Everyone thinks they know the whole story of Pearl harbor, but do you really know what happened that tragic day? One of the worst attacks in our counts history happened on a small island territory called AAU, Hawaii at 7:45 AM on December 7th, 1941 by the Japanese navy and air force. This attack was a complete surprise to America and was aimed at shaking her to its core with all the deaths of American servicemen. President Roosevelt addressed the nation after the attack with a famous speech starting with the words “Yesterday, Deck. , 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. ” Roosevelt chose his words very carefully, so why would he say, “December 7th 1941 “a date which will live in infamy”? Why will this date live on in history forever? The Planning and First Wave An idea by Admiral Scissor Hampton, one of Japan’s leaders, to attack American battleships was very ambitious, but he had no idea how to put the mission in action.
Commander Minor Agenda, a lower ranking official devised a mission to bomb Pearl Harbor. In early 1941 , Agenda was put in charge of the attack. Commander Minor Agenda had a formidable task at hand: to achieve a surprise attack on a large LIST Pacific fleet. The approved mission devised by Agenda called for three waves of attack; the first being 40 Making BUN carrier attack bombers to take off carrying a Type 91 aerial torpedo and fly in a tight formation. “The first attack (had) four designated battleships, then shift their attention to carriers.
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After crippling or sinking these ships, the attack would shift to the remaining battleships, then shift again to cruisers” (Swim). This plan was nearly impossible to accomplish and Agenda devised to empress the high Admirals. Agenda in actuality used a totally separate plan (thus disobeying his superiors) to have 90 Making BUN or ( nicknamed “Sates” by US forces) take off at 6:00 AM and split them in two different groups; torpedo and level bombing aircraft. Next Agenda took the 40 bombers with torpedoes and had them fly in four formations.
The planes would travel north of Pearl Harbor, ‘Where 1 6 torpedo bombers in two formations would separate to approach from the west and attack the carrier moorings, while 24 torpedo bombers in two formations would attack Battleship Row from the east. Immediately after, 50 more Sates acting as level bombers would attack from high altitude, dropping massive 1 , 760-pound armor-piercing bombs on the battleships sheltered from torpedo fire by other ships or dry docks” (Swim). That was just the first wave of aircraft, which was supposed to take no more than approximately three minutes in total.
Second Wave of Attack As the first wave was attacking Pearl Harbor, the second was taking off one hour after the first. The second wave was composed of 81 Chichi DAD dive- bombers all armed with 550 general purpose bombs able to penetrate the deck of a carrier. Most pilots of the second wave were told to only hit carriers and keep hitting them even if they were sunk or badly damaged. Agenda stuck to his guns and used twice as many planes to hit a carrier than a battleship, even though the battleships would take more torpedoes to sink them. The amount of firepower he assigned to the battleships would only damage them, not sink them.
During the second wave, American resistance was at its highest and the Japanese took heavy losses. However some planes were able to attack Bellows field, which was a US Air Force base and do damage to anything in the Japanese pilots way. The Potential Third Wave of Japanese Planes Many high level Japanese officials thought two waves of planes would suffice in crippling the US Pacific Fleet, but Agenda and other lower level officials thought otherwise. Agenda thought with a third wave, they could have planes target not planes or ships, but dry-docks, ammunition, and even fuel.
The goal was to destroy as much of pearl Harbor as possible, leaving it a waste land of burning fuel and no way to repair the ships damaged by the attack. Some present-day experts argue that if the Japanese were able to destroy as much of Pearl Harbor as possible, the damage would have had far ore impact to more than just ships. According to Harry Galley, if the Japanese were able to destroy dry-docks, ammunition, and even fuel, “serious [American] operations in the Pacific would have been postponed for more than a year’ (“Attack on Pearl Harbor”).
Fortunately, the Japanese did not launch this third wave, because Chichi Magnum, Commander of the First Air Fleet, thought that the first two attacks had done enough damage, thus completing the mission at hand: the naturalization of the Pacific Fleet. (“Attack on Pearl Harbor”). Looking back at history we what would have happened if he third wave was given the green light. Why did the Japanese Fail at Pearl Harbor? Even though the attack on Pearl Harbor was a devastating loss to America, at the hand of the Japanese, it could have been worse… Much worse.
The first key to the Japanese failing was the attack had poor planning; the whole attack hinged, on the act of surprise. What would happen if the Americans knew about the attack already? Was Agenda sending his pilots into a trap, thus creating a suicide mission? All of these questions went unanswered at the time, the attack would be a complete and utter shock to America. Another allure was that the Japanese assumed that the US Aircraft Carriers would be in port; they calculated wrong. The carriers were not near Pearl Harbor. The US Lexington Was on a mission to deliver 1 8 U. S.
Marine Corps Bought SCABS Vindicator dive bombers to the island of Midway and left on December 5th two days before the attack. The US Enterprise was on her way back to pearl Harbor, but did not make it to port until after the attack. She was able to launch some aircraft to help fight the Japanese attack. Hampton and Agenda both failed; the main targets, the aircraft carriers in port, were not there. The dead to attack the US Pacific fleet was ingenious and most Americans would agree that the attack was successful, “yet a detailed examination of the preparation and execution of the attack on the Pacific Fleet reveals a much different story.
Even after 10 months of arduous planning, rehearsal, and intelligence gathering, the attack was plagued by inflexibility, a lack of coordination, and miscalculated resources” (Swim). On the surface the attack looks like it went off meticulously and exactly to the plan but it did not. Now why attack a U. S. Territory and not U. S. Mainland? A brief look at why is given n Jeffery Record’s “The Mystery Of Pearl Harbor” “The United States could (and did) out produce Japan in every category of armaments, and although Japan could fight a war in East Asia and the western Pacific, it could not threaten the American homeland. If they attacked the US mainland, the Pacific Fleet could use all of its might to retaliate against the Japanese fleet. Also, the Japanese had to develop technology on how to refuel the aircraft carriers for the long trip to Hawaii and leaving the carriers unable to attack the LIST mainland and get back to Japan or a military base without running out of fuel or scuttling ships. If the Japanese did go through with the third wave of attack on Pearl Harbor, they were going to have to scuttle one or more destroyers just because they would not have enough fuel.
Even assuming that America did not know about the attack, the Japanese tipped their hand because a Japanese submarine was sunk near the entrance of Pearl Harbor. Also the Americans spotted two blips on radar in Hawaii, “Two early warnings of the approaching Japanese attack came, however both were ignored. At approximately 6:30 a. M. , a Japanese midget submarine was spotted and sunk near the entrance to Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter, an Army radar station n Coach’s north shore reported the sighting of planes about 50 miles away to the Watch Commander at Army information center at Fort Shaffer.
It was then reported to a Navy lieutenant. The Navy lieutenant believed they were U. S. Planes returning from a reconnaissance flight or B-1 g’s scheduled to arrive from California and the sighting was ignored” (Pearl Harbor AAU: The Attack, Attacked Facts and Information). If the Americans had seen the attack coming on radar and figured out it was not B-1 g’s, the story at Pearl Harbor would have been much different. The attack would have been a death trap for the Japanese pilots. Even though Japan started the war and won at Pearl Harbor, they had no way of winning a full scale war against the US. Paradoxically, the Japanese victory at Pearl Harbor firmly entrenched the seeds of the destruction of their navy, and near destruction of their nation” (Swim). Japan won the first battle in the Pacific front in WI, which gave them confidence and false hope that they could beat America. They could not defeat America in the war because we had a bigger military and better trained soldiers. The whole plan to win a war against the most powerful country and military in the world was a horrible decision on the Japanese part. Conclusion The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor had the opposite effect that the Japanese wanted it to have.
The months following the attack, many men and boys signed up to defend their county; many were enraged that the Japanese attacked the U. S. We lost many good men on the day ‘Winch will live in infamy’, but as Americans we rallied together to defeat an enemy that had started a war that it could not win. America asserted her dominance by dropping the two atomic bombs on Japan.