03 December 2012

Pearl Harbor & God's Protection

Chaplain Alan Farley shared this with me this morning:

God’s Hand of Protection on December 7, 1941

Proverbs 21:31, “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.”

The following is taken from a small book entitled, "Reflections on Pearl Harbor", by Admiral Chester Nimitz.

Sunday, December 7th, 1941--Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington D. C.  He was paged and told there was a phone call for him.  When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone.  He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet.  He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.  There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat--you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.  Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked.  As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"

Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked every-one within the sound of his voice.

Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attacking force could ever make, or God was taking care of America."

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attacking force ever made?"

Nimitz explained:
Mistake number one:
The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.  Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.  If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk--we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:
When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battle-ships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.

If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.  As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.   One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America.  And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three:
Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.   One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our entire fuel supply

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America! 

Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt chose the right man for the job.  We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is:



13thBama said...

One thing has baffled me about the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese Naval Air units had to alter their torpedoes so that they would run shallow and not hit the bottom of the harbor. The created a wooden device that attached to the torpedoes for that purpose.

During all this time of training to attack Pearl Harbor, did no one think that sinking the battleships in shallow water was a bad idea? How could they have missed that?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

13B - I know, perhaps, as little about PH as anyone. Good question though.

The History Book Guy said...

Great posting Richard!
About the wooden "fins" that the Japanese used for their torpedoes in the shallow harbor...
The British used similar devices on their torpedoes in 1940 at Taranto, Italy. It is likely that the Japanese studied this and copied it for Pearl.