World War II Chronicle: 6 December 1941

Now within 600 nautical miles north of Hawaii, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s carrier strike force begins their high-speed run towards the target. They spot a second Norwegian freighter (having destroyed another Norwegian ship’s radio the day before), but the Japanese sink this vessel. Meanwhile, their submarine fleet, which already surrounds Hawaii, begins closing in.

Across the Pacific, 27 troop transports depart Taiwan for the invasion of the Philippines as Japanese pilots receive their briefings on the next day’s assault plans.

Around 500 miles west of Oahu, one of the enemy subs spots the carrier USS Lexington, transporting Marine Corps dive bombers to Midway Island.

Delayed by heavy weather that prevented refueling of Task Force 8’s destroyers, Vice Adm. William “Bull” Halsey’s fleet (which includes USS Enterprise) now won’t be able to reach Pearl Harbor until the 7th. Halsey’s older, slower battleships USS Nevada and USS Oklahoma stayed behind for this run and arrived at Pearl Harbor on this date. Meanwhile, the repair ship USS Vestal pulls alongside USS Arizona for a week of routine maintenance.

Vice Adm. William S. Pye, who authored the plan for a potential war against the Japanese (Plan Orange) and commander of the Pacific Fleet’s Battle Force, concludes that war with Japan is inevitable at this point, but advises Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet Adm. Husband E. Kimmel that Pearl Harbor is not a likely target and the eight battleships now moored side-by-side at Ford Island’s “Battleship Row” should not be sent out to sea as a precaution.

Note: 7 December fell on a Sunday in 1941, so since the paper didn’t have a Sunday edition, the 8 December installment will run tomorrow morning for the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks and the normal publishing schedule will resume the following day.

Image courtesy of the Southeast Missourian

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Author: Chris Carter

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