Talk:Doolittle Raid

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Japanese casualties[edit]

I added Japanese casualties. Source (Japanese page)

Zeimusu 01:40, 2004 Apr 18 (UTC)

US casulties[edit]

2 dead 8 POW seems to be the correct casulty numbers, so I've reverted the page to that. If somebody knows better could they give a reference.Zeimusu 12:21, 2004 Jul 23 (UTC) If I can find the resource or reference, I'll post it on here. It's my understanding that, while all 16 B25s took off, one did not make the run on Japan. It experienced electrical problems and had to be "ditched" in the Pacific Ocean, making all 16 bombers "casualties". Supporting this fact is another fact: the pilots and crew were all taught the phrase, "I'm an American", so that, when they landed in China, the Chinese fighting the Japanese occupation wouldn't kill them. None of the aircraft were meant to return to the carrier, as trying to land on one with a land-based bomber would have been a suicide mission. It was a miracle that all bombers managed to launch from the carrier in the first place. (talk) 18:36, 16 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Consolidation of cites by Reedmalloy on 2010-04-21 is technically incorrect, because the source cited in my edit of 2010-04-20 discusses only targets, not captured pilots or other material in the paragraph. To maintain accuracy without sacrificing content, I was forced to cite around the existing text. Putting a single cite at the end of the paragraph gives the impression that my source applies to all the material in the paragraph, or that it applies only to the final sentence, neither of which is true. (In fact, the previous content had no cites at all, so it isn't even possible to clarify matters with multiple cites at the end of the paragraph.)

I'm relatively new at this, so I haven't reverted anything. Discussion? Arena Alba (talk) 06:03, 23 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry, I forgot to add an edit summary. Arena Alba (talk) 06:08, 23 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I understand the point you are making, and on the whole agree. It was more a matter of format than anything else. If you have no objection, I'll put everything into accepted format and re-footnote.--Reedmalloy (talk) 07:18, 24 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Be my guest. :-) Arena Alba (talk) 17:35, 24 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aftermath tweaks[edit]

I made a couple PoV tweaks, since I think things like "massacre" and "sheer willpower" are a bit subjective for an encyclopedia (even if I think they're right on target).

I also wonder if anyone has an official source for the number of Chinese the Japanese killed in retaliation for harbording the raiders? I don't find 25,000 to be a suspect figure, but I've seen numbers citing anywhere from a couple hundred (almost assuredly too low) to a quarter million or more (on par with Nanking), so citing something might be wise.

A new book, "1942" by Winston Groom, addresses this and other points in some detail. Groom says 250,000.

How did Doolittle and others get back to the US?

Russian Internment[edit]

One of the B-25s landed in the Soviet Union, where they were interned by the Russians. I heard that this a fairly heroic story in itself. I heard the crew was taken to a gulag or some type of concentration camp where they escaped to Nepal. I can't find anything on the Internet confirming this, but if anyone has any literature pertaining to this, it would be great to add to this article.

Why? I thought the Russians were allies, for pete's sake. And the US was flying aircraft to Fairbanks for Russian pilots to fly onward to support the war effort on the eastern front. So what if they flew unexpectedly into the Soviet Union - that's no reason for them to be treated that way! Surely Roosevelt asked Stalin why this happened. GBC (talk) 15:43, 18 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
They were allies of convenience on their Western Front. They did not share the same allegiances or goals with the US...and the relationship with the US was contentious as their ideologies were diametrically opposed. Same thing happened to some B-29 Superfortress crews who had to divert to the Soviet Union after bombing runs over Japan leading to Soviet technological advances in aviation. — BQZip01 — talk 22:46, 18 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Russia was not at war with Japan at the time of the Doolittle raid; as a neutral country they could not actively assist the US. The fact the US and Russia were allied against Germany doesn't matter. Nibios (talk) 23:18, 18 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't find any article supporting this, but if they had escaped, the "internment" would be irrelevent. So Unless someone comes up with a cited source, I'll delete that portion sometime this week.--Hourick (talk) 19:30, 2 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
After talking to a couple of people from that era, it was widely known that they were interred by the Russians for diplomatic reasons. The only thing left is to find an online article or find the information in a book and to have it cited, until then, I will leave it out unless there is a consensus.--Hourick (talk) 15:46, 8 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Gentlemen, the story is related in detail by Carroll Glines in his most recent history of the raid. York's crew was moved from Siberia into the interior of Russia and held for over a year under more or less "house arrest" until finally being allowed to work outside their quarters. They decided to try to escape mainly because the inactivity and monotony was endangering their mental health, and arranged to be smuggled into Iran in mid-1943. I'll see what I can do about writing up and documenting a brief summary of the event.--Reedmalloy (talk) 09:55, 10 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In an Aviation magazine (2013), I read that the AC was stripped of anything useful, and then flattened what was left with bulldozers at the field the crew landed at. An identification plate was recovered by an American military aircraft collector. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 14 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 6 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The crew would not have been sent to a camp 20 miles from the Iranian border unless they were meant to "escape". The claim (apparently from unclassified Soviet sources) that the "escape" was actually organised by the NKVD makes sense. By mid 1943 the Soviets were more or less allies of the western allies. However in mid 1942 they were actually friendly with Japan, if not actual allies of the Japanese. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 18 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In mid 1942 USSR and Japan were mutually neutral Ethereal0000 (talk) 18:27, 8 February 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Doolittle court martial[edit]

Anyone got any info on why Doolittle was expecting to be court martialled? Within the context of the article it is a kind of out of the blue statement. Otherwise, well written. Divad 15:38, 17 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ive expanded that a bit source is history of b35 mitchell
Thanks. ~~

Fighter units to home islands[edit]

Where can I find information related to the transfer of Japanese military units to the mainland because of the raid? I'm researching the Doolittle raid's effect on the Battle of Midway. Any references would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

I'm interested in this too. As far as I know, air strength in the Battle Of Midway was not reduced. Aspie1 00:00, 26 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just what I was thinking too. I would think any fighters retained for defense of Japan would be land based, which would have no effect on carrier air strength. SkipSmith (talk) 03:13, 21 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have read several places (will look for them) that the Japanese pulled several front-line fighter squadrons back to protect Tokyo. This, combined with the faulty Japanese strategy of not rotating pilots home to train new pilots, hurt the development of new fighter pilots, at least in quality. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2002:1890:797B:0:6066:7C8B:C245:C364 (talk) 01:37, 29 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In accordance to the Article Guidelines of the Military History WikiProject, I move that the title of this article be changed to "Doolittle Bombing Mission" or something similarly neutral.--Benn M. 10:05, 25 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello. The project guidelines say this: But other names can be used if they are the most common ways to refer to the battle. So Attack on Pearl Harbor and Doolittle Raid are acceptable. :) -- Миборовский U|T|C|E|Chugoku Banzai! 10:16, 25 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Dang. I missed that. Sorry for the time taken. But thanks!--Benn M. 10:30, 25 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No problem at all. It takes some time to learn the ropes. -- Миборовский U|T|C|E|Chugoku Banzai! 10:41, 25 November 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A cynical name[edit]

I suggest "Did little raid" because strategic bombing does not usually have any positive effect until around 50% of the target (usually a city) is destroyed. In a serious war, less than that causes war awareness in the enemy and return to apathy in the bombing country. Perhaps those who think that making it look like their country is winning "improves moral" are thinking more in terms of re-election. David R. Ingham 08:30, 19 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hmmm... So you think that if 20% - 40% of a city is destroyed, this is a good thing for the country being attacked. To paraphrase a common saying, "with successes like that, who needs defeats?" In actually, in modern war, destruction of the correct 10% of a city/region (communications, power supplies, fuel depots, major transportation junctions) can completely wreck the city's economy and completely eliminate the capacity for residents of that city/region to wage war. Johntex\talk 00:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The psychological effects were first and formost to appease Americans in the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor. Strategically it was a blip, but it bloodied the nose of Japan, and that's what the U.S. wanted at the time. To call it the "did-little-raid" User:David R. Ingham (1942 Japanese propaganda notwithstanding) is a slap in the face of 80 incredibly brave and selfless men. These guys launched medium bombers from an aircraft carrier!!! Nobody had ever done that before. These guys bombed mainland Japan!!! Nobody had ever done that before. Some of them were killed in crash landings be it land or sea. Some were executed by the Japanese. A lot of them made it back home. Nothing about this mission was easy, they all knew the risk when they volunteered. These men were/are truely an example of "the greatest generation". Akloki 22:54, 19 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The six Japanese aircraft carriers from the Pearl Harbor Attack 7 Dec 1941, the Fast Carrier Strike Force, were on the Indian Ocean Raid between 31 Mar--10 Apr 1942; one result of the Doolittle Raid 18 Apr 1942 was the Japanese high command recalled the Strike Force from the Indian Ocean, relieving the pressure on the Royal Navy and allowing the Brits to regain control of the Indian Ocean. Also, the Doolittle Raid sped up Japanese plans to attack Midway pushing the IJN to that disaster where their four best fleet carriers were sunk. By itself the Doolittle Raid did little damage, but in the context of the war, the consequences multiplied the effect exponentially: nothing happens in a vacuum, all events occur in a context of causes and effects. The boost to home front morale by those "thirty seconds over Tokyo" did not hurt either. Naaman Brown (talk) 16:45, 14 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That is a fatuous argument. No one expected that the raid would do much material damage to Japan, that wasn't the intent. The intent was two-fold: 1) to increase morale at home, to let the American people know that something was being done to hit back at the Japanese; and 2) to send a message to the people of Japan that they could be attacked, and maybe they shouldn't believe their government's propaganda to the contrary. The British did the same thing at a crucial point in the Battle of Britain, when a few bombs that did almost no damage to Berlin embarrassed Hermann Goering so badly that he made a decision (massively attacking London in reprisal) that lost the battle. The Japanese changed their strategic plans and reallocated their forces in ways that benefitted the Allies, all as a result of the Doolittle Raid. One of the major objectives of any military operation referred to as a "raid" is to cause major disruption to the enemy's plans. You'd have to go back to Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Civil War to find a raid by an American commander that caused more disruption than this one. Jsc1973 (talk) 22:33, 11 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Regardless. Renaming the article "Did little raid" would be a blatant violation of WP:NPOV. --Yaush (talk) 15:45, 24 April 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Psychological Importance of the Doolittle Raid[edit]

Dr. Ingham, I believe it was the psychological effect on the Japanese military elite and the average Japanese citizen that was the true positive outcome of the Doolittle Raid. The Japanese home islands had not been attacked during wartime for hundreds of years. Japan's wars preceding its attack on China and its entry into WWII largely consisted of naval engagements fought elsewhere, or acts of aggression and occupation by its army of a foreign people. The raid made the average Japanese citizen aware that his or her homeland was not the impenetrable fortress once imagined; sooner or later, a determined enemy could strike back at Japan itself. I think the psychological context of wartime must be taken into consideration here when examining the Doolittle Raid.

It made the average Japanese more willing to fight the U.S, actually. Seeing your countrymen blown up does not deter you from war, this was the case for Pearl Harbor too, no? ChicagoPiano115 (talk) 07:22, 24 March 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Idea that Blowing up people in their home country weakens their will to fight is a old and sadly in many Military and Political minds still lively fallacy. History shows again and again that if you kill/attack people in their home country, they get more willing to defend their home against the "barbaric" invaders. In the few cases it worked it's was mostly because the People where already against the government. But even then it doesn't always work and sometimes unites the country against the enemy. Think of the Vietnam War (or the USSR Invasion of Afghanistan). The US lost because the People where not willing to shoulder the losses of an purely political motivated war. While the Vietcong had a strong resolve the defeat the Foreign invaders. 2A02:810C:C0:3480:3CCD:5888:D750:F63F (talk) 05:01, 13 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article needs major POV work, as it stands right now it's very very anti-Japanese and pro-American. 21:01, 25 February 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That is a ridiculous statement, the only thing that might be considered "anti-Japanese" in this article is the mentioning of the criminal treatment of American POWs, which of course is a fact of history, and so to characterize it as "anti-Japanese" is purely POV. User:Mrbigg9969
Have to agree with 1st comment, although it appears minor. E.g. for some reason on the 9 February 2006 the word 'poor' was replaced with 'horrible' in "...beriberi as a result of the horrible conditions under which they were confined." A bit emotive: I changed it back! But nothing major. User:Mononen
It is an article about the U.S. retaliatory campaign against Japan. It is anti- Japanese only to the extent that the U.S. bombed Japan. Would reiterating that it was an answer to Japan attacking the American fleet, only further your assertation that it is anti-Japanese? Perhaps you can rewrite the article from the POV of placenta eating liberal Australian puppies? (See User: Akloki 23:37, 19 December 2006 (UTC)AklokiReply[reply]
The bias of the article lies in the omission, in the "Effects of the Raid" section, of any mention of Japanese casualties, which one would expect to be included in any comprehensive entry on the subject. --Pooneil 21:54, 10 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Japanese casualties are mentioned in the box on the right of the page, but maybe we should work it into the text of the article. SkipSmith (talk) 03:17, 21 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dummy Tail Guns[edit]

The article states "To discourage Japanese air attacks from the rear of the planes, each B-25 was also "armed" with two dummy wooden machine gun barrels mounted in the tail cone." I recall Ted Lawson's book, "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo", saying that a single broomstick was inserted in the tail cone. The movie "Pearl Harbor" depicted two broomsticks, but the movie used B-25J models with the top turrent forward of the bomb bay, versus aft of the bomb bay on the actual B-25B that flew the misison.

Please do not base facts on a movie, especially one like Pearl Harbor. It was a great movie, but not all that accurate. 12:51, 17 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pearl Harbor a great movie? Your judgement will forever be questioned.

Pearl Harbor was a fantastic movie and very factually accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:48, 13 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Now, now. "Pearl Harbor" was just a rip-off of the plot from the 1927 movie "Wings" with "30 Seconds over Tokyo" thrown in. (Hollywood stopped being original a long time ago.) It was a good movie (they spent a ton of money on it), but inaccurate and Hollywoodized in the extreme. (talk) 23:32, 28 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Something I don't get, was there a tail gun on the B-25B. I'd always heard the broomstick story long before anyone decided to make Pearl Harbor. And I had thought I'd heard it was a single broomstick in the tail. But looking up the B-25B factsheet on Nattional Museum of the US Air Force website it states that the tail gunner's position had been eliminated. That doesn't jive with everything I'd ever heard about the broomsticks so I looked up another site I've used, Joe Baugher's website and went to the page on the Mitchell. Going to the page on the B-25B it also says that the tail gun was removed. It doesn't make sense, if there were no tail guns on the B-25B then why the need to replace the tail gun with a broomstick. Lawson doesn't seem to me someone who would have made that mistake. Doolittle himself stated in his after action report that a pair of wooden .50 calibers were placed in the tail of each plane. And you do have a picture on the Air Force Museum page above of a B-25D converted to a B-25B for the tenth anniversary of the raid which clearly shows a tail gun. This photo from the deck of USS Hornet clearly shows two tail guns. So how is it the tail gun was supposedly eliminated on the B-25B but there is evidence it should have still been there? -annonymous 1/12/2013 1:13 PM EST — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, 19 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The first B-25s (the B-25 and B-25A) had a manned tail gun installation. It was not a "turret" per se, and those models did not have either a dorsal (top) or ventral (belly) installation. Only a limited number of each were produced. The B-25B model eliminated the tail installation, replacing it with a cone fairing, and installed a manned turret on the top just aft of the wing root, and a remotely-operated retractable turret on the belly. (The tail gun position was not reinstalled until the B-25J model in the summer of 1944.) The unmanned belly turret caused drag and was eliminated from the Doolittle planes. The dummy gun barrels were installed with the presumption that the average Japanese fighter pilot would be unaware that the tail gun position on the first B-25s had not been continued on the B model because of center of gravity issues.--Reedmalloy (talk) 14:31, 22 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Amount of self-inflected damage due to Japanese AA guns missing?[edit]

I've heard somewhere that comparable damage (or more) to some of the Japense towns was done by the Japanese own AA guns shooting due to how low the planes were firing, and the AA shells missing and gravity doing the rest. Does anyone have sources on how accuracute (if at all) that statement is? Joncnunn 16:03, 18 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know about this particular case, but it was actually a pretty common problem when AA was used near cities. For instance, Honolulu suffered damage from American AA guns during the Pearl Harbor attack. SkipSmith (talk) 03:19, 21 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source for details and photos[edit]

These press releases:

are a source of details and photos for this article. 21:16, 24 April 2006 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Zhejiang-Jiangxi massacres removed?[edit]

A while back this very relevant piece of information was still on this article. Now it is gone. May I ask in the least pissed-off way possible, why? Everyone remembers the Doolittle raiders, but does anyone care about the people who helped them in their hour of need and paid in blood for it? -- Миборовский U|T|C|M|E|Chugoku Banzai! 04:47, 28 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Errors found[edit]

The photo of the crew seems to be mirror-inverted, check the name tags on the high-res version. Can anyone fix that?

The article states that the decision to launch the planes early was made by Doolittle and Hornet skipper Captain Marc Mitscher. However, according to General Doolittles autobiography "I Could Never be So Lucky Again ", the decision was made by Admiral Halsey (presumably with staff), who flashed the message "LAUNCH PLANES X TO COL DOOLITTLE AND GALLANT COMMAND GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS YOU"

I've read the same thing in oher books. Trak77 20:17, 15 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • The silver toasting goblets and cognac are maintained in Arnold Hall at the USAFA and not at the NMUSAF at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. Incidentally, the goblets of the deceased members are displayed upside down.T. E. Goodwin 19:50, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

>> Wold-Chamberlain Field is located in St. Paul, not Minneapolis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:2:4A80:871:A95B:4801:C099:A353 (talk) 17:43, 14 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Links and more info[edit]

Background info on William G. "Billy" Farrow can be found in the link below where the SC General Assembly nominated him for a Conressional Medal of Honor. He lived one block from my father's family in the small town of Darlington, SC. [1]

This should be added to the external links section: [2]

The PBS link about the Japanese attack on 250,000 Chinese civilians is no longer a valid link. Not sure where to find the original intended article on PBS.

APackrat 19:25, 26 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I love it when a plan comes together[edit]

The inspiration for using B-25s came from King's intel officer, Captain Francis S. "Frog" Low (who you can now find on List of military figures by nickname). Trekphiler 08:13, 11 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, there was three aircraft considered, The Martin B-26, Douglas B-18 & the North American B-25 - with all due consideration, only the B-25 was suitable for carrie launch (I think the B-18 wingspan was to long and the B-26 needed too much take-off room) - somewhere in the back of my mind I also remember a fourth aircraft being considered but not sure if it was the A-20 or the B-23? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:06, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American tactical victory?[edit]

Aside from a psychological victory, this wasn't really an American tactical victory. Little damage was done, for the price of trained pilots and planes. User talk:

Article doesn't talk to implications of raid, but all authoritative texts do. True, it wasn't a tactical "victory" not was it intended to be one, but it had major ramifications in reaction of senior Japanese military leadership and served as a major boost to American morale during a low point following months of successive Japanese victories. If you refer to Battle of Midway article, you'll see ties to raid as instigation of that tideturning battle. At any rate, why not add your thoughts to artcle then? HJ 23:45, 29 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it's a moot point now. The notion that the crews were highly trained is a myth--per Doolittle the crews had 3 weeks of training, and much of that interrupted by no-fly days due to weather. They were competent crews, but the training was rushed and Mitscher's after action report criticizes all the AAF crews (including by inference Doolittle) except one for "improper and dangerous takeoffs". (Halsey OTOH praised the crews). Mitscher said they were excited and nervous and did not pay attention to Navy recommendations. The 16 planes lost was not catastrophic considering that 80% of the crewmen returned to the US.--Buckboard 16:40, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
To suggest that the crews had only 3 weeks of training is nonsense. They were already trained and experienced crew before selection for the raid. While most of them were returned to service, eventually, the delay of months meant that they were unavailable to the US forces for a considerable period. And the loss of aircraft at that time was not nominal. (talk) 05:17, 18 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The training referred to was in aspects not covered by normal AAF unit training but required for this mission: "simulated carrier deck takeoffs, low-level and night flying, low-altitude bombing and over-water navigation" and was haphazard at best. It did not purport to be anything else. The 17th BG was already the most experienced B-25 and medium bomb group in the AAF at the time it was assigned the mission. Your second assertion is incorrect: the Doolittle crewmen were not returned to the US precisely because they were retained in overseas operational service, primarily in the 10th AF. The loss of 16 bombers in April 1942, when the only combat operations being conducted by the AAF anywhere in the world were from small units based in Australia, certainly was "nominal."--Reedmalloy (talk) 05:34, 18 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Greg Goebel also covers this mission here. I think it would be wonderful if someone could add a short paragraph explaining why the B-25 in particular was chosen to fly the mission - I assume it had the correct locus of payload, range, size, performance, and availability, but it would be nice to have an official source, from a book. In its current form the article has very little about the B-25, and someone unfamiliar with WW2 bombers, or who has not played Aces High II, might be baffled. e.g. "Doolittle evaluated the USAAF's roster of attack aircraft, and concluded that the B-25 Mitchell was most suitable for the job. It was small enough to operate from an aircraft carrier; it had an optimum range of X, allowing the carriers sufficient stand-off distance, and it carried sufficient payload to do more than symbolic damage. It outperformed the next most suitable candidate, the (insert)", that kind of thing. You can have those sentences, I made them specially for you. -Ashley Pomeroy 17:31, 18 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I added the information. Doolittle's own report states why the B-25 was chosen and I used his sentences. Thanx anyway.--Buckboard 18:22, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

Other Aircraft[edit]

While not necessary for inclussion with the main article, B-25B 40-2347(17th BG, 95th BS) still exsists. This was one of the aircraft the Raiders trained with and was flown to California to be loaded upon the USS Hornet - minor engine problems caused this aircraft and several others to be left behind (only the best aircraft were loaded) - the crew of this aircraft did go with the USS Hornet (as a back-up crew). This aircraft is currently in storage and awaiting restoration... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 19 December 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

(my first wiki comment ever) The sentence about the 16th bomber is totally wrong:

"(The 16th B-25 had been included only as a reserve, intended to fly along as an observation and photographic platform, but when surprise was compromised, Doolittle decided to use all 16 aircraft in the attack.)[22]"

I don't have that reference 22 handy, but, besides making absolutely no sense (where was that 16th bomber supposed to land if it was to take off too far from Midway deep enough in the western Pacific to be spotted by the Japanese?).

The says the 16th bomber was added at the last minute after negotiation with the navy to take off near the departure point of San Francisco, where its role was to relay takeoff characteristics back to the airmen on the ship. Doolitle elected to keep that crew for the actual attack. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 13 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just noticed there are TWO statements about the 16th bomber in the current wikipedia article, both of which can't possibly be true: STATEMENT #1: Mission: (The 16th B-25 had been included only as a reserve, intended to fly along as an observation and photographic platform, but when surprise was compromised, Doolittle decided to use all 16 aircraft in the attack.) STATEMENT #2: Preparation: Fifteen raiders were the mission force and a 16th aircraft, by last-minute agreement with the Navy, was squeezed onto the deck to be flown off shortly after departure from San Francisco to provide feedback to the Army pilots about takeoff characteristics.

Both these statements can't possibly be true. The actual original purpose of the 16th bomber is listed here: Where it says: "Crew of 10th Aircraft Plane # 40-2250 - Crew from 89th Reconnaissance Squadron - (Bail Out) This aircraft originally intended to take off from the Hornet two days after leaving California to test the bomber's ability to safely lift off. That mission was cancelled and Joyce and crew joined the raid to bomb the Japan Special Steel Company and other targets. The mission was highly successful despite heavy AA fire and an attack by nine enemy fighters. It was the only plane to suffer any major damage over Japan (an 8" hole in the fuselage), but continued on to China where the crew safely bailed out. Local Chinese assisted the crew in reaching Chuhsien in only four days and the entire crew remained in Indo-China to conduct missions well into 1943."

Since I'm new to edits, I won't make any actual edits; but I hope someone who is more experienced than I will reconcile these contrary facts. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 15 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This article needs one. Something showing the planned launch site, the actual launch site, the proposed and actual targets, the landing areas, etc. Any help? Matt Deres (talk) 20:29, 7 May 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree, a map would be very helpful! Range of the modified B-25, location of Valdisvostok and both the launch site and intended launch site, actual targets and where one flight dumped bombs early. It is really hard to picture this without a map. [in my mind, China is a lot closer than Siberia but I am not looking at map ] -greg —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 26 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Psychological impact on strategic decisions[edit]

While the tactical side of the attack did indeed accomplish little, the fact of its occurrence did have a major impact on Japanese military strategy, which thereafter planned the Midway attack in order to eventually draw out, engage and destroy American naval forces in the Central Pacific, seeking to insure that direct attack on the Japan itself could not reoccur for the foreseeable future. Viewed in this light, the Doolittle Raid was a rather important moment in the history of the Pacific War, and the article should eventually relate that. --Chr.K. (talk) 13:14, 4 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, you may be correct, but without a good cite of scholarly research or other recognized references, it can't be included. --rogerd (talk) 15:01, 4 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Remaining crew[edit]

Apparently down to nine remaining Raiders - Capt. (later Maj. Gen) David M. Jones, pilot of 40-2283 passed away 25 Nov 08. Obit at

List of ships?[edit]

Anybody have a list of American ships that participated in the raid? Can it be included in the article? (talk) 19:12, 18 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Naval Historical Center site list all the USN ships involved. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:10, 7 May 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Why Japanese caught off guard?[edit]

There is a significant hole in the article the way it's written, but a very understandable one. Why were Japanese air defenses so inadequate if indeed the entire military apparatus had been notified hours before by the Japanese picket boat (which was promptly sunk by a US escort cruiser) that an American task force was approaching? The superb memoir "Zero" by Okumiya, Horikoshi, and Caidin has the answer.

One of the two Japanese authors (can't remember which one) reports in the book that he was on duty that day when the word came in that American carriers were lurking in Japanese waters. So they knew something was up. But the authorities based their calculation of the time when American planes would arrive in Japan on the position of the carriers and the quite reasonable assumption that they had Navy (and not Army) bombers on the flight deck. So the Japanese factored in the known top speed of the Navy aircraft and thus arrived at an ETA for the American planes in Tokyo.

In other words, they had no idea that the incoming bombers were the much faster Army B-25s. So the author (Okumiya?) wrote that he and other fighter pilots were calmly having tea and otherwise taking it easy when the bombers arrived - hours before they were due.

This would make an interesting paragraph. I don't happen to have a copy of the book handy, but might see what I can do to acquire a copy from the local library. But if anyone else beats me to it, please be my guest! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 27 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It is an interesting idea. However, the top Navy aircraft speed was higher than the cruising speed of the B-25 Mitchell. On such a long mission the B-25s would have throttled back to conserve fuel. A flight of SBDs may not have, I'm not certain. The Japanese could have expected the Navy bombers to speed toward the target, the bomber pilots counting on having a shorter return flight to the fast-approaching carrier—a known carrier tactic.
  • B-25 cruising speed 230 mph, top speed 285 mph.
  • SBD-3 cruising speed 185 mph, top speed 255 mph.
Martin Caidin was a colorful author, known to be free with his opinion and with new 'facts', untroubled by pesky details such as historic accuracy. Binksternet (talk) 18:05, 27 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it wasn't Caidin, but one of the Japanese co-authors who wrote that passage. And he was comparing Army with Navy bombers only. As you point out, the cruising speed of an SPD was much slower than that of a B-25. Not sure about Avengers, but no doubt also much slower than B-25s. And I should not have said that the Japanese factored in the "known top speed..." I can't remember the exact wording, but as you imply, calculating cruising speed makes more sense. At any rate, my local library does not have a copy of Zero. Maybe someone else can check the original text. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Isoruku (talkcontribs) 18:26, 27 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Japanese patrol boat sunk?[edit]

I read in a book that the Japanese patrol boat that spotted the American task fleet was sunk soon after its warning signal was dispatched. Can anything be added about the fate of the boat, e.g. in the Japanese casualties and losses sector? (talk) 09:08, 14 April 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The press made no mention of Eglin[edit]

One section of the article text has Doolittle returning to visit Eglin in mid-1942 and it includes this phrase: "the press made no mention of his recent training at Eglin". What is the reader supposed to make of this information? Why is it important to the story? Let's explain it, or delete it. Binksternet (talk) 19:18, 16 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I came across this while researching the history of Eglin AFB. I think it is interesting that the press (Okaloosa News Journal, Crestview, FL.) reported his visit to the base, but probably in light of the security issues of how the Raid was conducted, there was no mention at the time that he had trained his men there in March. If you think that this is extraneous information, I'll accept your judgement. Mark Sublette (talk) 19:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 19:46, 16 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is an interesting factoid, but I want to help the reader get more from it. If we cannot do this without making our own analysis, it may be better to leave it out. Binksternet (talk) 20:04, 16 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think the "still-secret" bit explains the situation neatly enough. Binksternet (talk) 15:58, 17 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Japanese presidential palace[edit]

Why was it so important not to bomb the presidential/emperors palace? Wouldnt that be the ultimate target to bomb? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:29, 5 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The imperial palace was not a military target, and bombing the Emperor would only have inflamed the Japanese public and military, in a way that even the later firebombings did not. Yaush (talk) 00:01, 12 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pacific Aviation Museum[edit]

The article states: The recently opened Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island, Oahu, Hawaii also features a 1942 exhibit in which the centerpiece is a restored B-25 in the markings of "The Ruptured Duck" used on the Doolittle Raid.[40]

However, if you look at the reference website and picture, it is a B-25, but there is no evidence of it bearing "The Ruptured Duck" markings. Can someone confirm if the Pacific Aviation Museum actually has a display related to the Doolittle raid? I am attempting to contact the museum to get an update on this matter. --Ggeller (talk) 06:42, 15 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

minor units fix[edit]

Can't seem to be able to correct Notes section which has incorrect conversion from nautical miles to km: the first and last planes are both listed as having been launched from 1,100 km away from Tokyo. It should read 1130 km and 1111 km. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 10 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sir/ma'am, the reason you cannot edit it is because of the "sigfig" annotation. I strongly advise against changing it as it meets the WP:MOS criteria for measurements. Please understand it is an approximation and is not intended to be scientifically accurate. — BQZip01 — talk 03:14, 10 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So style is more important then accuracy of information? (just asking - I'm not ^_^) --Sceadugenga (talk) 23:44, 11 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This seems like a problem. The figures being converted are 610 and 600 miles, and the text in which they appear suggests they are precise to at least ten miles and possible one mile. This implies that the correct conversion is at least 1130 km and 1110 km. Yaush (talk) 23:59, 11 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mather Air Base[edit]

While visiting Mather, I read that this air base was where they "tuned up" the carburetors on the B-25's for best fuel efficiency. (Mather is right next to McClellan.) (talk) 23:44, 28 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Sacramento Air Depot was at McClellan, not Mather. The source for the location is Doolittle himself. Mather has a sorta warm spot for me, as I was stationed there for 18 months. --Reedmalloy (talk) 07:19, 29 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
btw, McClellan and Mather are a half dozen miles apart, if that counts as "right next to".--Reedmalloy (talk) 09:03, 12 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It would not be unusual for someone like Doolittle to confuse the two, especially if the airman was housed at one location and the planes were serviced at the other. Six miles apart is pretty darn close for American airbases. Binksternet (talk) 15:29, 12 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anything is possible, of course, but I doubt a colonel with a doctorate would misconstrue a training base south of the river for a major air depot located north of town. The lack of civilian depot workers at Mather would be pretty evident, too. I don't know where the airmen were quartered while in Sacramento, but the planes were serviced at McClellan. The point of the depot maintenance was the extreme demands of the mission. Anything less in the way of aircraft prep was unthinkable.--Reedmalloy (talk) 00:55, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article does not yet say anything about how the carburetors were adjusted to Doolittle's satisfaction at Eglin but then at McClellan an undetermined number of aircraft, perhaps all of them, were brought back to standard adjustment against Doolittle's wishes. The already referenced Craig Nelson book covers the problem on page 66, and the already referenced Clayton Chun book carries the problem on page 35. Doolittle mentions it himself on page 326 of I Could Never Be So Lucky Again: An Autobiography. The Lowell Thomas/Edward Jablonski biography Doolittle discusses the carbs on pages 163–164 and 168. Barrett Tillman in Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan, 1942-1945 says that Edward "Ski" York's aircraft burned about 30% extra fuel after his carbs were tweaked by civilians at McClellan. Chun agrees that York's carbs were negatively affected by the McClellan maintenance. Binksternet (talk) 01:46, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, there ya go and a worthy addition to the article! Very possible the same civilian mechs I referred to. [But at least he didn't mix up the two bases :)] btw, if no one else takes up the task, I will do it.--Reedmalloy (talk) 15:49, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
More on the carbs. Glines (I shoulda read this first; it's been years since I perused it carefully, and it predates all these sources, even Doolittle's auto-bio he co-wrote) pp. 41-43 also mentions the episode. The purpose of the SAD stop was to inspect the aircraft and make a few final modifications (new props, a 60-gallon extra fuel tank, and new valves for the troublesome gun turrets) but the materiel was slow in arriving and, because of the secrecy of the mission, McClellan authorities and the civilian mechanics were lacking in urgency. It took a personal call to Arnold by Doolittle and Arnold to the base commander to "light a fire under these people." The civilians noticed all the non-standard mods and were nosy, only to be rebuffed by the crews, who were ordered to sidewalk-supervise everything done to their ships. The quality of work done was below par and inflexible, everything slavishly following the local depot SOPs. Doolittle discovered the tampering with the carburetors by fortuitous accident when a civilian mech ran up an engine and it backfired--which would throw the engines out of adjustment (they had already been adjusted and bench-checked at Eglin) and increase fuel consumption. Worse, the mechanic totally disregarded his orders to stop running it up. Doolittle "almost yanked the man" out of the pilot's seat and was told that the mechs always ran up the engines after they were adjusted--thus revealing out that during inspections the depot people had set them back to "the way they're supposed to be." Glines is moot on if or who rectified the situation--maybe some were corrected at Mather, or maybe the OP above was in error. Recall also the scene in the movie when Lawson's engine won't start before takeoff from Hornet and backfires--a passage from his book about the problems at McClellan is quoted by Glines.--Reedmalloy (talk) 16:17, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The impression I got from the sources was that there was not enough time to address the carburetor problem before the call came to fly to the San Francisco Bay and board the flattop. Maybe a few of the planes were fine-tuned again, but not all. Binksternet (talk) 23:55, 13 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Surviving airmen - inconsistent?[edit]

In the article, under the Surviving Airmen section, it's stated that as of April 2011, five members of the raid were still alive, but at the bottom of the section, it says that the last member died in January. Does anyone know which is correct? I'm going to look at the citations to see if they agree. Writ Keeper (talk) 18:20, 30 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As of now (October 2011), there are still 5 surviving airmen, verified on the website. The bottom of the section says the last pilot died, not the last raider died, meaning although all 16 pilots are now dead, there are some gunners, engineers, co-pilots alive. Redjacket3827 (talk) 03:20, 2 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, good call. Didn't pick up on that subtlety. Thanks. Writ Keeper (talk) 22:01, 2 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

List of the participating crewmen[edit]

I think this should be deleted it is not really encyclopedic and we dont have lists of non-notable people in other small aircraft raid articles. Aircraft commanders are already covered in the Participating aircraft section. MilborneOne (talk) 20:54, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It does seem to be excessive detail, and the photos too are superfluous within the article. GraemeLeggett (talk) 21:47, 2 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Section removed per WP:SILENCE. MilborneOne (talk) 14:59, 12 March 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The map currently included is very inaccurate in all of its depictions, and useful only as a schematic. The Hornet's launch position is too far north, the raiders thus make landfall far too north, and the withdrawal route is shown traveling down the length of Japan over land. Hornet was nearly due east of Tokyo at launch, just above the "i" in "Doolittle' in the legend, and the raiders approached the coast on headings of more or less 270 degrees. Landfall was generally at Cape Inubo, with several making landfall fifty miles to the north, but still significantly below the spot depicted. All of the bombers except for York's plane flew due south to the ocean in withdrawing, to a point out of sight of land, to avoid exposure to both antiaircraft fire and interceptors, then flew along the coast over water to Yakushima, where all continued west southwest toward China. York is shown flying due north deep into the interior of Siberia, when he he actually flew northwest and made a landing in the region most south and west on the map. Accurate course information is available in Doolittle's report, linked in the article, for an accurate map.--Reedmalloy (talk) 06:45, 21 November 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

WAY off ... I don't have time to fix it, though.--TMartinBennett (talk) 22:27, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have removed it pending corrections. It was too far off. Binksternet (talk) 23:16, 29 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

250,000 civilians[edit]

I deleted the estimate of "250,000 Chinese civilians" killed by the Japanese in response to the Doolittle Raid and replaced it with a more reliable figure. The figure of 250,000 only came into existence in the early-1970's and I believe that the earliest known source for it is David Bergamini's 1971 book Japan's Imperial Conspiracy. However many other scholars have not properly cited what Bergamini wrote. He actually said that the Japanese "killed 250,000 Chinese, most of them civilians." In other words, the estimate of 250,000 includes Chinese soldiers killed in action and it's not clear what precise percentage were civilians. But while the figure of 250,000 civilians killed is thus erroneous to begin with, I don't favor including this estimate at all because it is problematic in other ways. First of all, Bergamini's book was controversial among scholars and it received considerable criticism from scholars for factual errors and outright fabrications. Secondly, Bergamini provided no source for his estimate of 250,000 and to this day no one knows where the number came from or how it might have been calculated.

Thankfully, the estimate of 250,000 is not the only one in existence. The historian Masahiro Yamamoto has noted that the United States investigated Japanese atrocities during the campaign in Zhejiang and Jiangxi, and using contemporary eyewitnesses accounts and census data the number of civilians killed was estimated at 10,000. The use of reliable contemporary data gives the estimate of 10,000 civilian deaths considerable credibility. Certainly much more credibility than the figure of 250,000 military and civilian deaths combined which, by contrast, simply appeared out of nowhere in the early-1970's.CurtisNaito (talk) 22:56, 3 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

CurtisNaito, thanks for this contribution. I did not realize the 250,000 figure, which I have heard repeated many times, cannot be traced any further back than the unreliable Bergamini book. It is probably worth noting that 10,000 civilians killed is still a substantial atrocity. --Yaush (talk) 17:45, 4 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Based on the listed publication month, I strongly suspect Bergamini is the earliest source, but I did find two other books from the 1971-1972 period also mentioning 250,000 as the combined military and civilian death toll of the campaign. Still, none of these books cited any sources, or mentioned what data the figure was derived from, or received anything but negative reviews from scholars. It's hard to say exactly where the figure first appeared because the earliest sources, all dating back to the early-1970's, give no information at all about the source of the number.
But it's true that it was a substantial atrocity. Masahiro Yamamoto refers to mass executions of Chinese civilians in Zhejiang and Jiangxi as "the most extensive of such [Japanese counterinsurgency] campaigns targeted at civilians". The main source of the American report estimating the number of civilians massacred at 10,000 told the New York Times in 1943, "Towns were completely laid waste. The whole countryside reeked of death in every form. Poor country people who had stayed on, hoping to be allowed to continue to work in their fields, had been savagely tortured and put to death."CurtisNaito (talk) 18:42, 4 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for this long-needed correction. Binksternet (talk) 20:00, 4 December 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

War crime[edit]

It is interesting that the Japanese who were responsible for the execution of raiders were charged and executed for war crimes. Yet the original raid was a war crime ("strafing and murdering Japanese civilians") and the execution of the Americans would therefore have been a lawful execution. Has there been an academic examination of the status of the raid in international law? (talk) 05:06, 18 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

At the time Japan was not a signator of the Geneva Convention therefore the legal aspects of the raid and the executions afterwards would not have bothered anyone from the legality POV much at the time.
For the relevant WW II period neither Japan nor the USSR were signatories of the Geneva Convention and thus were under no legal obligation to abide by it, thus technically they were not legally liable under International Law for any 'war crimes' they may have been accused of committing. OTOH, the Western Allies, and both Nazi Germany and Italy, were signatories.
IIRC, both Japan and Russia were former Geneva Convention signatories but Japan had abrogated their signator status when their government was taken over by the right-wing militarists in the 1930s, similarly the USSR withdrew from the Geneva Convention (or rather refused to acknowledge or honour it, as it had been signed by a preceding Czarist Government) when the USSR was founded after the October Revolution. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:53, 19 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The Japanese had been bombing Chinese cities and killing civilians in large numbers many years prior to this raid, not to mention the cowardly attack on Pearl Harbor and other attacks on SEA which also resulted in civilian casualties. By's standard, almost every Japanese operation in WW2 constituted a war crime. (talk) 11:59, 20 April 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Details of raid[edit]

Why is there details of the planning, launch, escape etc, but almost nothing about the raid itself? What were the targets, what places were actually attacked, and what damage was caused? (talk) 05:08, 18 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The raid itself was never expected to cause significant damage, rather it was a case of proving a point to the Japanese that they were not safe at home, and therefore needed to spend resources on home defence, resources that previously could be used elsewhere.
Rather like the 1982 Black Buck operation during the Falklands War, the raid proved to the defenders (in that case Argentinian) that such a raid was possible, and that they were liable to be attacked in similar manner in future. If the runway at Port Stanley Airport could be bombed despite the great distance from the UK, then so could Buenos Aires.
Previously the governments of both countries had thought that such raids on their homelands - or near to it - were impossible, something that they had not taken into account when they had started the wars. The two raids forced the two governments, Japanese and Argentinian, to re-think their whole conduct of the respective wars, and to realise that their actions had had the unintended consequence of making their homelands possible targets, a factor which both had taken for granted would not be the case - due to the distances involved - when they had started the wars. Both Germany and Japan had thought their homelands were safe from enemy bombing, Japan due to the distances involved, Germany due to the Luftwaffe air defence system located within the occupied countries over-which enemy bombers would need to fly in order to reach Germany.
Both raids proved to their respective governments, Japan and Argentina, that if the enemy so wished, they could bomb their cities, as the US subsequently did to the Japanese ones. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 19 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Japanese report of the raid before it happened?[edit]

The Singapore based Syonan Times reported an alleged raid before the Doolittle raid? see Reported Bombing Of Tokyo Laughable. Given that the Doolittle raid occurred on 18th and the paper reported a Tokyo report dated 16th would anyone know what happened. The Tokyo report cites a Reuters report.

The paper reported the actual raid on 27 April under the heading FUTILE RAID ON NIPPON, Syonan Times, 27 April 1942, Page 4NealeFamily (talk) 07:27, 31 March 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personally I believe the Japanese had anticipated a retaliation after attacking Pearl Harbor, like how Isoroku Yamamoto said "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve": that would mean at least he suspected America would try to get even, and it would explain why that patrol boat would be out and about. (talk) 23:33, 21 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I found a newspaper article in the Gloucester Citizen (Gloucester, England), Tuesday, April 7, 1942, Vol. 67, Issue 300, p.1 by Reuters quoting the US Chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee headlined US Bombs will fall on Tokyo. Maybe the Japanese misread the report. NealeFamily (talk) 07:32, 24 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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File:Doolittle Raid Over Tokyo.ogv to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Doolittle Raid Over Tokyo.ogv will be appearing as picture of the day on April 18, 2018. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2018-04-18. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. — Chris Woodrich (talk) 02:00, 20 March 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Doolittle Raid was an April 18, 1942, air raid by the United States on the Japanese capital Tokyo and other places on the island of Honshu. It was the first air operation during World War II to strike the Japanese home islands, demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack. As a symbolic retaliation for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it provided an important boost to American morale. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle of the United States Army Air Forces, and involved 16 B-25B Mitchells, each with a crew of five. Of these eighty men, seven died during the raid or after being captured. The raid caused more than 450 casualties, including about 50 deaths, but minimal material damage.Film: Castle Films

Addition perspectives[edit]

I object to the hypothetical statement:"If Claire Lee Chennault had been informed of the mission specifics, the outcome might have been very much better...". There are billions (trillions?) of things that if so-and-so had been informed of would have hypothetically changed things at ANY moment of history. News Flash: history is contingent. Sentence and paragraph adds nothing substantive to the article, is impossible to falsify, and should be removed. Perhaps we should assume (absent historical facts to the contrary) that the people making those decisions knew what they were doing (to the limits of their abilities and information). This rewriting of history based on modern facts (and values) is simply sad - and sophomoric. We have no way of knowing what Chennault would have done, and asking after the fact is asking for Monday Morning Quarterbacking, even if we do have her post-mission comments. There just can't be any certainty that had she "been informed" that she could have acted, would have acted, would have been effective, and that the information wouldn't have leaked leading to even worse outcomes (for the Americans). (talk) 23:11, 18 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To answer your objection, General Claire Lee Chennault was the commanding officer of the Flying Tigers with a network of observers, scouts and other irregular forces all over China. If he (not she, even though his name is the feminine form) had been alerted, his troops would have been a great help in getting the landing fields needed into proper shape so that the planes could have landed, refuelled and continued their flight to safety. How much of a difference it would have made, of course, is only speculation. JDZeff (talk) 05:22, 10 December 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Length of preparation time?[edit]

How long did the preparation take exactly?: while I'm pretty sure cleaning up all the damage in Pearl Harbor took days or longer, and of course there was Christmas among that, did it really take three months or longer to modify/test all those B-25s and train all the participants? it would explain why the raid didn't commence sooner like say, a week after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Also, were the B-25s being modified while the participants were being trained at the same time or not? Just wondering. (talk) 00:59, 22 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It would have taken about a week just to sail into position to launch the attack. When you add in coming up with the idea, the training, physical modifications, and coordination, 3 months is practically a miracle. Buffs (talk) 16:19, 23 October 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moved from the article per recent edit[edit]

"For years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, there had been mock air raid drills in every Japanese city,[2] although China's air force was almost nonexistent; this may have been part of the process of keeping warlike emotion at a high pitch.[3]"

This piece of information is essentially just tagged onto the end of a paragraph that it doesn't completely relate to. This information needs to be better incorporated rather than standing alone. (talk) 14:30, 25 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Glines 1988, p. 77.
  2. ^ An air raid drill took place in Tokyo on the morning of the raid.[1]
  3. ^ Chun 2006, p. 84.


I dont think Ben Affleck was even born to participate on those raids, he although stared en the Pearl Harbor movie. So please can anyone with understanding of Wikipedia remove those lines from the beggining of the article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 19 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It's just vandalism, or someone's total inability to distinguish bad fiction from reality. I've removed it as vandalism. - BilCat (talk) 04:32, 19 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]