Soldiers examine a wrecked Japanese Kawanishi H8K near Makin, Gilbert Islands in November 1943. Two similar planes were used in a bombing raid on Oahu, Hawaii, on March 4, 1942.
COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES
At Stars and Stripes, Wyatt Olson writes,
The Japanese surprise air attack of Dec. 7, 1941, on Hawaii was a staggering military triumph that decimated the Pacific Fleet’s battleships in Pearl Harbor and wiped out most of Oahu’s air defenses.Read more here.
Three months later, the Japanese Imperial Navy sought to repeat a surprise bombing raid on the island using its newest long-range aircraft, the “flying boat” Kawanishi H8K.
While the two H8Ks successfully flew the 4,800-mile roundtrip from the Marshall Islands to Hawaii, the March 4, 1942, bombing raid was a tactical flop.
But its greatest failure was strategic, tipping the Japanese navy’s hand to U.S. military leaders who leveraged the intelligence to achieve victory in the Battle of Midway three months later.