Pearl Harbor

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Pearl Harbor (2001)

Pearl Harbor is the 2001 World War II film that stars Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett as childhood friends who became pilots for the US Army Air Corps and find themselves in the middle of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Directed by Michael Bay and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, the film was released to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the actual event and the production was allowed to shoot sequences on the actual Naval base at Pearl as well as stage several explosions aboard actual decommissioned vessels (primarily a line of mothballed 70s-era Spruance-Class destroyers) in the harbor.

The following weapons were used in the film Pearl Harbor:



Webley Mk IV

While serving with the British Royal Air Force's Eagle Squadron early in the film, Lt. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) carries a Webley Mk IV revolver as his sidearm. He is seen only using it once when he tries to shoot out the canopy of his Supermarine Spitfire fighter when trying to bail out after suffering critical damage during a dogfight with German fighters during the Battle of Britain.

Webley Mk.IV WW2 British Army version .38 S&W
Lt. Rafe McCawley draws his Webley Mk IV while trying to escape his doomed Supermarine Spitfire


After crashing in Japanese-occupied China, the surviving B-25 Mitchell crews are armed with only M1911A1 pistols to defend themselves. A few M1911A1's can also be seen in the hands of U.S. military personnel during the attack on Pearl Harbor, most notably when several soldiers inspect a crashed Japanese plane.

M1911A1 .45 ACP
Capt. Rafe McCawley (Ben Affleck) and other B-25 crash survivors are armed with M1911A1's as they try to repel the Japanese forces.
A closeup of Capt. Rafe McCawley's M1911A1 as he grabs for it to shoot Imperial Japanese Army soldiers.

Nambu Type 14

When the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers attempt to capture the B-25 Mitchell survivors, one of the soldiers can be briefly seen armed with a Nambu Type 14 pistol, but isn't shown firing it in the ensuing shootout.

Nambu Type 14 8mm Nambu
An Imperial Japanese Army soldier brandishes a Nambu Type 14 pistol

Aircraft Machine Guns

MG15 Machine Gun

During the Battle of Britain, Heinkel He-111 bombers can be seen armed with MG15 machine guns as defensive armament, though these prove no match for the RAF Spitfires, which simply attack the German planes from angles where the machine guns cannot engage them. These aircraft are pure CGI, with the exception of an He-111H seen in stock footage. At the time there was just one airworthy He-111 airframe in the world, a Spanish CASA 2.111, which was later destroyed in a crash in 2003.

MG15 machine gun 7.92x57mm Mauser
A German Heinkel He-111 with a nose-mounted MG15 machine gun during the Battle of Britain.

MG17 Machine Gun

During the Battle of Britain, Lt. McCawley becomes engaged in a dogfight with German Bf-109 fighters equipped with MG17 machine guns as their primary armament. As is common in war films, these aircraft are actually Hispano Aviación Ha-1112-M1L "Buchon" fighters, a Spanish license-built copy of the Bf-109. These particular examples have had their 20mm Hispano cannons removed and so are actually completely unarmed: the gunfire is pure CGI.

MG17 machine gun - 7.92x57mm Mauser
A Ha-1112-M1L (right) firing its MG17 machine guns at Rafe's Spitfire. Note the rounded wingtips and lack of struts supporting the aircraft's horizontal tail surface, which were features of later variants of the BF-109 starting with the BF-109F, and would be out of place on a Battle of Britain-era BF-109E.
A tracer from the "Bf-109's" MG17 machine gun flashes past Rafe's Spitfire

Browning M2 Aircraft Heavy Machine Gun

The Browning M2 Aircraft heavy machine gun appears in the film as the primary armament of U.S. aircraft, specifically the P-40 Warhawk fighters and the B-25 Mitchell bombers, the latter of which have some removed and replaced with black-painted broomsticks to reduce weight and maximize fuel economy. In the real raid this was a visual deception aimed at discouraging Japanese fighters from attacking the bombers from behind rather than a direct replacement (as the B-25B did not actually have a tail gun position): the weight saving came from removing the entire remote-controlled ventral Bendix turret, a notoriously useless periscope-sighted system. This was not a panicked last-ditch idea as shown in the film: the fake tail guns were already in place when the USS Hornet departed Alameda for Tokyo.

Browning M2 aircraft heavy machine gun .50 BMG
A group of Browning M2 heavy machine guns being test-fired in a P-40 Warhawk. This is probably a prop wing with gas-firing guns: note the oversized muzzles. Note also there are three guns in the wing: this is anachronistic, as period P-40s were B or C models which only had a pair of .30 caliber machine guns in each wing and a pair of synchronized .50 caliber guns mounted on the engine cowling. The flying Warhawks in the movie are later E and N models.
A Browning M2 heavy machine gun lying discarded on the deck of the U.S.S. Hornet after being pulled out of a B-25 Mitchell
A B-25 Mitchell flown by Col. Doolittle (Alec Baldwin) is seen armed with Browning M2 heavy machine guns in the nose, dorsal turret and two on the sides of the fuselage (the barrels of the latter are visible above and below the middle of the propeller). The location of the dorsal turret and the presence of fuselage-mounted guns shows this to be an anachronistic G-or-later variant (it is actually a B-25J) rather than the B-25Bs used in the Doolittle Raid. This did save the film the expense of removing the remote turrets, since by the J version they were no longer fitted.

Browning AN/M2 Machine Gun

At the start of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the tail gunner on a Japanese B5N "Kate" torpedo bomber can be seen firing on people below with a Browning AN/M2 machine gun on a flex mount. This is highly inaccurate, as the Kate was equipped with a Type 92 machine gun, Japan's version of the Lewis gun, for the tail gunner.

Browning AN/M2 machine gun .30-06
The tail gunner of a Japanese B5N Kate opens up with a Browning AN/M2 machine gun

Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20mm cannon

During Lt. McCawley's service with the Eagle Squadron during the Battle of Britain, his Supermarine Spitfire can be seen armed with Hispano cannons. This is somewhat anachronistic as most Spitfires during the Battle of Britain were only armed with 8 MGs and no cannon, since the early cannon-armed Spitfires were buggy and unreliable.

Four actual Spitfires appeared in the film, three Mark Vs (marked as RF-C, RF-Y and RF-M) and one Mark VIII (marked RF-T). One replica was made for ground shots.

Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20mm with ammo drum
Lt. McCawley firing his Spitfire's Hispano cannon (which acts like a Mk 2 Browning) during the Battle of Britain. Note the squadron code on the plane is "RF," which very badly incorrect: this code is for the feared No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron. The Eagle Squadrons were XR (No. 71), AV (No. 121) and MD (No. 133). None were operating during the period considered to be the Battle of Britain by UK historians, 10th July - 31st October 1940. It would have been impossible for a USAAF pilot to join such a squadron before the attack on Pearl Harbor without deserting, as it would violate the on-paper neutrality of the US.

Mk 2 Browning Machine Gun

The Spitfires are also armed with Mk 2 Browning machine guns, the British version of the American Browning M1919 machine gun, chambered for the .303 British round instead of the American .30-06 cartridge. Most Spitfires during the Battle of Britain were only armed with 8 MGs and no cannon, however, as the early cannon-armed Spitfires were buggy and unreliable.

Browning Mk 2 machine gun .303 British
The Spitfires seen during the Battle of Britain are also armed with Mk 2 Browning machine guns, the British version of the American Browning M1919 machine gun.

Type 92 Light Machine Gun

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese D3A "Val" dive bombers and B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers can be seen with Type 92 light machine guns, a Japanese copy of the Lewis Gun for the tail gunners.

The non-CGI versions of these aircraft, three of each, were all originally created for Tora! Tora! Tora!. The "Val" dive bombers were made from Vultee BT-13 and BT-15 training aircraft, while the "Kates" are stretched SNJ Texan Navy training aircraft with the tail of a Vultee BT-13 grafted onto them.

Type 92 - 7.7×58mm Arisaka
A group of Japanese B5N "Kate" torpedo bombers fitted with Type 92 light machine guns prepare to attack Pearl Harbor

Type 99 Cannon

Japanese "Zero" fighters are also armed with Type 99 cannons mounted in the wings. While many shots of in-flight aircraft are CGI, three actual flying Zero fighters were present for the production. They are not the A6M2 model that were actually present for the raid, however: the aircraft are N46770, a late-war A6M5-52 from 1943, N712Z, an A6M3-22 (a model first produced in December 1942), and N553TT, a replica A6M3 built in Russia in 1997. These aircraft are also painted green, which was not done with Zeros until 1943: the aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor were painted light grey.

Type 99 cannon aircraft variants, top an earlier Type 99 Mark 1 Model 3 - 20x72mm RB, bottom a later Type 99 Mark 2 Model 3 - 20x101mm RB
A Japanese "Zero" uses its Type 99 cannons to strafe the airfield during the attack. The Type 97 light machine guns are mounted in the nose in front of the cockpit, and fire through the propeller using a gun synchronizer. The Type 97 machine guns do not appear to be firing in this particular picture.

Prop Machine Guns

In one sequence, pilots on the ground are seen being strafed from a Japanese plane's machine gun point of view. These are probably supposed to be the fuselage mounted twin machine guns of a Japanese Zero, but the propeller and fuselage would be visible from this view. In reality these are probably prop gun barrels mounted on a camera helicopter or crane / wire-mounted camera rig.

The "Japanese plane" strafes the airfield with its machine guns.

Machine Guns

Browning Automatic Rifle

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, several Browning Automatic Rifles can be seen wielded by U.S. military personnel. All BAR's used in the movie were WWII/Korea M1918A2 fitted with WWI era handguards and buttstocks to make them look like the older version. Although most WWI era BAR's were modernized, the handguard was usually the first thing that was replaced or converted. The real M1918 that would have been correct for the time would have been in a highly blued finish without bipod. Furthermore, the sight would have been different.

M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle without carry handle - .30-06
Joe (Matthew Davis) holds the BAR.
Joe and another man inspect a crashed Japanese plane armed with Browning Automatic Rifles.
A U.S. Army soldier fires on the pursuing Japanese planes with a Browning Automatic Rifle.

Browning M2HB Heavy Machine Gun

The Browning M2HB heavy machine gun makes several appearances in the film, most notably during the attack on Pearl Harbor where Mess Attendant Third Class Doris "Dorie" Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr.), incorrectly referred to as a Petty Officer by the film (this status was not extended to sailors in the Messman / Steward Branch until 1950), uses a pair of M2HBs in a twin naval anti-aircraft mounting aboard the USS West Virginia to shoot down several Japanese aircraft. Lt. "Gooz" Wood (Michael Shannon) also mans one to defend the auxiliary airfield. The former is not historically accurate: the real Doris Miller took control of a single-mounted water-cooled M2 (as was shown in Tora! Tora! Tora!), not a twin M2HB.

Browning M2HB .50 BMG in vehicle mount
Lt. Billy Thompson (William Lee Scott) mans a Browning M2HB heavy machine gun.
Lt. "Gooz" Wood (Michael Shannon) mans a Browning M2HB heavy machine gun (note the missing front and rear sights)
Mess Attendant Third Class Doris Miller mans the Browning M2HBs in a twin naval anti-aircraft mounting (specifically, a twin 20mm Oerlikon gun mount) aboard the USS West Virginia. Alongside the ship can be seen the mast of an anachronistic 1965 Knox-Class frigate: West Virginia was actually flanked by her sister USS Tennessee to starboard and no ship to port, the latter being why she took so many torpedo hits during the attack.
Matt3c Miller (Cuba Gooding Jr.) lets out a cheer after shooting down a Japanese plane.

Submachine Guns

M1928A1 Thompson

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, several M1928A1 Thompsons can be seen wielded by Rafe, Danny and several of the other pilots. These Thompsons are fitted with 50-round drum and 30-round box magazines. The usage of the 30-round box magazines is anachronistic due to the fact that it was not in use until its debut together with the M1 Thompson in the 1942. The 20-round magazine would have been accurate.

M1928A1 Thompson with a drum magazine .45 ACP
A production image of Josh Hartnett as Lieutenant Danny Walker wielding an M1928A1 Thompson with a 50-round drum magazine.
The pilots take cover behind sandbags while holding M1928A1 Thompsons. Both Rafe & Danny have their Thompsons fitted with drum magazines, but the Thompson held by Joe (Matthew Davis) is loaded with the anachronistic 30 round "box" magazine.
While in the tower, Lt. "Red" Winkler (Ewen Bremner) holding an M1928A1 Thompson with fitted with a drum magazine.
M1928A1 Thompson with 30-round box magazine .45 ACP
Lt. "Red" Winkler (Ewen Bremner) takes cover with an M1928A1 Thompson with the anachronistic 30 round box magazine. He's seen later with the more accurate drum magazine loaded.


Springfield M1903

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines are seen armed with M1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles.

M1903 Springfield .30-06
U.S. Navy sailors return fire on attacking Japanese planes with M1903 Springfield rifles

M1 Garand

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Jon Voight)'s famous "Day of Infamy" speech, newsreel footage of America's military response is shown, wherein U.S. Army soldiers can be briefly seen marching with M1 Garand rifles.

M1 Garand .30-06
Newsreel footage of U.S. Army soldiers marching with M1 Garand rifles following the attack on Pearl Harbor

Arisaka Type 38

After crashing in Japanese-occupied China, the surviving B-25 Mitchell crews are captured by Japanese soldiers armed with Arisaka Type 38 rifles, one of which is used to fatally wound Captain Danny Walker during a brief shootout. Afterward, the remaining survivors commandeer some of these rifles until they make contact with the Chinese.

Arisaka Type 38 battle rifle 7.7x58mm
An Imperial Japanese Army soldier holds his Arisaka Type 38 rifle on Capt. Danny Walker
Imperial Japanese Army soldiers brandishing Arisaka Type 38 rifles while capturing surviving B-25 Mitchell crewmen.


Winchester Model 1897

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sgt. Earl Sistern (Tom Sizemore) can be seen wielding a militarized version of the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun retrieved from the saddlebag of his Indian motorcycle, firing off several rounds at passing Japanese aircraft. In a goof, he fires eleven shots from a six-shot magazine.

Winchester Model 1897 12 gauge militarized
Sgt. Earl Sistern fires off his Winchester Model 1897 shotgun at passing Japanese planes.
In the director's cut, Sgt. Earl Sistern (Tom Sizemore) with the militarized version of the Winchester Model 1897 shotgun.
Sgt. Earl Sistern (Tom Sizemore) fires the shotgun.


Type 97 Hand Grenade

During the shootout between the surviving B-25 crews and the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers, Lt. "Gooz" Wood (Michael Shannon) grabs a Type 97 hand grenade off a dead soldier, using it to kill the remaining Japanese soldiers.

Type 97 High-Explosive Fragmentation hand grenade
A Type 97 hand grenade on a slain Imperial Japanese Army soldier.

20mm Type 98 Anti Aircraft Cannon

When the B-25's bomb Tokyo, Japanese forces are seen opening fire on the bombers with their 20mm Type 98 Anti-aircraft cannons. The exaggerated, fiery muzzle flashes however reveal these to be acetylene prop weapons.

Type 98 AA gun at the Chinese People's Revolution Military Museum in Beijing - 20x142mm
Japanese soldiers man a Type 98 anti-aircraft gun during the raid on Tokyo. Why the soldier on the left is holding two loose rounds for this magazine-fed weapon is unclear.

Bofors 40mm

In various scenes in Pearl Harbor, Bofors 40mm guns, usually in quad installations, can be seen on the American battleships: this is somewhat anachronistic, since before 1942 most US warships had a light AA armament consisting of the unreliable and already more-or-less obsolete 1.1in / 75 cal AA gun, often backed up by batteries of water-cooled Browning M2s. Bofors guns are also seen on the USS Hornet during the Doolittle Raid launching sequence

In the film, USS Hornet (CV-8, a Yorktown-Class carrier sunk by Japanese aircraft during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in October 1942) is played by either the museum ship USS Lexington (CV-16, an Essex-Class carrier) or the USS Constellation (CV-64, a Kitty Hawk-Class supercarrier) depending on the scene: the takeoff sequence involved four real B-25Js taking off from the Constellation. The 40mm guns being shown indicate that the ship on screen is the Lexington. The real CV-8 Hornet did not carry 40mm guns (of the three Yorktowns only CV-6 Enterprise did): at the time of the Doolittle Raid, she had eight 5in / 38 cal dual-purpose guns in four twin mounts, sixteen 1.1in / 75 cal AA guns in four "Chicago piano" quad mounts, and thirty 20mm Oerlikons replacing her original twenty-four Browning M2s. This error is probably a result of confusing her with the second USS Hornet to serve in the war (CV-12, named in honor of the first) which was an Essex-Class like Lexington.

The same two American carriers also stand in for the Japanese flagship IJN Akagi.

Bofors 40mm L/60 quad mounting - 40x311mmR

Naval Guns

14"/45 caliber - United States Naval Gun

The USS Oklahoma (BB-37) and USS Arizona (BB-39) are armed with 14"/45 caliber guns. The vessel that stands in for all US battleships with these guns in non-CG shots which are not on purpose-built sets (three full-scale battleship bow sets were built for the film) is the New York-class dreadnought battleship USS Texas (BB-35), the third-oldest preserved battleship in the world after the Japanese pre-dreadnought Mikasa and the British first-rate ship of the line HMS Victory. While no New York-Class battleships were in Pearl at the time of the raid, she is the world's only surviving dreadnought and so the production had little choice in the matter.

A Japanese bomb about to hit the Arizona. This particular image appears to have been paid homage to in Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. The explosion that follows is a CG paint-over of footage of the sinking of the Australian destroyer escort HMAS Torrens with a Mark 48 Mod 4 torpedo during an exercise in 1999.

5"/51 caliber gun

These guns formed the secondary armament of the battleships.

The Oklahoma going down as she is about to hit by a torpedo. The bow section up to the triple-gun turret was a full-scale set on an enormous gimbal mount so it could capsize in the massive water tank located in Rosarita, Mexico (this facility is also known as the "Titanic water tank"). The remainder of the ship was rendered with CGI.

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