Wednesday, 10 September 2014

This is not an exercise

Given this lack of preparedness among the higher echelons of the Pacific navy, it should come as no surprise that when the attack [on Pearl Harbor] began men and women on the base and on those ships simply could not believe their eyes...

...Commander Logan Ramsey was on Ford Island when a Japanese pilot dived down: he and another officer ran out to get the number of whatever young idiot had decided to pull off such a dangerous stunt.

Harry Mead was astounded that American planes were bombing a hangar: ‘Boy… is somebody going to catch it for putting live bombs on those planes’.

Frank Stock, a fireman on the Vestal was struck by how red discs had been painted on the attack planes to add realism in a military exercise.

A marine Roy Henry bet another Marine that it was the Army surprising the Navy with false torpedoes.

Harry Mead saw something drop from a plane and thought ‘some mechanic is going to catch hell for that’, as explosions began he asked himself why they were using live ammunition.

Sailors on the USS Sumner were struck by the army flying planes on a Sunday.

Joseph A. Pesek thought that the bombing was strange but assumed that the navy was out to destroy a target in the water.

A group watching on Ford Island saw the Navy practising with water bombs and when an oil tank exploded in flame one commented that the pilot would get in trouble. When a disc was spotted on the wing of a plane, meanwhile, another commented: ‘There goes one of the red team’...
This piece in Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog perfectly captures the reality lag after a black swan has glided into plain sight. Everybody from the overlords of the Westminster/press bubble to this obscure English blogger knew that Scottish Independence was a theoretical possibility, but complacently assumed that it might happen some other time, maybe never. Now the captain and crew are about to find out whether that's a real torpedo heading for the ship of state.