Friday, July 5, 2013

Ewa Field Battlefield Survey Report released by Navy

Ewa Field Battlefield Survey Report released by Navy

by John Bond

The Ewa Field December 7 Battlefield could become a recognized National Battlefield, National Landmark and major new West Oahu visitor attraction 


A public meeting will now finally help bring the Save Ewa Field mission to an official Federal Section 106 Public hearing. The Pearl Harbor attack of 1941 remains today as the single GREATEST visitor attraction for Oahu.  All of the other major Pearl Harbor attack sites have become National Landmarks, but they are all on Military Bases.  This is the FIRST NEW recognized Pearl Harbor battle site and it is in West Oahu.

A recognized Ewa Field Historic Park could bring thousands of visitors to Ewa-West Oahu as part of a Pearl Harbor tour program and part of the National Park Service WW-II Valor In The Pacific monument. The Hawaii State Legislature as well as three neighborhood boards voted in 2009 for the preservation of Ewa Field as a park, museum site, memorial landmark and national battlefield. Pearl Harbor historian Daniel Martinez has called Ewa Field "Hallowed Ground" because of the US Marines killed in action there. Hundreds of veterans, citizens and remaining Pearl Harbor attack survivors have attend our annual Save Ewa Field events.

Ewa Field Battlefield Survey Report:

Lots of specific Ewa Field information for Dec. 7 historians in this PDF- many aspects covered- including runways, buildings, railway line, horse stables and much more. The "integrity" is skewed towards the Hunt Corp agenda of LEAST PRESERVATION- but reading the actual survey report tells a lot more and says the survey is just "preliminary." A LOT MORE research and survey documentation is needed, say the report authors for this very significant December 7 Battlefield.

A few selected random bits...

1.1.4: EWA FIELD BATTLEFIELD BOUNDARY Based on the battlefield defining features identified through military terrain analysis above, the core area of the Ewa Field battlefield encompasses approximately 180 acres, including the extent of the installation’s aviation and camp areas in 1941. This boundary is shown in Figure 1 (p. 25), and includes all the areas known to have been directly involved in combat. This is the area addressed in the integrity evaluation that follows. Several areas of strafing mark groups have craters in the concrete much larger than that made from the 7.7mm bullets of the Japanese machine guns. These craters are of variable width, from about 4" to about 12" across and about 2½" deep, and may have been made by the projectile of a 20mm cannon from a Japanese Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighter. This aircraft had 2- 20mm cannons (Oerlikon Type FF cannons firing 20x72rb cartridge) mounted in the wings along with 2- 7.7mm machine guns in the fuselage. A record of this damage (possible bullet marks and spalling) to the concrete aircraft warm-up platform was made during the fieldwork for this report and is included in Appendix A of this report.

A Japanese Val pilot after the war related:
"After bombing the battleship we looked down on Ford Island and strafed the airfield (at Ewa) as instructed. After that we evacuated toward the sea off Honolulu (Ewa). There we circled and waited for the others to show up. Just then we were followed and attacked by a P-40 enemy fighter plane."

"Pilot Gotoh of the No.1 plane of (an) Akagi carrier bomber (shotai), which had participated in the attack with us, engaged one of these P-40s in an air duel. Both ended up shooting each other down off Honolulu (Ewa). The enemy plane went down and so did ours. Because we had observed the air duel both were credited with a plane shot down."
The fighter aircraft were Mitsubishi A6M, named "Zero" or "Zeke" by the US. These aircraft were armed with two, forward firing 7.7mm machine guns in the fuselage and two, 20mm cannon in the wings firing a 20 x 72rb round. This was an early type of 20mm cartridge, of relatively lower power than later 20mm rounds, firing its projectile at about 1900 feet/ second velocity. Zeros were capable of carrying 60kg bombs, but were not armed with bombs that day. These fast and nimble aircraft would have been able to strafe ground targets at Ewa Field.

On the morning of December 7, 1941 several mobile batteries (with 3" guns) were set up and ready to fire between 10 and 11 am. One mobile battery was ready at Fort Weaver at 11:45 am. .30 cal. machine gun units and fixed 3" guns at Fort Weaver were quickly readied and began engaging the attacking aircraft at 8:14 and 8:30 am (Gaines 2001, 46). Another cadre of men at a fixed battery at Fort Barrette opened fire with small arms before the battery was ready to fire (Gaines 2001, 46). A regiment of Coast Artillery at Camp Malakole, near Barber's Point, had moved into their positions at West Loch and near Ewa and were ready to fire at 11:45 am.

Guards at Camp Malakole had shot down a strafing Japanese plane at about 8:05 am with small arms fire (Gaines 2001, 47). The Navy's Fleet Machine Gun Training School at Fort Weaver began firing machine guns and 20mm cannon at 8:10 and are credited with downing four Japanese aircraft.

After the attack, maps that were found on the bodies of downed Japanese aviators showed that the attackers had a very accurate picture of the location of US gun batteries on Oahu (Williford 2003, 40).

The surviving Quonsets huts at Ewa Field are evaluated here in light of this recent change in how Quonsets are viewed and are considered potentially eligible for the National Register. Other structures at Ewa Field can be considered potentially eligible. A cluster of former warehouses at the corner of Coral Sea Road and Roosevelt Avenue could be eligible as a district or thematic grouping, and an aircraft hangar and compass rose have direct ties to the core aviation function of Ewa Field and are also potentially NR eligible.

2.4.3: EWA FIELD AIRCRAFT REVETMENT HISTORIC DISTRICT The approximately 75 extant vaulted concrete aircraft revetments south of the airfield that were constructed ca. 1942-43 have been evaluated in previous studies and are considered eligible for the National Register as a district for their association with the development of Ewa Field during World War II. Although some of the revetments are currently used as horse stables, all aspects of their integrity are retained (setting is partially retained due to infill horse corrals and vegetation growth).

'Forgotten' Sacrifice Honored In West Oahu