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Thread: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

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    Default 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Fredericksburg, Texas (CNN) Richard Cole was not thinking much about the future when flying in the surprise Doolittle revenge raid on Japan 75 years ago Tuesday. He says he was scared all the time. Now, at age 101, he is the last survivor of the 80 gallant men who successfully bombed Japan and delivered a giant morale boost for the United States just months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The Doolittle Raiders were beloved by a nation caught up in World War II. Cole will mark the 75th anniversary in ceremonies held at the National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base In Dayton, Ohio.
    Lt. Col. Cole said, "It's kind of lonely because I'm the last one." When pressed about what the 75th anniversary of the attack means to him, Cole, with a twinkle in his eye, said, "It means I'm getting to be an old man." Later, Cole said on the anniversary, "You think about the whole group."









    The 80 pilots, navigators, engineers, bombardiers and gunners took off in B-25 Mitchell bombers from the USS Hornet in the Pacific Ocean bound for Japan. A bomber takeoff from the deck of an aircraft carrier had never been done. The crew found themselves scrambling to make a hasty takeoff, 12 hours ahead of schedule, after they were spotted by Japanese fishing boats. The early departure also meant the planes would likely run out of gas before landing in friendly China. Cole was the co-pilot in the lead plane alongside the commander of the mission, Jimmy Doolittle. ....

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/18/us/75t...aid/index.html

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history


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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    An excellent book on the subject:

    "Fact is that which enough people believe. Truth is determined by how fervently they believe it."
    --- Charles Pierce







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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    With all resect, I'd say the Doolittle raid, while dramatic and a propaganda victory, was in the long run largely irrelevant to the course of the war and history.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Well, to say the raid "changed history" is an exaggeration. It was an important morale booster for sure, and it put the Japanese on notice that the homeland was not invulnerable, but the raid itself achieved nothing of any military or strategic importance. That is not to discount or disparage the bravery of the guys that flew the mission.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Dad was a huge admirer of General Doolittle and early in the Africa campaign was Doolittle's personal pilot. On a visit to an advanced air base they were strafed. Doolittle sprinted to a P-40 that had escaped the carnage and Dad, following his general, got another P-40 and followed as wingman. Dad always said that it's just as well that the German planes got away as he'd not figured out how to unlock his guns. The picture below of Doolittle presenting Dad his first air medal was later in the campaign.


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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    In my opinion, The Doolittle raid led to the Japanese High Commands decision to attack Midway. The defeat at Midway changed the course of the war.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    "One plane hung so long, just off the bow, halfway between flight and stall, we nearly catalogued the crews' effects."

    - Halsey

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Dad was a huge admirer of General Doolittle and early in the Africa campaign was Doolittle's personal pilot. On a visit to an advanced air base they were strafed. Doolittle sprinted to a P-40 that had escaped the carnage and Dad, following his general, got another P-40 and followed as wingman. Dad always said that it's just as well that the German planes got away as he'd not figured out how to unlock his guns. The picture below of Doolittle presenting Dad his first air medal was later in the campaign.

    Whoa! That is AWESOME. What a cool picture. Thanks for sharing it.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    "Irrelevant" my a-s! What other bombing mission by US aircraft (other than Hiroshima and Nagasaki) do we remember yet today so many details about the mission? At that point in WW2, having any sort of "propaganda" or "morale" benefit was far from "irrelevant".

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    I have two copies of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and have seen the Van Johnson film several times. Imagine the pilot training, sitting in their B-25's with "balls to the wall", brakes locked, with a pair of flags on either side of the runway mere yards away marking the point where they needed to be airborne

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    What other bombing mission by US aircraft (other than Hiroshima and Nagasaki) do we remember yet today so many details about the mission? At that point in WW2, having any sort of "propaganda" or "morale" benefit was far from "irrelevant".
    We remember historical incidents for many reasons, only some of which have to do with whether they changed things in the long run. I think the war would have turned out almost exactly the same had the Doolittle raid never happened, but of course I could be wrong.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 04-18-2017 at 11:17 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    I believe the pilot of the B-25 that dropped below deck level on takeoff had forgotten to put the flaps down.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    I've been looking at those stupid History Quizzes on Facebook, to start, the text states that only 1 in 10 can answer all these questions. Secondly, anyone with a brain could but, needless to say, I suspect there are not many living now have any idea as to who Doolittle was other than some doctor who can speak to the animals.

    This was an amazing feat, the raid, and it's worth remembering what was done. I'm only surprised there is still one man living who was involved.

    Congrats and the entire nation should thank you.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    I'll bet Doolittle, nor any of the airmen ever considered the mission "irrelevant".

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    I'll bet Doolittle, nor any of the airmen ever considered the mission "irrelevant".
    I don't think so either.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    It was important.

    Japanese people had been told they could never be attacked. They learned otherwise. It led to the decision to attack Midway.


    A similar RAF raid on Berlin on the 26th August 1940 changed the course of the war because Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to attack British cities; they had been attacking airfields and docks.
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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Scheuer View Post
    I'll bet Doolittle, nor any of the airmen ever considered the mission "irrelevant".
    Of course not. Does any soldier going off to fight think 'Oh, what I'm doing is just an obscure historical footnote that will make no difference to the outcome of the war'?

    If the raid actually led to the Japanese decision to attack Midway, then I'm probably wrong; that was important.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Well the war would have turned out exactly as it did if a number of fights, raids even battles hadn't happened. Keeping the enemy off balance is part of successful war making.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Over the weekend we had 4 B-25s fly over Alameda and the USS Hornet commemorating the event. It was quite impressive. The former USS Hornet aircraft carrier was the launch pad of the raid. The Hornet has a great museum with a big display about the Doolittle raid as well as the Vietnam and Apollo recovery.

    From all the men i knew who served on the Hornet when the raid was launched - it meant the United States was hot and in. Most thought the US needed to give the Japanese a bloody nose after Pearl Harbor. The bombs that dropped on Japan had a chilling effect in their society. The Japanese society which had known success since the Sino war and Chinese campaign recognized the turn that was coming as the romantic jig of war was over for them.

    In our house - Doolittle was the man. Victory at Sea was our show.

    The world's big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    Victory at Sea was our show.
    was big in our home too


    I don't think Victory at Sea included any footage surrounding the Doolittle Raid; perhaps because it was an Army Air Force mission?
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 04-18-2017 at 12:43 PM.
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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    The concept that the Doolittle raid led to the Japanese decision against Midway, if true, shows how utterly strategically pivotal the raid was.

    Howsoever even if not valid, that the raid was an important ringing affirmation at that stage of the war was vital to the in-country war effort. Psy ops is vital in warfare.

    It was an astonishingly ballsy thing to do, and I have utter and total respect for everyone involved.
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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    was big in our home too

    I don't think Victory at Sea included any footage surrounding the Doolittle Raid; perhaps because it was an Army Air Force mission?
    I think you are right also it was a top secret mission with the bombers launching from the carriers. Most believed it couldn't be done. Those were dark days for the allies with the fall of the Philippines, the death march and of course the upcoming battle at Midway.

    My mentor Allen Daviau - a master cinematographer & film consultant extrodinare for Kodak (his credits include E.T., Avalon and Empire of the Sun & much more) who was in charge of restoring Victory at Sea for the National Library and Archives told me most top secret footage was destroyed following the war. The original prints and negatives were given to NBC's editors and producers. What ever they didn't use was thrown away when it didn't fit their narrative and time limits - this meant thousands of hours of the only film proofs were destroyed. The footage that Victory at Sea often is the only remaining footage - that too was nearly lost in completeness as nearly all where cut to fit commercials and time slots over the years.
    The world's big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    I read "30 seconds over Tokyo" about a year ago. Still stands up as a great story and work of journalism. The bravery of the Chinese was extraordinary.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    If someone told me to take a bomber off a ship and Bomb Japan but I would not have enough fuel to get back and would have to ditch, crash, jump I do not think I could muster up the courage to to that.. What brave men.

    If Japan had done this to Portland or Seattle Im sure it would have Dealt a very big morale loss for us..

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbys View Post
    If someone told me to take a bomber off a ship and Bomb Japan but I would not have enough fuel to get back and would have to ditch, crash, jump I do not think I could muster up the courage to to that.. What brave men.

    If Japan had done this to Portland or Seattle Im sure it would have Dealt a very big morale loss for us..
    Agreed on that for once. I think that as the aircraft was detected by a Japanese fishing vessel before it reached its destination, it had to send the B25s off. A do or die situation.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Gerarddm View Post
    The concept that the Doolittle raid led to the Japanese decision against Midway, if true, shows how utterly strategically pivotal the raid was.
    The raid was part of the reason but not the main reason the Japanese chose to fight that particular battle. The Japanese were already planning for a single decisive confrontation to engage and destroy the remaining US aircraft carriers and other vessels in the hope that by doing so, they'd effectively knock US out of the Pacific war and allow the Japanese to expand their sphere of influence without any resistance. The Doolittle raid exposed a weakness in the defenses of the home islands and made abundantly clear the danger the US aircraft carrier represented - a danger that Vice Admiral Yamamoto had been concerned about and planning for since before the start of the war. Yamamoto looked for a place to attack which would be certain to draw out the entire US fleet in response. He considered Pearl Harbor again but by then it was too heavily defended. Midway was the logical choice. It was meant to finish the job started by the attack on Pearl Harbor: the destruction of the US naval fleet in general and the carriers in particular

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Too bad about the water shortage at Midway, broke the Japanese code.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    With all resect, I'd say the Doolittle raid, while dramatic and a propaganda victory, was in the long run largely irrelevant to the course of the war and history.

    Alternatively, if it hadn't been for the atomic bombs it would have been the first of 20 years of US Air Force bombing of Japan. It would have gone on until Japan surrendered and that may have been a very long time.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Read a bit of Doolittle a while back. He was quite a gymnast in highschool and once bet a colleague that he could ride on the axle of the landing gear of a biplane. He scrunched up during takeoff and landing and sat with his legs dangling during the flight.
    His CO witnessed the landing and was not pleased.
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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Doolittle exposed himself to risk all his career. But he at least nominally opposed gratuitous risk in his pilots. Dad was in troop transport and thus logged thousands and thousands of hours that fighter and bomber pilots did not get, flying daily no matter what the combat situation was.. In the mostly calm and routine flying before the Sicily invasion it was at least orderly, eight hour days, like that. So Dad and another pilot set in with their air and ground crews to restoring a couple of shot up ME109s. The other guy finished first by a day and attempted a test flight. Crashed doing a loop with a roll. Dad was the local commanding officer and Doolittle tore him several new anal orafaces for taking such a stupid risk and allowing such a wasteful casualty.

    To Eisenhower's horror, Doolittle was almost impossible to keep on the ground or out of direct fire.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Well, the Doolittle Raid did lead directly to the death of 250,000 Chinese in retaliatory attacks, including chemical warfare attacks on populated areas and airfields that could have been used to support the Americans.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

    I'd rather look back at my life and say "I can't believe I did that" instead of being there saying "I wish I'd done that"

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    For those unfamiliar with Ian the Greater's reference, read the excerpt at http://www.smithsonianmag.com/histor...aid-180955001/

    For many of us this was no surprise. Doolittle himself had anticipated it and during the war told Dad of it as an important lesson as to what we were fighting. One of our family mentors, "old China hand" Edwin Stanton, had run an intelligence operation from his places of capture in Japanese camps and funneled much information back for both war and diplomatic planning. After WWII Stanton was the first US ambassador to Thailand after the name change from Siam.

    Any action and all inactions invited expansionistic attacks from the Axis powers. Japanese atrocities were caused by Japanese imperialism, not by the Doolittle raid.

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Alternatively, if it hadn't been for the atomic bombs it would have been the first of 20 years of US Air Force bombing of Japan. It would have gone on until Japan surrendered and that may have been a very long time.
    It wouldn't have taken 20 years, but it would have been very, very messy. In August of 1945 my father was sitting on a carrier off the Japanese coast, getting ready for the invasion that turned out to be unnecessary. There's some chance I wouldn't be here now if it weren't for the atomic bombs.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

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    Default Re: 75 years ago, the Doolittle Raid changed history

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Japanese atrocities were caused by Japanese imperialism, not by the Doolittle raid.
    just so
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