Reports & Interviews
This page has a number of interviews and document transcripts about Doolittle Raiders.
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Memo to Hap Arnold about the Tokyo Raid
James H. Doolittle - Individual Report on Tokyo Raid
James H. Doolittle - Flight/Mission Report
James H. Doolittle - Engineering Report
Bower - Engineering Report
Knobloch - Engineering Report
James H. Doolittle - Gun Turret Report
Bain - Report on Gun Turrets
Horton - Report on Gun Turrets
Bower - Flight/Mission Report
Gray - Flight/Mission Report
Greening - Flight/Mission Report
Hilger - Flight/Mission Report
Joyce - Flight/Mission Report
McElroy - Flight/Mission Report
Macia - Navigation Report
McGurl - Navigation Report
Informational Intelligence Summary
Interview with Crew 8 which was Interned by the Russians
Crew 8 Memo for Lt. Colonel J. E. Johnston
Report of action in connection with the bombing of Tokyo on April 18, 1942
Task Force 16 Citation
Memo to Hap Arnold about the Tokyo Raid
Subject: B25B Special Project
To: Commanding General Army Air Forces
The purpose of this special project is to bomb and fire the industrial centers of Japan.
It is anticipated that this will not only cause confusion and impeded production but will undoubtedly facilitate operations against Japan in other theatres due to their probably withdrawal of troops for the purpose of defending the home country.
An action of this kind is most desirable now due to the psychological effect on the American public, our allies and our enemies.
The method contemplated is to bring carrier borne bombers to within 400 or 500 miles (all distances mentioned will be in statue miles) of the coast of Japan, preferably to the south-southeast.
They will then take off from the carrier deck and proceed directly to selected objectives. These objectives will be military and industrial targets in the Tokyo-Yokahama, Nagoya and Osaka-Kobi areas.
Simultaneous bombings of these areas is contemplated with the bombers coming in up waterways from the southeast and, after dropping their bombs, returning in the same direction. After clearing the Japanese outside coastline a sufficient distance a general westerly course will be set for one or more of the following airports in China: C...chow, Chuchow (Lishui), Yushan and or Chien. C ...chow is about seventy miles inland and two hundred twenty miles to the south south-west of Shanghai.
After refueling the airplanes will proceed to the strong Chinese air base at Chunking, about 800 miles distant, and from there to such [...] as may, at that time, be indicated!
The greatest nonstop distance that any airplane will have to fly is 2000 miles.
Eighteen B25B (North American Medium Bomber) airplanes will be employed in this raid. Each will carry about 1100 gallons of gasoline which assures a range of 2400 miles at 5000 feet altitude in still air.
Each bomber will carry two 500# demolition bombs and as near as possible to 1000# of incendiaries. The demolition bombs will be dropped first and then the incendiaries.
The extra gasoline will be carried in a 275 gallon auxiliary leak proof tank in the top of the bomb bay and a 175 gallon flexible rubber tank in the passageway above the bomb bay. It is anticipated that the gasoline from this top tank will be used up and the tank flattened out or rolled up and removed prior to entering the combat zone. This assures that the airplane will be fully operational and minimizes the fire and explosion hazard characteristic of a near empty tank.
In all other respects the airplanes are conventional.
The work of installing the required additional tankage is being done by Mid-Continent Airlines at Minneapolis. All production and installation work is progressing according to schedule and the 24 airplanes (6 spares) should be completely converted by March 15th.
Extensive range and performance tests will be conducted on #1 article while the others are being converted. A short period will be required to assemble and give special training to the crews. The training will include teamwork in bombing, gunnery, navigation, flying, short take off and at least one carrier takeoff for each pilot.
if the crews are selected promptly from men familiar with their jobs and the B-25-B airplane the complete unit should be ready for loading on the carrier by April 1st.
General operational instructions in the use of his particular equipment will be supplied to each crew member for study and practice. Final operational instructions will be issued just before take off from the carrier.
Due to the greater accuracy of daylight bombing a daylight raid is contemplated. The present concept of the project calls for a night take off from the carrier and arrival over objectives at dawn. Rapid fueling at the landing points will permit arrival at Chunking before dark.
A njite raid will be made if due to last minute information received from our intelligence section or other source a daylight raid is definitely inadvisable. The night raid should be made on a clear night, moonlight if Japan is blacked out, moonless if it is not.
All available pertinent information regarding targets and defenses will be obtained from A-2, G-2 and other existent sources.
The Navy has already supervised take off tests made at Norfolk Va. using three B25B bombers carrying loads of 23,000#, 26,000# and 29,000#. These test indicate that no difficulty need be anticipated in taking off from the carrier deck with a gross load of around 31,000#.
The Navy will be charged with providing a carrier, (probably the Hornet), loading and storing the airplanes and with delivering them to the take off position.
The Chemical Warfare Service is designing and preparing special incendiary bomb clusters in order to assure that the maximum amount that limited space permits, up to 1000# per airplane, may be carried. 48 of these clusters will be ready for a shipment from Edgewood Arsenal by March 15th.
About 20,000 U.S. gallons of 100 octane aviation gasoline and 600 gallons of lubricating oil will be laid down at Chuchow and associated fields. All other supplies and necessary emergency repair equipment will be carried on the airplanes.
1st Lt. Harry W. H...e, now with the Air Service Command and formerly with the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, will be charged with making arrangements for the fuel caches in China. he will work through A-2 and A-4 and with Col. Clare Chenault, a former Air Corps officer and now aviation advisor to the Chinese government. Col. Chenault should assign a responsible American or a Chinese who speaks English. to physically check and assure that the supplies are in place. This man should also be available to assist the crews in servicing the airs. That the supplies are in place can be indicated by suitable radio code signal. Work on placing supplies must start at once.
Shortly before the airplanes arrive the proper Chinese agencies should be advised that the airplanes are coming soon, but the inference will be that they are flying up from the south in order to stage a raid on Japan from which they plan to return to the same bases. Radio signals from the bombing planes immediately they drop their bombs may be used to indicate arrival at gassing points some six or seven hours later.
Care must be exercised to see that the Chinese are advised just in time as any information given to the Chinese may be expected to fall into Japanese hands and a premature notification would be fatal to the project.
An initial study of meteorological conditions indicates that the sooner the raid is made the better will be the prevailing weather conditions. The weather will become increasingly unfavorable after the end of April. Weather was considered largely from the point of view of avoiding morning fog over Tokyo and other targets, low overcast over Chuchow and Chunking, icing and strong westerly winds.
if possible, daily weather predictions on anticipated weather conditions at Chungking and the coast should be sent, at a specific time, in suitable code, in order to assist the meteorologist on the carrier in making his forecasts.
Lt. Col. J.H. Doolittle, Air Corps, will be in charge of the preparations for and will be in personal command of the pro other flight personnel will, due to the considerable hazard incident to such a mission, be volunteers.
Each airplane will carry its normal compliment of five crew members; pilot, co-pilot, bombardier-navigator, radio operator and gunner-mechanic.
one crew member will be a competent meteorologist and one an experienced navigator. All navigators will be trained in celestial navigation.
Two ground liaison officers will be assigned. One will remain on the mainland and the other on the carrier.
At least three crew members will speak Chinese one in each of the target units.
Should the Russians be willing to accept delivery of 18 B-25-B airplanes, on lease lend, at Vladivostok our problems would be greatly simplified and conflict with the Halverson project avoided.
James H. Doolittle Individual Report on Tokyo Raid
June 5, 1942
To: The Commanding General of the Army Air Forces
Subject: Report on the Aerial Bombing of Japan
The joint Army-Navy bombing project was conceived, in its final form, in January and accomplished in April, about three months later. The object of the project was to bomb the industrial centers of Japan. It was hoped that the damage done would be both material and psychological. material damage was to be the destruction of specific targets with ensuing confusion and retardation of production. The psychological results, it was hoped, would be the recalling of combat equipment from other theaters for home defense thus effecting relief in those theaters, the development of a fear complex in Japan, improved relationships with our Allies, and a favorable reaction on the American people.
The original plan was to take off from and return to an aircraft carrier. Take off and landing tests conducted with three B-25B's at and off Norfolk, Virginia, indicated that take off from the carrier would be relatively easy but landing back on again extremely difficult. It was then decided that a carrier take-off would be made some place East of Tokyo and the flight would proceed in a generally Westerly direction from there. Fields near the East Coast of China and at Vladivostok were considered as termini. The principal advantage of Vladivostok as a terminus was that it was only about 600 miles from Tokyo against some 1200 miles to the China Coast and range was critical. Satisfactory negotiation could not, however, be consummated with the Russian Government and the idea of going to Vladivostok was therefore abandoned.
A cruising range of 2400 miles with a bomb load of 2,000 lbs. was set as the airplane requirement. A study of the various airplanes available for this project indicated that the B-25 was best suited to the purpose. The B- could have done the job as far as range and load carrying capacity was concerned but it was felt that the carrier take-off characteristics were questionable. The B-23 could have done the job but due to the larger wing span fewer of them could be taken and clearance between the right wing tip and the carrier island would be extremely close.
Twenty-four airplanes were prepared for the mission. Preparation consisted of installing additional tankage and removing certain unnecessary equipment. Three additional gasoline tanks were installed. First a steel gasoline tank of about 265 gallon capacity was manufactured by the McQuay Company and installed by the Mid-Continent Airlines at Minneapolis. This tank was later removed and replaced by a 225 gallon leak-proof tank manufactured by the United States Rubber Company at Mishawaka, Indiana. Considerable difficulty was experienced with this rubber leak-proof tank due to leaks in the connections and due to the fact that after having made one fairly satisfactory tank the outer case was reduced in size, in order to facilitate installation, without reducing the size of the inner rubber container and consequently wrinkles developed reducing the capacity and increasing the tendency to failure and leakage. Putting air pressure on the tank increased the capacity about ten to fifteen gallons and new outer covers alleviated the trouble. It was, however, not possible for the manufacturer to provide new covers for all of the tanks before we were obliged to take off. One serious tank failure occurred the day before we were to take off. The leak was caused by a failure of the inner liner resulting from sharp wrinkles which in turn were caused by the inner liner being too large and the outer case too small. room remained, in the bomb bay, underneath this tank to permit carrying four 500 lb. demolition bombs or four 500 lb. Incendiary clusters. It was necessary, in order to carry the bomb load, to utilize extension shackles which were also provided the McQuay Company. The crawl way above the bomb bay was lined and a rubber bag tank, manufactured by the U.S. rubber Company, and holding about 160 gallons was installed. The vent for this tank, when turned forward provided pressure and forced the gasoline out of the tank. When turned aft the vent sucked the air and vapor out of the tank and permitted it to be collapsed (after the gasoline was used) and pushed to one side. After this was done the ship was again completely operational as crew members could move forward or aft through the crawl way. Collapsing the tank, sucking out the vapor, and pushing it over to one side minimized the fire hazard. A very considerable amount of trouble was encountered with this tank due to leaks developing in the seams. This trouble was reduced through the use of a heavier material and more careful handling of the tank. The third tank was a 60 gallon leak-proof tank installed in the place from which the lower turret was removed. This tank was a regular 2'x2'x2' test cell with a filler neck, outlet and vent provided. The filler neck of this rear tank was readily available in flight. Ten 5-gallon cans of gasoline were carried in the rear compartment, where the radio operator ordinarily sat, and were poured into this rear tank as the gasoline level went down. These cans later had holes punched in them so that they would sink and were thrown overboard. This gave a total gallonage of 646 gallons in the main tank, 225 gallons in the bomb bay tank, 160 gallons in the crawl way tank, 60 gallons in the rear turret tank, and 50 gallons in 5-gallon tins, or 1,141 gallons, some 1,100 gallons of which were available. It might be pointed out here that all of the gasoline could not be drained from the tanks and that in filling them extreme care had to be taken in order to assure that all air was out and they were completely full. This could only be accomplished by filling, shaking down the ship and topping off again.
The extra tanks and tank supports were designed by and installed under the supervision of the Materiel Division of the Army Air Forces.
Two wooden 50 caliber guns were stuck out of the extreme tip of the tail. The effectiveness of this subterfuge was indicated by the fact that no airplane, on the flight, was attacked from directly behind. The lateral attacks were more difficult for the attacker and gave our machine gunners a better target.
De-icers and anti-icers were installed on all airplanes. Although these had the effect of slightly reducing the cruising speed they were necessary for insurance and also because it was not decided until shortly before leaving on the mission whether Vladivostok or East China was to be the terminus. Should East China be the terminus no ice was to be expected at lower altitudes but icing conditions did still prevail along the Northern route to Vladivostok.
When the turret guns were fired aft with the muzzle close to the fuselage it was observed that the blast popped rivets and tore the skin loose. As a result of this it was necessary to install steel blast plates.
Inasmuch as it was decided that all bombing would be done from low altitudes and the Norden bomb sight did not particularly lend itself to extremely altitude bombing, the bomb sight was removed and a simplified sight designed by Captain C.R. Greening was installed in its place. Actual low altitude bombing tests carried out at 1500 feet showed a greater degree of accuracy with this simplified sight than we were able to obtain with the Norden. This not only permitted greater bombing accuracy but obviated the possibility of the Norden sight falling into enemy hands. Captain Greening deserves special commendation for the design of this sight.
Difficulty was experienced in getting the lower turret to function properly. Trouble was encountered with the turret activating mechanism and with the retracting and extending mechanism. These troubles were finally overcome in large part. It was then found that the attitude of the gunner and the operation of the sight were so difficult that it would not be possible in the time available to train gunners to efficiently operate the turret. As a consequence of this, and also in order to save weight and permit the installation of the additional gas tanks, the lower turret was removed and a plate put over the whole where it stuck through the bottom of the fuselage.
We feel very strongly that in the present race to provide airplanes and crews in the greatest possible number in the shortest length of time that only equipment that is natural to use is satisfactory. Time does not permit the training of personnel to operate unnatural equipment or equipment that requires a high degree of skill in its operation. This thought should be kept in mind in the design, construction and operation of our new fire control apparatus.
Due to a shortage of 50 caliber ammunition the machine guns had not been fired and when we started training we immediately found that they did not operate properly. Some did not fire at all and the best of them would only fire short bursts before jamming. Mr. W.C. Olson from Wright Field was largely responsible for overcoming this difficulty. He supervised the replacement of faulty parts, the smoothing down of others, the proper adjustment of clearances and the training of gun maintenance crews. When we left on our mission all guns were operating satisfactorily.
Pyrotechnics were removed from the airplane in order to reduce the fire hazard and also for the slight saving in weight. Two conventional landing flares were installed immediately forward of the rear armored bulkhead. This gave a maximum of protection against enemy fire. There was no dropping mechanism for the landing flares. It was planned, if it became necessary to use them, that they be thrown out by the rear gunner. A lanyard attached to the parachute flare and the fuselage would ordinarily remove the case some 6 feet from the plane. It is suggested that pyrotechnics be installed against the armored bulkhead instead of along the sides of the fuselage.
Inasmuch as it was planned, in the interest of security, to maintain radio silence throughout the flight and weight was of the essence, the 230 lb. Liaison radio set was removed.
The lead ship and each of the flight leaders' ships were equipped with electrically operated automatic cameras which took 60 pictures and one-half second intervals. the cameras could be turned on at any time by the pilot and were automatically started when the first bomb dropped. Cameras were located in the extreme tip of the tail between the two wooden 50 caliber guns. Lens angle was 35°. As they were pointed down 157° the rearward field, in level attitude, covered 21/2° above the horizon and 321/2° below. In tests they operated perfectly. The other ten airplanes carried 16 m.m. movie cameras similarly mounted.
All special equipment such as emergency rations, canteens, hatchets, knives, pistols, etc. were made secure before take-off.
Special 500 lb. demolition bombs were provided, through the cooperation of Colonel Max F. Schneider of A-4, by the Ordnance Department. These bombs were loaded with an explosive mixture containing 50% T.N.T. and 50% Amatol. They were all armed with a 1/10 of a second nose fuse and a 1/40 of a second specially prepared tail fuse. The 1/10 of a second nose fuse was provided in case the tail fuse failed. 11 second delay tail fuses were available to replace the 1/40 f a second tail fuse in case weather conditions made extremely low bombing necessary. In this case the tail fuse was to be changed just before take-off and the nose fuse in that case would not be armed.
The Chemical Warfare Service provided special 500 incendiary clusters each containing 128 incendiary bombs. These clusters were developed at the Edgewood Arsenal and test dropped by the Air Corps test group at Aberdeen. Several tests were carried on to assure their proper functioning and to determine the dropping angle and dispersion. Experimental work on and production of these clusters was carried on most efficiently.
A special load of 50 caliber ammunition was employed. This load carried groups of 1 tracer, 2 armor piercing and 3 explosive bullets.
The twenty-four airplanes for the Tokyo project were obtained from the 17th Bombardment Group. Inasmuch as the airplanes had been obtained from this group and there were, therefore, crews available without airplanes, together with the fact that these crews were experienced in the use of these particular airplanes, the crews were also obtained from this source. It was explained to the Commanding Officer of the 17th Bombardment Group, Lt. Colonel W.C. Millis, that this was to be a mission that would be extremely hazardous, would require a high degree of skill and would be of great value to our defense effort. Volunteers for this mission were requested. More people than we could possibly use immediately volunteered. Twenty-four crews were ordered to Eglin Field for a final course of training. These crews together with the ground maintenance men, armorers, etc., proceeded to Eglin Field, Valparaiso, Florida, as rapidly as the airplanes could be converted and made available. The first of them arrived just before the first of March and the rest just after.
Concentrated courses of instruction were given at Eglin Field. The instruction included carrier take-off practice under the supervision of Lt. Henry Miller of the U.S. Navy. This practice was carried out on one of the auxiliary fields near Eglin. White lines were drawn on two of the runways of this field. Take-off practice was carried out with light load, normal load, and overload up to 31,0000 lbs. In all cases the shortest possible take-off was obtained with flaps full down, stabilizer set three-fourths, tail heavy, full power against the brakes and releasing the brakes simultaneously as the engine came up to revs. The control column was pulled back gradually and the airplane left the ground with the tail skid about one foot from the runway. This appeared to bet unnatural attitude and the airplane took off almost in a stall. In spite of the high wing loading and unnatural attitude the comparatively low power loading and good low-speed control characteristics of the airplane made it possible to handle the airplane without undue difficulty in this attitude. Only one pilot had difficulty during the take-off training. Taking off into a moderately gusty wind with full load, her permitted the airplane to side slip back into the ground just after take-off. No one was hurt but the airplane was badly damaged. While we do not recommend carrier take-off procedure for normal take-offs, it does permit of a much shorter take-off, and may be employed in taking off from extremely short or soft fields. With about a ten-miles wind take-offs with light load were effected with as short a run as 300 feet. With a normal load of 29,000 lbs. In 600 feet, and with 31,000 lbs. In less than 800 feet. The tact, skill and devotion to duty of Lt. Miller, of the U.S. Navy, who instructed our people in carrier take-off procedure deserves special commendation.
Special training was given in cross country flying, night flying and navigation. Flights were made over the Gulf of Mexico in order to permit pilots and navigators to become accustomed to flying without visual or radio references or land marks.
Low altitude approaches to bombing targets, rapid bombing and evasive action were practiced. Bombing of land and sea targets was practiced at 1500, 5000 and 10,000 feet. Low altitude bombing practice was specialized in. One hundred pound sand loaded bombs were used in the main but each crew was given an opportunity to live bombs as well.
Machine gun practice was carried on on the ground and in the air. Ground targets were attacked and it was intended to practice on tow targets as well but time did not permit. In order to get practice in operating the turret, pursuit planes simulated attack on our bombers and the gunners followed them with their empty guns.
The first pilots were all excellent. The co-pilots were all good for co-pilots. The bombardiers were fair but needed brushing up. The navigators had had good training but very little practical experience. The gunners, almost without exception, had never fired a machine gun from an airplane at either a moving or stationary target.
In spite of a large amount of fog and bad weather which made flying impossible for days at a time and the considerable amount of time required to complete installations and make the airplanes operational at Eglin Field the training proceeded rapidly under the direction of Captain Edward York. In three weeks ships and crews were safely operational although additional training of the crews and work on the ships would have improved their efficiency.
On March 25, the first of 22 ships (one airplane, as previously mentioned was wrecked during take-off practice and another airplane was damaged due to the failure of the front wheel shimmy damper. While taxiing normally the front wheel shimmied so violently that a strut fitting carried away and let the airplane down on its nose. Although the damage was slight there was not time to repair it) took off from Eglin Field for Sacramento Air Depot where the airplanes were to have a final check and the remaining installations were to be made. On March 27, all airplanes had arrived.
On March 31 and April 1, 16 planes were loaded on the U.S.S. Hornet alongside of the dock at the Alameda Air Depot. Although 22 planes were available for loading there was room on deck for only 15. 16 planes were actually loaded but it was intended that the 16th plane would take off the first day out in order that the other pilots might have an opportunity to at least see a carrier take-off. A request had previously been made of Admiral W.F. Halsey, who was in charge of the task force, to permit each one of the pilots a carrier take-off prior to leaving on the mission or to permit at least one pilot to take off in order that he might pass the information obtained on to the others. Admiral Halsey did not agree to this due to the delay it would entail. He did, however, agree to take one extra plane along and let it take off the first day out or the first favorable weather thereafter. It was later agreed to keep this plane aboard and increase our component from 15 to 16.
Training was continued on the carrier Hornet. This training consisted of a series of lectures on Japan given by Lt. Stephen Jurika, Jr. of the Navy, lectures on first aid and sanitation by Lt. T.R. White, M.C. our flight surgeon, lectures on gunnery, navigation and meteorology by members of our own party and officers from the Hornet, and a series of lectures on procedure by the writer (Doolittle).
Actual gunnery and turret practice was carried on using kites flown from the Hornet for targets.
Celestial navigation practice for our navigators supervised by the Hornet navigation officer. Star sights were taken from the deck and from the navigating compartment in the airplanes. In this way a high degree of proficiency was developed and satisfactory optical characteristics of the navigating compartment window were assured.
A great deal of thought was given to the best method of attack. It was felt that a take-off about 3 hours before daylight arriving over Tokyo at the crack of dawn would give the greatest security, provide ideal bombing conditions, assure the element of surprise and permit arrival at destination before dark. This plan was abandoned because of the anticipated difficulty of a night take-off from the carrier and also because the Navy was unwilling to light up the carrier deck for take-off and provide a check light ahead in these dangerous waters.
Another plan was to take off at crack of dawn, bomb in the early morning and proceed to destination arriving before dark. This plan had the disadvantage of daylight bombing presumably after the Japanese were aware of our coming and the hazards incident to such a daylight attack. The third plan, the plan finally decided on, was to take off just before dark, bomb at night and proceed to destination arriving after daylight in the early morning. In order to make this plan practical one plane was to take off ahead of the others, arrive over Tokyo at dusk and fire the most inflammable part of the city with incendiary bombs. This minimized the overall hazard and assured that the target would be lighted up for following airplanes.
Despite an agreement with the Navy that we would take off the moment contact was made with the enemy and the considerable hazard of contact being made during the run in on the last day we still decided to gamble in order to get the greater security of a night attack. As a matter of fact, contact was made in the early morning and we took off several hours after daylight.
The first enemy patrol vessel was detected and avoided at 3:10 a.m. on the morning of April 18. The Navy task force was endeavoring to avoid a second one some time after daylight when they were picked up by a third. Although this patrol was sunk it understood that it got at least one radio message off to shore and it was consequently necessary for us to take off immediately. The take-off was made at Latitude 35° 43'N Longitude 153° 25'E approximately 824 statue miles East of the center of Tokyo. The Navy task force immediately retreated and in the afternoon was obliged to sink two more Japanese surface craft. It is of interest to note that even at this distance from Japan the ocean was apparently studded with Japanese craft.
Final instructions were to avoid non-military targets, particularly the Temple of Heaven, and even though we were put off so far at sea that it would be impossible to reach the China Coast, not to go to Siberia but to proceed as far West as possible, land on the water, launch the rubber boat and sail in.
Upon take-off each airplane circled to the right and flew over the Hornet lining the axis of the ship up with the drift sight. The course of the Hornet was displayed in large figures from the gun turret abaft the island. This, through the use of the airplane compass and directional gyro permitted the establishment of one accurate navigational course and enabled us to swing off on to the proper course for Tokyo. This was considered necessary and desirable due to the possibility of change in compass calibration, particularly on those ships that were located close to the island.
All pilots were given selected objectives, consisting of steel works, oil refineries, oil tank farms, ammunition dumps, dock yards, munitions plants, airplane factories, etc. They were also given secondary targets in case it was impossible to reach the primary target. In almost every case primary targets were bombed. The damage done far exceeded our most optimistic expectations. The high degree of damage resulted from the highly inflammable nature of Japanese construction, the low altitude from which the bombing was carried out, and the perfectly clear weather over Tokyo, and the careful and continuous study of charts and target areas.
In addition to each airplane having selected targets assigned to it, each flight was assigned a specific course and coverage. The first flight of 3 airplanes, let by Lt. Hoover, covered the Northern part of Tokyo. The second flight, led by Captain Jones, covered the central part of Tokyo. The third flight, led by Captain York covered the Southern part of Tokyo and the North Central part of the Tokyo bay area. The fourth flight, led by Captain Greening, covered the Southern part of Kenegawa, the city of Yokahama and the Yokasuka Navy Yard. The flight was spread over a 50 miles front in order to provide the greatest possible coverage, to create the impression that there was a larger number of airplanes than were actually used, and to dilute enemy ground and air fire. It also prohibited the possibility of more than one plane passing any given spot on the ground and assured the element of surprise.
The fifth flight went around to the South of Tokyo and proceeded to the vicinity of Nagoya where it broke up, one plane bombing Nagoya, one Osaka and one Kobe.
The best information available from Army and Navy intelligence sources indicates that there were some 500 combat planes in Japan and that most of them were concentrated in the Tokyo Bay area. The comparatively few fighters encountered indicated that home defense had been reduced in the interest of making the maximum of planes available in active theaters. The pilots of such planes as remained appeared inexperienced. In some cases they actually did not attack, and in many cases failed to drive the attack home to the maximum extent possible. In no case was there any indication that a Japanese pilot might run into one of our planes even though the economics of such a course would appear sound. It would entail trading a $40,000 fighter for a $200,000 bomber and one man, who could probably arrange to collide in such a way as to save himself, against 5 who even though they escaped would be interned and thus lose their military utility. The fire of the pilots that actually attacked was very inaccurate. In some cases the machine gun gullets bounced off the wings without penetrating them. This same effect was observed when a train, upon which some of our crew members were riding in China, was machine gunned by a Japanese attack plane. One of the projectiles which had bounced off the top of the train without penetrating was recovered. It was a steel pellet about one inch long, pointed on one end and boat tailed on the other. It had no rifling marks and was apparently fired from a smooth bore gun.
The anti-aircraft defense was active but inaccurate. All anti-aircraft bursts were black and apparently small guns of about 37 or 40 mm size. It is presumed that the high speed and low altitude at which we were flying made it impossible for them to train their larger caliber guns on us if such existed. Several of the airplanes were struck by anti-aircraft fragments but none of them was damaged to an extent that impaired their utility of impeded their progress. Although it was to be presumed that machine gun fire from the ground was active, none of the crew members interviewed to date saw any such action nor was there evidence of machine gun fires in the bottom of any of the airplanes. A few barrage balloons were seen. One cluster of five or six was observed just north of the Northernmost part of Tokyo Bay and what appeared to be another cluster was observed near the Bay to the Southeast. These barrage balloons were flying at about 3000 feet and were not in sufficient numbers to impede our bombing. Japanese anti-aircraft fire was so inaccurate that when shooting at one of our airplanes in the vicinity of the barrage balloons they actually shot down some of their own balloons.
We anticipated that some difficulty might be experienced due to our targets being camouflaged. Little or no effective camouflage was observed in the Tokyo area.
We can only infer that as the result of an unwarranted feeling of security and an over-all shortage of aircraft and pilots, home defense had been made secondary to efficient operation in other theaters. It is felt that the indicated low morale of the Japanese pilots around Tokyo compared to the efficiency and aggressiveness of pilots encountered on the active front was the result of a knowledge on their part of the inadequacy of their equipment and their own personal inefficiency.
In spite of the fact that at least one radio message was gotten off prior to our take-off by the Japanese patrol boat that was later sunk -- that we passed a Japanese light cruiser (thought by one of the pilots to be a tanker) about miles East of Tokyo -- a Japanese patrol plane or bomber headed directly for our task force about 600 miles from Tokyo (this plane turned around and followed one of our airplanes so we know we were observed by it) and innumerable Japanese patrol and fishing boats from some 300 miles off-shore until crossing the Japanese Coast, the Japanese were apparently entirely unprepared for our arrival. Inasmuch as messages must have been received at some message center, we can only presume poor dissemination of information or the complete failure of their communication system.
As previously mentioned, the take-off occurred almost ten hours early due to contact being made with enemy surface craft. In addition to this, the take-off was made on the 18th instead of the 19th as originally planned and agreed due to the Navy getting one day ahead of schedule and the undesirability of remaining longer than necessary in dangerous waters.
We had requested a fast run-in at night and slow day progress in order that we might be within safe distance of Tokyo at any time during the take-off day. This was not expedient from a Navy viewpoint due to their poor maneuverability at slow speeds and the undesirability of running in any closer than was absolutely necessary.
We appreciated the desirability of advising Chunking of our premature take-off but due to the necessity of strict radio silence, this could not be done prior to our actual take-off. We requested that Chunking be advised immediately after we took off and felt that even though they were not advised by the Navy radio that the Japanese radio would give them the desired information. As a matter of actual fact, Chunking did know that we were coming but official information was not sent to Chuchow, presumably due to the extremely bad weather and the communication difficulties resulting there from. As a result of this no radio homing facilities were provided for us at Chuchow, nor were light beacons or landing flares provided. To the contrary, when our planes were heard overhead an air raid warning alarm was sounded and lights were turned off. This, together with the very unfavorable flight weather over the China Coast, made safe landing at destination impossible. As a result all planes either landed either near the Coast or the crews bailed out with their parachutes.
The individual airplanes took off as follows:
Airplane No. AC 40-2344 -- Took off at 8:20 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Col. J.H. Doolittle 0-271855
Co-Pilot Lt. R.E. Cole 0-421602
Navigator Lt. H.A. Potter 0-419614
Bombardier S/Sgt. F.A. Braemer 6875923
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. P.J. Leonard 6248728
Proceeded to Tokyo and bombed the North Central industrial area with 4 incendiary clusters. Proceeded on to the China Coast where very unfavorable weather made it necessary for crew to abandon ship. Put plane on A.S.F.C.E. and turned off gasoline valves. Pilot jumped last at 0:20 p.m. ship time, from 8,000 feet and landed near Tien Mu Shen, about 70 miles north of Chuchow. After landing contacted General Ho, Director of the Western Branch of Chekiang Province who agreed to take the necessary steps to collect missing crew members, locate the ship and establish a look-out for other planes in China, on the stretch of beach between Hung Chow Bay and Wen Chow Bay and by the sampans and junks that might be putting out to sea. All crew members o.k. Detailed report attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2292 -- Took off at 8:25 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. T. Hoover 0-393133
Co-pilot Lt. Wm. N. Fitzhugh 0-421067
Navigator Lt. Carl N. Wildner 0-352857
Bombardier Lt. Richard E. Miller 0-432337
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. Douglas V. Radney 6266909
This is the only airplane that experienced any difficulty in taking off. The sea was so rough that water was being taken on over the bow of the carrier, and the take-off was made on the upbeat. The airplane was thrown into the air and the pilot pulled back on the stick too abruptly. For a moment it looked as though the plane might fall off on a wing but through good piloting Lt. Hoover was able to correct the condition and proceed without further difficulty. This together with the Navy crew member who was struck in the arm by a propeller while assisting in maneuvering an airplane on the deck, was the only eventuality during take-off. Both were due to the rough sea. (After this take-off Lt. Miller recommended a more normal take off to the other pilots.) Proceeded to Tokyo and bombed powder factories and magazines near the river north of the main railroad station and Imperial Palace with 3 demolition bombs and one incendiary cluster. This bombing was done from 900 feet, and the debris flew to a height higher than that of the airplane. Proceeded to a point on the China coast near Ningpo.
Airplane No. AC 40-2270 -- Took off at 8:30 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Robert M. Gray 0-403862
Co-pilot Lt. Jacob E. Manch 0-389941
Navigator Lt. Chas. J. Ozuk 0-419618
Bombardier Sgt. A.E. Jones 6580258
Engineer-Gunner Cpl. Leland D. Faktor 17003211
Proceeded to Tokyo. Bombed steel works, Gas Company and chemical works with demolition bombs and a factory district with incendiary bombs. Proceeded to China bailing out at 6200 feet in the mountains near and Southeast of Chuchow. Lt. Gray, Lt. Mach and Sgt. Jones were uninjured. Lt. Ozuk suffered a severe cut on his leg due to landing on a sharp rock. Corporal L.D. Faktor was found dead. The case of Corp. Faktor's death was unknown as his parachute apparently functioned properly. It is suspected that he landed on extremely rough terrain and was killed in the secondary fall. A detailed report prepared by Lt. Gray is attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2282 -- Took off at 8:33 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Everett W. Holstrom 0-397395
Co-pilot Lt. Lucian N. Youngblood 0-421153
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Harry C. McCool o-419329
Bombardier Sgt. Robert J. Stephens 6936650
Engineer-Gunner Cpl. Bert M. Jordan 6952993
Proceeded in the direction of Tokyo but encountered severe fighter opposition. Endeavored to get around the fighters and passed beyond Tokyo. They then decided to bomb a secondary target but were again attacked and driven off. Eventually dropped their bombs in the water and proceeded to a point near and Southeast of Shangjao where all crew members bailed out safely.
Airplane No. AC 40-2283 -- Took off at 8:37 a.m. ship time
Pilot Capt. David M. Jones 0-22482
Co-pilot Lt. Rodney R. Wilder 0-421149
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Eugene F. McGurl 0-431648
Bombardier Lt. Denver N. Truelove 0-427637
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. Joseph W. Manske 6914440
Proceeded to Tokyo where bombing from 1200 feet, they made direct hits with three demolition bombs and one incendiary cluster on power stations, oil tanks, a large manufacturing plant and the congested area Southeast of the Imperial Palace. one factory bombed was a new building which covered approximately two city blocks. They then proceeded to China, bailing out near and just Southeast of Chuchow. All crew members are safe.
Airplane No. AC 40-2298 -- Took off at 8:40 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Dean E. Hallmark 0-421081
Co-pilot Lt. Robert J. Meder 0-421280
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Chase J. Neilson 0-419938
Bombardier Sgt. Wm. J. Dieter 6565763
Engineer-Gunner Cpl. Donald E. Fitzmaurice 17360
This airplane landed in the Nangchang Area near Poyang Lake. From the best reports available (which are not to be relied upon) two crew members, presumably Sgt. Dieter and Cpl. Fitzmaurice are missing and three crew members, presumably Lts. Hallmark, Meder and Neilson were captured by the Japanese. It was reported that one of these was bayoneted resisting capture but was not killed.
Airplane No. AC 40-2261 -- Took off at 8:43 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Ted W. Lawson 0-399549
Co-pilot Lt. Dean Davenport 0-427310
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Chas. L. McClure 0-431647
Bombardier Lt. Robert S. Clever 0-432336
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. David J. Thatcher 19019573
Bombed the industrial section of Tokyo with 3 demolition bombs and one incendiary bomb. This airplane landed in the water off the coast of China, west of Sangchow. One crew member was badly injured, three injured, one slightly injured. The badly injured crew member is thought to be Lt. Lawson but we do not have definite confirmation of this. It is understood that he had a head and leg injury and it was necessary to give him several transfusions. Sgt. Thatcher was only slightly injured and it was due to his heroism that the lives of the other crew members were saved. Although badly cut on the head and knocked unconscious when the plane hit the sea and turned over he nevertheless waded and swam out into the perilous sea to secure the medical kit from the crushed plane. He was the only crew member physically able to carry on. After it became obvious that any further wait would result in capture by Japanese forces only 3 miles away, Chinese fishermen were persuaded by him to carry his injured crewmates to temporary safety around Japanese outposts. Then for three days Chinese fishermen were forced or persuaded by him to carry the injured crew members over difficult mountainous terrain until medical aid was reached. All of this plane's crew were saved from either capture or death as a result of Sgt. Thatcher's initiative and courage in assuming responsibility and tending the wounded day and night. As of the last report the 4 injured crew members, less Sgt. Thatcher who had proceeded on, had left the dangerous area with a Chinese escort and with Lt. T.R. White, of the Medical Corps from Airplane No. 40-2267 in attendance.
Airplane No. AC 40-2242 -- Took off at 8:46 a.m. ship time
Pilot Capt. Edward J. York 0-21151
Co-pilot Lt. Robert G. Emmens 0-24104
Navigator Bombardier Lt. Nolan A. Herndon 0-419328
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. T.H. Laban 6559855
Gunner Sgt. David W. Pohl 6152141
This airplane bombed Tokyo with 3 demolition bombs and one incendiary bomb. Due to extremely high gasoline consumption they proceeded to Siberia landing at a point about 40 miles north of Vladivostok. All crew members o.k. and plane apparently saved. All were interned by the Russian Government and are now at Penza about 350 miles Southeast of Moscow.
Airplane No. AC 40-2303 -- Took off at 8:50 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Harold Watson 0-397797
Co-pilot Lt. James M. Parker, Jr. 0-421128
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Thos. C. Griffin 0-377848
Bombardier Sgt. Wayne M. Bissell 6579237
Engineer-Gunner T/Sgt. Eldred V. Scott 6530453
Bombed Tokyo with 3 demolition bombs and one incendiary cluster, scored hit at Kawasji truck and tank plant, another factory building and the congested industrial districts near the railroad station south of the Imperial Palace. The crew bailed out about 100 miles south of Poyang lake. All landed safely except Lt. Watson whose arm was caught in a parachute riser and dislocated at the shoulder. he suffered severe discomfort for a week until a doctor was encountered who put the arm back in place. When last seen about May 1 the arm was healing rapidly and Lt. Watson was experiencing no discomfort.
Airplane No. AC 40-2250 -- Took off at 8:53 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Richard O. Joyce 0-401770
Co-pilot Lt. J. Royden Stork 0-421345
Navigator-Bombardier Lt. H.E. Crouch 0-395839
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. Geo. E. Larkin Jr. 6984298
Gunner S/Sgt. Ed. W. Horton Jr. 6139178
Proceeded to Tokyo and bombed the Japanese Special Steel Company plants and warehouses in South Tokyo in the Shiba Ward 11.2 miles north of Tana River with 3 demolition bombs and 1 incendiary cluster from 2500 feet. proceeded to China and all crew members bailed out about 30 miles north of Chuchow. All o.k. (Jumped from 8000 feet) Detailed report prepared by Lt. Joyce attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2249 -- Took off at 8:56 a.m. ship time
Pilot Capt. Chas. R. Greening 0-22443
Co-pilot Lt. Kenneth E. Reddy 0-421131
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Frank A. Kappeler 0-419579
Bombardier S/Sgt. Wm. L. Birch 6561172
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. Melvin J. Gardner 6296448
Proceeded to Yokohama and bombed oil refineries, docks, warehouses and industrial area of Yokohama with 4 incendiary clusters from 600 feet. After bombing proceeded to China abandoning ship at 10,000 feet at a point about 40 miles northwest of Chuchow. All crew members o.k. Detailed report attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2278 -- Took off at 8:59 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Wm. M. Bower 0-398557
Co-pilot Lt. Thadd Blanton 0-421030
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Wm. R. Pound 0-419333
Bombardier T/Sgt. Waldo J. Bither 6101457
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. Omer A. Duquette 6143447
Proceeded to Yokohama and bombed oil refineries, tank farms and warehouses with 3 demolition bombs and 1 incendiary cluster from 1100 feet. proceeded to China and all hands abandoned ship at a pint about 40 miles northwest of Chuchow. All o.k. Detailed report attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2247 -- Took off at 9:01 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Edgar E. McElroy 0-421122
Co-pilot Lt. Richard A. Knobloch 0-421816
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Clayton J. Campbell 0-419327
Bombardier Sgt. Robert C. Bourgeois 7000417
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. Adam R. Williams 6969211
Proceeded to the Yokosuka Navy Yard and bombed the dock area and one partially completed boat from 1500 feet with 3 demolition and one incendiary cluster. Bombs apparently had maximum effect, destroying everything on the dock and enveloping the boat in flames. Proceeded to China and landed near Poyang. Bailed out at 6,000 feet. All o.k. Detailed report attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2297 -- Took off at 9:07 a.m. ship time
Pilot Major John A. Hilger 0-20437
Co-pilot Lt. Jack A. Sims 0-421340
Navigator-Bombardier Lt. James H. Macia, Jr. 0-419330
Engineer-Gunner S/Sgt. Jacob Eierman 6883947
Radio-Gunner S/Sgt. Edwin V. Bain 6561290
Proceeded to Nagoya and bombed military barracks at Nagoya Castle, oil storage warehouses northwest of the business district, military arsenal in the center of city and the Mitsubishi aircraft factory on the water front with 4 incendiary clusters from 1500 feet. proceeded to China and all crew members bailed out, landing southeast of and near Shangjao. All members o.k. Detailed report attached hereto.
Airplane No. AC 40-2267 -- Took off at 9:15 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Donald G. Smith 0-389010
Co-pilot Lt. Griffith P. Williams 0-421356
Navigator-Bombardier Lt. Howard A. Sessler 0-431650
Flight Surgeon Lt. Thomas R. White, M.C. 0-420191
Engineer-Gunner Sgt. Edward J. Saylor 6569707
Proceeded to Kobe and bombed the main industrial area, age aircraft factory, dock yards and yards in the north part of the Bay with 4 incendiary clusters, proceeded to China and landed in the water west of Sangchow. All crew members o.k. Lt. T.R. White, Medical Corps, a member of the crew, at great risk to his life and with exemplary courage remained inside the sinking ship with water rising dangerously until his surgical instruments and medical kit could be salvaged. The plane plunged down into 100 t of water just after he had completed his effort and escaped. This action, together with his unselfish devotion to duty and attendance on the injured crew of airplane #AC 40-2261 in spite of a Japanese advance into that area, indicated exemplary courage and deserves special commendation.
Airplane No. AC 40-2268 -- Took off at 9:19 a.m. ship time
Pilot Lt. Wm. G. Farrow 0-421731
Co-pilot Lt. Robert L. Hite 0-417960
Navigator-Gunner Lt. Geo. Barr 0-431644
Bombardier Cpl. Jacob DeShazer 6584514
Engineer-Gunner Cpl. C. Spatz 6936659
Landed on the Coast at Shipu south of Ningpo and crew was captured by soldiers of the puppet government. The best information available indicates that two crewman are missing and three captured. Inasmuch as the two captured crews were in airplanes No. AC 40-2268 and 2298, it is possible that some confusion exists in the identification of these two airplanes and their location.
Before leaving China, arrangements were made with General Koo Chow Tung and Madam Chiang Kai-shek to endeavor to ransom the prisoners who had fallen into the hands of the puppet government. Some consideration was given to attempting the rescue of the prisoners that had fallen into Japanese hands in the vicinity of Poyang Lake but it was indicated, due to the strong Japanese position, that at least two regiments would be required and that the chance of the prisoners being killed during the action was so great that the idea was abandoned. Negotiations were being carried on, when the write left China, to then end of offering small guerrilla bands a certain amount of money for each prisoner that they could bring out of Japanese occupied territory alive.
Several outstanding lessons may be learned from the flight. First, sufficient modern airplanes and competent pilots should be retained within the territorial limits of the United States to assure her adequate defense. Second, an absolutely infallible detection and communication system must be provided. Third, efficient utilization of small surface craft, such as fishing boats equipped with an extremely simple radio could, through the use of a simplified code, send messages to a message center indicating the type, position, direction of approach, speed and altitude of any enemy attacking force. Fourth, the necessity for suitable camouflage and adequate dissimulation. Fifth, the highest possible degree of dispersal in order that a bomb attack, if successful, will do the minimum amount of damage.
The desirability of stopping an enemy bombing raid before arrival over target is obvious. This can be accomplished only with a preponderance of fighters.
The successful bombing of Tokyo indicated that, provided the element of surprise is possible, an extremely successful raid can be carried out at low altitudes with great damage and high security to equipment and personnel.
Brigadier General, U.S. Army
James H. Doolittle - Flight/Mission Report
May 4, 1942.
Take off at 8:20 A.M. ship time.
Take-off was easy. Night take-off would have been possible and practicable.
Circled carrier to get exact heading and check compass. Wind was from around 300°.
About a half hour after take-off was joined by AC 40-2292, Lt. Hoover, pilot, the second plane to take off.
Abut an hour out passed a Japanese camouflaged naval surface vessel of about 6,000 tons. Took it to be a light cruiser.
About two hours out passed a multi-motored land plane headed directly for our flotilla and flying at about 3,000 ft. -- 2 miles away.
Passed and endeavored to avoid various civil and naval craft until land fall was made north of Inubo Shuma.
Was somewhat north of desired course but decided to take advantage of error and approach from a northerly direction, thus avoiding anticipated strong opposition to the west.
Many flying fields and the air full of planes north of Tokyo. Mostly small biplanes apparently primary or basic trainers.
Encountered nine fighters in three flights of three. This was about ten miles north of the outskirts of Tokyo proper.
All this time had been flying as low as the terrain would permit.
Continued low flying due south over the outskirts of and toward the east center of Tokyo.
Pulled up to 1,200 ft., changed course to the southwest and incendiary-bombed highly inflammable section. Dropped first bomb at 1:30 (ship time).
Anti-aircraft very active but only one near hit.
Lowered away to housetops and slid over western outskirts into low haze and smoke.
Turned south and out to sea.
Fewer airports on west side but many army posts.
A consensus on the part of crew members is that the upper turret on the B-25B, while far better than the lower turret, is entirely unsatisfactory. Two 24-volt generators went out shortly before take-off and a third plane had trouble with the turret's electrical system thus putting three out of sixteen turrets out of action at a time too late to make repairs. Far more trouble is experienced with the Azimuth motor than with the altitude motor. This is probably due to the fact that the Azimuth motor is used much more than the altitude motor particularly while the gunner is searching for enemy aircraft. The control of the turret is entirely unsatisfactory. It is our understanding that this will be corrected, in part at least, with the new control to be installed. The telescopic sight is unsatisfactory in that it collects dust and moisture and the cone of vision is too small. It is our understanding that this also is being corrected in future sights.
The 30-caliber nose gun installation is entirely unsatisfactory. It is impossible to quickly shift from one position to another under actual combat conditions, particularly if the gun has been fired and the adaptor warmed up and expanded. The glass molding for the nose gun is not strong enough and cracks after a few rounds are fired. It is strongly recommended, in this type of installation, that two 50-caliber hand-operated guns be located low in the nose with an angular movement of about 60° down from the horizontal and 30° to port and starboard. These guns would be operated by the bombardier after he had dropped his bombs. They should lock in the upper forward position (with the line of fire parallel to the longitudinal axis of the airplane) and in that position be operable by the pilot. Had we had such an installation we could have done a great deal more damage. A similar set of guns located near the position of the present rear turret would provide some protection aft and be cleaner and lighter than the present turret in addition to being simpler and more effective.
Passed over small aircraft factory with a dozen or more newly completed planes on the line. No bombs left. Decided not to machine gun for reasons of personal security.
Had seen five barrage balloons over east central Tokyo and what appeared to be more in the distance.
Passed on out to sea flying low.
Was soon joined again by Hoover who followed us to the Chinese coast.
Navigator plotted perfect course to pass north of Yaki Shima.
Saw three large naval vessels just before passing west end of Japan. One was flatter than the others and may have been a converted carrier.
Passed innumerable fishing and small patrol boats.
Made land fall somewhat north of course on China coast.
Tried to reach Chuchow on 4495 but couldn't raise.
It had been clear over Tokyo but became overcast before reaching Yaki Shima.
Ceiling lowered on coast until low islands and hills were in it at about 600'. Just getting dark and couldn't live under overcast so pulled up to 6,000 and then 8,000 ft. in it. On instruments from then on though occasionally saw dim lights on ground through almost solid overcast. These lights seemed more often on our right and pulled us still farther off course.
Directed rear g to go aft and secure films from camera (unfortunately they were jerked out of his shirt front where he had put them, when his chute opened.)
Decided to abandon ship. Sgt. Braemer, Lt. Potter, Sgt. Leonard and Lt. Cole jumped in order. Left ship on A.F.C.E., shut off both gas cocks and I left. Should have put flaps down. This would have slowed down landing speed, reduced impact and shortened glide.
All hands collected and ship located by late afternoon of 19th.
Requested General Ho Yang Ling, Director of the Branch Government of Western Chekiang Province to have a lookout kept along the seacoast from Hang Chow bay to Wen Chow bay and also have all sampans and junks along the coast keep a lookout for planes that went down at sea, or just reached shore.
Early morning of 20th four planes and crews, in addition to ours, had been located and I wired General Arnold, through the Embassy at Chunking, "Tokyo successfully bombed. Due bad weather on China Coast believe all airplanes wrecked. Five crews found safe in China so far."
Wired again on the 27th giving more details.
Discussed possibility of purchasing three prisoners on the seacoast from Puppet Government and endeavoring to take out the three in the lake area by force. Believe this desire was made clear to General Ku Cho-tung (who spoke little English) and know it was made clear to English-speaking members of his staff. This was at Shangjao. They agreed to try purchase of three but recommended against force due to large Japanese concentration.
Left airplane about 9:20 (ship time) after 13 hours in the air. Still had enough gas for half hour flight but right front tank was showing empty. Had transferred once as right engine used more fuel. Had covered about 2,250 miles, mostly at low speed, cruising but about an hour at moderate high speed which more than doubled the consumption for this time.
(1) Early take-off due to naval contact with surface and aircraft.
(2) Clear over Tokyo.
(3) Foul over China.
(1) A 25 m/h tail wind over most of the last 1,200 miles.
Take-off should have been made three hours before daylight, but we didn't know how easy it would be and the Navy didn't want to light up.
Dawn take-off, closer in, would have been better as things turned out. However, due to the bad weather it is questionable if even daylight landing could have been made at Chuchow without radio aid.
Still feel that original plan of having one plane take off three hours before dusk and others just at dusk was best all-around plan for average conditions.
Should have kept accurate chronological record.
Should have all crew members instructed in exact method of leaving ship under various conditions.
Airplane AC 40-2344 -- B-25B
REPORT OF NAVIGATOR ATTACHED TO COL. DOOLITTLE'S REPORT
Take-off 35° 43'N 153° 25'E.
Landfall 36° 20'N 140° 40'E. Time 1300, altitude 200'.
Passed Yaki Shima 30° 30' 130° 00. Time 1700, altitude 500'.
Landfall China coast 29° 40'N, 122° 20'E. Time 2010.
Left airplane time 2115-2120. Position 30° 15' 119°, altitude 8000'.
James H. Doolittle Engineering Report
It is recommended that the pilot’s emergency bomb release control be arranged to release the bombs either armed or safe as is indicated by the arming handle in the bombardiers compartment. This is to facilitate releasing the bombs armed over enemy territory by the pilot in the event the bombardier is disabled.
It is suggested that parachutes should always be snugly and individually fitted to the wearer. Clearance should be provided to assure easy egress from airplane. (Considerable difficulty was experienced even with the back type suit in getting out of the pilot and co-pilot seats). Instructions should be provided in the use of the parachute with particular reference to the proper manner of leaving the airplane and alighting in order to avoid injury. All equipment should be secured to the jumper in order that it not be lost when the parachute opens.
Everything in the ship should be carefully secured in order that violent maneuvers or a forced landing not shake it loose. Every crew member should have a first aid course that would permit him not only to take care of his own injuries but to assist other crew members.
Each crew member should carry a document written in the language of the country he is flying over that will identify him and assist him in obtaining any desired information.
A complete check list of everything that each crew member is to do before take-off, after take-off, during combat, before landing, after landing, etc., should be provided and studied. An attempt was made to drill into all concerned the necessity for the above but only after they were actually in combat did the crew members come to a true appreciation of its importance.
Bower - Engineering Report
May 2, 1942
SUBJECT: Report of Engineering on four airplanes
TO: Chief of Air Corps -- Attn: Brig. Gen. Doolittle
Engines and accessories
General engine performance was exceptionally good. Low rpm and high manifold pressures were used for long range cruise. Cylinder head temperatures were normal (170° ave). Oil temperatures remained well within the low range (normal).
Difficulties were confined to occasional starving of engine due to sudden load or quick increase of Hg. This was to be expected in auto lean position.
On board ship plug trouble was encountered during warm-ups. It was found the BG-LS-65 plug was superior to the AC-LS-85 (ceramic).
Corrosion was not excessive on engine or accessories. The largest amount being on the boiler in the left exhaust and the exposed sections of the cylinder barrel.
BG-LS-plug (cold) be used under conditions where several run up’s are required over a great period of time between flights.
No difficulties of importance were encountered during mission.
Special bomb bay tank was unsatisfactory in one case. The inner lining ruptured with result that the tank leaked in spite of all attempts to repair it.
Venting system of crawlway tank was satisfactory only under daylight conditions.
Bombay and turret tank vents could be placed so as to reduce the vacuum created by the airflow.
Corrosion of aileron, appendage and flap hanger bolts was excessive, special bolts needed.
Transfer pump should be placed in an accessible spot so that repair can be accomplished in flight.
WILLIAM M. BOWER
1st Lt., Air Corps.
Knobloch - Engineering Report
May 4, 1942.
Subject: Report of Engineering
(Airplanes #40-2247, 40-2297, 40-2282, 40-2344)
To: Chief of Air Corps -- Attn. General Doolittle
Engines and accessories
All four airplanes ran cool and one crew chief claimed he could have obtained better engine performance on auto lean with winterized equipment on engines.
Oil pressures and temperatures were normal at all times.
On three ships the AC - LS - 85 plug gave satisfactory performance and was highly recommended. The other crew chief claimed the BG - LS - 65 would be better..
The difficulties encountered were confined to occasional starving of engine on manual lean (less than auto lean setting).
No excessive corrosion noticed on engines or engine accessories.
Airplane in General
Bomb shackle adaptors, and antennae leads corroded considerably due to salt air probably.
No corrosion noticed on aileron, appendage or flap hangar bolts and posts.
Bomb-bay, turret, crawl-away, and wing tanks gave satisfactory performance.
No major difficulties in airplane were encountered during mission.
Recommendation by all four ships that fuel transfer pump be located so as work could be performed on it in flight.
RICHARD A. KNOBLOCH
1st Lieut. A.C.
James H. Doolittle - Gun Turret Report
Our greatest weakness and it is felt that the greatest weakness of most Air Corps units is the lack practical firing experience on the part of the gunners. It is quite impossible to make good aerial gunners through "simulation." It is necessary that they have an opportunity to fire a great number of rounds at various types of targets.
It is found difficult to use the turret throat microphones for inter-plane communication. Better results were obtained if the microphones were held against the throat by hand. This was not possible for a gunner when both of his hands were occupied. It is suggested that some means be provided to hold the throat microphones securely against the throat without choking the wearer.
Bain - Report on Gun Turrets
May 4, 1942
Subject: Report on Operation of Upper Turret
To: Brigadier General J.H. Doolittle
Suggest that a manual charging handle be employed in connection with hydraulic charging units, as hydraulic failure would prevent charging of guns: the operation of removing butt plate and installing manual handle, which requires about three to five minutes, under combat condition would prove very unsatisfactory. The above condition was experienced by S. Sgt. E.V. Bain.
No recommendation other than the above. Reports of previous crews concurred in.
EDWIN V. BAIN
S/Sgt., Air Corps
Horton - Report on Gun Turrets
May 2, 1942
BENDIX UPPER TURRET
These following suggestions and faults were found in actual combat on the B-25-B type airplane.
The gun sight was found very unsatisfactory. Due to login of sight (with dehydrators installed) to dust particles in sight which were impossible to clean out unless sight was completely disassembled. This required at least 24 hours maintenance. The sight is not dust proof. The image did not appear as it naturally would bar eye. It was also found very difficult to pick up the target in the sight after once sighting same. This is due to the limited angle or cone of sight. It is believed that these defects of the sight alone decrease the effectiveness of fire at least 60%.
It is suggested that some type of open ring and post sight be incorporated with this turret, or some sight which will give the gunner complete range of sight. This is the most important factor to be stressed of all the faults found on this instance.
In the turret general it was found that in operating the turret for 12 hours almost continually that the azimuth motor was used at least 95% more than the elevation motor. This resulted in azimuth motor failures although the motors had been carefully inspected and maintained prior to the mission.
It is suggested that a stronger azimuth motor be used in this turret.
It was also found that the system of relay switches and power transmitting relays is entirely unsatisfactory due to excessive arcing which requires a great deal of maintenance. These relays will also go bad in so short a time that after 1/2 hour of use the turret will became very rough decreasing efficiency.
It is also desired that a microphone button be placed on the control handle as it is some times required to be used instantly and must be more accessible than in the present position.
It was also found in respect to the ammunition cans that in a dive steep enough to lift the ammunition out of the cans that the belts would jam and in some cases the links would be broken. There is no suggested remedy for this but some means should be adopted to overcome this defect.
In regard to the guns, it was found very difficult in the nose to move the one .30 cal. gun from one position to another. In this case the time element was the big factor as the gun could not be moved fast enough. It is suggested that at least (2) two guns .30 cal. be installed in the noses.
There was also discussion on mounting (2) two fixed .50 cal. MG.'s in the nose to be operated by the pilot. It was thought that if a suitable sight could be installed that these guns could do a great deal of damage in strafing of troops, etc.
The foregoing report was made in consultation with the following named men:
Sgt. George E. Larkin, Jr., 89th Reconnaissance Sq.
Sgt. Melvin J. Gardner, 34th Bomb. Sq., 17th Bomb Group.
Sgt. Joseph W. Manske, 95th Bomb Sq., 17th Bomb Group.
S/Sgt. Omer A. Duquette, 37th Bomb Sq., 17th Bomb Group.
These foregoing men are gunners and operated the turret and guns in action..
This report is submitted by:
S/Sgt. EDWIN W. HORTON, JR.
89th Recon. Squadron.
I certify that I have been trained on powered turrets at the Bendix School at South Bend, Ind. and am qualified to judge the defects found.
Bower Flight/Mission Report
Chunking, Szechwan, China,
May 2, 1942.
SUBJECT: Mission report of Doolittle project on April 18, 1942.
TO: Brigadier General James H. Doolittle.
Pilot -- 1st Lt. William Bower.
Co-Pilot -- 2nd Lt. Thadd Blanton.
Navigator -- 1st Lt. William R. Pound.
Bombardier - T/Sgt Waldo J. Bither.
Eng-Gun. -- S/Sgt Omer A. Duquette
To proceed from Minneapolis to Columbia, S.C. where crew was completed, then to Eglin Field, Florida, at which time the purpose of the mission was to be revealed, necessary training of crew accomplished and alterations of the ship made. Final preparation to be made at McClellan Field, Sacramento, California, prior to boarding the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet at Alameda, Calif.
Target location was revealed at sea and all maps, objective folders and navigation data were covered by the crew enroute.
Take-off was ordered at 7:30 AM April 18, 1942 without sufficient warning to enable crew to gather necessary position, weather, etc., data.
Individual orders were to report to Chuchow for gas, then proceed to Chunking or if forced to land elsewhere or otherwise hold at Chuchow for further orders.
TIME OF TAKE OFF:
0910 April 18, 1942.
Broken clouds from ship to landfall.
Clear from that point to target with high overcast 100 miles south to 300 S.W.
Clear to southern tip of Japan.
Broken to overcast 1000 ft. turning to W.
Instrument conditions encountered 1:30 hrs. before landfall of China coast.
Over China overcast from surface to 11,500 occasional breaks heavy rain.
Approach: below 1500 ft.
Bombing: 1500 ft.
Surface and ground level approach, bombing at 1100 ft., surface to point :30 before E.T.A. of China coast, gradual climb to 11500 ft.
3 - 500# demolition 1 - incendiary cluster (500#).
900 rounds .50 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary
700 rounds. .30 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary
Ship yard and docks at Yokohama.
Secondary: any military objective within vicinity.
Barrage balloons at target made choice of secondary necessary.
Oil refinery, tank farm, warehouse, 2 miles ENE of target.
Heavy AA was encountered just prior to bomb release point from S, W, N, range was poor, elevation good. No hits were made on ship. After bomb release rapid descent to surface was made and AA was seen to score hits on barrage balloons causing their destruction. AA continued from rear and also from hill to the west until approximately two miles at sea. Bursts were of five, tracking excellent.
No actual attack was made by enemy pursuit. Several biplanes evidently of obsolete type followed the plane at 1000 yards for fifteen minutes but did not offer attack.
Bombs were released in sequence on large warehouse, railroad siding at refinery and tank farm. Warehouse was seen to be hit and fired. Railroad tracks and tank cars also hit. Effect of last bomb and incendiary was not noticed due to heavy AA. Speed of run 200 mph, altitude 1100 ft.
One weather boat was sunk 100 miles east of Japan. No other attacks made by machine guns.
ARRIVAL IN CHINA:
Crew was assembled in navigators compartment when landing appeared impossible. At 23:30 the crew left the ship at five second intervals, followed in twenty seconds by the pilot. Ship was at 11500, on AFCE at 120 m.p.h.
I landed on a mountain with no ill effects, wrapped up in the silk and slept till 5:30 AM. Crew had been told to do likewise and await day light before attempting to locate each other. The next morning I started down the mountain and walked east for several hours, then N.E. At a small village a school teacher was able to locate direction and distance of Chuchow. Walked SE till dark and slept until dawn. Three of the crew joined me at this village. The fourth joined us at noon the next day. Natives carried us to Sian where a car took us into Chuchow. Six nights were spent at Army Air station there and on Saturday evening we left by train for Yun San. A bus met us and in this we traveled three days to Heng Yang. A plane met us there and brought us to Chunking.
WILLIAM M. BOWER
1st Lt., Air Corps
Gray - Flight/Mission Report
May 2, 1942
SUBJECT: Mission report on Project April 18, 1942
TO: Brigadier General J.H. Doolittle.
Type Ship: B-25-B (North American) #40-2270
Crew: Pilot -- 1st Lt. Robert M. Gray
Co-pilot -- 2nd Lt. Jack E. Manch
Navigator. -- 2nd Lt. Charles V. Ozuk
Bomb. - Sgt. Aden E. Jones
Eng. Gun. -- Cpl. L.D. Factor
Orders: This mission was voluntary called from Lexington Field, Columbia, S.C. and then to Eglin Field, Florida, to start working and training. From Florida the group went to McClellan Field, Cal. for more supplies and maintenance. We continued to Alameda Naval Base and loaded the planes aboard the U.S.S. Hornet.
All navigation equipment was issued enroute.
Order were given for all army pilots to man their planes for take off. We were to report to Chuchow, China, as soon as possible if could not land our planes.
Time of Takeoff: 8:30 U.S.S. Hornet time.
Altitude desired: Bombing Alt.: 1500 ft.
Approach: Under 1500 ft.
Actual Alt: Bombing:1450
Approach: surface to 50 ft and 6500 over China.
Weather: Broken to clear to Tokyo
Clear and unlimited over Tokyo
Enroute to China: Broken to overcast
Over China: Overcast with rain.
Bombs: 3 - 500 . dem. -- 1 - 500 incendiary
Ammunition: 850 rounds 50
All ammunition loaded 2 tracers, 3 incendiary and 1 armor piercing.
Target: Steel mill, chemical factory, gas co, and thickly populated small factories district. Contacted A.A. but did not have range. Had right altitude -- also ground fire.
Pursuit Opposition: None.
Bombed Steel works but did not see the bombs hit. Felt the concussion. Second bomb made direct on gas company. Third bomb was a direct hit on the chemical works and setting fire to the whole works. Fourth scattered incendiary over the correct area but did not stay to see if it started fires. machine gunned barrax and men on the way out.
Arrival in China:
Giving orders thirty (30) minutes before time to bail out all personnel were in chutes. Gave an order fifteen (15) minutes before time again to make sure. When all personnel was gone, I switched on A.F.C.E and jumped (6200 ft). I landed on summit of a mountain and remained there the remainder of the night. The next morning I looked for other personnel but could not find them. Walked all day and came to village where I stayed that night. Was directed in wrong direction for six miles and ended up where I started from that morning. Sgt. Aden Jones joined me there that night and we rode in chairs the next day to river side. Stayed there all night and until 16:30 o'clock the next day waiting on Lt. Jack Manch. On Lt. Manch arrival we loaded a small boat and traveled until night. Traveled by boat all the next day and part of the night arriving in Chuchow. Stayed two days in Chuchow. Went by train and bus to Hang yen which took four days. Took plane from Hang yen to Chunking.
ROBERT M. GRAY
1st Lt., A.C.
Greening Flight/Mission Report
Chunking, Szechwan, China
May 2, 1942
SUBJECT: Mission Report on Doolittle Project, April 18, 1942.
TO: Brigadier General J.H. Doolittle.
Type Ship: B-25 B (North American) #40-2249.
Pilot -- Capt. C.R. Greening 0-22443
Co-Pilot -- 2nd Lieut. K.. Reddy 0-421131
Navigator -- 2nd Lieut. F.A. Kappeler 0-419579
Bombardier -- S/Sgt. W.L. Birch 6461172
Eng. Gunner -- Sgt. M.J. Gardner 6296448
The mission was voluntary called from Lexington Field, Columbia, S.C., to proceed to Eglin Field, Valparaiso, Fla., to learn the nature of the mission, perform necessary changes and maintenance on the ships, and conduct a training program involving simulated conditions that could be expected during the actual mission.
The project was ordered to McClellan Field, Sacramento, Calif., for final preparations before loading aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, Alameda Naval Base.
Objective folders, maps, navigation, and other pertinent data were covered enroute.
Orders for take off were given without warning. No last minute preparations such as weather data at target enroute or destination were given. We were to report to Chuchow, China, as soon as possible if separated from ships.
Time of takeoff: 0855 U.S.S. Hornet time
Bombing altitude: 1500 feet
Approach: under 1500 feet
Bombing: 600 feet
Approach: Surface to 3000 feet and up to 10000 over China
Broken clouds to Tokyo
Clear and unlimited over Tokyo
Enroute to China: Broken to overcast
Over China; Low overcast with rain
4 - 500 lb incendiary clusters
All bombs operated without malfunction.
800 rounds .50 Cal.
800 rounds .30 Cal.
All ammunition load 2 tracer, 3 incendiary and 1 armor piercing.
Oil refineries, docks, warehouses and home industrial area, Yokohama.
At will according to situation.
Several flights were observed. Attack made only by four apparently Zero fighters with inline engines. 6 guns firing forward using either incendiaries or tracers. Hits were observed on right wing with no apparent damage other than dents in wing. Two pursuit were observed to be hit seriously enough to leave attack, one on fire. Neither were seen to crash. After bombs were released no difficulty was encountered in outrunning pursuit.
A large oil refinery and storage tank area was bombed with apparent complete success. Target used was camouflaged by roof tops to conceal work wherever possible. A large black column of smoke could be seen as result over 50 miles away.
Three small boats were attacked using .30 Cal nose gun. One gun burned. Estimated size 50 to 60 feet long.
CHARLES R. GREENING
CAPTAIN, AIR CORPS
Hilger - Flight/Mission Report
May 5, 1942.
Subject: Brigadier General J.H. Doolittle.
Airplane No. 40-2297
Pilot -- Major John A. Hilger
Co-Pilot -- 2nd Lt. Jack A. Sims
Bomb-Navigator. -- 1st Lt. James H. Macia
Eng. -- S/Sgt/ Jacob Eierman
Gunner -- S/Sgt. Edwin V. Bain
To proceed from Columbia, S.C., to Eglin Field, Fla., for installation of special equipment and completion of specialist training program. From Eglin Field, Fla., to Sacramento Air Depot for installation of more special equipment and final checks and then to Alameda Naval Air Station to be loaded aboard the U.S.S. Hornet. After sailing, all information was given out as to targets, routes, and probable time of attack. Take-off was ordered by the Naval Commander, however, ten hours prior to contemplated take-off due to interception of the naval force by an enemy sea craft. Take-off position was at Lat. 35°I O N, Long. 153° 23' E. Due to suddenness of orders no weather data was available and no new instructions were given. Each pilot took off on his original orders to bomb his individual targets and proceed to Chuchow for fuel and thence to Chunking. Definite orders were issued not to go to Russia.
Time of Takeoff:
09:13 April 18, 1942.
From take-off to within 200 miles of Japanese coast:
scattered clouds with occasional rain showers. Visibility unlimited except in rain showers. Wind SW 12.
From 200 miles east of Japan to 300 miles east of China coast:
Clear to high thin scattered clouds. Visibility unlimited. Wind varied from light shifting winds to E20 after passing the southwestern tip of Japan, then slowly swung to S5.
From 300 miles east of China to destination:
Overcast lowering to 300 feet with heavy intermittent rain. Visibility fair except in rain squalls. Instrument conditions from 100 miles off shore to destination with heavy rain. Ground winds at destination NE gusty up to 15 m.p.h.
Approach: below 100'
Withdrawal: below 100 ft.
Bombs: 4 - 500# incendiary clusters.
900 rounds .50 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary, 1 tracer
500 rounds .30 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary, 1 tracer
Military Barracks at Nagoya Castle
Oil storage warehouse NW of business district
Military Arsenal in center of Nagoya
Mitsubishi Aircraft Works on waterfront
Any military objective
Moderate AA fire was encountered when we pulled up east of Nagoya to get our bombing altitude. Accuracy was very poor but altitude of bursts was exact. AA fire continued for ten minutes after we departed the target area. Size of bursts indicated 37-40 mm shells.
Only one plane was seen in the air over Nagoya and it was not identified as to type and offered no attack.
All primary targets were squarely it and when we were 20 miles south on our way out we observed a tall column of heavy black smoke with a mushroom head standing over Nagoya. The rear gunner saw many fires start in the military barracks. Speed of bombing run 220 m.p.h. Indicated.
Arrival in China:
When it became apparent that no landing could be made at Chuchow I warned the crew to get ready to abandon ship. When over the estimated position of Chuchow I had the rear gunner, Engineer, Navigator and Co-pilot jump in order. After they were free of the ship I trimmed it for level flight (A.F.C.E. Not operative) and abandoned ship.
I landed on a very rough mountain-top with only minor bruises. I wrapped in my chute and spent the night where I landed. The next morning I walked to a village at the foot of the mountain where I had landed and one of the villagers guided me to a road where we were met by a truck load of soldiers. I identified myself and showed them on the map the approximate location of my plane and the rest of the crew. They took me to Kuang Feng where I met three of my crew and spent the night. During the night my other crew member came in and the next morning the five of us proceeded by motor to Shang Jao and from there to Chuchow by train. We remained at the Chuchow air station until April 28 when we departed by train, bus and plane for Chunking. We arrived at Chunking on May 3, 1942 at 12:40.
JOHN A HILGER
Major, Army Air Corps.
REPORT OF AIRPLANE NO. 40-2297 - Additional Comments and details
Take-off was made at 09:15 and approximately five minutes after previous ship had taken off. No difficulty experienced on take-off.
A course of 268° Magnetic was flown from the carrier and landfall was made near the cliffs south east of Tokyo. Course was then changed to parallel the coast until a point five miles off shore and south of Nagaya was reached.
One enemy patrol plane (similar to B-26 in appearance) was encountered 600 miles east of Tokyo but it is believed he did not see our planes.
The bombing attack was delivered at 15:20 (-10 zone time) and the targets attacked were (1) Military Barracks in Nagaya Castle Grounds, (2) Oil and Storage warehouse, (3) Military Arsenal, (4) Mitsubishi Aircraft plant south of Nagoya. All the targets were the originally selected ones and all were squarely hit with incendiary clusters. Bombing approach was made at minimum altitude and bombs were dropped at 1500 feet and 200 m.p.h. Indicated. The rear gunner saw many small fires start and when we were thirty miles south on and way out and approximately 10 minutes after the bombing we could see a tall column of heavy black smoke over the city. I would estimate the height of the column to be 5000 feet and the mushroom head on the column would indicate very intense fires.
After the bombing only one enemy plane was seen to take off. It was a small monoplane but never attacked our ship and disappeared soon after it was sighted.
The volume of A.A. fire was moderately heavy but accuracy was very poor. Only two or three shots were close enough to be uncomfortable. The size of the bursts indicated that the shells were of 37-40 mm in size. No machine gun fire was encountered. No barrage balloons were encountered.
While over Japan our entire crew was impressed with the drabness of the cities and the difficulty of picking out targets. All building were grey and very much the same in appearance. The cities did not look at all the way we expected them to look from the information in our objective folders and on our maps.
The maps which we used were misleading because the contour interval was too great. We had expected to make a very low approach from the sea into Nagoya but were forced up to almost 1000 feet at times by low hills which did not show on the charts.
After the attack a course of 180° was flown until 15:45 at which time we were 20 miles off shore. Course was then changed to 225° and held until 16:00 at which time course was altered to 252°. The southern tip of Japan was passed at 19:18 and altered course to 262°.
After leaving Nagoya six cruisers and one aircraft carrier were sighted. Three cruisers and one carrier were in one group and three cruisers were in another group. These two groups were about fifty miles apart off the south coast.
About 300 miles off the China Coast we encountered rain squalls and lowering ceilings and about 100 miles off the coast at 20:15 the weather got so bad that we pulled up to 1000 feet and went on instruments. At 21:05 we estimated we should be over the coast line and started climbing to 7,000. We saw a few breaks but very few lights on the ground. At 22:20 we estimated we were over Chuchow and still on instruments. We had about 40 gallons of gas left and I changed altitude to 8,500 and ordered the crew to jump. The crew abandoned the ship quickly and with no confusion. After the co-pilot jumped I trimmed the ship for flight at 170 m.p.h. (A.F.C.E. Not operative) and abandoned ship.
I heard the plane crash shortly after my chute opened and the site was later visited by the co-pilot. The ship was badly smashed and had been stripped by vandals.
No injuries to crew members other than bruises and sprains.
The entire route was flown at 100' except when making the bombing runs and when on instruments near the China coast.
Only a few of those who jumped managed to save any rations, etc. and it might be advisable to construct as an integral part of the parachute harness a pouch that will carry matches (waterproof), condensed ration and a sheaf knife. Each crew member carried a compass and very few of these were lost. The gun belts carried the gun, canteen, first aid packet and twenty rounds of ammunition. Only two of these were lost in jumping.
When I landed from my jump I was shaken up but not seriously injured I was on a very steep mountain so I made a tent of part of chute and rolled up in the rest of it and spent the night there. The next morning I discovered a small village at the foot of the mountain and one of the villagers took me to a road where I met a military party out searching for us. I was taken to Kwang Feng, about 15 miles from where I landed and then sent to Chuchow the next night.
Pilot - Major John A. Hilger
Co-pilot -- Lt. Jack A. Sims
Navigator-Bombardier -- Lt. James H. Macia
Engineer -- S/Sgt. Jacob Eierman
Gunner -- S/Sgt. Edwin V. Bain
JOHN A. HILGER
Major, Air Corps,
89th Recon. Sq.
17th Bomb. Group
Joyce Flight/Mission Report
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.
McElroy - Flight/Mission Report
Subject: Mission Report of Doolittle Project on April 18, 1942
To: Brigadier General James H. Doolittle
Airplane type -- B-25-B
Pilot -- 1st Lt. Edgar E. McElroy
Co-pilot -- 1st Lt. Richard A. Knobloch
Navigator -- 1st Lt. Clayton J. Campbell
Bombardier -- Sgt. Robert C. Bourgeois
Eng. Gunner -- Sgt. Adam R. Williams
To proceed to Eglin Field, Florida, for special training of personnel and alterations to ship for the purpose of participating in secret mission. To proceed to McClellan Field, California for final alterations to ship and outfitting of crew and ship. To proceed to Alameda Naval Air Station to board aircraft carrier.
Targets were assigned at sea and necessary maps, objective folders, etc. were furnished for study. Takeoff order was given at 07:30 o'clock April 18, 1942, when 810 statue miles due east of Tokyo. Orders were to bomb target and proceed to Chuchow for refueling and then proceed to Chunking. Carry no papers to identify origin of flight, destroy ship in case of forced landing in enemy territory and under no circumstances go to Russia.
Time of takeoff:
0900 April 18, 1942
Broken clouds at 5,000 ft. from ship to within 50 miles of Japan. Ceiling unlimited ground visibility about 30 miles due to smoke or haze. Weather clear to approximately southern tip of Japan, then rapidly lowering overcast. Instrument conditions about 100 miles off China coast due to low ceiling, rain, fog and darkness continuing until time of bail out at 2245.
Altitude desired: Close to land and sea as possible.
Bombing: 1500 ft.
Approach: As close as possible to sea and land pulling up to 1300 ft. for bombing and immediately returning to low levels.
3 - 500 lb. demolition
1 - 500 lb. Incendiary (cluster)
650 rounds 560 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary, 1 tracer
800 rounds 30 cal. 3 AP, 2 incendiary, 1 tracer
Yokosuka Naval Station
Heavy anti-aircraft fire was encountered over target. Accuracy was fair. (proper altitude and speed, but no hits were made.
No pursuit was observed.
Bombs were released as planned, from East to West across workshop and building slip area. Demolitions released at 1 1/2 sec. Intervals followed 3 sec. Later by incendiary cluster. All bombs were believed to have taken maximum effect.
Arrival in China:
When landing was seen to be impossible due to instrument conditions, the crew was assembled in navigator's compartment and told to assemble everything they wanted to bail out with. Each man wore life jacket, gun belt with gun, knife, canteen, extra clips and first aid pack and flashlight. Ship was on an A.F.C.E. heading of 260° M. speed 160 M.P.H. Crew bailed out close together as possible at 2245 o'clock. I went last retarding throttles completely before leaving ship. Everyone landed safely except Sgt. Williams who landed in tree and wrenched his knee slightly. Lt. Knobloch and I located each other about 0100 the next morning, slept until daylight and then began trying to find out from natives where we were. About 1000 o'clock Lt. Campbell and Sgt. Bourgeois joined us at the village where we were and we soon began going south with a guide. We reached a garrison about 1100 and were joined there about 1130 by Sgt. Williams, completing our crew. The soldiers began taking us south. We stopped at a small village overnight, having ridden the last 3 hrs. on ponies. The next morning we were furnished sedan chairs starting about 1000 and arriving at Poyang about 1700 o'clock. We were given a nice reception, furnished a nice supper by the Sisters of the Mission and put to bed. We stayed in Poyang the next day and night, were well taken care of and the next morning boarded a steam launch taken all day to go to Yingtan. We stayed there that night, were given a banquet the next day by General Liu and left by train at 2000 for Chuchow. At 0700 the next morning we left the train because of an air alarm. The engine was machine gunned by 3 planes about 15 minutes later doing no damage, but we were not allowed to board the train again until 1600 o'clock arriving at Chuchow about 1730 o'clock. We stayed at Chuchow about 3 days. We went by train to Yingtan, 3 days by bus to Hengyang, 1 day there and a plane was sent for us from Chunking. We arrived in Chunking on May 3. All the Chinese had been very nice to us and did all they could for our comfort.
EDGAR E. MCELROY,
1st. Lt. A.C.
May 4, 1942.
Ship No. 0-2247
Pilot -- Lt. E.E. McElroy -- 0-421122
Co-Pilot -- Lt. R.A. Knobloch
Navigator - Lt. C.J. Campbell
Bombardier -- Sgt. R.C. Bourgeois
Gunner -- Sgt. A.R. Williams
Take-off was accomplished at 0900 approximately 3 minutes after preceding ship. Take-off was very much like normal take-off. Capt. Greening who was our flight leader and Lt. Bower who was on his right wing were still in sight, so by using about 1475 rpm and about 29 inches, indicating about 170 mph, we were able to overtake them in about 30 minutes. We flew in formation with them on about 282 degrees (M) until landfall was made at about 1330. We had suspicion for some time that were too far north, so at about 1345 we took a course of about 250 degrees d reached land at about 1400.
Immediately after crossing the coast line we decided we were still too far north so went back out to sea a safe distance from shore fire and started following the coast line. Later calculation showed that we had hit the coast about 50 miles too far north. We had seen no enemy aircraft and no very sizeable surface craft before we reached the coast except numerous small fishing boats. As we were following the coastline south, we saw about 4 freighters, apparently engaged in coastline shipping. At about 1420 we estimated that we were due east of our target, so we turned inland. Misjudging our position slightly, we came to an airfield on the southeast shore of Tokyo harbor, where we were fired upon with extreme inaccuracy. We immediately determined our position at this point and proceeded northeast to our target.
We bombed our target exactly as planned approaching from the east at about 1300 ft. and 200 mph indicated. Bombs were dropped in congested building area at about 1440 o'clock. The large crane was seen to be blown up and a ship in the building slips was seen to burst into flames. It is believed that all bombs fell in congested building and construction area. When some 30 miles to sea, we could see huge billows of black smoke rising from the target.
We encountered no enemy aircraft but heavy AA fire over target was fairly accurate. We saw no barrage balloons. After bombing we immediately headed out to sea on a course of about 220 degrees. When well out to sea we turned southeast and headed for Yaki Shima islands, passing just to the south of these islands at about 1915.
About halfway between our target and Yakashima Island we sighted a large submarine apparently at rest, and about 15 miles further on we sighted three large cruisers headed toward Japan. We ran in to instrument weather about 11/2 hours short of the China coast, although it had been overcast since leaving Yaki Shima. At about 2100 we climbed to about 6,000 ft. We had flown a compass course of 260 degrees since leaving Yaki Shima. At 2230 we began preparing to bail out. Each man filled his canteen, put on his life vest, and filled a bag with rations, etc. All five men were assembled in the navigator's compartment. The ship was on A.F.C.E. We bailed out as close together as possible at 2245 so as to e together on the ground. I bailed out last, pulling the throttles all the way back before doing so. I did not go to the plane myself but Sgt. Williams went to it and said it was completely burned up. Sgt. Williams received a wrenched knee when he lit in a tree, but it was OK in a few days. Lt. Knobloch cut his hip when he bailed out, but it healed OK in a few days.
The entire trip was made at 166 mph indicated, following the cruise chart accurately. We bailed out about 75 miles north of Poyang. All landed safely except Williams who landed in a tree and injured his knee slightly.
Lt. Knobloch and myself located each other about 0100 the next morning. Early the next morning we walked to the first village and after some difficulty with sing language they began leading us, as we later found out, toward soldiers. About 1000 o'clock as we were making a stop for some reason or another, we were joined by lt. Campbell and Sgt. Bourgeois, and about 1100 o'clock we were joined by Sgt. Williams.
The people kept taking us south and about noon we were met by the first soldier, who took us to the first garrison. All the people and soldiers were very kind to us and made every effort to make our journey to Chuhsien comfortable.
EDGAR E. MCELROY
1st. Lt. U.S. Army Air Force
Macia - Navigation Report
May 4, 1942
Subject: Report on Navigation during Japanese Bombing Mission
To: Brigadier General James H. Doolittle
The following is a report on the navigation procedure used during Japanese bombing mission and the results and accuracy of the navigation.
Position of ship at takeoff, wind speed and velocity was rendered by the navigation officer of the U.S.S. Hornet. A check on the deviation on compass heading was taken by flying over ship and getting true heading of plane, then turning to the desired compass course by use of Gyro compass. Drift observations were taken periodically and corrections in compass heading made. Celestial observations on sun were taken at meridian crossing giving excellent course lines and satisfactory results. After land fall on coast pilotage was used to locate target and to proceed to point of departure. Similar procedure was employed after leaving target and proceeding down the Japanese coast to Yakashima Island. Again celestial observations on the sun proved excellent ground speed checks.
Upon leaving Yakashima double drifts were taken in most cases to obtain ground speed and wind direction and velocity. Halfway across the China Sea bad weather forced the planes to go on instruments and a heavy overcast and under cast prevented either pilotage or celestial navigation. Using the last winds available dead reckoning was employed to a position near Chushan, where we abandoned ship.
Dead reckoning results were fairly accurate but generally to the north of our desired e. Celestial navigation proved very accurate and was used in most cases to good results.
Our charts were found to be unreliable as to details.
JAMES H. MACIA JR.,
1st Lt. A.C.
McGurl - Navigation Report
May 2, 1942.
NAVIGATION REPORT ON TOKYO BOMBING RAID
TO: Chief of Army Air Forces.
MISSION: To depart from carrier off the coast of Japan, proceed to Tokyo, bomb assigned targets, head directly south out to sea (to confuse the enemy), parallel coast of Japan to the Osumi Strait, and at the navigator's discretion proceed to the final destination at Chuhsien. To land, refuel and proceed directly to Chunking with minimum delay.
SOLUTION: Observed time, position, wind direction and velocity given by U.S.S. Hornet navigator. Checked compass by flying over carrier, noting its course and correcting for drift. Proceeded on direct course to Choshi point using dead reckoning, checked by several celestial shots which at the observed time gave excellent course lines. Ground speed was computed from given wind, time and fuel shortage preventing double draft. Estimated time of arrival by computed ground speed. Sun lines disclosed our position north of intended course and necessitated south westerly course to target. Low flying and inaccuracies in representation of topography by Japanese Naval Air Charts made pilotage extremely difficult. Arrived at targets through pilotage and released bombs on Tokyo.
Altered course to approximately 180° and flew five miles abeam of Oshinia Island for a distance of 90 miles. Altered course to parallel Japanese coast line and checked ground speed by sun lines, double drift and check points. Maintained same course to Osumi Strait where we altered course to hit 29th parallel of latitude on 123° of longitude or about 100 miles from China coast. Direct westerly course taken on 29th parallel. No landfall possible due to overcast. Computed E.T.A. at coast and checked same on arrival. Checked ground speed and figured E.T.A. at Chuchow (Chuhsien). Overcast and zero visibility made visual location impossible. Computation alone gave the position and the ruggedness of surrounding country made knowledge of exact position of paramount importance. After parachuting and subsequently locating our place of arrival, our position was checked. Loss of our planes prevented the last leg of the flight to Chunking and therefore required no further navigation.
Adequate equipment and information, aided by the fine teamwork made our eventual arrival at above destination possible.
EUGENE F. McGurl
2nd Lt. - 0-431648
95th Squad. 17th Group
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY AIR FORCES
DIRECTOR OF INTELLIGENCE SERVICE
Informational Intelligence Summary (Special) No. 20.
Distribution: COMMAND CONFIDENTIAL: October 5, 1942
T H E T O K Y O R A I D
April 18, 1942
SP 370.2 10-5-42
O29 Army Air Forces
384.3 Air Raid
370.2 Tokyo, Japan
THE TOKYO RAID
April 18, 1942
The stated purpose of the Tokyo raid was to inflict both material and psychological damage on the enemy.
It was expected that material damage and the retarding of production could be obtained by the destruction of specific targets in the industrial centers of Japan. It was hoped also that it would result in the recalling for home defense of combat equipment from areas then under pressure.
it was anticipated that a fear complex among the Japanese people would follow a successful bombing attack -- that it would improve relations with our Allies and create a favorable reaction on the American public.
The B-25 was selected as the most practical aircraft to do the job. A range of 2,400 miles was set up as a minimum requirement, and a bomb load of 2,000 pounds was considered essential to obtain the proper effect.
A 500-pound demolition bomb was selected. It was to contain 50% TNT and 50% Amatol, with a 1/10-second nose and 1/40-second [sic] required extreme low-level bombing. A 500-pound cluster, containing 128 incendiary bombs, was also to be carried.
Small arms consisted of from 700 to 900 rounds of 50 caliber in the proportion of 1 tracer, 2 armor-piercing, and 3 explosive bullets. Approximately the same amount of 30 caliber was carried.
Primary and secondary targets were selected in the city of Tokyo and adjacent congested areas, with a specific course and coverage for each pilot. It was planned to spread the flight over a fifty-mile front in order to provide the greatest coverage, to create the impression of a larger force than existed, and to dilute the ground fire. It was decided that non-military targets should be avoided and particularly the Temple of Heaven.
About three months were spent in preparation with the crews, consisting of ground maintenance men, armorers, etc., being trained together. Time was spent in cross-country flying, night flying and over water, in order to permit pilots and navigators to become accustomed to flying without visual, radio references or land markers. Low altitude approaches, rapid bombing and evasive actions were practiced.
The mechanical changes were many and ingenious, with all possible effort being made to conserve weight and space for the essential items.
The lower turret developed trouble in its retracting mechanism, and was finally removed and a plate put over the hole.
The metal leak proof tanks and one collapsible rubber tank were installed. Air pressure was used to increase the capacity of one tank by 10 to 15 gallons, and ten 5-gallon tins were carried in the rear compartment. These were to be emptied into the main tank and then thrown over side after being punched full of holes to assure sinking. The total capacity amounted to 1,141 gallons.
To avoid fire hazard no pyrotechnics were carried, although two conventional landing flares were stored immediately forward of the rear bulkhead.
De-icers and anti-icers were installed on all aircraft.
It was found that the turret guns, when fired aft with the muzzle close to the fuselage, would pop rivets and tear loose the skin of the plane. To overcome this, steel blast plates were installed.
Since low-level bombing was planned, the Norden sight was replaced by a simplified sight which, at 1,500 feet, showed a greater degree of accuracy.
Liaison radio sets were removed and each flight leader was equipped with a small automatic, electrically-operated camera.
As a final gesture, two wooden 50-caliber guns were stuck in the tip of the tail. (No airplane in the flight was attacked from the rear.)
Plane No. 2242 (Capt. York). This airplane, carrying 3 demolition and 1 incendiary bomb, had Tokyo as its target. Due to high gasoline consumption, it proceeded to Siberia, landing some 40 miles north of Vladivostok. The crew were interned and therefore no reliable reports are available. The turret of this plane was not operating when it started.
Plane No. 2247 (Lt. McElroy). Dropped 3 demolition and 1 incendiary bomb from 1,300 feet at 200 mph on the Yokosuka Navy Yard, the dock, and a partially completed boat.
Destroyed everything on the dock and enveloped the boat in flames. A large crane was seen blown up and thirty miles away huge billows of black smoke could be seen rising from the target. Heavy A.A. of fair accuracy was encountered, but there was no pursuit.
Plane No. 2249 (Capt. Greening). Four incendiaries were dropped in train from 600 feet on a large oil refinery near Sakura, east of Tokyo. Primary target (Yokohama) not reached.
A large explosion followed with several successive explosions which were felt by the crew. A large column of smoke was visible fifty miles away from the target.
On the approach, four enemy fighters with in-line engines were encountered. They mounted six machine guns in the wings and appeared to have a ground speed of 260 mph. Two were reported shot down.
Plane No. 2250 (Lt. Joyce). To Tokyo -- dropping from 2,400 feet and at 210 mph 2 demolition bombs on the Japanese Steel Company. One bomb fell in the center of the plant and one between two buildings. The third bomb was dropped on a thick industrial area in Shiba Ward, one-quarter mile in shore. The incendiary bomb was placed in the dense residential section near the primary target. A.A. was heavy and nine Zero fighters were evaded by increasing the plane speed to 330 mph in a dive.
Plane No. 2661 (Lt. Lawson). At 1,400 feet, dropped 3 demolition bombs on factories in the Tokyo area. One hit was observed with smoke and flying debris. The incendiary was released over the densely settled residential area near the Palace.
A.A. fire was intense while running over the targets. It appeared to be light flak with black bursts about the size of weather balloons.
Six pursuit ships were observed but they did not close.
Large fires and smoke were seen in the northeast part of the city -- presumably in the area attacked by the Doolittle plane.
Plane No. 2267 (Lt. Smith). Before reaching the coast of Japan picked up a radio station broadcasting a musical program. It continued over an hour and then suddenly went off the air. After ringing an alarm for forty-five seconds, a voice shouted three words. This took place about ten times before the station became silent.
Made a landfall north of its course at 1350. Swung south across Tokyo and Nagoya Bays, which were observed filled with small fishing craft.
Proceeded to Kobe where 4 incendiary clusters were dropped along the waterfront. The first fell in the area west of the Uyenoshita Steel Works; No. 2 on the Kawasaki Dock Yard; No. 3 in the area of small factories, machine shops and residences; and the fourth on the Kawasaki Aircraft Factory.
A.A. was light and two planes sighted (97;s) were soon out-distanced.
A large aircraft carrier was seen nearing completion and several new factories were observed east of Kobe.
Plane No. 2268 (Lt. Farrow). No reliable report received.
Plane No. 2270 (Lt. Gray). Bombed Tokyo at 1,450 feet. The first bomb hit not observed. The second hit the gas works; the third, a chemical plant; the fourth, an incendiary, not seen. Machine-gunned barracks and men.
On the approach, a burning oil tank was seen just west of the Ara Waterway.
A.A. was of right altitude but wrong deflection.
Plane No. 2278 (Lt. Bower). To Yokohama at 1,100 feet and 200 mph. Dropped 1 demolition bomb on Ogura Refinery and the other two on nearby factories and warehouses. The incendiary was dropped on another factory area.
Machine-gunned a power house.
Several pursuits tailed the ship but did not attempt to close. A.A. from 37 or 40mm was reported intense -- of good altitude but a little late.
A large fire was observed east of Tokyo.
The original target was the Yokohama Dock Yards, but a balloon barrage prevented the attack being made as planned.
Plane No. 2282 (Lt. Holstrom). Pilot decided to approach Tokyo from the south on the theory that the three preceding planes had stirred up enemy interceptors further north. As a result, pursuit planes were encountered heading in his direction. Two of these attacked while still off the coast and tracer bullets were seen going over the pilot's compartment. Later, two more cut across the bow and appeared ready to peel off for an attack. At this point the bombs were salvoed from 75 feet and the plane turned down the coast. The guns were not operating.
Plane No. 2283 (Capt. Jones). Flew up Tokyo Bay and dropped 1 demolition bomb from 1,200 feet on an oil tank south of the Palace. Another bomb hit a power plant or foundry, and the third, an incendiary, covered a large factory roughly two blocks long. It had a saw-toothed roof and resembled the North American Plant.
The last target was overrun at 260 to 270 mph.
Primary targets were not attacked because the approach had not been made as expected.
No pursuit but intense A.A. was encountered after the first bomb was dropped.
Plane No. 2292 (Lt. Hoover). Followed Doolittle's plane into Tokyo. Dropped 3 demolition bombs and 1 incendiary from 900 feet on the Army Arsenal. There is no information available as to whether this plant was used as a producer of munitions or merely for storage.
Results of the bombing were not observed although debris flew higher than the plane.
Training planes were seen in the distance but there was no near A.A.
Plane No. 2297 (Major Hilger). To Nagoya. Dropped 4 incendiaries from 1,500 feet on four targets: Barracks adjacent to Nagoya Castle, Matsuhigecho Oil Storage, Atsuta Factory, which is reported capable of producing 500 planes a year, and the Mitsubishi Aircraft Works, which produces the "Zero" fighter.
Hits were observed on all targets and a column of smoke was seen when 20 miles away.
A.A. was heavy but poor, and only one plane was seen. Cities were drab and targets did not appear as expected.
Plane No. 2298 (Lt. Hallmark). No reliable report.
Plane No. 2303 (Lt. Watson). Target was the Tokyo Gas & Electric Company, which was bombed with 3 demolition and 1 incendiary dropped in train from 2,500 feet at 220 to 230 mph. (The target has also been reported as a Tank and Truck Factory.)
One hit was observed. On the way in, about twenty 2-engined bombers were seen dispersed on a field and 15 or 20 pursuits were seen warming up on a ramp.
One pursuit attacked from below but made only one pass. A.A. was intense.
Fires were observed near the Electric Light Plant, radio station, the Japanese Steel Company's plant, and in the Doolittle target area.
Plane No. 2344 (Brigadier General Doolittle). On the approach to Japan, passed a camouflaged Naval vessel and saw a multi-motored land plane.
Arrived north of Tokyo and turned south. Saw flying fields and many small biplanes in the air -- apparently trainers. Ten miles north of Tokyo encountered 9 fighters in three flights of three. They maneuvered for attack but did not close.
Proceeded to Tokyo and dropped 4 incendiaries in the congested areas northeast and southwest of the Armory. Then lowered to housetops and slid over the western outskirts into a low haze.
A.A. was heavy and of good elevation but to the right and left.
Rivers, canals and railroads "stood out" but the highways did not.
Nearly every plane, on its approach to Japan, has reported the sighting of naval and merchant vessels, innumerable small fishing craft, and a number of patrol planes. Yet the Japanese apparently were entirely unprepared for the attack. Either their dissemination of information was faulty or the communication system had broken down completely.
As they passed over the countryside, farmers in the field looked up and went back to work undisturbed; villagers waved from the streets; a baseball game continued its play; and in the distance training planes took off and landed apparently unaware of any danger present.
About twenty 2-engined bombers were seen on the field and the same number of fighters warming up on the ramp, but few planes attempted interception and those that did were not inclined to press home the attack. The pilots appeared inexperienced and their gun fire inaccurate.
The anti-aircraft defense has been reported as consisting of either 37 mm. or 40mm., although the description of the bursts and the absence of tracers would indicate that larger caliber guns were in action. This supposition is supported by the fact that no A.A. fire was reported below 1,500 feet. The altitude was accurate but the bursts were generally behind -- it is possible that the gunners did not realize the speed of the B-25's.
There were a few barrage balloons in the Tokyo area in clusters of 5 or 6, and in one case they diverted an attacking plane to its secondary target.
Ineffective camouflage was observed.
The over-all picture is one of inadequate defense. The warning system did not appear to function; interception by fighters was definitely cautious; and anti-aircraft fire, responding slowly , did not reach the intensity one would expect for so important a city as Tokyo.
So thorough had been the preparation for this raid that the majority of mechanical faults had been discovered and corrected before the flight started.
The B-25 proved itself adequate to the mission. One pilot reported that carrying a 31,500-pound load at sea level, using 1,475 r.p.m. and 29" H.Q. manifold pressure, the gasoline consumption was approximately 85 gallons per hour. After releasing bombs and reducing the power to 1,300 r.p.m. and 25" H.Q. manifold pressure, he used 63 gallons per hour with a speed of 166 mph.
Both the M-43 demolition bombs and the M-54 incendiary clusters were considered extremely satisfactory in every case. There was some difficulty in loading, due to the bomb-bay gas installations, but in the release there was no malfunction of racks. It has been recommended that a pilots' emergency bomb release be arranged which could be used if the bombardier became disabled.
The activating mechanism of the lower turrets did not function properly and, even after the trouble had been corrected, it was found that time was lacking in which to train efficient gunners. The lower turrets were therefore removed.
The Azimuth motor of the upper turrets was almost continually in operation with resulting failures due to strain on the electrical system. An individual hydraulic system has been suggested so that the turret may be worked independently. There were three turrets out of commission when the flight started.
Faulty parts were replaced and minor adjustments were made on the 50-caliber machine guns during the period of preparation. During the flight it was found that the 30-caliber nose gun, after it warmed up and expanded, could not be shifted quickly from one position to another, and in steep dives the ammunition lifted out of the cans and the belt jammed.
It is obvious from the records that lack of training has a definite connection with mechanical failures. It was found that natural equipment should be used unless there is ample time to develop a high degree of skill throughout the personnel.
Sixteen B-25's made the flight to Japan. From the pilots or crew members of thirteen of these planes have come reports from which a reasonable estimation of the execution and success of the mission may be made.
The preparation was thorough. The flight was well executed and, in most cases, primary targets were reached, hits were made at low altitudes, and explosions, followed by smoke and fires, were observed by several ships as they passed over the area.
The magnitude of the destruction and the effect on Japanese morale may not be evaluated from the few rumors that have come out of the enemy's country. Had it been known beforehand how complete was going to be the surprise and how weak the resistance, it would have been possible to concentrate all planes on such a target as the Mitsubishi Aircraft Factory.
The reaction on our Allies and the American public was essentially favorable. Any encouragement, however, accruing to the Chinese must have been tempered by the fact that immediately following the raid the Japanese initiated a sever attack on those areas in China which they suspected had been used in the project.
The important lesson of this raid may be that no country should be without home defenses and an adequate system of communication and detection always on the alert.
1. Plane 2344 - Armory Area
2. " 2292 - Army Arsenal
3. " 2270 - Steel, Gas, Chemical Works
4. " 2283 - Oil Tank, Large Factory
5. " 2261 - Factories, Residential Area
6. " 2303 - Tokyo Gas & Electric Company
7. " 2250 - Steel Works, Residential Area
8. " 2249 - "Sakura" Refinery & Tanks
9. " 2278 - Ogura Refinery, Factories
10. " 2247 - Dock Yard, Ship, Crane
June 3, 1943
Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence
INTERVIEW WITH B-25 CREW THAT BOMBED TOKYO AND WAS INTERNED BY THE RUSSIANS
Major Edward J. York - 021151
First Lt. Robert C. Emmons - 024104
2nd Lt. Nolan A. Herndon - 0419328
S/Sgt. David W. Pohl - 6152141
Sgt. Theodore H. Laban - 6559855
Major York: In my opinion, the reason that we used more gasoline than we should have was that our two carburetors were especially adjusted and special carburetors were installed at Elgin Field, where we had been training, by factory experts there that they had to do the work. (We moved at Sacramento to the air depot.) When we got to Sacramento, Colonel Doolittle gave orders that no parts would be removed from any of the airplanes without his special permission. The day before we left, we found a bunch of carburetors had been taken off, but it was too late to do anything about it.
Q: Who took them off?
A: People at Sacramento.
Q: Under whose supervision?
A: Colonel Doolittle's. They were supposed to ask for his permission to change anything, or do any work. They were there for that work -- and the Colonel outlined everything that was supposed to be done. There was no statement made on the card covering the work which should be done. They just removed the carburetors. We just happened to find out, by looking the engine over and checking the serial numbers, that they were different. No mention was made, or notation made, to let us know that the carburetors had been changed. We accidentally found out about it. I didn't think it made any difference. I talked to the Colonel about it. He asked me how I felt about it and I said, "All right." We figured, on the carrier, that the auxiliary gasoline should last through Japan and that we would have to go on the main tanks sometime after that. About forty-five minutes before we got there, we had to go on the main tanks. At that time I had already started worrying about my gasoline holding out to get to the final destination. We checked on the consumption and found we used approximately 98 gallons an hour instead of the 72 to 75 we were supposed to use.
Q: What was your destination?
Major York: So I made up my mind when we spotted Japan (I knew the time we had been running on the main tanks) that I wasn't going to try to go to China. I figured I wouldn't get to within 300 miles of shore.
Q: Was there anything else of any note on the trip over on the carrier that you think you ought to bring up? Did you check your armament and everything daily -- and your engine?
A: Not daily. We ran the engines up once every three days, I believe it was, to just warm them up and make sure they were functioning properly. Our turret wasn't functioning when we took off, but shortly after it was.
Sgt. Pohl: In the machine guns we found that practically all of the machine guns, after we got aboard the ship, had these weak firing pin springs. There had been cases before when we found the firing springs weren't strong enough -- you fired three or four hundred rounds and they would lose all their punch, and start misfiring all the time. We took as many as we could get from the crew on the Hornet -- but we didn't have enough to go around. We took all the ones that hadn't fired -- that were giving trouble on the Hornet -- but we didn't get them all fixed. All that should have been done.
Q: Then you found out your carburetors were maladjusted, wasn't there anyone that could have fixed them up?
Major York: No. Civilian experts from the factory had done the work at Eglin Field.
Q: None of them went along?
A: No. They didn't go to Sacramento. We ran a consumption test from Eglin Field to Sacramento. We knew what they were supposed to burn. We had no chance of running a consumption test at Sacramento.
Q: Now -- can you give a brief, detailed description of your plane's action from the time you took off, including your briefing, and give anything that might be of interest during the early morning hours? Start when you found out you were going to take off then instead of later on.
A: There wasn't any briefing the day we took off. Of course, he had been briefed continuously all the time on the carrier -- targets, and terrain, and all sorts of things. The original plan was for the Colonel to take off two hours before dark and drop incendiaries on Tokyo and light it up so we would be guided in. The rest of them were to take off just before dark and make their attack at night. However, that morning was when we first found out we were going to take off - at breakfast - when an order came for all crews to man their airplanes. There wasn't any time then to get further instructions. So we all ran up on deck, got in our planes and prepared to take off.
Q: What were your specific targets?
A: I had an aircraft plant in Tokyo. I don't remember the name.
Q: Could you point it out on a map?
A: I think so if I saw a map. (Looking at map) It was in the vicinity of 341 -- 331 to be exact. Aircraft engine factory #331. On the way in we saw a fairly large freighter, and just before we made our landfall we saw several small boats -- tenders I would call them.
Q: Did you come in directly from the east?
A: We came in from the east, yes. We made our landfall and should have been in the area of our target in about 20 to 25 minutes after making our landfall. After flying for about 30 minutes after our landfall was made, we still hadn't spotted Tokyo itself; so I started looking for any suitable target; something that was worthwhile bombing. Looking back at it now, it must have been just north of Tokyo, or possibly northwest. At any rate, about thirty-five or forty minutes after landfall, we came across a factory, with the main building about four stories high. There was a power plant, and about three or four tall stacks, and railroad yards, and we decided to bomb it. I pulled up to 1,500 feet. I had been down practically on the ground at the time. We dropped the bombs there, and they said one had hit practically in the middle of the large building. The crew saw smoke and steam rising. I, myself, didn't see it. I lowered away immediately and sneaked around.
Q: Was it outside the suburbs of the city?
A: It was outside because we didn't see the large settlement that you would expect to see in a city of that size. I must have been in this area here. (Due north of Tokyo.)
Q: How far from the coast were you?
A: We had been flying for about 35 minutes. I would say we weren't going too fast at that time. I would say it was about a hundred miles from our landfall. Now the land here comes out like this (map) so we were approximately in this area here. (Approximately in the area of Kawagos.)
Q: Did you meet any fighter interference or any antiaircraft?
A: No. We saw enemy airplanes, however. But we saw a formation of nine we judged to be at about 10,000 feet when we were right down on the ground. They were fighters... and they evidently did not see us; because they made no attempt to attack us.
Q: Did you fly over Tokyo itself?
Q: You never did see Tokyo?
Q: Did you see any other large Japanese city that you recognized?
A: No. We saw several cities coming across -- none that I knew the names of.
Q: You had a camera?
Q: Did you get any pictures?
A: I don't know. It was taken out at the Military Attaché's Office in Russia and brought back here, I suppose.
Q: You never found out whether you got any pictures?
Q: About in what order were you?
A: I was number eight. We also saw three other airplanes besides these nine. They were painted yellow. I think they must have been trainers.
Q: Did you see any of our airplanes on the way in?
A: No. Shortly after we took off the only airplane that was in sight was slowly pulling away from us.
Q: Major, you don't happen to know the type of Zero, or fighter?
A: No. They were too high. They must have been at 10,000 feet or more and we were practically on the ground.
Q: Did you notice whether they had square wing tips?
Q: Were you flying over relatively flat country when you dropped your bombs?
A: It was before we reached the mountains to the northwest of Tokyo.
Q: Do you remember this river (map)?
A: We flew over a river, or a large stream. I am not sure whether that was it or not.
Q: Do you remember having seen this lake (map)? Northeast of Tokyo?
A: I don't think we were that far.
Q: Would you say you were more than halfway between the landfall and the mountains when you dropped your bombs?
A: Yes, I think so -- because the way we figured it, we should have been here in about twenty-five minutes after hitting the shore.
Q: Where do you think you hit the shore?
A: Well, I assume it was at this point. (Point to the southeast of Yokahora.)
Q: But instead you must have hit it slightly northeast of Tokyo?
Q: Then what did you do after dropping your bombs?
A: We turned to the northwest with the idea of hitting shore someplace north of Vladivostok.
Q: Did you pass over Sado Island?
A: No. We passed within sight of it -- to the southwest of it. As soon as we got down in this flat, we let down near a bay northwest of Central Honshu south of Sado Island and continued in a northwesterly direction toward Vladivostok.
Q: Where did you first note land along in here -- do you have any idea?
A: We knew we were along the coast north of here someplace so I turned and followed the coastline. This was very inaccurate on your maps. We figured we would recognize this large inlet east of Vladivostok. We turned inland there as I didn't want to go right over the city itself. We turned inland and the second airdrome we came to I circled and landed. That is the second airdrome north of Vladivostok. It was 40 kilometers north of Vladivostok.
Q: When did you elect to do this rather than continue to China?
A: As soon as we spotted the shore and figured what gas we had left and the distance we had to go to China.
Q: What about your incendiary bombs -- did you drop them in the same place?
A: All in the same place.
Q: You didn't use any rounds at all?
A: No. Just to test the guns on the way in.
Q: No strafing?
Q: Now, would you make a statement as to what happened when you landed and got picked up ... the chances of getting away and all that sort of thing.
A: When we landed, they were surprised to see our airplane. There was no one there in authority at the time. There was a captain who met us, but, of course, none of us spoke any of their language, and none of them spoke English. So he took us into an office and we sat there for about two hours and a half at which time an interpreter came in and told us that they were fixing something for us to eat. They didn't question us about where we had come from -- except the pilots, who would come in, and, out of curiosity, would point to the map and ask us where we had come from. We pointed generally in the direction of Alaska. We didn't want to tell anyone. That night a colonel, who was the C. O. there, through the interpreter told us that we had been part of the raid on Japan. He accused us of it and I admitted that we had. I asked him if he would fix us up with gasoline and if he would that we would take off early the next morning and proceed to China. He agreed.
Q: Did you learn his name?
A: I knew it then -- but I don't remember it now.
Q: But he was an army colonel?
A: No. He was a naval colonel. They have colonels in the Navy. This is a naval air station.
Q: Did any diplomatic official of the government, or civilian, talk to you?
A: Not then. We asked that they notify the American consul in Vladivostok that we were there and wanted to see him. They wouldn't let us do that.
Q: He didn't do that?
A: He was apparently still hoping he might be able to send us off. When we went to bed that night we were fully confident we were going to leave the next morning.
Q: You think he was sincere?
The next morning there was already a general present and a divisional commissar -- the equivalent to our civilian official. Evidently they had communications from higher headquarters and, after we finished eating, we were placed aboard a Russian DC-3 and flown to Khabarovsk, which is about 400 miles north of Vladivostok. When we arrived there we were interviewed for a short time by the Chief of Staff of the Far Eastern Red Army and he, at that time, decided we were being interned.
Q: Did you see your ship again?
A: No sir.
Q: Any of your equipment?
A: Our personal belongings were sent to us about three days later. They had all been left at the station in Vladivostok -- anything that resembled airplane equipment was kept by them, including our pistols.
Q: Were you well-treated then?
A: We were placed in a house about five miles out of town and very closely guarded. About five days after we had been there it was announced over the radio that we had landed in the country and were interned. About five days after that we were taken aboard a train and sent to a city named Penza in European Russia.
Q: All the way across by railroad?
Q: How long did it take?
A: Twenty days. In Penza, they placed us in a house about five miles out of town and we remained there for about two months and a half.
Q: Were you well fed?
A: Our food there was fairly good.
Q: Did you have any inquiries there from any officials?
A: No. We were never questioned after the interview we had with the Chief of Staff, Far East, and he asked very few questions. Just enough to make sure we were Americans. We were never searched or asked for any identification that I can remember now. Any identifying documents or anything.
Q: Did you have any fun ... or were you just completely shut up?
A: We were completely shut up in that house. There was a fence around the house. We were never allowed outside of it.
Q: You were there two and a half months?
A: Yes. And then we were moved to a small village named Ohansk. This is eighty miles south of Molotov, in the Urals, and we stayed there almost eight months.
Q: Were you able to see anything of the surrounding country at all?
A: We traveled. Of course, we saw places as we went through the area.
Q: Were you able to gather any impressions about the industrialism in that region
A: Some, yes.
Q: Did it look fairly well advanced?
A: Their industries ... their factories are not factories as we know them. They don't look modern to me. Most of them are low wooden buildings. Their lighting is very poor and everything seems to be in disorder and disrepair. That was my personal impression.
Q: Were there enough of them to be making a large contribution to Russia's industrial effort?
A: Coming through the Urals almost every town we saw was smoky and dirty because of factories. There are evidently enough.
Q: Have you seen enough of industrialism in the United States to give any comparison?
A: Theirs doesn't compare to ours.
Q: Of course you couldn't tell their output?
Q: We have reactions from almost everybody else on weather and flying conditions. Do you have anything to say about that?
A: Fair and unlimited.
Q: No special turbulence or anything?
Q: Did you get any radio indication of a large net?
A: As we were approaching the island I tried all radio equipment trying to get some sort of reception. All was silent.
Q: I thought one of the ships around the tenth or eleventh still heard something on the radio. You say you didn't see any American ships at all?
A: I tried for about three or four minutes to get something on the radio. When I couldn't I switched off entirely.
Q: You didn't have any extra load or anything that might have affected the gasoline?
Q: May I ask a question? Are the maps accurate on the topography? Did you find when you went over the mountains that you had to climb about as much as they said?
A: The maps were inaccurate as to the outlying shore and terrain features -- the ones we had. The first time we definitely oriented ourselves, was when we came over the mountains and saw this island and we could see the edge of this peninsula. (Sado Island)
Q: What is the greatest height you had to go?
A: 5,000 feet.
Q: Do you know which map you used, Major? Was it one of the Japanese aeronautical maps taken in about 1941?
A: Those are the same maps. The ones furnished.
Q: You didn't miss the landfall by much, did you? There was no special reason for that?
Q: You apparently came very close to it?
A: I think so.
Q: Were the fighters single engine?
Q: Did you notice any other identifying characteristics?
A: They looked to me very much like P-40's. As I say, they were very much higher than we were, and I couldn't identify them.
Q: Were they in three vees?
A: They were all pretty much together in an element of about the same formation we used.
Q: Did you get any clues as to why the Russians changed their minds about supplying you with gasoline and letting you go? Was some pressure brought on that?
A: Not a thing -- except it is characteristic of the people that no one makes any decision without consulting some one higher up. The colonel evidently, after leaving us, got in touch with some one higher up and his mind was changed. As for their not publicly announcing that we had landed there for five or six days, later we learned from the Assistant Military Attache in Moscow that they were going to allow us to leave the country and not make a statement publicly until an incident arose which prevented that. The incident being a newspaper conference in Moscow and an American newspaperman, in discussing the raid, asked what the Russians would do if one of the planes involved in the raid landed in Russia. He insisted so much on an answer that they thought he must have some information on our being there and our presence was announced.
Q: Do you think if all the planes landed in Russia that they would have interned all of them or let them go?
A: It is hard to say.
Q: Let me ask a question about the take-off. Did you experience much difficulty in getting off?
A: No, sir. None at all.
Q: I think only one plane had difficulty, and he took off before you did. Did you see one plane dip?
Q: Do you feel that your target information was adequate?
A: I believe so, of course, not having been there, and not having seen things, it is a matter of coordinating what you saw with what you had read about, or seen on the map. It is a little difficult, especially when flying at such a low altitude. It surprised me -- for I fully expected to see Fujiyama, for example. I never saw it. Why I don't know. Being at that low altitude you can't tell much what is ahead of you. You just see everything you are over right then.
Q: One of the pilots made the statement that he couldn't see the roads very well -- but he could see rivers and canals and so forth. Was this true in your case?
A: No, we saw the roads.
Q: Did things look a little drab?
A: Of course it looks a lot different from ours. Everything is bunched in so close together.
Q: Did you see any cars, or any movement on the roads at all? Any trucks or people?
A: We saw people and animals.
Q: Did the people look alarmed?
A: Some did, and some didn't. We flew over a school yard full of children. They kept right on playing. On the other hand, I saw farmers who were running -- but I got the impression it was because we were so low. They would probably run from their own planes.
Q: I think General Arnold was particularly interested in the Eastern part of Siberia, with the idea of using it. What about the airfields? Did you see many airfields in that area?
A: Very many.
Q: Long runways?
A: We never saw an airfield in Russia with runways.
Q: Wide open?
A: Just wide open airfields.
Q: Hangers and equipment around? Any installations?
A: The one at which we landed had very few installations of that type. It had one small hanger as I remember now. The ships were all parked out -- dispersed. Some of them had camouflage over them. At Khabarovsk they had facilities for major repairs. They had dummy airplanes lined up on the field.
Q: Any guns for protection -- antiaircraft?
A: We didn't see any guns. At Khabarovsk we saw a large number of barrage balloons that they used to put up daily -- especially near the railroad bridge across the Amur River.
Q: You said there were two air fields north of Vladivostok. Did you see any others in that particular vicinity?
A: We were flown north to Khabarovsk in a Russian airplane and we saw several airfields all the way north to Khabarovsk, which is 400 miles. They were spaced at not more than 75 miles apart. All of the same type.
Q: You saw about a dozen?
A: At least.
Q: By airdromes I mean well-equipped fields -- not just landing fields.
A: Well, Russian fields aren't equipped the way ours are. They don't have living facilities close by; they don't have high administration buildings and things like that. They were well equipped as Russian fields are.
Q: Were the planes on them dispersed?
A: Most of the fields had planes on them -- yes. The planes we saw were not the most modern types.
Q: Are those fields sufficient to take care of four-motored bombers?
A: Oh, yes, sir.
Q: All of them?
A: Yes. At Khabarovsk we got the impression that it was a key field in that area. It is a large city and Army headquarters for the Far East. It is the capital of that whole section.
Q: Did you see anything along the line -- for instance at Vladivostok that you could compare to Khabarovsk?
A: Khabarovsk is much better.
Q: What is the area?
A: 7,000 feet in any direction.
Q: Did you see any signs of military aviation school at Khabarovsk?
Sgt. Laban: They seemed to do a lot of transition flying there.
Q: Transition flying?
Sgt. Laban: Yes. They seemed to be circling and landing and taking off.
Q: Did you get any impression of military strength of that whole section of Siberia?
A: Yes. Definitely.
Q: Any troops would have a pretty tough time if they tried to invade?
A: Well, I don't know what the Japs have to invade with there. I don't know whether it would be a tough time for them or not. The equipment up there is not first line equipment. As for man power, I think they have got it out there -- and the ones in the Army out there feel that they could whip Japan over night. They don't seem to be worried about it.
Q: Is there available somewhere a detail of time charts of your trip -- time of land-fall, take off, and the time you got to Vladivostok and so forth?
A: I can give you the take-off and landing time. That is all.
Q: I suppose you kept a chart?
Q: That may possibly be available somewhere around here. What was the time?
A: We took off at 8:20 A. M. That was local time out there -- 800 miles east of Japan. It was ship time. I don't know the time zone they were in. I think it was the same as where we landed. We landed at 5:30.
Q: You don't know the time of land-fall or anything?
A: It was four hours and twenty-five minutes to the coast.
Q: Do you know the time you sighted that island by any chance?
Q: Do you know your average speed -- ground speed?
Lt. Herndon: If you are speaking of work on navigation from the ship to the island, we weren't allowed to do any. In case one of the ships got knocked down they didn't want any information to get out as to where the carrier came from.
Q: Yes, but your ground speed?
A: It changed, of course, over the island. Coming in we were doing about 160, I would say, and then we did about 250.
Lt. Herndon: Going in it took us four hours and forty-five minutes and it was 760 miles.
Q: You left us going down to the Urals where you stayed at Ohansk for eight months. Was that complete internment during all those eight months
A: No. About four months after we got there, the last of our guards were taken away from us and we were living in a house by ourselves. We were free to go around the town. By this time we learned enough of the language that if we were stopped and asked for papers we could tell them who we were. Of course, they knew. Most of the people in the town knew. It was just a small place with a thousand or two thousand people. We had no more guards.
Q: Were you able to gain some impressions, in general, of small town life under Communism?
Q: Could you give us some of those impressions?
A: It stinks. It is very bad. Food is very scarce there. Most of the people eat nothing but black bread and, of course, there is no clothing to be had. No soap -- no tobacco, or matches, or things like that.
Q: Do the people there seem to be terribly unhappy about it?
A: No. They seems to be used to that. Of course, the government continuously pounds the idea that everything goes to the front and that the people shouldn't want any for themselves and that everything else goes to the Army -- which it does. That is almost everything. The commissars around there manage to eat pretty well -- but most everything goes to the front.
Q: Do they get newspapers?
A: Yes. Not too many. They get limited copies -- but they have a loud speaker system. Each town has a radio that tunes into the Moscow radio and they have loud speakers all over town. That is as good as newspapers.
Q: Did they have any school that looked like anything?
A: All the schools we saw were used for military purposes. They had two in that small town. The school system is practically out for the duration.
Lt. Emmons: Speaking of newspapers. In that town with a population of about a thousand they had an allotment -- one paper to a town.
Q: Did they have a central reading place where the people could read it?
A: I imagine they passed it on to lesser and lesser and lesser officials. Mostly they do have central papers on street corners -- stick a copy of the paper up for the people to read.
Q: Were you ever able to see anything of their theatricals? Did they have a theatre in that little town?
A: They had a movie.
Q: Actors are supposed to be classed on a pretty high social category, aren't they?
A: In that country, yes. They heap all sorts of honors on them -- medals and so forth.
Q: Was there any industrialism in that little town?
A: They had a clothing factory there where they made uniforms and clothes for the Army.
Q: Is that where most of the people were employed? Or were they mostly farmers?
A: It was a farming center. The town was called the regional center for that particular region.
Q: They turned you loose for four months, and then gathered you together. Where did you go?
A: We went to Ashkhabad.
Q: Where was that?
A: That is way down south close to the border.
Q: East of the Caspian Sea?
A: Yes. Four or five hundred miles east of the Caspian. Our guards were taken off for four months. Every man, woman and child has a passport. If you don't have one, you just can't go anyplace.
Q: This town is in Turkistan?
A: Ashkhabad? It is the capital of Turkmenia. They don't like Turkistan.
Q: They don't? Why?
A: I don't know. It smacks of the old Russian Empire, I think.
Q: What sort of region is that. I mean as far as the war effort is concerned. Is it pretty highly agricultural?
Q: Did you see any industrial towns in there?
A: Some, but not many. I don't know what they manufacture. Most of it is farming and cotton. They haul a lot of cotton out of there.
Sgt. Laban: Cattle, too, sir.
A: Cattle, sheep, goats.
Q: Pretty fertile ground, is it?
A: Pretty fertile, it is a matter of irrigation. It would be desert without irrigation. It is very hot there.
Q: It is not a mountainous country?
A: It is right up against the huge range that extends into Persia. It is flat and almost at sea level.
Q: How long were you there?
A: Just a little over a month.
Q: Again in a house with a guard?
A: No -- in a house by ourselves. Russian officers would come to see us every day.
Q: Did they talk to you much?
A: Oh, yes.
Q: Were you able to ask questions?
Q: Did you get answers?
Q: Were you able to keep up with what was going on in the outside world pretty well?
A: Not too well. Their newspapers would devote about fifteen or twenty lines a day to news outside Russia. They generally published speeches of Roosevelt or Churchill -- or published the parts they wanted to publish.
Q: Have those people much idea of how much lend lease material we have sent?
A: The average person has no idea, I don't think.
Q: You didn't, of course, get anywhere near the front, did you?
A: We were at Penza which is about 250 miles from the front.
Q: Were you able to see any American equipment?
A: No. However at Ashkhabad we were able to see a lot of American equipment coming through.
Q: Did the people know it was American?
A: I doubt it very seriously.
Q: Not necessarily because of any intention of keeping it from them. Wasn't it just because they hadn't taken the trouble to inform them?
A: I think it was intentionally done to show the people that they are winning the war by themselves, and that England and the United States are stalling, and that they are taking Germany by themselves.
Q: I don't know whether or not you were able to gather whether or not that was the proper psychological approach of the war. Were you able to form any opinions like that? Did it make them fight better? Or otherwise?
A: I don't think it hurts them any. Their morale is excellent, I think. Wonderful.
Q: May I ask a question? At Ashkhabad, did you get to see any of the airfields?
A: We saw two very closely and one about one mile northeast of town. We worked at that airfield for awhile.
Q: Is it large enough for four-motored planes?
A: Yes. It is big enough for four-engine planes to operate from.
Q: Would you say it is all-weather?
A: There is no rain for about eight months of the year and, of course, the field is perfectly all right all that time. We weren't there during the rainy season. Evidently they worked out of there even then. It rains in the winter time.
Q: Would you say in any direction it is 6,000 feet?
Q: None more than that?
A: I wouldn't say more than 6,000 feet.
Lt. Emmons: I would say it was just about 6,000 feet. The winds are generally in one direction there, too.
Q: Are there any hangars?
A: Yes. There are hangars and shops. The shops aren't too much. They had some equipment there -- a couple of lathes and a blacksmith shop-forge.
Q: Did a railroad spur run up there?
A: It runs to within half a mile.
Q: At Ashkhabad, did you see two airfields?
Sgt. Laban: One is a military field and one is a civilian field.
Q: We will separate them this way. We will say one is northwest of the railroad station, and the other is about a mile southeast of town. Keeping on the first one discusses -- the one southwest of town -- anything more on that?
Sgt. Laban: I think I had a chance to see that better.
Q: What size was it?
Sgt. Laban: It is a grassy field about 8,000 feet long by about 4,000 I would say.
Q: Permanent surface? Would you describe it as all-weather or dry weather?
Sgt. Laban: I don't think it would be good wet weather field.
Maj. York: The land there is sandy. Even though it rains, it dries up very quickly.
Q: Is the surface of both these fields the same?
A: Yes. The surface is just the natural field. I think they are all weather.
Q: How much of the time is it unusable for heavy bombers?
A: Roughly I would say one quarter to one third of the time. Monthly reports on soil conditions in this area is that it is a gravel, sand and clay mixture. Usually that drains well.
Q: What sort of permanent installations did you notice? Fuel storage and so forth?
A: The one southeast of town I don't know too much about. I was never on it. I just went by there. The other one has administration buildings, barracks, and a place to eat and the shops that I mentioned. They refuel from gasoline trucks.
Sgt. Laban: They have warehouse storage tanks. Not too big -- but some of them.
Q: Did you get the impression from looking at them that they could store 50,000 gallons?
A: They were 5,000 gallon tanks and there weren't more than four there anyway. Definitely four at least.
Q: Would you say they could store about 25,000 gallons then?
Sgt. Laban: Yes. I would also say there were over a hundred 12 cylinder engines pickled and stored.
Q: Was there one permanent hangar -- or more than one -- or just one?
Sgt. Laban: I don't know.
Major York: They do very little work inside the hangar. They do most of the work out in the field.
Q: Do they get up to third and fourth echelon repair? Do you feel that they could do third echelon work?
A: They do complete overhaul on ships there. They bring in these bi-motored fabric covered jobs and tear them all apart and build them up. When it came to major overhaul on four-engine jobs they sent them away.
Q: Where did they send them?
Q: This field southeast of town -- did that operate as any sort of a satellite field to the one northwest of town?
A: No. The one northwest of town was classed as a civilian airdrome. The other military.
Q: Was the civilian one more extensive?
A: I can't say. I never got too good a look at the one southwest of town.
Sgt. Laban: I was right by that field and they didn't have any installations there that were permanent except for a few buildings.
Lt. Emmons: There is a large airport about five miles west of town.
Q: Was it rather extensive?
A: We didn't see it. We drove by it. It is a short distance off the road about a quarter of a mile. But they were flying single engine trainers and, apparently, in the day time they practiced combat all day long.
Q: Was that due west of town?
Q: Were those American trainers?
Q: Did you see the fields at Chkalov?
Major York: Yes. How we happened to see all this was when we were on the railroad train there and we pulled out a short way from town, three or four miles, and stopped and stayed there for hours, and then we started up and started traveling slowly, south and east. For about twenty or thirty miles along the railroad there was no field we could see because of the snow. These airplanes were landing and taking off in the snow.
Q: Did you notice a field very large in that particular area?
A: As I say, we couldn't see a field. It was all flat land completely covered with snow and they were just landing and taking off right there.
Q: With medium, heavies, or light aircraft?
A: Most of them were two-engine stuff. Obviously they were training because they were just taking off and taking off.
Q: There were no markings -- such as would mark off an airfield? It just looked like an airport 24 miles long starting at the edge of town and continuing along the railroad?
A: That is right. We just wondered how long it was going to last. Finally they gave out. We couldn't see any installations like hangars. You could see instructors standing around in the snow.
Q: Was this on both sides of the railroad, or one side?
A: One side. On the south side of the railroad.
The heavy planes seemed to be tied down along the way at different places -- but they were working with light planes.
Q: No fences or construction of any kind?
A: You could taxi fifty miles if you wanted to.
Q: Where was this, captain? I don't get the location.
Q: Where is that?
A: It is on the Ural River where it turns to the left and flows about 250 miles to the Caspian. Where it flows East-West.
Lt. Emmons: It must be 250 miles east and south of Kuibyshev.
Q: That would put it about parallel with the northern end of the Caspian Sea, wouldn't it?
A: A little above.
Q: Did you go in any other direction from Chkalov or were you just traveling through?
A: We just went on the railroad.
Q: At Khabarovsk, in what relation to the city was the field you landed at?
A: I really don't know. We were flying on instruments at 5000 feet.
Lt. Emmons: We flew down the railroads, so we came in from the east side -- that would be northeast of town.
Q: One has been reported two and a half miles north of the city and another one one mile north of the city. Could you give me any description of the latter?
A: That seems to be the main field for the transit ships coming in. There were military ships parked around -- all sorts of ships. It is a large field, also.
Q: Would you say 6,000 feet? Or 7,000 feet?
A: To be truthful I never saw an airfield in Russia less than 6,000 feet.
Q: Any you saw would take heavy bombers?
Q: This one that you landed at -- did you get the impression that that is one of the key fields in that particular area?
Q: Your impression is based on just what?
A: The administration buildings -- and the various types of airplanes ... cargo, passenger, and so forth.
Q: Did it have repair facilities:
A: We didn't get much chance to look around. They had a lot of buildings around.
Q: You came right in and landed at the edge of the city? Northeast?
Q: You then drove into town?
A: Yes. And then we got on a train and started heading west out of town.
Q: You saw no other fields except this one along the railroad track? (Atchkalov?)
A: Yes. That is right.
Q: Did you see any others later on?
A: Oh, yes. From the train we saw airfields at various places along the road.
Sgt. Laban: About three or four hundred miles out there was a town which seemed entirely devoted to the aircraft industry. The barracks there seemed to be for working people. That would be Aktyubinak. It would be north of Lake Aral.
Q: Who was the bombardier? I wonder if you can give a first hand account of what you actually saw of the damage done?
A: (Lt. Herndon) Well, as the major said, we couldn't see too dog-gone much. We came up on our target. He designated it as the target. We went up to 1, 500 feet and dropped the bombs. As soon as the bombs were away we went back to low altitude. I followed them back as best as I could. I saw the blast and the steam and the smoke rising. That is about all I could see.
Q: You did see the bomb hit square?
Q: You felt quite definite about that?
Q: I am not sure what you considered this objective to be.
A: Well, it was on a railroad and there were several spurs into it. We could tell exactly what it was.
Major York: It was the largest in that whole area.
Q: You have never been able to spot that on an industrial map or any chart of that area?
A: Well, not knowing where we were exactly. No.
Q: You couldn't tell, for example, whether it looked like old buildings?
A: It wasn't new -- or modern as we know it.
Q: Was it made of brick?
Lt. Herndon: I don't know. No... it didn't seem to be. If it was, it was camouflaged to a gunmetal or dull wood color.
Q: Was there much evidence of camouflage in Japan?
Major York: No. Not too much. For example, as we got over the western edge of the island we saw a tremendous lay-out there that was all new construction and it wasn't camouflaged.
Q: How long was the bombing run?
Lt. Herndon: It wasn't over 25 seconds -- 20 to 25 seconds.
Q: You had the same fusing on your bombs as the others did?
A: Yes. They were all the same.
Q: Were any of you sick enroute?
A: After we got to Russia?
A: Oh, yes. We all had scurvy, dysentery, etc.
Q: Were you able to get any decent medical attention?
A: Only once, when an American doctor came to see us at Penza.
Q: Did he give you enough to carry you through Russia, or part of the way?
A: He promised to send more. We never heard another word from him.
Q: You moved on down this railroad just northeast of the Aral Sea. (Let me get you on your route.) You came on into Turkistan and on by Tashkent and into Usbek and on through Merv to Ashkhabad, which is just north of Persia. You stopped there. Did you stay there long?
A: Just a little over a month.
Q: Did you stop enroute?
A: We stayed overnight at Tashkent and then went on to Ashkhabad and stayed there a month.
Q: How were you treated there?
A: They sent us there because we had asked for a job. We asked for something. So when we got there they did give us a job at the airdrome. It wasn't much of a job. Fooling around with small airplanes -- assembly and instruments, and so forth.
Q: Did you do that because you wanted to work, or because you needed the money?
A: We wanted something to do.
Q: You were pretty fed up with nothing?
A: That is right. Of course, we were glad to be moved down in the southern part close to the border. We were free to go around the city.
Q: Pretty big town?
A: About 150,000.
Q: Did you draw pay?
Q: Is there anything else you want to say about Ashkhabad? You sound like perhaps that was the most enjoyable spot you had.
A: It was -- because we were on the way home as far as we were concerned.
Q: And then while you were there, contact was made with the American Minister to Iran. Is that correct? Or did you move into Turkey?
A: We moved into Persia and contacted the British.
Q: You moved straight across the border to Meshed... and you stayed there how long?
A: Two or three days.
Q: How did you leave there?
A: By truck.
Q: Down to southern Iran?
A: Southern Iran.
Q: To Duzdap?
A: Yes, Duzdap.
Q: And then where?
A: We took a truck through Baluchistan.
Q: To where?
A: To Quetta -- and from there we flew to Karachi in a plane.
Q: What sort of plane?
Q: How long did you stay in Karachi?
A: Just over night.
Q: The Air Transport Command then took you out?
Q: From Karachi you went where?
Q: And then...?
A: Khartoum, Acara, Ascension Island, Natal, Belem, Puerto Rico and ...
Q: And when did you arrive in this country?
A: Saturday, May 29th.
(Major York and Lt. Emmons became fathers after they had left and were on their trip. They haven't, as yet, seen their children.)
Q: How is the Russian transportation system?
A: It is very inefficiently run. For example, it took twenty days to go across the country.
Q: How many miles is that roughly?
A: About 5,000.
Q: Did you travel at night?
Q: In day coaches?
A: Their day coaches and night coaches are all the same. You stretch out when you can.
Q: Was the rail line single or double track?
A: It was double all the way.
Q: You were kept waiting on the sidings for substantial periods of time?
A: Sometimes 24 hours. Sometimes it wasn't even on the side. But on the line.
Q: Do you have any idea why you were held up for such long periods?
A: No. Except trains all over the place were held up the same way. It seemed as though both tracks were just jammed with trains as far as you could see -- with nothing moving.
Q: Were you on a passenger train or combination freight and passenger?
A: Sometimes on a passenger train and sometimes not. We were in a car by ourselves and this car was hooked on to anything going. We had the first priority. We were hooked onto troop trains, freight trains and passenger trains.
Q: Do you think there were many troop trains moving along this road?
A: We saw many of them.
Q: Which way were most of them going -- to European Russia or to the Far East?
A: None of them were going to the Far East. They all were going toward the Western Front. We saw many hospital trains coming back the other way.
Q: Apparently hospitalizing people injured on the Western Front in Siberia?
Q: Was the road wide gauge?
Q: What kind of locomotive equipment did they have? Modern?
A: Some of them were modern and some of them were something I hadn't seen before. They had what they call condenser jobs. They take the steam and condense it and use the water again. Water is hard to get along the route. They are supposed to do some ungodly number of miles without requiring water. (I asked them about that.) In fact, I would say sixty percent of them were condenser types.
Q: What would you say was the average number of cars on a train?
A: Freight or passenger?
Q: Either. You can break that down by types.
A: Troop trains usually had about thirty cars. Some of their freight trains were dangerously long. Some of them looked half a mile long, and had two or three locomotives. They would merge trains. In fact, our train merged several times with another train. They would make one train out of them. They are awfully long.
Q: Pretty heavy traffic on the whole railroad line?
A: God! It was awfully slow moving. Awfully slow.
Q: Did you pass through any large industrial cities?
A: Yes. We went through Novosibirzk, Omsk, Chalyabinsk, Ufa and Kuibyshev. I don't recall any other large ones.
Q: Didn't you say a few minutes ago that none of these towns looked like our industrial towns -- such as Pittsburgh?
A: Of course not. They are primitive according to our standards.
Q: Do you have any idea what they manufactured in the various towns you went through?
A: Yes, in some of them. Ufa, for example, has a huge plant that we followed along -- it must have been a quarter of a mile long. That, they told us, used to be a tractor factory. They are making tanks now. We saw blast furnaces, too.
Q: Could you locate the blast furnaces?
A: Yes. They were either at Omsk or Ufa.
Q: Were they close to the railroad?
A: Yes. Right on them.
Q: Large furnaces?
A: Big like ours.
Q: More than one furnace in any one place?
A: Yes. I saw a group of three at one time.
Q: Do you remember where they were?
A: I can't say definitely. They were between those two towns -- either Omsk or Ufa. They are both in the Urals.
OFFICERS attending the interview:
Captain John M. Wisdom -- AFIOP/TI
1st Lt. Robert Spilman -- AFIOP/TI
Captain Douglas A. William -- AFIOP/AM
Major R. E. Foss -- AFINF-ID/3
Major C. M. Williams -- AFIHD
Major F. O. McGarraghy -- AFABI
1st Lt. Wm. S. Newman -- AFIHD
Col. W. M. Burgess -- AFINF-ID/1
Lt. Col. A. H. Alexander -- AFINF-ID/2
Captain W. M. Rhodes -- AFINF-ID/2
SOURCE: INTERVIEW WITH B-25 CREW THAT BOMBED TOKYO AND WAS INTERNED BY THE RUSSIANS; photocopied Jul. 1961 (margin note) from Film number A-1271 (margin note). Document was originally "classified", but was declassified 27 Sept. 1958.
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TOKYO RAID - CREW 8
MEMORANDUM FOR LT. COLONEL J. E. JOHNSTON
SUBJECT: Interview with Major Edward J. York, A.C. (Pilot)
1st Lt. Robert G. Emmens, A.C. (Co-Pilot)
1st Lt. Nolan A. Herndon, A.C. (Navigator and Bombardier)
S/Sgt. David W. Pohl, A.C. (Gunner)
S/Sgt. Theodore H. Laban, A.C. (Engineer)
1. The above-named men constituted one of the crews under Major General Doolittle when attacking Japan Proper. Their story will be told in narrative.
2. They left San Francisco on April 2, 1942, on the Hornet. On their return to the United States, they arrived at Miami, Florida, on May 29, 1943.
3. On April 18, 1942, they left the Hornet 750 miles off shore and crossed Honshu, the main island of the Japanese group, from southeast to northwest, making but one crossing of the island.
4. Each plane in the raid had a definite objective. For this ship, the objective was an airplane factory in Tokyo. However, they were unable to locate it. Instead, they flew over the city of Utsunomiya, which is about fifty miles north of Tokyo. This is a factory city of some 400,000. They bombed factory installations having four tall smoke stacks -- power plants, railroad yards, etc., causing substantial damage.
5. From Utsunomiya, they crossed the island and came out about half-way between Sado Island and Nodo Peninsula, on the western central coast of Honshu. While crossing Honshu, they flew at an average height of fifty feet above the ground, except where they were forced to fly over a target.
6. Observations over Honshu In crossing Honshu, they saw two or three airfields empty. Also, they saw new airfield construction on the central western coast of Honshu. They saw certain Japanese planes in the air. However, the Jap pilots did not see them. They encountered no cross radio interception. They crossed the island from 12:30 to 1:00 P.M. Many people were seen working in the rice paddies. Many of them waved --others ran away because of fright. This was the normal fright that the peasants have for their own planes. So far as they were able to observe, the people over the country-side had no warning of our raid -- like seemed to be functioning normally. At one point, the fliers saw a large group gathered on a beach -- the group waved to them. At no point, however, did they see any troops.
7. When bombing, our fliers rose from fifty feet to 1500 feet, prior to dropping bombs. They could see the fire, steam and smoke rising from the bomb explosions. Their speed at the time of dropping bombs was about 300 miles per hour. The average speed was about 160 miles per hour -- except while they were over the island, when they traveled at 250 miles per hour.
8. The planes left the deck of the Hornet at seven minute intervals. The pilots were ordered not to circle or leave in formation. In order to save gas, each plane went on its mission alone.
9. Before departure from the Hornet, each crew was briefed by General Doolittle, personally. Also briefing was conducted while crossing the Pacific, in classes.
10. The fliers were supplied with the following items: -
Five (5) first-aid kits
Two (2) paper maps
Four (4) cans of C ration
Three (3) containers of meat and vegetable
One (1) container of coffee, sugar, candy and three (3) biscuits
Four (4) containers of water
One (1) pint of whisky
One (1) bottle of iodine, for water as well as injuries
One (1) morphine set, including two (2) needles and five (5) doses
One (1) dozen caffeine capsules
One (1) rubber float capable of supporting five (5)
Five (5) individual life vests
Five (5) parachutes
Five (5) knives
Five (5) pistols
One (1) detachable machine gun, which was used in the nose of the plane, but which could be detached and carried by one man
One (1) large compass.
Each individual was provided with:--
One (1) first-aid kit containing One (1) canteen of water but no food
One (1) pistol
One (1) knife
One (1) pocket compass
One (1) parachute, which did not have the special seat provided in recent models.
11. The mission of this crew was to fly to Tokyo and bomb certain industrial objectives. Then they were instructed to fly to Chuchow, China, in the Province of Chekiang. At that point they were to be picked up and taken to Chung-king-- then to be returned to the United States.
SHORT OF GAS
12. Due to a shortage of gas, they crossed the Japan Sea and headed for Vladivostok, where they landed at an airfield on American Bay, about forty miles from Vladivostok, proper.
13. They landed and remained there that night (April 18, 1842). The next morning they flew to Khabarousk, Siberia, where they were interned. Their ship was held at their first point of landing. They flew to Khabarousk in a Russian D.C.3. At Khabarousk they remained two days.
14. Then they were moved to Penza by railroad. At Penza they were held 2-1/2 months.
15. Next, they were moved to Ohansk, at the foot of the Ural Mountains, where they were kept from August 11, 1942 to March 25, 1943. There were very few persons at Ohansk who had ever seen another white person, other than Russians.
16. Their following move was by automobile to Molotov -- about eighty miles distant, where they remained two or three days. They then were flown to Chkalovsk, in Russia (formerly Orenburg).
17. From Chkalovsk, they were taken by train to Ashkhabad, where they arrived on April 8, 1943.
18. At Ashkhabad, they were able to contact a Persian smuggler, who agreed to take them across the line to Persia for $250 (in United States money). They were taken from Ashkhabad in a truck to a point near the Russian-Persian boundary. At this point, a second man picked them up at the side of the road, and took them over hilly country into Meshed, Persia, where they, at once, went to place themselves in the hands of the British Consul.
19. The British Consul at Meshed furnished them with truck transportation southeasterly to Zahidan, Persia. The British Consul at Zahidan then took them to the Baluhistan (under Indian jurisdiction) border, from where they continued to Quetta, Baluchistan. It was through the influence of the British Consul that they encountered no difficulty in crossing into territory under Indian jurisdiction, as they had no cards of identification or food cards.
20. The British authorities at Quetta notified the American Consul at Karachi, on the northwestern coast of India proper. A plane was sent from Karachi to Quetta to return them to Karachi.
21. From Karachi, they were flown in an American air transport service plane to Aden, southwest Arabia; then to Khartoum, Egypt; then across Africa to Accra, on the Gold Coast (Gulf of Guinea -- central western coast of Africa): then across the Atlantic to Natal, Brazil; then to Bellum, Puerto Rico and Miami, Florida.
22. At their first landing in Russia, the local Russian Commander did not know their identity. The fliers did not disclose the fact until the Russians had received a report from Japan concerning the bombing. When they were accused of being one of the crews, they were forced to admit their identity.
23. They explained their need for gas and their desire to leave for a rendezvous next morning. At first the local Russian Commander gave his consent to their departure, as requested, and promised to see that they received gas. However, when morning arrived, the consent was canceled.
24. At Khabarousk, their point of internment, the members of the crew were taken before the staff of the Russian Far Eastern Army. Through an interpreter, they were asked to identify themselves. Very few questions were asked. The Russian officers seemed to be very pleased over the news of their raid on Japan. They were asked if they had been directed to land on Russia. They stated that they had been forced to do so because of gas shortage and had thought they would have no difficulty in getting gas to continue their journey to their rendezvous in China.
The official action of the Russian Army Board was to intern them. They were taken fifteen miles out of town where they remained two days, being guarded constantly with no one permitted to see them.
26. They asked for permission to communicate with the United States Consul, but permission was refused. Similarly, when they first landed near Vladivostok, they had also asked for the United States Consul, with the Russian Commander stating that he would see if it might be possible. Later, he completely ignored the request.
27. When at Khabarousk, the internees were told that they would be taken to Kuibyshev. On their was to Penza, they went through Kuibyshev, remaining there one and one-half days. However, they were not allowed off the train. Their objections were of no avail. En route to Penza, they were on the train for twenty days. Their food consisted of sausage, bread, tea and salmon eggs. This was considered a better standard than the average Russian was receiving. On the train they were in a car by themselves, with one guard who had a Tommy-gun and two armed guards outside, on either end of the car. The official explanation given to them for such close guarding was that they were being protected from spies, saboteurs, etc.
28. They arrived at Penza on May 19, 1942. At this point they were taken to a house in the woods, some five miles from Penza, where they were well treated, except that they were closely guarded. They were kept in this house for two and one-half months.
CONTACT OUR MILITARY ATTACHÉ
29. At Penza, they finally were permitted to see the United States Military Attaché, who arrived from Kuibyshev (Lt. Colonel Joseph A. Michela, G.S.C., now Brigadier General). General Michela stated that he knew they were in Kuibyshev, but had not come to the train to see them because of Japanese spies, etc. In their opinion, he did not wish to arouse the Russians.
30. The internees wrote numerous letters to our Consuls while at each place of detention. Also, they addressed communications to General Michela. However, they did not see or hear from him, after his call upon them at Penza.
31. The fliers requested General Michela to use his influence to get them transferred to some point of internment near the Persian boundary. He replied that he would see what could be done.
32. While the internees were at Penza, they were under the jurisdiction of a Russian General. Each time he came to see them, they would ask him to get in touch with their superiors and advised him that they wished either -- to be released -- to go to the front -- to be sent home or to train pilots. These requests were uniformly denied. They were not permitted to work and could not get exercise.
33. They were moved from Penza on August 11, 1942 and sent to Ohansk, a village of 1,000 population, where they were held in a special house by themselves under guard. At this place the food was worse. There was no railroad to bring food into the town -- all of it arrived by river boat. Again they tried to communicate with the United States Embassy at Kuibyshev -- without answer. Finally, they wired the United States Embassy at Kuibyshev. About September 15, 1842, General Bradley from the United States Embassy came to see them. This was the second contact they had with a representative of the United States. He remained about one and one-half hours, but seemed unable to get anything settled. He asked them if they were making plans to escape. They replied in the affirmative and he advised them that it was their duty not to violate their internment.
34. The fliers asked General Bradley to send one of the United States doctors from Kuibyshev -- as all had various ailments, including scurvy. They were advised that the doctor would be there in two days -- he arrived two months later, on November 17, 1942. When the doctor arrived, he had no medicine with him, but promised it. Also, he promised typhus and typhoid shots, quinine, etc. which never came.
35. Meanwhile, the internees increased the pressure through letters and telegrams, looking toward their release. They never heard from the United States Embassy, subsequent to General Bradley's visit. General Michela was frequently requested for various items of help, which were never received. When he interviewed them, he inquired if they needed money, and was told that they had sufficient for their purposes.
LEARN TO SPEAK RUSSIAN
37. From the beginning of their internment, the fliers commenced the study of Russian. By the time they arrived at Ashkhabad, between them, they had developed considerable ability to read and converse in Russian with the natives. They feel that their ability to speak Russian was chiefly responsible for their final escape, due to their ability to contact natives who proved to be of help.
38. a. At Ashkhabad, they attempted to have the Russian guard carry a letter to General Michela, because of his acquaintance with the General. However, he gave them no reply.
38. b. A local civilian whom they contacted advised them that he could put them in touch with a Persian dope smuggler, who would take them across the border to Persia for the sum of $250 (United States). They accepted.
38. c. They started in the smuggler's Chevrolet truck at 1:00 A.M., traveling about thirty-five miles until 2:30 A.M. At this point, the road winds through a mountain pass from 6,000 to 8,000 feet high, with the peaks 10,000 to 11,000 feet in height. It is the only road out of Ashkhabad to the south. At a certain point, they stopped alongside the road where one of the smuggler's men was hiding in the bushes. They were told that he would take them across the border, which he did.
38. d. They walked and climbed for one and one-half hours, there being no road or trail. The border seemed to be well guarded by Russian troops. In crossing the border, they left the road completely in Russia and returned to the same highway in Persia.
38. e. At a certain point on the Persian side, they were met by the same truck that had taken them to the line on the Russian side. They continued in said truck for another thirty miles to a point about three miles north of Meshed, Persia.
39. There was a Russian post outside the city of Meshed, on the same highway. This required them to get out of the truck and walk into Meshed. They were not stopped and went straight to the British Consul, where they remained three days and nights.
40. The British Consul then arranged for their transfer by truck to Quetta, Baluchistan. The British Consul went with them himself, until they got out of the Russian sphere of influence in Persia. He then sent his assistant with them to the next city, Birjand, where there was a British Vice-Consul. They remained with the Vice-Consul and were then taken by him to Zahidan. The British Consul at Azhidan went with them in a truck as far as the Baluchistan border and made arrangements for them to cross said border under British jurisdiction.
41. From the border, they continued by truck to Quetta, in company with the British Army officers. At Quetta, the British authorities placed them in touch with the American authorities at Karachi, northwestern India, from where a plane was sent to transport them to Karachi.
SCHEDULE - PERSIA - BALUCHISTAN - INDIA
41. The following schedule represents the dates of the fliers from the time they left Russia until their arrival at Karachi. Before escaping into Persia, they destroyed extensive diaries of their Russian sojourn.
|Left Russia May 10, 1943 |
|Arrived Meshed May 11, 1943 |
|Left Meshed May 14, 1943 |
|Arrived Birjand May 14, 1943 |
|Left Birjand May 16, 1943 |
|Arrived Zahidan May 16, 1943 |
|Left Zahidan May 17, 1943 |
|Arrived Dabundin May 17, 1943 |
|Left Dabundin May 18, 1943 |
|Arrived Quetta May 18, 1943 |
|Left Quetta May 20, 1943 |
|Arrived Karachi May 20, 1943 |
|Left Karachi May 21, 1943 |
CONDITIONS IN RUSSIA
The fliers came through their experiences in Russia with an exceedingly poor opinion of Russians -- generally and in particular. They stated that the official Russian attitude was basically suspicious of everyone. Likewise, the unofficial Russian attitude was not only suspicious, but contemptuous for any person stupid enough to believe in the capitalistic system. It was the opinion of the fliers that the Russian system is working, but unevenly. They only met one man, a Senior Lieutenant in the Army (a University man), who expressed dissatisfaction with the Russian system. The general belief of the masses in the system reflects itself in the official attitude.
The populace of Russia have absolute, blind faith in Stalin. It was the unanimous opinion of the internees that the masses of Russia would change overnight on any question, if they were advised by Stalin to do so. They have only the Government radios and a very limited news service, controlled by the Government for current information. They have no contacts with the outside world. Hence, they blindly believe what they are told. As an illustration of their ability to change overnight, the fliers referred to the hostile attitude of the masses toward officers' epaulets, which were prohibited at that time. When Stalin ordered the restoration of epaulets, the masses were just as strong for them as they had been against them.
The mass of the Russians do not hate the people of Great Britain or of the United States. They do hate the Germans. The masses are not intelligent -- they worship Stalin and the Red Army.
THE RUSSIAN INDIVIDUAL
46. a. With reference to Russian family life, the internees stated that it does not exist, as we know it in this country. They have practically no family life. Members of families are mutually suspicious of one another.
46. b. They seem to have no religious life. In their trip across Russia, they observed two churches -- one had been destroyed and the other was being used as a "house of culture".
46. c. In one of the small towns where they stopped with a 2,000 population, there were three or four children's' homes. These children did not know their parents. Most of the people in Siberia were refugees from the larger cities in Russia proper.
47. a. The fine report that Willkie made on Russia resulted from the fact that he was only shown certain places that had been specially fixed up for him.
47. b. The filth of the streets and public places in all villages and cities was appalling. Human manure covers the streets and sidewalks in practically all the towns and villages through which they passed. It is common to see men and women evacuate publicly.
47. c. In buildings, halls and lavatories conditions were equally filthy. Fresh food was uniformly unattainable, unless some special official was to be entertained -- then it was lavishly displayed.
RUSSIA STRONG MILITARILY
48. In the opinion of the fliers, the Russians are strong militarily -- they are not afraid to die. They do not object to Army life, for the reason that they live better in the Army. The country is geared to the Army.
49. In spite of propaganda emphasizing their mechanical efficiency, from what the fliers observed, the Russians are highly inefficient. About 77% of the workers are women. It is common practice to abandon whole train loads of goods for trivial reasons. One long train loaded with cotton was abandoned with just a small portion of the cotton burned.
51. Russian morale is still strong. The fliers believe that the Russians will fight to the bitter end and will win. They do not complain of their sacrifices. They fight because Stalin tells them to.
OPINION OF ESCAPEES
52. In the opinion of the internees, regardless of what one may think of the Russians otherwise, we must admire their fighting ability. However, none of the internees has the desire to return to Russia. In spite of their experience, they are not bitter, and applied for overseas duty again. Their spirit is to be admired greatly. It is evident, because of their experience together for more than a year, they have formed themselves into a very loyal and devoted group. As to the future of Russia, after the war, they shook their heads. They seemed to feel that Russia will establish and maintain a policy which will be for the best interests of Russia. In the event of the death of Stalin, they believe that a group of unknown leaders will form to carry on his policies.
HOMER A. STEBBINS,
SOURCE: an 11 page typed document found in the files of David William POHL. There is no indication that it is a photocopy of any official military correspondence; it MAY be, however, a typed copy of such an official document.
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This report was submitted by then-Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Commander of the Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, and Commander of Task Force 16 which delivered the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo. Enterprise was Halsey's flagship during the Raid, as it was during the first six months of the war.
UNITED STATES PACIFIC FLEET
FLAGSHIP OF COMMANDER CARRIERS
At Sea, 24 April 1942.
1st endorsement on
CO ENTERPRISE Serial
088 of 23 April 1942.
Commander Carriers, Pacific Fleet
(Commander Task Force SIXTEEN).
Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Report of action in connection with the bombing of Tokyo on April 18, 1942 (Zone minus Ten).
1. The basic letter and enclosures are herewith reclassified as SECRET.
2. The report of the Commanding Officer, U.S.S. ENTERPRISE, is in general concurred in. Specific comments follow:
a. After fueling of the heavy ships on 17 April, these ships (carriers and cruisers) proceeded west without destroyers and oilers in order to permit high speed operations. Fuel conservation for destroyers was another consideration. High winds and heavy sea conditions prevailed. The destroyers rejoined the morning following the attack (19th) and the oilers (with destroyer escort) two days later (21st).
b. The necessity for launching the Army planes at 0820 on the 18th about 650 miles east of Tokyo was regrettable. The plan was to close to the 500 mile circle and there launch one plane to attack at dusk and this provide a target for the remaining planes which would strike about two hours later. This plan was evolved by Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle, in command of the Army flight, and was designed to inflict the greatest damage with the least risk. The remote location of the desired terminus for the flight was also a factor influencing the selection of this plan of attack. However, contacts with enemy surface vessels early in the morning compromised the secrecy of the operation, and after the third contact, at 0744, the decision was made to launch. Japanese radio traffic was intercepted indicating that the presence of the raiding force was reported. The prime consideration then was the launching of the Army planes before the arrival of Japanese bombers.
c. The successful launching of the 16 Army bombers from the HORNET in unfavorable wind and sea conditions reflected great credit on the Army pilots and on the Commanding Officer of the HORNET.
d. The amount of damage inflicted on enemy patrol vessels by the ENTERPRISE aircraft, in consideration of the number of attacks made, was disappointing. It is again indicated that more time must be available for training when air groups are at shore bases. This need is becoming more emphatic as time goes on.
e. The number of Japanese patrol vessels encountered at such distance from Japan was astounding. From positions in which found it was indicated that they probably operate in pairs and have mother ships to provide services. It is suggested that the prisoners captured by the NASHVILLE are interrogated with an effort to obtain information on the operations and locations of these craft. It is noteworthy that, contrary to popular belief, these prisoners showed the white flag and chose surrender rather than suffer the consequences.
f. The comment in the basic report that the two patrol vessels attacked about 1400, on the 18th, were apparently the same vessels reported by radar at 0310, is not concurred in. The range at which one of the vessels sighted at 0310 disappeared from the radar screen (27,000 yards) indicated larger vessels, possibly mother ships carrying supplies and relief crews for the picket vessels.
g. Enroute westward the Task Force proceeded northwest about thirty miles west of Nihoa Island. It is suggested that this and other isolated islands of the Hawaiian group be investigated for enemy agents.
h. The opinion that the patrol and picket vessels are armed only with small caliber automatic weapons is concurred in insofar as those contacted are concerned.
i. Limited range and endurance of F4F-4 type carrier VF is a serious defect in these new planes. Action looking to improvement in this regard has been initiated by dispatch, copy to Commander-In Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
1. Radio silence was maintained on all circuits until return to the Hawaiian Area, with the following exceptions:
a. Radar, YE, and TBS frequencies.
b. 6-B-17 transmitted a contact report on 6540 kcs at 1240 (L.E.T.) on the 18th.
c. Various fighter direction transmissions on 6970 kcs during the period 1250 to 1340 (L.E.T.) on the 18th.
d. Transmitted Commander Task Force SIXTEEN dispatch 180825 to NPH. Several transmissions incidental to a lost plane were made on 6540 kcs during the period 0900 - 1100 (L.E.T.) on the 21st. Commander Task Force SIXTEEN dispatch 230541 was transmitted to NPH on the 23rd.
2. A strong continuous signal, believed to be enemy interference was heard on 6970, 6835, and 6540 kcs during the period 1254 - 1351 (L.E.T.) on the 18th. This was a CW signal and therefore did not seriously interfere with fighter direction communications.
3. Definite enemy interference was experienced when an attempt was made to transmit Commander Task Force SIXTEEN dispatch 180825 to NPH on 12795 and 12705 kcs. Each time the operator started to transmit on these frequencies, an unknown station would start sending Japanese characters. The dispatch was finally delivered to NPH on 16400 at 0847 (G.C.T.) without interference.
4. Need for ultra-high frequency equipment for fighter direction is emphasized with each operation of carriers in wartime. Dispatch action has been initiated, copy to Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
3. Reports from other units of the Task Force will be forwarded when received.
W. F. HALSEY
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Task Force 16 Citation
Until a few years ago, one of the most famous yet least officially recognized feats of daring of the Pacific War was the Doolittle Raid of April 1942. On April 18, 1942, sixteen Army Air Force B-25 medium bombers under the command of Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, streaked in low over Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe and other cities on the Japanese home islands, and dropped some 16 tons of bombs on a variety of military and industrial targets. While the bombing itself was too small to have any lasting military impact, its moral and psychological impact was tremendous, on both sides of the ocean. Americans, angry and down after four months of defeat - culminating in the fall of Bataan on April 8 - thrilled at word that finally the Japanese had been hit where they lived. And the Japanese leadership, alarmed by the vulnerability of the home islands, and the threat to the Emperor, embarked on strategic course which would culminate in the Battle of Midway.
But where had the planes come from? At first, all President Roosevelt would quip was that they'd flown from "Shangri-La", the fabled paradise of James Hilton's Lost Horizon. Not until December 1943, long after Hornet CV-8 was sunk at the Battle of Santa Cruz, would the veil of secrecy and censorship lift and reveal that Hornet, escorted by sister-ship Enterprise and sixteen cruisers, destroyers, oilers and submarines, had carried the bombers to within 650 miles of the Japanese coast, launching them shortly after 8:00 AM that Saturday morning.
By that time however, minds were on other matters, such as the battles in the Coral Sea and at Midway, and the increasingly desperate struggle on Guadalcanal. Fifty-three years were to pass before the men and ships of Task Force 16, who carried Doolittle's raiders deep into enemy waters, were recognized for their bravery and their critical role in boosting sagging American morale.
The Citation was presented on May 15, 1995, in a ceremony at the Pentagon, attended by more than 100 Task Force 16 veterans. Present were Secretary of the Navy John Dalton, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Bernard D. Rostker, Chief of Naval Operations J. M. Boorda, and New Hampshire Senator Robert C. Smith who began the drive for the Citation after learning of the oversight from one of his constituents: Bert Whited, of Hornet's Scouting Eight. After a recounting of the mission by Assistant Secretary Rostker, the veterans of Task Force 16 were awarded the Citation, which read:
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Second World War, it is appropriate that we take time to reflect on the unique and daring accomplishments achieved early in the war by Task Force 16. Sailing westward under sealed orders in April 1942, only four months after the devastating raid on Pearl Harbor, Task Force 16, carrying sixteen Army B-25 bombers, proceeded into history. Facing adverse weather and under constant threat of discovery before bombers could be launched to strike the Japanese homeland, the crews of the ships and LTC Doolittle's bombers persevered. On 18 April 1942 at 14:45, perseverance produced success as radio broadcasts from Japan confirmed the success of the raids. These raids were an enormous boost to the morale of the American people in those early and dark days of the war and a harbinger of the future for the Japanese High Command that had so foolishly awakened "The Sleeping Giant." These exploits, which so inspired the service men and women and the nation live on today and are remembered when the necessity of success against all odds is required.
(Signed) John H. Dalton
Secretary of the Navy
15 May 1995
The Task Force 16 Citation is awarded to the following ships, and all their personnel who participated in the Doolittle Raid:
· USS Hornet CV-8
· USS Enterprise CV-6
· USS Salt Lake City CA-25
· USS Northampton CA-26
· USS Vincennes CA-44
· USS Nashville CL-43
· USS Balch DD-363
· USS Fanning DD-385
· USS Benham DD-397
· USS Ellet DD-398
· USS Gwin DD-433
· USS Meredith DD-434
· USS Grayson DD-435
· USS Monssen DD-436
· USS Sabine AO-25
· USS Cimarron AO-22
· USS Thresher SS-200
· USS Trout SS-202
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