Today in History, December 10: 1941 –
4,000 Japanese troops land in the Philippines, 700 land on the island of Guam and seize it. To top of a disastrous day, Japanese torpedo bombers swarmed over the British Battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse, sending them both to the bottom of the South China Sea. Since December 7th, Japanese air raids had destroyed fully half of the Allied aircraft in the Pacific theater. Some battleship sailors had consoled themselves with the thought that the ships lost at Pearl Harbor due to the air raid were unable to protect themselves only because they were caught at their moorings. It was believed that ships at sea, with room to maneuver could avoid aircraft. The loss of the powerful Prince of Wales and Repulse quickly put these thoughts to rest.