Talk:First engagement of neutral United States in World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor

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First comments[edit]

When did this article become about American casualties?
It's title is "First American shots fired in World War II". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Osprey (talkcontribs) 12:12, 21 June 2005

The title also caused me a little confusion. As American's were fighting under the British flag before this time, these are really only the first American government sanctioned shots fired in WWII. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Anomie Schmidt (talkcontribs) 21:01, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

"One could argue that the sinking of the USS Reuben James by the German U-boat U-552 on October 31, 1941 might be considered the first American losses of World War II."
First lost ship, but USS Kearny (DD-432) lost 11 men to a U-boat attack on October 17. Whether those were the first killed, I don't know.
—WWoods (talk) 09:17, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Seeing as the war had very clearly started by 17 October 1941, the casualties aboard the USS Kearny were Americans who died as a direct result of WW II action. An official declaration of war should not be a criteria in determining whether the lives lost were lost in the war. Likewise, consideration must be paid to the Americans who died while fighting under the flags of others countries.

That said, none of this is relevant to this article. "First American shots fired in World War II" is completely separate from "first American lives lost."

Finally, I have to agree with Xyl 54, who is involved in this "generally accepted?"

This article makes unsubstantiated claims and runs far off topic.

Jef4444 (talk) 12:32, 2 August 2009 (UTC)


I’m not sure I follow the logic of this.
The US had been involved in an undeclared war in the Atlantic since the first US citizens were killed on the Athenia, in September 1939. Americans were being killed, and, after the Niblack incident, were shooting back, for a long time before the declaration of war in December 1941.
But if that is discounted because it was undeclared, where does that put the Ward incident? That was before any declaration of war, too.
And by listing it in this way it makes it look as if the US fired first, which isn’t the way I’d interpret the events at Pearl Harbor.
And “generally agreed”? By whom? There are no references at all here.Xyl 54 (talk) 17:44, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

USS Panay (Gunboat)[edit]

Don't let the "Gunboat" title fool anyone, the USS Panay was a real 186 foot long United States Navy warship armed with two 3" guns. It's just as long as Great Britain's HMS Victory...and the "Victory" is Britain's NATIONAL TREASURE!

USS Panay was on official duty, and was attacked and sunk by warplanes from the Empire of Japan on 12 December 1937. US Sailors were killed and wounded during the air attack, and the Panay did fight back with it's on board machineguns. However it was sunk in the Yangtze River. See actual 1937 film of vessel sinking on the web (two cameramen had been passengers on board at the time).

The US Navy warship USS Panay was the first United State's (American) "opening shot" prior to anything occurring in the years 1938, 1939, 1940, or the year 1941. This "opening shot" was against a traditional Axis Enemy (Japan)...although technically not on paper; a circumstance that would also apply to the warships USS Kearney and Reuben James. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 12 March 2010 (UTC)


I rewrote this article; the original was full of suppositions and seemed to verge on original research. The rewrite just lists the first actions of each type and leaves it to the reader to decide when "the first" shot was fired.Wkharrisjr (talk) 16:07, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

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