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The Doolittle Raid

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  • The Doolittle Raid

    I have always had an interest in the Doolittle raid, I first learned about it this as a 10 year old reading comic books. When older and slighter more richer, I read up on it in more serious military books.
    Essentially it took place in the dark days of early 1942, when Allied forces worldwide, but especially in the Pacific, were having a hard time at the hands of the Axis, It was deemed that a raid on the Japanese homeland would provide a much needed boost to Allied morale.
    Jimmy Doolittle, a famous a pre war avatior, and a Colonel in the US Army Air Corps, trained a special strike force of Army B25 bombers to take off the deck of a Navy Aircraft carrier, The images of the tightly packed bombers on the carriers flight deck still impress me, with their pre 1942 insignia (red circles inside US white stars).
    The Carrier task force sailed towards Japanese waters, where, once in attack range, the take offs began in choppy weather.
    Doolittle himself piloted the first B25 from the heaving deck of the carrier- a true leader of fighting men, leading from the front, leading by example.
    The raid itself was really a one way mission, the B25s could not land back on the Carrier, so would, after bombing several of Japans cities, fly on to China and Russia.
    The military results of the bombings were miminal, but the propaganda and morale results were what was needed at this point of the war, they were truly dark days, with Allied victory by no means certain, The battles of Midway, El Alamein and Stalingrad were still to come that very year, 1942, when the Axis advances would be stopped.
    But the Doolittle raid was a unique military operation, at a time when it was needed.
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  • #2
    The latter half of the otherwise truly unbearable Pearl Harbour movie dedicated much detail to these raids. Truly an impressive mission.

    Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing.


    • #3
      It is also featured at the start of the film the Battle of Midway. It must also be said that Doolittle near hit the sea on take off. It was a major moral boosters for the american people who needed some thing and it also showed the Japanese that their homeland could be bombed even though the was a large between them and the US. It could nearly be stated that things began to change for the allies after this, The battles of Coral Sea, Midway, El Alamein (both battles) and stalingrad all took place after this.
      Only the dead have seen the end of war - Plato

      "Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory" Proverbs 11-14


      • #4
        what happened to doolittle after? did he get to china or back to the us.?
        have to admit although knowing about the raid, don't know much about the aftermath or what happened to the crews.
        An army is power. Its entire purpose is to coerce others. This power can not be used carelessly or recklessly. This power can do great harm. We have seen more suffering than any man should ever see, and if there is going to be an end to it, it must be an end that justifies the cost. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain


        • #5
          got this from wikipedia:

          As did the others who participated in the mission, Doolittle had to bail out, but fortunately landed in a heap of dung (saving a previously injured ankle from breaking) in a rice paddy in China near Chaozhou. He was helped by Chinese guerillas and American missionary John Birch until he could return to the US. Several other fliers lost their lives on the mission.

          Doolittle received the Medal of Honor, presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House, for planning and leading the successful operation


          makes for a good read, how they got the bombers off the carrier was an amazing feat in itself.


          • #6
            Hi there
            Several of the crews were captured by the Japanese and executed. It really freaked out the Japanese that the Homeland could be attacked, especially from the air. Doolittle had as much opposition from his own side to the prospect of launching Army bombers from carriers.


            • #7
              Hi all
              Doolittle managed to overcome the doubts of many in the Army and Navy and get his aircraft and hastily-trained crews aboard.They had practised using a marked-off section of runway and manage to maintain effective secrecy, despite being based at a large maintenance airfield. The launch was little short of a miracle and the actual attack scared the daylights out of the Japanese. Apart from the obvious heroism of all involved, it added to the legend of Doolittle.Even his many begrudgers acknowledged that the raid had been a master stroke.


              • #8
                Here's a pretty good site about the Doolittle raid,


                If any of you are ever in the San Francisco Bay area check out the USS Hornet, the successor to the Hornet that Doolittle took off from, its on display across the bay from San Francisco at Alameda.

                Also if you have Google Earth check out Pearl Harbour, you can still see the remains of the USS Arizona just below the water.