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  1. #1 Pearl Harbor Day 2018: 25 Striking Photos of the Hawaii Attack 
    eeeevil Sith Admin SarasotaRepub's Avatar
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    By H. Alan Scott On 12/7/18 at 8:31 AM

    December 7, 1941, at 7:48 a.m. local time, 353 Imperial Japanese aircrafts bombed eight U.S. Navy ships docked at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Some 2,403 Americans were killed, 1,178 more were wounded and 960 were declared missing. As an event, it ignited U.S. involvement in the ongoing Second World War. Every year since, Americans from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii have honored those that died and remember the day that will “live in infamy," to quote then-President Franklin Roosevelt.

    "Yesterday, December 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,” Roosevelt said in an address to Congress the day after the attack. He later added, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

    The attack was a surprise. Many U.S. servicemen were still in their pajamas or eating breakfast when the bombing started. All eight ships lined up on what was called "Battleship Row" were critically damaged or destroyed altogether. The USS Arizona exploded after a bomb hit its forward magazine (ammunition room), killing all 1,100 servicemen on board. Eleven other ships were sunk over the course of the attack and 188 planes destroyed.

    In addition to Pearl Harbor, Japan also attacked U.S.-held bases in the Philippines, Guam and Wake Island over a seven-hour period. Because there never was a formal declaration of war from Japan, the country was later charged with war crimes during the Tokyo Trial in 1946.

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    Power CUer SVPete's Avatar
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    All eight USN battleships present at PH were at least damaged. Like any nation of the time that had a significant navy, US battleships (BBs) evolved over time. They were usually built in pairs. Three USN BBs had armor schemes and an engine type that were not the USN's current technology, and were deemed not suited for service in the Pacific. These were USS Arkansas, New York, and Texas (Arkansas' class leader, USS Wyoming, had already been scrapped). To counter the German battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz, the three New Mexico class BBs had been moved from PH to the Atlantic. These had twelve 14"/50 guns, the modern "all or nothing" armor layout (vital areas armored fully, areas not critical to mission and survival had just structural steel), and turbine engines (the then modern type).

    Stationed at PH, in order of age, were:

    * The two Nevada class BBs (class leader and USS Oklahoma), which were the first class to have "all or nothing" armor; Oklahoma had the older technology vertical triple expansion engines, making her slower and more susceptible to engine problems; Nevada had turbine engines; both had ten 14"/45 main guns;

    * The two Pennsylvania class BBs (class leader and USS Arizona), which had twelve 14"/45 main guns; the New Mexicos were the follow-on class, with 50 caliber guns;

    * The two Tennessee class BBs (class leader and USS California), which had twelve 14"/50 main guns and an armor scheme that was termed "standard";

    * Two Colorado class BBs (Colorado was at Bremerton being upgraded; Maryland and West Virginia were at PH); these had eight 16"/45 main guns.

    Along with the "all or nothing" armor scheme, it was also USN practice to armor USN BBs with armor sufficient to defeat the ships' own guns. This is relevant, because the "bomb" that penetrated USS Arizona's magazine was actually an adapted 16" armor-piercing shell of the type used by the IJN's Nagato class battleships. Arizona's guns were 14", and her armor was designed for that size and velocity shell.

    The USS Oklahoma's fate was different. She had torpedo blisters, though the USN may not have known the power of the IJN's torpedoes. Oklahoma's misfortune was that the first two torpedoes that hit her hit close together. The blisters prevented damage to the inner hull, but the third torpedo hit in the same area, penetrating the ship's hull. The crew could not counter-flood quickly or adequately, so Oklahoma capsized soon after the fatal hit. Because of the degree of damage, Oklahoma's slower engines and "only" ten main guns, she was deemed not worth repairing.

    The remaining six BBs were raised, repaired, and upgraded to the degree needed and possible. Five of them fought in the 1944 night surface battle at Surigao Straight (USS Nevada was in the Atlantic, assisting the landings at Normandy and southern France).

    The worst, horrific, loss was the ~2400 men. Most of these had years or decades of Navy and Army service, as well as family and friends. A really large number of experienced sailors, airmen, and ground crew were lost that day. When they came back into service, the six BBs (and three of the New Mexico class) mostly did invasion fire support. They were not fast enough to sail with the aircraft carriers. Metal can be repaired or replaced. People, not so much.

    Of the six IJN carriers that carried out the PH attack, Akagi, Hiryu, Kaga, and Soryu were sunk at the 1942 Battle of Midway. Shokaku and Zuikaku served longer, in several more battles, but were sunk in 1944 (defending the Marianas and the Philippines, respectively). The two battleships escorting the carriers, Hiei and Kirishima, were sunk in two November, 1942 battles in the Solomon Islands. Those men also had family and friends, and they were killed due to the bad decisions of Japan's leaders.

    At the time of the PH attack, the USN's carriers (CVs) were in the Atlantic (USS Ranger, Yorktown, Wasp, and Hornet), in San Diego (USS Saratoga), or out to sea (USS Lexington and Enterprise). Of these, Ranger was deemed not suited to Pacific service (serving mostly in the Atlantic), and in the Pacific Saratoga and Enterprise were the only pre-war CVs that survived. These fought, some sunk in battle, and held the line until 1943, when the Essex class CVs and Independence class light carriers (CVLs; converted from under construction light cruisers) started streaming into the Pacific.

    As mentioned, the older BBs - built in the early 1920s and earlier - were not fast enough to steam with the CVs. At the time of PH the two North Carolina class fast battleships were being worked up. Under construction were the four South Dakota fast battleship. North Carolina, Washington (NC class), and SoDak fought in the Solomons Campaign in 1942. And later in the war came the four Iowa class BBs. And, of course, numerous cruisers, destroyers and submarines.

    The IJN could not keep pace. The IJN did several marginally useful light carriers converted from merchant ships, one full size purpose-built carrier sunk by submarine while sailing to its first battle, 2 or 3 purpose-built light carriers, and one full-sized carrier converted from a battleship during construction (which was sunk by a submarine while being worked up). As to battleships, the IJN Yamato joined the fleet around the time of PH. Her sister Musashi joined the fleet later, and it was their sister Shinano that was converted to an aircraft carrier. Of the 12 (IIRC) battleship the IJN had - pre-war and built during the war - just two survived, Haruna and Nagato. All were sunk at sea, except for Mutsu (Nagato's sister), which suffered a magazine explosion while at anchor in Tokyo Bay.
    Last edited by SVPete; 12-07-2018 at 02:19 PM.
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