Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941
USS Curtiss during the Pearl Harbor Attack



On 7 December 1941, the year-old seaplane tender Curtiss was tied up to mooring bouys at the mouth of Pearl Harbor's Middle Loch, across the channel from Ford Island. Like those on the other ships in the harbor, her crew immediately went to General Quarters when the Japanese began hitting their high-priority airfield and battleship targets shortly before 8 AM. About forty minutes later, a midget submarine fired a torpedo at her, which missed. In less than another half-hour an enemy dive bomber, crippled by anti-aircraft gunfire, dove into one of Curtiss' big topside cranes and exploded, causing minor damage.

With that, a number of Japanese planes made dive bombing attacks on the seaplane tender, spraying her stern with fragments from a near miss, making other misses off her sides and placing one bomb into the top of her midships superstructure. That missile penetrated down to the front of the hangar and exploded, blowing holes in the Main and Second Decks. Fragments penetrated further, causing damage in the after engine room. The bomb's blast and fragments wrecked several shops near the hangar and set some intense fires. However, the blazes were soon extinguished, and Curtiss was completely repaired in a little over a month. About twenty of her men were killed by these Japanese attacks.

This page features views of USS Curtiss on or shortly after 7 December 1941.

Additional images of ships moored off the western side of Ford Island during and shortly after the Japanese raid

  • Attacks off the West Side of Ford Island


    Click photograph for larger image.

    Photo #: NH 96660

    Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941


    USS Curtiss (AV-4) afire after she was hit by a crashing Japanese dive bomber. Photographed from USS Tangier (AV-8).
    USS Medusa (AR-1) is at right.
    Timbers floating in the water (foreground) may be from USS Utah (AG-16), which had been sunk at her berth, astern of Tangier.
    Note weathered paintwork on Curtiss and Medusa.

    The original photograph was in the CinCPac report of the Pearl harbor Attack, 15 February 1942, Volume 3, in 1990.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

    Online Image: 55KB; 740 x 615

     
    Photo #: 80-G-32733

    Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941


    The damaged USS Curtiss (AV-4), at left, and USS Medusa (AR-1), at right, at their moorings soon after the Japanese raid.
    Note that Curtiss has been fitted with an air search radar.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives.

    Online Image: 76KB; 740 x 610

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26302

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    An officer and crewman with the wreckage of a Japanese Navy type 99 carrier bomber ("Val") that crashed into the ship's forward crane, on the starboard side of the Boat Deck atop the hangar, during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
    This shows the tail of the aircraft, resting atop some of Curtiss' boats. It was plane # "A1-225", from the carrier Akagi.
    Photographed on the ship's Boat Deck, 7 December 1941.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 94KB; 740 x 610

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

    Note: This image is out of focus.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26295

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    Wreckage of a Japanese Navy type 99 carrier bomber ("Val") that crashed into the ship's forward crane, on the starboard side of the Boat Deck atop the hangar, during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
    This was plane # "A1-225", from the carrier Akagi.
    Photographed on the ship's Boat Deck, 7 December 1941.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 154KB; 740 x 610

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26296

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    Hole in the Main Deck made by a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that struck the ship during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941. The bomb initially struck atop Curtiss' Boat Deck near the starboard side amidships and penetrated three decks to explode at Main Deck level at the site of this hole. The hole was about eight feet in diameter.
    View looks toward the port side at the forward end of the Hangar, with the wreckage of the Battery Shop in the background.
    Photographed on 7 December 1941.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 110KB; 740 x 615

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 80-G-19932

    Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941


    Wreckage of a burned-out OS2U-2 floatplane on the after deck of USS Curtiss (AV-4), photographed soon after the Japanese raid.
    Curtiss had been hit in the hangar area by a Japanese plane and by a bomb during the Japanese raid, and near-missed off the stern by another bomb.

    Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

    Online Image: 65KB; 740 x 600

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26301

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    View on the Main Deck, looking aft from the hangar doors area. Burned-out plane on deck is an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
    Photographed on the day of the attack, shortly after fires were put out on board the ship.
    Note fire extinguisher on deck in the foreground.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 92KB; 740 x 615

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26297

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    View on the Main Deck, looking forward, showing blast damage to the hangar doors resulting from a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that exploded inside the hangar during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
    In the foreground is the wreckage of an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the attack.
    Photographed on 7 December 1941.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 108KB; 740 x 610

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     
    Photo #: 19-N-26303

    USS Curtiss (AV-4)


    View on the Main Deck, looking forward and to port, showing blast damage to the hangar doors resulting from a Japanese 250 kilogram bomb that exploded inside the hangar during the Pearl Harbor raid, 7 December 1941.
    In the foreground is the wreckage of an OS2U-2 floatplane that was destroyed on board Curtiss during the attack.
    Photographed on 7 December 1941.
    Note ventilator head in the right foreground and shuffleboard court painted on the deck near the OS2U wreckage.

    Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives.

    Online Image: 90KB; 740 x 605

    Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.

     


    For higher resolution images see: Obtaining Photographic Reproductions





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