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B-25B Mitchell - USAAF 17th BG Tokyo Raiders, #40-2303 Whirling Dervish, USS Hornet, Doolittle Raid, April 18th 1942 

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B-25B Mitchell - USAAF 17th BG Tokyo Raiders, #40-2303 Whirling Dervish, USS Hornet, Doolittle Raid, April 18th 1942
World War II

Historical Note:



Conceived as a way to boost the morale of a nation still reeling from the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid consisted of the USAAF flying a number of B-25 Medium bombers off an aircraft carrier close to Japan, bombing Tokyo and then flying on to land in China. While material damage would be slight, the effect on morale back in America, and detrimentally in Japan, would be huge. As the USS Hornet task force approached the Japanese coast, they were spotted by an enemy ship and decided to launch their aircraft early. Just after 8am on 18th April 1942, sixteen B-25 bombers lifted off the relatively short deck of USS Hornet and set course for Japan - this would be the first time that any of these airmen had taken off from the deck of an aircraft carrier at sea. Flying at extremely low level, the raiders had a six-hour flight ahead of them before reaching their targets, almost certain that they would be intercepted by enemy fighters. If they managed to complete their mission, they would then fly on to China, but it would be very much a case of every man for himself.

Originally designed as an attack bomber for export to France and the UK, the B-25 Mitchell was first flown on August 19, 1940. Rejected by the countries it was designed for in favor of the new Douglas DB-7, the B-25 later entered service with the Army Air Corps as a medium bomber. Early in its service career, the B-25 became famous for its role in the Doolittle Raid. Nearly 10,000 B-25s were built by North American Aviation, and the aircraft's service spanned four decades. Named for aviation pioneer Billy Mitchell, the B-25 is the only US military aircraft to bear the name of an individual person.

Info: B-25B Mitchell - USAAF 17th BG Tokyo Raiders, #40-2303 Whirling Dervish, USS Hornet, Doolittle Raid, April 18th 1942

Product Videos

B-25 Gunship - A Tank Gun in the Sky (14:29)
Days after the Japanese conducted a surprise attack against US forces in Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt held an urgent meeting with Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss American military response to their enemy in the Pacific. The President, visibly preoccupied about American morale after the treacherous Japanese carrier airstrike, told his senior officers that mainland Japan had to be bombed as soon as possible. This, he thought, would boost the country's morale, increase voluntary enlistments and fortify war bonds. The result of his order was the Doolittle Raid, under the command of renowned aviator and engineer, James H. Doolittle, whom in his autobiography later wrote (QUOTE): "An attack on the Japanese homeland would cause confusion in the minds of the Japanese people and sow doubt about the reliability of their leaders... Americans badly needed a morale boost." The operation took place on April 18, 1942, and it was a resounding success thanks to the newly converted medium bomber, the B-25 Mitchell. The squadron of B-25s bombed Tokyo and Honshu, claiming over 60 lives and injuring 500 hundred people. Although damage was relatively minimal, it achieved the desired effects. US morale drastically increased because it proved American aircraft could take the fight to the heart of the enemy no matter where they stood. In contrast, the Japanese fighting spirit took a heavy blow, for they realized that their archipelago was not as impenetrable as they thought it was. The mission and the B-25's Doolittle performance became so famous that it easily overshadowed the B-25's next combat role. Equipped with a powerful 75 mm M4 tank gun, a dozen high caliber Machine Guns, rockets, and a 3,000-pound bomb load capacity, the B-25 Model G was a heavy-hitting gunship to be reckoned with. --- Join Dark Skies as we explore the world of aviation with cinematic short documentaries featuring the biggest and fastest airplanes ever built, top-secret military projects, and classified missions with hidden untold true stories. Including US, German, and Soviet warplanes, along with aircraft developments that took place during World War I, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and special operations mission in between. As images and footage of actual events are not always available, Dark Skies sometimes utilizes similar historical images and footage for dramatic effect and soundtracks for emotional impact. We do our best to keep it as visually accurate as possible. All content on Dark Skies is researched, produced, and presented in historical context for educational purposes. We are history enthusiasts and are not always experts in some areas, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us with corrections, additional information, or new ideas.
  • B-25 Gunship -...
    Days after the Japanese conducted a surprise attack against US...

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