Pearl Harbor

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Wise1, Aug 30, 2004.

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  1. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    That would be the one that started in 1776 right?

    The topic of the Attack on Pearl is definatly not taboo. Too many people read into the conspiracy theories, and while not believing the theory overall, still pick up some of the misconceptions left behind.
    Public school grad, eh?

    I bought into the conspiracy theory concerning FDR letting the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor to get us into the war, but much independent study led me to believe that idea was absurd. It looked good at first, but not after looking into it at length. Now I am not too sure about that JFK thing....
     
  2. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    Public school grad, eh?

    I bought into the conspiracy theory concerning FDR letting the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor to get us into the war, but much independent study led me to believe that idea was absurd. It looked good at first, but not after looking into it at length. Now I am not too sure about that JFK thing....
    Hey now. I can't help that all colleges I applied for laughed at me and tore up my application. There loss. I get to learn from all these great people.


    FDR didn't need to let the entire Pacific Fleet get sunk to bring the US into the war. All that was needed was for the Japanese to attack us. If Pearl had been stopped by prepared AA defenses, an orginized counter attack, and a good number of planes on CAP (around 40-50 or so), the US would still have entered into the war, though probably with a mindset that would of been more of the superiority complex shown by all sides.
     
  3. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Hey now. I can't help that all colleges I applied for laughed at me and tore up my application. There loss. I get to learn from all these great people.


    FDR didn't need to let the entire Pacific Fleet get sunk to bring the US into the war. All that was needed was for the Japanese to attack us. If Pearl had been stopped by prepared AA defenses, an orginized counter attack, and a good number of planes on CAP (around 40-50 or so), the US would still have entered into the war, though probably with a mindset that would of been more of the superiority complex shown by all sides.

    But that would have brought us into the war against the Japanese, and not the Germans. We would have been allied with the British against the Japanese only, and neutral against the Germans and Italians. When the Hitler and Mussolini declared war on the US on 11 Dec 41, they assured Axis defeat.
     
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Some American and Japanes recollections from the 7th December from 'War Diary 39-45'

    Commander Mitsuo Fuchida led the first wave of the air attack after taking off from Akagi. We join his account as the Japanese aircraft approach Pearl Harbor.

    One hour and forty minutes after leaving the carriers I knew that we should be nearing our goal. Small openings in the thick cloud cover afforded occasional glimpses of the ocean, as I strained my eyes for the first sight of land. Suddenly a long white line of breaking surf appeared directly beneath my plane. It was the northern shore of Oahu.

    Veering right toward the west coast of the island, we could see that the sky over Pearl Harbor was clear. Presently the harbor itself became visible across the central Oahu plain, a film of morning mist hovering over it. I peered intently through my binoculars at the ships riding peacefully at anchor. One by one I counted them. Yes, the battleships were there all right, eight of them! But our last lingering hope of finding any carriers present was now gone. Not one was to be seen.

    It was 0749 when I ordered my radioman to send the command, 'Attack!' He immediately began tapping out the pre-arranged code signal: 'TO, TO, TO. . . .'

    Leading the whole group, Lieutenant Commander Murata's torpedo bombers headed downward to launch their torpedoes, while Lieutenant Commander Itayay's fighters raced forward to sweep enemy fighters from the air. Takahashi's dive-bomber group had climbed for altitude and was out of sight. My bombers, meanwhile, made a circuit toward Barbers Point to keep pace with the attack schedule. No enemy fighters were in the air, nor were there any gun flashes from the ground.

    The effectiveness of our attack was now certain, and a message, 'Surprise attack successful!' was accordingly sent to Akagi at 0753. The message was received by the carrier and duly relayed to the homeland . . .

    The attack was opened with the first bomb falling on Wheeler Field, followed shortly by dive-bombing attacks upon Hickam Field and the bases at Ford Island. Fearful that smoke from these attacks might obscure his targets, Lieutenant Commander Murata cut short his group's approach toward the battleships anchored east of Ford Island and released torpedoes. A series of white waterspouts soon rose in the harbour.

    Lieutenant Commander Itaya's fighters, meanwhile, had full command of the air over Pearl Harbor. About four enemy fighters which took off were promptly shot down. By 0800 there were no enemy planes in the air, and our fighters began strafing the airfields.

    My level-bombing group had entered on its bombing run toward the battleships moored to the cast of Ford Island. On reaching an altitude of 3,000 meters, I had the sighting bomber take position in front of my plane.

    As we closed in, enemy anti-aircraft fire began to concentrate on us. Dark gray puffs burst all around. Most of them came from ships' batteries, but land batteries were also active. Suddenly my plane bounced as if struck by a club. When I looked back to see what had happened, the radioman said: 'The fuselage is holed and the rudder wire damaged.' We were fortunate that the plane was still under control, for it was imperative to fly a steady course as we approached the target. Now it was nearly time for 'Ready to release,' and I concentrated my attention on the lead plane to note the instant his bomb was dropped. Suddenly a cloud came between the bomb sight and the target, and just as I was thinking that we had already overshot, the lead plane banked slightly and turned right toward Honolulu. We had missed the release point because of the cloud and would have to try again.

    While my group circled for another attempt, others made their runs, some trying as many as three before succeeding. We were about to begin our second bombing run when there was a colossal explosion in battleship row. A huge column of dark red smoke rose to 1000 meters. It must have been the explosion of a ship's powder magazine. [This was the Battleship Arizona] The shock wave was felt even in my plane, several miles away from the harbor.

    We began our run and met with fierce anti-aircraft concentrations. This time the lead bomber was successful, and the other planes of the group followed suit promptly upon seeing the leader's bombs fall. I immediately lay flat on the cockpit floor and slid open a peephole cover in order to observe the fall of the bombs. I watched four bombs plummet toward the earth. The target - two battleships moored side by side - lay ahead. The bombs became smaller and smaller and finally disappeared. I held my breath until two tiny puffs of smoke flashed suddenly on the ship to the left, and I shouted, 'Two hits!'

    When an armour-piercing bomb with a time fuse hits the target, the result is almost unnoticeable from a great altitude. On the other hand, those which miss are quite obvious because they leave concentric waves to ripple out from the point of contact, and I saw two of these below. I presumed that it was battleship Maryland we had hit.

    As the bombers completed their runs they headed north to return to the carriers. Pearl Harbor and the air bases had been pretty well wrecked by the fierce strafing and bombings. The imposing naval array of an hour before was gone. Anti-aircraft fire had become greatly intensified, but in my continued observations I saw no enemy fighter planes. Our command of the air was unchallenged.


    After the first wave had dropped their ordinance and made its way back to the carriers, Commander Fuchida remained over the target in order to assess damage and to observe the second wave attack. He returned to his carrier after the second wave successfully completed its mission.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Sakamaki’s submarine was attacked by depth charges and damaged as a result. Now with control problems, things were not going according to plan.

    The compressed air and gas from the battery were leaking, and the air inside the submarine was becoming dangerously foul. We were very tired and weary.

    It was near noon. We had not done anything. I was getting very restless. The two destroyers (Patrolling the harbour) looked as if they were two big cats playing with a mouse. I wanted to sink one of them with the last of my torpedoes – but my target was not such a tiny ship. I still wanted to get a big battleship – the flagship Pennsylvania.

    Again, my ship hit a coral reef at the port entrance. Miraculously we got our ship afloat again. We lowered the ship deep and started investigating damage. We discovered a fatal injury to the torpedo-discharging mechanism. No longer was the sole weapon at our disposal useful to us. My aide asked what we were going to do. ‘The only thing we can do now is to plunge right into the Pennsylvania’. My aide knew that it meant our self destruction as well.

    I made up my mind to do just that – but the realisation that I had failed tortured my mind and bitter tears rolled down my face.

    Although the ship had lost most of its power, I still had hopes of returning to fight. We tried to run the ship faster toward the island. White smoke shot up from the batteries. They had discharged all their electricity. There was danger the batteries might explode – but we did not fear it. Death was in front of our very eyes.

    At that moment, we hit a coral reef again. We immediately thought of the explosives we were carrying as a matter of self-destruction just in cases such as this. No matter what should happen, we could not let the midget submarine fall into enemy hands. The time to destroy the submarine had come. We had made up our minds.


    The self destruct mechanism failed and Sakamaki was taken prisoner.
     
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Genda was with the team involved with the detailed planning for the attack on Pearl Harbor and with problem solving based in Japan.
    Fuchida was my class-mate, and Murata was a Shimbara man, a real hero. Murata was the top torpedo authority. He had been transferred to command the Ryuga’s Air Unit. However, when he was doing deck-landing exercises, I watched his landings and thought, ‘Right, that settles it!’ and I had him transferred to the command of the Akagi’s Air Squadron.

    We were not convinced (about the use of torpedoes) but that was the time when all the senior officers were together – not one of them said it was impossible. Mind you, not one of them said he was certain we could bring it off.

    There were unsolved problems with high-level bombing against an enemy fleet on the high seas. Torpedo bombing is so much more effective. However, high-level bombing has its strong points. It simplifies a concentrated attack using a large number of planes – but its success rate is low. However something startling occurred. The aircraft-carrier Akagi was doing bombing exercises against a target moving away freely, from a height of around 9,000 feet. A formation of nine aircraft scored four hits. That’s a success rate of 45% and they did it three times running. If that could be maintained, it was far more effective than dive-bombing. So, I thought, if we can’t use torpedo bombing, we can attack Pearl Harbor with high-level bombers. I was that confident.
     
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Ruth Lawson was married to Captain Richard Lawson of the 19th Infantry Regiment. They were stationed in Hawaii at the time of the attack. Ruth Lawson was at home with her daughter and mother when the Japanese struck.
    They came down with such screaming power dives that you felt surely they were going to crash. Then came loud explosions that made the walls of our stucco bungalow seem to push in and then be sucked out. We saw the rising sun on the planes, but still couldn’t believe it.

    I put Jeannie in the inside clothes closet with her clothes, told her to dress and not come out until someone came for her . . . . The bullet and shell casings were hitting so continuously on our roof, it sounded like hail.

    In the midst of the attack, someone pounded on our front door. With my heart in my mouth, I went to answer it, half expecting a Japanese soldier – but it was one of our soldiers in combat uniform. Just as he started to say something, one of the Japanese planes flew so low over the corner of our roof that I had a brief glimpse of the pilots face. Bullets and shell casings spattered on our front walk, so close the young soldier jumped inside the door, almost knocking me down. He immediately straightened his helmet and, standing up straight said, ‘As I was saying lady, if you get dressed, I’ll take you to a safer place’. It was only then I realised I was still in my nightgown.

    You think you feel very calm, at least, I did, but afterwards I realised my stomach must have dropped to my toes and my heart catapulted to my throat by the queer sensation inside, but fortunately that doesn’t show on the outside. Everyone was remarkably calm and we had some good laughs afterwards at some of the silly things we did. I only saw two cases near hysteria.

    That night all women and children were evacuated from Schofield by bus. It was raining and so black that I had to hold on to mother and Jeannie to keep from being separated. They used the buses belonging to the Honolulu Bus Service and several times the bright stars and a partial moon would emerge and seem to throw the whole scene into the focus of a spotlight. Each felt in her heart that our buses were gleaming targets for the Japanese planes which were expected momentarily. No one can yet understand why they didn’t come back and finish us off when they had knocked us to our knees.

    One shell exploded in a field to our left, violently shaking our bus and showering it with coral, rocks, and dirt but not a person in our crowded bus said a word.

    Jeannie, who was sitting on my lap, tightened her arms around my neck and hid her face in my shoulder. None of us knew where our husbands were, whether the Japs had succeeded in landing, where we were going, or where the next bomb would fall – but there was silence during that long ride. I have been convinced more than once since that Americans – women and children too – still ‘Have what it takes’.
     
  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Simpson was a Radio Officer onboard the UUS Argonne at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Having just woken up prior to the attack he recalls the moment when the first bombs started dropping.
    I was in my cabin on the main deck, having previously been awakened by our mess boy. I had just put on my white uniform coat when I suddenly heard several terrific explosions which rocked the ship.

    I grabbed my cap and dashed down the passageway for the main radio room, transmitting station aft. Some men only had time to put on their shorts and shoes in their mad rush to battle stations. The uniform for the day was white shorts and undershirts, which caused many sailors to suffer flash burns.

    Six torpedo planes had already made their runs on the California directly opposite us. Great clouds of smoke poured from her hull as the torpedoes tore into the ship, tearing open huge holes in her side. The California sank slowly as the torpedoes entered her passageways, killing crew members as they abandoned ship.

    Oklahoma only a few yards astern of California, was hit by six more torpedo planes. The port side armour belt of heavy steel was torn off by the exploding torpedoes, exposing a large gaping hole about 200 feet long. The watertight compartments had not been closed. The water rushed in and she immediately capsized and went down with all hands within ten minutes. Her crew were caught like rats in a trap.

    Cutting torches were used at first, but had to be abandoned because the trapped men were being cremated by the flames. Air drills were then used to gain entry into the double bottom compartments.

    The navy department announced later that indications were found inside the ship that three men had lived for 16 days inside the ship. They had consumed all their emergency rations and had marked a calendar with an X for each day from December 7th to December 23rd.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Davison was onboard the USS Arizona expecting a rather routine Sunday morning before Japanese aircraft attacked his ship with dive bombers on 7th December.
    It was just before colours, in fact, I had already sent the messenger down to make the 8 o’clock reports to the Captain. Then I heard a dive-bomber attack from overhead. I looked through my spyglass and saw the red dots on the wings. That made me wonder, but I still couldn’t believe it until I saw some bombs falling. The first one hit up by the air station. I sounded the air raid alarm and notified the Captain. He and Lt. Commander Fuqua came up on deck, and the Captain went on to the bridge. About the time we took a bomb hit on the starboard side of the quarter deck, just about abreast of No.4 turret.

    We grabbed the men available and started dropping the deck hatches and leading out hoses on the quarterdeck. Then the planes that had made the initial dive-bomb attack strafed the ship. Mr Fuqua and I told all hands to get in the marine compartment. It was reported to us that we had a bomb in the executive officer’s office. Just after I stepped in the booth, we took another hit starboard of the quarterdeck, just about frame 88. The Boatswain’s mate and I were trapped in the booth by the flames. We started out of the booth, trying to run through the flames aft on the quarterdeck. We couldn’t get through, so we went over the lifeline into the water. I was conscious of the sweetish, sickening smell of the flames. After I got in the water, my first attention was to go to the quay and then onto the quarterdeck or swim to the gangway and get aboard. But after I took one look at the ship, I decided it was useless – she had settled down by the bow, and appeared to have broken in two. The foremast had toppled over – she was a mass of flames from the forecastle to just forward of turret 3.
     
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Blackwell was woken up by the Japanese attack on his base at Honolulu on Hawaii and could see Pearl Harbor just 3 miles away being attacked.
    I was rudely awakened just before 8 o’clock by the terrific noise of bombs and cannon . . . . At first I thought it was dynamite blasting in a tunnel – but when I heard the whistling sound proceeding the explosion on some of the closer ones, I jumped out of bed and ran to investigate.

    When I got outside I was perfectly dumbfounded. Black columns of smoke were rising from Pearl Harbor Navy Yard about three miles distant and the sky was filled with puffs of black smoke from AA Shells. It looked like war, but I just could not believe that Japan could make an air attack from such a distance without our navy having some warning.

    The attack caught both the Army and Navy by surprise. Being Sunday morning, most everyone was still in bed. Our AA guns were not in firing positions, but were parked at Shafter or other posts. We were on alert against sabotage, and in a condition of readiness which allowed three hours to go into action in case of attack. We had frequent drills on going out into battle positions and everyone had been trained thoroughly on just what to do (thoroughly should be qualified, however, since 80% of our troops have had less than eight months’ service, and the organisation of the brigade had not been completed).

    We had found that this took about three hours. However, as soon as we found out that this was the real thing, we cut the preparation time in half. Speed limits were ignored. Some units began firing within 45 minutes from the time they were alerted. All units began firing before the attack was ended, and we shot down four or five planes. The AA fire I saw was from the Navy . . . .

    . . . . The other day I saw three soldiers bringing in a suspected Japanese spy which they had caught under suspicious circumstances. The Jap was sullen and slow in following directions. One soldier was behind him with his bayonet pressing against his behind, and every now and then he would give it a slight push to speed him up. On either side was a soldier with a bayonet pressed against his ribs. Whenever they wished him to change direction, the bayonet was pressed into his off side, and he would immediately respond. He could not understand English, so the soldiers resorted to using this method of directing him. From the expression on the faces of these soldiers, I could see that they would have liked to have used their bayonets more violently. They were exercising extreme self control. You need have no fear of our fighting soldiers.

    This was a part of a letter Blackwell had written after the 7th December attack to his wife only to have it returned to him by the censors a day or so later.
     
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The photograph above was taken somewhere near to Beckoning Point (Middle/Left on the map below) looking towards Ford Island. The ship in the bottowm left of the photograph is the USS Curtiss.

    The bomb splash is between the USS West Virginia and the USS Oklahoma.
    1.
    [​IMG]

    2.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    1.
    [​IMG]
    Japanese aircraft about to take off for Pearl Harbor.

    2.
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    Taken from a Janpanese aircraft. In the distance smoke can be seen rising from Hickham field and what appears to be torpedo splashes and thracks towards the ships.

    3.
    [​IMG]
    The Destroyer USS Shaw expoldes.

    4.
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    USS Arizona burning.

    5.
    [​IMG]
    USS West Virginia. I love the fact she's (or the Tennessee) still flying her 'Stars and Stripes'
     
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  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nightingale recalls what happened when he finished breakfast on that fateful Sunday morning.

    At approximately eight o'clock on the morning of December 7, 1941, I was leaving the breakfast table when the ship's siren for air defence sounded. Having no anti-aircraft battle station, I paid little attention to it. Suddenly I heard an explosion. I ran to the port door leading to the quarterdeck and saw a bomb strike a barge of some sort alongside the NEVADA, or in that vicinity. The marine colour guard came in at this point saying we were being attacked. I could distinctly hear machine gun fire. I believe at this point our anti-aircraft battery opened up.

    We stood around awaiting orders of some kind. General Quarters sounded and I started for my battle station in secondary aft. As I passed through casement nine I noted the gun was manned and being trained out. The men seemed extremely calm and collected. I reached the boat deck and our anti-aircraft guns were in full action, firing very rapidly. I was about three quarters of the way to the first platform on the mast when it seemed as though a bomb struck our quarterdeck. I could hear shrapnel or fragments whistling past me.

    As soon as I reached the first platform, I saw Second Lieutenant Simonson lying on his back with blood on his shirt front. I bent over him and taking him by the shoulders asked if there was anything I could do. He was dead, or so nearly so that speech was impossible. Seeing there was nothing I could do for the Lieutenant, I continued to my battle station.

    When I arrived in secondary aft I reported to Major Shapley that Mr. Simonson had been hit and there was nothing to be done for him. There was a lot of talking going on and I shouted for silence which came immediately. I had only been there a short time when a terrible explosion caused the ship to shake violently. I looked at the boat deck and everything seemed aflame forward of the mainmast. I reported to the Major that the ship was aflame, which was rather needless, and after looking about, the Major ordered us to leave.

    I was the last man to leave secondary aft because I looked around and there was no one left. I followed the Major down the port side of the tripod mast. The railings, as we ascended, were very hot and as we reached the boat deck I noted that it was torn up and burned. The bodies of the dead were thick, and badly burned men were heading for the quarterdeck, only to fall apparently dead or badly wounded. The Major and I went between No. 3 and No. 4 turret to the starboard side and found Lieutenant Commander Fuqua ordering the men over the side and assisting the wounded. He seemed exceptionally calm and the Major stopped and they talked for a moment. Charred bodies were everywhere.

    I made my way to the quay and started to remove my shoes when I suddenly found myself in the water. I think the concussion of a bomb threw me in. I started swimming for the pipe line which was about one hundred and fifty feet away. I was about half way when my strength gave out entirely. My clothes and shocked condition sapped my strength, and I was about to go under when Major Shapley started to swim by, and seeing my distress, grasped my shirt and told me to hang to his shoulders while he swam in.

    We were perhaps twenty-five feet from the pipe line when the Major's strength gave out and I saw he was floundering, so I loosened my grip on him and told him to make it alone. He stopped and grabbed me by the shirt and refused to let go. I would have drowned but for the Major. We finally reached the beach where a marine directed us to a bomb shelter, where I was given dry clothes and a place to rest.
     
  15. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    Thanks for the stories and pictures Drew. I for one do not even want to imagine the horror of being woken up on a lazy Sunday morning to the sight of an enemy attack.
     
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Another set of pictures from USNA and Private Letters.com

    1.
    [​IMG]
    USS California sinking during the raid.

    2.
    [​IMG]
    USS Maryland and the capsized USS Oklahoma.

    3.
    [​IMG]
    USS Nevada.

    4.
    [​IMG]
    USS Shaw in a flooded dry dock.

    5.
    [​IMG]
    USS Vestal, beached and listing.

    6.
    [​IMG]
    USS West Virginia.

    7.
    [​IMG]
    Beached Japanese Midget Submarine.
     
  17. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    USS West Virginia
     
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I always find that picture is a bit deceptive as the main focus or purpose of the shot is of the small craft saving the sailor in the water just to the front right hand side of it.

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Old Hickory Recon

    The USS California was not as significantly damaged as her sisters further down the line. She was fully opened up for inspection the next morning and the crew was not able to get parts of the ship closed before water filled the compartments.

    The posted pictures of the USS West Virginia also show the USS Tennessee, inboard. The Tennessee was wedged against the pilings by the West Virginia and the dynamite was used to remove the pilings so that the Tennessee could be freed up and moved.

    The Shaw lost everything forward of the bridge. As the engineering parts of the ship were in relatively good shape, a false bow was fitted and she sailed to the US to be rebuilt, serving well in the war.
     
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  20. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

    [​IMG]
    An Image of the USS Arizona from the 1941 Army-Navy football game (American football) Program, played on November 29 1941. The caption read:
    "A bow on view of the U. S. S. Arizona as she plows into a huge swell. It is significant that despite the claims of air enthusiasts no battleship has yet been sunk by bombs."
    Little over a week later...........
     

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