Kido Butai: Terror of the Pacific – WW2 Special

Kido Butai was the fleet that launched the surprise attack on the US Pacific Fleet at anchor at Pearl Harbor and followed that up with a string of victories in 1942. But how was it commanded, both as a whole and in the high and even mid level command? Today we’ll look at that.

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Hosted by: Indy Neidell
Written by: Markus Linke and Indy Neidell
Director: Astrid Deinhard
Producers: Astrid Deinhard and Spartacus Olsson
Executive Producers: Astrid Deinhard, Indy Neidell, Spartacus Olsson, Bodo Rittenauer
Creative Producer: Maria Kyhle
Post-Production Director: Wieke Kapteijns
Research by: Markus Linke
Edited by: Miki Cackowski
Sound design: Marek Kamiński
Map animations: Eastory (

Colorizations by:
Carlos Ortega Pereira, BlauColorizations,
Jaris Almazani (Artistic Man),
Norman Stewart –

Mitsubishi G4M bomber graphic, courtesy Kaboldy
Picture of Jisaku Okada, courtesy XxSuguxX
Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

Soundtracks from the Epidemic Sound:
Jo Wandrini – Dragon King
Rannar Sillard – March Of The Brave 4
Yi Nantiro – Watchman
Philip Ayers – The Unexplored
Johannes Bornlof – The Inspector 4
Mandala Dreams – Pacific Shores
Phoenix Tails – At the Front
Philip Ayers – Trapped in a Maze

Archive by Screenocean/Reuters

A TimeGhost chronological documentary produced by OnLion Entertainment GmbH.

43 thoughts on “Kido Butai: Terror of the Pacific – WW2 Special

  1. Marco Saraiva says:

    Great vid ! This is the best WW2 channel in youtube for sure!

  2. Allen Marples says:

    Excellent series..What were the war aims of the Japanese navy after Midway?

  3. abdollah khoshnood says:

    Please make a video J.F.K's older brother that died because of operation Aphrodite & how Ian Fleming Christopher Lee ( AKA the man with a golden gun AKA Saruman AKA Dracula AKA Count Dooku ) & Mel Brooks & Julia Child's ( The French Chef ) & Moe Berg ( A Red Sox Catcher ) also the fact that that many male athlete's went to war it led to creation of all female baseball team
    ( A League of Their Own movie 1992 ) & how O.S.S & O.A.S was started how they were recruiting people how like they hired Italian Fog-men commandos or how O.S.S & French resistance collaborated with each other what king of James Bond like Gadgets were used by O.S.S/O.A.S during the war by their agents or how O.S.S forged documents tricking German soldiers that when they are on leave they can sleep with any women they want and please make well detailed and long video about the invasion of Iran both from the prospective of the Invaders & the confused people of Iran that they were asking them selves
    ( people of Iran ) at the time why are we been invaded we have done nothing to British or Russians
    love your video's keep up the good work thank you for hard work.

  4. Triglavian says:

    Midway might be different if nagumo got all the carrier he want instead of 4

  5. I highly recommend anyone interested in this to seek out and read Jonathan Parshall's book, "Shattered Sword", about the Battle of Midway.

  6. Jason Vogel says:

    Its great how he literally compares the commander with the ship itself

  7. robert colbourne says:

    One of the greatest loses at Midway was the death of Adm. Yamaguchi.

  8. Ben Bowmen says:

    And the Kido butai was sitting on the bottom of the sea before long

  9. Raymond Saint says:

    Japanese Army and Japanese Navy were descendants of 2 regional clans who orchestrated the Restoration of Meiji: that's why they were at throats of each other. Can we have a special episode about that? Japanese Army had aviation, submarines, fleet. Japanese Navy had tanks and marines. Etc.

  10. America's Task Force 38/58 will eventually make the Kido Butai look like nothing

  11. AunknownMan 9000 says:


  12. Nora Lockley says:

    It will be interesting if this channel puts out the difference of carrier doctrine of the US and Japan up to Midway. The US came up with several new ideas and techniques for carrier doctrine during the same time the Japanese came up with theirs.

  13. Best Planes – Best Pilots – Bad Intelligence – Bad Luck ? 🤔

  14. Erwin Lau says:

    Kido 機動 means Mobile. Butai 部隊 means Troops. Literally translated as “Mobile Force”

  15. TheGravitywerks says:

    Sprit doctrine….Birry Mitcherr…..fight same battre ina America. Glad they were paying attention….in 1921

  16. Alec Blunden says:

    The RN raid on the Italian Fleet was clearly the first major carrier raid. Without it, the Japanese would not have found out how to attack ships in harbour, so Pearl Harbour would have been impossible.

  17. Ironic how, the japanese were the first to realize the high value of aircraft carriers in the war, proving battleships to be obsolete, yet this was their one mistake in pearl harbor, theydamaged most of the obsolete battleships yet did not hit any of the american carriers…

  18. Moses Racal says:

    I am always amazed by the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces. Time and time again they shot themselves in the foot but they still have the ability to cause panic and fear to its enemies. How would the war have turned if Japan was as efficient and independent as their German counterparts.

  19. James Savik says:

    These pioneers did not know they were creating the most feared naval formation of the future- the Carrier Battle Group. It was Americans that took this concept and ran with it when they had the ships (Essex class fast carriers) and escorts (fast battleships, Baltimore/Cleveland class cruisers and Fletcher class destroyers), married that to a fleet train and ran the table with it.

  20. SemperFi62 says:

    Some of you guys are alright, don't go to Midway Island tomorrow

  21. Mike Jones says:

    Ironic that the Kido Butai set the benchmark for future carrier forces where a fleets strength came from its ability to project air power, the age of the battleship is coming to an end.

  22. Carrier Taiyo says:

    So, in Japan, a week is 8 days long? The more you know! (rainbow!)

  23. Avatar2312 says:

    If the IJN had focused on aircraft carriers instead of building the last 2 normal and the 2 super-battleships, they could have attacked pearl harbor with 8-10 carriers and be at Midway with 2 separate carrier groups of 3 to 4 each (assuming the losses in the south pacific would remain unchanged). They would have been able to level the entire port. Even with its air wing a carrier uses up less fuel than a battleship of the same size. So they would even be able to support their forces longer given the dire fuel situation of Japan. Of course it is questionable if and how this would have changed the course of the war.

  24. Walter Taljaard says:

    And then the battle of Midway happened.
    Which for the Kido Butai went like a textbook case of Murphy's law.
    1.nothing is as easy as it looks
    2.everything takes longer than you expect.
    3.if anything can go wrong IT WILL GO WRONG.
    4. and at the worst possible moment.

  25. Krzysztof Kulikowski says:

    Great work as always.
    Just wanted to point out that Kaga and Akagi are not sister ships. Akagi is a conversion from Amagi-class battlecruiser and Kaga is a conversion from Tosa-class battleship and those are different ship hulls.
    It's a veeeeeery common mistake, because wherever you see – Akagi and Kaga are always paired together. But that's because they form the first carrier division when the Japan joins the war.

  26. Anne Scholey says:

    Your task is to find those carriers! In six months we sunk at Midway. Oops.

  27. Kid Mohair says:

    Japan's victorious early sweeps, were due in part to the
    British and US under-estimation of the "little yellow man"
    (Churchill's words, I believe)
    who was seen as being incapable of standing on the same field of battle
    with the glorious bearers of "civilization"

  28. eymeera osaka says:

    The main reason why the Japanese lost to the Americans in the Pacific Naval War was because of the later industrial might. The Japanese were not able to replace their lost aircraft carriers, warships and pilots faster than the Americans. But a naval battle with the Chinese in the South China Sea will not necessarily seal the outcome in favour of the US because China is the one with the industrial might.

  29. Khate Emola says:

    America should have kept Japan, and made the country an American territory.

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