Online Library of Selected Images:
EVENTS - World War II in the Pacific
Miscellaneous Operations and Actions, 1942

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942
Ships of the Doolittle Raid Task Force

In addition to the carriers Hornet and Enterprise, fourteen other U.S. Navy ships made up the raid task force, which was led by Vice Admiral William F. Halsey and designated Task Force 16. Three were heavy cruisers, Salt Lake City (CA-25), Northampton (CA-26) and Vincennes (CA-44). USS Nashville (CL-43) was a light cruiser. The eight destroyers were Balch (DD-363), flagship of Captain Richard L. Conolly's Destroyer Squadron Six, Benham (DD-397), Ellet (DD-398), Fanning (DD-385), Grayson (DD-435), Gwin (DD-433), Meredith (DD-434) and Monssen (DD-436). Vital members of the long-range team were the oilers Cimarron (AO-22) and Sabine (AO-25).

After launching the raid's bombers toward Japan, the task force retired to Pearl Harbor, arriving on 25 April. The force was soon urgently dispatched toward the South Pacific, but the 7-8 May Battle of the Coral Sea took place before it could arrive. Recalled to Pearl, both carriers and seven of the other Doolittle raid ships were sent off toward the northwest, where they took part in the Battle of Midway on 4-6 June 1942.

Six of the raid's sixteen ships would be lost in August-December 1942, during the intense fighting of the Guadalcanal Campaign: Hornet, Vincennes, Northampton, Benham, Meredith and Monssen. A seventh, Gwin, was sunk by a Japanese torpedo in July 1943, during the Battle of Kolombangara.

An interesting sidelight of the operation was an early example of airborne shore-to-ship logistics support, when the Navy blimp L-8 flew out over the Pacific to deliver urgently-needed aircraft parts directly to Hornet's flight deck.

This page features pictures of and on board ships of Doolittle Raid Task Force, and miscellanous views taken during the raiding force's cruise.

Images related to the Doolittle Raid:


Click photograph for larger image.

Photo #: 80-G-324218

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


USS Fanning (DD-385) escorting USS Enterprise (CV-6) on the day the Doolittle Raid aircraft were launched, 18 April 1942.
Photographed from USS Salt Lake City (CA-25). Destroyer in the background, headed toward the left, is USS Balch (DD-363), flagship of Destroyer Squadron Six.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 78KB; 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions may also be available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-324232

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


USS Fanning (DD-385) maneuvers near USS Enterprise (CV-6) on the day the Doolittle Raid aircraft were launched, 18 April 1942.
Photographed from USS Salt Lake City (CA-25).

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 87KB; 740 x 600 pixels

Reproductions available through the National Archives.

 
Photo #: 80-G-330659

Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 1942


USS Sabine (AO-25) refuels USS Enterprise (CV-6) in rough weather, during the approach phase of the mission, 17 April 1942.
Note configuration of refueling gear, and spare anchor stowed on the oiler's after superstructure bulkhead.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives collection

Online Image: 130KB; 740 x 605 pixels

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

 
Photo #: NH 97808

USS Northampton (CA-26)


Refueling from USS Cimarron (AO-22), during the Doolittle Raid operation.
Photographed from USS Salt Lake City (CA-25).
The original photo caption states that this view was taken on 18 April 1942, the day the Doolittle Raid aircraft were launched to attack targets in Japan.
Note that Northampton's forward smokestack had been reduced in height by this time.

Official U.S. Navy Photograph, Naval History & Hertigae Command collection

Online Image: 68KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53289

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


View looking aft from the island of USS Hornet (CV-8), while en route to the mission's launching point. USS Gwin (DD-433) is coming alongside, as USS Nashville (CL-43) steams in the distance.
Eight of the mission's sixteen B-25B bombers are parked within view, as are two of the ship's SBD scout bombers.
Note midships elevator, torpedo elevator, arresting gear and flight deck barriers in the lower portion of the photo, and 1.1" quad anti-aircraft machine gun mount at left.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command Photograph

Online Image: 96KB; 740 x 605 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53292

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


USS Gwin (DD-433) approaches USS Hornet (CV-8) from astern, with USS Nashville (CL-43) beyond, while en route to the mission's launching point.
The ships are framed by the tail of a USAAF B-25B, parked on the rear of the carrier's flight deck.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command

Online Image: 72KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53288

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


Navy blimp L-8 approaches USS Hornet (CV-8) to deliver parts for the mission's B-25B aircraft. Taken shortly after the ship left San Francisco to begin the operation, circa 4 April 1942.
Note package hanging below the airship.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command

Online Image: 85KB; 740 x 610 pixels

 
Photo #: NH 53294

Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942


Navy blimp L-8 hovers over USS Hornet (CV-8) while delivering parts for the mission's U.S. Army Air Force aircraft. Taken shortly after the ship left San Francisco to begin the operation, circa 4 April 1942.
Note USAAF B-25B bomber parked on the flight deck.

U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command photograph

Online Image: 64KB; 590 x 765 pixels

 


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