Rare Images Reveal Seaplane Sunk in Pearl Harbor Attack

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New images of a U.S. Navy seaplane that sank in Hawaiian waters during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are the clearest images taken of such wreckage. (Associated Press)

Use our fantastic interactive to better understand the “date which will live in infamy.”

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit, including a link to today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

This image shows the coral-encrusted cockpit of a PBY-5 Catalina seaplane that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. Photograph courtesy University of Hawaii Option Program and NOAA

The coral-encrusted cockpit of a PBY-5 Catalina seaplane sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, rests on the seabed about 9 meters (30 feet) beneath the surface.
Photograph courtesy University of Hawaii Option Program and NOAA

Here’s what a Catalina seaplane—nicknamed the “Flying Boat”—looked like making a landing at the U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, the 1940s. Photograph courtesy U.S. Navy

Here’s what a Catalina seaplane—nicknamed the “Flying Boat”—looked like making a landing at the U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, the 1940s.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Navy

Discussion Ideas

 

Click to learn a little about the major targets of the “date which shall live in infamy.”

Click to learn a little about the major targets of the “date which shall live in infamy.”

 

  • The wreckage discussed in the AP article was of a Catalina PBY-5 seaplane. Why do you think Catalinas were important to the Pacific Fleet—and an important target for the Japanese?
    • Catalinas were workhorses—they could take off and land on sea or on a tarmac; they could carry four 500-pound bombs; and they could fly as far as 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) without refueling—and would have been able to follow Japanese planes back to their aircraft carriers.
      • PBYs were patrol bombers—fixed-wing aircraft that performed missions with long durations over water. (In fact, PB stands for “patrol bomber.” Y was simply the code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft, the company that made the plane.) During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, convoy escorts, search-and-rescue missions, and even cargo transport.
      • PBYs continue to be workhorses today. They are often used in aerial firefighting all over the world. Take a closer look at “fire bombers” here.

 

  • According to the AP article, the wreckage is not accessible to the public, although it lies beneath just 9 meters (30 feet) of water. Why isn’t it accessible?
    • It’s against the law. The federal Sunken Military Craft Act of 2004 prohibits unauthorized disturbance of derelict military vessels or planes in U.S. waters. Only NOAA, a federal agency, made the University of Hawaii’s exploration possible. “Partnerships like this provide a means by which forgotten history is remembered, and stories like those of the PBY fleet can be shared with new generations,” says Cynthia Hunter, director of the University of Hawaii’s marine program.

 

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

USA Today: Images: Seaplane that sank in Pearl Harbor attack

Nat Geo: Remembering Pearl Harbor: An Interactive Map of the Attack on December 7, 1941

Nat Geo: What were the targets on the “date which shall live in infamy” map

Nat Geo: Date Which Will Live in Infamy article

NOAA: Rare images reveal details of U.S. Navy seaplane lost in Pearl Harbor attack 74 years ago photos and videos

One response to “Rare Images Reveal Seaplane Sunk in Pearl Harbor Attack

  1. Pingback: Weekly Warm Up: Use This Attack Map to Remember the Tragedy at Pearl Harbor | Nat Geo Education Blog·

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