A spy in Hawaii-Takeo Yoshikawa

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The one thing this is for certain in history, it always repeats itself. With all the talk about spies nowadays it is a good time to look at one of WWII spies.Takeo Yoshikawa.

Because of his expertise on the U.S. Navy, Yoshikawa was sent to Hawaii under the cover of being a vice-consul named Tadashi Morimura.

On March 27, 1941, the following appeared in the Nippu Jiji, an English-and-Japanese-language newspaper in Honolulu: “Tadashi Morimura, newly appointed secretary of the local Japanese consulate general, arrived here this morning on the Nitta Maru from Japan.

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His appointment was made to expedite the work on expatriation applications and other matters.” The announcement should have drawn the attention of American intelligence agents, as there was no Tadashi Morimura listed in the Japanese foreign registry.

He rented a second story apartment that overlooked Pearl Harbor and would often wander around the island of Oahu, taking notes on Fleet movements and security measures.He rented small planes at John Rodgers Airport and flew around, observing U.S. installations as well as diving under the harbor using a hollow reed as a breathing device. He also gathered information by taking the Navy’s own harbor tugboat and listening to local gossip. He worked closely with German Abwehr agent Bernard Kuehn.

0000004141Kuehn—a member of the Nazi party—had arrived in Hawaii in 1935. By 1939, the Bureau was suspicious of him. He had questionable contacts with the Germans and Japanese.

Yoshikawa also worked with Kokichi Seki , an untrained spy who served as the consulate’s treasurer.

FBI agents were paying attention to all of Yoshikawa’s comings and goings. In fact, U.S. military intelligence suspected him of spying. One officer even commented that “Morimura” was able to go unhindered “all over the _ _ place.”

Working diligently, the FBI’s chief investigator in Honolulu was tracking the 27-year-old Japanese spy, but there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest him.

At the time, Hawaii was not-yet an American state. Officials in Washington did not want to risk antagonizing the loyalty of Hawaii’s population by arresting a “diplomat” without hard evidence of spy activities. (About 160,000 people of Japanese ancestry lived in Hawaii in 1941.) Suspicions were not enough to stop Yoshikawa from going about his business.

So … because no one did stop him … Yoshikawa’s spy charts would provide perfect routes of travel for all the comings and goings of Japanese pilots on the 7th of December, 1941.

Although he had no knowledge of a planned attack on Pearl Harbor, Yoshikawa assumed that the intelligence would help prepare for such an eventuality and worked tirelessly to that end. His reports were transmitted by the Japanese Consulate in PURPLE code to the Foreign Ministry, which passed them on to the Navy.

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Although the code had been broken by American code breakers and messages to and from Tokyo were intercepted and de-crypted, communications between Tokyo and the consulate were considered low-priority because they contained so many messages that were entirely commercial in nature.

On the morning of December 7, Yoshikawa was listening to a short-wave radio broadcast from Tokyo. During the weather forecast, he heard a reporter very slowly say these words:

East wind, rain.

East wind, rain.

Yoshikawa knew what those code words meant. Japan had decided to start a war against America.

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The weatherman’s words did not contain any other codes. That meant Japan was not declaring war on Britain or Russia.

Yoshikawa and Japan’s counsel in Hawaii knew what they had to do. Federal agents would soon search their offices, so they had to destroy every piece of incriminating evidence, including their code books.

By the time U.S. agents showed-up, every shred of spying evidence against Yoshikawa no-longer existed. No evidence against him ever surfaced, while he was in American custody. In 1942, he returned to Japan. During the rest of the war, he held his rank of ensign in Japanese intelligence.

After the war, when the U.S. occupied Japan for several years, the Pearl-Harbor spy worried that he’d be caught … and hanged. He left his wife, whom he had married after returning to Japan, and went into hiding as a Buddhist monk.

Yoshikawa never received official recognition of his services during the war. In 1955, he opened a candy business but it failed as word spread of his role in the war. The locals blamed Yoshikawa for the war. “They even blamed me for the atomic bomb,” he declared in one interview.Penniless and jobless, he was supported by his wife for the rest of his life via her position selling insurance. “My wife alone shows me great respect,” said the old spy. “Every day she bows to me. She knows I am a man of history.”He died in a nursing home.

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Sources

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Daily Beast

Imperial Japanese Navy

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The Case of the Treasonous Dolls

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The facts of the case are odd.

Five letters were written in early 1942 and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at a Buenos Aires, Argentina, address.

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In early 1942, five letters were written and mailed by seemingly different people in different U.S. locations to the same person at an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Even more strangely, all of them bounced “Return to Sender”—and the “senders” on the return address (women in Oregon, Ohio, Colorado, and Washington state) knew nothing about the letters and had not sent them.

The FBI learned about all this when wartime censors intercepted one letter postmarked in Portland, Oregon, puzzled over its strange contents, and referred it to cryptographers at the FBI Laboratory. These experts concluded that the three “Old English dolls” left at “a wonderful doll hospital” for repairs might well mean three warships being repaired at a west coast naval shipyard; that “fish nets” meant submarine nets; and that “balloons” referred to defense installations.

One of the letters, supposedly sent by a Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio, did indicate her home address – 1808 E High Street – but had been postmarked in New York, a place she had never been. The letter, primarily discussing dolls, contained references to a “Mr. Shaw, who had been ill but would be back to work soon.” The letter corresponded to information that the destroyer USS Shaw, which had been damaged in the Pearl Harbor attack, completed repairs on the West Coast and was soon to rejoin the Pacific Fleet.

Another letter, given to the FBI in August of that year and said to have been written by a woman in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was postmarked from Oakland, California. That letter, written in February, made reference to seven small dolls which the writer stated would be altered to look as though they were “seven real Chinese dolls”, designed to mimic a family of parents, grandparents and three children. The FBI determined that the letter was written shortly after a convoy of ships had arrived at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo. The letter contained certain details about the ships, that if made public, would have been detrimental to the war effort.

 

The FBI immediately opened an investigation.

It was May 20, 1942, when a woman in Seattle turned over the crucial second letter. It said, “The wife of an important business associate gave her an old German bisque Doll dressed in a Hulu Grass skirt…I broke this awful doll…I walked all over Seattle to get someone to repair it….”

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In short order, the FBI turned up the other letters. It determined that all five were using “doll code” to describe vital information about U.S. naval matters. All had forged signatures that had been made from authentic original signatures. All had typing characteristics that showed they were typed by the same person on different typewriters. How to put these clues together?

It was the woman in Colorado who provided the big break. She, like the other purported letter senders, was a doll collector, and she believed that a Madison Avenue doll shop owner, Mrs. Velvalee Dickinson, was responsible. She said Ms. Dickinson was angry with her because she’d been late paying for some dolls she’d ordered. That name was a match: the other women were also her customers.

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Who was Velvalee Malvena Dickinson? Basically, a mystery. She was born in California and lived there until she moved with her husband to New York City in 1937. She opened a doll shop on Madison Avenue that same year, catering to wealthy doll collectors and hobbyists, but she struggled to keep it afloat. It also turned out that she had a long and close association with the Japanese diplomatic mission in the U.S.—and she had $13,000 in her safe deposit box traceable to Japanese sources.

Following her guilty plea on July 28, 1944, Ms. Dickinson detailed how she’d gathered intelligence at U.S. shipyards and how she’d used the code provided by Japanese Naval Attaché Ichiro Yokoyama to craft the letters. What we’ll never know is why the letters had been, thankfully, incorrectly addressed.

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FBI Laboratory examination of all five letters confirmed that the signatures on the letters were not genuine, but were forgeries which the experts decided were prepared from original signatures in the possession of the forger. The examination also showed that the typewriter used in the preparation of the letters was different in each case, but that the typing characteristics indicated that the letters were prepared by the same person.

The conclusion reached by the FBI cryptographers was that an open code was used in the letters, which attempted to convey information on the U.S. Armed Forces, particularly the ships of the U.S. Navy, their location, condition, and repair, with special emphasis on the damage of such vessels at Pearl Harbo

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On February 11, 1944, Velvalee Malvena Dickinson was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for violation of the censorship statutes, conviction of which could result in a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

She pleaded not guilty and was held in lieu of $25,000 bail. A continuing investigation by the FBI resulted in a second indictment on May 5, this time on charges of violating espionage statutes, the Trading with the Enemy Act, tradingwithenemy00natirichand the censorship statutes, conviction of which carried the death penalty. She pleaded not guilty and was released on the same bail.On July 28, 1944, a plea bargain was made between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Dickinson in which the espionage and Trade Act indictments were dismissed and she pleaded guilty to the censorship violation and agreed to furnish information in her possession concerning Japanese intelligence activities.

After pleading guilty, she admitted that she had typed the five forged letters addressed to Argentina, using correspondence with her customers to forge their signatures.

She claimed the information compiled in her letters was from asking innocent and unsuspecting citizens in Seattle and San Francisco near the location of the Navy yards there, as well as some details from personal observation. She stated that the letters transmitted information about ships damaged at Pearl Harbor and that the names of the dolls corresponded to a list that explained the type of ships involved. She furthermore stated that the code to be used in the letters, instructions for use of the code, and $25,000 in $100 bills had been passed to her husband by Yokoyama around November 26, 1941, in her doll store at 718 Madison Avenue for the purpose of supplying information to the Japanese. She repeated her claims that the money had been hidden in her husband’s bed until his death.

However, an investigation by the FBI refuted those claims, disclosing that while Dickinson had been a friend of Yokoyama, her husband had never met him. It was also learned that a physical examination done on him at the time indicated that his mental faculties were impaired at the time of the supposed payment. Both a nurse and a maid employed by the Dickinsons at the time emphatically stated that no money had ever been concealed there.

Velvalee Dickinson appeared in court for sentencing on August 14, 1944. Upon sentencing, the court commented:

It is hard to believe that some people do not realize that our country is engaged in a life and death struggle. Any help given to the enemy means the death of American boys who are fighting for our national security. You, as a natural-born citizen, having a University education, and selling out to the Japanese, were certainly engaged in espionage. I think that you have been given every consideration by the Government. The indictment to which you have pleaded guilty is a serious matter. It borders close to treason. I, therefore, sentence you to the maximum penalty provided by the law, which is ten years and $10,000 fine.

Still maintaining her innocence and claiming that her ,at that stage deceased. husband had been the Japanese spy, Dickinson was imprisoned at the Federal Correctional Institution for Women (now the Alderson Federal Prison Camp) in Alderson, West Virginia. She was released with conditions on April 23, 1951.

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Forgotten History-Japanese Canadian internment.

Like their southern neighbors, the USA, the Canadians also put their fellow japannotCanadians,albeit from Japanese descend, in intern camps. However it appears that history has forgotten this chapter. Unlike their Southern neighbors the Canadians kept restrictions  for their Japanese-Canadian citizens in place  for several years after the war.

I am not saying that I don’t understand the reasons why this was done, because I do. But that doesn’t mean that I condone it especially many of the Japanese were born in Canada and  some of the interned Japanese Canadians were combat veterans of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, including several men who had been decorated for bravery on the Western Front. Despite the first iterations of veterans affairs associations established during World War II, fear and racism drove policy and trumped veterans’ rights, meaning that virtually no Japanese-Canadian veterans were exempt from being removed from the BC coast

Not until 1949, four years after Japan had surrendered, were the majority of Nikkei allowed to return to British Columbia. By then most had chosen to begin life anew elsewhere in Canada. Their property had long before been confiscated and sold at a fraction of its worth.

When the Pacific War began, discrimination against Japanese Canadians increased. Following the  Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and Malaya and the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Japanese Canadians were categorized as enemy aliens under the War Measures Act, which began to remove their personal rights. Starting on December 8, 1941, 1,200 Japanese-Canadian-owned fishing vessels were impounded as a “defence” measure.

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Beginning in early 1942, the Canadian government detained and dispossessed the vast majority of people of Japanese descent living in British Columbia. They were interned for the rest of the Second World War, during which time their homes and businesses were sold by the government in order to pay for their detention.

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The order in 1942, to leave the “restricted area” and move 100 miles (160km) inland from the west coast was made under the authority of the War Measures Act and affected over 21,000 Japanese Canadians. Most were first held in the livestock barns in Hastings Park (Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition grounds) and then moved to hastily built camps in the BC interior. At first, many men were separated from their families and sent to road camps in Ontario and on the BC/Alberta border. Small towns in the BC interior such as Greenwood, Sandon, New Denver and Slocan became internment quarters mainly for women, children and the aged. To stay together, some families agreed to work on sugar beet farms in Alberta and Manitoba where there were labour shortages. Those who resisted and challenged the orders of the Canadian government were rounded up by the RCMP and incarcerated in a barbed-wire prisoner-of-war camp in Angler, Ontario.

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On 24 February 1942, the federal Cabinet of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King issued Order-in-Council P.C. 1486w200.10691 to remove and detain “any and all persons” from any “protective area” in the country. While those powers were broad enough to detain any person, they were specifically used to target Japanese Canadians along the West Coast. The following week, the British Columbia Security Commission, the organization that carried out Japanese internment, was established. On 16 March, the first Japanese Canadians were transported from areas 160 km inland from the Pacific coast — deemed a “protected area” — and brought to Hastings Park. More than 8,000 detainees moved through Hastings Parks, where women and children were housed in the Livestock Building. All property that could not be carried was taken into government custody.

Special trains then carried the Japanese detainees to Slocan, New Denver, Kaslo, Greenwood and Sandon — ghost towns in the BC interior. Others were offered the option of working on sugar beet farms in Alberta and Manitoba ,where they would be able to keep their families intact. Though the camps were not surrounded with barbed wire fences, as they were in the United States, conditions were overcrowded and poor, with no electricity or running water.

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Those who resisted their internment were sent to prisoner of war camps in Petawawa, Ontario, or to Camp 101 on the northern shore of Lake Superior.

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In a further betrayal, an order-in-council signed 19 January 1943 liquidated all Japanese property that had been under the government’s “protective custody.” Homes, farms, businesses and personal property were sold, and the proceeds used to pay down the social assistance received by detained Japanese Canadians.

Anti-Japanese racism was not confined to British Columbia, but was spread across Canada. Though acutely in need of labour, Albertans did not want Japanese Canadians in their midst. Alberta sugar beet farmers crowded Japanese labourers into tiny shacks, un-insulated granaries and chicken coops, and paid them a pittance for their hard labour.

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Japanese-Canadian women and children faced a specific set of challenges that greatly affected their way of life and broke down the social and cultural norms that had developed. Whole families were taken from their homes and separated from each other. Husbands and wives were almost always separated when sent to camps and, less commonly, some mothers were separated from their children as well. Japanese-Canadian families typically had a patriarchal structure, meaning the husband was the centre of the family. Since husbands were often separated from their families, wives were left to reconfigure the structure of the family and the long established divisions of labour that were so common in the Japanese-Canadian household

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In 1946, nearly 4,000 former internees sailed to a bombed-out Japan. About 2,000 were aging first-generation immigrants — 1,300 were children under 16 years of age. The last controls on Japanese Canadians were not lifted until 1949, when they were granted the right to vote. Finally, Canadian society began to open to the Japanese.

On April 1, 1949, four years after the war was over, all the restrictions were lifted and Japanese Canadians were given full citizenship rights, including  the right to return to the west coast. But there was no home to return to. The Japanese Canadian community in British Columbia was virtually destroyed.

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USS Panay incident-Act of war before the war.

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A bright Sunday in December Japanese planes blazed out of the sky to strafe and bomb an American warship while it lay at anchor.

You’d be forgiven to think this was the Pearl Harbor attack, but you’d be wrong.

The sinking of the USS Panay is pretty much forgotten now. But it was one of the biggest news stories of 1937.

 

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In the 1930s, the United States had something that would be unthinkable today — a treaty with China allowing American gunboats to travel deep up the Yangtze River. It was a major trade route for U.S. commerce in China, and it was notorious for pirate attacks.

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The crews of these ships were small.  Panay for example carried four officers and forty-nine enlisted men, along with a Chinese crew of porters.  The vessel only drew about five feet of water, and resembled more of a Mississippi riverboat than a destroyer.  Yet it had a definite role to play, one summed up on a bronze plaque located in the wardroom: “Mission: For the protection of American life and property in the Yangtze River Valley and its tributaries, and the furtherance of American goodwill in China.”

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By 1937, the Yangtze faced a much bigger threat than pirates: The Japanese army had launched an invasion of China, and by December, the Japanese were fighting for the city of Nanking. The fight became known as the Rape of Nanking.

The USS Panay, with 55 men aboard, was sent to rescue any Americans left, including embassy staff and journalists — most notably War correspondent Norman Alley a newsreel photographer who recorded what was to come.

 

The Panay, with its civilians aboard, escorted the oil tankers 20 miles upstream to wait out the Battle for Nanking. They anchored in the middle of the river and waited. Then, on Dec. 12, a quiet Sunday afternoon, Japanese planes appeared suddenly and bombed the American vessel.

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After the Panay was sunk, the Japanese fighters machine-gunned lifeboats and survivors huddling on the shore of the Yangtze. Two U.S. sailors and a civilian passenger were killed and 11 personnel seriously wounded, setting off a major crisis in U.S.-Japanese relations.

Although the Panay‘s position had been reported to the Japanese as required, the neutral vessel was clearly marked, and the day was sunny and clear, the Japanese maintained that the attack was unintentional, and they agreed to pay $2 million in reparations. Two neutral British vessels were also attacked by the Japanese in the final days of the battle for Nanking.

 

The aftermath of the Panay sinking was a nervous time for the American ambassador to Japan, Joseph C. Grew.

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Grew, whose experience in the foreign service spanned over 30 years, “remembered the Maine,” the US Navy ship that blew up in Havana Harbor in 1898. The sinking of Maine had propelled the US into the Spanish–American War, and Grew hoped the sinking of Panay would not be a similar catalyst for the severance of diplomatic ties and war with Japan.

The Japanese government took full responsibility for sinking Panay but continued to maintain that the attack had been unintentional. Chief of Staff of Japanese naval forces in northern China, Vice Admiral Rokuzo Sugiyama, was assigned to make an apology.

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The formal apology reached Washington, D.C. on Christmas Eve.

Although Japanese officials maintained that their pilots never saw any American flags on Panay, a US Navy court of inquiry determined that several US flags were clearly visible on the vessel during the attacks.At the meeting held at the American embassy in Tokyo on 23 December, Japanese officials maintained that one navy airplane had attacked a boat by machine gun for a short period of time and that Japanese army motor boats or launches attack the Chinese steamers escaping upstream on the opposite bank. However, the Japanese navy insisted that the attack had been unintentional. The Japanese government paid an indemnity of $2,214,007.36 to the US on 22 April 1938, officially settling the Panay incident.

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Heroes of Pearl Harbor

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2,335 service men & 68 civilians killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those two numbers,2,335 & 68, are just statistics and mean nothing without the stories behind them.

For none of these casualties were just numbers. They were someone’s son,father,husband,wife, daughter and sister each of them heroes. These are just the stories of 2 of those heroes.

Robert R. Scott

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Robert Raymond Scott was born in Massillon, Ohio on July 13, 1915 and enlisted in the United States Navy on April 18, 1938. Machinist’s Mate First Class Scott was assigned to USS California when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7 1941.

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At the age of 26, Robert Raymond Scott went down in history as an American hero, having served aboard the California when the Japanese fighters bombed Battleship Row. Like many of the soldiers that morning, Scott didn’t waiver in his duty as a sailor of the United States Navy. Even as chaos erupted around him, as battleships nearby were struck time and time again by incoming enemy fire, as his own vessel took multiple hits, he remained dedicated to the cause he’d signed up for: to protect his country and fight alongside his Navy brothers.

It was this dedication to service that cost Robert Scott his life,

During the incoming fire, the California took a direct torpedo hit, which caused flooding in the compartment where Scott was stationed. It was his duty to attend to the air compressor, to ensure the California received the air it needed for a variety of functions. While the rest of the crew stationed along with him evacuated, the determined sailor stayed behind.

“This is my station and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going,” Scott Moh_rightexclaimed to those who implored him to evacuate. Knowing the danger this decision posed to his life, he stayed behind, and that was the last time Robert R. Scott would be seen.

He was posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroism.”For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. The compartment, in the U.S.S. California, in which the air compressor, to which Scott was assigned as his battle station, was flooded as the result of a torpedo hit. The remainder of the personnel evacuated that compartment but Scott refused to leave.”

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Born in St. Lucas, Iowa, Schmitt studied at Columbia College (now Loras College) in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated in 1932. He then studied in Rome for the priesthood. He was ordained on December 8, 1935. Father Schmitt was first assigned as an associate at Saint Mary’s Church in Dubuque. He was also assigned to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cheyenne, Wyoming. After four years, he received permission to become a chaplain, and joined the United States Navy. He was appointed Acting Chaplain with rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG) on June 28, 1939.

On December 7th, 1941, Fr. Schmitt was serving on board the battleship, USS Oklahoma when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

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He had just finished saying Mass when the call went out for “general quarters”. A Japanese hit caused the ship to capsize. A number of sailors, including Fr. Schmitt, were trapped in a compartment with only a small porthole as the means of escape. Fr. Schmitt helped a number of men through this porthole. When it came his time to leave, he declined and helped more men to escape. In total, he helped 12 men to escape.

Fr. Schmitt died on board the Oklahoma. He was the first chaplain of any faith to have died in World War II. His example inspired a number of other priests to become chaplains.

He was honored posthumously by the U.S. government when it awarded him the Navy and Marine Corps Medal on 23 October 1942 for “distinguished heroism and sublime devotion to his fellow man.” He also received the Purple Heart.

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The Pearl Harbor prelude

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What many people forget to realize is that the Pearl Harbor attack did not just happen. The logistics of it alone would have taken months of preparation.

The attack may have been sold to the Japanese population as an honorable event, but there was nothing honorable about it, there cannot be honor with deception.

On the other hand the US Government were naive to believe the Japanese, They knew Japan was going to attack but yet they kept negotiating for peace.

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What really grabbed American attention in the Pacific was the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which pitted the Japanese against Nationalist China.After July of 1941, when Japan occupied all of French Indochina, the United States placed tighter restrictions on Japanese trade, starting what has been described as “financial warfare against Japan.”

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Though it hit Japanese troops hard, it didn’t cease the nation’s push forward. In fact, it only angered the nation further and, on November 5th, 1941, the plan for attack on Pearl Harbor was approved.

At the same time, his government made a last effort to arrive at a diplomatic solution of their differences with the United States. Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura presented two proposals to the American government.Kichisaburo_Nomura_2

Two proposals presented on November 6th and November 20th agreed to a withdrawal of Japanese troops from southern Indochina if the United States discontinued backing Nationalist China. The second proposal also added the stipulation of ceasing Southeast Asian military deployments and providing Japan with oil.

The United States was about to make a counteroffer to this plan, which included a monthly supply of fuel for civilian use. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a leak of Japan’s war plan and news that Japanese troopships were on their way to Indochina. He then decided that the Japanese were not being sincere in their negotiations and instructed Secretary Hull to drop the counter proposal.

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With a counteroffer on the table, the United States shifted gears when dispatches were intercepted and deciphered indicating that Japan was sending more troops to Indochina, meaning any deal made would be futile. In response, six days after the second proposal the US responded with the Hull Note, which essentially demanded a Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and China.

To the Japanese, the Hull Note served as an ultimatum, their only course of action being a full-on war with a nation they saw as the aggressor.

Also on 26 November 1941 – Chūichi Nagumo’s aircraft carrier strike force headed for Pearl Harbor with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.

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However they had already set everything in motion to attack the US even before they had received the Hull note, regardless what was in the note the attack could not be reversed at this stage. War was always on their mind.

Japan saw the United States’ continued support of China as an act of aggression in itself, leading to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

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The McCollum Memo-Provoking Japan into war.

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On October 7, 1940, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum of the Office of Naval

Arthur_H._McCollum_Portrait Intelligence submitted a memo to Navy Captains Walter Anderson and Dudley Knox (whose endorsement is included in the following scans). Captains Anderson and Knox were two of President Roosevelt’s most trusted military advisors.

McCollum wrote that it would be in the interest of the U.S. to go to war with Japan before Japan could provide support to Germany and Italy in their war against England, and before Germany and Italy could take action against the U.S. on behalf of Japan.

However, McCollum realized that it would be politically impractical for Roosevelt to declare war: “It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify their attitude.”

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The McCollum memo contained an eight-part plan to counter rising Japanese power over East Asia:

A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore
B. Make an arrangement with the Netherlands for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek
D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient
F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific[,] in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil
H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire

The memo was read and appended by Captain Knox, who, despite being seemingly reluctant to “precipitate anything in the Orient”, ultimately concurs. Specifically, he wrote (Page 6):

It is unquestionably to our interest that Britain be not licked – just now she has a stalemate and probably can’t do better. We ought to make certain that she at least gets a stalemate. For this she will probably need from us substantial further destroyers and air-reinforcements to England. We should not precipitate anything in the Orient that would hamper our ability to do this – so long as probability continues. If England remains stable, Japan will be cautious in the Orient. Hence our assistance to England in the Atlantic is also protection to her and us in the Orient. However, I concur in your courses of action. We must be ready on both sides and probably strong enough to care for both.

There is no evidence that Roosevelt ever read or even saw the memo although there are many conspiracy theories about it.

Exactly 14 months later Japan did attack Pearl Harbor which eventually dragged the US into WWII.

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Batbomb.

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Bat bombs were an experimental World War II weapon developed by the United States. The bomb consisted of a bomb-shaped casing with over a thousand compartments, each containing a hibernating Mexican free-tailed bat with a small, timed incendiary bomb attached.

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The bomb was designed to terrorize the people of Japan in a most unexpected way.

Dr. Lytle S. Adams, like most Americans at the time, was enraged by the attack on Pearl Harbor and had begun looking into what he could do to lend his support to the war efforts.

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Having just returned from a vacation in New Mexico, he remembered being “tremendously impressed” by the Mexican Free-Tailed Bats, which migrated every year through the state and live primarily in Carlsbad Caverns.

After reading up on them, he returned to the caverns to capture some for himself. Upon studying them, Dr. Adams realized that they were perfectly suited for war.

After all, they were able to withstand high altitudes, fly long distances, and carry heavy loads — such as tiny timed bombs.

Like most Americans in the 30’s and 40’s, Adams image of Japan was a bit skewed. Most people believed Japan was an island of crowded cities “filled with paper-and-wood houses and factories.”.

With that train of thought, he believed that with enough bat bombs, the military could be wipe out entire cities simply by letting the bats do what they do best — migrate and hide in dark places.

So he did what any concerned citizen with a brilliant plan would do. He outlined his plan and sent it to the White House.

The proposal seemed like the plot of a B-horror movie. It promised to “frighten, demoralize and excite the prejudices of the Japanese Empire,” claiming that “the millions of bats that have for ages inhabited our belfries, tunnels and caverns were placed there by God to await this hour.”

Adams was clearly paranoid, noting that the plan “might easily be used against us if the secret is not carefully guarded. However, Adams was also very confident.

“As fantastic as you may regard the idea,” he said. “I am convinced that it will work.”

The proposal actually made it into to President Roosevelt’s hands (most likely due to Adams personal friendship with first lady Eleanor),

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and he passed it along to his head of wartime intelligence Colonel William J. Donovan.

Roosevelt also included a letter of his own, backing up Adams preposterous theory.

“This man is not a nut,” he wrote. “It sounds like a perfectly wild idea, but is worth looking into.”

The proposal also found its way to Donald Griffin, who had pioneered research on bats’ echolocation strategies. Griffin lent his support to the plan in a letter.

“This proposal seems bizarre and visionary at first glance,” he wrote, “but extensive experience with experimental biology convinces the writer that if executed competently it would have every chance of success.”

After seeing Adams’ demonstration using the bats he had captured himself, the White House assembled a team and eventually agreed upon using the Mexican Free-Tailed bat. The U.S. Air Force then gave the authority for investigations to begin, and the plan became known as Project X-Ray.

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Thousands of bats were captured across the southwest, tiny bombs were designed, and a transport method was engineered. However, a hitch in the plan was soon discovered, and after a minor setback where the Carlsbad Army Airfield Auxiliary Air Base and caught fire, the plan was scrapped.

The National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) observer stated: “It was concluded that X-Ray is an effective weapon.” The Chief Chemist’s report stated that, on a weight basis, X-Ray was more effective than the standard incendiary bombs in use at the time: “Expressed in another way, the regular bombs would give probably 167 to 400 fires per bomb load where X-Ray would give 3,625 to 4,748 fires.”

More tests were scheduled for the summer of 1944 but the program was cancelled by Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King when he heard that it would likely not be combat ready until mid-1945. By that time, it was estimated that $2 million had been spent on the project.

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It is thought that development of the bat bomb was moving too slowly, and was overtaken in the race for a quick end to the war by the atomic bomb project.

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Alas, the bat bomb was not meant to be, however gung-ho the entire White House seemed to be about it. Adams was disappointed. However, he would come up with a few more crazy schemes. Some of which include seed packet bombs and a fried chicken vending machine.

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Operation Vengeance-Revenge for Pearl Harbor.

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Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, was the Harvard-educated, poker-playing mastermind of the December 7, 1941, attack.

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On April 14, 1943, naval intelligence scored another code-breaking coup. The message began: “On April 18 CINC Combined Fleet will visit RXZ, R–, and RXP in accordance with the following schedule . . .” Adm. Isokoru Yamamoto was planning an inspection visit of Japanese bases in the upper Solomon Islands. The information immediately went from Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitznimitz

to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox who delivered the news to President Franklin Roosevelt. Reportedly, the president’s response was, “Get Yamamoto.” Regardless of whether or not the president actually said those words, the order was given: kill the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor raid.

 

 

 

 

As Yamamoto was viewed as the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructed Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to give the mission the highest priority.

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Consulting with Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Commander South Pacific Forces and South Pacific Area, Nimitz ordered planning to move forward. Based on the intercepted information, it was known that on April 18 Yamamoto would be flying from Rabaul, New Britain to Ballale Airfield on an island near Bougainville.

Though only 400 miles from Allied bases on Guadalcanal, the distance presented a problem as American aircraft would need to fly a 600-mile roundabout course to the intercept to avoid detection, making the total flight 1,000 miles. This precluded the use of the Navy and Marine Corps’ F4F Wildcats or F4U Corsairs. As a result, the mission was assigned to the US Army’s 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force which flew P-38G Lightnings. Equipped with two drop tanks, the P-38G was capable of reaching Bougainville, executing the mission, and returning to base.

Overseen by the squadron’s commander, Major John W. Mitchell,

 

53742e57bbc2cb8e4cb1078991ee8d12planning moved forward with the assistance of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Luther S. Moore. At Mitchell’s request, Moore had the 339th’s aircraft fitted with ship’s compasses to aid in navigation. Utilizing the departure and arrival times contained in the intercepted message, Mitchell devised a precise flight plan that called for his fighters to intercept Yamamoto’s flight at 9:35 AM as it began its descent to Ballale.

Knowing that Yamamoto’s aircraft was to be escorted by six A6M Zero fighters, Mitchell intended to use eighteen aircraft for the mission.mitsubishi-a6m-type-0-zero-fighter-01While four aircraft were tasked as the “killer” group, the remainder was to climb to 18,000 feet to serve as top cover to deal with enemy fighters arriving on scene after the attack. Though the mission was to be conducted by the 339th, ten of the pilots were drawn from other squadrons in the 347th Fighter Group. Briefing his men, Mitchell provided a cover story that the intelligence had been provided by a coastwatcher who saw a high ranking officer boarding an aircraft in Rabaul.

Departing Guadalcanal at 7:25 AM on April 18, Mitchell quickly lost two aircraft from his killer group due to mechanical issues. Replacing them from his cover group, he led the squadron west out over the water before turning north towards Bougainville.

Flying at no higher than 50 feet and in radio silence to avoid detection, the 339th arrived at the intercept point a minute early. Earlier that morning, despite the warnings of local commanders who feared an ambush, Yamamoto’s flight departed Rabaul. Proceeding over Bougainville, his G4M “Betty” and that of his chief of staff, were covered by two groups of three Zeros

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Mitchell’s flight of four led the squadron at low altitude, with the killer flight, now consisting of Lanphier, Barber, and spares 1st Lt. Besby F. Holmes and 1st Lt. Raymond K. Hine, immediately behind. Mitchell, fighting off drowsiness, navigated by flight plan and dead reckoning. This proved to be the longest fighter-intercept mission of the war and was so skillfully executed by Mitchell that his force arrived at the intercept point one minute early, at 09:34, just as Yamamoto’s aircraft descended into view in a light haze. The P-38s jettisoned the auxiliary tanks, turned to the right to parallel the bombers, and began a full power climb to intercept them.

The tanks on Holmes’s P-38 did not detach and his element turned back toward the sea. Mitchell radioed Lanphier and Barber to engage, and they climbed toward the eight aircraft. The nearest escort fighters dropped their own tanks and dived toward the pair of P-38s. Lanphier, in a sound tactical move, immediately turned head-on and climbed towards the escorts while Barber chased the diving bomber transports. Barber banked steeply to turn in behind the bombers and momentarily lost sight of them, but when he regained contact, he was immediately behind one and began firing into its right engine, rear fuselage, and empennage. When Barber hit its left engine, the bomber began to trail heavy black smoke. The Betty rolled violently to the left and Barber narrowly avoided a mid-air collision. Looking back, he saw a column of black smoke and assumed the Betty had crashed into the jungle. Barber headed towards the coast at treetop level, searching for the second bomber, not knowing which one carried the targeted high-ranking officer.

 Barber spotted the second bomber, carrying Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and part of Yamamoto’s staff, low over the water off Moila Point, trying to evade an attack by Holmes, whose wing tanks had finally come off. Holmes damaged the right engine of the Betty, which emitted a white vapor trail, but his closure speed carried him and his wingman Hine past the damaged bomber. Barber attacked the crippled bomber and his bullet strikes caused it to shed metal debris that damaged his own aircraft. The bomber descended and crash-landed in the water. Ugaki and two others survived the crash and were later rescued. Barber, Holmes and Hine were attacked by Zeros, Barber’s P-38 receiving 104 hits. Holmes and Barber each claimed a Zero shot down during this melee, although Japanese records show that no Zeros were lost. The top cover briefly engaged reacting Zeros without making any kills. Mitchell observed the column of smoke from Yamamoto’s crashed bomber. Hine’s P-38 had disappeared by this point, presumably crashed into the water.
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Running close to minimum fuel levels for return to base, the P-38s broke off contact, with Holmes so short of fuel that he was forced to land in the Russell Islands. Hine was the only pilot who did not return. Lanphier’s actions during the battle are unclear as his account was later disputed by other participants, including the Japanese fighter pilots. As he approached Henderson Field, Lanphier radioed the fighter director on Guadalcanal that “That son of a bitch will not be dictating any peace terms in the White House”, breaching security. Immediately on landing (his plane was so short on fuel that one engine quit during the landing rollout) he put in a claim for shooting down Yamamoto.

A success, Operation Vengeance saw the American fighters down both Japanese bombers, killing 19, including Yamamoto. In exchange, the 339th lost Hines and one aircraft. Searching the jungle, the Japanese found Yamamoto’s body near the crash site. Thrown clear of the wreckage, he had been hit twice in the fighting.

Lieutenant Hamasuna noted Yamamoto had been thrown clear of the plane’s wreckage, his white-gloved hand grasping the hilt of his katana sword, his body still upright in his seat under a tree. Hamasuna said Yamamoto was instantly recognizable, his head tilted down as if deep in thought. A post-mortem of Yamamoto’s body indicated two bullet wounds, one to the back of his left shoulder, and a separate bullet wound to his left lower jaw, that appeared to exit above his right eye. The Japanese navy doctor examining Yamamoto’s body determined the head wound killed Yamamoto. (These more violent details of Yamamoto’s death were hidden from the Japanese public, and the medical report whitewashed, this secrecy “on orders from above.

Cremated at nearby Buin, his ashes were returned to Japan aboard the battleship Musashi.

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He was replaced by Admiral Mineichi Koga.

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Several controversies quickly brewed following the mission. Despite the security attached to the mission and the Magic program, operational details soon leaked out. This began with Lanphier announcing upon landing that “I got Yamamoto!” This breach of security led to a second controversy over who actually shot down Yamamoto. Lanphier claimed that after engaging the fighters he banked around and shot a wing off the lead Betty. This led to an initial belief that three bombers had been downed. Though given credit, other members of the 339th were skeptical.

Though Mitchell and the members of the killer group were initially recommended for the Medal of Honor, this was downgraded to the Navy Cross in the wake of the security issues. Debate continued over credit for the kill. When it was ascertained that only two bombers were downed, Lanphier and Barber were each given half kills for Yamamoto’s plane. Though Lanphier later claimed full credit in an unpublished manuscript, the testimony of the lone Japanese survivor of the battle and the work of other scholars supports Barber’s claim.

 

Operation K- The 2nd ‘attack’ on Pearl Harbor

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On March 4, 1942, two Kawanishi H8K “Emily” flying boats embarked on Operation K, flying the longest distance ever undertaken by a two-plane bombing mission to that point.

 

The planes refueled at an atoll 500 miles from Hawaii, and then launched to drop their bombs on Pearl Harbor. Due to extensive cloud cover and confusion between the two pilots, one plane dropped its bombs on an uninhabited mountainside and the other dropped its bombs in the ocean. There were no American casualties.

In a repeat of events just prior to the December 7 attack, American codebreakers warned that the Japanese were preparing for reconnaissance and disruption raids, refueling at French Frigate Shoals, and again were largely ignored by their superiors.

The planning for Operation K began in the weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when the Imperial Japanese Navy high command considered how to take advantage of the capabilities of the long-range Kawanishi H8K flying boats.

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Plans to bomb California and Texas were being discussed, when the need for updated information regarding the repairs to US Navy facilities at Pearl Harbor took precedence. An assessment of the repairs to the docks, yards and airfields of Oahu would help the Imperia Japanese Navy  staff to determine American ability to project power for months to come.

Initial plans called for the use of five H8K aircraft. They would fly to French Frigate Shoals, the largest atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, to be refueled by submarines prior to taking off for Oahu.

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The raid was planned to coincide with the full moon to illuminate the Pearl Harbor target area, but actual date of execution would depend on calm weather for refueling at French Frigate Shoals and clear skies over Pearl Harbor.If the first raid was successful, additional raids would be made.

In a repeat of events just prior to the 7 December attack, American codebreakers warned that the Japanese were preparing for reconnaissance and disruption raids, refueling at French Frigate Shoals, and again were largely ignored by their superiors. The codebreakers had reason to correctly interpret the Japanese intent. Edwin T. Layton’s staff included Lieutenant Jasper Holmes, who, writing under the pen name Alec Hudson, had a story entitled Rendezvous published in an August, 1941, Saturday Evening Post.

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His fictitious story about refueling United States planes from submarines at a remote island for an air attack on a target 3000 miles away had been withheld from publication for a year until the author convinced United States Navy censors the techniques described were known to other navies.

When time came for the raid, only two of the big flying boats were available. Pilot Lieutenant Hisao Hashizume was in command of the mission, with Ensign Shosuke Sasao flying the second airplane. They were sent to Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where each airplane was loaded with four 250-kilogram (550 lb) bombs.

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From there, they flew 3,100 kilometers (1,900 mi) to French Frigate Shoals to refuel, then set off for Oahu, 900 kilometers (560 mi) distant. In addition to their reconnaissance mission, they were to bomb the “Ten-Ten” dock – named for its length, 1,010 feet (310 m) – at the Pearl Harbor naval base to disrupt salvage and repair efforts. However, a comedy of errors ensued on both sides.

The Japanese submarine I-23 was supposed to station itself just south of Oahu as a “lifeguard” and weather spotter for the flying boats, but was lost sometime after 14 February.(picture below of the I-26 which was nearly identical to the I-23)

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Japanese crypt analysts had broken the United States Navy weather code, but a code change on 1 March eliminated that alternative source of weather information over Pearl Harbor. The mission proceeded on the assumption of clear skies over Pearl Harbor from knowledge of conditions at French Frigate Shoals.

American radar stations on Kauai (and later Oahu) picked up and tracked the two planes as they approached the main Hawaiian Islands, prompting a search by Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighters. Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats were also sent to seek Japanese aircraft carriers, which were assumed to have launched the two invaders.

However, a thick layer of nimbus clouds over Pearl Harbor prevented the defenders from spotting the Japanese planes flying at an altitude of 4,600 meters (15,000 ft).

Those same clouds also confused the IJN pilots. Using the Kaena Point lighthouse for a position fix, Hashizume decided to attack from the north.

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Sasao, however, did not hear Hashizume’s order and instead turned to skirt the southern coast of Oahu.

Hashizume, having lost sight of his wingman, and only able to see small patches of the island, dropped his four bombs on the slopes of Tantalus Peak, an extinct volcano cinder cone just north of Honolulu sometime between 02:00-02:15 HST.

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He was unable to see Pearl Harbor, the only lit facility on Oahu due to blackout conditions intended to hinder air raids.Hashizume’s bombs landed about 300 meters (1,000 ft) from Roosevelt High School, creating craters 2–3 meters (6–10 ft) deep and 6–9 meters (20–30 ft) across.

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Damage was limited to shattered windows.Sasao is assumed by historians and officials to have eventually dropped his bombs into the ocean, either off the coast of Waianae or near the sea approach to Pearl Harbor.The two flying boats then flew southwest toward the Marshall Islands. Sasao returned as planned to Wotje atoll, but Hashizume’s airplane had sustained hull damage while taking off from French Frigate Shoals. Fearing the primitive base at Wotje was insufficient to repair the damage, Hashizume proceeded non-stop all the way to their home base at Jaluit Atoll, also in the Marshall Islands. That made his flight the longest bombing mission in history up to that point.

There were no American casualties. The raid did raise new fears of a potential Japanese invasion of Hawaii.

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