Saturday, December 07, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 231: December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor . . . a reminder of the impact of underestimating a potential enemy

Today is Pearl Harbor day, not only a solemn reminder of grim history, but also a reminder of the possibilities of a devastating surprise attack by an under-estimated potential enemy. 

Here (HT: Wiki)  is a strategic level map of the sortie and strike, showing also how the US Carriers were out of Pearl Harbor:

Wikipedia reports:
View of the attack in progress, from a Japanese aircraft, showing
a torpedo hit on USS Oklahoma in Battleship Row, Ford Island.
Attacking IJN aircraft can also be seen. (HT: Wiki)
The attack on Pearl Harbor[nb 4] was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan). The attack led to the United States' entry into World War II.

The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States. There were simultaneous Japanese attacks on the U.S.-held Philippines and on the British Empire in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong.

USS Arizona -- now a monument
-- explodes. 1,177 officers and men
were killed on the USS Arizona,
many being trapped alive
in the sunken hull. This
is almost half the death toll. (HT: Wiki)
From the standpoint of the defenders, the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time.[13] The base was attacked by 353[14] Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.[14] All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk. All but one were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship,[nb 5] and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed[16] and 1,282 wounded. Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. The following day (December 8), the United States declared war on Japan. Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been strong,[17] disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance. Subsequent operations by the U.S. prompted Germany and Italy to declare war on the U.S. on December 11, which was reciprocated by the U.S. the same day.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, "a date which will live in infamy".
This is all history, grim history from seventy-two years ago.

But, it is history we must not forget as we see Iran moving ever closer to having the nuclear weapons that make the genocide it has repeatedly threatened Israel with a practical proposition. END