1628 CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION PEARL HARBOR ATTACK
Present: Chief of Staff, General Emmons, General Arnold, General Brett General Spaatz, General Gerow, Colonel McNarney, Colonel Anderson, Colonel Twaddle.
CHIEF OF STAFF: In view of the Japanese situation the Navy is concerned with the security of the fleet in Hawaii, and apparently the new commander of the fleet there has made a check and reported it to Washington and the Secretary of the Navy has outlined the situation to the Secretary of War. Their particular point is the type of air force in Hawaii, particularly Pursuit. They are in the situation where they must guard against a surprise or trick attack. It is necessary for the fleet to be in anchorage part of the time and they are particularly vulnerable at that time. I do not feel that it is a possibility or even a probability, but they must guard against everything. We also have information regarding the possible use of torpedo planes. There is the possible sudden introduction of Japanese carrier-based planes of the Messerschmidt type which has a speed of 322 miles per hour, armored, etc. The Navy viewpoint is that the whole fleet is involved and that the sea power of the United States might be jeopardized. We have already arranged to send 31 P-36 ships there. The. Curtis plant has moved up the delivery date of 50 additional planes to March 10th; the Navy is sending a Carrier back for these ships. The issue is the priority with regard to new equipment. Admiral Hart has six new submarines, one old cruiser, and not one AA gun. They have now brought up the question of moving some armament from Corregidor. The planes in the Philippines are of the Swedish type which the Chinese turned down. If we had a single squadron of modern planes in the Philippines it would at least give the Japanese something to think about. Then we have the question of Panama—no modern planes. I understand that the P-40s have some engine trouble which makes them dangerous flying over water.
EXHIBITS OF JOINT COMMITTEE 1629
Consequently, our original allocation will be changed by the Japanese situation. Also I have a memorandum with reference to a British request for 50,000 airplanes, to be delivered in 1942. We have a deficiency of 10,000 in organizing the 14,000 program, We are concerned with the reduction of the assignment to the GHQ Air Force. It was thought to our advantage to have as many as possible in foreign garrisons. I have just been talking about pursuit. We have started a proposition to fill up outlying garrisons, those close to home aren't so much of a problem,
Colonel ANDERSON. We have made a tentative allocation of planes as follows: First priority: to the Philippine Islands—one interceptor squadron, one medium bomber squadron. To Alaska—one composite group. To Hawaii and Panama—sufficient strength to meet a two-carrier attack. To Puerto Rico one pursuit group and two bomber groups. Second priority: The equipment for an emergency force to South and Central America—three groups of heavy or medium bombers, two groups of light bombers, and two groups of intercept. Third priority: Remainder of the GHQ, minimum training requirements for the remainder of the 54 group program. We will complete training requirements before January 1942; will complete the 54 group in intercept pursuit in January 1942; fighter pursuit in July 1942; heavy bombers in April 1942; medium bombers in December 1941, light bombers in April 1942.
CHIEF OF STAFF. What do you think about this, Emmons?
GENERAL EMMONS. We have little means to accomplish our plans in GHQ Air force. We are 850 officers short on the 25 group program and we won't get the shortage made up until July, then we will only have graduates of training centers. If we make the normal assignments to staff echelons, we will have less than 100 officers with 2 years service to distribute over 34 groups. With respect to planes, we have 500 combat types for instance. With regard to the P-36 we had to get 31 to send to Hawaii, it took all we had (71) to get the 31 out, due to repairs, ships on the ground, etc. The backbone of our present airplane strength is the B-18 of which we have 140. Of the 193 P-40s we now have only 175, many are out of commission for lack of spare parts. We have 50 B-17s, also 4 P-39s and 5 A-20A. We are also short of spare parts. Although we have on paper about 500 planes, I doubt that we could put 300 in the air.
General ARNOLD. The 25 group program is supposed to be completed by July 1941; the 54 group by April 1942.
General EMMONS. With regard to sending equipment on foreign service it would be a mistake to send new planes over-seas until the defects inherent with new materiel have been ironed out. We have changes on the 50 P-40Bs to go to Hawaii, probably won't make much difference except with the engine.
General BRETT. The engine is improving all the time. The P-40D has a new engine.
CHIEF OF STAFF. How about the Air Depot in Hawaii?
General EMMONS. It functions very well.
General ARNOLD. With regard to this shortage of parts, we are going to have to manufacture parts in the depots—we used to do it before.
General BRETT. The shortage in parts is due to the fact that we have pushed the plane manufacturers so far the planes that they have been forced to neglect, in a measure, the production of spare parts.
General EMMONS. With regard to organization equipment, we are in pretty- good shape. The only shortage is in cameras and octants. With regard to the allocation, I don't know what to say. With regard to a tactical point, Hawaii has a peculiar situation—pursuit is of little value at night, at which time—due to phosforesence in the water—primary targets, dry-docks, the fleet, etc., stand out on the darkest night. They will have no warning service until they get detectors and pursuit would be useless. I would have long range bombers and not send pursuit, but bombers.