The twenty-five dive-bombers, which had been launched from On December 7, 1941, twelve B-17 bombers arrived over Hickam Army Air Force Base from Hamilton Field in California. The final destination of these planes was to be the Philippine Islands. Suddenly, the group was attacked by "Zero" aircraft and the B-17s scattered in every direction in an attempt to land safely, which they did. As the B-17s scrambled to land, seventeen "Val" dive-bombers launched from Shokaku, accompanied by eighteen "Zero" fighters, arrived on the scene. The dive-bombers had flown east of Haweiwa in northwestern Oahu and then turned south to (mostly) an eastern direction toward Hickam Field. When they reached Hickam, the planes turned southwest toward the airfield and destroyed over half of the numerous aircraft parked on the field; they also inflicted heavy damage to the facilities on Hickam and on Ford Island Air Base. Although the attack lasted only ten minutes, over 182 American men were killed or missing.
The twenty-five dive-bombers, which had been launched from Zuikaku, had flown to Oahu with twenty-six dive-bombers from their sister carrier Shokaku. As the combined dive-bomber group neared Kahuku Point, they veered southwest to a point just east of Haweiwa. As the dive-bombers from Shokaku headed southeast to Hickam Field, the twenty-five dive-bombers from Zuikaku attacked Wheeler Army Air Force base, setting the hangars on fire. The dive-bombers, accompanied by eight "Zero" fighters then destroyed at least half of the 153 Wheeler Field aircraft, which were lined up in front of the hangars and under armed guard to prevent sabotageThe ill-advised order from Lieutenant General Walter Short, USA to arrange the aircraft close together, rather than scattering the planes, made the aircraft easy targets for destruction by Japanese Zeroes. Wheeler Field, which was once the main army fighter bases on the island, sustained a lethal blow.
|||Dan an Der Vat, Pearl Harbor (Toronto: Madison Press Books, 2001) p. 91.|
|||George W. Prange, At Dawn We Slept (New York: McGraw-Hill Company, 1981) p.523.|
The IMMF will not be going to Hawaii in 2011 for the Battle of Midway Commemoration and Symposium, but the IMMF will definitely be going to Hawaii in 2012 for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and to host the Battle of Midway symposium with the Pacific Aviation Museum in Pearl Harbor. Details to follow.
I have now completed eight chapters of the manuscript entitled: The Battle of Midway: An Historical Perspective.
Chris and I wish everyone a happy Easter.