➊ Jimmy Doolittles Raid

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Jimmy Doolittles Raid



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Doolittle Raiders B-25 Launch Footage (1942)

In America the raid was cause for celebration. The year-old Doolittle, who had worried he would be court-martialed for missing his primary targets, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and promoted two ranks to brigadier general. Following the raid, Japanese battalions killed , Chinese civilians in areas suspected of aiding the American airmen. Doolittle was given a series of command roles in North Africa and Europe, eventually leading the powerful Eighth Air Force with its 42, combat aircraft. He modified U. In Doolittle retired as a lieutenant general and returned to an executive position at Shell. In Ronald Reagan promoted Doolittle to a full four-star general.

Doolittle died on September 27, , at age But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Senate history. Known for his oratorical skill, he argued tirelessly for legislation addressing issues of civil James Longstreet was a U. Army officer, government official and most famously a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War One of Robert E.

During his tenure, seven Southern states seceded from the Union and the nation teetered on the brink of civil war. A Pennsylvania native, Buchanan began his political career in his home A career politician, he served in both houses of the Georgia legislature before winning a seat in the U. House of Representatives in Hirohito was emperor of Japan from until his death in The first bomber to hit Japan after Pearl Harbor, the B Mitchell was found in every theater of the war and was a rugged, multipurpose bomber beloved by her aircrew for its survivability and ease to fly.

Top Image: B Mitchell bombers flying over Europe. Gift of Charles Szumigala, Built by North American Aviation, the B Mitchell was a medium bomber which could carry pounds of bombs at a max speed of miles per hour, and carried six. The plane first flew on August 19, , and entered service in February While the B was intended to bomb from medium altitude, because of its versatility, it ended playing a variety of roles such as low-level ground attacks and attacking vehicles and shipping. The ultimate display of its versatility, however, came in April , and the Doolittle Raid. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December , the United States did not have many options to strike back at the Japanese homeland. Low and was quickly approved.

There were many concerns about the plan. Twin-engine bombers were not supposed to take off from aircraft carrier. The success of the mission depended on secrecy. If the fleet was discovered, and the two invaluable aircraft carriers lost, there would not be much to stop the Japanese from rampaging across the rest of the Pacific. On May 10, , he was engineering officer and pilot for an expedition recovering a plane that had force-landed in a Mexican canyon on February 10 during a transcontinental flight attempt by Alexander Pearson Jr. Doolittle reached the plane on May 3 and found it serviceable, then returned May 8 with a replacement motor and four mechanics. The oil pressure of the new motor was inadequate and Doolittle requested two pressure gauges, using carrier pigeons to communicate.

The additional parts were dropped by air and installed, and Doolittle flew the plane to Del Rio, Texas himself, taking off from a yard airstrip hacked out of the canyon floor. Having at last returned to complete his college degree, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley in , and joined the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Doolittle was one of the most famous pilots during the inter-war period. In September , he made the first of many pioneering flights, flying a de Havilland DH-4 — which was equipped with early navigational instruments — in the first cross-country flight, from Pablo Beach now Jacksonville Beach , Florida , to Rockwell Field, San Diego , California, in 21 hours and 19 minutes, making only one refueling stop at Kelly Field.

The U. Army awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross. For Doolittle, the school assignment had special significance: "In the early '20s, there was not complete support between the flyers and the engineers. The pilots thought the engineers were a group of people who zipped slide rules back and forth, came out with erroneous results and bad aircraft; and the engineers thought the pilots were crazy — otherwise they wouldn't be pilots. So some of us who had previous engineering training were sent to the engineering school at old McCook Field. After a year's training there in practical aeronautical engineering, some of us were sent on to MIT where we took advanced degrees in aeronautical engineering. I believe that the purpose was served, that there was thereafter a better understanding between pilots and engineers.

In March , he conducted aircraft acceleration tests at McCook Field, which became the basis of his master's thesis and led to his second Distinguished Flying Cross. Because the Army had given him two years to get his degree and he had done it in just one, he immediately started working on his Sc. His doctorate in aeronautical engineering was the first issued in the United States.

In April , Doolittle was given a leave of absence to go to South America to perform demonstration flights for Curtiss Aircraft. In Chile , he broke both ankles while demonstrating his acrobatic abilities in an incident that was known as Night of the Pisco Sours. He was then assigned to McCook Field for experimental work, with additional duty as an instructor pilot to the th Bomb Squadron of the Air Corps Reserve.

During this time, in he was the first to perform an outside loop , previously thought to be a fatal maneuver. Carried out in a Curtiss fighter at Wright Field in Ohio, Doolittle executed the dive from 10, feet, reached mph, bottomed out upside down, then climbed and completed the loop. Doolittle's most important addition to aeronautical technology was his early advancement of instrument flying. He was the first to recognize that true operational freedom in the air could not be achieved until pilots developed the ability to control and navigate aircraft in flight from takeoff run to landing rollout, regardless of the range of vision from the cockpit. Doolittle was the first to envision that a pilot could be trained to use instruments to fly through fog, clouds, precipitation of all forms, darkness, or any other impediment to visibility; and in spite of the pilot's own possibly convoluted motion sense inputs.

Even at this early stage, the ability to control aircraft was getting beyond the motion sense capability of the pilot. That is, as aircraft became faster and more maneuverable, pilots could become seriously disoriented without visual cues from outside the cockpit, because aircraft could move in ways that pilots' senses could not accurately decipher. Doolittle was also the first to recognize these psycho-physiological limitations of the human senses particularly the motion sense inputs, i. He initiated the study of the relationships between the psychological effects of visual cues and motion senses.

His research resulted in programs that trained pilots to read and understand navigational instruments. A pilot learned to "trust his instruments," not his senses, as visual cues and his motion sense inputs what he sensed and "felt" could be incorrect or unreliable. In , he became the first pilot to take off, fly and land an airplane using instruments alone, without a view outside the cockpit. He helped develop, and was then the first to test, the now universally used artificial horizon and directional gyroscope. He attracted wide newspaper attention with this feat of "blind" flying and later received the Harmon Trophy for conducting the experiments. These accomplishments made all-weather airline operations practical.

Doolittle resigned his regular commission on February 15, , and was commissioned a Major in the Air Reserve Corps a month later, being named manager of the Aviation Department of Shell Oil Company , in which capacity he conducted numerous aviation tests. Doolittle helped influence Shell Oil Company to produce the first quantities of octane aviation gasoline. High octane fuel was crucial to the high-performance planes that were developed in the late s.

In , Doolittle set the world's high-speed record for land planes at miles per hour in the Shell Speed Dash. Later, he took the Thompson Trophy race at Cleveland in the notorious Gee Bee R-1 racer with a speed averaging miles per hour. After having won the three big air racing trophies of the time, the Schneider, Bendix, and Thompson, he officially retired from air racing stating, "I have yet to hear anyone engaged in this work dying of old age.

In April , Doolittle was selected to be a member of the Baker Board. Chaired by former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker , the board was convened during the Air Mail scandal to study Air Corps organization. In , he became president of the Institute of Aeronautical Science. The development of octane aviation gasoline on an economic scale was due in part to Doolittle, who had become Aviation Manager of Shell Oil Company. Around he convinced Shell to invest in refining capacity to produce octane fuel on a scale that nobody needed since no aircraft existed that required a fuel that nobody made.

Some fellow employees would call his effort "Doolittle's million-dollar blunder" but time would prove him correct. By tests at Wright Field using a cheaper alternative to pure octane proved the value of the fuel and both Shell and Standard Oil of New Jersey would win the contract to supply test quantities for the Army. By the price was down to Doolittle returned to active duty in the U. Army Air Corps on July 1, with the rank of Major.

He was assigned as the assistant district supervisor of the Central Air Corps Procurement District at Indianapolis and Detroit , where he worked with large auto manufacturers on the conversion of their plants to aircraft production. He volunteered for and received General H. On April 18, Doolittle and his 16 B crews took off from the Hornet , reached Japan, and bombed their targets. Fifteen of the planes then headed for their recovery airfield in China, while one crew chose to land in Russia due to their bomber's unusually high fuel consumption. As did most of the other crewmen who participated in the one-way mission, Doolittle and his crew bailed out safely over China when their B ran out of fuel. By then, they had been flying for about 12 hours, it was nighttime, the weather was stormy, and Doolittle was unable to locate their landing field.

Doolittle came down in a rice paddy saving a previously injured ankle from breaking near Chuchow Quzhou. He and his crew linked up after the bailout and were helped through Japanese lines by Chinese guerrillas and American missionary John Birch. Other aircrews were not so fortunate, although most eventually reached safety with the help of friendly Chinese.

Seven crew members lost their lives, four as a result of being captured and murdered by the Japanese and three due to an aircraft crash or while parachuting. Doolittle thought he would be court martialed due to having to launch the raid ahead of schedule after being spotted by Japanese patrol boats and the loss of all the aircraft. Doolittle went on to fly more combat missions as commander of the 12th Air Force in North Africa, for which he was awarded four Air Medals.

He later commanded the 12th, 15th and 8th Air Forces in Europe. Roosevelt at the White House for planning and leading his raid on Japan. His citation reads: "For conspicuous leadership above and beyond the call of duty, involving personal valor and intrepidity at an extreme hazard to life. With the apparent certainty of being forced to land in enemy territory or to perish at sea, Lt.

Doolittle personally led a squadron of Army bombers, manned by volunteer crews, in a highly destructive raid on the Japanese mainland. The Doolittle Raid is viewed by historians as a major morale-building victory for the United States. Although the damage done to Japanese war industry was minor, the raid showed the Japanese that their homeland was vulnerable to air attack, [17] and forced them to withdraw several front-line fighter units from Pacific war zones for homeland defense. More significantly, Japanese commanders considered the raid deeply embarrassing, and their attempt to close the perceived gap in their Pacific defense perimeter led directly to the decisive American victory at the Battle of Midway in June When asked from where the Tokyo raid was launched, President Roosevelt coyly said its base was Shangri-La , a fictional paradise from the popular novel Lost Horizon.

In the same vein, the U. In July , as a brigadier general —he had been promoted by two grades on the day after the Tokyo attack, bypassing the rank of full colonel —Doolittle was assigned to the nascent Eighth Air Force. He was promoted to major general in November , and in March became commanding general of the Northwest African Strategic Air Force , a unified command of U. In September, he commanded a raid against the Italian town of Battipaglia that was so thorough in its destruction that General Carl Andrew Spaatz sent him a joking message: "You're slipping Jimmy. There's one crabapple tree and one stable still standing.

Doolittle continued to fly, despite the risk of capture, while being privy to the Ultra secret, which was that the German encryption systems had been broken by the British. Doolittle's major influence on the European air war occurred late in when he changed the policy of requiring escorting fighters to remain with their bombers at all times. Innstead, he permitted escort fighters to fly far ahead of the bombers' combat box formations, allowing them to freely engage the German fighters laying in wait for the bombers. These tasks were initially performed with Lockheed P Lightnings and Republic P Thunderbolts through the end of They were progressively replaced with the long-ranged North American P Mustangs as the spring of wore on.

Two bomb groups had begun to arrive on August 7. However, the 8th was not scheduled to be at full strength until February and Doolittle declined to rush 8th Air Force units into combat saying that "If the war is over, I will not risk one airplane nor a single bomber crew member just to be able to say the 8th Air Force had operated against the Japanese in Asia. Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson asked Doolittle on March 27, to head a commission on the relationships between officers and enlisted men in the Army called the "Doolittle Board" or the "GI Gripes Board". The Army implemented many of the board's recommendations in the postwar volunteer Army, [23] though many professional officers and noncommissioned officers thought that the Board "destroyed the discipline of the Army".

Doolittle became acquainted with the field of space science in its infancy. He wrote in his autobiography, "I became interested in rocket development in the s when I met Robert H. Goddard , who laid the foundation [in the US].

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