In 1941, Japanese imperialism was at its height and seemingly, Japan could do no wrong.

Therefore acting very boldly, Tokyo’s leaders against the advice of certain admirals, decided to seize control of the Pacific or the whole of east Asia by eliminating its main or chief rival using a full surprise attack. Thus a large attacking force sailed to Hawaii in Dec 1941 and launched a devastating sneak attack on the US fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor. The force crept up to within 275 miles north of Hawaii and two waves of aircraft were hurled into the air using some 350 planes for the sneak attack. The attackers crippled the US fleet lined up at Battleship Row and also heavily damaged nearby air bases inflicting over 2,000 casualties. But crucially, the Japanese force commander failed to press home his surprise attack by refusing to give the green light for a second strike using a third wave of attack aircraft. His decision won him the battle but lost the war for Japan. All on the same day. The US although quite severely mauled was not knocked out. The Jap attack disappeared as quickly as it arrived. There were no follow-up raids. The US was able to salvage and repair many sunken and damaged vessels and there was no major damage to the repair yards and submarine facilites. The US fleet quickly recovered and was soon ready for the coming confrontations at sea. Today, the same US fleet is preparing for a surprise attack of its own in the Pacific, or more specifically in east Asia. In 1941, the Japanese force used long-range attack aircraft including the A6M which could cover distances of over 2,600 km. Today, however, the US is aiming to use its X-47B class of unmanned attack aircraft boasting flying ranges of well over 3,900 km. It’s true history does repeat itself …. with just a tiny little help from humans.

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