Pearl Harbor Battle Analysis

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Pearl Harbor
Battle Analysis

On a pleasant and beautiful Sunday, December 7, 1984, Japan implemented a surprise attack on the US Naval Base in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii which gave United States a door to enter into World War II. Even though Japan did not follow through with the attack causing the third wave of bombers to break contact from dropping bombs to finish off the rest of the fleet docking in Pearl Harbor, it was a well prepared, and carefully orchestrated attack on the Americans because the Japanese followed almost all the nine Principles of War. However there was one principle that the Japanese did not executed causing them to surrender later on in World War II.

There are nine Principles of War, that is; unity of command, mass, objective, offensive, surprise, economy of force, maneuver, and security. The attack include mass--concentrating the combat power at the decisive place and time. The objective was clear and directed every military operation towards a clearly defined, decisive attainable objective. The attack was clearly offensive where it seize, retained, and exploited the initiatives. Surprise was the definitely the most important principle used striking Pearl Harbor on a given time when it was unprepared. Economy of force was allocated to the wave of attacks where essential combat power was given as a secondary effort. The maneuvers were clearly executed where Japan placed United States in a position of disadvantage through the flexibility application of combat power. There was unity of command in which the Japanese ensured each objective had a responsible commander.

Unity of command was visible within the Japanese fleet. The commander for the December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor was Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (People--Japan, ). Yamamoto was responsible for the combined Japanese fleet where he devised the strategy for the attack, and because of his careful, organized, and educated planing, Pearl Harbor was almost fully destroyed. Under Yamamoto is Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumoto who was in command of the First Air Fleet. Nagamuto relied heavily on the experience of his subordinates Comander Minoru Genda, and Rear Admiral Ryunosuke Kusaka. “No one can truly understand what happened at Pearl Harbor without at least a nodding acquantance with these men, for the plan’s inception, preparation, execution, and stunning success were shaped by the personalities and experience of these men” (Goldstein, 1991).

By element of mass with in the nine Principles of War, the Japanese attack forces was well equipped for the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. Japan understands that their country cannot defeat United Staes in a “conventional war, lacking as it did sufficient man power and raw materials (notably oil) for such a sustained effort however Japan was able to put together combined fleet large enough to go toe to toe with the United States Navy in Hawaii” (Long, 2007). Japanese air attack forces consisted of six carriers named Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, and Zuikaku. Support forces consisted of two battleship and two heavy cruisers known as Tone and Chikuma. Screening forces consisted of one light cruiser and nine destroyers named Akuma. Patrol forces had three submarines. In addition, the supply forces ha eight oilers. Together these combined fleet was named the Kido Butai, or task force which was the largest number of aircraft carriers ever to operate together (Carlisle, 114).

Admiral Yamamoto and the Kido Fleet’s objective was to destroy the naval ships in Pearl Harbor and knock out the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In retrospect, this attack is also an offensive attack as a significant Japanese fighting force so that the Americans could not oppose on Japan’s conquest of South East Asia and the Pacific Islands. Another reason for the attack is because President Roosevelt had banned all exports of scrap iron, steel and oil to Japan. The reason for the embargo was the...
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