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    Museum Audio Tour 07b: Air Power Gallery: Doolittle Raid

    Museum Audio Tour 07b: Air Power Gallery: Doolittle Raid

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    Audio by NMUSAF PA 

    National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

    In the early months of the war, following the Japanese successes at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines, American morale was very low. The United States needed a military victory, so a plan was devised for a daring air raid on the Japanese homeland. The top secret plan called for B-25s to take off about 450 miles from Japan on a Navy aircraft carrier, bomb selected targets then fly another 1,600 miles to friendly airfields in mainland China. Lieutenant Colonel James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle, a brilliant aviator and compelling leader, was charged with leading the mission. At dawn on April 18, 1942, the task force was steaming west through rough Pacific seas, about 650 miles from Japan. On the deck of the USS Hornet sat 16 B-25s. The task force encountered an enemy patrol boat, and no one knew if it had radioed a warning to Japan before it was sunk. Colonel Doolittle and Admiral Halsey discussed their difficult choice -- cancel the raid or launch earlier than planned and risk running out of fuel. They chose to attack, and all 16 aircraft took to the air. Upon reaching the Japanese homeland, the Raiders dropped their bombs on oil storage facilities, factory areas and military installations, and then headed out across the East China Sea. As their fuel gauges dropped, the Raiders knew they could not reach their designated airfields. One by one, they ditched at sea, bailed out, or crash-landed in China, while one landed in the USSR. Fortunately, with the help of the Chinese people, most of the Doolittle Raiders safely reached friendly forces. When authorities released news of the attack, American morale zoomed from the depths to which it plunged following Japan's many early victories. Although the brilliant strike caused relatively little physical damage, it stunned the Japanese population. Their embarrassed leaders had promised the mainland would never be attacked. The Japanese transferred four fighter groups from the front lines to defend mainland Japan. To prevent future American attacks on the homeland, Admiral Yamamoto ordered the disastrous attack on Midway Island, which became the turning point in the war in the Pacific. For a first-hand account of the Doolittle Raid, be sure to see the video of Jimmy Doolittle located at the diorama or listen to historical audio in the Resources (coming soon) portion of this podcast.



    Date Taken: 12.31.1969
    Date Posted: 09.02.2015 12:16
    Category: Newscasts
    Audio ID: 41892
    Filename: 1509/DOD_102704025.mp3
    Length: 00:02:38
    Album Museum Audio Tour
    Track # 07
    Location: DAYTON, OH, US 

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