The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 11, 1941


Site Ed. Note: The front page and the first editorial, "Echo from Berlin", inform of the declaration of war by Germany and Italy on the United States and the counter-declaration by the U.S. The State Department said of the Nazi declaration "So what?" and Secretary Hull refused to see the Nazi envoys bearing the message. It was an afterthought and not to be dignified with diplomatic service. Hitler was merely serving his partner in crime now, fulfilling the agreement which he had made in exchange for the attack at Pearl Harbor.

That is not, however, to excuse Japan from the criminality of the deed. It remains the most cowardly and outrageous act committed by any sovereignty in the last 100 years, and probably throughout the history of the last 500 years. There was little if any precedent for any sort of genuine surprise attack of its kind, by ocean and air while actively luring by deception the country to be attacked into presumed good faith talks. And there is absolutely no reason historically to believe that Japan, either the militarists or the Emperor, ever really conceived of the notion that the talks would succeed. They could never have believed that America would resume trade while allowing their continued aggression in China and Indochina on an ultimatum of threatening war otherwise. These were not in truth diplomatic talks but a persistent ultimatum delivered through diplomatic channels. The only reason why the talks were entertained was in the hope that the ultimatum might be dropped. But that was never seriously considered by Japan.

The piece from the Baltimore Evening Sun tells of the acceptance in Japanese culture of the surprise attack, however devious the notion was to the rest of the civilized world. A surprise attack in the midst of ongoing warfare is one thing; but to launch a surprise attack on a country without first declaring war is quite another. To do so while carrying on the face of diplomacy is nothing short of criminal. We reiterate that not only Tojo and the advisers of the Emperor should have been tried and convicted of war crimes, as they were, but the Emperor also should have been tried and convicted and imprisoned. He had an alternative, much as other royalty had fled their countries when the Nazis marched in, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland, for instance. He could have gone into exile if he truly differed from the military leadership, seeking asylum with the Allies. He had no excuse.

Dorothy Thompson echoes painfully the sense of confusion felt in the country by the attack, conveying by its disjointed text even to the present a tortured feeling of dissociation.

For historical perspective, we include below the Report from Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to the President, prepared not long after the attack, and included in the post-war hearings conducted before Justice Owen Roberts. Some of the facts, especially with regard to the Japanese Fleet, actual number of planes shot down, and other such details were not known at the time. It provides quite a bit of detail, however, of the events leading up to the attack and the status of Pearl Harbor on the morning of the attack, even if some of it is at variance with some of the details which later came out of post-war testimony.

One glaring fact which defeats any hint that anyone had advance warning of the attack and deliberately overlooked it in order to get the country into war was the fact that the ships in the harbor had 90% of their officers and crews aboard when the attack occurred. Obviously, no one but ruthless criminals would have allowed such an attack to occur by surprise with sufficient foreknowledge to provide alert of it when the ships were thus fully populated. An attack would have been just as ruthless and condemnatory as an act of war if only the ships themselves had been hit with skeletal crews on board. It would have been suspect only if unusually scant numbers of personnel were aboard for the day and hour.

The theories of foreknowledge run aground inevitably by confusion and failure completely to apprehend the notion that the whole country had foreknowledge that some attack was likely somewhere in the days leading up to the attack. One only had to read the newspapers, not decipher complex codes or receive top secret messages to understand that. Indeed, not to have had such foreknowledge likely meant one was either an idiot or not reading or hearing any news for the previous month.

The questions remained, however, as to when and where, with the full expectation by everyone from the President down, and for good reason given the only known Japanese fleets being those moving south, that the attack would be in the region of Thailand, the Philippines, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies. No one thought, as a practical matter, that a surprise air attack was possible on Pearl Harbor. Submarine attacks were considered possible, but all precautions had been taken in that regard. Indeed, there was no reason for anyone to believe that an air attack was likely when in 1941 that required hauling attack planes and bombers across at least 3,500 miles of ocean, and to avoid being spotted at Midway, an even longer haul--as it actually was, 4,500 miles.

There is absolutely no credible evidence that any radio transmission was ever received from the fleet while crossing and the route taken virtually precluded being spotted at sea. While there was, purely by happenstance given the truncated hours of radar operation, a radar sighting of the inbound planes thirty minutes before the attack and a report of same to the information center, it was dismissed by the latter because of the happenstance of the expected inbound traffic of the B-17 bombers from California due at 8:00 a.m. or, as pointed out below, the alternative belief that the planes were thought to be from the carrier Enterprise. Such was understandable confusion when no one expected an air attack, even under the dire circumstances generally in the Pacific and the "war warning" having been given to Admiral Kimmel on November 27.

Much has been made about the delay in transmission of the final war warning from Washington transmitted earlier that morning, which arrived in Hawaii four hours after the attack, that based on the interception of the message that the Japanese diplomats were to convey the reply to the Hull note only at 1:00 p.m., an unprecedented event for a specific hour and on a Sunday. But whether anyone receiving that message in Hawaii would have attached any greater significance to it than other previous warnings is doubtful. The warning obviously did not mention Pearl Harbor or even assume that there might be war anywhere outside Southeast Asia. The likelihood still was that Lt.-General Short would have viewed the primary threat to his planes as sabotage from the Japanese in Hawaii, that Admiral Kimmel would have believed that his chief threat was from submarine activity, not air attack. Had the war warning specifically indicated the likelihood of an air attack on Pearl Harbor, obviously it would have been significant. But it did not and there was no reason why it should have.

Those adopting the theory of foreknowledge have the burden of proof and in 67 years not a shred of evidence has ever come forward which would have clearly and plainly afforded such foreknowledge.

Our own theory regarding the significance of the winds messages, while enabling an intuitive understanding of the hour and place after the fact, was not one which anyone could have with ease figured out under the time pressures between November 29 and December 7, especially with the double distractions at work of a southward moving task force and the ostensible appearance of continuing diplomatic talks. That the fact was, however, figured out at some point after the attack, at least by Harry Truman or by Roosevelt, is conveyed by the notion of the precisely 1,335 days between December 7 and August 2, 1945, the first date authorized by Truman for deployment of the atom bomb on Japan.

Here then is the report of Secretary Knox:

From: U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Pearl Harbor Attack; Hearings, Part 24, pp. 1749-56.

Page 1749



The Japanese air attack on the Island of Oahu on December 7th was a complete surprise to both the Army and the Navy. Its initial success, which included almost all the damage done, was due to a lack of a state of readiness against such an air attack, by both branches of the service. This statement was made by me to both General Short and Admiral Kimmel, and both agreed that it was entirely true. Neither Army or Navy Commandants in Oahu regarded such an attack as at all likely, because of the danger which such a carrier-borne attack would confront in view of the preponderance of the American Naval strength in Hawaiian waters. While the likelihood of an attack without warning by Japan was in the minds of both General Short and Admiral Kimmel, both felt certain that such an attack would take place nearer Japan's base of operations, that is, in the Far East. Neither Short nor Kimmel, at the time of the attack, had any knowledge of the plain intimations of some surprise move, made clear in Washington, through the interception of Japanese instructions to Nomura, in

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which a surprise move of some kind was clearly indicated by the insistence upon the precise time of Nomura's reply to Hull, at one o'clock on Sunday.

A general war warning had been sent out from the Navy Department on November 27th, to Admiral Kimmel. General Short told me that a message of warning sent from the War Department on Saturday night at midnight, before the attack, failed to reach him until four or five hours after the attack had been made.

Both the Army and the Navy command at Oahu had prepared careful [2] estimates covering their idea of the most likely and most imminent danger. General Short repeated to me several times that he felt the most imminent danger to the Army was the danger of sabotage, because of the known presence of large numbers of alien Japanese in Honolulu. Acting on this assumption, he took every possible measure to protect against this danger. This included, unfortunately, bunching the planes on the various fields on the Island, close together, so that they might be carefully guarded against possible subversive Action by Japanese agents. This condition, known as "Sabotage Alert" had been assumed because sabotage was considered as the most imminent danger to be guarded against. This bunching of planes, of course, made the Japanese air attack more effective. There was, to a lesser degree, the same lack of dispersal of planes on Navy stations, and although the possibility of sabotage was not given the same prominence in Naval minds, both arms of the service lost most of their planes on the ground in the initial attack by the enemy. There were no Army planes in the air at the time of the attack and no planes were warmed up in readiness to take the air.

The Navy regarded the principal danger from a Japanese stroke without warning was a submarine attack, and consequently made all necessary provisions to cope with such an attack. As a matter of fact, a submarine attack did accompany the air attack and at least two Japanese submarines were sunk and a third one ran ashore and was captured. No losses were incurred by the Fleet from submarine attack. One small two man submarine penetrated into the harbor, having followed a vessel through the net, but because it broached in the shallow water it was immediately discovered by the Curtis and was attacked and destroyed through the efforts of [3] that vessel and those of the Destroyer Monaghan. This submarine fired her torpedoes which hit a shoal to the west of Ford Island.

The Navy took no specific measures of protection against an air attack, save only that the ships in the harbor were so dispersed as to provide a field of fire covering every approach from the air. The Navy morning patrol was sent out at dawn to the southward, where the Commander-in- Chief had reason to suspect an attack might come. This patrol consisted of ten patrol bombers who made no contacts with enemy craft. At least 90% of Officers and enlisted personnel were aboard ship when the attack came. The condition of readiness aboard ship was described as "Condition Three", which meant that about one-half of the broadside and anti- aircraft guns were manned, and all of the anti-aircraft guns were supplied with ammunition and were in readiness.

The first intimation of enemy action came to the Navy shortly after seven a. m., when a Destroyer in the harbor entrance radioed that she had contacted a submarine and had (they believed) successfully depth charged it. Thus an attempted attack by submarine preceded the air attack by approximately a half hour. Quite a number of similar incidents, involving reports of submarine contact, had occurred in the recent past and too great credit was not given the Destroyer Commander's report. Subsequent investigation proved the report to be correct. Admiral Bloch received the report and weighed in his mind the possibility that it might be the start of action, but in view of submarine contacts in the past dismissed the thought.

The Army carried out no dawn patrol on Sunday, December 7th, the only air patrol being that sent to the southward by the Navy.

The Radar equipment installed on shipboard, is practically useless [4] when the ships are in Pearl Harbor because of the surrounding mountains. Reliance therefore of both branches of the services is chiefly upon three Army detector stations on the Island of Oahu. Until 7 December, it had been customary to operate three Radars for a large portion of the day. However, on 6 December, permission was requested and obtained from the Control Officer to, on 7 December, operate only from 4:00 a. m. to 7:00 a. m. Accordingly, on 7 December, the stations were manned from before dawn until seven a. m., when they were closed officially. However, by pure chance one Army non-com officer remained at his post to practice on such planes as might take the air, and probably with no

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thought of enemy approach. At least a half hour before the attack was made this officer's Radar indicator showed a concentration of planes to the northward, out 130 miles distant. He reported this to the Air Craft Warning Information Center, which was the place from which it should have been reported to Headquarters. The Officer there, a Second Lieutenant, took it upon his shoulders to pass it up, explaining that he had been told the Enterprise was at sea, and that the planes he had located were probably from that carrier. No report of this discovery of an enemy air force approaching from the north reached either the Army or the Navy Commander. If this information had been properly handled, it would have given both Army and Navy sufficient warning to have been in a state of readiness, which at least would have prevented the major part of the damage done, and might easily have converted this successful air attack into a Japanese disaster.

The Officer at the Radar station, I was advised, showed this air force on his instrument as they came in and plotted their approach. [5] I have seen the radar plot, which also included a plot of the enemy air forces returning to the carriers from which they had come to make the attack. This latter information did not reach the Navy until Tuesday, two days after the attack occurred, although many and varied reports as to various locations of radio bearings on the Japanese carriers did come to the Navy Commander-in-Chief.

The Activities of Japanese fifth columnists immediately following the attack, took the form of spreading on the air by radio dozens of confusing and contradictory rumors concerning the direction in which the attacking planes had departed, as well as the presence in every direction of enemy ships. The Navy regarded the reports of concentration of enemy ships to the southward as most dependable and scouted at once in that direction. It is now believed that another unit of the Japanese force, using the call letters of their carriers, took station to the southward of Oahu and transmitted. Radio Direction Finder bearings on these transmittals aided in the false assumption that the enemy was to the southward. A force from the westward moved over from there in an attempt to intercept a Japanese force supposedly moving westward from a position south of Oahu. Subsequent information, based upon a chart recovered from Japanese plane which was shot down, indicated that the Japanese forces actually retired to the northward. In any event, they were not contacted by either of the task forces, one of which was too far to the westward to have established contact on 7 December.

The Army anti-aircraft batteries were not manned when the attack was made and the mobile units were not in position. All Army personnel were in their quarters and the guns were not manned or in position [6] for firing, save only those in fixed positions. Early anti-aircraft fire consisted almost exclusively of fire from 50 caliber machine guns.

The enemy attacked simultaneously on three Army fields, one Navy field and at Pearl Harbor. This attack was substantially unopposed except by very light and ineffective machine gun fire at the fields and stations. Generally speaking, the bombing attacks initially were directed at the air fields and the torpedo attacks at the ships in the harbor. The first return fire from the guns of the fleet began, it is estimated, about four minutes after the first torpedo was fired, and this fire grew rapidly in intensity.

Three waves of enemy air force swept over Pearl Harbor during the assault. As above stated, the first was substantially unopposed. The torpedo planes, flying low, appeared first over the hills surrounding the harbor, and in probably not more than sixty seconds were in a position to discharge their torpedoes. The second wave over the harbor was resisted with far greater fire power and a number of enemy planes were shot down. The third attack over the harbor was met by so intensive a barrage from the ships that it was driven off without getting he attack home, no effective hits being made in the harbor by this last assault.

The Army succeeded in getting ten fighter planes in the air before the enemy made the third and final sweep. And in the combat that ensued they estimate eleven enemy craft were shot down by plane or anti-aircraft fire. The Navy claims twelve more were destroyed by gunfire from the ships, making a total enemy loss of twenty-three. To these twenty-three, eighteen more may be added with reasonable assurances, these eighteen being Japanese planes which found themselves without [7] sufficient fuel to return to their carriers and who plunged into the sea. Conversation between the planes and the Japanese fleet, in plain language, received in Oahu is the basis for this assumption. If true, it makes a total of forty-one planes lost by the Japanese.

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The estimate of the number of planes attacking varies. This variance lies between a minimum of three carriers, carrying about fifty planes each, and a maximum of six carriers. This would indicate an attacking force somewhere between one hundred fifty and three hundred planes.

From the crashed Japanese planes considerable information was obtained concerning their general character. Papers discovered on a Japanese plane which crashed indicate a striking force of six carriers, three heavy cruisers and numerous auxiliary craft including destroyers and other vessels. It is interesting to note that the Japanese fighter planes were Model O-1, equipped with radial engines and built in early 1941. None of the planes shot down and so far examined, was fitted with any armored protection for the pilot nor were any self sealing gasoline tanks found in any plane. American radio and other American built equipment was recovered from the wreckage. One plane was armed with a Lewis gun of the 1920 vintage. Some observers believed that the planes carried an unusual number of rounds of ammunition and the use of explosive and incendiary 20 millimeter ammunition was a material factor in damaging planes and other objectives on the ground. The torpedo bombers were of an old type and used Whitehead torpedoes dating about 1906, equipped with large vanes on the stern to prevent the initial deep dive customary of torpedoes dropped by planes. It is pleasing to note that the attack has not disclosed any new or potent weapons. With this in mind, it was found that the Armor [8] piercing bombs employed were 15 [sic] inch A. P. projectiles, fitted with tail vanes.

In Actual combat when American planes were able to take the air, American fliers appear to have proved themselves considerably superior. One Army pilot alone is credited with shooting down four Japanese planes. All of the pilots who got in the air returned to the ground confident of their ability to handle Japanese air forces successfully in the future.

At neither Army or Navy air fields were planes dispersed. At Kaneohe some VP planes were, however, moored in the water. They, too, were destroyed by machine gun fire, using incendiary bullets. Consequently, most of them were put out of action by the enemy in the initial sweep. Hangars on all of the fields' were heavily bombed and many of them completely wrecked. At Hickam Field a very large barracks building was burned with heavy loss of life. The heaviest casualties in the Navy were incurred aboard ships subjected to torpedo attack. The bulk of the damage done to the fleet was done by torpedoes and not by bombs, some ships being hit by four or more torpedoes. With the sole exception of the Arizona, bombs proved ineffectual in causing serious damage.

Many of the officers and men of the crews when their ships were set afire were compelled to take to the water. A very considerable number were trapped below decks aboard the Oklahoma and the Utah, both of which capsized. By cutting through the bottom of these two vessels, while the attack was in progress, twenty six additional men were rescued alive. Throughout the action, small boats from other ships and from the harbor swarmed over the harbor engaged in the rescue of men who were driven overboard from their ships. The rescue of men from drowning and the recovery and swift treatment of the wounded was carried on throughout the engagement [9] by both service people and civilians with the greatest gallantry. Temporary hospital quarters were provided in half a dozen different places and the wounded were cared for promptly. Because of the huge number of unidentified dead, many being burned beyond recognition and a large number having been picked up in the harbor unrecognizable after several days in the water, several hundred were buried in a common grave on Government land adjoining the Navy Yard. While I was still there bodies were being recovered from the water, but all were in a condition which prevented identification. Dispositions made by the Commandant of the 14th Naval District (Admiral Block [sic]) were adequate and were efficiently carried out.

Of the eight battleships in Pearl Harbor when the attack was made on 7 December, three escaped serious damage and can put to sea in a matter of a few days. These are the Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Tennessee. The Nevada can be raised in a month, and will then require a complete overhaul. The California can be raised in two and one-half months, and then must be given temporary repairs in order to send her to the Pacific coast for a year's overhaul. The West Virginia can be raised in three months, and will require a year and a half to two years for overhaul. The Oklahoma, which was overturned, it is estimated, can be raised in four months. Whether she will be worth overhaul cannot be determined now. The Arizona is a total wreck, her forward magazine having exploded after she had been damaged by both torpedoes and bombs. The Colorado was on the Pacific coast for overhaul.

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There were six cruisers in the harbor at the time of the attack. The Detroit put to sea at once and is uninjured. The New Orleans and the San Francisco are now ready to go to sea. The Honolulu will be ready on December 20th. The Helena was badly damaged and may require a new engine. [l0] She will be ready to go to the Pacific coast for overhaul December 31st. The Raleigh was flooded throughout her machinery spaces and seriously injured in other respects. It is estimated she will be ready for the trip to the Pacific coast for overhaul on January 15th.

There were ten destroyers in the harbor at the time of the attack. Seven of these put to sea at once and were uninjured. The Cassin and the Downes were in the same dry-dock with the Pennsylvania. Bombs designed for the Pennsylvania hit the two destroyers and totally wrecked both of them. Although both destroyers were badly burned prompt fire fighting work saved the Pennsylvania from any damage. The destroyer Shaw was in the floating dry-dock at the time of the attack. All of this ship forward of No. 1 stack was seriously damaged or blown off. The after- part of the ship is still intact and can be salvaged and a new section can be built to replace that part of the ship now destroyed.

The mine layer Oglala was lying moored outside the Helena, and received the impact of the torpedo attack designed for the cruiser. She is a total loss. The airplane tender Curtis which was bombed and injured by fire started when a torpedo plane plunged into her crane will be ready for service on December 17th. The Vestal, one of the ships of the train which was damaged, will be ready to go to the Pacific coast on December 17th for overhaul. The old battleship Utah, which had been converted into a training ship for anti-aircraft instruction, is a total loss.


There was no attempt by either Admiral Kimmel or General Short to alibi the lack of a state of readiness for the air attack. Both admitted [11] they did not expect it and had taken no adequate measures to meet one if it came. Both Kimmel and Short evidently regarded an air attack as extremely unlikely because of the great distance which the Japs would have to travel to make the attack and the consequent exposure of such a task force to the superior gun power of the American fleet. Neither the Army nor the Navy Commander expected that an attack would be made by the Japanese while negotiations were still proceeding in Washington. Both felt that if any surprise attack was attempted it would be made in the Far East.

Of course the best means of defense against air attack consists of fighter planes. Lack of an adequate number of this type of aircraft available to the Army for the defense of the Island is due to the diversion of this type before the outbreak of the war, to the British, the Chinese, the Dutch and the Russians.

The next best weapon against air attack is adequate and well disposed antiaircraft artillery. There is a dangerous shortage of guns of this type on the Island. This is through no fault of the Army Commander who has pressed consistently for these guns.

There was evident in both Army and Navy only a very slight feeling of apprehension of any attack at all and neither Army nor Navy were in a position of readiness because of this feeling.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that there was available to the enemy in Oahu probably the most efficient fifth column to be found anywhere in the American possessions, due to the presence of very large numbers of alien Japanese. The intelligence work done by this fifth column before the attack provided the Japanese Navy with exact knowledge of all necessary details to plan the attack. This included exact charts showing customary position of ships when in Pearl Harbor, exact location of all defenses, gun [12] power and numerous other details. Papers captured from the Japanese submarine that ran ashore indicated that the exact position of nearly every ship in the harbor was known and charted and all the necessary data to facilitate a submarine attack was in Japanese possession. It is an interesting fact that the Utah at the time of the attack occupied a berth normally used by an aircraft carrier and she was sunk and is a total loss. The work of the fifth column artists in Hawaii has only been approached in this war by the success of a similar group in Norway.

The fighting spirit of the crews aboard ship and ashore was superb. Gun crews remained at their station with their guns in action until they slid into the water from the Oklahoma's deck or were driven overboard by fires on other ships. Men ashore manned every available small boat and carried on rescue work saving the lives of the men who were driven overboard while the heaviest

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fighting was going on. Some of the crew of the Utah, swept from the deck of the ship as she capsized, were rescued by destroyers leaving the harbor to engage in an attack on the enemy forces. Although clad only in their underclothes, they insisted on joining the crews of the destroyers which rescued them and went to sea.

The evacuation of the wounded and the rescue of men from drowning was carried on with such superb courage and efficiency as to excite universal admiration, and additional hospital accommodations were quickly provided so that the wounded could be cared for as rapidly as they were brought ashore.

The removal of the convalescent wounded to the mainland promptly is imperative. I recommend that the Solace should be loaded with these convalescent wounded at once and brought to the coast with or without escort.

[13] The reported attempted landing on the west coast of Oahu, near Lualualei was an effort on the part of the Japanese fifth columnists to direct the efforts of the U. S. task forces at sea and to lure these forces into a submarine trap. Fortunately, this fact was realized before certain light forces under Rear Admiral Draemel reached the vicinity of the reported landings. His ships were turned away just prior to the launching of a number of torpedoes by waiting submarines, which torpedoes were sighted by the vessels in Admiral Draemel's force.

[14] The same quality of courage and resourcefulness was displayed by the Naval forces ashore as by the men aboard ship. This was likewise true of hundreds of civilian employees in the yard, who participated in the fire fighting and rescue work from the beginning of the attack.

It is of significance to note that throughout the entire engagement on 7 December, no enemy air plane dropped any bombs on the oil storage tanks in which huge quantities of oil are stores [sic]. This was one of many indications that appear to foreshadow a renewal of the Japanese attack, probably with landing forces, in the near future. Every effort to strengthen our air defenses, particularly in pursuit planes and anti- aircraft artillery is clearly indicated. This anticipation of a renewal of the attack is shared by both Army and Navy Officers in Hawaii. As a matter of fact, in the ranks of the men in both services it is hoped for. Both are grimly determined to avenge the treachery which cost the lives of so many of their comrades. Instead of dampening their spirits, the Japanese attack has awakened in them a stern spirit of revenge that would be an important factor in the successful resistance of any new enemy approach.


The salvage operation involved in raising the sunken battleships is one of the most important pieces of defense work now under way. Its magnitude warrants that it should receive maximum attention and all facilities in man power and materiel that will further its expeditious progress, including top priorities for material and high speed transportation facilities to and from the mainland and Hawaii.

The Navy is fortunate that Lieut. Comdr. Lemuel Curtis, who is an officer in the Naval Reserve, and who is one of the most expert salvage men in [15] the United States was in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack. He is in full charge of the salvage operations under Commander J. M. Steels, USN, the representative of the Base Force Command. With personnel already available and with certain additions to be immediately provided, adequate organization to carry on this work with maximum speed has been assembled.

I am proposing to send to Pearl Harbor a large force of partially trained men from San Diego to assist in the salvage operations, and to be trained to form part of the crews of the new salvage ships due to the completed next autumn. The most rapid delivery to the job of materiel and men to expedite this salvage work is essential, and I am proposing to arrange for the purchase or charter of the S. S. Lurline of the Matson line, or of some other suitable high speed vessel to be utilized primarily for this purpose. Such a ship would also be available for returning to the United States the families of Officers and men who should be evacuated because of the dangers inherent in the Hawaiian situation. In addition, any available cargo space in this vessel not needed for the transfer of material for the salvage operation can be used to assist in the transportation of food to Hawaii.

Lieut. Cmdr. Curtis is the authority for the estimates of time required for the salvage operations on the Nevada, California, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.

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The possibility of advancing the repairs on salvaged vessels was discussed with the Commandant and with the manager of the Yard at Pearl Harbor. A suggestion that help might be rendered direct to the Navy Yard by Continental Repair Yards did not meet with their approval for the reason that were compelling, but the desirability of dispersing part of the Naval work on this Station [16] resulted in the suggestion that the Navy take over, by purchase or lease, three small ship repair plants located in Honolulu and that these be operated under a management contract, with personnel to be furnished by private ship repair yards on the west coast. These three plants are the Honolulu Iron Works, the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company and the Tuna Packers, Inc. Only so much of these plants as are useful in ship repairs would be taken over, and the Navy Yard would assign work to them on destroyers, small vessels and yard craft, thus relieving congestion and scattering the risk in case of further possible attack. I am studying this proposal with the various interested parties. With these added facilities, the Navy Yard can adequately handle the work load presently to be imposed upon it.


Upon arrival in San Diego, I was met by the Commandants of the 11th Naval District and Navy Yard, Mare Island, and gave them the necessary information and instructions to post them on the Pearl Harbor attack to permit them to safeguard their commands so far as possible. This included all available information about the two men submarines which might provide a serious menace to the west coast. The Commandant of the Navy Yard, Mare Island, undertook to pass on all of this information to the Commandant of the 12th and 13th Naval District who could not attend this meeting.


In conclusion may I invite particular attention to the following points in my report and draw certain conclusions therefrom:

(1) Neither the Army or the Navy Commandant in Oahu regarded an air attack on the Army air fields or the Navy Stations as at all likely.

[l7] (2) The Army and Naval Commands had received a general war warning on November 27th, but a special war warning sent out by the War Department at midnight December 7th to the Army was not received until some hours after the attack on that date.

(3) Army preparations were primarily based on fear of sabotage while the Navy's were based on fear of submarine attack. Therefore, no adequate measures were taken by either service to guard against a surprise air attack.

(4) Radar equipment manned by the Army and usually operated for a longer period, was only operated from 4:00 a. m. to 7:00 a. m., on December 7th. This change was authorized by the Control Officer. Accurate information of the approach of a concentration of planes 130 miles to the northward relayed to the Aircraft Warning information Center by an unofficial observer was not relayed beyond that office. Nor was other information from Army Radar showing the retirement of enemy aircraft to their bases received as such by the Navy until two days after the attack.

(5) The first surprise attack, simultaneously on five principal objectives, caught them all completely unprepared. It was about four minutes before the first anti-aircraft fire by the Navy began, and as the Army aircraft batteries were not manned nor their mobile units in position it was some time before their anti-aircraft fire became effective.

(6) Most of the damage to Army fields and Navy stations occurred during the first attack, which concentrated on planes, airfields and capital ships.

(7) As anti-aircraft fire increased the second and third attacks resulted in successively less damage.

[18] (8) The final results of the three attacks left the Army air fields and the Naval station *very* badly damaged and resulted in the practical immobilization of the majority of the Navy's battle fleet in the Pacific for months to come, the loss of 75% of the Army's air forces on the Islands, and the loss of an even larger percentage of the Navy's air force on Oahu.

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(9) Once action was joined the courage, determination and resourcefulness of the armed services and of the civilian employees left nothing to be desired. Individually and collectively the bravery of the defense was superb. In single unit combat the American pursuit planes proved themselves superior to the Japanese and the American personnel in the air demonstrated distinct superiority over the Japanese.

(10) While the bulk of the damage done to Naval ships was the result of aerial torpedoes, the only battleship that was completely destroyed was hit by bombs and not by torpedoes. Hangars of the type used on all four stations are a serious menace and should be abandoned for use for storage purposes in possible attack areas.

(11) The loss of life and the number of wounded in this attack is a shocking result of unpreparedness. The handling of the dead and wounded has been prompt and efficient. The wounded should be evacuated to the mainland as soon as possible.

(12) The families of combatant forces should be evacuated to the mainland as soon as possible. Orders to this end are already in preparation.

(13) Salvage facilities and personnel are excellent and, as presently to be augmented, will be ample to meet the Station's needs and [19] will place the damaged vessels in repair berths in the shortest possible time.

(14) Repair facilities are adequate to promptly carry out such repairs as are to be made on this Naval Station. Auxiliary repair facilities are under consideration to relieve the yard from small craft and to lessen the concentration of vessels at one harbor.

(15) In view of the attack and the serious damage inflicted by it, the usefulness and availability of the Naval station must be restudied. Its air defenses must be strengthened immediately by the despatch of as many fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns as can be assigned to it. Special defenses against aerial torpedoes, such as balloon barrages and deep floats to be moored alongside important combatant units must be developed. Pending these studies and the addition of satisfactory safeguards, no large concentration of Naval vessels can be permitted at Pearl Harbor.

(16) This attack has emphasized the completeness of the Naval and military information in the hands of the Japanese, the meticulous detail of their plans of attack, and their courage, ability and resourcefulness in executing and pressing home their operation. It should serve as a mighty incentive to our defense forces to spare no effort to achieve a final victory.

Framed Edition
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