Midway Battle Water Ruse

On May 22, 1942, American code breakers executed a plan that identified the Imperial Japanese Navy’s objective at the Battle of Midway, by broadcasting messages from the American base there communicating a water shortage.

The Japanese picked up this radio traffic and relayed it in code, which the Americans had partially broken, allowing them to identify the object of the Japanese fleet. The Japanese objective was “AF”, which the Americans were able to identify as Midway.

Navy Lieutenant Commander Wilfred Holmes, part of Joseph Rochefort’s Station Hypo intelligence team, devised this ruse. Holmes earned the Distinguished Service Medal for his ingenuity. He was eventually promoted to Captain and became the Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Hawaii. He died in 1986 and is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. Honor and remember Wilfred Holmes.