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Doolittle "Tokyo" Raider

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Lt Col Richard "****" Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot - crew #1 and almost 100 years old) was at the National World War II Museum last night. His humor won over the crowd. Example: during 1:24 minutes into the presentation, **** was asked had he watched the movie "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo" and he said he'd never seen the movie; he already knew the ending. LOL

http://livestream.com/nww2m/events/4137363

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Some of the Doolittle crews had to fly to the Vladivostok emergency field, where per the rules of SU's neutrality they had to be interned. They were kept in an internment camp in southern Siberia.

My dad, an early B-29 co-pilot, had to divert to that same emergency field in 1944, and was held there for several months before the Soviets allowed the OSS to escort everyone across southern SU to Persia.

My dad knew some of the Doolittle guys while they were interned together.

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Some of the Doolittle crews had to fly to the Vladivostok emergency field, where per the rules of SU's neutrality they had to be interned. They were kept in an internment camp in southern Siberia.

My dad, an early B-29 co-pilot, had to divert to that same emergency field in 1944, and was held there for several months before the Soviets allowed the OSS to escort everyone across southern SU to Persia.

My dad knew some of the Doolittle guys while they were interned together

No offense, but your father could not have known any of the Doolittle raiders. They were only held for 13 months, then released through Persia. They were gone by mid '43, long before your father got there in '44.

-Irish

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If there's an error, I'm sure it's mine in correctly recalling the story as it was relayed to me...not by my dad, who lived it.

Perhaps he told me that they had been there, not that they were there while he was there. There were a lot of stories, and my interest in them has not been one of a note-taking historian.

I think the definitive book on the Siberia interning process, which primarily included flyers from the Aleutians in addition to the Doolittle aircrew and the three B29 crews, is "Home from Siberia", part of the Texas A&M University Military History Series. There also have been some videotaped interviews, and a substantial historical-magazine piece particularly on the B-29s.

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Before that attack the newspapers in Japan had been going insane with silly stories, of course approved by the Military Govt.. Stuff like how Japans soldiers were invincible and akin more to Gods and not just men. They wrote how it was a forgone conclusion Japan could land in California and march right across America to conquer it. Due to their string of victories the Japanese really thought they were far superior to anyone on earth.

The truth was they only had a few hundred fighters to protect the homeland, and about 50 to protect Tokyo. Their High Command was locked in a dual over what to do next and where to go, south to Australia "which they ended up trying with an inadequate force", west to India, East to Hawaii, or up to the north and the Aleutians. Truth is their ability to move troops and supplys was limited, as was their ability to re-supply them. They still weren't able to refuel while at sea yet.

Their entire strategic power was centered around the 6 fast carriers of Kido Butai and that was a raiding force not a Battle group because most of the other ships in the fleet, including the other carriers, werent fast enough to keep up with them. So they were so ashamed of the Doolittle attack the Midway attack was given the go, as long as the Aleutian one was OK'ed to go to. Which made no sense because it bled their power and the two task forces were to far apart to support each other anyway even if they had to. The Jeps never considered the Aleution attack to be a decoy, it was an operation in its own right because they were afraid the north of their defensive perimeter was weak. Which was ridiculous because even if it was we didnt have the forces to take advantage of it anyway. And had no plans to.

There were so many volunteers for the raid your dad was on that Doolittle had to turn many guys down. They changed the course of History with just 16 medium bombers each only having 2,000lb bomb loads. The Jeps rushed into that Midway operation, it was an ill concieved plan, and they put a fool in charge of it. Nagumo was the same fool that mucked up Pearl Harbor.

Edited by usaf77

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Pick up “I could never be so lucky again” a biography about Doolittle.  Great read and it puts you in the shoes of an iconic man. 

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The Raid was more of a turning point then just Midway. 

 

At the time the Raid occurred the IJN was tearing up the RN in the Indian Ocean.  Neither side came to final grips with each other, but given IJN results, if they could have found Somerville's Fleet the results would have likely been disastrous.  With Indian manpower and supplies cut off, North Africa would have been far less sustainable. 

Then, BAD THINGS HAPPEN.

 

I'll let Churchill explain-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Sunday_Raid#Churchill_quote_on_the_Battle_of_Ceylon

 

That's right, Churchill's darkest moment is NOT the Blitz and the Battle of Britain or the Uboat War.  The most dangerous moment is the unhinging of the UK supply lines and the loss of the Suez and North Africa, freeing up a LOT of manpower for other anti-UK operations, UK production takes a hit, perhaps the Italian fleet in the Atlantic or getting Spain in on the Axis side for Gibraltar, it just goes on and on.

 

Maybe the Germans get enough manpower and equipment to finish Russia properly at the velocity they needed at that moment in the war.

 

Would the IJN have had the fuel to actually land forces on the Suez?  Probably not, and their landing forces weren't equivalent to our opposed amphib capability, but they could neutralize the RN and tear up supply lines, and in general accomplish the grand encirclement without direct invasion.

 

But Doolittle's Raid forces them to abandon following through on their Indian Ocean operations, switch back to protecting the homeland instead of pushing, they steam into Midway, and never come back in force.

 

Intentional results on our part?  I'm sure FDR and the USN knew about the Ceylon Raid and what was happening, but wasn't a driver as the Raid was planned ahead of those events.  Just goes to show having the spirit of the attack and dictating events by initiative can yield results you cannot imagine or professionally hope for.

Edited by Kilemall

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