Was the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor a superbly planned and brilliantly executed success (even if it was a big mistake)? That is the way I have always understood it. Alan Zimm, in this interesting essay, The Pearl Harbor Myth, suggests a re-think:
But examining the attack’s planning and execution blunders offers a key perspective on the Pacific War. Defeat forces change; victory entrenches the current system, with all its faults.
By celebrating its success at Pearl Harbor, Japan sheltered myriad problems. Victory obscured poor planning, to be seen again at Midway; poor staff procedures were evident later at Guadalcanal. Poor target selection, attack tactics, and accuracy appeared again in the carrier battles; poor aerial command and control manifested throughout the war. Victory perpetuated a samurai approach to aerial combat that led to horrendous losses.