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Battle of Pearl Harbor (Southern Victory)
Part of The Great War
Date August, 1914
Location Pearl Harbor, Sandwich Islands
Result United States strategic victory
Belligerents
34StarsUnited States of America BritainUnited Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
USNavalStandardGeorge Dewey RoyalNavy???
The Battle of Pearl Harbor was a naval offensive undertaken by the US Pacific Fleet during the opening weeks of the Great War. It was a daring raid with the objective to catch the British Pacific Fleet off guard and capture the Sandwich Islands. The raid successfully knocked out the British Squadron there and its protective guns. After this, the US Marines and Infantry landed, easily overrunning the British forts and garrison on the islands.

BackgroundEdit

The United States Navy never forgot the humiliation paid upon its western coast by the British Pacific Squadron during the Second Mexican War (1881-2). The Royal Navy had sailed from its Pacific base at Pearl Harbor, Sandwich Islands, and raided the major US Pacific City of San Francisco. After defeating the US Pacific Squadron, the RN was able to blockade the entire US Pacific coast for the duration of the conflict.

By 1914, the US Pacific Fleet had been steadily rebuilt into a worthy fighting force with one goal in mind: capture the British naval base of Pearl Harbor. With control of these islands, the US Navy would be able to protect its own west coast, and take the offensive in the Pacific Ocean.

As the crises of August 1914 began to steadily worsen, the US Pacific Fleet put to sea. Three of its four main squadrons set sail for the Sandwich Islands, while the fourth, the Seattle Squadron, remained behind to deal with the combined British and Canadian fleet up in Vancouver and Victoria.

The BattleEdit

The Naval BattleEdit

The San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Squadrons of the US Pacific Fleet all steamed towards the Sandwich Islands as war was declared, along with a regiment of Marines, and a division of Infantry. As they drew near, the fleet swung west and south in a long loop around the western end of the island chain. The US would have to take the islands by surprise. If they failed, British battleships would be steaming up and down the west coast of the US for the rest of the war.

After running around the chain so to avoid being spotted, the US Pacific fleet fuelled up one last time, and set sail for Pearl Harbor. As they drew closer, a sea float plane from the battleship New York reported that a good number of British ships were still laid up in Pearl Harbor. With surprise on their side, the fleet moved in for the kill.

The fleet's torpedo boats sprinted ahead to provide a screen for the battleships. As they sighted land, the shore batteries of Pearl Harbor opened up, and once the battleships were within range, the US returned fire. As some of the shore guns found targets, the battleships started to zigzag to avoid being hit.

Finally the British began to mobilize their fleet and sent it out to engage the enemy. Unfortunately, the narrow waters of Pearl Harbor meant that the ships had to leave one at a time, and they could only rely on their forward facing guns. US battleships were able to turn broadside and unleash all their guns on the British. Although the British had decent gunners, the US Navy was able to concentrate all their fire-power on one ship at a time, and the British Hawaiian Squadron was soundly defeated.

Assaulting Fort William RufusEdit

Even as the naval battle for Pearl Harbour raged, the US Marines and Infantry landed safely, thanks in part to the British Squadron being bottle up in the harbor. Once ashore, the marines were able to overrun the forts that guarded Pearl Harbor, while the Army was able to easily defeat the British Garrison stationed on Oahu. Within a matter of weeks, the whole island was under US control. All that remained was an artificial island, situated west over Keehi Lagoon towards the entrance of Pearl Harbour. The US Navy couldn't use the naval base until the fort was destroyed.

However, taking out the fort proved a difficult task. With its two twelve inch guns, the fort had sunk a cruiser, a couple of destroyers, and damaged two battleships. The US Navy had to take out the fort otherwise a combined British and Japanese counter offensive could retake the islands and make the whole operation a waste of time, money and lives. Admiral George Dewey offered the defenders full military honors and safe passage anywhere they wanted, but the fort turned him down. Although the concrete casing of the fort made it invulnerable to ship attack, it had one fatal flaw. It had no anti-personnel defenses.

A freighter rounded the headland and sailed for the stern of the fort. Although it had a three-inch anti-aircraft gun that could've attacked the freighter, US battleship guns had long ago knocked it out of commission. The freighter landed unmolested and landed a combined force of US sailors and Marines and combat engineers, who got to work. The freighter carried a volatile mixture that was two parts heavy diesel oil, and one part gasoline. They poured it down the ventilation shafts of the fort, while the British were unable to retaliate. Although a few fired guns up the shafts, it did not stop the operation. When the freighter was finally empty, the engineers attached explosives to the shafts and set timers to blow in ten minutes. The freighter quickly withdrew, while US shore batteries opened up to prevent the British from coming topside to disarm the bombs.

The operation was a success, and Fort William Rufus was destroyed in a titanic blast. With the last obstacle gone, Pearl Harbor and the Sandwich Islands now belonged to the United States.

AftermathEdit

With Fort William Rufus destroyed, the US Pacific Fleet could take control of the Sandwich Islands, and make use of the anchorage at Pearl Harbor. The British didn't have an easy time supplying the islands, and the US would be able to resupply them far more easily. With the Sandwich Islands under the Stars and Stripes, the US West Coast was safe from enemy ships and the US would be able to take the offensive in the Pacific Ocean.

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