Just before Morning Colors aboard the ships of the US Pacific Fleet, a massive wave of Japanese carrier borne fighters, dive bombers, horizontal bombers, and torpedo bombers struck heart of the fleet at Pearl Harbor, and the airfields and other installations across the island of Oahu.
A spoiling attack to deny the US the ability to stop Japanese thrusts in the western Pacific, it was one of the most one sided victories in naval history.
- USS Arizona- sunk, with terrible loss of life
- USS Oklahoma- sunk
- USS West Virginia- sunk
- USS California- sunk
- USS Nevada- damaged and beached
- USS Tennessee- damaged
- USS Maryland- damaged
- USS Pennsylvania- damaged
- USS Utah- sunk
- USS Helena- damaged
- USS Raleigh- damaged
- USS Honolulu- damaged
- USS Cassin- effectively destroyed
- USS Downes- effectively destroyed
- USS Shaw- damaged
- USS Oglala- damaged
- USS Vestal- damaged
- USS Curtis- damaged
The US had a combined Army, Navy and Marine strength of approximately 390 aircraft on the island that day. Of these, 188 were destroyed, and a further 159 damaged.
Two thousand, four hundred and three Americans were killed the attack, and one thousand, one hundred seventy eight wounded.
The Japanese lost 29 planes, five midget subs, and 65 men.
It was a stunning tactical victory. It was a massive strategic blunder.
Nothing could be more guaranteed to cause the American people to shed their natural isolationist inclination, and steel themselves for the hard fighting ahead in the Pacific.
Rommel once said that the Americans knew less of war than anyone, but learned faster than everyone. Nowhere was that more true than in the US Navy in the Pacific.
The heart of the fleet lay bleeding black oil on the floor of the harbor. But of the ships lost that day, only USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, and USS Utah were total losses. The others would be refloated or repaired, refurbished, and all would fight their way west.
The fleet on December 7, 1941 was a sleepy peacetime force. But the survivors of that ghastly attack learned their lessons well. They would become the core of the professionals who would lead drafted landlubbers to form the mightiest host ever to sail the waves, leading to victory in Tokyo Bay.