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Tora! Tora! Tora! (トラトラ虎)

7 December 2012

Tora! Tora! Tora! (トラトラ虎)

This is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which occurred on 7 December 1941. The attack was part of Japan’s strategy to become the preeminent colonial power in Asia and proved the supremacy of the aircraft carrier over the battleship (though some battleship supremacists influenced both the Imperial Japanese Navy as well as the U.S. Navy during WW II). Slightly over a year before, the Royal Navy launched the first all airborne ship-to-ship attack in naval history, in the Battle of Taranto, with the HMS Illustrious in mid November 1940 — but it was the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) which first forged the massive over the horizon attack strong enough to overwhelm a target with repeated strikes by using six aircraft carriers. The U.S. Navy learned well from Japan and evolved the carrier strike group into the carrier task force which could mount operations against a target virtually around the clock for days at a time — a huge logistical victory which few, if any, other countries could do.

The film Tora! Tora! Tora! (トラ・トラ・トラ), a film released in 1970, is a Hollywood epic film which used all the technology of the time including large ship models (as long as a room in a house) and describes the attack with riveting accuracy. Many scenes from the movie are living embodiments of famous photographs taken during the combat. Where no sufficient images existed models were ordered.

The Armed Forces Military Museum has a room dedicated to this raid — the Pearl Harbor and the South Pacific (WW II) room — where no less than four ship models used in the film Tora! Tora! Tora! are exhibited with one implied. These five exhibits are seen in the images below :)

— photo by Joseph May

Accurate replica from ship plans of the bridge of the IJN Akagi 赤城 heavy carrier in the Attack on Pearl Harbor and  South Pacific exhibit room of the Armed Forces Military Museum — photo by Joseph May

Bows-on view of models used in the film Tora! Tora! Tora! (IJN Ushio 潮 destroyer, IJN Tone 利根 重巡洋艦 heavy cruiser and IJN Hatsushimo 初霜 destroyer) — photo by Joseph May

Stern aspect view of the models of the IJN Hatsushimo 初霜 destroyer, IJN Tone 利根 重巡洋艦 heavy cruiser and IJN Ushio 潮 destroyer — photo by Joseph May

Stern aspect view of the models of the IJN Hatsushimo 初霜 destroyer, IJN Tone 利根 重巡洋艦 heavy cruiser and IJN Ushio 潮 destroyer with the IJN Akagi 赤城 heavy carrier in the background — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Opposite the bridge of the Akagi’s bridge replica is the model of the IJN Abukuma 阿武隈 軽巡洋艦 light cruiser — photo by Joseph May

— photo by Joseph May

Looking over the stern of the destroyer model IJN Ushio 潮 we see the aerial scouting mission emphasis wonderfully shown by the model IJN Tone 利根 重巡洋艦 with the after half of the ship dedicated to her compliment of six scouting floatplanes of the Aichi E13A  type (known to the Allies as “Jake” and to the IJN as the Navy Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane 零式水上偵察機) — photo by Joseph May

 

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