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david leigh-smith
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On This Day…December 7th, 1941.

December 7, 2018 · in News · · 18 ≡

There can only be one subject on December 7th, a “day that will live in infamy”.

USS Arizona.

USS Shaw (two photos, below)

USS West Virginia

USS California

USS Nevada

USS Pennsylvania (with USS Downes and USS Cassin in the foreground)

USS Tennessee (background, with Stars and Stripes flying from the stern)

Capsized hull of the USS Oklahoma and the USS Maryland behind.

USS Utah

Rest in peace.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

18 responses

  1. I agree David. Rest In Peace.

    Two years ago I had the great opportunity to visit a relic from that Day of Infamy. What makes this even more special is that I saw this plane on December 7th, 2016, for the very first time. I was able to get up close and personal with the only surviving P-40 that was at Pearl Harbor on that awful morning in December 1941 during the attack.

    It was inside a hangar at Wheeler Field and was undergoing repairs on that morning. It had suffered damage from a previous landing incident in October 1941 when it landed wheels up.

    If not for this accident it would probably not be here either. It probably would have been destroyed as it would have been parked outside the hangar.

    Apparently after the repairs were completed in January 1942, it crashed a second time a few months later.

    This time the pilot was killed. His remains were recovered and the plane was left where it was after the military hardware was removed.

    The P-40 was later "re discovered" in the 1980's. Eventually what was left of this airframe was brought down off the mountain and painstakingly restored.

    Thanks for posting this David. I hope you don't mind me adding this to your article.

    As another note to this post is our family had a Pearl Harbor connection. My grandmother had a brother who was stationed there at Hickham Feild during the attack. He remained in the US Army throughout the War and served in the Pacific.

    Freedom is not free. Planes and ships can be recovered and rebuilt. The loss of a human being can not be replaced. There's a saying that goes like this:
    "All gave some, Some gave all. "

    • Thanks for the detailed reply and photos, Louis. Although I focused on the ships in the post, below are some aircraft images of the day.

  2. I question the rationale behind leaving such a large group of ships in the same place. I would like to know the reason for this. If the following newspaper headline is correct, there must have been at least some intelligence which indicated an imminent attack. I've also attached 2 maps which may be of interest, though it is still unclear to me the order in which US ships were taken out.

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • What's actually amazing is that between 1932 and 1938, the US Navy demonstrated three times during the annual Fleet Problem that the Lexington and Saratoga could successfully attack Pearl Harbor, and that nothing was done to upgrade the defenses in any way that could successfully met the nature of the threat.

      As to the destruction of aircraft during the attack, when Joint Chiefs issued a war alert on November 26 that it was possible Japan might attack, the only form of attack foreseen in Hawaii was sabotage, so General Walter C. Short, US Army commander in Hawaii ordered that aircraft be parked close together in the open where they could be successfully guarded and it would be difficult for saboteurs to get close to them and set bombs.

      The major underestimation of the Japanese military on all levels of the American military and government, which was repeated by all the western Allies - and was based almost entirely in American and European racism - was what led to the downfall across the Pacific.

      • Tom, I agree with the implications of your assessment. Conspiracy theories (and they abound) pale in comparison to the glaring military unpreparedness in general. Therein is the real scandal.

        The flip side, of course, is that, in the end, it turns out that racism went both ways. The Japanese significantly underestimated American resolve. The rest is history.

        • Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew the consequences of his actions and the Government he represented. Unfortunately, when demagogues who promote greed,fear and blind obedience to the hollow ideas of murders and thieves with grand titles ... we get wars. Back then we had iron bombs we have Nukes.

  3. Now see...? THIS day is noteworthy (dunno 'bout all the others, though) - 🙁
    Nice selection of photos by the way. 🙂

    • Cheers, Craig. Appreciate your comments. There’s definitely something about the colour/colorised photos that bring us closer to history and make it less like something that happened ‘before’.

  4. My mother told me she heard about the attack after church, while playing on the swings in her backyard with a friend at her home in Akron, Ohio. She was 7 years old. She remembers telling her friend that now they would have to sleep in bomb shelters like the people in England did.

    Our generation doesn't have a monopoly on broken childhoods. Not by a long shot.

  5. Descanse en paz.Gracias a todos por las fotos tan reveladoras de los hechos de aquel día.

  6. David, thanks for the reply.

    When we think of all the men, women, and children lost in the last World War it is sickening. Then consider that the world population in 1941 was something like ‘only’ two and a quarter billion (as opposed to nearly eight billion today). Put another way, today there is a mean population density of around 51 people per square kilometer (0.38 square miles). In 1941 that figure was 17 people per square kilometer.

    My point being that the impact of the losses of all those people was much, much more impactful then than it would be now. Then you may factor in that many of the people lost were the bravest, most determined, courageous, self sacrificing, and mentally strong amongst us. A massive, enormous loss.

  7. Met this gentleman last November 11 who served on the USS San Francisco. Thanked him for his service and mentioned it most likely was the worst day of his life. He replied yes it was but I’d do it all over again. What a great generation

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  8. Thanks for the reminder David, though it’s never really far from memory. Many lives were lost and that is a shame. I read where the American army was 8th largest in the world at the outbreak of the war. This attack didn’t just wake a sleeping giant, it caused it to grow. And though this is a day of remembrance in America, our allies also suffered through the war. But in the end...

  9. Some say it was also the day America lost her innocence. Don’t know about that but it was one of those handful of days that shaped the history of our world.

    Cheers, Gary.

    • America has lost her innocence too many times to count (Lexington and Concord? The Alamo? Gettysburg? the sinking of the Lusitania?), but these things usually happen in stages, and with every nation, kingdom, and empire. But there's no question it was a hinge.

      I'm loving this series, David. Really enjoyable.

  10. Thanks, David. El mondo gira. The world turns on hinges.

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