Thursday, April 18, 2019
It Was 77 Years Ago and A Major Boost to U,S, Morale, the Doolittle Raid
From the April 18, 2019, Springfield (Ohio) News-Sun.
What made the mission all the more challenging was that the ships in the task force were spotted by a Japanese patrol boat which caused the Navy commander, Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, to launch the planes farther away than they wanted to and fuel became a major problem.
Originally they had enough fuel to get to eastern China where they expected to land, refuel and fly on to western China an be saved.
They flew at 200 feet above the water and with radios turned off and avoided detection. In groups of between two and four bombers, they broke off and targeted dry docks, armories, oil refineries and aircraft factories in Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo itself.
The Japanese anti-aircraft defense was caught off guard and so the Raiders received little of their fire and only one Zero followed in pursuit. With their bombs delivered, the Raiders flew to safety in China.
As the planes ran out of fuel, many Raiders had to parachute, including Richard Cole. Of the 80 Raiders, eight were captured by the Japanese and five executed. Three were sent to prison and one of them died of malnutrition.
The other 72 with the help of Allied Chinese found their way to safety and continued to fight in the war.