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  #1  
Old 01-29-2005, 07:54 PM
Casey1505 Casey1505 is offline
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Easy question, re: Pearl Harbor

What does "Tora Tora Tora" mean?

All I'm finding are links to the movie. Thanks.
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:01 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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IIRC, Attack, Attack, Attack.
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:13 PM
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Wasn't it "Tiger, tiger, tiger"?
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gatopescado
Wasn't it "Tiger, tiger, tiger"?
I thought it was, "Attack, tiger!",3 times.
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:30 PM
chukhung chukhung is offline
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This page says
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0749 hours

Air-attack commander Mitsuo Fuchida, looking down on Pearl Harbor, sees no aircraft carriers, which the Japanese hoped to destroy and thus thwart U.S. retaliation. He orders his telegraph operator to tap out to, to, to: attack. Then other taps: to ra, to ra, to ra: attack, surprise achieved.

Though not meant to have a double meaning, to ra is read by some Japanese pilots as tora—tiger. And according to a Japanese saying, “A tiger goes out 1,000 ri [2,000 miles/3,218 kilometers] and returns without fail.”
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Old 01-29-2005, 09:35 PM
bonitahi bonitahi is offline
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Originally Posted by gatopescado
Wasn't it "Tiger, tiger, tiger"?
I thought it was, "Attack, tiger!",3 times.
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Old 01-30-2005, 02:32 AM
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Wasn't it "Tiger, tiger, tiger"?
I think so.
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Old 01-30-2005, 03:24 AM
Aeschines Aeschines is offline
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"Tora" means tiger in Japanese.

To/ra in some combination must be a kind of code, because those are not standard terms for attack/surprise.

"To" (whether long or short) is a bland phoneme in Japanese. It could be a bunch of different things.

"Ra" (only the short syllable is commonly used) on the other hand doesn't have a lot of meanings. None of them are connected to "surprise," unless the meaning of "naked" refers to the enemy's lack of protection. Seems unlikely.

In other words, no really useful information in this thread yet, as far as I can see. Except that "tora" definitely means "tiger."
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Old 07-28-2016, 02:33 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Yeah, yeah, old thread. But the OP and the last responder are both active members. Anyway. . . apparently there is some debate as to whether "Tora" was meant to mean 'tiger' or whether it was just the two unrelated syllables that indicated the attack was to commence, but it wasn't fleshed out very much in the earlier thread. I'll defer other research to more knowledgeable people.
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:16 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
apparently there is some debate as to whether "Tora" was meant to mean 'tiger' or whether it was just the two unrelated syllables that indicated the attack was to commence.
I'd always assumed that it meant 'tiger', and was a codeword used in the same way as the now-unprintable codeword used by Guy Gibson to indicate the breech of the Möhne Dam. That is, it was a word unrelated to the mission, but had a meaning understood by prearrangement. I had not heard of the consonant-vowel pairs theory, but it makes as much sense as the traditional codeword. Actually, I think it makes more sense because the attack was undertaken by the IJN. Being the Navy, they may have developed codes based on (inspired by) signal flags. For example, in the USN 'Bravo Zulu' means 'Well done.' A two-syllable radio call could very well be analogous to a two-flag message.

My mom knew one of the pilots who flew in Tora! Tora! Tora!. He took us to see the movie when it came out.
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:18 PM
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So they weren't Jewish?
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:29 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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So they weren't Jewish?
Magnum P.I.
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Old 07-28-2016, 03:59 PM
Nelson Pike Nelson Pike is offline
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So they weren't Jewish?
What a Juvenile, Kindergarten-level, unserious, value-subtracted, stupidfuckofapost.

We are trying to have a serious discussion here, and somedork says hahaha lets make a joke out of it.

This is the kind of shitpost which deserves a lot more zealotry from the already undeniably superzealous SDMB MOD CORPS.
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:18 PM
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This is General Questions, where jokes often appear, especially once (a) the question has been factually answered, (b) ten posts precede the joke, and (c) ten years have passed since the OP.
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2016, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Nelson Pike View Post
What a Juvenile, Kindergarten-level, unserious, value-subtracted, stupidfuckofapost.

We are trying to have a serious discussion here, and somedork says hahaha lets make a joke out of it.

This is the kind of shitpost which deserves a lot more zealotry from the already undeniably superzealous SDMB MOD CORPS.
You appear to be in the wrong thread, m'friend.
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Old 07-28-2016, 04:46 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by Nelson Pike View Post
What a Juvenile, Kindergarten-level, unserious, value-subtracted, stupidfuckofapost.

We are trying to have a serious discussion here, and somedork says hahaha lets make a joke out of it.

This is the kind of shitpost which deserves a lot more zealotry from the already undeniably superzealous SDMB MOD CORPS.
Moderator Warning

One kind of post that does get zealotry from moderators are insults to other posters. This is an official warning. If you have a problem with a post, report it and let us deal with it. Do not do this again.

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ETA. Jokes are permitted in General Questions after the question has received some factual responses.

Last edited by Colibri; 07-28-2016 at 04:48 PM.
  #17  
Old 07-28-2016, 05:08 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Originally Posted by Nelson Pike View Post
What a Juvenile, Kindergarten-level, unserious, value-subtracted, stupidfuckofapost.

We are trying to have a serious discussion here, and somedork says hahaha lets make a joke out of it.

This is the kind of shitpost which deserves a lot more zealotry from the already undeniably superzealous SDMB MOD CORPS.
Lighten up, Francis.
  #18  
Old 07-28-2016, 05:18 PM
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Lighten up, Francis.
Let's not junior-mod, either, especially when a mod has already addressed the post.

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Old 07-28-2016, 07:32 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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For the record, I was mocking, not junior-modding.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:04 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is online now
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I always assume posts by silenus have a high mockery quotient.
  #21  
Old 07-28-2016, 08:06 PM
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From Wikipedia:

"... Japanese codeword used to indicate that complete surprise had been achieved. Tora literally means 'tiger' but in this case was an acronym for totsugeki raigeki 'lightning attack'."

Last edited by Siam Sam; 07-28-2016 at 08:07 PM.
  #22  
Old 07-28-2016, 08:26 PM
Nelson Pike Nelson Pike is offline
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You appear to be in the wrong thread, m'friend.
Am in right thread and am not your friend.
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Old 07-28-2016, 08:34 PM
Nelson Pike Nelson Pike is offline
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Lighten up, Francis.
Francis?

As in His Holiness?

As in Assisi?

I must be making an even better impression than I intended! (except on Brother Colibri).
  #24  
Old 07-28-2016, 08:35 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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I always assume posts by silenus have a high mockery quotient.
Damn straight!
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Old 07-28-2016, 09:09 PM
txtumbleweed txtumbleweed is offline
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Francis?

As in His Holiness?

As in Assisi?

I must be making an even better impression than I intended! (except on Brother Colibri).
Really? Kids these days...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OnpkDWbeJs
  #26  
Old 07-28-2016, 09:31 PM
Nelson Pike Nelson Pike is offline
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HaHaHaHaHa.

But that Francis guy reminds me of a certain moderator more than it reminds me of myself.
  #27  
Old 07-28-2016, 10:10 PM
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From Wikipedia:

"... Japanese codeword used to indicate that complete surprise had been achieved. Tora literally means 'tiger' but in this case was an acronym for totsugeki raigeki 'lightning attack'."
Which was APT, since a tiger does a lightning attack.

Too bad they weren't attacking a target for which their shots caused useful attrition, or caused the enemy to divert or forgo or lose resources... The tiger attacked a target that wasnt worth much, no flesh, and broke a few teeth on the bones.
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Old 07-28-2016, 10:39 PM
Alex from CB Alex from CB is offline
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Lighten up, Francis.
Was just scrolling down to post the exact same thing.

Also, note..... Francis does not understand the origin.

BTW, that Francis statement is 35 years old and I swear I hear it at least once a month.
  #29  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:14 AM
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... as the now-unprintable codeword used by Guy Gibson to indicate the breech of the Möhne Dam. ...
Why is the code word unprintable now?
  #30  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:19 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by Nelson Pike View Post
HaHaHaHaHa.

But that Francis guy reminds me of a certain moderator more than it reminds me of myself.
Moderator Warning

Insulting a moderator immediately after receiving a warning for insults is not a wise course of action. This is an additional warning.

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  #31  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:22 AM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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For the record, I was mocking, not junior-modding.
Moderator Note

Mocking isn't appropriate for GQ either. If you want to mock someone for any reason, take it to the Pit. No warning issued.

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  #32  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:36 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Why is the code word unprintable now?
The codeword to indicate the breech of the Möhne Dam was the name of Gibson's dog, which was hit by a car and died the day before the mission. The dog's name was '[N-word]' (most likely referring to Indians, rather than Africans), and that word is taboo.

In any case, 'Tora = Tiger' makes sense from a Western perspective because codewords -- actual words -- are common in Western military forces. Gibson used a codeword to indicate the success of his mission. Pilots use 'bandit', 'bingo', and 'Winchester' as codewords to indicate an enemy aircraft, they have minimum fuel to return to base, and they're out of ammunition.

On the other hand, I am now leaning toward the consonant-vowel pairs because the Japanese Navy was known to use them, and they seem a natural progression from signal flags.
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Old 07-29-2016, 10:37 AM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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Why is the code word unprintable now?
The code word for success was "Nigger". That was the name of the squadron's beloved mascot dog who had died just before the raid. Different times, different usages...
  #34  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:43 AM
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The code word for success was "Nigger". That was the name of the squadron's beloved mascot dog who had died just before the raid. Different times, different usages...
Glad to hear it. I was afraid we'd permanently lost some letters of the alphabet during the war, but people born since never knew because the letters could no longer be printed.
  #35  
Old 07-29-2016, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
I'd always assumed that it meant 'tiger', and was a codeword used in the same way as the now-unprintable codeword used by Guy Gibson to indicate the breech of the Möhne Dam. That is, it was a word unrelated to the mission, but had a meaning understood by prearrangement. I had not heard of the consonant-vowel pairs theory, but it makes as much sense as the traditional codeword. Actually, I think it makes more sense because the attack was undertaken by the IJN. Being the Navy, they may have developed codes based on (inspired by) signal flags. For example, in the USN 'Bravo Zulu' means 'Well done.' A two-syllable radio call could very well be analogous to a two-flag message.

My mom knew one of the pilots who flew in Tora! Tora! Tora!. He took us to see the movie when it came out.
I have not heard of the consonant-vowel pairs theory, either. AFAIK, "Tora" is Japanese for "tiger" and the coded message/phrase "Tora, tora, tora" issued on the morning of Dec 7 meant that complete surprise has been achieved.
  #36  
Old 07-29-2016, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by MonkeyMensch View Post
The code word for success was "Nigger". That was the name of the squadron's beloved mascot dog who had died just before the raid. Different times, different usages...
The frequent use of the name in the film The Dambusters has resulted in it being censored when shown on TV. In more recent showings, the film has been shown with a warning for language at the beginning.

Last edited by Colibri; 07-29-2016 at 11:43 AM.
  #37  
Old 07-29-2016, 11:58 AM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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I have not heard of the consonant-vowel pairs theory, either. AFAIK, "Tora" is Japanese for "tiger" and the coded message/phrase "Tora, tora, tora" issued on the morning of Dec 7 meant that complete surprise has been achieved.
I don't think any of that is in dispute. Where there is some question--and maybe something we'll never know--is whether. . .
a) the code word was simply the word for 'tiger', implying that they had attacked like a tiger
b) the code word was two unrelated syllables that happened to translate to 'tiger'
c) the code word was a sort of Japanese acronym that happened to translate to 'tiger'.
  #38  
Old 07-29-2016, 12:24 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Where there is some question--and maybe something we'll never know--is whether. . .
I thought I'd just contact the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and ask them, but I couldn't find a Public Affairs contact email.
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:29 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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Originally Posted by Earl Snake-Hips Tucker View Post
I don't think any of that is in dispute. Where there is some question--and maybe something we'll never know--is whether. . .
a) the code word was simply the word for 'tiger', implying that they had attacked like a tiger
b) the code word was two unrelated syllables that happened to translate to 'tiger'
c) the code word was a sort of Japanese acronym that happened to translate to 'tiger'.
d) the code word was simply the word for "tiger", implied nothing about the nature of the attack, and indicated surprise had been achieved.
  #40  
Old 07-29-2016, 12:45 PM
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nm

Last edited by DrDeth; 07-29-2016 at 12:46 PM.
  #41  
Old 07-29-2016, 12:48 PM
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And now I understand where the substitution phrase "catch a tiger by the toe" was chosen!
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Old 07-29-2016, 05:08 PM
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I have not heard of the consonant-vowel pairs theory, either. AFAIK, "Tora" is Japanese for "tiger" and the coded message/phrase "Tora, tora, tora" issued on the morning of Dec 7 meant that complete surprise has been achieved.
As to 'consonant vowel pairs' Japanese Morse Code equivalents for telegraph and wireless corresponded to kana, each of which is a consonant/vowel pair, Japanese doesn't have letters. So any signal in Japanese was composed of consonant/vowel pairs.

The Japanese Wikipedia entry for 'tora tora tora' gives acronym for TOtsugeki RAigeki (sudden attack, lightning attack) and the word tora ('tiger') as possible origins. IOW it doesn't seem at this point it will ever certainly be known, or it was both, or meant one to some people and the other to other people, or simply what they were supposed to signal if surprise was achieved.
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83...83%88%E3%83%A9

Note that the entry is under トラトラトラ which is katakana. The IJN though used katakana a lot for abbreviations and codes, so perhaps in that sense it leans towards saying 'it's just a code'. For example the action reports of IJN units (those of the carrier air groups at PH for example) are written in an abbreviated style consisting of Chinese characters (for people's names and some common nouns and verbs, as in normal writing now, though older forms of them not the simplified postwar ones), certain IJN-only symbols (for various a/c types for example, based on stylized Latin letters), and katakana for everything else. In normal Japanese writing now, katakana is generally used only for foreign words, and hiragana for grammatical particles, etc.

Last edited by Corry El; 07-29-2016 at 05:12 PM.
  #43  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny L.A. View Post
The codeword to indicate the breech of the Möhne Dam was the name of Gibson's dog, which was hit by a car and died the day before the mission. The dog's name was '[N-word]' (most likely referring to Indians, rather than Africans), and that word is taboo.
Side question: Was this portrayed in an old British film? Because what you say about the dog's name and it dying in a car accident is exactly what was being portrayed in an old film on a TV set in the background of the hotel room that Bob Geldof decided to trash in Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982). Really.
  #44  
Old 07-29-2016, 10:18 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Side question: Was this portrayed in an old British film?
Yes, the dog's name was mentioned several times in the 1955 film The Dam Busters.
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Old 07-29-2016, 10:20 PM
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Thank you. I've seen Pink Floyd: The Wall many times over the years and have always wondered what old movies that was.
  #46  
Old 07-30-2016, 12:42 AM
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I wonder whether taking the first 2 syllables of the long words to form "Tora" is related to a common type of abbreviation and word formation in Japanese?
They do this with English words like "Pocket Monster" becoming "Pokemon" or "Costume play" becoming "Cosplay" and "personal computer" becoming "pasocon".
And this also happens with Japanese words, like Tokyo Daigaku (Tokyo University) becoming Todai.
Of course we do this in English (like University of Connecticut becoming UConn) but it seems more common in Japanese.

Last edited by gkster; 07-30-2016 at 12:44 AM.
  #47  
Old 07-30-2016, 03:59 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
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I wonder whether taking the first 2 syllables of the long words to form "Tora" is related to a common type of abbreviation and word formation in Japanese?
They do this with English words like "Pocket Monster" becoming "Pokemon" or "Costume play" becoming "Cosplay" and "personal computer" becoming "pasocon".
And this also happens with Japanese words, like Tokyo Daigaku (Tokyo University) becoming Todai.
Of course we do this in English (like University of Connecticut becoming UConn) but it seems more common in Japanese.
It is very common in Japanese to take the first two kanji -- not syllables -- of words for an abbreviation.

However, it's much more likely that tora tora tora was simply the code used.
  #48  
Old 07-30-2016, 08:21 AM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Glad to hear it. I was afraid we'd permanently lost some letters of the alphabet during the war, but people born since never knew because the letters could no longer be printed.
I think that was just the Germans who lost a few letters... and the Russians.
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