Thursday, December 7, 2017

76 Years Ago

Greetings, Programs:

Yes, once again it is "Pearl Harbor Day" - 76 years ago at about six hours ago the Imperial Japanese Fleet composed of six aircraft carriers came in from a bit over 250 miles northeast of Pearl Harbor, launched several hundred specialized torpedo planes modified for the shallow, 40-foot waters of the harbor, hundreds of dive bombers, fighter planes and standard bombers and, basically, carried out a well-planed and well-thought-out attack on what should have been a heavily defended island. (Yes, that was a rather long, run-on sentence to tell about a rather long, run-on attack.)  Americans called it a "Sneak Attack."  Maybe...  But it was, militarily, a well-planned surprise-attack that the stupid Washington Japanese diplomats failed to declare war on the USA prior to the attack.

Most of us might have seen the movie, "Tora! Tora! Tora!" and think that the words mean "Tiger! Tiger! Tiger" as Hollywood said that it meant.  However, probably Mitsuo Fuchida, the leader of the first wave of Japanese fighters, sent these words back to his superiors on the aircraft carrier Akagi. The word tora (虎) does, indeed, mean "tiger" in Japanese, but in this case it is thought to mean an abbreviated radio code word, an acronym for TOtsugeki RAigeki (突撃雷撃), literally meaning "lightning attack," indicating to his superiors that the objective of complete surprise had been achieved.  Which, of course, would have meant nothing to any interception by any listening American code breakers.  Shades of Blitzkrieg! 

Fortunately all of the USA aircraft carriers were out to sea looking for the Japanese fleet but the Japanese fleet was much farther north than the USA carriers were looking for them.  Also, some have pointed out that had the six Japanese carriers caught the American fleet out at sea the losses to America would have been far greater than the 2,700+ or so men lost in Pearl Harbor; the battle ships would all have sunk to the bottom of the ocean rather than being raised and repaired and the wounded would have died at the bottom of the ocean as well.  If we had to survive an attack, it was better at Pearl than out in the Pacific.

Anyway, just something to remember on December 7th each year.  


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