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PEARL HARBOR


In November of 1941, thirty-two Japanese ships amassed in Tankan Bay. Among these fighting ships, were the fleet carriers AKAGI, KAGA, HIRYU, SORYU, ZUIKAKU, and SHOKAKU.The Battleships HEIE, and KIRISHIMI. The Heavy Cruisers TONE, and CHIKUMA, and the Light Cruiser ABUKUMA. Also nine Destroyers, three Submarines, and eight Tankers.

The objective of this task force was unknown to all but high-ranking officers in the Japanese government and the Imperial Navy. On November 21st, orders were given that no garbage was to be thrown overboard, and that all shore leaves were canceled. On November 26th, the task force left the bay, and headed into rough seas, steady gales, and thick fog.

On December 2, the message "Climb Mount Nitaka" was sent to the fleet, this message meant that the fleet was to proceed with the their plans. Later the same day, another message was received by the fleet, this one read, "X-Day will be December 8, 1941". This message confirmed that the date of the attack would be December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. *(Note the fleet had to cross the international date line to reach Pearl Harbor, so December 7th in Hawaii, would be December 8th, in Japan.)

At 6:00 am on Sunday December 7th, the first of 300 planes, took off from the Japanese Carriers in groups of : High Altitude Bombers, Dive Bombers, Fighters, and Torpedo Bombers.   

At 6:30 am, A United States Navy Observation Plane, spotted what appeared to be Submarine inside the Torpedo Gate, at the entrance to Pearl Harbor. The Destroyer U.S.S. WARD, was sent to investigate, with strict orders to fire on any unidentified vessel attempting to enter the harbor. The WARD, saw what looked like a Submarines Conning Tower, following in the wake of the Navy Tug ANTARES. The WARD fired her Deck Guns, hitting the Submarine just forward of the Conning Tower. In response to being struck by the WARD'S 5 inch shell,  the Submarine immediately took on water and sank straight to the bottom.

At 7:02 am Two Army Mobile Radar Operators picked up a blip larger than any they had seen before, at first they thought the machine was broken, but they soon realized that what they were seeing were Airplanes, Position: 137 miles North and 3 degrees East.

At 7:06 am The Radar Operators telephoned Headquarters, and spoke with the Switchboard Operator, they gave the Operator the information, who wrote it down, and seeing a Lieutenant sitting alone in the Plotting Room, took the information to the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant told the Switchboard Operator not to worry about it as there was a flight of Army B-17's flying in from California. The switchboard Operator relayed this to the Radar Operators.

At 7:39 am the Radar Operators lost the blip and with nothing else to do, returned to the Base for Breakfast at 7:45 am

At 7:55 am All American ships were raising the Colors. On board the Battleship U.S.S NEVADA, some of the ship's Band were on deck to play the Star Spangled Banner, when the noticed dots in the sky far to the Southwest. On board the Destroyer U.S.S. RALEIGH, an Officer noticed planes coming from the Northwest. A Seaman aboard the Battleship U.S.S. ARIZONA, saw planes coming from the mountains to the East. A Quartermaster aboard the Destroyer U.S.S. HELM saw another group of planes coming from the South.

On Ford Island, A Navy Commander was sitting at his desk, when a single Dive Bomber, (which he thought was American) dropped the first bomb on Ford Island.

Aboard the Minelayer U.S.S. OGLALA, General Quarters was sounded, and the signal "ALL SHIPS IN HARBOR SORTIE".

The Battleship U.S.S. OKLAHOMA took 5 Torpedoes, and as water poured into the Port side of her #4 Turret Powder Handling Room, she gradually rolled over on her side. She kept rolling until her mast and Superstructure jammed in the mud on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, leaving her Bottom up. Only 8 minutes had passed since the first Torpedo hit.

A bomb (actually a modified Naval Artillery shell) struck the Battleship U.S.S. ARIZONA, setting off her forward Powder Magazines, sinking her almost instantly, killing hundreds of ARIZONA crewmen, and blowing many more crewmen off the U.S.S. NEVADA, which was moored next to her.

Where it would normally take a Battleship 2 hours to "Steam Up", and get under way, the U.S.S. NEVADA accomplished this in 45 minutes. She pulled out of BATTLESHIP ROW, and clear of the burning U.S.S. ARIZONA, without the assistance of Tug Boats, and headed toward the opening of the harbor. As she steamed on several Japanese planes dove on her with bombs, the Captain fearing she would sink in the channel, ordered "ALL STOP" and beached her on the South Shore of Hospital Point.

The attack continued until shortly before 10:00, most Americans caught in the attack went through various stages of shock, fear, and anger.

There were 96 American ships at Pearl Harbor, U.S. Air Strength was 394 aircraft, but many were obsolete, of being repaired. Available aircraft were:

ARMY- 93 Fighters, 35 Bombers, and 11 Observation planes

NAVY- 15 Fighters, 61 Patrol planes, 36 Scout planes, and 45 miscellaneous aircraft.

The Japanese striking force, contained 31 ships: 6 Carriers, 2 Battleships, 2 Heavy Cruisers, 1 Light Cruiser, 9 Destroyers, 3 Submarines, and 8 tankers

Japanese Air Strength: 432 aircraft: 39 for Combat Air Patrol, 40 for reserve, and 353 for the attack

Japanese Advance Force: 28 Submarines: 11 of those had small planes and 5 had midget Submarines

American Casualties: NAVY-2008- killed,  710-wounded. MARINES-109-killed, 69-wounded. ARMY-218-killed, 364-wounded. CIVILIAN-68-killed, 35-wounded. Of the 2403 killed nearly half were lost when the U.S.S. ARIZONA blew up.

Damage: at Pearl Harbor, 18 ships were sunk or seriously damages. At the Airfields, 188 planes were destroyed: 96 ARMY, and 92 NAVY. An additional 128 ARMY and 31 NAVY planes were damaged.

There were about 40 explosions in the city of Honolulu, all except 1, were the result of U.S. Anti-Aircraft fire, these explosions did about $500.000 damage.

The Japanese Striking force lost only 29 aircraft, 9-Fighters,  15-Dive Bombers, and 5 Torpedo Bombers

The Japanese Advances Expeditionary Force, lost 1 large Submarine, and all 5 Midget Submarines

Japanese casualties: 55 Airmen, the 9 crewmen on the Midget Submarines, and an unknown number on the large Submarine.

On December 8 1941, at 12:29pm President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT spoke to the nation:"YESTERDAY DECEMBER 7th 1941, A DATE WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WAS SUDDENLY AND DELIBERATELY ATTACKED, BY NAVAL AND AIR FORCES OF THE EMPIRE OF JAPAN.....". His speech was over in 6 minutes, and war declared on Japan in less than an hour.......