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The Sea and the Second World WarMaritime Aspects of a Global Conflict$
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Marcus Faulkner and Alessio Patalano

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781949668049

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9781949668049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

The Perils of Technological Transformation

The Perils of Technological Transformation

A Case Study of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor

(p.58) 3 The Perils of Technological Transformation
The Sea and the Second World War

Alan D. Zimm

University Press of Kentucky

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 saw the introduction of game-changing naval strike technologies, among them the first Japanese introduction of aircraft voice radios, shallow-running torpedoes, armor-piercing bombs, advanced fuzes, and the use of dive bombers against fleet units in port. The attack was the first instance of a multi-carrier strike, with over 350 aircraft participating. Instead of amplifying success, these technologies contributed to a very poor performance: with sufficient firepower to sink all the accessible battleships and cruisers in the harbor, with overkill, they applied killing levels of ordnance to only three. The attack is an exemplar of what can go wrong when introducing new naval technologies and doctrine. This chapter by Alan D. Zimm examines the errors made by the Japanese, the impact of these errors on strike performance, and the ultimate source of the errors. Examined are bombsights, general-purpose and armor-piercing bombs, radios and command and control, and torpedoes and anti-torpedo defenses. Much of the Japanese performance shortfall can be attributed to improper assimilation of new technologies, along with poor testing, manufacturing, and installation of new technologies.

Keywords:   anti-torpedo defenses, doctrine, Imperial Japanese Navy, Ordnance, Pearl Harbor, Tactics, Technology, Torpedoes, U.S. Navy

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