Do You Remember Pearl Harbor Day 1941?
President Franklin D. Roosevelt denounced it as a "Date that will live in infamy." It was the day America was dragged into World War II.
A Japanese task force of six aircraft carriers, the Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku and Zuikaku had launched 408 aircraft against Hawaii. The first wave targeted high-value targets — battleships and aircraft carriers, then cruisers and destroyers. Dive bombers strafed
and destroyed as many parked aircraft as possible to prevent an effective counterattack. When the attackers’ fuel got low, they returned to the carriers, refueled, re-armed and launched a second wave.
Their mission was to destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet and prevent America from interfering in the Empire of Japan’s expansion into China as well as the Pacific Rim territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States.
All eight U.S. battleships were damaged — four sunk. However, all the U.S. aircraft carriers were at sea. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship and a minelayer and destroyed 188 U.S. aircraft . In the attack, 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.
Of the American fatalities, nearly half of the total — 1,177 — were due to the explosion of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona‘s forward ammunition magazine after it was hit by a Japanese bomb.