First Shots at Pearl Harbor

The first shots in anger were fired by a US destroyer. The first ship sunk on December 7th, 1941, was Japanese.

My 2003 post on Pearl Harbor Day: Infamy.

It includes the USS Ward’s (DD 139) after action report.

Here is the Ward’s #3 Gun crew:

"A Shot for Posterity -- The USS Ward\'s number three gun and its crew-cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan\'s raid on Hawaii. Operating as part of the inshore patrol early in the morning of December 7, 1941, this destroyer group spotted a submarine outside Pearl Harbor, opened fire and sank her. Crew members are R.H. Knapp - BM2c - Gun Captain, C.W. Fenton - Sea1c - Pointer, R.B. Nolde - Sea1c - Trainer, A.A. De Demagall - Sea1c - No. 1 Loader, D.W. Gruening - Sea1c - No. 2 Loader, J.A. Paick - Sea1c - No. 3 Loader, H.P. Flanagan - Sea1c - No. 4 Loader, E.J. Bakret - GM3c - Gunners Mate, K.C.J. Lasch - Cox - Sightsetter." (quoted from the original 1942-vintage caption) This gun is a 4"/50 type, mounted atop the ship\'s midships deckhouse, starboard side.  Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

"A Shot for Posterity -- The USS Ward's number three gun and its crew-cited for firing the first shot the day of Japan's raid on Hawaii. Operating as part of the inshore patrol early in the morning of December 7, 1941, this destroyer group spotted a submarine outside Pearl Harbor, opened fire and sank her. Crew members are R.H. Knapp - BM2c - Gun Captain, C.W. Fenton - Sea1c - Pointer, R.B. Nolde - Sea1c - Trainer, A.A. De Demagall - Sea1c - No. 1 Loader, D.W. Gruening - Sea1c - No. 2 Loader, J.A. Paick - Sea1c - No. 3 Loader, H.P. Flanagan - Sea1c - No. 4 Loader, E.J. Bakret - GM3c - Gunners Mate, K.C.J. Lasch - Cox - Sightsetter." (quoted from the original 1942-vintage caption) This gun is a 4"/50 type, mounted atop the ship's midships deckhouse, starboard side. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Comments

  1. Amazing shooting for a bunch of reservists from St. Paul, MN. Even more amazing when you conisider that later on in the first naval battles around Guadalcanal we had a hard time hitting the broadside of a barn, much less a Jap ship.

  2. Nicholas: In terminology, yes. And the midget sub in question was probably even more of a “boat” than a standard sub. But then we get into “the first boat sunk was Japanese but the first ship sunk was American” and so on. Which is pretty pointless.

    US subs are “USS,” which means “United States Ship,” even though we call them “boats.”

  3. OK. I just know that sailors can be sensitive about the ship/boat distinction. Want to piss off someone who sails on a big ship, keep calling it a boat 😉

  4. That’s OK, Nicholas… I had the same initial reaction. Comes from having a bunch of military in the family, some of them sailors and Marines.

    A sub is a boat. 😀 A ship is a ship!

  5. And to add to the discussion, the mini sub sunk by these fellows was recently discovered, and supported their claims about sinking it. There is an obvious penetrating shell strike at the base of the sail on the starboard side, right where the crew said they struck her.

    Also, when writing about US Naval Vessels, one never uses the term “the USS Enterprise”, etc, it is simply “USS Enterprise”, or “Enterprise”. No “the” is needed when speaking or writing about a vessel. The name itself is all that is required. Think of how it would sound if you talked about “The Murdoc” instead of just “Murdoc”, as a simple example.

    Respects,

  6. I generally abide by the “a submarine is a boat not a ship” rule in my writing. I didn’t in this post because I didn’t want to introduce a clumsy explanation in the post for those who might not know or care.

    Now, as far as the “it’s not ‘the’ USS Enterprise” rule, I freely admit to breaking that one all the time. I don’t think I learned it until after I had started this site, and for a while I tried to stick to it. But I gave up.

  7. Murdoc,

    Not to worry, you’re in good company. Not many writers actually understand that, as the use of “the” has been so constant that everyone just accepts it and uses it that way. I’ve done it myself without realizing it. The one mistake I often make is using S instead of Z, because I often use the British form instead of the American. I still use honour and colour instead of honor and color. I only notice it when the spellchecker points it out.

    I wasn’t knocking your post, just pointing out to other commenters. It’s the sort of thing that really pisses off my older daughter, like when I correct her for using “can” instead of “may”, etc.

    respects,

  8. the fist shot came from us at a migit sub we mist first over it then we fired agin we hit it around the scope site and they didt know they sunk it then but the past year they found out that it was sunk that day by a sub of ours the hole was 2 inch. aroun

    e-mail me if u have any qwestions if u want to know some thing u cant find out @ blakeeaves@live.com

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