The Doolittle RAID: how the United States took revenge on the Japanese for pearl Harbor

History 09/03/20 the Doolittle RAID: how the United States took revenge on the Japanese for pearl Harbor

This episode of the Second world war was symbolic for Americans. It was the culmination of a well-known feature film “pearl Harbor”. Still many in the US believe in the great moral value of this event as we have in the value of Soviet air raids on Berlin in August 1941.

“Pilots of Shambhala”

a Sudden Japanese air RAID on pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 brought the US from a state of complacent observer of the events of the Second world war. Public opinion was wondering how was possible such a RAID with impunity, and demanded from the leadership of the US speedy vengeance on the enemy. But the practical possibilities to hit Japan in the American armed forces did not exist.

the US air force still had many battles over the Pacific ocean and over Western Europe. There is an acute shortage of experienced crews. Reasonable in the circumstances, it was to save footage for the upcoming battles. Because the quantitative power of America sooner or later would, and pearl Harbor would be repaid with interest (as this happened in 1944-1945). But the US decided to strike the enemy and the whole world.

on 18 April 1942 16 b-25, unopposed, struck Tokyo and several major Japanese cities. American propaganda trumpeted to the world about the retaliation for pearl Harbor. The President, Franklin Roosevelt, in order to confuse the Japanese, declared even though the aircraft had flown from a secret base in the Himalayas. How was it really?

the Plan

In the above the film focuses on the heroic side of things. It is emphasized that the crew was one chance in a hundred to do the job and stay alive. Highlighted the role of Roosevelt, neglected the objections of the military experts. While it may seem to be also a hero in this episode. However, its role can be interpreted in another way: policy-madcap, for propaganda effect sent to almost certain death few highly qualified pilots.

Roosevelt do shortly after the Japanese attack on pearl Harbor, instructed the new commander in chief U.S. fleet Admiral Ernest king to explore the possibility of a RAID on Tokyo. Direct the operation of the king laid to the commander of the 16th task force of the Navy Vice Admiral William Halsey and of the army Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (commander strike group).

According to the plan, the aircraft carrier “hornet” and its accompanying cruisers had to refuel at a distance of 1,000 nautical miles from the coast of Japan, go another 500 miles, and then on Board the aircraft carrier had to fly bombers. It was planned that the dropping of the bomb, they will go to the aerodrome, prepared by the Chinese army of General Chiang Kai-shek. The fact that take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier b-25 still somehow could, but that the return to the ship was technically impossible.

Chiang Kai-shek and Roosevelt: double framed

720 miles from the coast, the American squadron was spotted by Japanese patrol vessels. Fearing to be attacked by the Japanese fleet, Halsey ordered the planes up in the air 650 miles from Japan. This meant, first, that the RAID will have to perform not at night and in broad daylight; second, the planes have enough fuel to fly to the Union of China.

But at first all went well. The b-25 was at a very low altitude. The Japanese did not expect such insolence from the Americans, and in some places just did not notice them. 13 planes dropped their bombs on the intended industrial enterprises in Tokyo and Yokohama, one plane was bombed over Osaka, Nagoya and Kobe. Losses this period.

But then the trouble began. The skill of American pilots helped them to hold on to the remains of the fuel to China, where they were waited by an unpleasant surprise — Chiang Kai-shek wasn’t prepared AeroDrome for the reception of the Americans.

As he wrote to Samuel Morison in his book “US Navy in world war II: the rising sun over the Pacific” about the failure of Chinese commitments, the leaders of the United States “learned too late, when it was impossible to contact the operative connection, so as to preserve the secrecy of the relationship was terminated.”

note: the connection can be restored for the lifting operation. But Washington chose not to and doomed pilots at high risk of death.

the Loss of all aircraft, and time — all pilots

All 15 aircraft reached China, crashed. Out of 75 crew members killed five, almost all of them maimed and injured. Another eight fell on the territory controlled by the Japanese, and four of them were later killed in captivity.

the lucky crew of captain Edward York, who decided to sit on the territory of the USSR, despite the risk of being downed as a violator of the border. The crew of the York were interned (because the USSR was not at war with Japan) and in 1943 released home as a result of staging the escape.

Thus, at the time of the operation loss of the group Doolittle in the material was 100%, in personnel — over 90%, and the deadweight — 9 out of 80. For a certain period 80 of the most skilled pilots of American bombers had been destroyed. It is interesting to compare this with the result of the first Soviet night bombing of Berlin on the 7th of August 1941, which some touted as “mindless heroism”: 100% of aircraft and pilots on the same night returned to base.

Evaluation operation,

the Material damage inflicted on Japan by the Doolittle RAID was negligible. Although the literature says about the many fires, is the number of victims 50 dead and 400 wounded Japanese — accurate estimates are not available.

Morison wrote that “the RAID made a huge impression on the Americans, who at the time was in need of support.” In addition, “the practical results of the RAID were also of great importance. Four groups of Japanese land fighter aircraft needed on other fronts, was confined to Japan.” The book was published in 1948 and therefore had to support the myths of wartime propaganda.

can Hardly be considered a fairly objective assessment of Japanese historians, Mitsuo and Masatake Putida Okolie, who wrote in the fifties when the American occupation. According to them, the Doolittle RAID “made a great impression on the naval leaders of Japan. It should be assessed as very successful RAID.”

Perhaps a more accurate assessment of the British historian of the Second world war, Alan Taylor, who celebrated in the seventies that the U.S. government has thrown public opinion, good pilots, which undoubtedly would be of great benefit in the ongoing battles soon. The Doolittle RAID was detained for several months, the turning point in the war in the Pacific.

Yaroslav Butakov

© Russian Seven

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