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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY - NAVAL HISTORY & HERITAGE COMMAND

Pearl Harbor Attack: 7 December 1941, Online Action Reports: Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, Serial 0479 of 15 February 1942

Related Resources:

Cincpac File No.
A16-3/
Serial 0479
UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
FLAGSHIP OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
FEB 15 1942
 
From: Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet.
To: The Secretary of the Navy.
Via: (1) The Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet.
(2) The Chief of Naval Operations.
 
Subject: Report of Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor,
7 December, 1941.
 
Reference: (a) Cincpac file A16-3/(02088) of Dec. 21, 1941;
forwarded by Cincpac file A16-3/(05)/ Serial
02100 of Dec. 23, 1941.
 
Enclosures: (A-1-5) Chart Diagrams showing Phase I to Phase V of Pearl Harbor Raid.
(A-6) Chart Diagram showing plots of Enemy Planes shot down by Antiaircraft fire.
(A-7) Chart Diagram showing ship sorties made on 7 December, 1941.
(A-8) Composite Chart Diagram of entire action. [A-1 through A-8 not attached]
(B) Photograph of Enemy Horizontal Bombers. [not attached]
(C) Damage Report - Ships.
(D) Damage Report - Aircraft.
(E) Narrative Reports of Commanding Officers. [under construction]
(F) Chart Reports of Commanding Officers. [not attached]

Pursuant to paragraph 7 of reference (a), there is forwarded herewith, in duplicate, an amplifying report on the Japanese Raid of 7 December, 1941, on Pearl Harbor. It is recommended that the duplicate copy be forwarded to the Naval War College when it has served its purpose in the Navy Department.

This report covers the activities of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and refers to other organizations only incidentally and in a general way. It does not report on the operations of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at sea, 7 December, 1941, after the sortie was completed.

This report is divided into four parts:

Part I - Organization.
Part II - Situation in Pearl Harbor just prior to Japanese Raid, 7 December, 1941.
Part III - Narrative of events during Japanese Raid on Pearl Harbor, 7 December, 1941, with graphic representation.
Part IV - (A) Casualty Report;
(B) Damage Report (Enclosures (C) and (D));
(C) Ammunition Report:
(D) Recommendations for awards;
(E) Narrative Reports of Commanding Officers (Enclosure (E));
(F) Chart Reports of Commanding Officers (Enclosure (F)). [not enclosed in report]

PART I - ORGANIZATION OF U.S. PACIFIC FLEET.

1. In April, 1941, the United States Pacific Fleet was reorganized into Task Forces. Some additional changes were made October 31, 1941, by Pacific Fleet Confidential Letter No. 14CL-41, pertinent parts of which are quoted:

"2. To provide for all phases of type, intertype, and Fleet training, concurrently with performance of certain required patrol and escort duties, the following Task Force organization are prescribed:

"TASK FORCE ONE, (COMMANDER BATTLE FORCE)

Batdivs TWO, FOUR 6 BB
Cardiv ONE, less Lexington 1 CV
Crudiv NINE 5 CL
Desflot ONE less Desron FIVE 1 OCL, 2 DL, 16 DD
Oglala, Mindiv ONE 1 CM, 4 DM

Primary Mission:

To organize, train, and continue development of doctrine and tactics for operations of, and in the vicinity of, the Main Body; to keep up-to-date normal arrangements and current plans for such operations; and to accumulate and maintain in readiness for war all essential material required by the task force

in order to

provide an efficient Covering Force available for supporting operations of other forces; or for engagement, with or without support, in fleet action.

"TASK FORCE TWO, (COMMANDER AIRCRAFT, BATTLE FORCE)

Batdiv ONE 3 BB
Cardiv TWO 1 CV
Crudiv FIVE 4 CA
Desflot TWO 1 OCL, 2 DL, 16 DD
Mindiv TWO 4 DM

Primary Mission:

To organize, train, and develop doctrine and tactics for reconnoitering and raiding, with air or surface units, enemy objectives, particularly those on land; to keep up-to-date normal arrangements and plans for such operations; to accumulate and maintain in readiness for war all essential material required by the task force

in order to

provide an efficient Reconnoitering and Raiding Force for testing the strength of enemy communication lines and positions and for making forays against the enemy, and for operations in conjunction with other forces.

"TASK FORCE THREE, (COMMANDER SCOUTING FORCE)

Crudivs FOUR, SIX 8 CA
Lexington plus Marine Air Group 21 1 CV
Desron FIVE 1 DL, 8 DD
Minron TWO 13 DMS
Trainron FOUR 6 AP
2nd Marine Division less Defense
Battalions and Advance Detachment
 

Primary Mission:

To organize, train, and develop doctrine and tactics for capturing enemy land objectives, particularly fortified atolls; to keep up-to-date normal arrangements and plans for such operations; and to accumulate and maintain in readiness for war all essential material required by the task force

in order to

provide an efficient Amphibious Force for attack, with or without support of other forces, on outlying positions of the enemy.

"TASK FORCE FOUR, (COMMANDANT FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT)

That part of Fourteenth Naval District Activities which involve the Island Bases.

Primary Mission:

To organize, train, and develop the Island Bases

in order to

insure their own defense and provide efficient services to Fleet units engaged in advance operations.

"TASK FORCE SEVEN, (COMMANDER SUBMARINES, SCOUTING FORCE)

Subron FOUR less Subdiv FORTY-ONE 1 SM, 8 SS, 1 AM, 1 ASR, 1 DD
Subron SIX 12 SS, 1 AS
*Subron EIGHT 6 SS, 1 AS
*Subron TEN 4 SS, 1 AS
*Upon reporting.  

Primary Missions:

(1) To organize, train and, concurrently with execution of the expansion program, to continue development of doctrine and tactics

in order to

provide an efficient Submarine Observation and Attack Force for independent operations or operations coordinated with other forces.

(2) To conduct patrols in areas and at times prescribed by the Commander-in-Chief, United States Fleet

in order to

improve security of Fleet units and bases.

"TASK FORCE NINE, (COMMANDER PATROL WING TWO)

Patwing ONE 36 VPB(A), 1 AV, 2 AVD, 1 AVP
Patwing TWO 42 VPB(A), 2 AV, 2 AVD, 1 AVP

Primary Missions:

(1) To organize, train and, concurrently with execution of the expansion program, to continue development of doctrine and tactics.

in order to

provide an efficient long range Air Scouting and Air Striking Force for independent operations or operations coordinated with other forces.

(2) To conduct patrols in areas and at time prescribed by the Commander-in-Chief, United States Pacific Fleet

in order to

improve security of Fleet units and bases.

"TASK FORCE FIFTEEN, (COMMANDER BASE FORCE)

Units assigned 4 CA or CL

Primary Mission:

To escort trans-pacific shipping

in order to

protect trans-pacific shipping against possible attack."

2. When the task forces were first formed in April, 1941, two of the three major task forces were kept at sea and one in port. This was a condition impossible to maintain as the fuel supply was rapidly being depleted and the material condition of the ships retrograded. A change was made so that one Task Force was always at sea and two in port except for periods of three or four days when two of the Task Forces would train together at sea. For several reasons, the composition of the Task Forces differed from that set forth in the general directive.

The composition and disposition of the Task Forces at 0700, 7 December, 1941, were as follows:

TASK FORCE ONE (In Pearl)  
Batdivs 2 and 4 (less Colorado in NYPS) 5 BB  
Crudiv 9 (less Boise assigned as escort to convoy to Asiatic Station) 4 CL  
Desrons 1 and 3 (less Clark in NYMI) 17 DD  
Raleigh 1 OCL  
Oglala 1 OCM  
Mindiv 1 (overhaul in NYPH) 4 DM  
TASK FORCE TWO (In Pearl)  
Batdiv 1 3 BB  
Desron 4 9 DD  
Mindiv 2 4 DM  
Detroit 1 OCL  
TASK FORCE EIGHT  
Enterprise 1 CV  
Desron 6 9 DD  
Crudiv 5 (less Pensacola which was assigned as escort to convoy to Asiatic Station) 3 CA  
Normally, the units of Task Force EIGHT were part of Task Force TWO. Task Force EIGHT had ferried VMF-221 to Wake and was now returning to Pearl; in position Latitude 21-11, Longitude 161-00, about 200 miles to westward of Oahu.  
TASK FORCE THREE (At Sea)  
Indianapolis 1 CA  
Minneapolis 1 CA  
Minron TWO 13 DMS  

The Indianapolis and five DMS (Hopkins, Southard, Dorsey, Elliot, Long) had just arrived at Johnston Island to conduct tests of a new type landing boat. (Johnston Island is 711 miles bearing 247° from Oahu.)

The Minneapolis and four DMS were in the training area to the southwest of Oahu.

 
TASK FORCE SEVEN  
At Midway 2 SS  
At Wake 2 SS  
At Mare Island 5 SS  
At San Diego 4 SS  
Enroute to Pearl 4 SS  
At Pearl 5 SS  
Pelias 1 AS  
TASK FORCE NINE  
VP-21 At Midway 21    
VP-11 At Kaneohe 12    
VP-12 At Kaneohe 11    
VP-14 At Kaneohe (3 in air) 10    
VP-22 At Pearl Harbor 12    
VP-23 At Pearl Harbor 11    
VP-24 At Pearl Harbor (4 in air)   5    
  72    
Overhauling   9    
Marine Planes  
VMF-221 At Wake      
VMSB-231 Enroute Midway in Lexington      
VMSB At Ewa 18    
VMJ-252 At Ewa 2    
In Port  
Tangier      
Curtiss      
McFarland      
Hulbert      
Thornton      
TASK FORCE TWELVE  
Lexington 1 CV  
Crudiv 4 (less Indianapolis, Lousiville), plus Astoria 3 CA  
Desron 5 (less Desdiv 10) 5 DD  
Task Force TWELVE was normally a part of Task Force THREE but was enroute to Midway with Marine Scout Bombers (VMSB-231) and in approximate position Latitude 23-30, longitude 170-30 (about 460 miles bearing 125° from Midway.)  
TASK FORCE FIFTEEN  
Argonne (flagship) plus auxiliaries and repair vessels, were in port or at sea in accordance with logistic requirements.  
VJ-1 -- 9
9
J2F
JRS
Pearl
Pearl
VJ-2 -- 10
4
J2F
PBY--1
Pearl
(2 at Johnston)
VJ-2 -- 1
4
1
2
J2V
JRB
JRF
BT
Pearl
At Maui

PART II -- SITUATION JUST PRIOR TO JAPANESE RAID
7 DECEMBER 1941.

Discounting small craft, there were some 86 ships of the Pacific Fleet moored in Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December, 1941. Their disposition, according to berth assignment, is shown on the Harbor Chart (enclosure (A)) employed herein in describing the action. Aircraft of Patrol Wings, U.S. Pacific Fleet,
 
were, as set forth in enclosure (E) (Commander Patrol Wing TWO report), disposed as follows: Patrol Squadron 21, at Midway; Patrol Squadrons 11, 12, 14, at Haneohe; Patrol Squadrons 22, 23, 24, at Pearl Harbor. Numerically, their disposition was as follows:

VP-21

7

 

4

planes

 

planes

- in the air conducting search 120° to 170° to 450 miles from Midway.

- on the surface at Midway armed each with 2 dive hundred pound bombs and on 10 minutes notice.

 
VP-11 12 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.  
VP-12 6 planes - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.
  5 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.
VP-14 3 planes - in the air on morning security patrol armed with depth charges.
  3 planes - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.
  4 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.
VP-22 12 planes - ready for flight on 4 hours notice.
VP-23 11 planes
VP-24 4 planes - in the air conducting inter-type tactics with submarines.
  1 plane - ready for flight on 30 minutes notice.
Total 72  
or, summarizing:
  14   - in the air (7 on a search from Midway).
  58   - on the surface ready for flight in four hours or less.
     9   - undergoing repairs.
  81   - Total

Remaining shore-based Fleet Aircraft were disposed as follows: Marine Air Group 21, at Ewa Field, Oahu; Utility Squadrons 1 and 2 (Base Force), at Naval Air Station, Pearl Harbor, T.H.; and Utility Squadron 3 (Base Force), at Maui, T.H.

Weather conditions, as officially logged for the period just prior to the attack, are summarized as follows: 0400-0800: Average partly cloudy with cumulus clouds mostly over the mountains. Cloud base 3500 feet. Visibility good. Wind N. 10 knots. Cloud amounts: 4/10 to 5/10, increasing slightly after 0800 with lower clouds moving out over the harbor at times.

(A) CONDITION OF READINESS

(a) Armament and Material.

      (1) Ships.

All types had some ready ammunition at the guns, in accordance with their type directives. Battleships and Cruisers, 15 rounds per gun for two guns for the 5-inch anti-aircraft battery and 300 rounds per gun for half of the .50 caliber battery. The Destroyers present all had .50 caliber ammunition available and some 5-inch ammunition, depending on tests that were underway at the moment. Although a battery condition of readiness for ships had not been designated from the Naval Base Defense Plan, the first batteries opened fire less than two minutes after the attack was initiated. All batteries, except those on ships undergoing overhaul, had taken up the fire within approximately seven minutes after the attack was initiated.

       (2) Aircraft.

With regard to the condition of readiness of Fleet Aircraft, reference should be had to enclosure (D) and to the report by Commander Patrol Wing TWO (enclosure (E)).

(b) Personnel.

The ships in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, were adequately manned from the officer and the enlisted personnel standpoint. Supplementing the restriction of Navy Regulations that not more than one-half of the crew should be granted leave or liberty at the same time, a Fleet directive limited overnight liberty in Hawaii to Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officers First Class. While this directive enunciated no policy as to shore leave for officer personnel, Type organizations provided for a duty section of officers on board at all times.

Excerpts from a summarized report on personnel actually on board at the commencement of the attack on 7 December, 1941, are enlightening:

  On Board
Commanding Officers of Battleships 5 out of 8
Commanding Officers of Cruisers 6 out of 7
Commanding Officers of Destroyers 63%
Damage Control Officers of Battleships 6 out of 8
Average percentage of officers:  
   Battleships (approximately) 60-70%
   Cruisers, Battle Force " 65%
   Destroyers, Battle Force " 50%
Average percentage of men:  
   Battleships 95%
   Cruisers, Battle Force 98%
   Destroyers, Battle Force 85%

(c) Watertight Integrity.

Directives covering the maintaining of proper watertight integrity for ships at sea and in port, as set forth in F.T.P. 170, and U.S. Navy regulations, 1920, article 1305(4), have been consistently complied with by ships of the Pacific Fleet. In Pearl Harbor it has been the practice for ships to secure all closures below the waterline at night, insofar as practicable. in it general opinion, therefore, that a condition considerably better the XRAY had been the practice. However, just how many closures would have been opened between daylight and the attack, at 0755, is problematical and would vary with different ships.

(d) General.

In reply to a questionnaire put to ships of the Battle Force, the following specific information on Conditions of General Readiness, applicable to December 7, 1941, was obtained:

  1. The Duty Section in all cases was habitually greatly augmented by additional personnel on board.
  2. The Duty Section, except for Destroyers, provided for manning the entire antiaircraft battery. While such was not feasible in destroyer types, men actually on board were sufficient to man the entire battery.
  3. Ammunition was available in ready boxes.
  4. The Captain, Gunnery Officer, Officer-of-the-Deck, or responsible Gunner's Mate, were normally custodians of keys to ready ammunition boxes.
  5. The average of estimated times to man and commence firing all antiaircraft guns, including 5" and 1.1, was reported as:
  6. Material Conditions reported for ships in Pearl Harbor were as follows:

PART III
NARRATIVE OF EVENTS DURING
JAPANESE RAID, 7 DECEMBER, 1941

The first enemy contact of 7 December, 1941, is believed to have been made at 0350, when the U.S.C.G. Condor sighted the periscope of a submerged submarine. At that time the Condor was conducting sweeping operations approximately one and three-fourths miles southwest of the Pearl Harbor entrance buoys.

The Condor, accordingly, at 0357, informed, by visual signal, the U.S.S. Ward, then patrolling off the Pearl Harbor entrance, of this contact. The Ward thereupon immediately instituted a search and at about 0637 sighted the periscope of an unidentified submarine apparently trailing the U.S.S. Antares, then enroute into Pearl Harbor. At 0640, the Ward commenced its attack, which is believed to have been successful. At 0645, a despatch, by voice transmission, was sent to the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, who reports its receipt at about 0712, local time. no prior report of either contact had been made to the Commandant, Fourteenth Naval District, or the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. During the previous year there had been several reports of submarine contacts, all of which turned out to be false. Upon receipt of the Ward's report by the Commandant, action was taken to: instruct the ready duty destroyer, the U.S.S. Monaghan, to proceed to sea; close the net gate; attempt to verify the contact report, with details thereon; and to notify, by telephone, at about 0720, the Commander-in-Chief's Staff Duty Officer.

Another telephone call to the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, about 0740, from the Operations Officer, Patrol Wing TWO, relayed a report received at 0732 that a patrol plane had sunk a hostile submarine south of the entrance buoy. This was followed by an additional telephone report from the Fourteenth Naval District that the Ward was towing a sampan into Honolulu. At about 0755, the Navy Yard Signal Tower telephoned the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, as follows: "ENEMY AIR RAID - NOT DRILL". Almost simultaneously, Japanese torpedo planes attacked the battleships.

The narratives and diagrams are based on reports attacked as enclosure (E), plus additional graphic reports, appended as enclosure (F), submitted in reply to specific questions put to the various ships concerned in the action. There are great conflicts in these reports. Certain events are listed with such wide variations of the time and number of units participating as to cause doubt that the reports are referring to the same vent. Other difficulties incident to the making of an analysis of the action should also be noted, particularly with respect to the differentiation between the estimated total of enemy aircraft attacking and the number of attacks engaged in. For example, some planes that had completed attacks on other objectives on Oahu, carried out strafing attacks on Pearl Harbor. Horizontal bombers undoubtedly made two approaches in some cases. Dive bombers obviously made repeated attacks, combining bombing and strafing initially and then simply strafing when bombs had! ! been expended. It is also apparent from the reports that light bombers and fighters could not be distinguished. However, within these limitations, the attack is interpreted as related.

The narrative and the accompanying graphic representations are divided into five phases. This is arbitrary and does not properly express the continuous action which occurred on the morning of December 7, 1941, but the division does give clarity to the narrative.

Phase I -- 7055-0825 Combined torpedo plane and dive bomber attacks.
Phase II -- 0825-0840 Lull in attacks.
Phase III -- 0840-0915 Horizontal bomber attacks.
Phase IV -- 0915-0945 Dive bomber attacks.
Phase V -- 0945- Waning of attacks and completion of Raid.

The primary objectives of the Japanese were the heavy ships and aircraft. Damage to the light forces and the industrial plant was incidental to the destruction or putting out of action the heavy ships and aircraft based ashore.

PHASE I -- 0755-0825
(COMBINED TORPEDO PLANE AND DIVE BOMBER ATTACKS)

The time of the first attack on Pearl harbor is fixed by the fact that it occurred with the hosting of the morning preparatory signal for eight o'clock colors. At this time, namely, at 0755, Japanese dive bombers appeared over Hickam Field and Ford Island, and, bare seconds later, enemy torpedo planes and dive bombers swung in from various sectors to concentrate their attack on the heavy ships moored in Pearl Harbor. An estimated 18 planes engaged in the attack on Hickam Field while approximately 9 dive bombers from out of the northeast bombed and strafed the Naval Air Station, concentrating particularly on Hangar No. 6 and the planes parked in that vicinity.

With the dropping of the first bombs on Ford Island, Commander Patrol Wing TWO, at 0758, broadcast the warning to Al Ships Present: "AIR RAID, PEARL HARBOR. THIS IS NOT DRILL!" A similar message from the Commander-in-Chief followed a few minutes later.

(A) Torpedo Planes

The torpedo planes, although assisted effectively by dive bombers, constituted the major threat of Phase I. Adhering strictly to carefully laid plans based on exact information, their attack was directed from those sectors which afforded the best avenues of approach for torpedo attack against selected heavy ship objectives. in this connection, it should be observed that the depth of the water in Pearl Harbor, in the great majority of cases at least, did not militate against the successful prosecution of this form of attack. Specially contrived wooden fins, remnants of which were discovered on salvaged enemy torpedoes, were no doubt responsible for insuring shallow dives of the torpedoes upon launching.

  1. Of the four separate torpedo plane attacks made in this Phase, as distinguished by sectors of origin, the major effort was that conducted by 12 torpedo planes which swung in generally from the Southeast, over the tank form, Merry Point, and environs; launching their torpedoes from very low altitudes, and at very short distances, toward the battleships on the South side of Ford Island. All of the outboard battleships were effectively hit by one or more torpedoes. Strafing was simultaneously conducted from the rear cockpits. A recovered unexploded torpedo carried a charge of 1,000 pounds of explosive.
  2. Another wave of 3 torpedo planes came in from the Southwest, across Drydock No. 1 and vicinity, and launched their attacks at the California (Berth F-3), the Oklahoma (Berth F-5), and the West Virginia (berth F-6).
  3. A third attack, of 1 plane from the West, was directed at the U.S.S. Helena which, together with the Oglala moored outboard, occupied the berth usually occupied by the Pennsylvania, Fleet flagship. Both ships were hit, the Oglala suffering the explosive effects of the direct hit on the Helena. The Oglala capsized about an hour later as a result of this damage.
  4. The fourth wave, of 5 planes, came from the Northwest, splitting, before the launching, in order to include as objectives the Tangier, Utah, Raleigh, and Detroit. Both Utah and Raleigh were torpedoed, the Utah, with two hits, capsizing as a result. Berths F-10 and F-11, at which the Utah and Raleigh were berthed, are designated carrier berths, and a carrier is frequently moored in F-9. The Detroit and Tangier escaped torpedo damage, one torpedo passing just astern of the Detroit and driving itself into the bank; another passing between the Tangier and Utah.

    The total estimated number of torpedo planes engaged in this phase is 21.

(B) Dive Bombers

There were eight dive bomber attacks made during Phase I, as determined by the direction and locality of attack.

Three types of bombs were know to have been employed: light, medium, and incendiary.

  1. The initial attack of the Raid was that conducted, as noted heretofore, by some 9 dive bombers from the Northeast, which, at 0755, bombed and strafed the hangars and planes on the southern end of Ford Island. the effectiveness of this attack points to the generous use of incendiary bombs and bullets.
  2. Five planes from the East-Southeast conducted dives on the battleships in berths F-3 to F-8, splitting, before attacking, into sections, each section being assigned to one target, and each plane pulling out at about 300 feet. The most damaging effect of the dive bombing attack was felt by the Arizona, whose forward 14-inch powder magazine exploded, resulting in a ravaging fire. The oil fire from the Arizona sent up a great cloud of smoke and interfered with antiaircraft fire. The fire itself endangered the Tennessee, in the adjacent berth.
  3. Four planes from the Southeast directed their dives against the Helena and Oglala, California, Neosho, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
  4. Three planes from the Southwest split prior to attack, to dive-bomb the Shaw in Floating Drydock No. 2; the Helena and Oglala; the Pennsylvania and destroyers Cassin and Downes in Drydock No. 1.
  5. Two planes from the West split and dive-bombed the Oglala and Helena, and the Pennsylvania and Shaw.
  6. Groups from the Northwest came from two separate sectors; those from the lower sector, 2 in number, directing their attacks against minecraft destroyers, the Medusa and Curtiss, moored in Middle Loch.
  7. Three planes from the upper sector of the Northwest attack group concentrated their attacks on the Utah, Raleigh, and Detroit, on the North side of Ford Island.
  8. The remaining 2 planes appeared out of the North and attacked destroyers in berths X-11, X-2, and X-8.

The total number of dive bombers engaged in this phase is estimated at 30.

While a few fighters were reported among the attackers in the various phases, they were no doubt confused with light bombers and accordingly are not treated as a distinct type.

(C) Horizontal Bombers

Although the major attack by high-altitude horizontal bombers did not occur until Phase III, 15 participated in this phase (Phase I).

  1. The first attack group, numbering 6 planes, appeared from the South, bombed objectives while crossing over the ships moored at Yard docks, the battleships at Ford Island, and the U.S.S. Dobbin and destroyers in berth X-2. This group then circled to the right and began a second attack from the North, described hereunder at Attack No. 4.
  2. A group of 5 planes crossed from the Southwest, at an estimated altitude of about 12,000 feet, over the industrial area, Yard docks, and battleship berths, bombing the latter enroute.
  3. Another group of 4 planes approached from the Northwest, crossing over the Utah, Ford Island, and the Yard industrial area, bombing the California enroute.
  4. The fourth, and remaining group of planes, was a continuation of the attack by Group No. 1. They crossed from the Northeast, over the Dobbin and destroyers alongside, over the California, and then bombed the Shaw in Floating Drydock No. 2.

(D) Defensive Action

Although the Japanese launched their initial attack as a surprise, battleship ready machine guns opened fire at once and were progressively augmented by the remaining antiaircraft battery as all hands were promptly called to general quarters. That all ships present opened fire with commendable promptness is attested by the record. Actually, as stated above, ships opened fire immediately with machine guns, bringing down two, and damaging others, of the first wave of attacking torpedo planes. Within an estimated average time of under five minutes, practically all battleship antiaircraft batteries were firing; cruisers were firing all antiaircraft batteries within an average time of about 4 minutes; and destroyers, though opening up with machine guns almost immediately, averaged seven minutes in bringing all antiaircraft guns into action.

In addition to the initial warnings sent at 0758 and 0800, at 0812 the Fleet was advised that, "HOSTILITIES WITH JAPAN COMMENCED WITH AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR"; and at 0817 the Commander-in-Chief ordered, by despatch, Commander Patrol Wing TWO to, "LOCATE ENEMY FORCE".

At 0820, Commander Battle Force signaled Task Forces ONE and TWO to, "SORTIE". This was in accordance with previously issued Emergency Sortie Plan.

(E) Movement of Ships

During Phase I there was no movement of ships within the harbor, other than that begun by the U.S.S. Helm, at 0726, in shifting to the deperming buoys in West Loch, and completed by a sortie upon the sighting of enemy planes at about 0800. At 0817, the Helm spotted the conning tower of a submarine to the right of the entrance channel and northward of buoy No. 1. Though immediately submerging, fire was opened when the submarine again surfaced temporarily. No hits were observed.

PHASE II -- 0825-0840
("LULL")

This phase is described as a "lull" only by way of comparison. Although torpedo planes, supported by dive bombers, had completed their attacks, air activity continued, though somewhat abated, with sporadic attacks by dive and horizontal bombers; the latter attacks overlapping from Phase I.

(A) Dive Bombers

  1. A group of 3 planes swung in from the Southeast over the Submarine Base, directing their attack at the ships in the Navy Yard and principally the battleships at berths F-5 and F-8.
  2. Another group of 3 planes from the Southeast split up to dive-bomb the ships in Drydock No. 1, the Helena and Oglala at the 1010 Dock, and the ships in the vicinity of the Honolulu and St. Louis.
  3. A third attack of 3 planes came from the Southwest, dive-bombing objectives on the southern end of Ford Island, the Shaw in Floating Drydock No. 2, and ships in Drydock No. 1.
  4. A fourth attack of 3 planes was delivered from the Northwest, including as objectives destroyers moored in berth D-6, the U.S.S. Tangier and the U.S.S. Detroit.
  5. The remaining attack group of this phase, numbering 3 planes, came from the Northeast and dive-bombed the Whitney and destroyers alongside; destroyers at berth X-11; and the Phoenix and berth C-6.

An estimated total of 15 dive bombers participated in this phase. no doubt these fifteen were included among the thirty dive bombers engaged in Phase I attacks.

(B) Horizontal Bombers

Although three attacks by horizontal bombers are reported during the "lull", it appears that these overlapped into phase II and are described thereunder.

Accordingly, no horizontal bombers are credited to this Phase.

(C) Movement of Ships

As in Phase I, there was, during Phase II, relatively little ship movement within the harbor. The ready duty destroyer Monaghan, having received orders, at 0751 (LCT), to "PROCEED IMMEDIATELY AND CONTACT WARD IN DEFENSIVE SEA AREA", got underway at 0830, having been temporarily delayed by the initiation of the enemy action. At about 0837, the Monaghan, having observed an enemy submarine under fire of both the Curtiss and Tangier, proceeded at flank speed and at about 0843 rammed; thereafter dropping two depth charges. The fire of the Curtiss, it might be added, resulted in two direct hits on the conning tower. This submarine was later salvaged for inspection and final disposition. Before being able to check her headway and proceed down the channel, the Monaghan became briefly entangled with a dredge moored near Beckoning Point.

At the same time that the Monaghan got underway, the Henley slipped her chain from buoy X-11 and sortied, following the Monaghan down the channel.

PHASE II -- 0840-0915
(HORIZONTAL BOMBERS)

The so-called "lull" in the air raid was terminated by the appearance over the Fleet of considerable numbers of high-altitude horizontal bombers, crossing and recrossing their targets from various points of the compass. Enclosure (B) is a photograph of one group of horizontal bombers flying at 12,000 feet and taken shortly before attacking. Damage from this attack was serious. Some of the bombs dropped were converted fifteen or sixteen inch shells; they penetrated with about 20-inch holes, low order detonation, and very little flame.

(A) Horizontal Bombers

Horizontal bombing largely predominated Phase III. The few attacks that possibly overlapped, for a brief period, into Phase IV, are covered herein.

  1. A group from almost due South, consisting of 6 planes, crossed over ships moored in Navy Yard berths, the Tennessee and West Virginia at berth F-6, and the Whitney and destroyers at berth X-2. This group then circled to the right, and recrossed as the sixth group described below.
  2. A second group, of 9 planes, crossed from the Southwest to Northeast, over Drydock No. 2, the Oglala and Helena, the Tennessee and West Virginia, and the destroyers at berth X-5.
  3. A third group, also from the Southwest, split before dropping their bombs, the northern group, of e planes, proceeding very nearly along the line of battleship moorings. It was probably this attack group that scored a hit on the California with what is believed to have been a 15-inch projectile with tail vanes, penetrating to the second deck and exploding.
  4. The southern section of the third group, mentioned above, and consisting also of 3 planes, crossed the Shaw in Floating Drydock no. 2, passed very nearly over the stern of the Pennsylvania, and on over the industrial area of the Yard.
  5. The fifth group, of 6 planes, initially from the East and described below as group 7, circled in from the Northwest and proceeded across the Utah, the California, and into the Southeast across the Navy Yard in the vicinity of the Helena and Oglala.
  6. The sixth group, originally crossing from the South as Group 1, now approached from almost due North; crossed in the vicinity of the Whitney and destroyers in berth X-2, the Tennessee and West Virginia at berth F-6, and the ships moored in the Repair Basin.
  7. The seventh group, from the East, crossed generally along the line of destroyer berths to the Northeastward and North of Ford Island; then circled left and re-approached as group 5, described above.
  8. The southern section of bombers from the East, consisting of 3 planes, crossed over the Arizona, the Tangier, and then the moorings in the Middle Loch.

An estimated total of 30 horizontal bombers, including nine planes which engaged in earlier attacks, participated in Phase III. The heavy ships bore the brunt of these attacks.

(B) Dive Bombers

While Phase II was devoted largely to attacks by horizontal bombers, a number of dive bombers participated.

  1. A group of 6 planes from the Southeast bombed and strafed the Pennsylvania, the California, and the battleships of berths F-6 and F-7.
  2. A second group, of 3 bombers, from the Southwest, apparently selected as their objectives the Avocet and California; the Floating Drydock with the Shaw, and possibly the ships at 1010 Dock; and Drydock No. 1 with the Pennsylvania, Cassin, and Downes.

    It is probable that this group did considerable damage to the U.S.S. Nevada, then proceeding down the South Channel about off YFD-2; and to the Shaw, Cassin and Downes, these being set afire.

  3. A third group appeared from the Northwest, attacking the Utah, the Detroit, and ships moored in Middle Loch. They numbered 3 planes.
  4. Three planes from the North made a general attack on destroyers to the Northward of Ford Island, probably concentrating on the Dobbin and Whitney and alongside destroyers.
  5. The remaining group of 3 dive bombers appeared from the East and attacked, generally, objectives in the Navy Yard berths, the Tennessee and West Virginia.

An estimated total of 18 dive bombers attacked during this Phase.

(C) Movement of Ships

Considerable ship movement took place during this Phase and, chronologically, occurred as follows:

  1. At 0840, the Nevada, without assistance, cleared berth F-8 and proceeded down the South Channel where, as reported above, considerable damage was received when in the vicinity of Yard Floating Drydock No. 2. In spite of the punishment taken and the fact that her bridge and fore-structure were ablaze, the ship was fought effectively throughout. In the same vicinity, at about 0910, and wile attempting to negotiate the turn in the channel, Nevada temporarily grounded.
  2. At about the same time that the Nevada got underway, namely, at about 0840, the Vestal, also without assistance, cleared the burning Arizona and, at about 0910, anchored well clear to the Northward near buoy C-5.
  3. Shortly after the Nevada and Vestal had cleared their berths, tugs had begun to move the Oglala toward a position at 1010 Dock astern of the Helena. The Oglala was finally secured in her new berth at about 0900, but shortly thereafter capsized.
  4. At 0842, the Neosho, in order to clear the was for a possible sortie by Maryland, and to reduce fire hazard to her cargo, cleared berth F-4 unaided and stood towards Merry Point.
  5. At 0847, the Monaghan cleared the dredge off Beckoning Point and continued her sortie.
  6. At 0847, the Blue slipped her moorings and began to sortie.
  7. The Henley continued her sortie; and
  8. At 0855, the U.S.S. Ramsay cleared buoy D-3 and stood down the channel.

PHASE IV -- 0915-0945
(DIVE BOMBERS)

The reappearance of dive bombers in numbers overlapped by perhaps ten minutes the attack by the horizontal bombers. It seems reasonable to assume that these dive bombers are the same ones that conducted earlier attacks and that this phase was devoted largely to strafing. The following are the attacks as observed from around 0900 until 0945, or to the cessation of the Raid.

(A) Dive Bombers

  1. Two groups if dive bombers came in from the Southeast, the northern group, of 3 planes, selecting as objectives the ships in Navy Yard berths, the Maryland and Oklahoma, and the Arizona.
  2. The southernmost group of 3 planes from the Southeast, selected as targets the ships at 1010 Dock, Navy Yard facilities, and the ships in Navy Yard berths.
  3. A group of 3 from the Southwest repeated a previously reported attack which was concentrated on the southern portion of Ford Island; Floating Drydock No. 2 (and the Shaw); and Drydock No. 1 (with Pennsylvania, Cassin and Downes).
  4. A fourth group, of 3 planes,, from the West attacked the Shaw and Floating Drydock No. 2, the battleships in "F" berths, and the Helena and Oglala.
  5. Two groups came out of the Northwest, the southern group, of 3 planes, including in its bombing and strafing the southern end of Ford Island and the ships moored in Middle Loch.
  6. The northern group, of 3 planes, also included in its attack the ships moored in Middle Loch, in addition to the Raleigh, and the destroyers nested in berths to the North of Ford Island.
  7. The seventh group, also of 3 planes, attacked from the North and included destroyers nested together at own berths and also alongside the Whitney and Dobbin.
  8. The eight group, also from the North, split so as to include in its spread very nearly the entire limits of the battleship berths. They numbered three planes.,
  9. The ninth, and remaining, group of 3 dive bombers approached from the East and its attack included, apparently, the California, battleships in berths F-5 and F-6, and the Arizona.

An estimated total of 27 dive bombers attacked during this Phase.

(B) Summary of Attacks

Summarizing, the total numbers of planes of all types engaged in the various phases and in the attack as a whole, are as follows:

  PHASE I
(Torpedo and
Dive Bomber
Attacks)
PHASE II
("Lull")
PHASE III
(Horizontal
Bomber Attacks)
PHASE IV
(Dive Bomber
Attacks)
NUMBER OF PLANES
MAKING ATTACKS
(including those
which repeated)
TOTAL NUMBER
OF PLANES
Torpedo Planes 21 --- --- --- 21 21
Dive Bombers 30 *15 18 *27 90 48
Horizontal Bombers  15  --- 21(9)*  ---  45  36
     TOTALS 66 15 48 27 156 105
* Engaged in earlier attacks.

(C) Movement of Ships

Movement underway during Phase III naturally continued with Phase IV, and included additional ships:

  1. The Blue completed sortie.
  2. The Vestal, taking water badly, weighed anchor and voluntarily grounded, at about 0950, to the eastward of buoy C-4.
  3. The Gamble (at 0917), Trever (at 0930), Wasmuth (at 0932), and Perry (at 0943), all Minecraft destroyers, got underway from berths in the Middle Loch and commenced their sortie.
  4. The Solace got underway at about 0925 to shift to a less exposed berth.
  5. The Neosho, at 0930, secured in berth M-3, Merry point, astern of the Castor.
  6. At 0940, the Bagley cleared her berth at the Navy Yard to sortie; and,
  7. At the same time, the St. Louis backed clear of her Navy Yard berth preparatory to standing out.

PHASE V -- 0945 to Completion of Sortie
(WARNING OF ATTACKS AND COMPLETION OF RAID)

All enemy planes had retired by 0945. There was considerable antiaircraft fire after this time, and one or two of our own planes were shot down because they were thought to be enemy.

(A) Movement of Ships

Movements in progress during Phase IV continued and were augmented by additional ships making sortie or shifting berth during Phase V:

  1. The St. Louis, at 0945, proceeded down the South Channel on sortie.
  2. The Bagley, at 0945, continued sortie.
  3. The Perry, at 0945, continued sortie.
  4. The Solace, at 0945, continued to berth X-13.
  5. The Zane, at 0946, commenced sortie.
  6. The Vestal, at about 0950, voluntarily grounded off buoy C-4.
  7. The Chew, at 1000, sortied.
  8. The Gamble, at 1005, weighed anchor and continued her sortie.
  9. The Phoenix, at 1010, commenced sortie, but, upon being recalled, returned to her berth.
  10. The Detroit, at 1010, maneuvered to place herself port side to berth F-13 to facilitate sortie.
  11. At 1017, the Montgomery got underway on sortie.
  12. At 1035, the Nevada, then aground near YFD-2, got clear and at 1045 voluntarily grounded on Waipio Peninsula opposite Hospital Point.
  13. At 1040, the Worden commenced sortie.
  14. At 1043, the Reid commenced sortie.
  15. At 1100, the Tucker commenced sortie.
  16. The Phoenix, again, at about 1115, resumed sortie, which was then completed.
  17. The Detroit, at 1115, commenced sortie.
  18. At 1200, approximately, both Hull and Phelps commenced sortie; and
  19. At 1655, Case commenced a search of the entire harbor for enemy submarines, including the Entrance Channel and complete circuits of Ford Island, ending her patrol at 0016, 8 December, 1941.

After about 1200, with the exception of the patrol by the Case, ship activity within the harbor, as an immediate result of the attack, practically terminated.

   PART 1V  (A) Casualty Report
     (B) Damage Report
     (C) Ammunition Report
     (D) Recommendations for Awards
     (E) Narrative Reports of Commanding Officers
     (F) Chart Reports of Commanding Officers [not       attached]

(A) Casualty Report
(a) Own    
(b) Enemy

(a) Own Casualties,
On 9,18, and 24 December, 1941 (Cincpac serials 02016, 02054, and 02108, respectively), reports were forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy listing all dead and wounded, by ships and stations, resulting from the Pearl Harbor Raid.

(b) Enemy Casualties,
Deduced from reports available to the Commander-in-Chief, it is estimated that the enemy lost, due solely to Navy action, a minimum of 68 killed, about one-quarter of whom were undoubtedly officer pilots. An estimate of wounded cannot be made. One officer (Ensign) was taken prisoner. He abandoned his small submarine after it struck a reef off the north shore of Oahu.

(B) Damage Report
(a) Own    
(b) Enemy

(a) Own Damage.
A current recapitulation of all ship damage received on 7 December, 1941, as a result of the Pearl harbor Raid, is set forth in detail in Enclosure (C). Damage to aircraft is covered in Enclosure (D).

(b) Enemy Damage.
Based upon a careful study of reports received from the various units involved, including plots by individual ships of enemy planes actually shot down, believed to have been shot down, and seen in flames, it is conservatively estimated that the enemy lost a total of 28 planes due to Navy action, as indicated in enclosed plot. [not attached]

Three enemy submarines of 45 tons each and carrying 2 torpedoes were accounted for; two were destroyed by Navy action and one grounded off Bellows Field and was recovered.

(C) Ammunition Report

The following is a recapitulation of reports, by ships, of total ammunition expeded on 7 December, 1941, incident to the Pearl Harbor attack:

(A) CASUALTY REPORT (a) Own (b) Enemy (a) Own Casualties. On 9, 18, and 24 December, 1941 (Cincpac serials 02016, 02054, and 02108, respectively), reports were forwarded to the Secretary of the Navy listing all dead and wounded, by ships and stations, resulting from the Pearl Harbor Raid. (b) Enemy Casualties. Deduced from reports available to the Commander-in-Chief, it is estimated that the enemy lost, due solely to Navy action, a minimum of 68 killed, about one-quarter of whom were undoubtedly officer pilots. An estimate of wounded cannot be made. One officer (Ensign) was taken prisoner. He abandoned his small submarine after it struck a reef off the north shore of Oahu. (B) DAMAGE REPORT (a) Own (b) Enemy (a) Own Damage. A current recapitulation of all ship damage received on 7 December, 1941, as a result of the Pearl Harbor Raid, is set forth in detail in Enclosure (C). Damage to aircraft is covered in Enclosure (D). (b) Enemy Damage. Based upon a careful study of reports received from the various units involved, including plots by individual ships of enemy planes actually shot down, believed to have been shot down, and seen in flames, it is conservatively estimated that the enemy lost a total of 28 planes due to Navy action, as indicated in enclosed plot (enclosure (A-6)). Three enemy submarines of 45 tons each and carrying 2 torpedoes were accounted for; two were destroyed by Navy action and one grounded off Bellows Field and was recovered. (C) AMMUNITION REPORT The following is a recapitulation of reports, by ships, of total ammunition expended on 7 December, 1941, incident to the Pearl Harbor attack:
(a) 5"/51 cal. 150 rounds
(b) 5"/38 cal. 1,665 rounds
(c) 5"/25 cal. 1,523 rounds
(d) 4"/50 cal. 4 rounds
(e) 3"/50 cal. 1,741 rounds
(f) 3"/23 cal. 1,060 rounds
(g) 1.1" 5,770 rounds
(h) .50 cal. 221,368 rounds
(i) .30 cal. 48,669 rounds
(j) .45 cal. 2,519 rounds
(k) Depth Charges 8  
NOTE: This includes only reports received to date.  

(D) Recommendations for Awards

A Board of Awards, headed by Rear Admiral Robert A. Theobald, U.S. Navy, is currently in session for the purpose of making recommendations for awards incident to the Pearl Harbor attack.

(E) Reports of Commanding Officers

Narrative reports, plus track chart reports, from Commanding Officers and Unit and Type Commanders concerned, are appended hereto as Enclosures (E) and (F), respectively. Upon these reports are based the composite narrative under Part III and the Chart Diagrams of Enclosure (A).

[signed]
C.W. NIMITZ


Source: CINCPAC action report serial 0479 of 15 February 1942 (4 volumes) is held by the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740. [volume 4 contains the charts prepared by every command]

Before transferring the World War II records to the National Archives, the Operational Archives Branch placed this report on microfilm, NRS 1973-16. To order a microfilm or fiche copy for the prices indicated on the Naval History & Heritage Command fee schedule, please complete the duplication order form and send an appropriate check or money order payable to Department of the Navy, to the following
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