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Impregnable Pearl Harbor

May 31

Impregnable Pearl Harbor

Article from Collier's National Weekly

Either Milly or Lorne saved an article from Collier’s The National Weekly dated June 14, 1941. Titled “Impregnable Pearl Harbor”, author Walter Davenport sailed from the West Coast of the U.S. aboard a battleship and spent time on the Naval and Army bases on Oahu.

What is most striking about the article is the arrogance or innocence you could say of the Americans and their naivete of the Japanese intentions, capabilities and what was to come in less than 6 months.

“You’ve got to be pretty pessimistic to visualize any invader establishing himself on the island of Oahu, the fortress of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Singly and in concert they’d come to swift grief where the Koolaus and the Waianaes rise starkly from the ocean. And they’d have to sink our fleet and smash our last plane to land on the southern shores.

From Diamond Head, an extinct volcano, along the beach of Waikiki, and on to Barber Point, lay hidden forts of Kamehameha, Shafter, De Russy and so on, blazing everything from five-inch antiaircraft guns to nine-, twelve- and sixteen-inch rifles. They’re hidden in sugar cane plantations, in the pineapple groves, among the hybrid vegetation of the backcountry.

The Army’s Hawaiian division, about 40,000 men-Regulars, Californian National Guardsmen, Hawaiian draftees- can be at their posts within thirty minutes, if they aren’t there already. The Pacific fleet of battleships, destroyers, cruisers, submarines and carriers are always within a few minutes of clearing for action.

The Navy isn’t worrying. Day and night, Navy and Army planes are droning down the warm skies in circles two hundred, five hundred, a thousand miles wide. They’re dropping bombs from altitudes of twenty and thirty thousand feet and smashing tiny targets towed by swift destroyers.

The defense of Hawaii may not be impregnable. Ships can be sunk. Planes can be downed. Forts- even Diamond Head – may be razed. And serried ranks of big guns can be silenced. But neither the Army nor the Navy believes there is any power or combination of powers existing today that can prove it in the islands. “

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