FASCINATING FACTS: 42 Interesting Facts About Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor facts – 42 Interesting facts about Pearl Harbor. The Pearl Harbor was a watershed in American Naval History. The sheer audacity of the Japanese attack was also helped by the American belief that Japan will only attack American interests overseas like in Philippines and Malaya. The attack took many months of planning and the credit goes to the Japanese who have managed to keep it a secret. Numerous investigation later revealed that the American intelligence was caught napping and did not analyze several leads which would have given a forewarning on an impending attack. Let’s explore more facts about Pearl Harbor attack.

The Pearl Harbor attack was an attack on the US Pacific Fleet, which was carried out without a declaration of war by Japan on December 7, 1941.

Japanese plane in hundreds attacked and sunk 21 warships, damaged 150 aircraft and more than 2000 Americans lost their life.

Pearl Harbor attack pulled US into World War II.

The actual attack started at 7:55 AM and lasted for 110 minutes.

The first wave of bombardment began at 7:55 AM and the second wave of attack started at 08:40 AM

It was one of the most secretive and audacious attacks on which the Japanese traveled more than 3,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The attacking force was stationed 230 miles north of the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

The actual planning of the attack was done by Admiral Yamamoto, commander-in-chief (C-in-C) of the Combined Fleet.

The plan was however opposed by an officer senior to Yamamoto, Admiral Nagano, the chief of the Naval General Staff.

The attacking fleet composed of six aircraft carriers, two battleships, and three cruisers.

Secrecy was of utmost importance since if the fleet was discovered accidentally the whole operation would have been jeopardized.

The operation was first named “Operation Hawaii” However for reasons unknown; it was changed to “Operation Z.”

The attack was composed of 353 planes, and the Nippon forces was led by Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo

The attack started when the Japanese Commander Mitsuo Fuchida called out, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” which in English meant, “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger. It was a coded message to the Japanese armada to start bombing since they had caught the Yankees totally by surprise.

The Japanese bombers had the typical roundels on their tail, which was referred by the US Servicemen as “meatballs,” the red circle which represented the Rising Sun

There were eight US battleships which included all the ships of the Pacific fleet.

All the ships were sunk or damaged. Leaving three ships, all the rest were repaired and saw action during WWII. The two ships were abandoned because of their obsolete technology.

Most of the battleships were sitting in shallow waters and could, therefore, be salvaged and returned to the fight.

Only three ships, Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma, were total losses, West Virginia and California, USS Tennessee, Maryland, Nevada, and Pennsylvania —were raised, repaired returned to service.

Submarine bases, repair and refueling facilities and fuel storage tanks were strangely ignored during the attack, making the American recovery easier.

The Japanese were able to cripple the US airplanes, and they were not able to mount any counter-attack on the Japanese bombers which attacked in waves.

Most of the planes were placed wingtip to wingtip as a security measure against sabotage. However, this made them sitting ducks for the Nippon bombers.

The airfields at Hickam Field, Wheeler Field, Bellows Field, Ewa Field, Schoefield Barracks, and Kaneohe Naval Air Station were hit.

The Japanese attack was timed for Sunday because of the belief that Americans take the day off and relax on Sundays.

The highest casualties were recorded aboard Arizona ship when a bomb exploded in its ammunition room. 1100 US servicemen onboard lost their life.

The USS Arizona had taken its full load of fuel, and this proved to be its nemesis as it caused a massive fireball. However some fuel remained intact, and it still leaks today, during the tides.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked the Congress to declare war on Japan, and his request was approved with only one dissenting vote. The single dissenting vote was of   Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a pacifist.

The Japanese were not able to destroy any aircraft carrier of the US Navy as none of them were present in Pearl Harbor at the time of attack

The aircraft carrier proved to become the backbone of the offensive campaign against the Japanese forces later in the war.

2,335 U.S. servicemen lost their lives, 1143 were wounded. 68 civilians were also killed, and 35 were injured. The Japanese lost 65 men, and one soldier was captured.

The service members who had survived the attack on the Pearl Harbor have the option of making the harbor their last resting place along with their fallen comrades.

The waters of the Pearl Harbor were shallow and unsuitable for conventional torpedoes. Therefore the Japanese secretly developed aerial torpedoes that could operate in such shallow water and bombs that could penetrate deck armor

In all 19 ships were sunk which included eight battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers and some supporting vessels.

It is often alleged that British intelligence had unearthed the plan by the Japanese to bomb Pearl Harbor and the details were also known to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Some writers contend that Roosevelt had advance knowledge of the attack and “allowed” it to occur so that he could take the United States into World War II.

Pearl Harbor was a part of the Kingdom of Hawaii and was never always a part of the US.

A treaty in 1875 enabled the Kingdom to ship sugar, the primary crop of the Kingdom to the US, tax-free.

The agreement allowed the US Navy to have exclusive access to the Pearl Harbor for coaling and repair station.

In 1899 after the fall of the Hawaiian Kingdom, US constructed a naval base in 1899.

Many places around the world are named for a stand-out feature, and Hawaiian name for Pearl Harbor was Wai Momi, which translates means “water of pearl,” a name was given by early Hawaiians for the abundance of pearl oysters.


America formally entered the WWII after the attack on Pearl Harbor

The country desperately needed machinery to manufacture military hardware. Detroit which was the centre of the Automotive industry was changed into a weapon manufacturing hub and made small arms to parts of huge bombers like B-29 and B-24 military planes

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