Attack on Pearl Harbor

From TNOpediA
Attack on Pearl Harbor
Part of Pacific Theatre
Photograph taken from a Japanese plane at the beginning of the attack.
Date7 December 1941
PlaceOahu, Territory of Hawaii, US
ResultTactical Japanese victory.
United States joins WWII on the Allies side.

Husband E. Kimmel

Walter Short

Isoroku Yamamoto

Chūichi Nagumo

2 carriers sunk.
6 battleships sunk.
2 battleships damaged.
30 other ships damaged.
188 aircraft destroyed.
159 aircraft damaged.
4,806 total killed.

2,356 injured.

4 midget submarines sunk.
1 midget submarine grounded.
29 aircraft destroyed.
74 aircraft damaged.
129 killed.

1 sailor captured.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial IJN on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, in the United States, AT 7:48 a.m on December 7, 1941. The attack led the United States to formally enter World War II on the side of the Allies the day following the attack.

Background[edit | edit source]

In 1940, Japan invaded French Indochina, attempting to stymie the flow of supplies reaching China. The United States reacting with an Partial oil Embargo, apart of halted the shipments of airplanes, parts, machine tools, and aviation gasoline to Japan, which the latter perceived as an unfriendly act, Finally, by orders of the newly inaugurated President, Thomas E. Dewey, The U.S finally ceased oil exports to Japan in July 1941.

The Japanese then decided to make a preventive action to keep the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with their planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. Over the course of seven hours, there were coordinated Japanese attacks on the American-held Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

Approach and Attack[edit | edit source]

Before the attack commenced, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) launched reconnaissance floatplanes from the heavy cruisers Chikuma and Tone to scout Oahu. These planes were ordered to report on the American fleet's composition and location. As the floatplanes returned, Admiral Yamamoto felt less worried about the potential result of the assault, as it was confirmed that two of the three main US carriers were at the base on the day of the attack. Once he marked them as the main targets, he ordered the start of the attack at dawn.

The First and Second Wave[edit | edit source]

The first attack wave of 183 airplanes, composed mainly of dive bombers and torpedo bombers, arrived and began their attack before 8:00 AM. The US Navy crews, taken by surprise, tried to defend themselves, but due to the chaos and lack of information, their attempts were inefficient. In the following hours, two attack waves sank most of the main ships at the base. The USS Enterprise was hit by multiple torpedoes and began to list, her sister ship, the USS Yorktown, shared the same fate a few hours later.

The second planned wave consisted of 171 planes and arrived a few hours after the first one. It focused on sinking the damaged ships, successfully sinking a few battleships and destroying the main buildings of the naval base.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Rear Admiral Chūichi Hara summed up the Japanese result by saying, "We won a great tactical victory at Pearl Harbor and perhaps we won the war."

The attack accomplished its intended objective. Of the eight U.S. Navy battleships present, all were damaged and six sunk. However, the most devastating losses for the Americans were the sinking of their two Yorktown-class carriers present at the base, the USS Enterprise and USS Yorktown. On the other hand, Japanese losses were light, with only 64 deaths. With these results, the attack turned out to be a significant turning point in the first years of the war. Unfortunately for the United States, the presence of the American aircraft carriers at the base resulted in the Pacific Fleet's inability to conduct offensive operations for the next year. Despite the Japanese confidence in their ability to win a quick victory, Yamamoto ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor's navy repair yards, oil tank farms, submarine base, and old headquarters building, which were initially omitted from Genda's list.

With this devastating defeat, the U.S. Navy was completely immobilized for almost a year while it was being rebuilt. The day following the attack, President Thomas E. Dewey declared war on Japan. In response, Germany and Italy, following the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the United States.