Pearl Harbor and the “Day of Infamy”

Part I:

In the early hours of Sunday, December 7, Japanese submarines of an advance expeditionary force launched five midget subs they had piggy-backed from Japan. Each two man 80 ft sub was armed with two torpedoes and an explosive charge in the bow for suicidal raming. All five subs and all of their crews,  except one man were ost. One was lost at sea; one was sunk outside the Harbor by USS WARD; one entered Pearl Harbor through an open submarine net and was sunk when it was rammed by USS MONAGHAN. The fourth could not steer properly and beached on the windward side of Oahu, its surviving crew member becoming the first Japanese prisoner of war. It is unknown what happened to the fifth submarine, but it is believed to have been sun during the raid.

0342 – USS CONDOR, on routine mine-sweeping patrol, spots the periscope of one of the midget subs in restricted waters off the entrance to the Harbor. USS CONDOR’s skipper thinks the sub is probably one of ours that strayed into a restricted area by mistake. Nevertheless, since he has no guns or depth charges himself, he sends a message to the captain of the destroyer USS WARD on patrol nearby.

0500 – Two reconnaissance planes take off to scout Pearl Harbor and Lahaina Roads, Maui.

0600 – The first wave of 183 planes is launched.

0630 – USS WARD observes a submarine trailing the supply ship USS ANTARES into the Harbor and sinks her. The commanding officer sends a message informing the fleet commander.

0706 – Two army privates, manning a mobile radar station in the hills above Opana Point, contact a lone aircraft but are not alarmed. However, soon afterward they receive signals of many more approaching planes so they report to the Officer at Fort Shafter who decides it is a formation of Army B-17s expected in Hawaii that day or aircraft from the USS ENTERPRISE and tells the soldiers not worry about it.

0748 – The first Japanese bombs land at Kaneohe Naval Air Station.

0755 – Hickam Air Field and Wheeler Air Field are hit simultaneously.

0757 – The cruiser USS RALEIGH is the first ship in Pearl Harbor to be hit, taking a torpedo in her port side. Within seconds, USS UTAH takes two direct hits and USS HELENA is hit by a torpedo directly midship. Her clock stops at 0757.

0800 – As the band plays the national anthem and the flag is being raised, the decks of the USS NEVADA are strafe by attacking planes. Not one member of the band or the Marine Corps color guard is hit but thee flag is in shreds.

0805 – Bombs begin falling in Honolulu. Roads leading to Pearl Harbor are strafed and three civilian employees on their way to work are killed. On a local radio station, announcer Webley Edwards repeats over and over, “This is not a maneuver…this is the real McCoy!”. At Hickam Field, three civilian firemen are killed and elsewhere city and plantation firemen are frantically battling blazing fires

Later assessments show that shells fell in 40 locations in the city; 68 civilians were killed, others were seriously wounded or hurt by the explosions, fires, and falling debris.

0850 – The second wave of 167 planes reaches Pearl Harbor and is met by a concentrated screen of anti-aircraft form from Americans finally able to mobilize and attempt retaliation.

After 0800 – The 12 B-17 bombers expected earlier at Hickam Field arrive to a scene of chaos and confusion, and an angry swarm of Japanese Zeros. The American planes had been disarmed to lighten the load and so have no means of defending themselves. However, though under ferocious attack, all manage to land safely.

Soon after, 18 dive bombers from the carrier USS ENTERPRISE arrive and are greeted with hostile fire from both Japanese nervous Americans. Thirteen of the planes finally land at Ford Island and ewa,  but only nine of them are undamaged. The survivors are refueled and take off a 1210 to join a vain hunt for the enemy force.

Between 0800 and 1100 – At Hickam and Wheeler Fields, aircraft, conveniently grouped together on the runways are devastated by enemy bombs and strafing. On the windward side of the island at Kaneohe, seaplanes on the ground are smashed an burned and personnel slaughtered in deadly strafing.. Of an estimated 394 planes at Oahu airfields that morning, only 11 fighter become airborne.

At Pearl Harbor, the devastation continues. Waters around Ford Island are covered with violently flaming oil slicks engulfing wounded men trying desperately to reach safety. Heroic acts are common place as small boats brave the burning sea to rescue the dying.

1000 – The last planes of the second wave depart to return to the Japanese carriers which have now edged 40 miles closer to the scene of battle.

1300 – All but 29 planes are safe aboard the Japanese carriers. Japanese pilots and personnel aboard the ships in the armada are ecstatic. They can not believe the completeness of the surprise, their incredibly low casualty rate, and the absence of any effective resistance. They are sure they have dealt a death blow to the American military structure. The Japanese commander of the air attack urgently recommends that the planes be refueled and allowed to return and attack again. but Fleet Commander Hagumo refuses.

1330 – The Japanese task force turns and heads for home.

Part II: President Roosevelt’s Address

Yesterday, December 7, 1941 Рa date which will live in infamy Рthe United State4s of America was suddenly and deliberately  attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of States a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

  • Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack on Malaya.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
  • Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam.
  • Last night Japanese Forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
  • Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our Nation. As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fat that our people, our territory, and ou interest are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, as state of has existed between the United States and Japanese Empire.”

Go to: Military.com/navy/pearl-harbor