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IPFS News Link • WAR: About that War

The Secret Weapons Behind The Japanese Attack On Pearl Harbor

•, By Krislyn Placide
 Today marks 71 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II. The attack was devastating. More than 2,400 people died and more than 1,000 were wounded. It was also, in the cold language of military science, wildly successful.

At least it was at first. The December 1966 Popular Science feature, "The Secret Weapons That Hit Pearl Harbor," cites two main factors (among other factors) for Japan's success: its shallow-water aerial torpedoes and the fleet's ability to escape detection.

Pearl Harbor was too shallow for conventional torpedoes; they would've just dived in and stuck to the bottom of the ocean floor. So a few months before the attack, Japanese designers created finned torpedoes that could perform "a feat like that of an acrobat high-diving in shallow water."

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