Thursday, December 07, 2006

The second battle of Pearl Harbor

The New York Times came up with the best Dec. 7 story, hands down -- a never-published article by their wartime correspondent on the astonishing salvage work after the Japanese attack.

The discussion of how they refloated the battleship West Virginia is incredible -- filling the gaping holes in her hull with concrete, attaching cofferdams to slowly raise her, gingerly moving her into drydock, then blasting the concrete out with dynamite so they could get to work on repairs. It was more of rebuilding than a repair, and came with its own hazards -- like the discovery of an unexploded 1,750-pound bomb deep in the ship's guts.

It's a classic story of the unheralded side of warfare, which is as moving and dramatic as any story of battlefield heroism.

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Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

In fact, the US was lucky that the Japanese didn't finish the job. If they had gone back and hit the drydocks, it would have taken much longer to get Pearl back into operation; this was critical early in the war. At the battle of Midway, the Navy was able to bring the Yorktown into dry dock and get it back out to sea in 3 days; other wise it would have missed the battle.

12/08/2006 12:46 PM  

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