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13 Incredible Photos From The Attack On Pearl Harbor

It started 74 years ago today, at 7:48 am.

1) On the morning of December 7th, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor.

US Navy

2) Japan attacked as a preventive measure to keep the US Pacific fleet from interfering with Japan's actions in Southeast Asia.


3) At approximately 7:00 am the morning of the attack, an Army radar operator on the northern tip of Hawaii spotted an unusually large radar return, indicating aircraft quickly approaching from the West. After discussing it with an officer, they believed it was a flight of B-17s due in from the mainland, and decided it wasn't a threat. In less than an hour, they would realize it was Japanese aircraft.

US Navy

4) Starting at 7:48 am, Pearl Harbor was attacked by 353 aircraft. This is what Japanese pilots saw - Battleship Row - in the early moments of the attack.

US Navy

5) There were over 90 ships in Pearl Harbor that morning.

US Navy

6) Japan's aircraft were launched in two waves, from six aircraft carriers.


7) All eight US Navy battleships in the harbor were damaged, and four were sunk, including the USS Arizona pictured below.


8) Miraculously, all battleships except the Arizona were raised, and six of the ships were repaired and later fought in the war.


9) 188 US aircraft were destroyed in the battle, most of which were on the ground.

US Department of Defense

10) Japan, however, only lost 29 aircraft.

US Navy

11) In total, the US lost 2,403 lives, with 1,178 wounded, 19 ships damaged or destroyed, and 347 aircraft damaged or destroyed.

US Navy

12) The following day, December 8th, the US declared war on Japan.

National Archives

13) Because of the lack of formal warning and significant losses, President Roosevelt proclaimed December 7th, 1941 to be "a date which will live in infamy."

US Navy

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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