in my estimation.
 
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Sure they could. Just have the Tone scout plane have a functioning radio and Nagumo sends his second wave against the Americans

Japanese win the carrier battle as they sink more carriers than the Americans do, but then Spruance retreats as ordered.
 
Could Japan have won the Battle of Midway? How would that affect World War II?
Interesting to think what would have happened had the Enterprise dive bombers not have the good fortune of spotting the Arashi and using her as a guide to the Kido Butai.

Amazing how chance can affect a battle.
 
The IJA takes over New Guinea and the Solomons, resulting in the isolation of Australia and thus better acquisition of NEI oil. Between this and the American public's reaction to the defeat, President Roosevelt will be forced to adopt a Japan-First Strategy, at least for a time, and this will result in the abandoning of TORCH as American naval assets are transferred to the Pacific. Possible from here the USSR could collapse in 1942/1943, with all the implications from that. Back in the Pacific, the USN will find itself in an absolute slugging match for the Solomons come late 1943 when they finally have enough carriers; the IJN has enough to match them and has the benefit of land based air. 50/50 the U.S. wins here but the casualties will be heavy but they'll finally win it for good in the first half of 1944.

From there, we then see a gradual campaign against the Japanese in the rest of the Pacific that will be an extremely bloody affair, given greater time for the Japanese to build up and strengthen their defenses. My take? Japan pulls off a Versailles style peace sometime in 1946 or so, retaining their "Core Empire" of the Home Islands, Formosa, Karafuto, Korea, Manchuria and the Kuriles. Whether Germany survives or not depends on what happens with the USSR, in my estimation.
Japan will still run out of carriers (and their pilots pretty fast) to say nothing of merchant man losses to USN submarines.
 

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They'll lose badly enough that the Japanese Empire is toast. Not to mention any offensive military capability.
By 1945, the Japanese were prepared to accept Versailles style limitations, so it wouldn’t surprise me they would lose offensive capabilities for a generation or so.
 
By 1945, the Japanese were prepared to accept Versailles style limitations, so it wouldn’t surprise me they would lose offensive capabilities for a generation or so.
They were? I generally hear that their proposed terms up until the bombs falling/USSR invasion (not getting into that one) would have been more appropriate for the victors.
 

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They were? I generally hear that their proposed terms up until the bombs falling/USSR invasion (not getting into that one) would have been more appropriate for the victors.
By the Summer of 1945, they were hoping to keep the “Core Empire” intact and avoid an occupation/retain the existing institutions. They were likewise open to military limitations, with the expectation they could toss them out after a few years like the Germans did.
 
It is nice to also look at the implications beyond Pacific.

If we also let Coral Sea be a Japanese victory of note, we may surely see that Midway can be won by Japan.

The invasion is in any event a bit dicey, but let then Midway be 'neutralised'.

The immediate result will then read Japan 3 - US 0

That can indeed alter the Germany First strategy. I do not see it possible to either keep USN in the Atlantic or provide more resources there.

Torch is out. And that has a major impact on the entire concentric strategy that Brooke wanted to see.

Will it make Japan victories overall? probably not. But it will surely be expensive to dislodge Japan if they should have another handful of months to fortify.

If US is focused on Pacific for a year - say May '42 until July 43 it is major

Citadel will have a different outcome. No Torch means:
- malta might fall
-No Husky - and that means no German forces will be withdrawn from Citadel
-Egypt might not fall. But UK will have to reinforce

Looking at this - it is a strange situation: a Midway (and Coral Sea) Japanese victory mightnot benefit Japan but might make Germany more secure.
 
USN would send their subs to target the IJN oilers as they sailed back to Japan.
Good luck trying to get back.

Overall, a Japanese victory at Midway doesn't do much.
It only encourages the US to step up their game and strike back, except the US are now harder, faster, and stronger than they were at Pearl Harbor.
USN Submarines performed poorly at Midway - 1 Skipper was beached he was so docile (even if he did cause 2 IJN Heavy Crusiers to collide when they spotted him in the dark) - another did attempt to engage a carrier but was suppressed by escorts - so I do not share your optimism regarding the sinking of Oilers.
 
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