On 18 April 1942, the USA attacked Japan. This was sixteen months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour during world war 2 The small raid was led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle.
Doolittle gathered up some volunteer pilots and then these pilots went through tough training and their planes were modified. Their plan was to take sixteen B-25 bombers on the aircraft carrier called the Hornet to go and bomb Japan. The men who were flying the planes had never launched a bomber off an aircraft carrier before and neither had anyone else because the planes were too big and heavy, and the aircraft carrier runways were too short. Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle did a good job of training these men.
There were five men in each plane. They were planning to launch the bombers off the Hornet when it was 400 miles away from Japan, but there were some Japanese picket boats further out from Japan than the Americans thought they would be, and the enemy boats sent out radio warnings to Japan. The bombers had to take off at 600 miles away from Japan.
The B-25 bombers flew to Tokyo and they bombed the Tokyo area and some bombers attacked Nagoya. The pilots then flew their planes to China, but none of them made it to the Chinese airfields. Three of the eighty men died in China, and eight were captured by the Japanese and became prisoners of war. In 2011 there were still five of the 69 survivors alive.
During World War One Doolittle was a flight instructor in the USA, later he served with 90th Aero Squadron and the 104th Aero Squadron. He was one of the most famous pilots in those times and he made many pioneering flights. He made the first cross-country flight that took him 21 hours and 19 minutes. He was promoted on the day after the world war 2 raid on Tokyo.
©copyright Sebastian Schultz 2012