Thursday, January 29, 2009

Doolittle's Raiders: seldom seen photos


Papa B sent this one in.

Doolittle's Raid, 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike a Japanese home island (Honshū) during World War II. It demonstrated that Japan itself was vulnerable to Allied air attack and provided an expedient means for U.S. retaliation for Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle. Doolittle would later recount in his autobiography that the raid was intended to cause the Japanese to doubt their leadership and to raise American morale:

The Japanese had been told they were invulnerable. An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders... There was a second, equally important, psychological reason for this attack...Americans badly needed a morale boost.

16 B-25B Mitchell bombers were launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep within enemy waters. The plan called for them to hit military targets in Japan, and land in China. All 16 aircraft were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured. The crews of 14 aircraft, including one interned in the Soviet Union for more than a year, returned safely to the United States.

18 Apr 1942