Article Index

Pearl Harbour


On the morning of 7 December 1941, 183 aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbour on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. The intention was to cause as much damage as possible to the US Pacific Fleet , before it could respond to other Japanese operations in the Pacific. They bombed hangers and aircraft on the island's airfields, while at the same time launching torpedoes against US warships moored in the harbour. 

A second attack on the same morning by another 170 Japanese aircraft resulted in the loss or damage of 18 warships, 188 aircraft destroyed and 2,403 American servicemen and women killed.

Crucially all three of the Pacific Fleet's aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbour during the attack and so escaped damage. The were to prove vital in the coming Pacific Campaign.

Kerrison, A 2018, 'What happened at Pearl Harbour', Imperial War Museum, viewed 18 May 2018,

Library resources

On our shelves:


From Britannica eStax


  • McIntyre, C 1990, 'Pearl Harbor', in Battle at sea: World War II, Mallard Press, New York, pp. 56-64.

Web resources: