Harbor, 7 December 1941
Japanese Aircraft during and after the Raid
Japanese planes attacked in two
waves. The first wave, arriving just before 8AM, began
its assault with dive-bombing and straffing against Navy
and Army airfields to ensure that there would be a
minimum of opposition from U.S. fighter planes, and to
reduce the risk of a counterattack by American bombers
and patrol planes. Almost simultaneously, torpedo planes
roared in low over Pearl Harbor, launching their weapons
against warships moored on both sides of Ford Island and
at the Navy Yard's 1010 Dock. Shortly after 8AM,
high-flying horizontal bombers paraded in formation over
"Battleship Row", dropping their heavy
armor-piercing bombs on the ships below. Having achieved
great results, the first wave departed the scene about a
half hour after it appeared.
The second Japanese wave hit about
fifteen minutes after the first had departed, and
delivered dive bombing, horizontal bombing and fighter
machine gun attacks over the next hour. It did more
damage to airfields, struck targets in and around the
Navy Yard, and pummeled USS Nevada, the only U.S.
battleship to get underway. At about 0945 on the morning
of 7 December 1941, their assigned missions successfully
completed, the last Japanese planes left the area to
return to their carriers.
Total Japanese aircraft losses were
light, only 29 planes, nine of them in the first wave.
The second attack wave, arriving over targets that were
alert and intensely motivated, faced much heavier
anti-aircraft fire and lost twenty of its number. Several
of the downed planes fell in or near Pearl Harbor or the
other targets and were recovered for technical
examination, as was one "Zero" fighter that
crash landed on a remote island in the Hawaiian group.
These provided U.S. intelligence with its first close-up
look at the new enemy's latest aerial equipment.
(credits: US Navy History Center)