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Pearl Harbor is a 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 Harbor as well as stage several explosions aboard actual decommissioned vessels (primarily a line of mothballed 70s-era Spruance-Class destroyers) in the harbor. Pearl Harbor also re-uses some of the modified "Japanese" aircraft created for Tora! Tora! Tora!, though thirty years of attrition had reduced that film's fleet of 36 aircraft to just 9 in flyable condition.
The following weapons were used in the film Pearl Harbor:
Webley Mk IV
While serving 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 while trying to bail out after suffering critical damage during a dogfight with German fighters during the Battle of Britain.
After crashing in Japanese-occupied China, the surviving B-25 Mitchell crews are armed with only Colt M1911A1 pistols to defend themselves. A few M1911A1s 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.
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.
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.
MG17 Machine Gun
During the Battle of Britain, Lt. Rafe 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.
Browning M2 Aircraft
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.
At the start of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the tail gunner on a Japanese B5N "Kate" torpedo bomber can be seen firing at 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 light machine gun, Japanese model of the Lewis Gun, for the tail gunner. It is all the more curious because earlier on in the attack scene, a shot shows a correctly-armed "Kate" in close-up.
Hispano-Suiza HS.404 20mm Cannon
During Lt. Rafe McCawley's service the Eagle Squadron during the Battle of Britain, his Supermarine Spitfire can be seen armed with Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannons. This is somewhat anachronistic as most Spitfires during the Battle of Britain were only armed with 8 machine guns 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.
A pair of Hawker Hurricanes also appear during the ground sequence at the RAF base: one is a Sea Hurricane Mk Ib, G-NKTH (marked as 7-L which would make it part of No. 12 Radio School, a training unit which did not exist until 1943), which might well have ended up armed with Hispano cannons but is only seen briefly in the background, while the other, a Canadian Mk XIIb marked XR-T (a correct code for an Eagle Squadron, though No. 71 squadron stopped flying Hurricanes in August 1941) is only armed with .303 Brownings. This would not have happened in real life as Spitfires and Hurricanes did not operate in mixed units, nevermind that neither variant was actually in service at the time of the Battle of Britain.
Browning Mk II*
The Spitfires are also armed with Browning .303 Mk II* machine guns, the British model of the American Browning M1919 machine gun, chambered for the .303 British cartridge instead of the American .30-06 cartridge. Most Spitfires during the Battle of Britain were only armed with 8 machine guns and no cannon, however, as the early cannon-armed Spitfires were buggy and unreliable.
One of the two Hawker Hurricane fighters that appear during the sequence at the RAF airbase, a Canadian Mk XIIb marked XR-T, is also armed with .303 Brownings.
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 models 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 "Kate" torpedo bombers are stretched SNJ Texan Navy training aircraft with the tail of a Vultee BT-13 grafted onto them.
Type 97 Aircraft Machine Gun
A brief cockpit view of a Mitsubishi A6M3-22 Zero reveals one mounted Type 97 Aircraft Machine Gun.
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.
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.
Browning Automatic Rifle
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, several Browning Automatic Rifles can be seen wielded by U.S. military personnel. All BARs used in the film were WW2/Korea M1918A2 fitted with WW1 era handguards and buttstocks to make them look like the older model. Although most WW1 era BARs 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.
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. There are also some inconsistencies in the scene, with one of the "Tombstone" drums vanishing in one shot and then returning in the next, and the drums switching from closed to open for no apparent reason.
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 1942. The 20-round magazine would have been accurate.
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, the majority of U.S. soldiers, sailors, and Marines are seen armed with M1903 Springfield bolt-action rifles.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor and President Franklin D. Roosevelt's (Jon Voight) 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.
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.
Winchester Model 1897 "Trench Gun"
During the attack on Pearl Harbor, Sergeant Earl Sistern (Tom Sizemore) can be seen wielding a militarized model of the Winchester Model 1897 "Trench Gun" 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.
Type 97 Hand Grenade
During the shootout between the surviving B-25 Mitchell crews and the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers, Lt. Gooz Wood (Michael Shannon) grabs a Type 97 hand grenade from a dead soldier, using it to kill the remaining Japanese soldiers.
20mm Type 98 Anti-Aircraft Cannon
When the B-25s attack Tokyo, Japanese forces are seen opening fire at the bombers with their Type 98 20mm cannon. The exaggerated, fiery muzzle flashes however reveal these to be acetylene prop weapons.
Oerlikon 20mm Cannon
Oerlikon 20mm Cannons are seen mounted on US battleships during the attack sequence. They are anachronistic, as the US had only produced 379 of these guns at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor and had yet to begin any widespread rearmament of warships with them: the ship actually in the film, USS Texas, did not receive Oerlikons until her refit in early 1942.
1.1"/75 caliber gun
These small and ineffective quad guns were the primary AA gun mounted on US warships in the early stages of WW2, but are only seen in a sequence of real-life archive footage after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Jon Voight) stands up following the "Day of Infamy" speech.
During a pan across her bow prior to the Doolittle Raid launch, one of the three Phalanx CIWS installations on the USS Constellation can be seen.
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, and single ground mounts can be seen during the attacks on the airfield.
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.
14"/45 caliber 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 Harbor at the time of the raid, she is the world's only surviving dreadnought and so the production had little choice in the matter.
16"/50 caliber Mark 7 gun
The Iowa-Class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) is used to stand in for American battleships in some shots, mostly playing the role of the USS West Virginia (BB-48), a Colorado-Class battleship that mounted eight of the older 16"/45 caliber gun in four twin turrets, and was scrapped in 1959. Rather obviously this is anachronistic, as the Missouri was not commissioned by the US Navy until June 1944 and is shown with the refit she received in the mid-80s.
5"/51 caliber gun
These guns formed the secondary armament of the battleships.
5"/38 caliber gun
These guns formed the secondary armament of the USS Missouri.
5"/54 caliber Mark 42 gun
This gun, developed in 1953, can be seen mounted on Knox-Class frigates during the attack sequence.