Pearl Harbour: Japan Gambles on a Massive Pre-Emptive Attack against the US Navy

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Twentieth Century World War Two
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A Japanese force of six carriers launches two strikes on the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour on Oahu Island, Hawaii.

Over 183 Japanese aircraft destroy six battleships and 188 aircraft, damage or sink 10 other vessels, and kill 2000 servicemen. More than 1000 US sailors are killed aboard the USS Arizona alone after its magazine explodes.

Despite the apparent success of the attack, the US Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers are at sea and therefore survive.

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The planned third wave of attacks is cancelled for fear that the Japanese might be attacked by the remainder of the Pacific Fleet. The third wave was due to attack the harbour’s oil reserves and repair facilities.

Japan then declares war on the United States and the British Commonwealth.

Despite the apparent success of the attack, the US Pacific Fleet’s aircraft carriers are at sea and therefore survive. The fleet itself is quickly repaired and Pearl Harbour continues to function as a base.

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Although a stunning short-term tactical success, the attack on Pearl Harbour and the onset of the Pacific War throws Japan into conflict with the world’s richest nation.

 

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