After careful analysis of a photograph taken by a Japanese aviator over Pearl Harbor, a team of experts is convinced that the 7 December 1941 attack was more than an air raid.
For years historians have relied on survivor and eyewitness accounts, material testing, and, if available, declassified intelligence reports to help gather evidence to piece together an event. Advances in computer technology now have allowed photo imagery analysts to enhance and sharpen images, changing the way the world is viewed. For example, digital photo imagery analysis techniques used to measure an inward-bent hull plate have re-energized the debate about the reasons for the destruction of the USS Maine (see April 1998 Naval History).
History has recorded that five Imperial Japanese Type- A-class midget submarines, deployed as an advance force to attack the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, failed to inflict any damage during the 1941 attack. Results from digital imagery, engineering, and forensic analyses of a single dramatic photograph taken that infamous December morning by a Japanese aviator, however, now refute that view.