There are tragic pages in the history of every country. They evoke conflicting feelings. But they are united in one thing: they must be remembered in order to prevent repetition. In the US, the name of one such page is Arizona, a battleship that sank in 1941 and led the country to enter World War II.
How did it all start?
The twentieth century started with the greatest struggle for the redivision of the world. For warships, this meant modernization. Countries competed to improve the quality of their ships and increase their number.
Battleships were considered the main force of the navy. The battleships of the nineteenth century turned out to be a completely different model of a warship. Battleships were considered suitable for combat participation in the squadron. They were used to destroy enemy ships with accompanying artillery support from land. These armored heavy vehicles were equipped with guns of 280-460 mm caliber. The crew consisted of one and a half thousand people, could reach three thousand. With an average length of a vessel from one hundred and fifty to three hundred meters, the displacement varied from twenty to seventy thousand tons.
The main reason for the increased attention to warships was the desire of states to gain primacy in military power. Many countries focused on the battle fleet. Some turned their attention to aviation. Back in 1922, the United States and England signed the Washington Treaty on the quantitative ratio of the fleets of Japan, the United States and Britain. The first received the right to possess only forty percent of the fleet of England and the United States. The Japanese decided to surpass their opponents in aviation.
In the thirties, the interests of two neighboring states clashed over oil resources. The army and navy needed fuel, and Japan had no oil reserves. The suppliers of black gold at that time were the countries of Southeast Asia, for example, Indonesia. Japan's desire to seize oil resources has led to a clash with the United States.
The American command deployed warships from California to Hawaii (they were expecting a Japanese attack here). The Japanese military, in response to the battleships and cruisers put up by America, began to rearm their ships. They have equipped warships with armor-piercing bombs and turned them into aircraft carriers.
Among the ships redeployed from California was the battleship Arizona.
At the Brooklyn shipyard in March 1914, the construction of the ship "Arizona" began. The battleship became an indestructible military unit in the battles of the First World War.
The characteristics of its armament are of decisive importance for the combat power of a ship. The American battleship Arizona had on board an impressive arsenal of large-caliberarmament: twelve 356 mm guns; twenty-two 5"/51 guns; four 76/23 guns; four 47 mm salute guns; two 37 mm 1-pounders; two 533 mm mine-torpedo guns. The ship had a numerous crew - 1385 officers and sailors.
External dimensions also inspired respect. With a length of one hundred and eighty and a width of thirty-two meters, the displacement of the ship reached 31,400 tons. The maximum movement speed is twenty-one knots.
The ship was an impregnable fortress on the water, had powerful impenetrable sides. But the Japanese did not attack him in the expected traditional way. The armor of the upper deck lacked strength and was not difficult to penetrate.
Preparing Japan for an attack
In 1940, the Arizona arrived in Hawaii with other warships. The battleship came to the defense of the Pearl Harbor military base. The Americans still believed that the coming war would be a war of ships. But the Japanese thought otherwise.
By 1941, a team led by Admiral Yamamoto managed to develop an extraordinary plan to destroy the battleship from the air. The aircraft with a crew of three took off from an aircraft carrier and carried a tonne of bombs on board. The flight speed reached five hundred kilometers per hour. Undivided dominance in the airspace over the Pacific Ocean passed to Japan.
The last minutes of the battleship "Arizona"
The seventh of December 1941 is a sad and tragic page inUS history. Early Sunday morning, when the port of Pearl Harbor was sleeping peacefully, the Japanese command launched a double attack on the military port. The first started at seven minutes to eight and lasted eighteen minutes. The second was repeated at nine o'clock and lasted twenty minutes. At the thirteenth minute of the first attack (at eight hours and six minutes) the battleship Arizona was lost.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was carried out by forty torpedo bombers and three hundred and fifty-three bombers. Each ship and aircraft had its own task. The bombers set off to destroy the airfields, the torpedo bombers attacked from both sides of the fort's island. At eight o'clock four minutes the first bomb hit the battleship, then four more. The first bomb hit the gun barrel and bounced off. A few seconds later there was an explosion and a fire started. The flame reached a height of two hundred and forty meters.
The death of the battleship "Arizona" did not occur from a torpedo hit. No damage consistent with torpedo damage was found.
From the nearby hospital ship Soles, Dr. Eric Haakenson filmed the moment a bomb hit the fore deck from an aircraft. Here was the gunpowder reserve of the warship. The ammunition exploded and set off a wave of subsequent explosions. Section after section exploded into the air. The battleship broke into two halves and began to sink to the bottom. The whole ship was engulfed in flames, which raged for three days. The ship was lost.
The result of the attack on Pearl Harbor
1177 people died during the raid. Among themAdmiral Isaac Keith. He was on the battleship that morning. Only the Admiral's graduation ring from the Naval Academy survived, permanently soldered to the side of the Arizona. The battleship was led by Franklin Van Valkenburg, who shared the fate of his crew. Few survived. The wreckage was cleared for two years. It was possible to rescue the bodies of 233 dead from the iron captivity. More than nine hundred sailors remained forever on the ship "Arizona". The battleship is still underwater.
It was not only the Arizona that perished in that raid. The battleship was one of four US Navy battleships scuttled on December 7, 1941. Two of them managed to be restored by 1944. Four more battleships received damage of varying severity. Three destroyers, one minelayer and three cruisers suffered from the Japanese attack. American aviation lost about two hundred aircraft. Two and a half thousand people died, one thousand two hundred and eighty-two were wounded and embarrassed.
The unexpected attack by the Japanese and the destruction of the American military base on Pearl Harbor Island led to a change in the views of American politicians. Franklin Roosevelt demanded that war be declared on Japan. December 7, 1941 is the day the United States entered World War II. And the reason for this is as follows: the battleship "Arizona" at the bottom as a result of the bombing of Japanese aircraft.
Worshiping the site of the wreck of the Arizona began in 1950. Admiral Arthur Radford, then commander of the US Pacific Fleet, began a new tradition,raising the country's national flag in honor of the fallen crew. To do this, part of the ship's superstructure was dismantled, concrete piles were driven along the sides to give strength to the structure. A small pavilion was installed on piles, which seemed to hang over the remains of the battleship. Here they held ceremonies honoring the sailors of the Arizona.
In 1962, a monument was built right on the spot where the battleship Arizona sank. The memorial is located above the remains of the ship, which are clearly visible through the sea surface. The concrete structure does not touch the battleship's hull. At the entrance to the museum complex, visitors are greeted by an anchor raised from the Arizona.
In the main hall, visitors pay attention to the seven windows symbolizing the date of the death of the warship. The names of the dead sailors are inscribed on the walls of the museum. To get there, you need to overcome the water barrier, there is no land route. A pier has been built for the convenience of tourists.
Proof of Eternal Sorrow
The significance for Americans of preserving the eternal memory of the dead 1177 sailors is confirmed by several facts:
- On May 5, 1989, the surviving hull of the battleship was designated a National Historic Landmark.
- During the existence of the memorial, more than a million people visited it.
- Each American president during the years of his stay in the White House must visit this historic place at least once. Today we visited the memorial of the battleship "Arizona"the head of the country has become a tradition.
- The Emperor of Japan participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the list of dead sailors.
Legend of the death of the battleship
Many questions about the death of the battleship have not yet been answered. Therefore, legends appear around the memorable event on December 7, 1941.
One of them is connected with such a rapid destruction of a warship. They talk about a massive torpedo strike on the ship's hull with a joint hit of seven air bombs. But Arizona didn't even flinch. And only one bomb hit the pipe led to the destruction of the battleship. Inspection of the smoke channel showed the failure of this version. No damage was found consistent with such a hit and subsequent explosion.
The second legend appeared a few years after the death of the ship, after the construction of a concrete memorial at the site of its flooding. Periodically, an oily spot spreads on the surface of the water. Its contours are like a teardrop near the eyes. Lilac-scarlet color suggests a resemblance to blood. Tourists try to take a photo of the battleship "Arizona" at this very moment. The Americans are sure that in this way the battleship mourns her dead crew. This is actually engine oil leaking from a rusted engine room. But the legends remain and are passed on to the next generations.