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Attack on Pearl Harbor - Second wave

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Second wave composition

The second wave consisted of 171 planes: 54 B5Ns, 81 D3As, and 36 A6Ms, commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Shigekazu Shimazaki. Four planes failed to launch because of technical difficulties. This wave and its targets comprised:

01.1st Group — 54 B5Ns armed with 550 lb (249 kg) and 120 lb (54 kg) general purpose bombs

  • 27 B5Ns — aircraft and hangars on Kaneohe, Ford Island, and Barbers Point
  • 27 B5N — hangars and aircraft on Hickam Field

02.2nd Group (targets: aircraft carriers and cruisers)

  • 81 D3As armed with 550 lb (249 kg) general purpose bombs, in four sections

03.3rd Group — (targets: aircraft at Ford Island, Hickham Field, Wheeler Field, Barber’s Point, Kaneohe)

  • 36 A6Ms for defense and strafing

The second wave was divided into three groups. One was tasked to attack Kane‘ohe, the rest Pearl Harbor proper. The separate sections arrived at the attack point almost simultaneously, from several directions.

Ninety minutes after it began, the attack was over. 2,386 Americans died (55 were civilians, most killed by unexploded American anti-aircraft shells landing in civilian areas), a further 1,139 wounded. Eighteen ships were sunk, including five battleships.

Of the American fatalities, nearly half of the total were due to the explosion of USS Arizona's forward magazine after it was hit by a modified 40 cm (16 in.) shell.

Already damaged by a torpedo and on fire forward, Nevada attempted to exit the harbor. She was targeted by many Japanese bombers as she got under way, sustaining more hits from 250 lb (113 kg) bombs as she was deliberately beached to avoid blocking the harbor entrance.

USS California was hit by two bombs and two torpedoes. The crew might have kept her afloat, but were ordered to abandon ship just as they were raising power for the pumps. Burning oil from Arizona and West Virginia drifted down on her, and probably made the situation look worse than it was. The disarmed target ship USS Utah was holed twice by torpedoes. USS West Virginia was hit by seven torpedoes, the seventh tearing away her rudder. USS Oklahoma was hit by four torpedoes, the last two above her belt armor, which caused her to capsize. USS Maryland was hit by two of the converted 40 cm shells, but neither caused serious damage.

Although the Japanese concentrated on battleships (the largest vessels present), they did not ignore other targets. The light cruiser USS Helena was torpedoed, and the concussion from the blast capsized the neighboring minelayer USS Oglala. Two destroyers in dry dock were destroyed when bombs penetrated their fuel bunkers. The leaking fuel caught fire; flooding the dry dock in an effort to fight fire made the burning oil rise, and so the ships were burned out. The light cruiser USS Raleigh was holed by a torpedo. The light cruiser USS Honolulu was damaged but remained in service. The destroyer USS Cassin capsized, and destroyer USS Downes was heavily damaged. The repair vessel USS Vestal, moored alongside Arizona, was heavily damaged and beached. The seaplane tender USS Curtiss was also damaged. USS Shaw was badly damaged when two bombs penetrated her forward magazine.

Of the 402 American aircraft in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged, 155 of them on the ground. Almost none were actually ready to take off to defend the base. Of 33 PBYs in Hawaii, 24 were destroyed, and six others damaged beyond repair. (The three on patrol returned undamaged.) Friendly fire brought down some U.S. planes on top of that, including five from an inbound flight from USS Enterprise. Japanese attacks on barracks killed additional personnel.

Fifty-five Japanese airmen and nine submariners were killed in the action, and one was captured. Of Japan's 414 available planes, 29 were lost during the battle (nine in the first attack wave, 20 in the second), with another 74 damaged by antiaircraft fire from the ground.


Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 April 2009 22:11 )  

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