Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942
People of the Doolittle Raid

After dropping their bombs, mainly on or near their intended targets, Doolittle's sixteen B-25B bombers left Japanese airspace, essentially unhindered by enemy air interception and anti-aircraft gunfire. One of them, suffering from excessive fuel consumption, had no hope of reaching China and so headed for the closer Soviet Maritime region. After landing north of Vladivostok, this plane and its five crew members were interned by the then-neutral Soviet authorities. The crew ultimately returned to the U.S. by way of Iran.

The other fifteen planes, with their seventy-five men, flew on toward China, where darkness forced four to crash-land or ditch offshore. With fuel running out after some fifteen hours of flying, eleven crews took to their parachutes. Three men were killed at this time. Local residents saved most of the others and heroically spirited them through Japanese-held territory to safety. The vengeful enemy retaliated with a vicious ground offensive, killing tens of thousands of Chinese over the following months. The Japanese also were able to capture eight men from two planes' crews. Three of these prisoners of war, Second Lieutenants Dean E. Hallmark and William G. Farrow and Sergeant Harold A. Spatz, were executed at Shanghai in October 1942. Another, Lieutenant Robert J. Meder, died in prison more than a year later.

The remaining airmen eventually returned to duty with the Army Air Forces, and twelve of these lost their lives later in the war. Their leader, Lieutenant Colonel "Jimmy" Doolittle, was quickly promoted to Brigadier General and awarded the Medal of Honor. Twenty-three of his men received Distinguished Flying Crosses. One of the latter, the seriously injured 2nd Lt. Ted W. Lawson, wrote a best-selling memoir of the raid and its aftermath. In 1944, this book, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo", served as the basis for a Hollywood motion picture of the same name.

This page features pictures of people involved in the Doolittle Raid.

Other views related to the Doolittle Raid

Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: NH 64472

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle (left front), leader of the attacking force, and Captain Marc A. Mitscher, Commanding Officer of USS Hornet (CV-8), pose with a 500-pound bomb and USAAF aircrew members during ceremonies on Hornet's flight deck, while the raid task force was en route to the launching point.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 125KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: 80-G-41190

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF (left front), leader of the raiding force, talks with Captain Marc A. Mitscher, USN, Commanding Officer of USS Hornet (CV-8), on board Hornet sometime before the 18 April 1942 launch of the raiding airplanes.
Members of the Army Air Forces flight crews, and the wing of one of their B-25B bombers, are in the background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection.

Online Image: 123KB; 740 x 585 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

 
Photo #: 80-G-41191

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF (front), leader of the raiding force, wires a Japanese medal to a 500-pound bomb, during ceremonies on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8), shortly before his force of sixteen B-25B bombers took off for Japan. The planes were launched on 18 April 1942.
The wartime censor has obscurred unit patches of the Air Force flight crew members in the background.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection.

Online Image: 108KB; 740 x 605 pixels

Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.

 
Photo #: NH 102457

Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF


Wires a Japanese medal to a bomb, for "return" to its originators in the first U.S. air raid on the Japanese Home Islands, April 1942.
Photographed on board USS Hornet (CV-8), shortly before LtCol. Doolittle's B-25 bombers were launched to attack Japan.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 70KB; 520 x 765 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53424

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942

USAAF aircrewmen preparing .50 caliber machine gun ammunition on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8), while the carrier was steaming toward the mission's launching point.
Ammunition box in center is marked "A.P. M2, Incndy. M1, Trcr. M1", indicating the ammunition types inside: armor piercing, incendiary and tracer.
Note wooden flight deck planking, with metal aircraft tiedown strips in place of every eighth plank.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 138KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53423

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


USAAF aircrewmen preparing .50 caliber machine gun ammunition on the flight deck of USS Hornet (CV-8), while the carrier was steaming toward the mission's launching point.
Three of their B-25B bombers are visible. That in the upper left is tail #s 40-2298, mission plane # 6, piloted by Lieutenant Dean E. Hallmark. That in top center is tail # 40-2283. It was mission plane # 5, piloted by Captain David M. Jones. Both attacked targets in the Tokyo area.
Lt. Hallmark, captured by the Japanese in China, was executed by them at Shanghai on 15 October 1942.
Note the open flight deck bomb elevator in the upper right.

U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Online Image: 134KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 97502

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, USAAF, (center) with members of his flight crew and Chinese officials in China after the 18 April 1942 attack on Japan.
Those present are (from left to right):
Staff Sergeant Fred A. Braemer, Bombardier;
Staff Sergeant Paul J. Leonard, Flight Engineer/Gunner;
General Ho, director of the Branch Government of Western Chekiang Province;
Lieutenant Richard E. Cole, Copilot;
Lt.Col. Doolittle, Pilot and mission commander;
Henry H. Shen, bank manager;
Lieutenant Henry A. Potter, Navigator;
Chao Foo Ki, secretary of the Western Chekiang Province Branch Government.

Official U.S. Army Air Forces Photograph, from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.

Online Image: 112KB; 740 x 620 pixels

 


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