Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
2017.12 Edition

Presenting 20 High Quality, Colourized Photos of
The Event that Plunged the USA into WWII in 1941

 On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on American soil at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii.

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.

(colourised by Royston Leonard) WW2 Colourised Photos  and   Colourise History
Click for larger images

 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 of Hawaii.

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 Japan)

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 aircraft.
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 the Oklahoma.

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 ordered abandoned.
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 burning
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 damage occurred.
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 repair.

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) 

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