"Yesterday, Dec. 7, 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."

Franklin D. Roosevelt.  

It was Dec. 8, the day after Pearl Harbor, when the United States declared war against Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack led to the United States' entry into World War II.

The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese fighter planes, bombers, and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, Hiryū, Shōkaku, and Zuikaku). The first attack wave of 183 planes was launched north of Oahu, led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida: 89 B5Ns, 51 Aichi D3As, and 43 A6Ms. The second planned wave consisted of 171 planes: 54 B5Ns, 81 D3As, and 36 A6Ms, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki. In the two waves, ten planes failed to launch because of technical difficulties.

Imperial Japanese Fleet submarines I-16, I-18, I-20, I-22, and I-24 each embarked a Type A midget submarine for transport to the waters off Oahu and launched them to attack.

The attack lasted 110 minutes, from 7:55 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. A total of 2,335 U.S. servicemen were killed (2,008 sailors, 218 soldiers and airmen, and 109 marines) 1,143 were wounded (710 sailors, 364 soldiers and airmen, and 69 marines). Sixty-eight civilians were also killed and 35 were wounded. In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded. All of the Americans killed or wounded during the attack were non-combatants, given the fact there was no state of war when the attack occurred.

Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships. All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 

Of the 402 American aircraft in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged, 155 of them on the ground. At the time of the attack, nine civilian aircraft were flying in the vicinity of Pearl Harbor. Of these, three were shot down.

Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. 

Of the American servicemen who were present during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 15 received a Medal of Honor, 51 received a Navy Cross, 53 received a Silver Star, 4 received a Navy and Marine Corp Medal, 4 received Distinguished Crosses, 1 received a Distinguished Flying Cross, 1 received a Distinguished Service medal, and three received Bronze Star Medals.

Japanese losses were light: 29 were lost during the battle (nine in the first attack wave, 20 in the second), with another 74 damaged by antiaircraft fire from the ground. Fifty-five Japanese airmen were killed in the attack. Five midget submarines were lost (four sunk and one captured), 9 sailors were killed in the attack and one was captured.

General view of Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941 (Via Wikimedia - U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.029.034)

Aerial view from Japanese plane taken during the early moments of the Pearl Harbor attack, circa 07:55 hrs on 7 December 1941. The view is about southeast across the Middle Loch, with Honolulu and Diamond Head in the right distance. Torpedoes have just struck USS West Virginia (BB-48) and USS Oklahoma (BB-37) on the far side of Ford Island. On the near side of the island, toward the left, USS Utah (AG-16) and USS Raleigh (CL-7) have already been torpedoed. Fires are burning at the seaplane base, at the right end of Ford Island. Across the channel from the seaplane base, smoke along 1010 Dock indicates that USS Helena (CL-50) has also been torpedoed (Via Wikimedia - U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.029.021)

Panorama view of Pearl Harbor, during the Japanese raid on 7 December 1941, with anti-aircraft shell bursts overhead. The photograph looks southwesterly from the hills behind the harbor. Large column of smoke in lower right center is from the burning USS Arizona (BB-39). Smoke somewhat further to the left is from the destroyers Shaw (DD-373), Cassin (DD-372) and Downes (DD-375), in drydocks at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard (Via Wikimedia - Official U.S. Navy photograph 80-G-32792)

Pearl Harbor attack- Aerial view after the attack. An Imperial Japanese Navy Nakajima B5N2 torpedo plane (Kanko) from the aircraft carrier Zuikaku in the foreground over Hickam field. USS California is visible in center, and tanker USS Neosho is off Kuahua, en route to Merry Point. Smoke from Drydocks, Battleship row in distance. Japanese caption reads: "Pearl Harbor in flame and smoke, gasping helplessly under the severe pounding of our Sea Eagles" (Via Wikimedia - Official U.S. Navy photograph 80-G-21218)

Smoke from Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field as seen from Kan Highway near John Rodgers Airport Road, 7 December 1941. Note the railroad tracks in the foreground (Via Wikimedia - United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b34789)

A view taken around 0926 hrs during the Pearl Harbor Attack in the morning of 7 December 1941, from an automobile on the road in the Aiea area, looking about WSW with destroyer moorings closest to the camera. In the center of the photograph are: the destroyer tender USS Dobbin (AD-3), with destroyers USS Hull (DD-350), USS Dewey (DD-349), USS Worden (DD-352) and USS MacDonough (DD-351) alongside. The ship just to the left of that group is USS Phelps(DD-360), which got underway on two boilers around 0926 hrs. The group further to the right consists of: the destroyer tender USS Whitney (AD-4), with destroyers USS Conyngham (DD-371), USS Reid (DD-369), USS Tucker (DD-374), USS Case (DD-370) and USS Selfridge (DD-357) alongside. The hospital ship USS Solace (AH-5) is barely visible at the far left (Via Wikimedia - Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-33045 from the U.S. Navy Naval History and Heritage Command)

View of the burning ships in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on 7 December 1941. Note the beached repair ship USS Vestal (AR-4) in the right foreground (Via Wikimedia - U.S. Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation photo No. 1996.488.029.030)


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