The Doolittle Tokyo Raiders
Here is a chapter my father wrote for the book:
"Doolittle's Tokyo Raiders"
by Carroll Glines
"Thanks For A Swell Ride"
By Richard O. Joyce
As soon as Watson's plane blasted off the deck, I lined up and took off about five minutes later. I had been slightly delayed due to the continued misfiring of the right engine which finally smoothed out. The take-off was easy although I sweated out that right engine during those critical moments of the roll down the deck.
I circled the carrier once and flew parallel to it's course and set my gyro compass and compared it with the magnetic compass. We picked up a true course of 270 degrees about 500 feet off the water. About an hour and a half out Sergeant Horton, on watch in the upper turret, shouted over the interphone.
"Gunner to pilot. Twin engine plane, twelve o'clock!"
Directly ahead and above us was a Japanese patrol plane and it must have seen us at the same time because it immediately dove out of the clouds directly at us. I increased the power on both engines and swept underneath it. We quickly outdistanced it and didn't attempt to fire on it because it never really got within range. After that incident, I decided to fly the rest of the distance at altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 feet in order to avoid detection. We hit Inubo Saki right on the nose, thanks to our navigator, "Sally" Crouch. I turned south for about ten miles and then turned west across the neck of land to Tokyo Bay, then northwest as 3,500 feet in and out of scattered clouds. When I sighted my target, I dove out of the clouds, and lined up with the target at 2,400 feet and 210 mph speed. I opened the bomb bay doors and just as I did, an aircraft carrier steaming toward the Yokosuka Naval Base opened up on us with their ack-ack of presumably small caliber. Fortunately, their fire was ineffective and inaccurate. However, since we were toward the last of the bomber string, they were waiting for us and I knew it would be no picnic the rest of the way in.
We lined up on our primary target, the Japan Special Steel Company and dropped two 500-lb demos and got direct hits. One bomb hit directly in the middle of a big building and the other landed between two buildings, destroying the end sections of both. The third demo and the incendiary cluster were dropped in the heavy industrial section in the Shiba Ward.
The ack-ack fire became intense and since I had taken a long straight run on the target, by the time the bombs were out we found ourselves bracketed with the black puffs of smoke and shrapnel coming very close, generally behind but catching up fast.
Just as the last bomb went out, a formation of nine Zeros came in above us and a little to our right. I jammed the throttles forward and and went into a steep diving turn to the left to escape both the ack-ack fire and the fighters. The fighters had definitely seen us and peeled off at us but I dove under them and eluded them for the moment. We were doing 330 mph which was right on the red line. I leveled out right on the ground and hedge-hopped all the way back out to the bay. Three Nakajima 97's came out of nowhere ahead and to our left. They tried to catch us but couldn't keep up. The Zeros, however, had not been shaken. They had an altitude advantage but didn't seen too eager to come in close. I could hear Horton firing at them from the turret from time to time to discourage them. We finally shook them as I turned west across the mountains. Shortly after, a single fighter appeared alongside and above us, just as I turned south again. We fired at him with both nose and turret guns and we think we hit him but none of us was sure we knocked him down. At any rate, he got extremely discouraged which was OK with us.
Just as we thought we had made it and I had begun to throttle back when three more enemy fighters bored in toward us. I pushed the throttles forward and climbed up into the clouds to elude them. I decided to turn out to sea for about thirty miles since it looked like they were really after us. Fortunately, that was the last enemy plane we ever saw.
When we passed through the Oshima Strait and headed west, I took inventory of our damage. We had sustained one anti-aircraft hit in the rear fuselage just ahead of the horizontal stabilizer. The hole was about 7 inches in diameter; luckily no vital structural part was hit and about all it did was create quite a draft. We were also hit on the left wingtip by machine gun bullets but, again, the damage was slight. A few feet closer to the fuselage, however, and we would probably have lost gas to say the least.
As soon as we estimated we were nearing the China coast, the weather became foggy and rainy. I was forced to go on instruments about 100 miles out and stayed on them until we all bailed out. Our automatic pilot was inoperative so I had to "hand-fly" it all the way. Stork, of course, relieved me and shared the flying chore.
About the time Crouch estimated we should begin to climb to avoid the mountains along the coast we spotted an island and got a few glimpses of land as we came in over the coast. Those few glimpses gave us assurance that at least we were over land. It was now getting dark, still foggy and rainy and getting worse.
There was an overcast above us so I climbed up into it and continued on course. As we neared our ETA at Chuchow (China) I realized positively that we could never expect to make a landing in that weather so I told the crew to get ready to bail out. I climbed to 9,000 feet with about 15 minutes of gas left. I had flown deliberately past Chuchow to be sure that we would come down in Chinese territory.
I had been talking back and fourth to my crew from time to time and when I figured we had only about ten minutes of gas left, I asked Crouch to show us on the map where we were. I then gave them their instructions.
"Horton, you go first out the rear hatch," I said. "Then Larkin, then "Sally" and Stork out the front. Larkin, you wait until Horton is gone before you release the forward escape door - you might hit him. OK, fellas, that's it. I'll see you in Chuchow. Let me know when your ready back there, Ed, and good luck to you."
"OK Lieutenant," Horton answered over the interphone.
"Here I go and thanks for a swell ride."
I couldn't help but laugh at that and it made me feel good. Here we had been flying for about 14 hours, had been in combat and hit, and now had to bail out and he thanked me for the ride! Horton's spirit of discipline was typical of my whole crew and I was thankful.
I was busy keeping the plane's speed at 120 mph on instruments and felt them go one by one. They were fine men. Not one was afraid but bitterly disappointed that we had to abandon our plane. It takes men like them to win a war and that's what we were trying to do.
When the last man was gone, I rolled the stabilizer back to keep the plane from gaining too much speed and then worked myself around to get out of the cockpit. I had some trouble squeezing in between the armor plate on the backs of the two seats and had to keep pushing the wheel forward to keep the plane from stalling. I had little time to do anything once I got to the escape hatch but I did manage to grab some food and equipment before I jumped.
I dropped clear of the ship and pulled the rip cord. The chute opened nicely but just as it did the metal on one of the leg straps broke and almost dropped me out of the chute harness. I slid down and the chest buckle socked me in the chin so hard I was stunned. At the same time my pistol was jerked out of its holster and flew into space. I swung wildly for about a minute and then straightened out. Just as I did, I heard the plane hit below me and explode. A few seconds later, I hit the ground which was quite a surprise. Luckily, I was uninjured even though I had landed on the side of a steep slope.
It was raining and foggy and I couldn't see a thing. I felt I had no choice but to wrap myself up in my parachute and try to stay dry and get some sleep.
The next morning it was still foggy but the rain had stopped. When it was clear enough for me to see, I started to look for our plane. When I saw how steep the hill was that I had landed on and saw how sharp the boulders were, I don't see how I missed getting badly hurt - or worse.
The plane turned out to be only a mile away but it took me four hours to get there over the rocks and cliffs. When I got to the site of the crash there were a number of Chinese there picking in the charred wreckage. I hailed them and made them understand that I was a friend.
There wasn't a single thing I could salvage out of the wreck; it was a total loss. There was nothing to do but start walking. The Chinese farmers took me to a town where I stayed that night. The next day I met some Chinese soldiers who escorted me to Tunki, Anhwei and, a week later, Chuhsien. My crew was safe and had no serious injuries. We had a lot to be thankful for.
May 5, 1942
SUBJECT: Mission report of Doolittle project on April 18, 1942.
TO: Brigadier General James H. Doolittle.
Airplane Type: B-25-B #40-2250
Pilot -- 1st Lt. Richard O. Joyce -- 0-401770
Co-pilot -- 2nd Lt. J. Royden Stork-- 0-421345
Navigator-Bombardier -- 1st Lt. Horace E. Crouch -- 0-395839
Engineer-Gunner -- Sgt. George E. Larkin
Gunner Staff Sgt. Edwin W. Horton
To proceed from Lexington County Air Base at Columbia, South Carolina to Eglin Field, Florida where the mission was revealed, special preparations made, training of crew accompli and alterations and repair of plane done. Final preparations were made at McClellan Field, Sacramento, California, two weeks prior to loading the airplane and the crew boarding the U.S. Naval Aircraft Carrier, U.S.S. Hornet at Alameda, California. We sailed from San Francisco and targets were assigned at sea and maps, charts and target location and all procedures were studied constantly while at sea.
The Take-off was ordered at 7:30 A.M., April 18, 1942. An emergency since we were discovered by the Japanese 800 miles from Tokyo. We had hardly enough time to get courses and other data.
The mission orders were to proceed to Tokyo bomb our target; go back out to sea, proceed south around southern tip of island of Honshu hence to China; land at Chuchow, refuel; wait till dawn and favorable weather; take-off and fly to Chunking or if forced down, proceed to Chuchow and await orders.
Time of Take-off:
08:05 April 18, 1942 ( -10 time zone )
Thin broken clouds 3000 to 5000 feet from ship t landfall. CAVU from landfall to target, with a thin broken to scattered SW of Tokyo out at sea 2000 to 5000 base of clouds. Clear and unlimited 100 miles south of Tokyo then high thin overcast gradually building up to rain and fog halfway across China becoming instrument conditions at least 100 miles from China coast. Over China heavy fog and heavy rain, occasional breaks in fog showing higher overcast, lower fog to broken to overcast mostly zero zero on ground.
Approach: Below 1500 feet.
Bombing run: 1500 feet.
Flight to coast made at 500 feet except approach over land made in clouds at 3000' then diving out of clouds over target and releasing bombs at 2500 feet. Flight to China at 500 feet and gradual climb when reaching coast to 4000 feet then climb to 8000 feet when ship abandoned.
3 - 500 lb demolition, 1 - incendiary cluster (128 bombs) 500 lbs.
920 rounds .50 cal. 2 - AP, 3 - incendiary, 1 - tracer
700 rounds .30 cal. 2 - AP, 3 - incendiary, 1 - tracer
Japan Special Steel Company plants and warehouses in South Tokyo in Shiba Ward 11/2 miles N of Tana River.
Any part of industrial area there or military objectives in vicinity.
Primary target bombed with 2 - 500 lb demolition bombs scoring 2 direct hits and causing heavy damage. 1 - 500 lb demolition bomb dropped amid thick industrial area in Shiba Ward about 1/4 of a mile inshore. Incendiary cluster dropped over thickly populated and dense industrial residential sector immediately inshore from primary target. Extent of damage caused by 3rd demolition bomb not noted due to heavy AA fire and attack by 9 Zero type fighters. No barrage balloons over target and none sighted along Tana River.
No AA Fire encountered until over Tokyo Bay when received light and ineffective fire from aircraft carrier which was steaming out of the bay. Heavy AA fire encountered over target. Not very large caliber, concentration mostly behind me but tracking good and bracket very close when evasive action taken and escape from AA fire made. Sustained one l AA hit in fuselage just forward of horizontal stabilizer about 8" in diameter. Not aware of any ground machine gun action although escape from Tokyo made at very low altitude. Encountered more AA fire West of Yokahama when leaving coast, light concentration of short duration, no hits. AA seemed to misjudge my speed but the elevation was very accurate. I suspect 3 gun batteries from the pattern of the bursts.
Encountered nine Zero type fighters directly over target; they were at about 5000 feet and immediately peeled off in attack but misjudged by speed which I increased to 330 MPH indicated air speed in a dive after bomb release and I dove in under them. I also saw 3 Nakajima type fighters over Tokyo but they did not attack. 3 of the Zeros pursued me to
...hit the ground quite suddenly as I could not tell when I was going to hit. I was not very far from the airplane but I realized that I was on a pretty steep slope and could see very little for the fog and rain. I was uninjured. I got out of my and got my mussette bag and wrapped myself up in my parachute and tried to sleep and keep warm and dry. The next morning it was still foggy and when it cleared enough for me to see I started for the wreck of the plane. I had to go up over the mountain I was on. I had landed on top of a high mountain on a steep slope with many boulders and cliffs. I realized that I was quite lucky that I was not seriously injured. The plane was only about a mile away but it took me four hours to get to it. When I arrived at the scene of the crash which was also very high up in the mountain I found a number of Chinese were there picking in the wreckage. I hailed them and made them understand that I was an American. They were friendly towards me. The plane had hit the side of the mountain and sprayed over a large area and had burned. I was able to salvage nothing from it. It was a total loss. the Chinese former led me to a small village that day and the next day I met some Chinese soldiers who held me for a day and then led me over the mountains for two days until I reached Tunki Anhwei and the military police there got me a ride on a truck to Tanki and I took the train from there to Kiawah to Chuchow. I stayed at Chuchow three days then went by to Ningtu from there to Hen yang by bus which took three days and then a plane picked us up at Hen yang a day later and took us to Chunking.
RICHARD O. JOYCE
1st Lt., Air Corps.
SUBJECT: Report of Tokyo Raid Airplane #40-2250
TO: Brig. Gen. Doolittle
Crew: Pilot, R.O. Joyce, 1st Lt.; Co-pilot, J.R. Stork, 2nd Lt.; Navigator, H.E. Crouch, 1st Lt.; Engineer-gunner, G.E. Larkin, Sgt.; Gunner, E.W. Horton, Sgt.
We took off from the carrier at approximately 08:05 o'clock ship time ( -10 zone) and I estimate that we were about 5 minutes behind Lieutenant Watson who took off just ahead of me. I was slightly delayed due to continued miss-firing of my right engine which finally cleared and functioned satisfactorily. I had no difficulty in getting into the air from the carrier. I circled the carrier once and flew over it parallel to its course which I new and set my gyro compass on the known course and set out for Tokyo at a general course of 270 degrees true.
We sighted the Inubo Saki point directly on course ahead of us at about 13:20 ship time. I flew at about 500 feet indicated altitude above the water for the first hour and a half when my gunner called and said that there was a twin engine plane above and in front of us. It was a Japanese patrol plane and it immediately dove out of the clouds and pursued me. I increased power and was able to outdistance the patrol plane which did not fire on me but I think recognized that I was the enemy. We did not fire on the patrol plane as it did not come within range. I estimate that this took place about 600 statue miles from Tokyo.
I flew the last 500 miles into Tokyo at altitudes ranging from 1000 feet to 4000 feet in order to fly in the thin overcast and clouds to avoid detection. I used 28 inches of manifold pressure and about 1370 RPM and indicated between 150 and 165 MPH.
Immediately after sighting Inubo Saki point I turned south and flew about 10 miles south of the point before turning in over land. I turned west and flew over that short neck of land to Tokyo Bay at 3500 feet altitude. When I reached the bay I dove out of the clouds and located my target and lined up on course with the target at 2400 feet indicated and 210 MPH indicated with the bomb doors open. I encountered no pursuit until I was over I was over the target and no AA fire until I was over the bay. An Aircraft carrier was steaming out of the bay toward the Yokosuka Naval base and opened up on me with AA guns of presumably small caliber. That fire was very ineffective and inaccurate.
I dropped two 500 lb. demo. bombs on the Japanese Special Steel Company main plant and both were direct hits. One bomb hitting directly in the center of a big plant and the other landing between two buildings destroying the end sections of both. The third demo. bomb and the incendiary were dropped in the heavy industrial and residential section in the Shiba Ward 1/4 of a mile in shore from the bay and my tat. My primary target was right on the shore of the bay.
I encountered heavy AA fire over my target and since I took a long straight run on the target by the time my bombs were out I found myself in an AA bracket with the puffs and busts coming very close but generally behind me but catching up fast. At that time a formation of nine Zero fighters came in above me and a little to my right in front. I increased power and went into a steep diving turn to the left to escape AA fire and pursuit. The fighters peeled off in attack and followed me but I dove in underneath them and for the moment eluded them. I got out of the AA fire. I indicated as high as 330 MPH in the dive and leveled out very close to the ground and hedge-hopped all the way out tea at about 275 indicated air speed. I saw three Nakajima 97's above and to the left who pursued me but could not keep up with my speed. The Zero fighters, however, had a big altitude advantage and followed me. I shook all but three as I headed west toward the mountains. They did not seem too eager to come in too close to me as my rear gunner was firing his guns at them from time to time. One pursuit came along side of me and above me when I turned south at the mountains to go out to sea and we fired at him with everything we had and I believe that we hit, but none of us are sure whether or not we knocked him down. I believe not. He was in a very good spot to deliver an attack but he did not and instead broke off combat and peeled off and left us.
We released our bombs at approximately 14:40 o'clock ship time. I saw no barrage balloons anywhere over Tokyo, nor did my crew, however, there might have been some that we did not see since our attention was concentrated on our target and then in escaping the AA fire and pursuit airplanes and we did not have much of a chance to look at the ground.
I encountered no machine gun fire from the ground to my knowledge.
I left the mainland of Japan about 10 miles west of Yokohama. I encountered light AA fire again there but it came from some distance and was ineffective since I was flying very low and very fast. I was picked up and pursued by three pursuit which met me as I was leaving the mainland. I had begun to throttle back when they came in to attack and I increased power and climbed up into some clouds at 3000 feet and eluded them. I sustained a climb of 2000 feet per minute and out climbed them. I left the mainland at about 13"55 ship time.
I flew out to sea about 30 miles, out of sight of land and then headed south for the Oshima Strait at a heading of 244 degrees true.
I sustained one anti-aircraft hit on my plane in the fuselage directly ahead of the horizontal stabilizer. It tore a hole in the fuselage about 7 inches in diameter. I also was hit in the left wing tip by machine gun bullets presumably from the pursuit but the damage was very slight. There were no injuries to my crew or to the engines.
I sighted no enemy aircraft between Tokyo and China where I abandoned my plane.
I sighted no enemy surface sea craft between Tokyo and the Chinese coast other than small fishing boats of which I saw many both between Tokyo and the Oshima Strait and between Oshima Strait and the China coast.
On approaching the coast of China I encountered adverse weather conditions namely fog and rain. I was forced to go on instruments about 100 miles from the China coast and remained on instruments until the time of leaving the ship. I had previously attempted to use my automatic flight control equipment but it was not functioning properly and I had to fly the ship manually all the way.
I made the trip from Tokyo to China at about 500 feet altitude and 1300 RPM and started at 29 inches of mercury and gradually reduced to 25 inches as my gas load reduced. I indicated about 160 to 165 MPH. I picked up a strong tail wind across the China Sea which enabled me to go as far as I did. I held a course of 261 degrees true from the Oshima Strait to China. About the time that my navigator estimated that I should begin to gain altitude for the mountains on the coast we were low enough to the water that we spotted an island and got a few glimpses of land as we came in over the coast.
It was getting dark and still foggy and raining and getting worse. There was an overcast above us. We crossed the coast at about 20:40 o'clock ship time and I believe about 40 miles south of the entrance to Hang chow Bay. I climbed to 4000 feet over land and continued on course. I figured I had enough gas to just get me about as far as Chuchow and not much further. I figured my consumption roughly at about between 65 and 70 gallons per hour. I know it was less than 70 gallons per hour after leaving Tokyo.
As we neared our ETA at Chuchow I realized that the weather was such that we could never expect to make a landing so I told the crew to get ready to bail out and I slowed the ship up to 125 MPH. I climbed to 9000 feet with about less than 15 minutes of gas left and told my rear gunner to jump which he did, we then released the escape door in the front when we were sure that it would not hit the rear gunner and the engineer-gunner, navigator, co-pilot and myself then jumped in that order. I rolled the stabilizer back to keep the ship from gaining too much speed and then I worked myself around to get out of the cockpit and had some trouble in squeezing between the armor plate back of the pilot and co-pilot seats and had to keep pushing the stick forward to keep the ship from stalling. I had little time to do anything after I got in position to jump. I gathered some food and equipment and jumped out through the escape hatch in the navigator's compartment where the rest of the crew had left except the rear gunner.
I left the engines of the ship running.
I dropped clear of the ship and pulled the rip cord and the chute opened and functioned perfectly except that the metal sheared on one of the leg strap buckles and the leg strap on my left leg parted and almost dropped me out of the chute. I slid down and the chest strap came up and smacked me in the chin with a stunning blow and at the same time jerked my pistol out of my shoulder holster and tossed it out into space. I was swinging quite badly and had some time to stop that but finally did. I estimate that I floated about one minute. I heard the plane below me and it hit the side of a mountain and exploded and burst into flame. A few second later I hit the ground which was quite a surprise to me. I was not very far from the airplane but I realized that I was on a pretty steep slope and could see very little for the fog and rain. I was uninjured. I got out of my chute and got my mussette bag and wrapped myself up in my parachute and tried to sleep and keep warm and dry.
The next morning it was still foggy and when it cleared enough for me to see I started for the wreck of the plane. I had to go up over the mountain that I was on. I landed on top of a high mountain and on a steep slope with many boulders and cliffs. I realized that I was quite lucky that I was not seriously injured. The plane was only about a mile away but it took me four hours to get there. When I arrived at the scene of the crash which was also very high up in the mountains I found a number of Chinese there picking in the wreckage. I hailed them and made them understand that I was an American. They were very friendly.
The plane had hit into the side of the mountain and sprayed over a large area and had burned. I was able to salvage nothing from it. It was a total loss.
The Chinese farmers took me to a town that day and the next day I met some Chinese soldiers who took me to Tunki, Anhwei and eventually I made my way to Chuhsien, Chekiang.
We abandoned the plane between 22:00 and 22:10 ship time.
We flew for over 14 hours.
I did not reach Tunki until four days later and Chuhsien a week later.
Plane #10 ID# 40-2250
Lt. Richard O. Joyce - Pilot
Lt. J. Royden Stork - Co-Pilot
Lt. Horace E. "Sally" Crouch - Navigator
Sgt. George E. Larkin, Jr. - Bombardier
S/Sgt. Edwin W. Horton, Jr. - Gunner
Of the eighty men who went on the raid, three were killed in a crash landing or bailout. Four men were seriously injured - one so seriously that his leg had to be amputated to save his life. Five men were interned in the U.S.S.R. Eight others were taken prisoner by the enemy, three of whom were to die by execution and one of starvation.