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Tora! Tora! Tora!

New this month Factual error: Japan's flag ship was the battleship Yamoto, not an aircraft carrier as the Japanese pilots were shown.

Other mistake: When the Japanese planes take off for Pearl Harbor, some of the 3 man torpedo planes only have a pilot.

Factual error: When the Japanese planes attack the airfield, none of the American planes have numbers or letters, just a star.

Factual error: Some of the 3 man Japanese torpedo bombers taking off only have the pilot on board.

Factual error: In a scene where the USS Arizona blows up, a Kingfisher aircraft is seen toppling from the catapult on Arizona's number 3 turret. On the morning of the attack, Arizona's two aircraft were on Ford Island undergoing maintenance.

Factual error: After the Opana radar operators call in their discovery of the approaching planes and are told "don't worry about it" they turn off the radar station. In the actual attack they stayed there all during the attack, and even tracked the planes returning to the carriers, thereby locating the exact position of the Japanese fleet. This information was also ignored by the command center.

Factual error: When the Japanese submarine is trying to sneak into Pearl Harbor, the ship identified as the USS Ward is a much newer type of destroyer, not the World War I vintage with 4 smoke stacks that the Ward actually was.

Continuity mistake: When the flight school instructor in the yellow Stearman first sees the Japanese planes, it is surrounded on three sides (left, right and rear), but when she takes the controls to dive out of the way, there are no Japanese planes on either side.

Dennis Gannon

Factual error: The radar installation at Opana Point on Oahu was a newly developed Westinghouse type scr-270. This is not the one shown in the movie, which is of more recent vintage.

Factual error: When the Japanese planes have arrived in Hawaii and are flying across the island before they arrived to bomb Pear Harbor, there is a microwave tower in the background. Microwave communications was not invented until much later in the century, so there were no microwave antennas or towers.

Factual error: In one scene you see a damaged B-17 about to land when he gets a call from the tower saying that he had a Zero on his tail and telling him to go around. This would never happen. A heavy B-17 (much less a damaged one) would never be able to outrun a Zero, especially after trying to land. The pilot's best option would have been to get it on the ground as soon as possible and to run like hell.

Factual error: In the opening scene of Washington DC the building on the left is the Museum of American History which wasn't built until around 1959.

Continuity mistake: During the attack a parked US plane is blown up and the prop goes cartwheeling off along the runway. Not wishing to waste a perfectly good explosion the director filmed this from several different angles and used the same explosion several times. You can easily see the prop each time.

Factual error: When the Japanese pilots are taking off the carrier deck, there is an overhead view of the launch. The carrier in the scene has a angled deck. The angle deck carriers didn't come along until after the war was over.

Factual error: At least twice in the movie you can see across the harbor a ship with the number 1048 on its bow. That ship is the USS Sample, which wasn't commissioned until 1968.

Factual error: The scene where the Japanese planes are taking off from their carriers shows a mix of aircraft in motion, mainly reproductions of the Zero, Kate, and Val aircraft that were used. In the actual event, the Zeros always left first as they needed the least space, and the heavier planes last. This is not the case in the film.

Factual error: None of the jeeps shown in this film are correct for 7 Dec. 1941. The standard jeep grill didn't appear until Feb. of 1942. All jeeps up to that point were either Bantam, Ford, or Willys prototypes or the first standardized jeeps (called slatgrills) that used welded bars for a grill, as did most military trucks of the time.

Continuity mistake: When Kramer meets Admiral Stark at his residence he is shown leaving the house through the front entrance. The next shot, showing the house from the drive, the entrance is not the same as the close-up.

Factual error: When the Japanese planes first arrive, they fly through the mountainous area near Schofield Barracks. The white cross that is seen in the movie is a memorial to identify the location of first appearance of the planes on Oahu. It wasn't there on December 7, 1941.

Other mistake: Just before the attack starts, there is a scene where the Navy are performing their start of day ceremony. Watch the sailor who rings the bell. After he has finished he walks backwards and stumbles as walks into a small raised item.

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Trivia

The code for successful surprise (and the movie's title) "Tora! Tora! Tora!" was a shortening of the words totsugeki (attack) and raigeki (the Japanese term for torpedo bombers), and was originally spelled "To ra, to ra, to ra!" Those two shortened words were interpreted by American radio operators, who happened to intercept them, as the Japanese word for "tiger"; hence "Tora! Tora! Tora!"

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