Home » In March 1942, Japanese Kawanishi H8K flying boats conducted another raid on Pearl Harbor

In March 1942, Japanese Kawanishi H8K flying boats conducted another raid on Pearl Harbor

by Till Daisd
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The Japanese launched a fairly daring plan in March 1942 to send a flight of two Kawanishi H8K long-range flying boats to inspect the damage they had caused to Pearl Harbor and to drop bombs on the 10/10 repair dock

During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service employed the Kawanishi H8K flying boat for maritime patrol duties. The Allied reporting name for the type was “Emily”.

Designed for long-range and extended endurance on patrols or bombing missions, the Kawanishi H8K was a large, four-engine aircraft that was usually flown alone over the ocean. The prototype first flew in January 1941, and H8K1s made their first combat sortie in March 1942. The robust H8K2 “Emily” flying boat was also fitted with powerful defensive armament, which Allied pilots had substantial respect for wherever this aircraft was encountered in the Pacific theater. The H8K was called “the most outstanding water-based combat aircraft of the Second World War” by aviation historian René Francillon.

On the night of March 4, 1942, there was another raid on Pearl Harbor using the H8K.

Andrew Taylor, an aviation expert, explains on Quora;

‘In March 1942, they [the Japanese] staged a somewhat audacious plan of sending a flight of 2 Kawanishi H8K long-range flying boats to reconnoiter the damage they had done to Pearl Harbor and drop bombs on the 10/10 repair dock.

‘The planes launched from the Marshall Islands met a Japanese submarine for refueling in the French Frigate Shoals and proceeded to fly to Hawaii. The raid was largely a failure, as they were unable to locate Oahu due to the nighttime blackout conditions. The raid was planned for a Moonlit Night, but they misread the US Navy’s coded weather reports and instead picked a cloudy evening. One plane is believed to have dropped its bombs in error over the ocean before heading back out to sea. The other crashed into Hawaii’s Tantalus Peak volcano, just north of Honolulu, in the darkness. Thus alerting the Americans to what was going on.

‘From the Japanese standpoint, the raid was a failure. But they planned to do it again in June. For the Americans, it was an intelligence windfall. It allowed the Americans to work out how the H8Ks got to Hawaii. The June flight was to be Yamamoto’s reconnaissance flight to determine if the American Carriers were in port at Pearl Harbor right before the Midway attacks. The pilots had to abort the mission when their refueling submarine discovered French Frigate Shoals occupied by an American Destroyer and Minesweeper. This prevented Yamamoto from knowing that the American Carriers were already at sea, laying a trap for him at Midway.’

Photo by War Thunder Forum

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