The primary objective of the attack was to cripple the United States Pacific Fleet. By 1941, the United States had achieved parity almost equal to that of the Japanese fleet. The targets on that Sunday were the seven battleships moored at Battleship Row: The USS California, USS Maryland, USS Oklahoma, USS Tennessee, USS West Virginia, USS Arizona and USS Nevada. The three aircraft carriers, Enterprise, Lexington, and Saratoga were not at Pearl Harbor during the attack.
The USS Arizona, suffered the most fatal damage when a Japanese bomb hit the vicinity of her forward magazines between turrets #1 and #2. The magazine detonated with a “massive blast." The battleship sunk almost immediately and the attack claimed 1,117 members of her crew.
|USS Arizona's forward magazine exploding on Decemver 7, 1941|
Artifact image courtesy of the Naval War College Museum
Arizona image courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command (U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives Collection)