Week of Death – Day 5

Sorry for the late post but the town I live in was celebrating the Pagan-Christian holiday of Christmas tonight with a parade and my kiddies were on one of the floats. Today’s entry for the Week of Death will hardly be a surprise to anyone as this is the “date which will live in infamy”.

December 7, 1941 – Japan attacks Pearl Harbor

If all you know about Pearl Harbor (which I spell in my Canadianese “Harbour”) is what you learned from watching the dreadful movie “Pearl Harbor” a few years back then I want to set a few things straight:

1. The sole Japanese target at Pearl Harbor was not the Battleships, but the Aircraft Carriers. Battleship are big and fearsome but they are not an ideal offensive weapon. The carriers and the planes they held was the threat that Japan sought to eliminate. As the carriers were at sea then the Battleships by default became the next capital target to eliminate. Japan would pay dearly for not finding and destoying the carrier during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

2. Ships need fuel to run, had the fuel stores at Pearl been destroyed the United States Navy would have been forced to send her fleet to San Francisco for refueling. This would have added weeks on to the sailing time for the fleet and would have left the USN effectively guarding the coast till fuel stores could be replenished (this would take at least a year to do). The point – failing to find the Aircraft Carriers the primary target should have been the fuel stores (and the Dockyard that would repair the ships) at Pearl as all of the Pacific fleet ships need these fuel stores to continue operations. This was a fatal oversight in the operational planning by Japan.

3. 2,388 Americans were killed at Pearl Harbor and another 1,178 wounded. While Japan scored a major tactical at Pearl the attack must be viewed as one of the key strategic blunders of the war and is equal to Hitler’s stupid decision to invade Russia. Neither Ben Affleck or that Josh Harnett guy were harmed at any time during World War II.

4. Six Battleships were damaged or destroyed at Pearl Harbor. Of the battleships, 2 were destroyed outright, another 3 were sunk, and the sixth (USS Nevada) ran herself aground to avoid sinking and blocking the harbor. The four damaged battleships were all eventually repaired and served in combat against Japan. The United States of America declared war on Japan (and Germany) the next day. The Pacific Fleet quickly recovered and the following June trounced the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway. The surrender ceremony for Japan on September 2, 1945 was held on the deck of the Battleship USS Misouri.

Other linky links: Mitchieville’s newest blogger, Steamboat McGoo, has an excellent Pearl Harbor post at his blog ‘ Aardvarks and Asshats ’. The web contains millions of pages on this topic but I suggest starting here .

Week of Death total: 36,338 and still two days to go

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 , Day 5, Day 6, Day 7

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