Goerner on Pearl Harbor in San Francisco Chronicle

Readers of this blog know that since its inception in 2012, concurrent with the publication of the first edition of Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last, I have focused exclusively on the Earhart disappearance, and virtually all of the 285 posts here deal with Earhart and closely related subjects. 

Today we move away from the Earhart case, but only slightly, as we feature a Dec. 1, 1991 San Francisco Chronicle Sunday supplement article about Pearl Harbor by Fred Goerner, the bestselling author of The Search for Amelia Earhart (1966), the foremost Earhart researcher of his or any day, who was also intensely interested in the Pearl Harbor debacle, as he called it, and its possible relationship to the Earhart mess.  (Boldface emphasis mine throughout.)

I’ve tried to reproduce the original look of the “This World” Sunday supplement, but it’s better to type out much of copy because the multi-column layout doesn’t allow for easy presentation.  This is the first of two parts.

tary strategists who had been predicting such an attack for 20 years?  If the U.S. military had broken Japanese secret codes, why didn’t somebody know what Japan was going to do?

Six investigations during World War II, and two inquiries in the year after the war, including a joint congressional probe, failed to produce satisfactory answers.  Argument continues, and vicious accusations still abound.  Hundreds of books and articles have been written about Pearl Harbor trying to assign responsibility to individuals and/or departments of the American government and military.  For some the subject is extraordinarily bitter and larded with vituperation. 

There are many who allege President Franklin Roosevelt withheld vital intelligence from Admiral Husband E. Kimmel, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, and General Walter C. Short, commander of U.S. Army forces at Pearl Harbor, to allow the attack to occur as a means of branding Japan as an immoral aggressor and to being America into World War II on a time of passionate patriotism.  Roosevelt was at once one of the most loved and most hated of America’s presidents.  Even 50 years later, dozens of authors and scholars are trying to establish that FDR was somehow a traitor to his country and to the U.S. Navy he loved so much. 

And a recently published book alleges that Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew the Japanese carrier fleet was sailing toward Hawaii but, in order to bring the United States into the war, did not share that intelligence with President Roosevelt.

Only now, 50 years later, are historians beginning to understand what really happened on the morning that changed the world.

The harbor tug USS Hoga (YT-146) sprayed water on the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) following the surprise attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

World War II took more than three years of my own life as I served with the U.S. Navy Seabees in the Pacific, and I had often wondered about the Pearl Harbor debacle.  It was not until 1961, however, that a CBS documentary I was writing brought me into contact with Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, who commanded U.S. Pacific naval forces during most of the war.  It began a friendship that lasted until the admiral’s death in 1966.

Nimitz had been ordered to Pearl Harbor to replace Admiral Kimmell, who would receive the bulk of the blame for American unpreparedness, just days after the attack.  Roosevelt directed Nimitz to “get the hell out of Pearl and stay there until the war is won.

On Christmas morning, 1941, the U.S. Navy flying boat carrying Nimitz circled Pearl Harbor.  He could see most of the main anchorage, which was covered with black fuel oil and floating debris.  The capsized battleships Oklahoma and Utah were clearly visible, and farther down the harbor he could see Arizona, West Virginia and California sunk in deeper water with only the topsides exposed.  Dozens of small power boats were circling in the harbor, picking up the bloated bodies of dead sailors who had been blown off their ships by Japanese bombs and torpedoes.  There were 2,403 Americans killed in the attack, including 68 civilians.

Nimitz found Kimmell a disheartened man.  A spent bullet had struck Kimmell during the attack, but he had not been wounded.  He told Nimitz he wished the bullet had killed him.

Kimmell returned to the U.S. mainland in what many considered to be disgrace.  Nimitz restored American confidence, projected American forces across the Pacific and accepted the final Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945.

Nimitz’ Recollections

To my surprise, Nimitz did not consider the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor to be a complete disaster; in fact, he believed it to have been a Japanese strategic failure.  He pointed to the inflexibility of the Japanese plan, with its emphasis upon attacking battleships (most of which were later repaired and saw war action) and ignoring Navy storage tanks, which contained 4,500,000 barrels of fuel oil.  Had those been destroyed, the U.S. victory in the Pacific might have been delayed six months or more.

Nimitz also felt Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the Japanese attacking force commander, had missed the opportunity to truly disable American forces by limiting the attack to two air strikes.  Had the Japanese plan been more bold, an invasion and occupation of the Hawaiian Islands might have succeeded.  That would have been a complete disaster for the United States.

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, circa 1942, the last of the Navy’s 5-star admirals. In late March 1965, a week before his meeting with General Wallace M. Greene Jr. at Marine Corps Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, Nimitz called Goerner in San Francisco. “Now that you’re going to Washington, Fred, I want to tell you Earhart and her navigator did go down in the Marshalls and were picked up by the Japanese,” Goerner claimed Nimitz told him.

As to Kimmel’s responsibility for American unpreparedness for the air attack, Nimitz would not assign it.  He called it a hazard of command and he indicated it could have happened to anyone, himself included.  He stressed that almost everyone in the U.S. military had believed the Japanese would strike at Malaya and probably Guam and the Philippines.  That was a fatal estimation.  Instead of stretching its imagination — planning for what the Japanese could do — American military intelligence was busy speculating about what the Japanese would do. 

Nimitz felt it might be considered a blessing that Kimmel had not gotten brief notice of the true Japanese intention.  He might have commanded the American fleet to sail for open water, and had the Japanese planes bombed and torpedoed the ships there, they would have been lost forever in deep water and the human casualties would have been much greater.

Nimitz also believed that ignorance and arrogance — both American and Japanese — played major roles in Pearl Harbor.  In 1941, Americans were generally ignorant about Japan and its people, believing America completely superior in leadership, equipment and fighting ability.  The prevalent military and civilian attitude was that Japan would not dare attack America.

At the same time, many in Japan saw America as a weak and divided nation that could never match Japan in spirit and willingness to sacrifice.  Japan believed it could overwhelm American forces early in a war, and that America would ask for peace on Japan’s terms.

Nimitz did not accept any of the theories about a Roosevelt conspiracy to withhold information obtained through secret Japanese codes, but he believed it would be many years, perhaps several decades, before highly classified records dealing with American cryptology activities prior to Pearl Harbor would be released and the full truth known.  When that day arrived, he admonished, historians should pay particular attention to what exactly the British cryptologists knew before the attack. 

Kimmel’s Agony

In the winter of 1967, I journeyed to see Admiral Kimmel at his home in Groton, Connecticut.  It was a cold, snowy day, well matched to his attitude.  He was brought into the small living room in a wheelchair.  His balding head glistened in the overhead light, and he squinted at me as if trying to determine whether I was friend or foe.  At 85, the fire still burned.

Adm. Husband E. Kimmell told Fred Goerner in 1967 that FDR was “a damned traitor” and put Adm. Harold Start, the chief of naval operations in 1941, in the same category.  “Stark picked me up when I returned to D.C. from Pearl Harbor, and he lied about everything,” Kimmel said. 

To call Kimmel bitter is an understatement.  He raged at me.  He called Roosevelt a “damned traitor,” and put Adm. Harold Start, the chief of naval operations in 1941, in the same category.  “Stark picked me up when I returned to D.C. from Pearl Harbor, and he lied about everything,” Kimmel said. 

Kimmel believed that Roosevelt, Stark and Army Chief George Marshall had purposely withheld vital intelligence that would have given him a chance to prepare for the Japanese air attack, and then they had made him the scapegoat, ruining his career and abandoning him to be scorned by history.  He told of vile letters he and his family had received over the years and said lies had been told about him and repeated as truth by the media.  In anecdote, Kimmel’s wife, Dorothy, was supposed to have returned from Hawaii by plane, mumping wounded Americans so her furniture could accompany her.  The truth was, Dorothy Kimmel has not been at Pearl Harbor.  The entire story was fabricated.

For more than two hours, Kimmel wove an intricate scenario of disappearing records, reluctant witnesses, deceit and chicanery.

His voice became a shout as he said, “That’s why I’m still living.  I’m going to be vindicated!  Some people are working on it right now.”

Kimmel died five months later, without the vindication he so wanted.  (End of Part I.)


19 responses

  1. Great presentation, Mike. Will we ever know the full truth about Pearl Harbor? Just as the Truth about Amelia and Fred continues to be covered up, I believe the truth about Pearl Harbor will also continue to be lied about by our so-called leaders. As a young Navy cryptologist in the 1960s, just a little more than 20 years after WWII, I saw first-hand America’s cryptography at work up close. I will never believe FDR and his Intelligence Forces had no advance warning, just as I will never believe these government charlatans have told all they know about the Truth about AE and FN. Keep up the great work, Mike. I look forward to Part Two.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eddie Williams | Reply

    GOOD history lesson Mr Mike.

    Bren and I on fishing trip near ST Augustine

    On Sun, Apr 10, 2022, 12:03 AM Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last wrote:

    > earharttruth posted: “Readers of this blog know that since its inception > in 2012, concurrent with the publication of the first edition of Amelia > Earhart: The Truth at Last, I have focused exclusively on the Earhart > disappearance, and virtually all of the 285 posts here deal wi” >


  3. Mike- fascinating-thanks! Researcher Doug Horne (more well known for his work on the AARB investigation into the JFK Assassination) recently wrote a book about Pearl harbor which claims Roosevelt did have foreknowledge of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but surprisingly does not lay any blame at this feet, saying that Roosevelt knew sooner or later the US would be drawn into the war, whether we wanted it or not, and needed American support. I believe (cannot recall for sure) he also verifies the accusation that Churchill knew of the planned attack as well, but needed American military aid to survive.


  4. I am anything but an expert on Pearl Harbor, but there’s no denying FDR sent our aircraft carriers to safety but left the obsolete 1918 ships in the harbor. A coincidence? I was just reading this week that FDR said there are no coincidences in poltics, if it happened, it was planned. Makes me think of the people who were coincidentally absent from their offices on 9/11, or the just lucky short selling of airline stocks just before. An intensive investigation proved that the short sellers could not have had any advance knowledge of the events, so it was clearly just a coincidence. That makes me feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s no doubt that Adm. Kimmel and Gen. Short were scapegoated. The really spectacular failure of military leadership was the next day in the Philippines when Gen. MacArthur, with all the warning of impending attack of which Kimmel and Short had been intentionally deprived and in direct contravention of the prior battle plan, left his B-17 bombers on the ground to be destroyed by the Japanese. See John Costello’s DAYS OF INFAMY.https://www.amazon.com/Days-Infamy-Macarthur-Roosevelt-Churchill/dp/0671769855/ref=sr_1_1?crid=D3KQZ36RL4IO&keywords=John+Costello+Days+of+Infamy&qid=1649602780&s=books&sprefix=john+costello+days+of+infamy%2Cstripbooks%2C43&sr=1-1

    The comments on Amazon are very revealing. Here’s an excerpt: “The author is correct in stating Admiral Kimmel and General Short were railroaded to cover up for the intelligence politics being ‘waged’ from Washington, and the disaster in the Philippines, which should have resulted in MacArthur’s relief and court martial. But when other commanders were doing the fighting, only MacArthur’s self-serving press releases were sent out. This policy lasted throughout the war in the Pacific and even into Korea.”

    On the other hand, I think Costello’s book is actually a little worse than useless on the subject of the Pearl Harbor debacle. The writer, after all, is a former BBC television producer, and I think that when it comes to the question of British complicity in the Pearl Harbor outrage, his work should be listed in the “cover-up book” category. Call it the “Rashomon effect.” He tells the truth when it’s not his own ox being gored.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great article Mike. There is a good book by George Vidor entitled, Pearl Harbor Myth. He supports FDR’s decision to want to get in the war, but cites the post WW 2 Army and Navy board inquiries and presents a sound case that if FDR didn’t have advanced knowledge, it was kept from him.

    The claim of ignorance that the US Navy didn’t consider PH a target is contradicted by the numerous war games held from 1930 forward with Orange (Japan) as the antagonist. The Lurline radio officer also picked up Japanese transmissions from the Vacant Sea about meeting the tankers for refilling en route to PH on 12/5/1941. For whatever reason, the US Government still has many many files off-limits under the concept of national security. They need to tell us the truth about PH and Earhart.


  7. Hi Mike,

    This is one issue that I have settled in my mind as the truth being suppressed. I think I have discussed this issue in the past. When it comes up I do get concerned with people ignoring a true patriot.
    I do believe very few people have heard the name of Ralph Briggs. I have put in my Dropbox the oral interview of him by the Navy Cryptologic Veterans Association. Read his story for what happened to the intercept of the Jap message.

    The message is not destroyed, missing or misplaced. I have seen it. It is in a highly classified location that I was fortunate to see. It will not be released.
    The political machinations to divert blame from FDR and his staff worked. He was able to blame the naval intelligence for ‘not being aware of the attack’.
    I will gladly offer anyone to see the document in Dropbox. Be patient with my response, since I have a few aliments.

    Best to All, Tony

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I can see from this post that Goerner was one of the early folks that broke through the fantasy ideas that many Americans had about WWII history. I remember having some heated discussions with a coworker in the 90s about that book that came out at the time revealing how the Japanese naval codes had been broken by 1941.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Adm Kimmel and LTG Short were indeed vilified and scapegoated for the disaster at Pearl Harbor, yet Gen Douglas MacArthur — who presided over the debacle in the Philippines, ventured forth from his command post on Corregidor Island to visit the troops at the fighting front on the Bataan peninsula exactly once, and bugged out on a submarine leaving Gen Jonathan M. Wainwright holding the bag to deal with Gen Homma — received the Medal of Honor! The citation for MacArthur’s MoH was written by Army Chief of Staff, Gen George Catlett Marshall. MacArthur was never once called to account for the disaster in the Philippines that included gross mismanagement of the Bataan defense, failure to strike the Japanese on Formosa, and allowing his air force to be destroyed on the ground 9 hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. Wainwright who spent the entire war as a POW and was treated abominably by the Japanese was nominated for a MoH afterward — and MacArthur objected! President Harry Truman overrode MacArthur’s objection and Wainwright received the MoH.

    All best,



  10. Tony Gochar has sent me a PDF of the Ralph Briggs interview he referenced in his last message to us, and I have copied the first several paragraphs of it below. There’s much more and far too complex for a mere blog message here. If you want to see the entire Briggs piece, please email me at my regular email and place “Ralph Briggs” in the subject line. I will then send you the PDF.

    Mike Campbell

    Years served: (*1924-Retirement) Area(s) served: Atlantic, (?)

    This oral history interview of Ralph T. Briggs was conducted by Ray Schmidt (RS) at the Naval Security Group Command Headquarters, 3801 Nebraska Ave., Washington, D.C. on January 13, 1977. Mr. Briggs was a Radio lntercept Operator during 1940 and 1941 and was present during the interception of the “Winds” execute message.

    RB: I’d like to insert into the record the following comments for their historical value which t feel they reveal. I was one of the class members of ONI Class 20 known as On-the-Roof Gang, which consisted of Captain Duane Whitock, Commander Tonv Ethier, Lieutenant Commander Pearly Phillips, Lieutenant Commander Charles Walters, Lieutenant Commander Glen Evans, Lieutenant Commander Tonv Okins and Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Johnson.

    Much has been written about the events that preceded the Pearl Harbor attack with respect to our intercept operations. . . . Indeed, some actions and cover-ups seem to have been perpetrated when the Pearl Harbor Hearings and Inquiry zeroed in on some specific unanswered questions. l think the Winds Code and its execute it a case in point.

    After considerable recollection or, in the years since December 7th, 1941, I finally reached the conclusion that I am the sole individual who initially intercepted and handled the Winds code execute message tip-off. At that time, I had returned from the field and was assigned to Station M (Cheltenham, MD) as one of Darryl Wigle’s Watch Supervisors, in fact I was his Chief Watch Supervisor and a Katakana Instructor. . . Prior to mv arrival at Station M, they had onlv been covering European and Latin American targets and special dav to dav intercept assignments. In some random frequency searches I made I soon discovered we could intercept fully during optional frequency skip periods certain Orange Navy circuits, so I suggested to Darryl we get 20-Gs (OP 20-G) concurrence to monitor some of these more lucrative targets.

    On watch on the evening of the mid, on 4 December, Washington day time I picked up on schedule the Orange weather bands broadcast circuit. At this point in time I don’t recall the exact frequency. I believe it was in the 5 digit megacycle band area, 13-15000, somewhere in there. Skip distance was in effect at the time and it precluded being intercepted anywhere in the Far East or Hawaii for that matter. This by the way has been borne out by 20-Gs collating desk some months later. Although we had been anticipating the tip-off code phrase for impending diplomatic break with Great Britain, that is the code phrase Ni-shi-no-ka-shi-ha-ri, West Wind cleared, I soon discovered I had copied E-ga-shi-no-ka-shi-am-e,which meant in Japanese East Wind rain and also meant break berween the United States and Japan. A quick check of my classified Watch Supervisor’s instruction notes we had onboard at that time and changed daily with current events and things we should know about from 20-Gs end left no doubt in mv mind that this probably was one of the three anticipated wat warning code destruct messages to Ministries and Consulates as referenced later during the Hewlett Inquiry.

    Now in those days a select group of us who were considered part of the original parcel of the 100 Orange intercept operators were privy to certain day to day significant developments in the communications intelligence and crypto analysis field. Thus a few of us were informed in advance of the significance and meaning of this tip-off information as contained in the J-19 code sent out previously by the Japanese Foreign Office about mid-November 1941. This had been translated about the later part of November 1941 and these instructs were not transmitted within the Purple Code as many alluded to but through the other Diplomatic and Weather Broadcasts transmitted in both Japanese plain language and Morse Code. The Purple Code, on the other hand, was issued only to certain key Japanese Embassies and Consulates throughout the world. Consequently, in order to get their war warning, that is destruct classified files and so forth message to all concerned, they resorted to employing this lower level code for expeditious dissemination. There still exists some confusion regarding the various alleged weather intercepts prior to, during the attack, and following my interception of the key message on 4 December 1941. The FCC testified for instance before the Roberts Commission to the effect that they had received some three Japanese language weather forecasts on 4 December, one on 5 December and the last one on 8 December from three different stations. Two of these messages seemingly contained key words of the Winds code and the second message on 5 December concerned quoted the phrase “E-ca-na-ka-sa-co-mo-ro” repeated three times which signified Japanese/USSR relations and their last message they claim on 8 December read “ni-shi-no-ka-shi-ha-re” West Wind clear, signifying a break with the British. That was repeated twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. William H. Trail | Reply

    Greetings to All:

    Many thanks to our good friend Tony Gochar for generously providing all of us with Ralph Briggs’ 13 January 1977 interview with the U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association in which he discusses the intercept of the East Wind Rain “winds execute” message.

    I have now just finished reading Briggs’ account. If you haven’t requested the Ralph Briggs PDF from Mike via email, I highly urge you to do so. It’s a bombshell. It is tantamount to a smoking gun. In a nutshell, the Navy intercepted the East Wind Rain execute message. They expected it. They knew exactly what it meant. They recognized it’s huge significance. It was properly forwarded with dispatch to the proper people in Washington, D.C. on the date of intercept, 4 December 1941 — THREE days before the attacks on Hawaii and the Philippines. And, we can only conclude that for what ever reason the winds execute message and it’s unmistakable meaning was deliberately, and criminally ignored. The fact there was an attempt to influence witnesses at the inquiry, and that the original message and copies turned up missing from the records holdings at Crane, IN is a clear indication of conspiracy and criminal wrong doing. I dare say, even Inspector Jacques Clouseau couldn’t help but notice that.

    One note about Briggs’ recollection, it wasn’t “Colonel Breighton” who was Chief of Army Intelligence Far East Division. It was Colonel Rufus S. Bratton. Still, not a bad memory for a name from 36 years past.

    All best,



  12. David Atchason | Reply

    I haven’t read Briggs account and I may not. I got my thinking by reading, about 10 years ago, “Day of Deceit” by Robert B. Stinnett. For some reason that book is never mentioned on this blog. I don’t remember if that was the book that describes the 10 or 7 points of FDR’s plan to initiate war with Japan.

    I’m sure the Pearl Harbor attck was no surprise to FDR and his cadre of supporters, in fact I can imagine “high fives” all around. I could go on about my suspicions, from reading the German side of the story, that Nazi Germany was also conducted into a war that Hitler did not want. The role of the banker s and industrialists that financed Hitler’s rise to power should be well known to discerning followers of this blog. I don’t think FDR purposely trapped Japan into a war via Pearl Harbor so that he could then declare war on Nazi Germany with the blessing and support of the dismayed and apparently anti-war American public.

    That is Stinnett’s plausible excuse for FDR so that Stinnett can conclude “It was alll for the best” lest FDR be regarded as a war criminal. I believe, in the larger picture, FDR wanted war with Japan on its own as well as with Germany.

    In the midst of all this, you can see where I get my viewpoint that whatever Amelia was up to, and whether she was in on it or not, her flight was involved in some fashion in FDR’s long range plan to facilitate the war with Japan.

    I don’t think I was clear in my last post when I compare the 9/11 attacks to Pearl Harbor, but many times I have read that 9/11 was regarded by the promoters as a “New Pearl Harbor’ knowing that the concept that both attacks were so appalling that nobody would ever regard them as the handiwork of our own side. This technique works well.


    1. Stinnett completely missed out on Briggs’ account; there’s nothing in his book about it, and because of that Day of Deceit is not the comprehensive Pearl Harbor book that so many mistakenly give him credit for.



    2. William H. Trail | Reply


      I believe you’re referring to the 7 October 1940 McCollum Memorandum written by Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum, USN in which he lays out eight points for initiating a war with Japan.

      All best,



      1. David Atchason


        It seems like as many as 10 years ago I read the Stennett book, perhaps around the time TAL came out. Just now I read the Briggs report. Probably none of what Briggs reported was in that book. It did, however, confirm my belief that what Stennett wrote was mostly accurate. There were some, in my youth, who expressed the views contained in the Stennett book. So it’s not exactly a revelation. Still, this coming December we will view on our screens once again the conventional narrative, which gets more irritating to me each year.

        Probably the youth of today will never hear or see anything different. We wouldn’t want any potential volunteers for the armed forces to learn of these opposing viewpoints. I’m quite sure my kids haven’t the slightest interest in these debates. Maybe when their hair turns gray it might dawn on them that we live in a world of governmemt propaganda and they might become disturbed at the falsehoods inflicted on them all their lives.

        I have noticed that even though we thoughtful people on this blog might know what’s really going on in the world, it hardly has any effect. I don’t even bother bringing up these controversial subjects with my friends who would merely think I am something of a crackpot.



      2. The Pearl Harbor narrative we get every year from our esteemed government-media complex is just another example of my belief that the more important the story, the bigger the lies we get and will continue to get from our government.

        “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” – William J. Casey, CIA Director (1981)


        Liked by 1 person

      3. David Atchason

        That’s not what I was referring to. I think the 7 or 10 points were covered in “Day of Deceit.” Just out of curiosity, this week I’m going to hit all 3 of my local libraries to see if they have a copy. The private funded library in my adjoining town absolutely refused to stock TAL even when I bought a copy and donated it. I will report on my findings as to DOD. I might even reread it if I can get my hands on it.


      4. You can get a used copy for $2.05 and up on Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. The attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan was not a complete surprise……except to the U.S. Navy. There were numerous warnings for decades predicting a war between the U.S. and Japan and the vulnerability of air attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hawaii prior to the actual attack.

    While FDR was a student at Harvard University in 1902, a Japanese student told him about Japan’s 100 year plan to take over Asia and the Pacific. (FDR later served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920 and continued to follow Navy activities throughout his political career.)

    Army General Billy Mitchell visited Japan in 1910 and warned about developing friction between U.S. and Japan would lead to war. General Mitchell, a longtime advocate of air power, also warned in 1924 that Pearl Harbor was vulnerable to air attack and outlined how an attack would be carried out. He even speculated that the attacker would be Japan and air attacks launched from aircraft carriers. Of course the Navy ignored his warnings did nothing to improve defenses against air attacks, believing airplanes were not useful as tactical weapons and incapable of sinking battleships.


    During the 1920s and 1930s U.S. Navy conducted numerous large-scale naval exercises.

    One such naval exercise conducted on February 7, 1932, included a mock attack on Pearl Harbor. Rear Admiral Harry Yarnell was in command of the attack, launched a force of 152 airplanes from the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Lexington. The planes made low-level attacks on the airfields and Battleship Row. The attack was a total surprise and caught the Navy completely off guard who were expecting attacks from naval warships.

    The Army and Navy Brass deemed Admiral Yarnell’s tactics as “unfair” and had “cheated” by using air attacks. Furthermore, his attack on a early morning Sunday was deemed as “inappropriate”. Also, attacks by Japanese pilots was also dismissed as it was common knowledge at the time that Asians “lacked sufficient hand-eye coordination to engage in that kind of precision bombing.”

    The War Department downplayed Admiral Yarnell’s successful air attack tactics, ignored the vulnerability of Pearl Harbor and tried to cover it up, but not before the exercise was reported by the local press and observed by Japanese officers at the Japanese Consulate at Oahu.

    During a winter 1938 naval wargames at Pearl Harbor, then Vice Admiral Ernest King used the same tactics Admiral Yarnell had used six years earlier and achieved the same results. Again, tactics were dismissed as “unfair”.



    The actual attack on Pearl Harbor carried out by Japanese aircraft launched from aircraft carriers was a “surprise” only to the U.S. Navy top command. Rather than admitting their errors in judgement and accepting responsibility for their shortsightedness, the U.S. Navy in typical fashion, covered up and used Admiral Kimmel and General Short as scapegoat.

    Liked by 1 person

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