The Attack on Pearl Harbor
During the course of World War II, Japan demonstrated its power by conquering nearby countries and soon expanded into Southeast Asia. They had done everything right, but they made a mistake in the Pacific. That was attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. After the attack, the Japanese force began to fall in power. The attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was successful, but was one of the biggest mistakes Japan made during the World War II.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was calculated to the extreme, every single aspect was considered. From the planes to be used to what type of torpedoes were to be used. Winston Churchill described the attack as “an irrational act, with prudence or even with sanity” (Schroeder 200). But the truth was that Japan was realistic about their position, the attack was an act of desperation and to be in a better position in Asia (201). The reason for the attack was to keep the United States navy out of the western pacific for about six month, until the first stage of their operation had been completed, which was to conquer all of Southeast Asia (Prange 18). The plan for Pearl Harbor was for fighters to destroy parked planes at Wheeler Field and Kaneohe. The high level bombers to head for Hickam Field, and for torpedo planes and dive bombers to destroy the battleships in the harbor (Morison 56). In order to achieve their goal of destroying the battleships, it was necessary to devise an effective weapon for sinking them in shallow water. And it was necessary for the attacking carriers and their escorts to approach within two hundred miles of Hawaii without being discovered (Spector 81). The attack was carefully planned and carried into execution. By August, the plan was sufficiently advanced to warrant a start of actual preparation. The plan consisted of six carriers and an air strike force, screened by a squadron of nine destroyers (Buchanan 71). Training went into effect for the operation after final plans were made (Wohlstetter 350). Admiral Yamamoto firmly opposed to war with the United States because he thought the defeat was inevitable, but soon he was persuade to accept the plan (360). A successful operation but a fatal one was about to begin.
The attack itself was very successful, taking out most of the battleships in the harbor. The strike force reached its predetermined launching position in the morning of December 7th, and the strike began (Buchanan 72). Under vice admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the strike force was a strong and well organized group. Having two things in mind and that was wiping out the major part of the pacific fleet and to destroy all military aircraft (Morison 46). A total of 81 Japanese fighters, dive bombers, and torpedo planes were used in the operation. It was the most modern, highly trained and deadly naval force in the world (Spector 1). As the planes approached the harbor, an officer on duty detected them on the radar. He reported immediately to the office, but the person who received the report was inexperienced in the use of radar and confused the aircraft with allied planes which were expected to arrive that morning (Buchanan 73). So the Japanese planes were able to get to their target without any resistance. What made things even worst was that it was a Sunday morning and most of the officers were still in bed, and many senior officers and chief petty officers were on weekend leave (Morison 60). The first phase of the attack consisted of time torpedo and dive bombers attacking the battleships which were lined up in rows. The second phase was a series of high level bombing attacks on the harbor taking out military facilities and battleships that still looked undamaged (Buchanan 74). What made the attack seemed so easy was that the battleships were lined up in rows and the pilots knew exactly where they were, completely unprotected from torpedo attacks (Morison 59). After a series of attack, Pearl harbor was left in ruin by the Japanese air force. The Japanese were able to wipe out most of the Pacific Fleet and delay the United State’s progress.
After the attack was over, eight battleships were damaged with five sunk. Eleven