Jacksonville’s Pacific War - Part 1

August 26, 2013 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville's Robert Mann explains how Jacksonville and Northeast Florida helped win a war in the Pacific: a salute to our veterans and our home front population and industry.


As a result of the imbalance in the media or historical record, one could easily acquire the impression that Japan was an insignificant figure on the stage of world powers and incapable of doing any harm, much less attacking the United States by surprise. Despite military based television shows airing endless renditions of Hitler’s rise to power, the portrayed insignificance of Japan is pure fallacy.

Nakajima GBN, Long Range bomber with a 4,000 nautical mile range, US Navy code name: "Rita" (National Archives & Records Admin Photo)

December 7, 1941, this photo captured the excitement aboard the Japanese Carrier force as they launched American in WWII. The attack on the Hawaiian islands was the tip of the iceberg that same day American ships were torpedoed on the high seas. In a full court press Japan also attacked Malaya, Hong Kong, Guam and the US Territories of the Philippines, Wake Island and Midway Island, all but Midway would be lost. (National Archives & Records Admin Photo)


So on December 2, 1941, the message, “Climb Mount Niitaka“, arrived on Nagumo’s flagship.  The Admiral then opened a set of top secret documents which confirmed that Japan would be going to war with the United States, Britain, and Holland.  It also gave a date for the opening of hostilities…December 8th.

On Sunday, 7 December 1941 (Dec. 8 in Japan), the Japanese fleet consisted of six carriers with 423 aircraft. Their Navy was larger than ours.  On the 7th the flagship raised the famous ‘Z Flag,’ from their smashing victory over the Russians, as a good luck signal. Japanese planes swarmed toward Hawaii.

At 07:20, Air Fleet Commander Fuchida ordered airmen to take attack positions, and then, seeing that all was peaceful at Pearl Harbor, Fuchida fired a green flare, the signal to attack.

At 07:49, Fuchida instructed his radio operator to send the code words “Tiger, Tiger, Tiger,” back to the flagship of the Fleet. The message meant that complete surprise had been achieved.

The plan was not to stop with Pearl Harbor. According to conversations from Admiral Yamamoto, occupation of Hawaii and, ultimately, the west coast of the USA, was the bigger picture, but checked at the battle of Midway, and Japan was too slow to seize the opportunity. Germany was never able to build the long range Amerika-Bomber, an initiative of Germany’s Department of Aviation. Germany only had a single aircraft carrier and it was destroyed at the dock, likewise they never builit a surface fleet that could strike directly at the USA. Japan, on the other hand, had the world’s largest aircraft carrier fleet and the long-range bombers.

Next Page: Meanwhile, Back Home In Jacksonville

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