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”