Pearl Harbor Raid, 7 December 1941
Other Raid-related Events

There are a number of important events related to the Pearl Harbor raid that are not covered elsewhere in this presentation. Among them is the first shot of the Pacific War, fired by the destroyer USS Ward before dawn on 7 December 1941. Ward was patrolling in an restricted zone off the entrance to Pearl Harbor when the minesweeper Condor reported that she had spotted a submarine periscope at 3:42AM. Nearly three hours later, a PBY patrol plane also sighted a periscope and marked the spot with a smoke pot. Ward came over, fired her guns at the sub and dropped depth charges, reportedly sinking it.

This was one of five Japanese midget submarines that were attempting to enter Pearl Harbor to participate in the attack. The destroyer radioed a report of the incident to Pearl Harbor, another destroyer was ordered out to assist her, and Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was informed. However, presumably because hostile submarine activity around Hawaii was expected in the event of war, while air attack was not, Ward's incident, more than an hour before the Japanese planes arrived, did not occasion a general alarm.

Another raid-related matter is that of several casualties among uninvolved civilians outside the raid objective areas. At the time, these were attributed to indiscriminate "terror" attacks by Japanese flyers. In reality, however, they mainly resulted from American shells bursting on impact with the ground and unfortunate, and probably unavoidable, consequence of the great volume of anti-aircraft cannon and machine gun fire provoked by the Japanese raid.

This page features views of miscellaneous subjects related to the 7 December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

Additional pictorial coverage of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor

Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: NH 97446

USS Ward (DD-139)

"A Shot for Posterity -- The USS Ward's number three gun and its crew-cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan's raid on Hawaii. Operating as part of the inshore patrol early in the morning of December 7, 1941, this destroyer group spotted a submarine outside Pearl Harbor, opened fire and sank her. Crew members are R.H. Knapp - BM2c - Gun Captain, C.W. Fenton - Sea1c - Pointer, R.B. Nolde - Sea1c - Trainer, A.A. De Demagall - Sea1c - No. 1 Loader, D.W. Gruening - Sea1c - No. 2 Loader, J.A. Paick - Sea1c - No. 3 Loader, H.P. Flanagan - Sea1c - No. 4 Loader, E.J. Bakret - GM3c - Gunners Mate, K.C.J. Lasch - Cox - Sightsetter." (quoted from the original 1942-vintage caption)
This gun is a 4"/50 type, mounted atop the ship's midships deckhouse, starboard side.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 83KB; 740 x 610

Photo #: NH 75537

USS Ward (DD-139)

Plaque placed on the ship's Number Three 4"/50 gun to commemorate its sinking of a Japanese midget submarine off Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
Since 1956, this plaque has been on exhibit on the State Capitol grounds at St. Paul, Minnesota.

NHHC Photograph.

Online Image: 104KB; 570 x 765

Photo #: NH 95582

USS Ward (APD-16)

Crewmen pose with their ship's battle "scoreboard", soon after the Biak Invasion, circa June 1944. Nearly all of these men had served in Ward since the beginning of the War, and were present when she sank a Japanese midget submarine just outside Pearl Harbor on the morning of 7 December 1941.
For the original caption, including identification of those present, see: Photo # NH 95582 (complete caption).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, NHHC Collection.

Online Image: 91KB; 740 x 600

Photo #: 80-G-604950

Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941

Three civilians were killed in this shrapnel-riddled car by a bomb dropped from a Japanese plane eight miles from Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The attack took place in a residential district, near no military objective.
Note: The above information is entirely from the original December 1941 caption.
The actual circumstances:
The occupants of the automobile were members of the McCabe family. They lost their lives when a U.S. five-inch anti-aircraft shell exploded nearby while they were driving through Honolulu, en route to their workplaces at Pearl Harbor.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection.

Online Image: 110KB; 740 x 600

Reproductions may also be available at National Archives.


For higher resolution images Obtaining Photographic Reproductions

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