Bill Hillman's
AS YOU WERE . . .
WAR YEARS ECLECTICA
A Military Nostalgia Webzine
December 2009 Edition

ARCHIVAL US NAVY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE
1941 JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR
On Sunday, December 7th, 1941m the Japanese launched a surprise attack against the U.S. Forces stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By planning this attack on a Sunday, the Japanese commander Admiral Nagumo, hoped to catch the entire fleet in port. As luck would have it, the aircraft carriers and one of the battleships were not in port. (The USS Enterprise was returning from Wake Island, where it had just delivered some aircraft. The USS Lexington was ferrying aircraft to Midway, and the USS Saratoga and USS Colorado were undergoing repairs in the United States.) 

In spite of the latest intelligence reports about the missing aircraft carriers (his most important targets), Admiral Nagumo decided to continue the attack with his force of six carriers and 423 aircraft. At a range of 230 miles north of  Oahu, he launched the first wave of a two-wave attack. Beginning at 0600 hours his first wave consisted of 183 fighters and torpedo bombers which struck at the fleet in Pearl Harbor and the airfields in Hickam, Kaneohe and Ewa. The second strike, launched at 0715 hours, consisted of 167 aircraft, which again struck at the same targets. 

At 0753 hours the first wave consisting of 40 Nakajima B5N2 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 'Val' dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros struck airfields and Pearl Harbor. Within the next hour, the second wave arrived and continued the attack. 

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When it was over, the U.S. Losses were: 

Casualties 
US Army: 218 KIA, 364 WIA. 
US Navy: 2,008 KIA, 710 WIA. 
US MarineCorp: 109 KIA, 69 WIA. 
Civilians: 68 KIA, 35 WIA. 
TOTAL: 2,403 KIA, 1,178 WIA. 

Battleships 
USS Arizona (BB-39) - total loss when a bomb hit her magazine. 
USS Oklahoma (BB-37) - Total loss when she capsized and sank in the harbor. 
USS California (BB-4 4) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired. < /div> 
USS West Virginia (BB-48) - Sunk at her berth. Later raised and repaired. 
USS Nevada - (BB-36) Beached to prevent sinking. Later repaired. 
USS Pennsylvania (BB-38) - Light damage. 
USS Maryland (BB-46) - Light damage. 
USS Tennessee (BB-43) Light damage. 
USS Utah (AG-16) - (former battleship used as a target) - Sunk. 

Cruisers 
USS New Orleans (CA-32) - Light Damage.. 
USS San Francisco (CA-38) - Light Damage. 
USS Detroit (CL-8) - Light Damage. 
USS Raleigh (CL-7) - Heavily damaged but repaired. 
USS Helena (CL-50) - Light Damage. 
USS Honolulu (CL-48) - Light Damage.. 

Destroyers 
USS Downes (DD-375) - Destroyed. Parts salvaged. 
USS Cassin - (DD -3 7 2) Destroyed. Parts salvaged. 
USS Shaw (DD-373) - Very heavy damage. 
USS Helm (DD-388) - Light Damage. 

Minelayer 
USS Ogala (CM-4) - Sunk but later raised and repaired. 

Seaplane Tender 
USS Curtiss (AV-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired. 

Repair Ship 
USS Vestal (AR-4) - Severely damaged but later repaired. 

Harbor Tug 
USS Sotoyomo (YT-9) - Sunk but later raised and repaired. 

Aircraft 
188 Aircraft destroyed (92 USN and 92  U.S. Army Air Corps.) 

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URBAN LEGEND
An unusual claim often accompanies these photos on the Web - a claim that has been well discredited by the Snopes Urban Legends site:
Claim:   Photographs show images of Pearl Harbor taken by a sailor in December 1941 and recently found in an old Brownie camera stored in a foot locker. THESE PHOTOS ARE FROM A SAILOR WHO WAS ON THE USS QUAPAW ATF-11O. INTERESTING, I THINK THEY'RE SPECTACULAR. 

Origins:   These images appear to be genuine photographs of the Japanese attack on American military forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on 7 December 1941, but not as claimed in the accompanying text all of them pictures taken by a sailor with a Brownie camera that remained undiscovered in a footlocker for many decades. 

For a "sailor" to have snapped pictures from all the perspectives shown above, he would had to have been in the harbor aboard his ship, on the ground, and aloft in an airplane all while the attack was in progress. Moreover, the ship on which this wide-ranging sailor supposedly served, the first USS Quapaw, wasn't even built until well after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Most (if not all) of these images are readily identifiable as archivalU.S. Navy photos that have been available since the early 1940s and have appeared in countless articles and books about the Pearl Harbor attack. 

Thanks to Catherine Brockway for submitting the above photos.


For more eye-witness accounts on the Pearl Harbor attack see:

The Unreleased Files of Robert W. Brockway, Ph.D.
. 
The Personal Diary of
Dr. Robert W. Brockway
The Month of 
December 1941
with 
Pearl Harbor attack entries
Plus
Edgar Rice Burroughs: The War Years Series
Featuring
Edgar Rice Burroughs at Pearl Harbor
The ERB / USS Shaw Connection

 
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