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The Attack on Pearl Harbor - December 7, 1941

Discussion in 'WWII' started by Powerhouse, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. I am aware of the failure of the Japanese to launch the third wave at PH, which brings me to an interesting conclusion. There were a number of occasions, that the IJN was overcautious when they clearly had the initiative and advantage. PH being one example, and the other that immediately pops into my mind is the failure of Kurita to press home the attack at Samar despite having a massive advantage in firepower. IIRC, there were a couple more significant failures of the IJN to press home the attack when they had the upper hand.
  2. Interesting - but what is your conclusion?

    Isn't it so that all warfare depends on the information you get from the involved forces? And if they believe the enemy is beaten, why waste any more men and ammo.
    In the Battle of Britain (not to open that discussion again - but that's something I know about ;) ) the Luftwaffe also believed that RAF were down to its last fighters in september, due to repports from their own pilots. Which most of the time were very positive - too put it mildly.
    Just as the RAF claims were.

    It's quite easy to judge the situation, when it's all over.
    Not that it's wrong - but the generals back then had not the info we have today.
  3. We know for a fact the Japanese fiddled around on the carriers changing bombs to torpeodes and back to bombs wasting a lot of time and advantage. Now as far as the BoB goes, what was the objective of the battle itself? Was it to soften up the UK for an eventual invasion or was it just to mess up the UK enough so they wouldn't interfere anymore in Germany's European affairs? If it were the latter, that would explain why the Germans quit like they did.
  4. Well, I'm not sure what the BoB has to do with this thread.....you may want to crack open a new set of books, Spitfire. The histories of the Pacific War has some fascinating stuff in it.

    My conclusion is that in a number of instances and certain situations the IJN had a marked lack of aggressive spirit. In certain situations, i.e. night-time surface actions, they were clearly better trained than their USN counterparts.

    The Japanese subordinates Genda and Fuchida were pushing for the third wave to be launched - they knew the situation. So it isn't hindsight. Nagumo, however, held back. He retreated to the refuge of the unimaginative (doctrine).

    Where did you read that? Are you sure you're not confusing PH with Nagumo's indecisiveness at Midway? I'm not saying that wasn't the case, I'd just like to know where you read that. I'm interested.
  5. Thank you, Chas.
    I only brought up the Bob as an example of lack of information or missinformation. And I agree that we must try to keep these threads on track.

    When I am done with BoB - which will pobably take some time still - I might get into the Paciffic. On the other hand, there are so many Theaters of War, which are just as interesting IMO - and closer to where I live.
    That way they are easier to get to and experience for yourself on the spot.
    I have Normandy pretty well covered. The forgotten Italian front could be next in line.
  6. This excellent book is online. Pretty cool.
  7. plain old dave

    plain old dave A-List Customer

    Sad (but a bit late) news: LT John Finn, the last surviving Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor recipient and thus far the only Aviation Ordinanceman (he was a Chief Petty Officer on 7 December 1941) to be awarded the Medal, passed on on 27 May. Citation follows:

    For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kanoehe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn promptly secured and manned a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

    This also made LT Finn the first American to be decorated for bravery in combat during WW2; NAS Kanoehe Bay was attacked before NS Pearl Harbor. LT Finn's deeds were portrayed in Tora, Tora, Tora; the Chief that opens up on the Japs with a 50 cal with NO protection.


  8. I went to Hawaii earlier this year and visited Pearl Harbor. It was such a moving and emotional experience. Knowing what had happened and then actually being there was so surreal.
  9. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Nov 26, 1941

    Nov. 26, 1941
    Washington rejected the Japanese proposals of Nov. 20 because they "contain some features which, in the opinion of this Government, conflict with the fundamental principles which form a part of the general settlement under consideration and to which each Government declared that it is committed." The U.S. did suggest, however, "that further effort be made to resolve our divergencies of view in regard to the practical application of the fundamental principles..." The rejection marked the end of the long efforts to negotiate a settlement.

    -The Japanese First Air Fleet, under the command of Adm. Chuichi Nagumo leaves Japan’s Kurile Islands for Hawaii. The fleet takes a route rarely used by merchant ships, and avoids radio transmissions to remain undetected.


    From Infamy to History:
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  10. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Nov. 27
    All U.S. military forces were placed on a "final alert" status with Pacific units receiving a "war warning." Washington said "an aggressive move by Japan is expected within the next few days."
  11. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Nov. 28
    For the second time Hull warned the U.S. military of a possible imminent attack by Japan.

    -The Japanese foreign ministry advised its embassies throughout the world that relations with the U.S. and Britain had reached an extremely critical stage.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2010
  12. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Nov. 29

    The U.S. warned Britian of an impending Japanese attack in the Asia-Pacific area.

    -Tojo restated Japan's leadership role in east Asia: "Nothing can be permitted to interfere with this sphere because this sphere was decread by Providence."
  13. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Nov. 30

    Japanese Foreign Minister Shigenori Togo informed the Japanese ambassador in Berlin that "war may suddenly break out between the Anglo-Saxon nations and Japan...quicker then anyone dreams." The Germans were not informed.
  14. It's worth noting that the first Japanese plane shot down at PH was shot down by a submarine - USS Narwhal.

    For my money, PH goes down as the single most bone-headed move by a country ever made in the history of warfare. I personally can't think of a country more unprepared for war and so increcibly deluded by hubris as the Japanese in 1941.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
  15. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    I agree.
  16. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Dec. 1

    Japan made its irrevocable decision to go to war. A council meeting in the imperial presence ended with a unanimous vote to begin hostilities. The minutes of the meeting read: "Our negotiations with the United States regarding the execution of our national policy, adopted November 5, have finally failed. Japan will open hostilities against the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands." Tojo led the meeting, Emperor Hirohito did not speak at all.
  17. Aristaeus

    Aristaeus A-List Customer

    Dec. 2

    Roosevelt--- in a personal note to the Japanese envoys in Washington---asked Tokyo for an explanation of the Japanese troop build-up in Indochina. The President said. "The stationing of these increased Japanese forces in Indochina would seem to imply the utilization of these forces by Japan for purposes of further aggression, since no such number of forces could possibly be required for the policing of that region..."

    -Japan's cabinet was reshuffled because of "the deteriorating international situation." The new cabinet affirmed the final decision to attack Pearl Harbor, and the code message to proceed, "Climb Mount Niitaka," was flashed to the carrier battle group.

    -The Japanese embassy in Washington was ordered to destroy all but its most secret coding facilities. Similar orders went to Japanese missions in British, Dutch, and Canadian cities. Cuba, the Philippines, and the South Pacific.

    -London announced the formation of a new and expanded Eastern Fleet. Britain in the past had maintained a cruiser squadron, but its naval presence in Asia would now be led by more powerful men-of-war. The battleship Prince of Wales and the battle curiser Repulse arrived in Singapore. This announced action indicated the concern of Britain as it viewed Japan's southward penetration.
  18. PADDY

    PADDY I'll Lock Up Bartender

    It's getting closer (great stuff).
  19. Faskinatin'. Clearly everyone saw the handwriting on the wall. To those who say FDR "maneuvered" the US into the war, I say "nonsense". What's interesting and perplexing is how, with all the alerts going out in all directions, the US, and even moreso Britain, could still have been so unprepared. When Churchill heard of the Japanese attacks on Singapore he was stunned to find out there were no defenses against an attack from the north. Was there ANY degree of mobilization by the authorities in Singapore to redress this problem?
    At Pearl Harbor my impression is that the main fallacy in their thinking was in expecting a sabotage attack, instead of a naval attack. From the point of view of the people on the ground at the time, was it reasonable to expect an air attack? They gathered their airplanes into tight groups on the ground, to defend against the expected sabotage. How unreasonable was that, really?
    Finally, Britain's huge blunder was to let the big battleships proceed to Singapore without waiting for their aircraft carrier to be repaired. No question, a catastrophic blunder. But can you blame them, in light of the extreme emergency they were facing?
    All interesting issues.
    All this stuff also interests me because (as I mention every time I get the chance ;) ) I was stationed near Pearl Harbor in the summer of 1967, when they were filming Tora! Tora! Tora!, and got to watch Pearl being bombed all summer long. Only a dozen or so planes at a time, instead of 360, but enough to give a VERY strong idea of the real event.
  20. Tora! Tora! Tora! is one of the better films made about historical events; they stayed pretty close to the facts/events. Aside from the nasty 1960's hairstyles, of course. Pearl Harbor and Midway blew chunks, otoh.

    Re: Signapore: The British should have kept only a token garrison there, in any case. Ridiculous and stupid; another one of Mr. Churchill's overlooked boneheaded plays.

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