Japanese attack on American naval base on Hawaii conducted by carrier based aircrafts. Japan was preparing for this attack for a long time. In 1936 they invaded the Chinese district of Manchuria in order to gain access to the natural resources that were desperately needed on the main Japanese islands and despite invading large part of China it was inevitable that one day they will have to face the United States and their Pacific Fleet if they would try to invade Indonesia and their oil fields.
Since 1939 they were taking diplomatic steps to gain more land and resources, but the countries like USA, United Kingdom and Holland were reluctant to let Japan go any further. The Japanese fleet have prepared the plan to knock out the American Pacific Fleet in one big strike, deploy their forces as fast as possible on the important areas of Philippines and Indonesia and later negotiate with United States the pact which would allow them to keep the land that they have invaded.
The most important part of the plan was surprise attack on the main harbour of Pacific Fleet - the Pearl Harbor base on Hawaii. They kept their plan secret until the last moment and task force consisting 6 Japanese aircraft carriers closed to the Oahu and deployed fleet of about 400 planes (fighters, bombers and torpedo planes) to attack the airfields, fuel depots and the naval base itself.
The attack was complete surprise for Americans even though the intelligence was suspecting a sudden strike from Japan. The result was devastating for US Navy: 4 battleships sunk, 3 battleships damaged and almost 200 planes destroyed. Luckily both American airplane carriers were absent in the harbour, so they survived the attack and could start the fight against Japan straight away.
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