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Apr 18, 2014, 10:03 AM
They call me Lipo...
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Remembering the Doolittle Raid.....


Today I thought it fitting to remember an exceptional chapter in aviation history....the day a heroic band of Army pilots did the unthinkable....took land-based, medium bombers off of a pitching and heaving carrier deck and flew 600 miles deep into enemy territory with the mission of bombing their capitol city.

I originally posted this on the Wildcat thread, but thought the time and effort warranted posting it here in my blog as well, so please forgive my indulgence...

As is customary on this thread, we always look at chapters in our little 'Cat's history. One chapter not to be overlooked is the Doolittle Raid....

Although it was the USAAF pilots flying B-25 Mitchell medium bombers on that day that stole the spotlight (and earned EVERY word of praise for their efforts), our little Wildcat was there as well, with Wildcats from Enterprise's VF-6 flying both inner and outer CAP's just in case they were needed to repel any attacks on the Hornet as she came in close, and once the B-25's were on their way to Tokyo, Wildcats from VF-8 joined the patrols as well to give VF-6 some relief from the constant inner and outer CAPs.

Prior to the launch, however, on the morning of 18 April, Wildcats from VF-6 were involved in several sorties to attack and suppress Japanese picket boats, and Wildcats thoroughly strafed the Nanshin Maru and the Nitto Maru. Most of the fighter planes returned to the Enterprise out of ammo, prompting one of the Wildcat pilots, LT (jg) Wilmer Rawie to jokingly call themselves "a bloodthirsty bunch of bastards". The VF-6 pilots got back to the Enterprise just in time to see the B-25's taking off from the Hornet. Rawie thought the Mitchells looked impressive, especially when flying over. The most detailed account of this, to include charts depicting pilot rosters that day, aircraft involved in flying CAP, etc., can be found in John B. Lundstrom's outstanding work "The First Team", with an entire chapter devoted to telling the story, which is where I got most of the information for this posting...

As a side note, this was also the debut of the F4F-4, and squadrons now had a 27 plane complement, something that Jimmy Thach had been requesting for months.

Here Wildcats of VF-8 are prepped for machine gun tests aboard the Hornet as she steams towards Japan:


Here's a bit of a series to honor the heroic efforts of the raiders...

A B-25 cranks up to t/o RPM while the signalman waits for the B-25 to develop full power before he signals GO!:


With the signalman down safely, the B-25 begins it's t/o run:


A B-25 gets on step, rolling on the mains, straining to get in the air. Note the full flaps to help get her in the air:


With another B-25 safely airborne, an excited crew looks on, knowing they are part of history in the making...


And last, one of many iconic images to come from that morning, a B-25 climbing off the deck of the Hornet, Tokyo bound....


Thanks for indulging me and remembering this day in Wildcat history...

Cheers friends,
John
Last edited by Justwingit; May 04, 2014 at 09:13 PM.
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Apr 18, 2014, 03:14 PM
They call me Lipo...
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Scenes from "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"...


In further remembrance of today, here's two scenes from the 1944 classic "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo".

The first clip depicts, with incredible detail and a skillful weaving of both original footage shot by military cameramen and footage shot on a massive soundstage, the launch of the attack from the slippery, pitching deck of the Hornet. This clip also shows, with fantastic camera footage, the exciting low-level infiltration of the Raiders, often times skimming the waves, as they approached the mainland. Once they crossed the mainland, they kept hugging the earth, trying to avoid detection:
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Part 9 (9 min 54 sec)

An outstanding job was done by everyone involved in the production of this movie, and the pilot of the B-25 flying Nap of the Earth was especially skilled! That's REAL flying, not CGI ! The carrier scenes were also extremely well done as one is hard pressed to tell the soundstage scenes from the still photos and film shot the day of the attack...

This next clip depicts the actual bombing of Tokyo, and the escape, and ultimate crash landing in China:
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo Part 10 (10 min 6 sec)


EPILOGUE:
Of the 16 B-25's involved in the raid, 15 of the aircraft reached China, with one landing in the Soviet Union. All but four of the crew survived, but all the aircraft were lost. Eight crewmen were captured by the Japanese Army in China; three of these heroes were executed, and one later died from disease. The B-25 that landed in the Soviet Union at Vladivostok was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Fourteen crews, except for one crewman, returned either to the United States or to American forces....

Heroism that defies description....
Last edited by Justwingit; May 01, 2014 at 11:44 PM.
Oct 07, 2014, 05:33 PM
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I loved reading the book when I was 13 about the Doolittle Raid.


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