Friday, December 07, 2007

Dec. 7, 1941: Attack at Pearl Harbor a Bold, Desperate Gamble

"A date which will live in infamy" recalled; see the article for more details

The attack unfolded almost exactly as Genda had drawn it up and might have succeeded strategically, too, if the American aircraft carriers had been in port on Dec. 7. As it was, the three carriers were at sea that day and escaped unscathed, a fact that would come back to haunt the Japanese seven months later at Midway.

The raid must be considered only a partial tactical success as well. Surprise was achieved, and the American fleet took a beating, particularly the battleships. The major airfields were put out of action, and most of the planes were destroyed on the ground. But the Japanese failed to get the carriers -- which would prove to be the decisive weapon of the Pacific war -- and also committed a major blunder by failing to destroy the oil reserves on Oahu, reserves that would have taken months to replenish from mainland refineries.

Dec. 7, 1941: Attack at Pearl Harbor a Bold, Desperate Gamble

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