XXII. ACTION TAKEN BY ADMIRAL KIMMEL—EXTENT OF RECONNAISSANCE

 

A. IN GENERAL

 

Vice Admiral Smith, Chief of Staff' of the Pacific Fleet from February, 1941,             through 7 December 1941, testified that all Pacific Fleet task force commanders        were notified of the receipt of the so‑called war warning (p. 868).

 

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In this connection it should be noted that Vice Admiral Bellinger, who on 7 December 1941 was commanding officer of Task Force 9, comprising the patrol planes of the Pacific Fleet, testified that he was unaware of the war warning until after the attack on Pearl Harbor (p. 498).

Admiral Smith said that following the 27 November war warning the establishment of aircraft patrols from Oahu would have been an appropriate defensive deployment to carry out the initial tasks assigned by the Pacific Fleet war plans (p. 372). However, he did not remember any discussions with Admiral Kimmel or Captain McMorris regarding the failure to direct such measures (p. 373).

 

The direction contained in the war warning to "execute an appropriate defensive deployment preparatory to carry out the task assigned in WPL‑46" was a new phrase, Admiral Kimmel testified. He thought it referred to measures of the type already taken by him (page 305).

As a result of the "war warning," he said, he continued the security measures already in effect (page 299). On November 27th, he issued orders to bomb unidentified submarines found in the operating areas around Oahu. He informed the Chief of Naval Operations of this. Full security measures were invoked for ships at sea, which were ordered to bomb submarine contacts (page, 299‑300).

 

Admiral Bloch testified that no change was made in the condition of readiness, except that a Coast Guard patrol was started off Pearl Harbor and they began sweeping the Honolulu harbor channel and approaches (page 395).

Admiral Bloch said, "I knew that the Army had been alerted and I thought they were in a general alert. I believe that General Short told me they were alert and I thought it was a general alert. Either on the 7th or 8th of December, I asked General Short about it and he told me, No, it was only a partial alert, what they call alert No. 1. He might have told me they were alert No. 1 and I confused it with our Condition 1. Our highest form is 1 and their lowest form is 1. So far as the Navy is concerned, I know of nothing particular, except the Commander of the Inshore Patrol at Pearl Harbor had called in the Commanding Officers of Destroyer Division No. 80—they were the only four ships that I had for the inshore patrol and only one of those was equipped with listening gear—and had given them a pep talk. Admiral Kimmel had issued an order about the 27th of November to the effect that any submarines found running submerged in the defensive sea area should be depth charged, and at this pep talk these young men were told to be on their toes. It was my own thought that any action taken by Japan prior to a declaration of war, or after a declaration of war, would be in the form of concentrated submarine attack on the ships of the Fleet, in the operating areas, and they might make an effort to get in the Harbor. That was the reason for the pep talk. I know no other action was taken as a consequence of the warning of the 27th of November." (p. 16)

Admiral Bloch said, "So far as I know, I advised no condition of readiness. I might say that I felt that I could not independently advise a condition of readiness without the knowledge of the Commander‑in‑Chief; I believe the order has a parenthetical expression in it that says I shall advise, exclusive of the Commander‑in‑Chief, the state of readiness that shall be kept, which indicates that the Commander‑in‑Chief would already know; I felt any action that I might take should be consistent with the other things in the Fleet, the conditions of employment, that they had been in or were in and the future movements. This belief of mine was borne out subsequent to the 7th of December when I advised the condition of readiness, and I was informed by the acting Commander‑in‑Chief that he wanted a different condition of readiness." (p. 16)

After the War Warning, Admiral Bloch knew of no additional aerial reconnaissance. Admiral Bloch did take one other step, namely, he directed the District Coast Guard Officer, who was the Port Commander of Honolulu, to put an inshore patrol in effect from Honolulu with three Coast Guard cutters, the same as Admiral Bloch conducted from Pearl Harbor with Destroyer Division 80. (p. 17)

 

Admiral McMorris said that on receipt of the "war warning," CincPac had a discussion with his staff. A determination was made that its directions were largely in effect already (page 888). Instructions were given to the forces at sea to be particularly alert and to bomb submarine contacts believed hostile (page 888). The practice was started of, giving CincPac daily or every other day recommendations as to what was to be done if war broke out within twenty-

 

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four hours. Consideration was given to getting combatant ships out of Pearl Harbor if war broke out, he said, but not to getting them out as a defensive measure.

 

Concerning the direction to take defensive deployment, Admiral McMorris said that they understood that Washington wanted to avoid any overt acts and that they were not so uncertain about this as to ask the Department for a clarification.

Admiral McMorris outlined his understanding of the action taken as "preparatory deployment" at page 243.

Concerning the direction in the war warning to take "defensive deploy­ment," Admiral McMorris said that they concluded that they should keep their forces in close proximity to Hawaii where they could be kept fully fueled and ready to move toward the Marshalls, and this was in agreement with the directive. (p. 245)

 

Vice Admiral McMorris testified that as a result of the war warning on November 27th, there occurred considerable discussion between Admiral Kimmel and the key members of his staff, and the following determinations or conclusions, were reached:

(a) no material changes would be made within the Hawaiian area because the naval organization was already substantially on a war footing;

(b) it was essential that training continue until it became necessary to move, the principal elements of the Fleet into offensive operations, and therefore, that there should be a continuation, and no modification, of the training schedules;

(c) that limitations in supplies and facilities, particularly defensive aircraft, had precluded stationing requisite defensive forces at Wake or Midway and other island outposts until it became virtually mandatory, and, accordingly, the only two aircraft carriers, accompanied by cruisers and destroyers were dis­patched, one to Wake, the other to Midway, with fighter aircraft;

(d) that Midway and Wake, considering the personnel engaged in the prepara­tion of defense, were not able to accommodate an increase an personnel, though possibly a small number of men and some specialized equipment were dispatched to Wake. (Page 304‑305).

 

Admiral DeLany said that training conditions were maintained in the subor­dinate commands, and that no additional security measures were invoked upon receipt of the "war warning" (page 499).

 

Admiral DeLany said that he believed that everything possible was done, with the available forces, to secure early information of possible attack, within their concept that enemy activity within the area would be confined to submarine and sabotage. (p. 78‑9)

Concerning the instruction in the war warning to take "defensive deployment," Admiral DeLany said that as he recalled the island was alerted, the Commander‑in‑Chief put certain aspects of his security letter in effect with the forces afloat, and he pointed out, the actual deployment of the Fleet, in view of its organization into task forces for the accomplishment of offensive missions, existed.

Admiral DeLany also stated that the Commanding Officer of the aircraft had been given orders to accelerate the refitting of the planes which had come to them without self‑sealing tanks and other offensive war equipment. (p. 79)

Admiral DeLany recalls that about this time, submarines were sent out on patrol at Midway and at Wake. (p. 79)

 

Admiral Calhoun said that he did not know of any additional security measures, which Admiral Kimmel could have taken (page 943); he considered the existing ComFOURTEEN security orders adequate (page 944).

Admiral Smith said that because, as the Court inquired, an attack on Pearl Harbor was held only a remote possibility, that additional precautions against such a possibility were unnecessary and unjustified (page 560).

 

Admiral Smith said that the intended raid to the Westward called for by the Pacific Fleet Operating Plan on the outbreak of hostilities was very much in the minds of Admirals Kimmel and Halsey. The question of the security of the Fleet in Pearl Harbor was not seriously considered; the Fleet was ready to carry out its tasks at the outbreak of war; and the question of an attack before negotiations were completed was not, in Admiral Smith's opinion, seriously considered. (p. 58)

 

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Admiral Smith said that the lack of premonition as to a carrier raid was not due to preoccupation concerning offensive movements. (p. 63)

Admiral McCormick said that consideration had been given to using Fleet units to augment the Army and local defense forces, and that the Fleet would constitute the backbone of any defense of its own security; the necessity for training for offensive missions naturally makes it impossible to keep the forces wholly, employed in routine security measures. (pp. 69)

Admiral McCormick said that he did not think that it was true, to the state of imbalance, that the foremost thought in their minds was the offensive movements rather than the security angle, although they intended to make the maximum offensive use of the Fleet which its comparatively small size would permit.  (p. 70)

 

B. RESPONSIBILITY FOR LONG RANGE RECONNAISSANCE

 

Vice Admiral McMorris testified, with reference to the question of whether or not there had been any discussion by Admiral Kimmel concerning reconnaissance from Oahu during the period November 27 to December 7, 1941, that it was not a practice to have formal conferences though there were numerous conferences and discussions, and that undoubtedly such question of reconnaissance was a matter that was discussed during that period, (p, 307); that "definitely" was subject matter discussed during that period between himself and others and Admiral Kimmel. (p. 308).

Vice Admiral McMorris stated that he was not able to state what Admiral Kimmel had to say concerning the discussion of reconnaissance from Oahu, "but", he continued to testify, "the conclusions that he (Admiral Kimmel) reached did not result  in any distant search being maintained, but rather that the search at the time was against submarines in localized areas." (p. 308).

 

Admiral Kimmel stated that under the provisions of Exhibit 52, Task Force Nine (Commander Patrol Wing TWO) was to provide a long range scouting force, conduct patrols into areas, and at times, ordered by CincPac to improve the secur­ity of the Fleet units and bases, and was to issue orders for and supervise the con­duct of prescribed patrols. There were insufficient planes for complete recon­naissance. The schedules of employment of the planes were submitted to and approved by Admiral Kimmel, pursuant to Exhibit 52 Although Admiral Bloch had nothing suitable for reconnaissance, he could, Admiral Kimmel said, have asked for such planes.

Admiral Kimmel stated that the Navy patrol planes were under his direct operation (page 1125), and he assumed the direct responsibility of employing them but that Admiral Bloch was charged with the execution of that part of the plan which required these search, and he always had the right to request those planes for that purpose and did so on several occasions. However, Admiral Kimmel gave the orders to the planes (page 1125). He said that he was directly responsible for whether a distant reconnaissance with planes should be taken and that no subordinate had recommended such reconnaissance (page 374).

Admiral Kimmel said that he did not know that daily patrols were permanently flown prior to his command, as indicated by a question, over a certain arc from Honolulu. He did know that certain searches had been conducted but thought them ineffective (page 373). He had considered using part of the planes to search a probable area of enemy advance. Such search had been done previously for a few days on Admiral Bloch's suggestion, but had been discontinued after finding nothing (page 373).

To the best of Admiral Kimmel's recollection, reconnaissance patrol in certain areas was not in effect when he took command. A patrol covering the operating area was in effect, and he continued that patrol (page 1125). In any event, he thoroughly considered the question of running patrols and had to make a decision between training and running patrols. He was told by the commander of the patrol planes and by the Army of their training difficulties. In addition, they did not have a sufficient number to maintain an adequate patrol over a long period of time, and a patrol out to 300 miles is almost useless as a guard against an air raid. That was and is his opinion, although any patrol run has some value as far as surface ships are concerned.

Admiral Kimmel was of the opinion that any air attack on Oahu would come at dawn and considered at some time the placing of all available planes in the air each morning, bunt did not think the time had arrived to take any measures such as that (page 1131). The "emergencies" were continuing all the time and he did not have the personnel and material (page 1132): If he had put the Navy PBY's

 

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in the air at all, he would have had them out on patrol (page 1132). Had he put all the planes in the air each morning at daylight, he said, it would have alarmed the civilian population (page 1134).

Admiral McMorris said that long range reconnaissance was considered at this time and earlier, but had to be considered along with the availability of patrol planes, the status of training of these planes, employments they might be called on to carry out, the offensive operation laid down in war plans, and the necessity of covering operating areas, and supplying personnel for new squadrons (page 890).

 

Vice Admiral McMorris testified that he had no specific recollection of any conference or conversation between him and Admiral Kimmel concerning recon­naissance from Oahu between the period of November °27 and December 7, 1941, but that such was "a matter" that was discussed between him and Admiral Kimmel and between the two of them with other members of the staffs and with other senior naval officers present in Pearl Harbor.

He stated that he no longer remembered the details but did recall the consideration that was in mind, in general, and the action determined upon. He stated that the situation as to equipment was that the number of patrol planes was small and certain of them were earmarked for Midway and Wake, and for reconnaissance of the Marshalls at an appropriate time.

He stated that the following matters were considered:

(a) that it was believed to be highly important to maintain anti‑submarine patrols in the operating areas;

(b) that it was contemplated, in case war should start, that most of the fleet shore‑based aircraft were to be moved to the Island outposts (Midway, Johnston, and Wake) but that some were to remain under the operational control of the Hawaiian Coastal Frontier Command since that command had no aircraft of its own;

(c) that, in order to have the patrol craft ready for prompt movement to Island outposts where the repair and upkeep facilities were negligible, it was considered highly important that there be no excessive use of such craft which would require. engine overhaul and interfere with readiness for flight on short notice;

(d) that, because the Navy patrol wings as a whole were being increased, and the operating forces were in no small measure engaged in giving essential advanced operational training, that it was determined that such training should, be continued as much as possible.

Considering these matters, that is, the requirements for antisubmarine patrols, readiness of patrol aircraft for distant service, and continuation of the training program, "it was determined that the arrangements that were actually in effect were the best that we could do. This in effect accepted a calculated risk. Subse­quent events proved that the calculations weren't good." (page 306‑306).

Admiral McMorris stated further in this connection that calculations made at this time showed that "only varied limited sectors could be continually patrolled with the forces then available." (page 306).

He further stated "it may be remarked in passing that with the effectiveness of search that could have been maintained, it is doubtful that the approach of the Japanese carriers on the morning of 7 December would have been detected as the arc of their approach would quite possibly have been unguarded."

With reference to the extent of the sectors which could have been covered in a reconnaissance from Oahu by the patrol planes available during the period November 27 to December 7, 1941, Vice Admiral McMorris testified that the testimony of Admiral Bellinger, before the Naval Court of Inquiry, that continuous daily patrols for an undetermined number of days would have been flown; during the period in question by dividing the combat crews into three groups and using twenty planes daily, which would have covered 144°, "wouldn't be far wrong." (page 309‑310).

However, he testified, that the only consideration given in that statement is to the question of running a search, "but the Commander‑in‑Chief had not only that consideration to weigh, but also the matter of keeping planes ready for distant service and for training of personnel for new aircraft being built." (page 310).

Vice Admiral McMorris stated that he could not state categorically the extent of the sector from Oahu which could have been covered by the patrol planes wring the period in question. He stated that various combinations of diagrams, some drawn within the War Plans Section, some by the aviation officer,  and some probably drawn by the Operations Division, were given consideration, though he was not able to testify as to the extent the diagrams were presented to Admiral Kimmel, neither was he able to state when and by whom any such diagrams were considered.

 

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He testified that if any long distant searches were instituted, they undoubtedly would have been a compromise among the different features involved, "just as a compromise was actually reached in limiting the searches to the fleet operating areas." (page 309).

 

Previously searches of rotating narrow sectors had been made daily (page 890). After due consideration, it was decided not to make long range air reconnaissance as it would be of limited effectiveness and training would suffer heavily and the material readiness of the planes would be reduced. He recalled no formal con­ference on this matter with Admiral Kimmel, but it was probably discussed. (pages 890‑1).

His war plans group and he were of the opinion that a raid on Hawaii was unlikely and wanted to have the patrol planes ready to go to Midway and Wake to cover offensive operations (page 890).

 

Vice Admiral McMorris testified that the patrol or aircraft reconnaissance being conducted from Midway and other outlying bases during the so‑called critical period from 27 November 1941 onwards, were very limited. He stated that the aircraft at all outlying bases excepting Midway were entirely defensive, while those at Midway were partially defensive and partially for patrol. He stated that the patrols from Midway were limited because of the limitations there in the amount of gas and upkeep facilities, which required conservation in order that the engines might not be worn out "before a critical period arose" (p. 327-328).

He also testified that if a maximum search had been instituted from Pearl Harbor and from Midway after the warning of November 27th, there would have been a highly critical situation with regard to aircraft engines by the 7th of December (p. 328).

 

Exhibit 19 (repeat of Army dispatch) directing that operations be conducted so as not to alarm the civilian population, had no bearing on the action taken by him regarding reconnaissance or other war preparations (page 891).

Admiral Bloch stated that his sole connection with long range reconnaissance was that as ComFOURTEEN, he made a joint agreement with the Commanding General which would be placed in execution on "M" day or by order of the War and Navy Departments, or upon mutual agreement of the two local commanders of the Army and Navy; that then it would be the responsibility of the Navy to provide reconnaissance planes, the delivery of which was indefinite. Commander Patrol Wing Two was Commander Naval Base Defense Air Force and under Admiral Bloch's control to the extent that Admiral Bloch exercised control over naval shore based aircraft, and through him Admiral Bloch arranged to coordinate joint air effort. Admiral Bellinger was ComPatWing Two, ComTaskForNine, ComAir Scouting Force and ComNavBase Defense Air Force. The Naval Base Defense Air Force was like a volunteer fire department. When you sounded the air raid, they came; otherwise they were doing something else (page 398). Under 2CL‑41, Admiral Bloch was not responsible for long distance reconnaissance (page 399). Admiral Bellinger was to do this, subject to orders from CincPac (page 400).

On November 27, CincPac decided to make no change in schedules; that in­cluded the long range reconnaissance (page 400).

Admiral Bloch stated that he could recall no request which he made for long distance reconnaissance other  than the request in June 1940, and in the summer of 1941. He felt that while he could recommend such reconnaissance, the Com­mander‑in‑Chief did not depend on him to make such a recommendation before he ordered reconnaissance (page 1140), Admiral Bloch was Naval Base Defense Officer and Admiral Bellinger was Commander Naval Base Defense Air Force (page 1141). Admiral Bloch had supervisory, control and both he and the Com­mander‑in‑Chief could give Admiral Bellinger orders (page 1142). The planes were under Admiral Bellinger as Naval Base Defense Air Officer only when they were activated, and they were only activated while Admiral Bloch was there for drill (page 1143). The arrangement was a makeshift one, arising out of the fact that Admiral Bloch had no patrol planes with which to make reconnaissance; so Admiral Kimmel had a makeshift arrangement to furnish patrol planes to the Base Defense Air Force for reconnaissance in case of an air attack in order to locate carriers, and to supplement the deficiencies in Army fighters (page 1144). Admiral Bloch probably could have gotten planes temporarily by a request to Admiral Kimmel, but could not order a protracted daily reconnaissance without Admiral Kimmel's authority because of Admiral Kimmel's decision of November 27th that he would not make any distant reconnaissance (pages 1144‑45).

 

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Admiral Bloch said that he had discussed with Admiral Kimmel the fact that he had no planes for distant reconnaissance and had asked Admiral Kimmel if he would supply the planes for such reconnaissance; Admiral Kimmel said that he could not commit himself to that duty except insofar as it might be possible on any occasion and that he, Admiral Kimmel, might have to go away from the locality and take his own forces with him, and that the District should really have its own forces. It was Admiral Bloch's very definite understanding that in the absence of any planes of his own, any missions of reconnaissance to be performed would have to be performed by the Fleet planes and that Admiral Kimmel reserved to himself or to his echelon of command, the handling of patrol planes for overseas work. Actually, he said, Admiral Bellinger was the officer who, as Commander of the Patrol Squadrons of the Fleet and as Commander of the Base Defense Air Force, did this. It was obvious that the Commandant of the District could not use patrol planes without the permission of the Fleet because the patrol planes were employed by the Fleet on other missions. It had to be done by the Fleet, there was no confusion of thought as to this, and it was well understood that Admiral Kimmel actually would be the officer, or somebody delegated by him would be the officer to designate what recon­naissance was to be made. (p. 9)

Admiral Bloch said that on the occasions when he had asked Admiral Kimmel for patrol planes that Admiral Kimmel said that he would do what he could but could not make any commitments because in the event of hostilities parts of the Fleet would have to leave Pearl Harbor. But Admiral Bloch recalled no statement by Admiral Kimmel to the effect that he could not take any particular security measures because of his commitments for offensive movements. (p. 23‑4)

 

Admiral Bellinger stated that CincPac made the final approval for naval aircraft operation. CincPac or ComFOURTEEN could vitalize Naval Base Defense Air Force. ComFOURTEEN worked under CincPac. Naval Base Defense Air Force was not composed of all aircraft, but of aircraft reported available (page 665). Admiral Bellinger said that he would have looked to ComFOURTEEN or CincPac to direct reconnaissance (page 683).

 

Admiral Bellinger said that in the absence of definite information as to the probability of an attack, it was the responsibility of Admiral Kimmel to order long‑range reconnaissance. (p. 125)

 

Captain Ramsey said that Admiral Bellinger was not a naval base defense officer insofar as planes were concerned, except in a drill or emergency, and he did not control fighting planes, radar, or anti‑aircraft guns (page 593).

Captain Ramsey said that during the period November 27th to December 7th, there were approximately 83 Army and Navy planes available for patrol. Twelve of these were B‑17's; the Army only reported six available to Navy Base Defense. The Navy patrol planes were either in Task Force Nine or associated with other task forces (page 599). All were operating on schedules approved by CincPac (page 600).

Admiral Bellinger, he said, had nothing to do with the daily employment schedules of planes and did not have authority to order them to discontinue training and institute long range reconnaissance on his own authority in absence of an immediate emergency (page 600).

Admiral Pye stated that it was not his job to advise as to patrols (page 439).

Colonel Phillips testified that distant reconnaissance was discussed but was not undertaken. The Navy, he said, was responsible for such reconnaissance (page 483).

 

C. READINESS OF AIRCRAFT AND DRILLS

 

Admiral Bloch said that in addition to the 250 fighters that the Army had of their own, the Navy usually had quite a large number of fighters ashore and available to the Army. Each morning at 8 o'clock, Admiral Bellinger would give the Army a list of the planes which were available to the Army and the Army was supposed to send to him at the same time a list of the Army bombers that were available to the Navy. (p. 10)

Admiral Bloch said that in the beginning they had an air raid and black­out drill once a week, and later on they could not have it that often. The Army did not always come in on the drills. There were some interferences because the time that Admiral Bloch would choose for the drill was not always agreeable to the other forces. It interfered with the work of the

 

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force commanders at sea and some of them complained. It was then decided, at about the time that 2CL was issued, to set the date two or three months ahead so that everyone would know that drills were going to happen on that date. (p. 10)

 

According to Admiral Bellinger, the condition of the planes as to readiness between November 27th and December 7th was the "normal" condition B‑5 (50% on four hours notice) which was the normal condition of readiness (page 669); the Army was in Condition E‑5 (in routine operation and could be made ready in four hours).

Captain Ramsey said that during the period prior to December 7, drills were held under the plans developed for the Naval Base Defense Air Force and defects were noted and corrected (page 593).

Colonel Phillips could not remember whether any reconnaissance drills were held by the Army and Navy from October 15th to December 7th (page 488).

Admiral Kimmel stated that air‑raid drills had been held weekly, and later bi‑weekly, for several months prior to December 7th (page 296).

 

D. EXTENT OF RECONNAISSANCE

 

Admiral Kimmel stated (page 299) that he ordered one patrol squadron to Wake, and that the patrol squadron at Midway be replaced by a squadron from Pearl Harbor, and that the squadrons were to conduct reconnaissance en route. Daily searches were made by the squadron at Midway on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th of December, and were to be made daily until further notice.

The ENTERPRISE was sent to Wake on November 28th, and landed planes at Wake on December 3rd. The ENTERPRISE conducted daily reconnaissance flights. The patrol squadron at Wake was withdrawn and conducted a recon­naissance sweep from Midway to Pearl Harbor.

 

Admiral Halsey said that there was a plan which came out daily prior to December 7 showing the reconnaissance for that day. He recalled that the Fleet operating areas were searched daily and he thought that prior to December 7 there regular searches in certain sectors believed to be most dangerous. (p.304)

 

The LEXINGTON was sent to Midway with a VMF squadron on December 5th and conducted reconnaissance en route. She was 400 miles southeast of Midway when war broke out.

Daily reconnaissance of operating areas was conducted with PBY planes based at Pearl Harbor. Two submarines were operating at Wake and two at Midway on patrol.

Admiral Delaney stated that all reconnaissance was conducted in connection with training flights (page 499).

 

Admiral Bellinger, said that from 1 to 4 December 1941 scouting flights were conducted daily, covering an approximate 90 degree sector, to a distance of 300 miles, by one squadron per day for the sector. He emphasized that these flights were flown as part of Patrol Wang Tactical Exercises only; they were training flights and not directed fleet reconnaissance. He was unable to recall the sectors utilized (p. 494).

 

The operating areas were under constant patrol. No additional security measures were invoked upon receipt of Exhibit 17 (War Warning), primarily because of lack of sufficient planes and pilots, and for getting planes in operating condition so far as guns and bullet‑proof tanks were concerned (page 499).

 

E. EXTENT OF RECONNAISSANCE WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN:

 

Vice Admiral Bellinger said that although aircraft were lacking to enable a 360 degree search from Oahu, a partial aerial reconnaissance, covering certain selected sectors, was a possible and feasible operation (p. 477).

Any regular reconnaissance must, Admiral Bellinger said, have been adopted at the expense of the expansion training program then an effect. Had he received clear warning to search for an enemy force, all his planes would, of course, have been utilized, but no thorough 360 degree search was possible with the equip­ment at his disposal (p. 508‑609).

If a limited search had been planned, it would have been of the northern approaches to Oahu, since these were considered the most dangerous. But no limited search was contemplated, according to Admiral Bellinger, who recalled no dis‑

 

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cussion of aerial reconnaissance with Admiral Kimmel in the days up to 7 December (p. 506‑508).

 

Admiral Stark testified that the Navy did not have sufficient patrol planes and distribution was made of what he had. He was constantly trying to get more. Other obligations of the Navy under JAAN‑35 generally were taken care of (pages 34‑37). There were not sufficient forces for coastal work in Hawaii; forces for this purpose had to be drawn from the Pacific Fleet (page 37). Hawaii was, and Oahu was, on December 7th, in category "D", "subject to major attack," and under the agreement a stronger offshore patrol was required than under "C" and "long range air reconnaissance will be provided and plans made for use of GHQ air force." He was uncertain what "GHQ" air force meant, but believed it to be a mobile force subject to direct orders from the War Department, to be used to augment a local force (page 38). Admiral Stark also testified that the trip of the carrier to Wake did not impair CincPac's ability to carry out reconnaissance (page 803).

General Marshall stated that the status of "GHQ Air, Force" mentioned in "Joint Action Army‑Navy, 1935" as to long range reconnaissance planes was that there were no planes in that Air Force available for transfer to Hawaii in case of emergency. It was the air force in the continental United States, he said, and was being made available in pieces for overseas use all the time (page 859).

Admiral Kimmel testified that under the joint plan, the Army was to operate all pursuits and the Navy all bombers and patrol planes and that there were daily reports as to the availability of planes (page 296). He said that long range reconnaissance to be effective should cover a radius of 800 miles (page 304) and that it would take 84 patrol planes for one flight of 360° and two and a half to three times that number for continuous daily search. All sectors around Oahu are ones from which an attack could be expected, even though he had testified before the Robert's Commission that he thought North the most probable sector (page 305). If restricted, he would search the western 180° sector first (page 305).

He further stated that his firm conviction was, that long range reconnaissance over a period of time would have put his planes out of commission. Thirty days of long range reconnaissance would have reduced his planes by 25%. Incidentally, if he had sent the planes out, and when he did so, he would have armed them, and did arm them (page 329).

Admiral Bellinger made reference to a report of a Joint Army and Navy Board, dated October 31, 1941, signed by Admiral Bellinger and his Army opposite; paragraph 4 indicated that as pertained to Army aviation, the problem confront­ing the Board, as stated by the Army, was that the Army's mission was to defend the naval base against all attacks by an enemy; that the Hawaiian Air Force was to search for and destroy enemy surface craft within radius of action by bombard­ment, aviation; and to detect, intercept and destroy enemy aircraft in the vicinity of Oahu by pursuit aviation (page 663). This report pointed out that 170 B‑17's and two groups of 163 pursuit planes each would be assigned to fulfill that mission. There would be needed 84 naval patrol planes and 48 VSO planes to be directly under ComFOURTEEN, and to supplement or to replace the 98 patrol planes of Patrol Wings One and Two which might be ordered to advance bases on outlying islands.

He stated that both the Army and the Navy were in the process of receiving replacement of obsolescent planes (page 663); and there were the usual shakedown and maintenance problems. There was an absence of spare parts for PBY‑5 planes, and the installation of leak‑proof gasoline tanks was in progress. Also there was difficulty with cracking of engine nose sections and installation of modi­fied sections was in progress (page 663).

The major effort of Patrol Wings One and Two, he said, was training in prepara­tion for war (page 663). The placing of the Naval Base Defense Air Force on a functioning basis would have necessitated substantial cessation of training (page 664). Continued operation of all planes for scouting would have soon reduced their material readiness and fatigued the crews. Therefore, as stated in their estimate of the situation, advance intelligence of a possible attack within narrow limits was a prerequisite for starting long distance patrol (page 664).

Admiral Bellinger said that fifty planes per day would be required to cover 360° for 700 miles (page 672). Counting eight available Army bombers and about 54 Navy planes; there were 62 planes available for patrol. These Navy planes were in PatWing Two and PatWing One, which also included a squadron at Midway and a squadron which returned to Pearl Harbor on December 5th and needed maintenance work (page 676). There, was scarcely more than one crew

 

PROCEEDINGS OF HEWITT INQUIRY                                                                    459

 

per plane. Continuous daily patrol could be flown only by dividing combat crews into three groups, which means twenty planes daily which could cover 144°. This would be for an undetermined number of days, but would not be permanent. Spare parts were critically short (page 673). The 54 Navy planes were PBY‑5's sent to replace obsolescent planes and had arrived, one squadron of 12, Oct . 28th; one squadron of 6, Oct. 28th; one squadron of 12, Nov. 23rd; one squadron of 12, Nov. 23rd. They were new and there were shakedown difficulties (page 673) and absence of spare parts. They had received some earlier vintage PBY‑5's and had had trouble with cracking of engine nose sections. The practical range of PBY‑5 was radius of 700 miles, of PBY‑3's 600 miles (page 670).

Exhibit 59 (letter from CincPac to CNO of January 7, 1942, enclosing Bellinger's letter) contains data on planes needed for 360° patrol to 700 miles (page 675).

He commanded PatWing Two and had control of PatWing One (page 677). Task Force Nine included everything he had, so it included these planes. The general policy or plan as to employment schedules was set out by CincPac. Other than planes being overhauled and repaired, the balance of those planes were occupied each day in carrying out the routine schedule of operations (page 677), which schedules were matters between plane commanders and CincPac through regular channel of command.

All‑out reconnaissance after November 27th would have completely disrupted training, he (Bellinger) said (page 679), and if all training had been stopped and a daily patrol commenced on October 17th, it would have affected the efficiency of the air force on December 7th; many planes would not have been in flight condition (page 680).

 

Admiral Bellinger testified that after October 28th, while there were 107 VP assigned to all units of Aircraft Scouting Force, only eighty‑one were available Of these, fifty‑four had just arrived and were the PBY‑5 type, with limited avail­able spare parts. The number of plane crews did not quite equal the number of planes available. If one could consider eighty‑one planes available, and assum­ing that there would have been none lost because of breakdowns requiring spare parts, it would have been practicable to use one‑third, about twenty‑seven planes, for daily patrol. Each plane could cover a sector of eight degrees with a radius of 700 miles, totaling approximately 216 degrees daily. This, however, would have been the absolute maximum because of the lack of sufficient crews and spare parts. 144  degrees could have been  covered daily based on the use of eighteen planes daily of the fifty four new PBY‑5's. Actually, on 7 December 1941 there were in all only sixty‑one planes available at Oahu, one squadron of which had just returned from Midway and Wake and required overhaul. This left forty‑nine planes actually available, one‑third of which would have been able to cover 128 degrees (pages 480‑488, 485‑487, 502‑504).

Admiral Bellinger further testified that if he had received a directive from Ad­miral Kimmel during the first week of December, 1941, to conduct 360 degrees reconnaissance with the available Navy planes, it would have been possible to maintain such reconnaissance for not more than four or five days. Has estimate of the duration of the daily 128‑degree search was that at could have been flown until the failure of planes and the lack of spare parts reduced the planes to such an extent that further reconnaissance was impossible. It appears that such reconnaissance could have been carried on for an indefinite period and Admiral Bellinger's "vague" estimate was that it could have been carried on for several weeks (pages 504‑505).

Admiral Bellinger testified that he considered the northern sectors as the most dangerous sectors primarily because of the prevailing winds which would facilitate carrier‑based plane operations in that sector. He stated that had the normal plan been carried out after the attack, on December 7th patrol planes would have searched the northern sector, and that some few planes did search that sector. But there had been searches made to the south because of information received from CincPac to the effect that a radio bearing indicated that the attacking force was to the south. (p. 506‑07).

 

Admiral Bellinger said that when be arrived in Hawaii on October 30, 1940, he found they were operating on a shoestring (page 667), and he tried to point out to the Navy Department, via CincPac and Commander Scouting Force, the impor­tance of remedying the existing deficiencies, but the emphasis seemed not to be on the Pacific. He was not satisfied with the supply of planes and the develop­ment of plane facilities in Hawaii up to December 1941, though there bad been considerable improvement over the time he first reported (page 674) in 1940.

 

460                               CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

 

Admiral Bellinger discussed the main effort during several months preceding the attack which consisted of training, maintenance difficulties, etc. (p 116)

Admiral Bellinger said that prior to December 7, they were short of the allocated number of crews for patrol planes and the main training was expansion training so as to increase the number of crews. (p. 117)

Admiral Bellinger discussed the reasons why a 360° circumference could not have been maintained. He said that there was no hard and fixed decision as to the direction in which an attack might be launched although the wind direction indicated that the northern sector might be more desirable. The location of bases from which such an attack might come were in the southwesterly direction. (p. 118) Admiral Bellinger said that the 300 miles estimated as an enemy launching radius was a high estimate but had been selected as giving the enemy the advantage in the estimate.

 

Captain Ramsey stated that he believed a patrol of 800 miles was necessary for distant reconnaissance. One squadron of PBY‑5 planes attached to PatWings One and Two could only fly a radius of 700 miles. Around November 27th it was decided to reenforce Wake with Marine fighter squadron, and one of the patrol squadrons, VP‑21, which had been at Midway since October was transferred to Wake with orders to scout and cover the advance of Admiral Halsey's task force A second patrol squadron was sent out from Pearl Harbor to Midway to scout and similarly cover Admiral Halsey's advance and retirement. VP‑22 left Wake on December 3rd or 4th and arrived at Pearl Harbor on December 5th, which left just the one squadron, VP‑21, at Midway (page 583). That squadron was of old, obsolete planes, PBY‑3's, which were due for overhaul and to be replaced with PBY‑5's.

With nine planes undergoing repair or out of commission for other reasons, they had 12 naval planes at Midway and about 60 at Pearl Harbor and Kaneohe which could have been used for reconnaissance to the 700 mile point (page 583). There were also six Army B‑17's which were available and which could go beyond 300 miles; they could go to 800 miles.

He, Capt. Ramsey, was asked whether, with these planes available from November 27th to December 7th, he could have complied with a directive to conduct long range reconnaissance through 360° (page 583). He stated; No. A single plane going to 700 miles could cover a sector of only 8°; only 50% of the 66 planes could be used continuously and therefore only 264° could be covered daily (page 583); 360° could be covered only one, or possibly two, days in an emergency but could not be maintained. Three weeks of intensive daily searches would have seen about a 75% reduction in material readiness of the entire outfit, placing planes out of commission and robbing them for spare parts to keep other going. The pilots could have kept going about six weeks but then would need a protracted rest (page 584). Daily long range reconnaissance could have been maintained indefinitely by using 30 planes each day until the exhaustion period was reached, provided they were permitted by higher authority to operate that many for search alone, because that would have left them entirely without a striking group except as remaining 36 were available (page 583). Without exhausting planes or personnel, and assuming the supply of critical parts, they could have safely and indefinitely operated a daily reconnaissance to 700 miles with 18 planes and could have covered 144° (pages 584‑5).

He further stated that a 700 mile radius of search with 38 planes was based upon a 25‑mile visibility. Such visibility did not ordinarily prevail in the Hawaiian Area for a distance of 700 miles; it was either very good or so bad that scouting was impracticable. (page 590). Except in a case of a wide‑spread weather front, a patrol to 700 miles in a 144 sector had a good chance of detecting any large number of vessels on any given day (page 590).

For the PBY‑5's, which in the case of several squadrons had during October and November just replaced the PBY‑1, 2, and 3 planes, there were substantially no spare parts. There was the usual shakedown difficulty with a new type plane; engine sections cracked and replacement program in effect; material for installing armor and leak‑proof tanks in the PBY‑5's just being received, and first planes were finished December 7th (page 591).

He, Capt. Ramsey, said that once at Pearl Harbor he saw forty PBY‑5's going through to Australia, New Zealand, or Dutch East Indies. This was at a time, when such planes were needed at Pearl Harbor (page 602).

He agreed with the Roberts' Report to the extent that the means for distant reconnaissance at their disposal would have provided a certain degree of security, but were not adequate for absolute security (page 595).

 

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He said that there had been discussions of the most probable sector for an enemy attack and the northwest sector was considered the most likely line of approach (page 597). In drills for readiness the squadron in the highest degree of readiness was ordered to take up the sector from 315° to 00°, and for any single day he would have sent the planes to cover this sector. On a continental control, the sector would have to be varied, as if a single sector were flown every day the enemy would learn of this and easily avoid it (page 597).

 

Admiral Davis said that the entire 360° circumference was not of equal importance; that a considerable arc to the north and west and another arc to the south and west were the most important. He estimated that if there had been a coverage of 180° so divided established after receipt of the dispatch of November 27, the chances would have been fairly good, perhaps two out of three that the patrol would have intercepted the Japanese carriers; based on knowledge since acquired, he would be inclined to put the chances as no better than one out of two. The chances, he said, have always been good enough so that defensive search is more than justified. However, he felt that the Japanese had launched their attack at Pearl Harbor from a long distance in order to avoid detection and therefore, that the chances of sighting the Japanese by a previous day's search were less than one out of two.

Admiral Davis said that it was the Commander‑in‑Chief's belief that it was vitally necessary to continue as long as possible with training and other Fleet improvements and that going into a defensive status would interfere with this work. Concerning the possibility of attack and precautions to be taken, Admiral Davis indicated that he only occasionally saw or heard of warnings given to the Commander in Chief; that he had stated that comprehensive air searches were practicable and would very definitely interfere with progress in general in aviation training in the Fleet; he naturally expressed the opinion that a surprise air attack was possible and could only be prevented by the most extensive searches but he did not realize to what a high degree of proficiency Japanese naval aviation had been developed. He is sure that Naval Intelligence did its best but is convinced that information on the subject was lacking.

Admiral Davis said that he did not believe that the Commander in Chief regarded the damage possibility that might result from a Japanese air raid as very great; that it was apparent that he felt that training and improvements of our own Fleet still had priority, particularly because he believed that there would not be at that time any overt action. Precautions to a certain degree had been taken. As December 7 approached, he was concerned about the general situation with respect to the outlying islands and stressed the necessity for providing some form of air protection there. (p. 98‑99)

Admiral Davis said that although there were not enough planes and pilots to have established and maintained a long‑range 360° search indefinitely, there were enough to have made searches using relatively short‑range planes in the least dangerous sectors and by obtaining some assistance from available Army aircraft. It could have been undertaken had it been considered essential but unless reinforcements arrived it could not have been maintained.

Admiral McMorris said that, in general, it was a Navy responsibility to obtain early information of the approach of any possible enemy and that forces available for such detection were in general the Fleet patrol planes of PatWingTwo and that the extent of any search that they might carry on was determined by the Commander in Chief. It was as a practical matter, impossible to maintain an effective patrol for anything but a brief period. (p 240)

Admiral McMorris said that it was not contemplated to use ships for picket duty in the approaches to Hawaii. (p. 240)

Admiral McMorris said that he thought that as of the time in question, the provisions made for obtaining early information of the approach of an enemy were the best that could reasonably be made consistent with the training and other demands on the part of the Fleet, although from hindsight the answer would be otherwise. (p. 241)

 

Admiral Calhoun said that after the warning of November 27th, CincPac ordered air patrol to the limit of endurance of planes and pilots (page 941). Admiral Smith testified that patrols were flown over operating areas, but there were not sufficient planes for a 360° search (page 538):

 

462                               CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION PEARL HARBOR ATTACK

 

Admiral Smith said that Admiral Bellinger maintained an air patrol of the operating areas only because he had insufficient planes for a more extensive patrol; however Admiral Bellinger based his position entirely on the shortages of planes and not on personnel fatigue. (p. 43)

 

Admiral Smith said that if CincPac had interpreted Exhibit 17 (War Warning) to mean an attack on Pearl Harbor, he could have put out a search with available aircraft, including Army and carrier‑based planes, moved the Fleet westward, and advanced carriers to intercept the Japanese (page 557). Without Fleet movement, he could have searched, with the available planes, a radius of perhaps 600 miles, but not through 360° (pages 557‑8). The destroyers were required to protect heavy ships in case of the expected submarine attack and could not be used for patrol.

Exhibit 59, a letter by Admiral Nimitz, dated January 7, 1942, was an urgent request for more patrol planes so as to conduct an effective daily search to about 800 miles, which would require about fifty planes daily‑there being at the time of this letter a total of 109 (Army and Navy) long range planes available. It was said that this was inadequate for search, a striking force and special missions; a minimum of three times the number needed for one day was necessary. He described the extent of the search being made: 25 patrol planes and 12 B‑17's were used daily for a 700‑mile search, covering 290°; and relatively ineffectual planes, such as available VSO, VJ, and B‑18's were used to cover the remaining sectors to about 200‑300 miles. To this were annexed supporting and detailed memoranda, including a letter by Admiral Bellinger, dated December 30, 1941.

 

Until August, 1941, Captain George Vanduers was an assistant to Admiral Bellinger particularly in connection with arrangements for joint Army‑Navy air command. (p. 290). He prepared the estimate of the situation dated March 31, 1941, which indicated that a surprise carrier raid appeared to be the most probable course of action for the enemy. (p. 290). Captain Vanduers stated that, in his opinion, search with 80 planes over a two‑week period of the most probable sectors would have been about 40% effective.

Admiral Fitch, who preceded Admiral Bellinger and was Commander of Patrol Wing Two from June, 1940, until October, 1940, said that during the time when he was in command of Patrol Wing Two it was recognized that they had insufficient planes and efforts were made to increase the effectiveness of those they did have, to develop Western island bases and to increase the number of planes. Off‑shore patrol plane searches were instituted as a routine from Pearl Harbor and varied as to the amount of searches conducted. (p. 228‑9). Admiral Fitch said that assuming 80 planes, long range, available and employed over a two‑week period and searching only the most probable sectors, a search plan could be evolved which could be expected reasonably to be 50% effective in detecting an enemy attack. (p. 289)

 

Admiral Kimmel said that if he had had a reconnaissance in effect at 700 miles, and it had met a strange force, he had no way of stopping that force from delivering an attack except by the means already mentioned (page 1126). The court said that as they understood it, he did not have a surface striking force available which could have gone to the location and supported a carrier attack (page 1126). Admiral Kimmel said, however, that he had two carriers where they could have been very useful—one, 400 miles southeast of Midway, and the other 200 miles west of Pearl Harbor; and had he known the location of the enemy, they probably could have delivered a very effective attack. The court stated, and Admiral Kimmel agreed, that it was a military fact that in order to detect a carrier raid one must know in advance that the carrier is on its way, (page 1126), and within narrow limits of its time of arrival and sector.