Bill Hillman's Monthly
AS YOU WERE . . .
WAR YEARS ECLECTICA
THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
Presenting 20 High Quality,
Colourized Photos of
The Event that Plunged the
USA into WWII in 1941
Click for larger images
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise
attack on American soil at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base near Honolulu,
Just before 8 a.m. on that Sunday morning, hundreds of
Japanese fighter planes descended on the base,
where they managed to destroy or damage nearly 20 American
naval vessels, including eight battleships, and over 300 airplanes.
More than 2,400 Americans died in the attack, including
civilians, and another 1,000 people were wounded.
Sadly the same date largely forgotten in the UK
when the British Empire was also attacked by Japan.
The day after the assault, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
asked Congress to declare war on Japan.
Lieutenant Ichiro Kitajima, group leader
of the Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carrier Kaga’s Nakajima B5N bomber
group, briefs his flight crews about the Pearl Harbor raid, which will
take place the next day.
A diagram of Pearl Harbor and the aircraft’s attack plan
is chalked on the deck.
(Carrier Kaga's fate: Scuttled after being heavily damaged
by a US air attack at the Battle of Midway on 4 June 1942)
(Photo source - Chihaya Collection)
(Colorized by Irootoko jr from Japan)
"Tora, Tora, Tora"
Nakajima B5N2 attack bomber taking off from the Japanese
Imperial Navy aircraft carrier 'Akagi', on the first attack wave on Pearl
Harbor at approx 06.00hrs on Sunday 7 December 1941
The attack was carried out by six aircraft carriers (Akagi,
Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku). 353 fighters, bombers and torpedo
planes (the first wave of 183 dive bombers, torpedo bombers, level bombers
and fighters)were launched in two waves from a task force of northwest
The Nakajima B5N was armed with improvised weapons for
this attack - the torpedoes had to be given wooden fins to prevent them
from hitting the bottom of the shallow harbor, while the 'bombs' were actually
16in naval shells with tail fins. There were 40 torpedo armed B5Ns and
fifty bomb-armed B5Ns in the first wave and fifty-five bomb armed B5Ns
in the second wave. At this point the Japanese aircraft were manned by
highly skilled crews, and the torpedo bombers claimed a 90% hit rate.
Captain Mitsuo Fuchida's B5N2 'Kate' lead the way and
at 0749 sent the coded signal "To, To, To" (Totsugeskiseyo - "charge")
to his 51 D3A dive bombers, 40 B5N torpedo bombers, 50 B5N high level bombers
and 43 A6M fighters. At 0753 he sent the message Tora, Tora, Tora, back
to the Japanese Fleet meaning the operation was successful. Fuchida remained
on site to assess the damage from both attack waves and returned to the
Akagi with 20 large anti-aircraft holes.
(Colorized by Irootoko jr from
1.Vertical aerial view of "Battleship Row" at
Pearl Harbor, beside Ford Island, during the early part of the horizontal
bombing attack on the ships moored there. Photographed from a Japanese
Ships seen are (from left to right): USS Nevada; USS
Arizona with USS Vestal moored outboard; USS Tennessee with USS West Virginia
moored outboard; USS Maryland with USS Oklahoma moored outboard; and USS
Neosho, only partially visible at the extreme right.
A bomb has just hit 'Arizona' near the stern, but she
has not yet received the bomb that detonated her forward magazines. 'West
Virginia' and 'Oklahoma' are gushing oil from their many torpedo hits and
are listing to port. Oklahoma´s port deck edge is already under water.
'Nevada' has also been torpedoed.
Note the torpedo trail in the water into the side of
2. The USS Shaw explodes during the
Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
3. The USS Shaw burns in Pearl Harbor.
Japanese bombers hit the forward portion of the ship
with three bombs.
The resulting fires proved uncontrollable, and Shaw was
Soon after, her forward ammunition magazines detonated
in a spectacular blast, completely removing her bow.
4. Sailors stand among wrecked airplanes at Ford Island
Naval Air Station
as they watch the explosion of the USS Shaw in the background,
during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
13. The twisted remains of the destroyer USS SHAW burning
in floating drydock at Pearl Harbor after the attack.
5. Sailors try to salvage a burning Catalina flying boat
at the Ford Island Navy Base
6. The battleships USS West Virginia and USS Tennessee
after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
7. A small boat rescues a seaman from the 31,800 ton
USS West Virginia (BB-48),
which is burning in the foreground.
Smoke rolling out amidships shows where the most extensive
Note the two men in the superstructure. The USS Tennessee
(BB-43) is inboard.
8. The battleship USS West Virginia is seen afire
after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor
9. The flagship, USS California
10. The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples
over into the sea
during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.
It's the superstructure that's leaning forward
and to the side.
The hull settled straight down in an upright position.
11. The USS California sinks into the mud of Pearl Harbor
12. The USS Maryland, a battleship moored inboard of
the USS Oklahoma,
which capsized, was damaged slightly in the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor
14. USS Pennsylvania, behind the wreckage of USS Downes
and USS Cassin
15. The USS Cassin Destroyer (DD-372) was decommissioned
and destroyed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Named after Stephen Cassin, a United States naval officer,
the USS Cassin Destroyer was in dry-ock during the attack. An incendiary
bomb exploded a nearby ship’s fuel tanks, which caused an uncontrollable
fire to take place on the USS Cassin and damaged the ship’s hulls beyond
There is a happy ending to the story of the USS Cassin.
Her machinery and equipment were salvaged and sent to the Mare Island Navy
Yard after the attack and an entirely new ship was built around the salvaged
material and given the wrecked ship’s names and hull numbers.
The USS Cassin reported back to Pearl Harbor on April
22, 1944 after being recommissioned February 5, 1944 – less than three
years after the Pearl Harbor attack.
(Colourised by Richard James Molloy)
16. Battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) temporarily
beached on Hospital Point and burning at 0925 hrs on Sunday 7 December
1941 after being hit forward by Japanese bombs and torpedoes.
The harbor Tugboat 'Hoga' (YT-146) is alongside Nevada's
port bow, helping to fight fires on the battleship's forecastle.
Aft of 'Arizona' during the attack, 'Nevada' was not
moored alongside another battleship off Ford Island, and therefore was
able to maneuver, unlike the other seven battleships present.
'Nevada' became a prime target for Japanese Val dive bombers
during the second wave. Japanese pilots intended to sink her in the channel
ostensibly to block the harbor.
As bomb damage became evident, 'Nevada' was ordered to
proceed to the west side of Ford Island to prevent her from sinking in
deeper water. Instead, she was grounded off Hospital Point, with the help
of Hoga and Avocet, though she managed to force down three planes before
she struck the shore.
Over the course of the morning, 'Nevada' suffered a total
of 60 killed and 109 wounded.
(Official U.S. Navy Photograph 80-G-19940)
(Colourised by Doug)
Click for full-size collages
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