Doolittle Raid - Short and Long Term Ramifications

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by gjs238, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    What were the long and short term ramifications of the 18 April 1942 Doolittle Raid?
     
  2. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    As one leader said about the Doolittle Raid (or something similar) - "On Dec. 7, 1941 we got hit over the head with a 2X4 - on April 18, 1942 Japan got a needle shoved through their heart."
     
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  3. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #3 Shinpachi, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    One of the lessons for Japanese was.... Identification Friend or Foe marking was immediately enacted.
    (eg. yellow stripe on the leading edge)
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    A well trained B-25 group was destroyed. Two USN CV task forces were unavailable for over a month.

    Seems to me these assets might have been better employed elsewhere. Sinking IJN Shokaku and IJN Zuikaku in the Coral Sea would cause Japan a lot more anguish then trivial damage inflicted on Tokyo.
     
  5. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    But the loss of carriers could be covered up by Govt censorship. A bombing raid on Tokyo can't be hidden. Yes, physical damage was trivial but the psychological impact on the population who realised, perhaps for the first time, that they could be directly attacked, was surely relevant.
     
  6. Denniss

    Denniss Active Member

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    Don't forget the morale boost for all people in the USA and the embarrassment for certain japanese military leaders.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #7 FLYBOYJ, Mar 20, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    16 planes lost - and just a few years later we'd be loosing 16 planes a day bombing Germany on a good day!
    Where in April of 1942? :rolleyes:

    Not if they were lost in battle.
    Deniss sees the "Big Picture." 8)
     
  8. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    That's just it...the raid came out of "nowhere", striking the heart of the Japanese Empire.

    A morale booster for the U.S. and an act that would cause the seed of doubt to creep into the Japanese people (and military)
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    "They came from our secret base at Shangri-La."
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Yep...and from what I heard, it perplexed the Japanese high command trying to figure that out! :lol:
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Government propaganda cannot replace destroyed naval combat power. If Japan loses their two most capable CVs at Coral Sea it will probably force a halt to large scale IJN offensive operations. They certainly cannot risk the entire remaining CV fleet on a single throw of the dice at Midway.
     
  12. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Show me where, early in the war, land based bombers were effective against Japanese naval assets. 4 B-26 and 15 B-17 had little or no effect on Nagumo's task force at Midway. The B-17s at the battle of the Coral Sea had little or no effect.

    The material damage inflicted by Doolittle's attack may have been easily absorbed by the Japanese infrastructure, but psychological effects were far reaching and delivered far more "bang for the buck" than throwing them away needlessly at Midway or Coral Sea.
     
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  13. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    And because of the Doolittle raid manpower and resources were diverted by the Japanese that could have been used else where. With that said, 16 B-25s and the Wasp would not have changed much at Coral Sea (a big "what if") although it would have been nice to have another US carrier in place during that battle. The loss of two Japanese carriers at Coral Sea would not have been as demoralizing as a direct attack on the Japanese mainland 4 months after Pearl Harbor, especially when the Japanese people were told over and over again that they were invincible. Combine B-25s over Tokyo in April and the loss of four Japanese carriers two months totally justifies the loss of 16 B-25s and the diversion of one fleet carrier.
     
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  14. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    From a topic at the time -

    On the day, 2 prototype Ki-61s were testing Ho-103 cannon with dummy shells at Mito Flight School. Warrant Officer Ryozaburo Umekawa intercepted a B-25(11th) and shot to confirm white smoke rose. A rare opportunity to test a prototype in combat.
     
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  15. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I hadn't heard of that before, Shinpachi and yes, it would be a very rare opportunity for a prototype to get a chance at combat. Thanks for the info!
     
  16. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome, GG.
    That was probably the first and last encounter of B-25 and Ki-61.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Short term gains and losses
    (from the allied perspective)
    Losses

    The loss of so many men and maches was unforeseen, and keenly felt.
    two carrier groups were not available at a time they were needed.


    Gains

    Air garrisons in Japan were greatly increased, tying down a very significant properttion of Japans slender air assets in home garrison duties. over time the Japanese lost many times more than 16 aircraft in pointless air patrols and training accidents.

    USN confirmed that larger twin engined aircraft could take off from fully operational carriers in wartime conditions. Previously the USN had tested the theory only partially, with reduced fuel loads and no ordinance in 1939.


    Long term Gains and Losses

    Losses

    Not having the two carriers probably led to the loss of the USS Lexington at Coral Sea

    Gains

    Increased signal traffic was a bonanza that led to the breaking of the JN25 code (vastly increased signal traffic on lesser cypher security levels), and this in turn led to the victory at Midway. it was an absolute bonanza for the codebreakers.

    Provided a clue as to the porous nature of Japans vast new empire

    Political backlashes in Japan, goaded the Japanese into bringing forward their second operational phase before they were ready, by demonstrating that the US Carriers were a dangerouys and potent force that posed a direct threet to the security of the Home Islands and the person of the emperor. Japan was goaded into making rash decisions about what they needed to do, and even after Midway dictated their continued offensive, all for unrealistic goals serving the need to "protect the emperor".
     
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  18. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    #18 GrauGeist, Mar 21, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
    Another point to consider, regarding the Hornet and Enterprise.

    Had the two carriers been involved in the battle of the Coral Sea instead of the Doolittle raid, how do we know they would have been an asset to the battle? At that stage of the war, there was still a huge learning curve and they may have been a contribution or they may have been a casualties.

    As a result of the Doolittle raid, it forced Japan's hand and they rushed to expand their "zone" to the west, Midway was just one target, the others being Hawaii, Samoa and Fiji.

    As it stands, the Hornet and Enterprise not only started the ball rolling with the Doolittle raid, they were there at Midway because of it.
     
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  19. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Ramifications of the Doolittle Raid
    (Excerpts from Japanese Wikipedia)

    1. Attack against US mainland by submarines
    2. Attack against Midway Island
    3. Attack against airfields in China
    4. Construction of new airfield for intercept in Narimasu, Tokyo
    This was ordered by Hideki Tojo
    5. Reconstruction of Tokyo to the fire protection city (eg. removal of wooden houses from the central part of Tokyo)

    Episodes

    1. On the day of air raid, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo happened to be in a government aircraft from Utsunomiya City to Mito City for observation. On the way, his plane encountered a B-25 flying toward Tokyo. He shouted "That's American plane! Get back to Tokyo soon!". He was persuaded by his staff to use railroad because his plane might be identified as American one mistakenly under the situation.

    2. Lt Col Mitsuo Fuchida being aboard the aircraft carrier Akagi looked for Shangri-La in his chart.
     
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  20. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Many folks forget that these diverted squadrons don't sit idle - they train and patrol and in doing so there is attrition. Assets are spent basically shadow boxing, all this because of the Doolittle Raid.
     
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