07 December 2006

Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

Sailors in a motor launch rescue a survivor from the water alongside the sunken USS West Virginia during or shortly after the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor. USS Tennessee is inboard of the sunken battleship.

Note extensive distortion of West Virginia's lower midships superstructure, caused by torpedoes that exploded below that location.

Also note 5"/25 gun, still partially covered with canvas, boat crane swung outboard and empty boat cradles near the smokestacks, and base of radar antenna atop West Virginia's foremast.

USS Arizona sunk and burning furiously, 7 December 1941. Her forward magazines had exploded when she was hit by a Japanese bomb.

At left, men on the stern of USS Tennessee are playing fire hoses on the water to force burning oil away from their ship.

USS Maryland alongside the capsized USS Oklahoma. USS West Virginia is burning in the background.

The wrecked destroyers USS Downes and USS Cassin in Drydock One at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard, soon after the end of the Japanese air attack. Cassin has capsized against Downes.

USS Pennsylvania is astern, occupying the rest of the drydock. The torpedo-damaged cruiser USS Helena is in the right distance, beyond the crane. Visible in the center distance is the capsized USS Oklahoma, with USS Maryland alongside. Smoke is from the sunken and burning USS Arizona, out of view behind Pennsylvania. USS California is partially visible at the extreme left.

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The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise aerial attack by the Japanese on the Pacific Fleet of the United States Navy and its defending Army Air Corps and Marine defensive squadrons. Pearl Harbor was one of a number of military and naval installations which were attacked, including those on the other side of the island.

Of 8 American battleships in the harbor, the attack resulted in 1 destroyed, 2 sunk at their moorings, 1 capsized, 1 beached and 3 damaged but afloat.

The attack severely damaged 9 other warships, destroyed 188 aircraft, and killed 2,403 Americans, including 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians.

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

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