The idea of a surprise aerial attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was the brainchild of one man, Isoruku Yamamoto–but there were a total of 408 Japanese aircraft that took part in the brutal barrage of bombs over American forces. The Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor used various air tactics which left 2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians dead as well as 1,143 U.S. servicemen wounded.
The attackers who targeted Pearl Harbor that day also fueled America’s entry into WWII, pitting them against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy and Japan.
The Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor suffered 65 casualties, a staggering number when compared with American losses. Declared “a date which will live in infamy” by then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out using overhead bombs, torpedoes and machine guns in an attempt to obliterate American forces.
The Japanese attackers had made a 3,400-mile journey to Hawaii, and they chose a Sunday to target the American bases at Pearl Harbor due to the fact that the U.S. servicemen would presumably be most relaxed and not expecting any airstrikes. Soon after the air raid began, Americans could identify the Japanese planes due to the “meatball” on the side–the red circle emblematic of the Japanese flag.
These Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor also utilized midget submarines to strike American ships. U.S. forces formed a “Battleship Row,” comprised of seven of the eight battleships present–all eight of which were either submerged or badly damaged during the raids, yet only two were irreparable (Arizona and Oklahoma). The remaining six battleships were eventually fixed up and put back into use.
The Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor produced perhaps the most devastating aftermath at the USS Arizona in their entire 110-minute raid. The Arizona exploded when a bomb hit its forward magazine (in other words, the ammunition room), killing 1,100 American servicemen onboard.
Japanese pilots were originally attempting to target United States aircraft carriers, which were not present at the base during the Pearl Harbor attacks. Because of this, the Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor cancelled a follow-up attack they had planned.
When the Japanese attackers at Pearl Harbor realized they had taken the Americans on Oahu by surprise, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida shared the code “Tora! Tora! Tora!”
Pearl Harbor Warbirds offers the best Hawai‘i flight adventure tours available. Be immersed in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and soar above the important sites that played a part in the “Day of Infamy.” Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. There are many air tours in Hawai‘i, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Hawai‘i Pearl Harbor Warbirds provides a personal historical experience making it one of the best O‘ahu attractions.
Experience an immersive two-hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.