Tora! Tora! Tora!

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Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 World War II film that details the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The film told the story from both the US and Japanese perspectives with the production split into two units, one in the United States directed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea's Richard Fleischer and the other in Japan, briefly involving Akira Kurosawa before switching to Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, and was cast with character actors, which was not customary for war films of this scale at the time. Tora! Tora! Tora! did boast several vivid action sequences, some of which were filmed in and around Pearl. A fleet of aircraft were assembled for the film (including aircraft modified to make 12 "Zeroes," 9 "Kates" and 9 "Vals," a PBY Catalina, 5 B-17s and 2 P-40 Warhawks), with flight operations alone making up some $2.5 million of the budget. In addition, full scale replicas of the entire Japanese battleship Nagato and part of the carrier Akagi were constructed on a beach in Japan, and the US Navy loaned the production the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown for filming.

Several of the combat sequences were re-used in films such as Midway and The Final Countdown. The Pearl Harbor attack would also be recreated for the movie screens in 2001's Pearl Harbor, with several of the modified "Japanese" aircraft made for this film appearing in the latter. The famous "sleeping giant" quote from Admiral Yamamoto, which there is no evidence of him ever actually saying, also originated with this film.

The name of the film is a reference to the codephrase used by the Japanese strike force to indicate total surprise: while there are some interesting claims as to where this originates (such as meaning "tiger" or being made from the first syllables of the words for "lightning attack") it was probably just two random Morse code syllables chosen to indicate the attack.

The following weapons were used in the film Tora! Tora! Tora!:



The M1911 is seen carried by various US Naval personnel and US Army Air Corps pilots in the film.

Colt M1911 Pistol - .45 ACP
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M1928 Thompson submachine gun

Various personnel of the US Army are seen using M1928 Thompsons to defend Pearl Harbor from the Japanese attack.

M1928A1 Thompson with a drum magazine .45 ACP
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M1903 Springfield

US Army personnel also are seen using the M1903 Springfield while defending Pearl Harbor from the Japanese attack.

Springfield M1903 Mk 1 - .30-06
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Arisaka Type 38

Japanese Navy personnel are seen carrying the Arisaka Type 38.

Arisaka Type 38 battle rifle 7.7x58mm

Browning M2 water cooled

The water cooled variant of the Browning M2 is seen mounted on US Navy battleships during the 'Day of Infamy'.

Browning M2- .50 Water Cooled
Mess Attendant Third Class Doris "Dorie" Miller (Elven Havard) uses a watercooled M2 with a 200-round "tombstone" drum on the USS West Virginia. This scene is based on an actual event during the attack; after going to his battle station only to find it had already been destroyed by a Japanese torpedo, Miller came topside to aid wounded sailors, carried his mortally-wounded captain to an aid station, then he and two other sailors took control of the two unmanned AA guns on the ship's conning tower (Miller the starboard gun and Ensign Victor Delano the port), Miller personally shooting down three or four attacking aircraft (reports differ) and firing until he ran out of ammunition. He then further assisted in moving injured crewmen to the quarterdeck. For his actions, Miller became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross.
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Browning M2 Aircraft

The Browning M2 Aircraft heavy machine gun is seen mounted in the wings of USN Fighters, and earlier in a B-17 Bomber.

Browning M2 Aircraft - .50 BMG

3-inch / 50 calibre gun

A sequence of a US Navy destroyer dropping depth charges on a Japanese submarine in the run-up to the attack provides a good view of her stern-mounted 3"/50 calibre gun. The ship is playing the role of the USS Ward (DD-139, later APD-16), a Wickes-class four-stack destroyer which fired the first American shots of the Pacific War. She was ultimately sunk by gunfire from the Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer USS O'Brien (DD-725) after sustaining fatal damage from Kamikaze attacks while acting as an escort during the battle for Leyte: this happened on December 7th 1944, 3 years to the day after the attack on Pearl. In an even stranger twist of fate, the O'Brien was under the command of the same man who had been the Ward's commanding officer three years before, William W. Outerbridge.

By the time the film was made, not one of the 111 WW1-era Wickes-class remained: the last, USS Maddox (aka HMS Georgetown, HMCS Georgetown and Doblestny), had been scrapped in 1952. As a result, in the film she is actually the USS Finch (DE-328), an Edsall-class destroyer escort.

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