Public Domain, Link
Everyone has heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War 2, but how much do you really know? 2390 Americans were killed and 1178 were wounded. Although it seems very different, Pearl Harbor was very much the same as the attack on The World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001. Imagine standing on the deck of your battleship and seeing the first wave of a total of 353 enemy planes headed straight for you! Did you know that during the attack, American sailors and pilots shot down 29 Japanese planes? This article will focus on the tragic loss of life and devastation inflicted by the Japanese military during their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
The Japanese Attack Plan
The Japanese planned their attack in waves. The first wave had a total of 183 planes and 5 midget submarines. A midget sub holds two people and is used to cut through underwater cables protecting the ships in the harbor. The second attack wave had 170 planes, including torpedo planes, fighter planes, and bombers. A total of 353 planes were transported across the Pacific on six aircraft carriers. 24 battleships escorted the fleet.
Moving Base, Unprepared For Attack, Entering World War 2
The American Pacific fleet was moved from San Diego to Honolulu, Hawaii, to create a Pacific force that could possibly defend against the advancement of Japanese forces, which had already secured the Philippines. America created an oil embargo on the Pacific rim, cutting off oil supports to Japan. Army General Hideki Tojo took over as Prime Minister for Japan and told Japan to “ Get ready for war.”
The Tragic losses
On the morning of December 7, 1941, twenty-one American ships were hit with bombs and torpedoes, including all eight of the great battleships. Not all of the ships were destroyed, but many were badly damaged. Other ships such as the USS Arizona, Pennsylvania, Cassin, Shaw, and Downes were also destroyed. 2390 American sailors and 1178 were wounded, for a total of 3568 casualties.
The attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941 is forever remembered as the most brutal and devastating attack on American soil up until that point in history. It served as the American entry point into World War 2. Although many, many thousands more soldiers and sailors sacrificed their lives over the next four years, we will always remember this day over all others.