Of Fog and War: A Comparative Analysis of Two Japanese Bombing Attacks on the United States during WWII
Warfare, unfortunately, is an essential part of mankind. It has been witnessed since time immemorial. What is comforting to know, however, is that it does not always end with blood baths, or similar devastation. Sometimes warfare ends with two enemy forces forgiving one another. This happened years after the Lookout Air Raids, when the Japanese bomber who carried out a series of bombings over the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon, returned there years afterwards to apologize.
During the early stages of World War Two, the Japanese engaged in warfare with the United States numerous times. Two of these engagements had many similarities to each other in terms of failed outcomes to damage America. One of these attacks was called Operation K. This mission ended on a rather dark note, compared to a similar bombing mission, called the Lookout Air Raids, which became a war story with a happy ending. Both of these attacks were air raids by the Japanese on America. These events both took place during WWII and, furthermore, both these attacks ended in failed missions for the Japanese. And finally, both of these operations resulted in no American casualties.
Operation K was a second Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, just 4 months after they bombed it on Dec. 7th, 1941, which officially brought the United States into World War Two. The mission was an air raid attack on the U.S., which had dual purposes: Firstly, they wanted to assess the damage they inflicted during the Dec. 7 attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese also intended to bomb Pearl Harbor again, and figured the mission would be a good time to test their new flying boat, which was a Kawanishi H8k1, named “Emily” (Op. K n.pag.).
The plan for an attack was complicated: A small bevy of these flying boats flew into Wotje Atoll, within the Marshall Islands in preparation of what would end up being the longest bombing mission, in terms of distance, ever made. When it was time to begin the mission, only two flying boats were ready for takeoff. They wanted to send 5, but only two were fully armed and available. Each of these flying boats was loaded with two bombs, weighing 550 lbs. a piece! The long flight was possible because the Japanese had fuel sources inside submarines, which were waiting 560 miles away at the French Frigate Shoals NW of Hawaii. From there, they flew non-stop to Pearl Harbor, intending to bomb a key maritime asset for the U.S. Pacific fleet (Op. K n.pag.).
When the jets set off to Pearl Harbor, mishaps began to unravel. A Japanese submarine was strategically positioned 10 mi. south of Oahu in order to alert the bombers of weather conditions. The I-23 Submarine, however, disappeared. To this day its whereabouts remain a mystery. The general consensus is it was lost at sea. Despite its mysterious disappearance, the Japanese were still able to carry out...