Humanities › History & Culture 10 Pictures of the Attack on Pearl Harbor Share Flipboard Email Print The U.S. National Archives / Flickr / Public Domain History & Culture The 20th Century People & Events Fads & Fashions Early 20th Century The 20s The 30s The 40s The 50s The 60s The 80s The 90s American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History Women's History View More By Jennifer Rosenberg History Expert B.A., History, University of California at Davis Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian and writer who specializes in 20th-century history. our editorial process Jennifer Rosenberg Updated January 12, 2020 On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese military forces attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The surprise attack destroyed much of the United States' Pacific fleet, especially the battleships. This collection of pictures captures the attack on Pearl Harbor, including pictures of planes caught on the ground, battleships burning and sinking, explosions, and bomb damage. Before the Attack National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain The Japanese military had planned its assault on Pearl Harbor for months before the attack. The attacking fleet, consisting of six aircraft carriers and 408 aircraft, left Japan on November 26, 1941. In addition, there were five submarines, each carrying a two-man midget craft. This photo taken by the Japanese Navy and later captured by U.S. forces shows sailors aboard the Japanese aircraft carrier Zuikaku cheering as a Nakajima B-5N bomber launches to attack Pearl Harbor. Planes Caught on the Ground U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain Although the U.S. Pacific Fleet suffered the most damage, its air defenses also took a beating. More than 300 Navy and Army Air Force planes stationed at nearby Ford Island, Wheeler Field, and Hickam Field were damaged or destroyed in the attack. Only a handful of U.S. fighters were able to get aloft and challenge Japanese attackers. Ground Forces Surprised U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain More than 3,500 soldiers and civilians were killed or wounded in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 1,100 alone died aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. But many others were killed or injured in related attacks on the Pearl Harbor base and nearby sites like Hickam Field, and millions of dollars in infrastructure was destroyed. Explosions and Fire National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain A total of 17 ships were destroyed or damaged during the attack, although the majority of them were able to be salvaged and returned to active service. The U.S.S. Arizona is the only battleship that still lies at the bottom of the harbor. The U.S.S. Oklahoma and U.S.S. Utah were raised but never returned to service. The U.S.S. Shaw, a destroyer, was hit by three bombs and severely damaged. It was later repaired. Bomb Damage National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain The attack on Pearl Harbor came in two waves. The first wave of 183 fighters began at 7:53 a.m. local time. A second wave followed at 8:40 a.m. In both attacks, Japanese aircraft dropped hundreds of torpedoes and bombs. The American Naval fleet was decimated in less than 15 minutes during the first wave alone. The USS Arizona Official United States Navy photograph W-PH-24-8975 / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain The majority of American casualties occurred aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. One of the Pacific Fleet's flagship battleships, the Arizona was struck by four armor-piercing bombs. Moments after the final bomb struck, the ship's forward armaments magazine exploded, obliterating the nose and causing such severe structural damage that the ship was nearly torn in half. The Navy lost 1,177 crew members. In 1943, the military salvaged some of the Arizona's major arms and stripped the superstructure. The rest of the wreck was left in place. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, was constructed atop the site in 1962. The USS Oklahoma U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain The U.S.S. Oklahoma was one of three battleships destroyed in the attack. It capsized and sank after being struck by five torpedoes, killing 429 sailors. The U.S. raised the ship in 1943, salvaged its armaments, and sold the hull for scrap after the war. Battleship Row U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain Caught unaware, the American fleet was an easy target for the Japanese because they were neatly lined up in the harbor. Eight battleships were docked at "Battleship Row:" the Arizona, California, Maryland, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Of these, the Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia were sunk. The other battleship to go down, the Utah, was docked elsewhere at Pearl Harbor. Wreckage U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain When the attack was finally over, the U.S. military took stock of its losses. The harbor was littered with the wreckage not just from the eight battleships, but also three cruisers, three destroyers, and four auxiliary ships. Hundreds of planes were also damaged, as was the dry dock on Ford Island. Cleanup took months. Japanese Wreckage U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain U.S. forces were able to inflict some minor casualties on their Japanese attackers. Just 29 of the Japanese fleet's 400-plus aircraft were brought down, with another 74 damaged. An additional 20 Japanese midget submarines and other watercraft were sunk. All told, Japan lost 64 men. Sources Grier, Peter, Staff Writer. "Pearl Harbor Resurrection: The Warships That Rose to Fight Again." The Christian Science Monitor, December 7, 2012."Home." National Park Service, 2020."How Long Did the Battle of Pearl Harbor Last?" The Pearl Harbor Visitors Bureau, 2020.Keyes, Allison. "At Pearl Harbor, This Aircraft Risked It All to Find the Japanese Fleet." Smithsonian Magazine, December 6, 2016."Remembering Pearl Harbor: A Pearl Harbor Fact Sheet." The National WWII Museum, United States' Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce, 2020.Taylor, Alan. "World War II: Pearl Harbor." The Atlantic, July 31, 2011.