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The WW2 event that started Japan's defeat...

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by robycop3, Oct 12, 2019 at 6:21 PM.

  1. robycop3

    robycop3 Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Jul 31, 2000
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    Many people cite the Battle of Midway as the event that sealed Japan's defeat, but the actual gamebreaker occurred 2 months before that - THE DOOLITTLE RAID.

    Late in 1941, FDR expressed he'd like to see Japan bombed ASAP in retaliation for Pearl harbor. America badly needed a morale boost after the string of Japanese victories in early 1942 & a carrier raid was seen as the only possibility for delivering a bomb attack upon Japan at that time. However, no one wanted to risk our few carriers by sending any of them that close to Japan.

    Capt. Francis S. Lowe told Admiral King he believed medium bombers could be launched from a carrier. The B-25 was selected due to its proven short takeoff ability & for being small enough to place a small squadron on a carrier. two B-25s were loaded onto the carrier Hornet at Norfolk, Va. where they took off from its deck without difficulty. The mission was immediately approved.

    The brass selected Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, a top test pilot & planner, to design & carry out the mission. Doolittle queried the 17th BG for volunteers for an "extremely hazardous" mission without revealing the target. He received no lack of volunteers!

    The crews began training for short takeoffs from a runway painted to resemble the Hornet's flight deck. USN flight instructor Henry L. Miller performed their training.(Thus, he is considered an honorary member of the group.)It was found that only 16 B-25s could be loaded onto the ship. But they had to be modified to increase their fuel capacity from 646 to 1141 gallons.

    The mission force was sighted by a Japanese picket, Nitto Maru, while still about 750 miles from Japan. As that ship had radioed an attack warning to Japan, Doolittle & Hornet's skipper, Marc Mitscher, decided to launch the planes at once, some 170 miles short of their planned launch point. All aircraft launched safely, & flew in singly at wavetop level to avoid detection.

    It took them 6 hours to arrive over Tokyo, about noon, their time. They hit targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuke, Nagoya, Kobe, & Osaka.

    !5 of the bombers headed for China, where all crash-landed. The 16th landed at Vladivostok, USSR. of the 80 crewmwn on the mission, 77 survived the crash-landings, 8 were later captured by the Japanese & 3 were executed, & the 16th crew was interned by the Russians for over a year & treated well; they were allowed to "escape" after the USSR & Germany were at war.

    Doolittle received the Medal of Honor & was steadily & quickly promoted, to Lt. general, cimmanding the 12th Air Force over North Africa. He was promoted to 4-star general after the war & his retirement.

    His raid did little material damage to Japan, so why did it start japan on the road to defeat? First, it gave a huge fillip to the American public which was itching for revenge on Japan. More importantly, it caused a vast loss of face to the top military brass of Japan, stunning them into hasty, poorly-planned actions. None were more-affected than Adm. Yamamoto, who was deeply ashamed that he, in his mind, had prtmitted enemy bombs to fall near the Emperor's residence. Thus, he rushed the Midway operation into being without the usual careful planning he usually did on large missions. In his anger & haste, he assumed Adm. Nimitz would react as Y guessed he would. This proved entirely-wrong, of course, as Nimitz didn't follow Yamamoto's script !

    After Midway, Yamamoto launched a series of attacks against UNS units here & there, still trying to entice the main fleet into a showdown. These actions destroyed a number of US ships, but also whittled down Japan's pool of highly trained, experienced aircrews, so before too long, Japan's remaining carriers were largely ineffective due to inesperienced aircrews With the IJN becoming much less-potent, Japan couldn't send reinforcements to threatened island bastions, resulting in their falls. (Yamamoto himself was killed Apr. 1943. See the thread about the mission that got him.)

    Yes, the Doolittle raid helped vastly in softening up Japan for defeat. It was the event that "got the ball rolling" against Japan.
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