At 7:55 a.m. Hawaiian Time a large group of bomber and fighter planes approached a U.S. Navy base on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. As the strike force flew into radar detection zone the Americans picked up what they thought was a group of B-17 that were due to arrive from mainland U.S.A.
The invaders divided into three groups and began to attack their different targets. Group 1 focused on the battleships while Group 2 attacked Ford Island and Wheeler Field, Group 3 concentrated fire on the aircraft at Ford Island, Hickam Field, Wheeler Field, Barber’s Point, Kaneohe. Several men, George Welch and Ken Taylor notably, scrambled to their fighter planes and attempted to stem the tide of the battle but it was too late. By the time the Japanese left Pearl Harbor was in flames.
Soon the foe returned and began a second attack. The outgunned Americans didn’t have a chance. Ninety minutes after the battle began it was over, leaving Pearl Harbor and the U.S. Pacific Fleet in smoldering ruins. 2,403 people were killed and many were wounded eight ships were demolished (though many returned to service) burning remains of 188 planes were scattered over airstrips.
The Japanese objective was all but complete, one of the main targets were the aircraft carriers that were absent on the day of the attack. The Japanese also considered a third wave in order to destroy the maintenance, and dry dock facilities and the fuel and torpedo storage. The enemy also sustained twenty-nine planes that failed to return to their carriers.
Although the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor was a success for the Japanese it really only brought on their doom. The next day America declared war on Japan, soon Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and America was forced to fight a grueling war from that day until September 2, 1945. December 7th, 1941 is “a date which will live for infamy”
-Remember Pearl Harbor!
A Dauntless Dive Bomber sunk in Lake Michigan is being restored at our very own Pensacola NAS. Read about it here.
Aircraft participating in D-day wore black and white stripes. This was to reduce the risk of friendly fire. On June 1, such airplanes flew over the invasion fleet so that the crews could formalize themselves with the markings. In July the markings on the upper surface was ordered removed and by the end of 1944 they were completely gone.
On April 4, 1943 1st Lt. William J. Hatton, pilot of B-24 Liberator Lady Be Good, and his crew set out on a bombing raid bound for Naples, Italy. After meeting up with high winds and obscured visibility the plane aborted the mission. To make matters worse the automatic direction finder went out. The plane then missed the base at Soluch, Libya (modern day Suluq) and after heading south for a couple more hours the crew bailed out. They were never heard from since. Then in 1959 the wreckage of the Lady be Good was found by a British oil surveyor. Then in 1960 eight out of nine of the crewman’s bodies were found. Bombardier John Woravka was thought to have died on impact due to trouble with his parachute opening and his body was found later in 1960. The rest of the crew met up and began an amazing trek through the desert. They walked 80 miles in scorching heat for eight days sharing only one canteen of water. As all hope began to fade three of the crew man strayed from the group to find help. Two of their bodies were found 20 miles away from the others. The Lady be Good had crashed landed on her belly and was mostly intact. Over the years pieces were hauled away by souvenir hunters. One propeller can be seen in front of the Village Hall in Lake Linden, the home of Robert E. LaMotte. The plane was finally moved to Tobruk for safekeeping in 1994. The crew’s names are posted below:
1st Lt. William J. Hatton – pilot
2nd Lt. Robert F. Toner – co-pilot
2d Lt. D.P. (initials only, also seen as “Dp”) Hays – navigator
2d Lt. John S. Woravka – bombardier
T/Sgt. Harold J. Ripslinger – flight engineer
T/Sgt. Robert E. LaMotte – radio operator
S/Sgt. Guy E. Shelley – gunner
S/Sgt. Vernon L. Moore – gunner
S/Sgt. Samuel R. Adams – gunner
The P-38 Lightning was one of the best fighters of WWII. It was instantly recognized by it’s twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament. The German nickname for it was the “der Gabelschwanzteufel”- Forked Tail Devil. Though they were fighters they could also serve as bombers. All and all they were awesome at intercepting the enemy. On 18 April 1943, American codebreakers found out that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was heading to Bougainville Island. 16 P-38 were sent to intercept the enemy in two bombers serving as transports and six Zero fighters. The next day searchers found Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s body at a crash sight in the jungle.
As you might have noticed I have added a new page to my blog. On this page I will be putting WW2 Aviation resources. Right now all I have on there is a widget you can post on your blog! If you don’t know how to do this keep reading. Right below the widget I have a embed code first, you need to copy this code. Second you need to go to your blog and edit your sidebar. Add a text box and paste the code. That should do it!
I plan to be updating the new page continually so check back often and tell your friends.