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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor

Glenn Reynolds linked to this page that has information and pictures of the attack on the American Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. The battleship Arizona was the most heavily damaged ship (the photo is from QuickSEEK).A magazine explosion forward was triggered by an open black powder magazine that was used to power the catapult. The fatal bomb hit ignited the black powder, which had been left exposed with the door open. The black powder explosion ignited the main armament magazines forward. The resulting explosion destroyed a deck and its supports forward, which caused the forecastle to collapse. That left the ship so heavily damaged as to not be repairable. The Oklahoma, which capsized from torpedo hits, was much less heavily damaged, despite capsizing. The problem with the Oklahoma, which made the ship not worth repairing was that the Oklahoma was the only ship of its generation which had reciprocating engines. The Oklahoma must have also been underpowered, so that the ship could only maintain 18 knots and limited the battleline speed to 18 knots. Sufficient resources could have been expended to give the ship a new power plant, but given the Oklahoma's age and size, that was enough to cause the ship not to be repaired and modernized. She was eventually raised to clear the harbour and sank while under tow to the West Coast.

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