Photograph - Digital Capture/the Faa Watermark Will Not Appear On The Final Image.
The Doolittle Raid, also known as the Tokyo Raid, on April 18, 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, U.S. Army Air Forces. Doolittle would later recount in his autobiography that the raid was intended to bolster American morale and to cause the Japanese to begin doubting their leadership
The Japanese people had been told they were invulnerable. An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders. There was a second, and equally important, psychological reason for this attack. Americans badly needed a morale boost.
Sixteen U.S. Army Air Forces B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were launched from the U.S. Navy's aircraft carrier USS Hornet deep in the Western Pacific Ocean. The plan called for them to bomb military targets in Japan, and to continue westward to land in China - landing a medium bomber on the Hornet was impossible. All the aircraft involved in the bombing were lost and 11 crewmen were either killed or captured - with three of the captured men executed by the Japanese Army in China. One of the B-25s landed in the Soviet Union at Vladivostok, where it was confiscated and its crew interned for more than a year. Thirteen entire crews, and all but one crewman of a 14th, returned either to the United States or to American forces.
The raid caused negligible material damage to Japan, but it succeeded in its goal of helping American morale, and casting doubt in Japan on the ability of the Japanese military leaders. It also caused Japan to withdraw its powerful aircraft carrier force from the Indian Ocean to defend their Home Islands, and the raid contributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's decision to attack Midway - an attack that turned into a decisive rout of the Imperial Japanese Navy by the U.S. Navy near Midway Island in the Central Pacific.
One of the bombers that participated in the Doolittle raid was nicknamed "The Ruptured Duck." What follows are the specifics of the aircraft and its crew:
B-25B "Ruptured Duck" Serial Number 40-2261
Pilot Lt. Ted W. Lawson, O-399549 (WIA) Co-Pilot Lt. Dean Davenport, O-427310 (WIA) Navigator Lt. Chas. L. McClure, O-431647 (WIA) Bombardier Lt. Robert S. Clever, O-432336 (WIA) Engineer Sgt. David J. Thatcher, 19019573 (WIA) Ditched April 18, 1942 during the "Doolittle Raid"
The aircraft was built by North American and assigned to the 17th Bombardment Group, 95th Bombardment Squadron and nicknamed "The Ruptured Duck." Its nose art consisted of a Disney Donald Duck character with crossed crutches.
As One of sixteen B-25's assigned to the "Doolittle Raid," the Duck was the seventh bomber to take off from the USS Hornet. It bombed the industrial section of Tokyo with 3 demolition bombs and one incendiary.
Afterward delivery of the bomb load, the crew ditched the aircraft in the China Sea off the coast west of Shangchow. The crew members suffered three injured, one of which being only slightly injured allowing him to take to the life raft. Engineer Sgt. David Thatcher was in good enough shape to swim back to the wreck to get the aircraft's medical kit.
Several Chinese fishermen were persuaded by Thatcher to carry his injured crew mates to temporary safety. For three days they carried the injured crew members over difficult mountainous terrain seeking medical treatment. All the crew evaded capture by the Japanese soldiers as a result of Sgt. Thatcher's leadership.
This image was made in Hanger 79 on Ford island in Pearl Harbor.
Image copyright 2013 Jon Burch Photography
February 16th, 2013
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