12
The Forgotten Attack

The Pearl Harbor attack has become such a symbol of the war in the Pacific that we often forget about the other attacks Japan launched simultaneously against America, Great Britain, the Philippines, Thailand, China, Malaysia, and other nations, all across the western Pacific. To those who survived them, the attacks were as devastating as that at Pearl Harbor, and only a prologue to the terrors Americans would face when the Japanese stormed ashore a few days later.

What people in Hawaii feared the most actually happened in the Philippines, on Wake and Guam, and in Hong Kong: Japanese paratroopers and infantrymen landed and quickly overran the meager American, Philippine, English, and Chinese forces.

Just after dawn on that day (because of the international date line, it was Monday, December 8, from the Philippines west) the Japanese attacked Hong Kong, first with planes that knocked out the tiny air force of three torpedo bombers and two amphibians. Then troops stationed across the border in China marched into the British territory and quickly conquered it.

On Formosa, which Japan had held since taking it from China in 1895, the bomber and fighter pilots were supposed to take off for the Philippines at sunrise in order to gain as much of a surprise as possible, although they must have known news of the Pearl Harbor attack would have reached the Philippines before dawn. However, Formosa was fogged in and the attack force had to sit on the field all morning, waiting for the fog to burn off.

-93-

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The Day the War Began
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction: Saturday, December 6, 1941 1
  • 1 - The First Shot 21
  • 2 - The Americans Fight Back 27
  • 3 - Adventures of the Henley 43
  • 4 - Game Called Due to War 49
  • 5 - View from the Cane Fields 53
  • 6 - Friendly Fire 61
  • 7 - Chinese-American Family 66
  • 8 - Hell on a Sunshiny Day 70
  • 9 - The Military Takes Over Hawaii 77
  • 10 - Niihau Fights Back 82
  • 11 - The Saga of the Pacific Clipper 86
  • 12 - The Forgotten Attack 93
  • 13 - On the Home Front 97
  • 14 - War Comes to the Football Game 105
  • 15 - The Delayed Message 114
  • 16 - The White House Prepares for War 120
  • 17 - War Becomes a Reality 124
  • 18 - Extra! Extra! 132
  • 19 - Strange New Words 135
  • 20 - Sudden Heroes 142
  • 21 - The Mating Dance Continues 149
  • 22 - The Nation Unifies 154
  • 23 - Hawaii's Longest Night 157
  • 24 - Defending the East Coast 162
  • 25 - I Slept Like a Baby 166
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 181
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