The Campaigns of the Pacific War

The Campaigns of the Pacific War

The Campaigns of the Pacific War

The Campaigns of the Pacific War


The Japanese attack on the United States Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 has been the subject of so much writing and debate that general familiarity with the important events surrounding that fateful episode is assumed. Consequently no attempt is made herein to present the entire story or to analyze the political and military effects which the attack had on the subsequent course of the war. This is rather a presentation of material not hitherto available, dealing specifically with the operational aspects of the planning and execution of the attack.

The information contained in this narrative was supplied from memory by the Japanese officers listed below and, although considered accurate in general, may be subject to minor corrections in detail after examination of translated documents.

Admiral Nagano, Osami, Chief of the Naval General Staff.

Rear Admiral Mito, Hishashi, Chief of Staff, Sixth Fleet (Submarines).

Captain Tomioka, Sadatoshi, Chief Operations Section, Naval General Staff.

Commander Miyo, Tatsukichi, Member Operations Section, Naval General Staff.

Captain Kuroshima, Kameto,

Captain Watanabe, Yasuji, Members Staff Combined Fleet.

Captain Fuchida, Mitsuo, Leader of First Attack on Pearl Harbor.

The purposes of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor were:

To render impotent the United States Pacific Fleet in order to, gain time and to insure freedom of action in the South Seas Operation, (including invasion of the Philippine Islands), and to facilitate the defense of the mandated islands. The attack was conceived and proposed by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, CinC of the Japanese Combined Fleet. In January 1941, Rear Admiral Takijlro Onishi, Chief of Staff of the 11th Air Fleet was ordered to make a preliminary study of the operation, and in the first part of September 1941 members of the Operations Section of the Naval General Staff and selected members of the Staffs of the Combined Fleet and the First Air Fleet commenced work on the details of the actual plan.

Organization of the Task Force

In order to avoid detection it was necessary to keep the force as small as possible and at the same time to provide the most powerful air attack force available. This was effected by reinforcing the air groups . . .

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