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Thread: Dec 7th 1941, Seventy Years Ago.

  1. #1
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska

    Default Dec 7th 1941, Seventy Years Ago.

    The Morning of December 7th , 1941
    After two weeks at sea while hiding inside of an ocean crossing storm front,,,all six of Japan's first-line aircraft carriers, Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku with over 420 combat aircraft, reached a point about 280 miles north Hawaii in the early morning hours.
    This group of flat-tops was supported by two battleships, a few cruisers, several destroyers, and oil tankers to fuel the ships during their passage across the Pacific. Several large Japanese submarines, five of them carrying mini attack subs were already in place just off the Hawaiian coast and in the mouth of Pearl Harbor.
    The first attack wave of over 180 aircraft, including torpedo planes, high-level bombers, dive bombers and fighters, was launched in the darkness and headed for Pearl Harbor. After the first wave was launched, a second attack wave of similar size, but with more dive bombers and no torpedo planes, was brought up from the carriers' hangar decks and launched towards Pearl harbor and various Army facilities around the island.

    And the first American aircraft shot down at Pearl Harbor????

    A 65 hp, J-3 Piper Cub being flown by a solo student pilot. He just happened to be an active duty Navy enlisted guy, flying a base flying-club aircraft before his duty hours and he was in his working uniform.
    For some reason his instructors required a parachute, which works out well for him when Japanese Zeros shot off his engine. He parachuted safely and was walking back to town carrying his parachute when he was seen by various civilians. Unfortunately they reported him as a Japanese paratrooper.

    Also that morning a female flight instructor
    Cornelia Clark Fort (1919 -1943) and her student successfully out-maneuvered attacking Japanese fighters and managed to make an emergency landing.

    In Jaunary 1942, Jacqueline Cochran invited Miss Fort to join the group of women flying for the Royal Air Force Air Transport Auxiliary. Fort, however, was still awaiting evacuation from Hawaii. When she finally arrived back in Nashville to begin instructing for the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), she was in demand as a speaker and was even featured in a short war movie.

    She was the second woman to volunteer for the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (the WAFS, which later merged into the WASPs, or Women Airforce Service Pilots), On a routine ferrying flight in 1943, Pilot Fort died at the controls of a bomber when another plane struck hers.

    She was the first woman pilot to die in the line of duty for the U.S. military (the WASPs were granted retroactive military status in 1977.) A marker at the Cornelia Fort Airport in Tennessee bears this quote from the pilot: "I am grateful that my one talent, flying, was useful to my country."
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    East Haddam , Connecticut


    It was a hell of a day as they say. Of the 22 ships sunk or damaged, 18 would return to the fleet. Japan would run wild for just 6 months, Starting with the Doolittle Raid, the toss up at Coral Sea, failure at Port Morsby, Defeat at Midway. A lot of 70 year dates of historic proportions will be occurring over the next year and then some.. Peal Harbor was a victory japan didn't need. America a the time was perfectly happy to sit out the War in Europe, but it was not to be. The Pacific was secondary to Europe. Germany first and to that end massive amounts of soldiers airplanes and lend lease would go their while the Pacific had to make due. It was a war like no other in our history to that point, all out. Now we fight when we must but we restrain ourselves for political reasons and we end up coming up short most of the time. Our world is created by that faithful day. The one thing about it was the Imperial Japanese Navy and the Imperial Japanese Army didn't not hide behind skirts like our current enemy dose. You can respect them for that, they did there duty as they saw it, I am not letting them off the hook for crimes committed before and during the war, and they lost it.

  3. #3
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    Rather amazed that nobody tossed in a line about Lts George Welch and Ken Taylor.
    They managed to take off with their P-40s from an auxiliary field at Haleiwa. Twice....with damaged planes. After rearming with machine gun ammo that was retrieved from a burning hangar.

    On the 7th of December 1941, there were 223 Army Air Corp / Army Air Force aircraft based in Hawaii.

    Airplane Total Destroyed Damaged Combat Ready
    B-17 D 12 4 4 4
    B-18 A 33 12 10 11
    A-20 A 12 2 5 5
    P-40 C 12 5 5 2
    P-40 B 87 37 25 25
    P-36 A 39 4 19 16
    P-26 14 0 0 14
    Total 223 64 82 77
    US Navy
    SBD scout bombers from Enterprise arrived during the attack. They had flown ahead of the returning task force that had just reinforced Wake Island. About five were lost to Japanese or ground fire and an equal number damaged.

    Japanese Aircraft

    Distribution of the attacking planes :
    • Carrier A6M
      Akagi 18 27 18 63
      Kagai 18 27 27 72
      Soryu 18 18 18 54
      Hiryu 18 18 18 54
      Shokaku 18 27 27 72
      Zuikaku 18 27 27 72
      Total 108 144 135 387
      w/spares (126 162 153 441)

    Three aircraft of each type on each carrier were carried disassembled as spares, a total of 54 spare aircraft.
    Combat air patrols were flown over the fleet by 48 Zeros.
    Six scouting seaplanes from the cruisers flew reconnaissance over Pearl Harbor and the sea surrounding the attacking fleet. Tone and Chikuma were specifically designed as seaplane carrying, heavy cruisers
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member


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