US Bombers Avenge Pearl Harbor

Just four months after Japan’s attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Colonel ‘James’ Doolittle, a noted aviator in his own right, led a daring bombing raid on Tokyo. The raid is notable for many reasons, not only because of the length of the flight needed to reach Tokyo, but also the difficulty they had in getting the aircraft off the flight deck, the fate of the captured crewmen and because of the tragic consequences for 250,000 Chinese civilians massacred by the Japanese in retaliation for the help that was given to the American airmen who managed to make it to China.

The Tokyo Raid was specifically in retaliation for what the US saw as an unprovoked attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The Japanese had intended to launch their attack only after formally notifying the US that they had withdrawn from peace negotiations, but in fact the raid took place before any such notification took place. Continue reading “US Bombers Avenge Pearl Harbor”


Attack on Pearl Harbor 7 December 1941

Dramatic images from the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941

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A Day of Infamy – US Declares War on Japan

On 8 December 1941 US President Franklin D Roosevelt declared war against the Empire of Japan following their unprovoked attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The Japanese had intended for their attack to take place thirty minutes after they planned to notify the United States that they had withdrawn from the ongoing peace negotiations. However, the attack came before any such notification was made and the Japanese took the United States by surprise. Continue reading “A Day of Infamy – US Declares War on Japan”

Japanese Learn from British for Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941

Pearl Harbour 7 Dec 1941 - Nakajima B5N2 over Hickam FieldThe Japanese learnt valuable tactical lessons from the British Fleet Air Arm for their attack on Pearl Harbor.

In early 1941 a group of Japanese naval officers on diplomatic duty in Berlin were escorted by the German Abwehr on a liaison visit to Italy. In Rome the Japanese were introduced to the Italian naval authorities and asked if they could investigate the secrets of the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm attack of November 1940 on the Italian battleships in Taranto Harbour.

A double agent working for the British MI6 secret service acquired the intelligence from a conversation with his Abwehr control officer whilst visiting Lisbon. Unbeknown to the West the Japanese Navy was planning an attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Navy’s Combined Fleet, had advised his Navy Minister on 7 January 1941 that a decisive strike crippling the US fleet would bring about the subsequent defeat of the British and Allied forces south of the Philippine Islands. The Japanese knew that if they were to succeed the secrets of Taranto had to be unlocked. Continue reading “Japanese Learn from British for Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941”

American Wildcats of the Fleet Air Arm

The Grumman F4F Wildcat first flew seventy five years ago on 2 September 1937. The Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft, but first saw active service in Europe in 1940.

At the end of 1939, Grumman received an order for 81 aircraft from the French navy, but following the fall of France in June 1940 the contract were taken over by Britain. The first aircraft entered service with the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm in August 1940 and were allocated to 804 Naval Air Squadron stationed at Hatson in the Orkney Islands. Continue reading “American Wildcats of the Fleet Air Arm”