THE JAPANESE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR, 7 DECEMBER 1941

"A date which will live in infamy."
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The first attack Wave is launched at 6a.m, 7 December 1941

Before dawn on 7 December 1941 the Japanese carrier strike force reached a position about 274 miles (440 km) north of the Hawaiian Islands and prepared to launch its attack force of 353 aircraft in two waves. At 6 a.m. the first wave of 183 torpedo bombers, dive bombers, level bombers and escorting fighters took off from the carriers and headed for the island of Oahu where Pearl Harbor and the capital city Honolulu are located. The leader of the first attack wave, Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, used a Honolulu radio broadcast to home in on his target.

Crewmen of the aircraft carrier Shokaku scream "Banzai" as a Japanese Nakajima Type 97 torpedo bomber (Allied code-name "Kate") roars down the flight deck on its way to deliver a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at its Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii on 7 December 1941.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

At 7.49 a.m. the Japanese formation was over Oahu and Fuchida gave a signal for sections of the first wave to disperse and attack their designated targets. Forty torpedo bombers headed for Pearl Harbor where seven of eight elderly American battleships lay at anchor in "battleship row" on the eastern side of Ford Island. Fifty-one dive bombers left the first wave and climbed to their attack height of twelve thousand feet (3,657 metres). Fuchida led his forty-nine level bombers in a wide sweep of the island to approach Pearl Harbor from the west. While the torpedo bombers were lining up to attack the anchored battleships in the harbor, other sections of the first wave were preparing to attack Army, Navy and Marine Corps airbases, airfields, and barracks on Oahu. No American fighters or artillery bursts greeted the Japanese bombers as they approached Pearl Harbor, and at 7.53 a.m., the exultant Fuchida was able to transmit the code words "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!) to Akagi to signify that complete surprise had been achieved. At 7.55 a.m. the Japanese first wave began its attack.

Review of 20th Century Fox Pearl Harbor attack film "Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

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