I've seen varying numbers regarding the amount of Japanese aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, but the number of attacking planes that failed to return to Japan's carriers remains constant: 29.

How many of these aircraft have been physically accounted for via wreckage, or by the evident damage crash diving into a target would have caused?

  • Interesting, I was wondering where the number 29 comes from? In a recent japanese film called Eternal 0, I recall they said there were 28 planes that did not return to the carriers.
    – nodosa
    May 2, 2015 at 10:24
  • 29 is the number in several of the reference books in my collection, and here is a link: j-aircraft.com/research/jimlansdale/japanese_losses_ph/… that agrees with that tally. May 2, 2015 at 12:42
  • It’s possible the Japanese differentiated losses by how they were lost. For example not counting there pilot who surrendered to Hawaiian civilians after “crash landing” on the Japanese rallying point for damaged plains. ( Niihau Island)
    – user27618
    Nov 20, 2017 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


24 of the 29 downings have been confirmed. The other 5 Japanese planes can be attributed to the 10 unconfirmed plane downings ( 3 by fighter planes, 2 ditched in the sea after the attack, 5 by AA fire )

The Japanese used 3 types of aircraft against Pearl Harbor.
Zero/Zeke - the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter
Val - the Aichi D3A1 Type 99 dive bomber
Kate - the Nakajima B5N Type 97 Bomber, used as both a torpedo plane or a high-level bomber.

29 total Japanese Losses:
- 9 Zeros
- 5 Kates
- 15 Vals

How they were lost: (confirmed)

8 confirmed Shot down by US fighters.  3 more were reported downed but could not be confirmed
  • 4 Vals were shot down by Lieutenant George Welsh
  • 2 Vals shot down by Lieutenant Ken Taylor who claimed 2 additional kills which went unconfirmed.
  • 1 Zero shot down by Lieutenant Harry Brown claimed 1 additional kill.
  • 1 Zero shot down by Lieutenant Philip Rasmussen
  • 2nd-Lieutenant Gordon Sterling (killed) reportedly had 1 unconfirmed kill before himself being shot down.
1  Zero confirmed Crashed on Niihau Island  
  • Pilot Officer 1st Class Shigenori Nishikaichi of the carrier Hiryu, captured by natives, later killed.
1  Val confirmed Collided with American plane 
2  Vals confirmed Ditched in sea en route home, possibly up to 4.  
2  Zeros confirmed flew too low and crashed.  
10 confirmed Shot down (5)kates, (5)Vals by anti-aircraft fire, possibly up to 15. 
  • 24 Confirmed (5 Zeros, 14 Vals, 5 Kates )
  • 10 other reported down, unconfirmed.
  • Looks like good work. Here's hoping you get a necromancer badge out of it.
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 22, 2017 at 19:27
  • ...Ding! Grats on the Necromancer badge!
    – T.E.D.
    Nov 22, 2017 at 21:32

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