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Doolittle Raid
self | April 18, 2013 | self

Posted on 04/18/2013 9:21:27 AM PDT by Retain Mike

One week after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt began pressing the U.S. military to immediately strike the Japanese homeland. Desires to bolster moral became more urgent in light of rapid Japanese advances. Victories in Malaya, Philippines, Wake Island, and Dutch East Indies included sinking the British battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse as the Japanese conquered Singapore.

Only improbable ideas warranted consideration, because submarines confirmed Japan placed picket boats at extreme carrier aircraft range. One idea even involved launching four engine heavy bombers from China or Outer Mongolia to strike Japan and fly on to Alaska. Captain Francis Law, a submariner, was the first to broach the idea of flying Army Air Corps medium bombers from an aircraft carrier. Jimmy Doolittle sold his boss at the Pentagon on the idea, with the proviso he would return to Washington for some real work.

By mid-January Doolittle began assembling the planes and crews. Few Army personnel underwent training or had experience for operations involving ocean navigation, so crews were chosen from the 17th Bombardment Group flying anti-submarine patrols from the newly build airfield at Pendleton Oregon.

Unaware of this pending mission, the 24 crews flew to Minneapolis where the bombers received extensive modifications. Installing auxiliary fuel tanks increased capacity over 70%. Increased fuel weight then required removing a 230 pound liaison radio and the lower twin 50cal. ball turret which was later accomplished at then Eglin air base in Florida. One auxiliary fuel tank required bomb rack modification. The planes lacked rear defense, so two blackened broom handles were installed in the tail cone after the planes boarded the Hornet aircraft carrier. A special aluminum jig for low level bombing replaced the top secret Norden bomb sight. Cameras were installed to record bombing results.

While in Minneapolis the officers were told their destination was not Columbia, South Carolina for anti-submarine patrol. They were asked to volunteer for a dangerous, important, and interesting mission for which no information could be given. Nearly everyone volunteered even though most were new to their trade. Of the 16 pilots Doolittle actually took on the raid only five had won their wings before 1941and all but one was less than a year out of flight school.

Jimmy Doolittle, now a Lieutenant Colonel, met them in Eglin’s operation’s office. He said, “If you men have any idea that this isn’t the most dangerous thing you’ve ever been on, don’t start this training period…..This whole thing must be kept secret. I don’t want you to tell your wives…..Don’t even talk among yourselves about this thing. Now does anyone want to drop out?” Nobody dropped out.

The crews began training in Pensacola Florida 48 days before the raid using a remote runway flagged to mark available carrier deck length. In three weeks the crews learned to take off at near stalling speed, overloaded, and in just over a football field length. At Pendleton pilots had used a mile long runway to build up speed.

Twenty two bomber crews hedgehopped across country to San Francisco. The sixteen crews who reported no problems had their planes lifted aboard ship. Those who reported problems, however minor, were devastated when Doolittle excluded them from the mission.

The Hornet left the U.S. and joined the Enterprise at sea April 13, 1942. Now two of the four carriers in the Pacific with 14 escorts and 10,000 crew members steamed towards Japan. From radio intercepts, the Japanese knew the carriers that had eluded their six carrier strike force on December 7 were underway somewhere in the Western Pacific. Unbeknownst to the Americans, the Japanese patrolling picket boats were 650 miles, not 300 miles, offshore to provide intelligence needed for an overwhelming counterattack.

On April 18 the U.S. task force encountered this picket line 170 miles before their planned launch. The pilots rushed to their planes as the ship plowed into the wind and 30 foot swells. A Navy officer twirled a flag and listened for the right pitch from the revving engines. The pilots, who had never flown from a carrier, saw the ship’s bow reaching into a grey sky, and then falling into a dark grey sea. When released, they quivered down a bucking flight deck keeping the left wheel on a white line to just miss the superstructure by six feet. Every plane lifted safely from a rising deck into the grey morning; even Ted Lawson who discovered he had launched with flaps up.

The bombers proceeded independently to Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya and Kobe. The industrial targets were first identified two years previously by a Soviet naval attaché in Japan, who imparted to his American counterpart those several years of research. The Soviet Union were long aware of Japan’s plans to attack both China and U.S.S.R. (strike north), or to attack colonial possessions of the U.S, Netherlands and Britain (strike south).

Colonel Doolittle considered the raid a failure. Every plane had been lost; one interred in the Soviet Union, and fifteen crashed in China with eight crew members captured by the Japanese. He saw the raid as secondary to the bombers safely arriving and providing Chennault’s air force an offensive capability.

However, the raid proved a crucial moral victory demonstrating Americans could do the impossible even if their battle fleet was blasted to wreckage, and they were losing an army in the Philippines. The Imperial Navy suffered a devastating loss of face, because Admiral Yamamoto had guaranteed the Emperor that Americans would never attack their home islands.

Doolittle Raiders 70th Anniversary: http://www.washingtontimes.com/specials/doolittles-tokyo-raid/ http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=doolittle+raiders+70th+anniversary&qpvt=doolittle+raiders+70th+anniversary&FORM=IGRE http://doolittlereunion.com/

Pendleton Field http://www.ohs.org/education/oregonhistory/historical_records/dspDocument.cfm?doc_ID=C9A94F93-E10A-57A0-B694B0AFFE69184C


TOPICS: History; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: b25; doolittle; hornet; vanity; wwii
Each year on the anniversary I post this because I believe it was such an audacious decision and exampled many of those made in that war. This year I sent it to Paul Greenberg who said, “There were giants in the earth in those days.”

This year I am reminded of Leon Panetta discussing Bengasi and saying, “The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.” I think Von Moltke first said and others have repeated as there principle, “No plan ever survived collision with the enemy. “ We are now lead by small, pathetic creatures hardly recognizable as humans.

Every year I also seem to get one or two comments that help me to tweet the write up.

1 posted on 04/18/2013 9:21:27 AM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: Retain Mike
Yeah, I was getting reading to post this: Surviving Doolittle Raiders To Hold Their Last Meeting

But, I'll just leave it in your thread.

2 posted on 04/18/2013 9:27:44 AM PDT by Theoria
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To: Retain Mike
Great big clanking brass ones. Doolittle had them.

I aspire to be that cool.

/johnny

3 posted on 04/18/2013 9:27:51 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Retain Mike
Excellent post! I watched “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” two nights ago and you can't help but get that swelling of pride but depressing realization that we had real leadership at one time. I'll watch “Destination Tokyo” later this week though it is largely a fictional tale but nonetheless entertaining.
4 posted on 04/18/2013 9:35:46 AM PDT by trubolotta
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To: Retain Mike

So many great, daring raids and acts of courage and bravery during WW2. In my mind, the Doolitle Raid stands as perhaps the most definitive of the then American spirit. The words “can’t be done” were not in our national vocabulary.

The valor and personal sacrifice of Doolittle and every single crew member stand as a benchmark we Americans need to aspire again.

Thanks for posting, Mike. Lest we never forget!


5 posted on 04/18/2013 9:38:26 AM PDT by llevrok (2013: The USA is in a Cold Civil War.)
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To: Retain Mike
There was also the matter of some idiot at an airbase who took it on himself to re-set all the carbs at the last minute before the planes were put on the boat. They had been painstakingly tweaked to get every last mile out of their fuel, and there was no time left to undo the damage.

I always though history should have noted the guy's name so he could be known as a meddling asshole the rest of his life. How many of the planes that ran dry might have made it, or reached a safer haven if not for this guy?

6 posted on 04/18/2013 9:44:36 AM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Slump Tester
It's also possible that it was a couple of hard-charging mechs who put in extra time to help out some crews that had just completely a tough cross-country flight. Obviously, the mechanic or mechanics had no idea what mission they were going on or that the carbs had been tweaked deliberately.

Never ascribe untoward actions to malice when key people don't know the full picture.

7 posted on 04/18/2013 9:53:30 AM PDT by Chainmail (A simple rule of life: if you can be blamed, you're responsible.)
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To: Retain Mike

Heading west on a following wind....

Thanks guys.


8 posted on 04/18/2013 10:05:02 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: Retain Mike; windcliff; stylecouncilor

Heading west on a following wind....

Thanks guys.


9 posted on 04/18/2013 10:06:02 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: trubolotta

Tony Curtis(actor) was 18 when he saw “Destination Tokyo” which prompted him to join the Navy and the “sub service”


10 posted on 04/18/2013 10:08:09 AM PDT by capt B
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To: trubolotta

Tony Curtis(actor) was 18 when he saw “Destination Tokyo” which prompted him to join the Navy and the “sub service”


11 posted on 04/18/2013 10:08:31 AM PDT by capt B
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To: Retain Mike

One minor correction to the article.

They did not train at Pensacola but at field 2 which was a remote airstrip at Eglin. They did have an officer from nearby Pensacola train them in short takeoffs.

They are going to have a reunion at Ft. Walton Beach sometime this year. This may well be the final one.


12 posted on 04/18/2013 10:27:57 AM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: Retain Mike
Desires to bolster moral(sic)

morale

discussing Bengasi(sic)

Benghazi

tweet(sic) the write up.

tweak

13 posted on 04/18/2013 10:35:14 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham (Barry Soetoro can't pass E-verify)
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To: trubolotta

Yup, the greatest American generation was also the last.

I too like to watch old WWII footage just to remind me that, when I was a kid, my parents and I belonged to that generation.

Press 2 for English.


14 posted on 04/18/2013 10:36:20 AM PDT by 353FMG ( I do not indicate whether I am serious or sarcastic -- I respect FReepers too much.)
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To: Retain Mike

God Bless those men.


15 posted on 04/18/2013 10:51:25 AM PDT by rlmorel ("We'll drink to good health for them that have it coming." Boss Spearman in Open Range)
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To: Chainmail; Slump Tester

Didn’t appear Slump was accusing the meddler of malice, just boneheaded stupidity.

There never fails to be one of this same type meddler “who knows best” in every crowd or at every plant, every shop. Proves that a little information is dangerous.


16 posted on 04/18/2013 12:09:57 PM PDT by X-spurt (Republic of Texas, Come and Take It!)
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To: Chainmail
It wasn't a "key" person who screwed up. It was the base commander at McClellan Field in Sacramento. He was a know-it-all, pompous ass who had nothing at all to do with the mission. He was pissed off about the secrecy and not being in the loop. He found out about all the tweaks that had been done and took it on himself to have everything put back to where the book said it should be, by God!

Unfortunately he wasn't the last REMF to get people killed.

17 posted on 04/18/2013 12:19:25 PM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Retain Mike
The N.Y. Times ran some stories on the one-year anniversary of the raid. We included some of them in the WWII + 70 Years threads, beginning with today's April 18, 1943 thread. The articles are on page 10. In the April 22 issue they broke the story that some of the captured Doolittle raiders had been executed. That will be our lead next Monday.
18 posted on 04/18/2013 12:22:46 PM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson ("Every nation has the government that it deserves." - Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821))
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To: X-spurt
Yep - There's a difference between malice and stupidity, but both can be deadly.

I believe I read that about the tweaks and fine tuning being messed up in "First Heroes" by Craig Nelson.

BTW - I just found it used in hardback on Amazon for 1 cent! (3.99 shipping) This time I'm not gonna loan it out!

19 posted on 04/18/2013 12:26:12 PM PDT by Slump Tester (What if I'm pregnant Teddy? Errr-ahh -Calm down Mary Jo, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it)
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To: Retain Mike

There was an article several days ago about the last surviving member of the raid. Only one left.Those were men in those days, by God.


20 posted on 04/18/2013 12:27:07 PM PDT by calex59
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They practiced at an axillary field, south of Tyndall AFB, the old weed covered field is still there with the marks showing where to run up, and the marks showing where you had to be off of the runway... Been there many times while stationed at Tyndall.


21 posted on 04/18/2013 12:35:59 PM PDT by BooBoo1000 (Behind every successful man is and amazed Mother In Law.)
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To: Retain Mike

The U.S. Army conducted air warfare on a level never seen since, or to be seen again.


22 posted on 04/18/2013 12:53:44 PM PDT by ansel12 (The lefts most effective position-I'm libertarian on social issues, but conservative on economics.)
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To: BooBoo1000

No it was at Eglin. When my Father got out of WWII he went to work at Tyndall for 5 years then worked at Eglin for 30 more years until he retired.

Field’s 1 and 2 were not too far from where we lived, S.E of DeFuniak Springs. I could sit in our pasture and watch planes do bombing and strafing runs. I couldn’t see the actual bombs fall but could see the planes dive then the ground would shake from the bombs.

That is the same place the Doolittle Raiders trained. Nearby Ft. Walton is where their next and probably last reunion will be.


23 posted on 04/18/2013 1:12:02 PM PDT by yarddog (Truth, Justice, and what was once the American Way.)
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To: Retain Mike
However, the raid proved a crucial moral victory demonstrating Americans could do the impossible even if their battle fleet was blasted to wreckage, and they were losing an army in the Philippines. The Imperial Navy suffered a devastating loss of face, because Admiral Yamamoto had guaranteed the Emperor that Americans would never attack their home islands.

IIRC, the raid caused the Japanese to recall their fleet in the Indian Ocean that had crushed all British opposition.

24 posted on 04/18/2013 6:30:33 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: Homer_J_Simpson
I don't know it is true, but the captain of my ship said that when the B-29’s if their primary and secondary targets were socked in they went to the location of the city where the pilots had been executed and unloaded all their bombs before returning.
25 posted on 04/18/2013 6:51:08 PM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: yarddog

Thanks for the help. Every year it gets a little better.


26 posted on 04/18/2013 6:58:59 PM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: Slump Tester

I remember Ted Lawson mentioning that in his book. I have got to find it. That is definitely important. thanks for the help.


27 posted on 04/18/2013 7:04:07 PM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: Retain Mike
Doolittle was the first off the deck.


28 posted on 04/18/2013 7:15:05 PM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: Flag_This
From Ted Lawson’s book.

‘With full flaps, engines at full throttle and his left wing far out over the port side of the Hornet, Doolittle’s plane waddled and then lunged slowly into the teeth of the gale that swept down the deck. His left wheel stuck on the white line as if it were on a track.

His right wing, which had barely cleared the wall of the island as he taxied and was guided up to the starting line, extended nearly to the edge of the starboard side.

Doolittle picked up more speed and held to his line, just as the Hornet lifted up on the top of a wave and cut through it at full speed. He had yards to spare. He hung his ship almost straight up on its props, until we could see the whole top of his B-25. Then he leveled off and I watched him come around in a tight circle and shoot low over our heads – straight down the line painted on the deck.”

29 posted on 04/19/2013 9:52:13 AM PDT by Retain Mike
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To: DeaconBenjamin

And coincidentally Admiral Yamamoto was shot down on the same date, 18 April, in 1943.


30 posted on 04/19/2013 9:57:33 AM PDT by csmusaret (America is more divided today , not because of the problems we face but because of Obama's solutions)
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To: csmusaret

Have you read how Charles Lindbergh was instrumental in that event?


31 posted on 04/19/2013 11:28:06 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

No..How?


32 posted on 04/19/2013 11:38:30 AM PDT by csmusaret (America is more divided today , not because of the problems we face but because of Obama's solutions)
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To: csmusaret
Lindbergh was interested in finding out how other types of fighters functioned and so he obtained clearance to do some observing with the Army Air Corps in New Guinea. There he got acquainted with the Lockheed P-38 and again soon found himself accepted as just another Technical Representative, who also was a top pilot. With the Air Corps, he found another way to be useful. After one of his first missions in New Guinea, mechanics checking planes discovered that Lindbergh had more fuel left than the pilot of any other ship in the squadron.

This happened regularly. When this information sifted up through to the high command, Lindbergh moved, at General MacArthur’s request, from group to group instructing in fuel conservation and illustrating his lectures by flying with the squadrons.

His work was credited with lengthening the range and tremendously increasing the usefulness of the P-38 for long-range bombing escorts. His efforts enabled P-38 fighters to shoot down a Japanese bomber that was carrying Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Altogether he spent six months in the Pacific, made fifty combat missions, put in 178 combat hours, and returned to Connecticut with complete reports on fighter planes, their performance, and their problems.

Charles Lindbergh with Maj. Thomas McGuire

33 posted on 04/19/2013 11:58:09 AM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: csmusaret
Lindbergh was interested in finding out how other types of fighters functioned and so he obtained clearance to do some observing with the Army Air Corps in New Guinea. There he got acquainted with the Lockheed P-38 and again soon found himself accepted as just another Technical Representative, who also was a top pilot. With the Air Corps, he found another way to be useful. After one of his first missions in New Guinea, mechanics checking planes discovered that Lindbergh had more fuel left than the pilot of any other ship in the squadron.

This happened regularly. When this information sifted up through to the high command, Lindbergh moved, at General MacArthur’s request, from group to group instructing in fuel conservation and illustrating his lectures by flying with the squadrons.

His work was credited with lengthening the range and tremendously increasing the usefulness of the P-38 for long-range bombing escorts. His efforts enabled P-38 fighters to shoot down a Japanese bomber that was carrying Admiral Yamamoto, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Altogether he spent six months in the Pacific, made fifty combat missions, put in 178 combat hours, and returned to Connecticut with complete reports on fighter planes, their performance, and their problems.

Charles Lindbergh with Maj. Thomas McGuire

34 posted on 04/19/2013 12:02:55 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Altogether he spent six months in the Pacific, made fifty combat missions, put in 178 combat hours, and returned to Connecticut with complete reports on fighter planes, their performance, and their problems.

Yes, but all that was a year after Yamamoto bit the dust. Lindbergh did help make signicant improvements to the P-38’s range which contributed significantly to the war effort, but reaching Bougainville was not his doing. That was accomplished by using external, jettisonable, wing tanks.


35 posted on 04/19/2013 12:46:32 PM PDT by csmusaret (America is more divided today , not because of the problems we face but because of Obama's solutions)
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To: csmusaret

IIRC, before he was attached to MacArthur’s forces in New Guinea, he was touring front line units, including the unit which got Yamamoto, and I recall reading the testimony of a member of the unit stating that Lindbergh was instrumental in their success in getting Yamamoto (but I can’t remember where I read it).


36 posted on 04/19/2013 1:35:57 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

You read it in the article you linked.http://www.ww2incolor.com/us-air-force/lindbergh01.html


37 posted on 04/19/2013 1:52:15 PM PDT by csmusaret (America is more divided today , not because of the problems we face but because of Obama's solutions)
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To: csmusaret
the testimony of a member of the unit stating that Lindbergh was instrumental in their success
38 posted on 04/19/2013 2:51:17 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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