Midway Movie Poster

Goofs from Midway

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  • During the Pearl Harbor sequence, the characters go into a makeshift morgue. The dead are covered in pristine white cloths, with no trace of blood.
  • A scene at the Pearl Harbor Officer's Club shows officers and enlisted men drinking and dancing. Enlisted personnel are not permitted in Officer's Clubs, unless a guest of an officer.
  • The SBD Dauntless did not have dual .30 caliber machine gun mounts for the rear gunners until after the Coral Sea battle. The SBD-2s were 'upgunned' with the dual .30s just prior to the Battle of Midway. The film shows dual-.30s earlier than Midway.
  • In the movie, Wade McClusky drops a bomb when the US dive bombers attack the Japanese fleet at Midway. In real life, McClusky led the squadron and made the decision to follow the Japanese destroyer, but he lost his bomb due to an electrical arming fault. He then ordered his other pilots to manually arm their bombs.
  • The first arrested landing of an aircraft by wire on the USS Midway was performed October 12, 1945, when the ship had been underway for ten days.
  • Throughout the first half of the movie, the US aircraft don't have a small red circle in the center of the star insignia. Regulation orders of May 6, 1942, required removal of the red circle to avoid confusion with Japanese aircraft. All the Dauntless aircraft would've had the red circle in the Pearl Harbor sequences, the atoll raids, and Coral Sea (the regulation was released the day before that battle). Maintenance crews painted over the red dot between Coral Sea and Midway.
  • In the many dogfight scenes between the US SBD Dauntless diver bombers and the Japanese Zero fighters, the action suggests that the Dauntless was just as nimble as the Zero. The Zero had superior flight characteristics to the Dauntless, including much faster air speed and rates of climb. No Dauntless/Zero dogfights occurred at Midway. However, during the Battle of Coral Sea, a particularly aggressive Dauntless pilot was able to dogfight several Zeroes, downing three.
  • At the beginning of the attack, 12-16 twin engine B-26 bombers conduct a level bombing against Nagumo's flagship, the Akagi. In reality, Midway only had 4 B-26s deployed. They had been converted to torpedo bombers, so they approached at a very low level. Two were shot down by intense anti-aircraft fire. The leader, severely damaged, conducted what may be the first kamikaze attack of WWII, attempting to hit Admiral Nagumo's bridge to kill him. According to Japanese accounts, he missed by as little as 5 feet.
  • John Ford was indeed wounded in the arm during the battle while filming for The Battle of Midway (1942). However he was in a much more precarious position, standing on top of the power plant on Sand Island, one of the most obvious targets for the Japanese Navy. He survived multiple attacks.
  • At least one B-25 bomber aims its bombs with a Norden bomb sight. For such a low probability of success, they would have been removed and replaced with a less risky, more secure aiming device. It was called the Mark Twain, and cost 20 cents.
  • The movie states that Japan's goal was to eventually invade the US. In reality, Japan knew they couldn't beat the US in a protracted war. Their objective was to draw the US Navy into a decisive battle so demoralizing that Japan would be able to negotiate an end to the war within 6 months, and at least keep the oil, steel, and rubber resources in Indonesia. To do that, they had to threaten a US possession that the entire US Navy (including its carriers) would be willing to fight for. They chose Midway, which was close to Hawaii.
  • In the sequence where the characters go into a room where the remains of those killed in the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the dead are not wearing clothing free of blood stains, as someone has previously stated. This scene takes place a number of days after the bombing, and these are bodies which have not been identified because they are so badly damaged and burned and they have been covered with white sheets.
  • A scene shows the loss of the USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The ship shown burning is not a Lexington class carrier, but a Yorktown class ship. (Yorktown, Hornet, Enterprise)
  • In the Order of Battle VT-8 (TBD torpedo planes) from Hornet attacked first, not VT-6 torpedo planes from Enterprise. Yorktown's VT-3 attacked last and actually had fighter cover from VF-3 commanded by CDR John Thatch.
  • The markings on the US aircraft were correct for the time period of the Midway battle, but not for all the earlier stuff (Pearl Harbor, the Marshalls, Coral Sea, etc.). It has already been pointed out in this Goofs section that all the aircraft, through the Coral Sea battle, should have a red disk in the center of the white-star marking. In addition to that, the naval aircraft should be wearing horizontal red and white stripes, like the stripes on the American flag, on the rudder.
  • The movie makes no mention of Admiral Fletcher, who was in overall command of the task force and, as such, was Admiral Spruance's commanding officer. Fletcher was forced to transfer his flag during the battle, depriving him of the logistical ability to stay abreast of events in real time. When Spruance then asked Fletcher what his orders were Fletcher replied, "None. Will conform to your motions," effectively putting Spruance in command. But that didn't happen until after the battle started.
  • Numerous scenes of aircraft shown spotted on carrier deck with all the props turning. Probable result of low cost CGI. In reality, only the first 1 or 2 would have been running. Running the rest would have wasted fuel and threatened the deck crew.
  • When the B-25 runs out of gas, the prop immediately stops. In reality the prop would only stop if feathered, which does not occur. Otherwise it would continue turning with significant drag.
  • During the dive bombing of the Hiryu, Best is shown holding the dive until at mast level, and then releasing bomb while pulling out, putting it into the rising sun logo. In reality, Best released his bomb at 1000ft while aiming for the logo, and missed. In reality, no one would drop a dive bomb while in a glide or pull-out phase of flight. Good chance the bomb would simply bounce off, or explode taking the bomber with it.
  • During the raid on the Marshalls Islands, Best dogfights a Zero and passes through large mountain valleys. This terrain is not present in the Marshall Islands which has a highest elevation of 10 meters (33 feet). The valleys shown are more similar to valleys on Oahu which has a maximum elevation of 164 meters (538 feet).
  • The B-25 bombers in the Tokyo raid sequence are depicted as B-25C models, which had the top turret in the front of the aircraft. In fact the aircraft used on the actual raid were B-25B models which had the top turret in the rear.
  • Members of the US Naval Services (Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) do not exchange salutes indoors as Bruno Gaido and Admiral Halsey do when Gaido is summoned to Halsey's Flag Plot after shooting down a Japanese bomber from a parked aircraft.
  • None of the B-25 bombers, including Jimmy Doolittle's B-25, flew into a wave spray when they lifted off from the bow of the USS Hornet. This is clearly shown in actual film of the real-life launch, which was incorporated into Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) and the opening sequence in the 1976 Midway (1976).
  • The same two anti-aircraft gunners firing up in the sky defending the Akagi also appear defending the Hiryu only moments later in the battle, likely due to reused footage.
  • The movie shows William "Bull" Halsey as a RADM (two stars on collar) throughout the movie. In reality, Halsey was a VADM (three stars on collar) since JUN 1940. Therefore, he would have been a VADM for the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.
  • In reality, the torpedo that the USS Nautilus (SS-168) fired was not at an aircraft carrier but at the Japanese battleship Kirishima.
  • When Doolittle lands in China, after completing his raid on Tokyo, he and his men are rescued by what appears to be Chinese communist guerrilla soldiers. In fact, they were rescued by soldiers and villagers affiliated with Nationalist China. This was suppressed by the Chinese government until recently.
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