At 8:20am on April 18, 1942, just four months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a small force of B-25 Mitchell bombers under the command of Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, took off from the heaving deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet. Unlike any other mission before or since, the crews departed on their dangerous journey with the full knowledge that each was on a one-way ticket.
The mission assignment was to make a strike at the heart of Imperial Japan, panic the high command into diverting men and machines from offensive to defensive duties, and to give an America still reeling from Pearl Harbor, a massive boost in morale. They achieved all of these, and in so doing effected what became one of the most remarkable air raids of World War II.
The sixteen-ship mission's orders were precise: At low-level, fly some 800 miles over water into hostile territory, without escort fend off attacks from air and ground fire over the target then, with insufficient fuel to make the return journey, fly the B-25s on towards China until the gas ran out. Then bail out, ditch, or crash-land, avoid capture, and somehow find a way home.
Every man was a volunteer. Each knew the dangers. Some paid with their lives.
In Robert Taylor's fine painting we look into the tense faces of the crew of a B-25 as it leaves the target area, its pilot bringing the ship right down onto the landscape, next stop China! Smoke plumes high in the air as following aircraft dodge the flak. Below, peasants and river folk, oblivious to what is happening, wave to the crews as the thunder overhead. With possibly the worst to come, the Doolittle Raiders head out into the unknown.
Soon, with tanks empty, and in gathering darkness, eleven crews will bail out, three will ditch in coastal waters, and two will crash-land. Two crews will be taken prisoner; seven will never return.
This valuable commemorative edition is perhaps a last opportunity for aviation art collectors to acquire prints by Robert Taylor, each individually signed by so many legendary Doolittle Raiders.
Lieutenant Colonel RICHARD E. COLE
Co-pilot of General Jimmy Doolittle's B-25 plane #1, attacked the city of Tokyo and bailed out over China. Remained in China flying bombing and transport missions over the Hump.
Staff Sergeant JACOB DeSCHAZER
Bombardier on William Farrow's plane #16. Captured by the Japanese in China, spent 40 months as prisoner of war, only four captured Raiders returned at the end of the war.
Major THOMAS C. GRIFFIN
Navigator on Doc Watson's plane #9, attacked a factory on Tokyo Bay in Kawasaki. Arrived back in US in June, 1942. Flew combat in North Africa, shot down and captured in July 1943. POW.
Major NOLAN A. HERNDON
Navigator and bombardier on B-25 Plane #8. The crew landed in Russia and were interned, escaping in 1943 and returned to the United States.
Brigadier General EVERETT W. HOLSTROM
Having already sunk the first Japanese submarine off the West Coast, December 24, 1941. he was captain and pilot of plane #4. Remained in CBI theater after the raid. Spent 20 years after the war with Strategic Air Command.
Major General DAVID M. JONES
Captain and pilot of B-25 plane #5, attacked the waterfront of Tokyo. After the raid he flew Martin B-26s in North Africa before being shot down and taken prisoner in Germany for the duration.
Lieutenant Colonel FRANK A KAPPELAR
Entered the US Navy in 1936 before transferring to the Air Corps as navigator in 1941. Navigator on B-25 plane #11. Remained in CBI theater until August 1942. Reassigned to Europe for the remainder of the war.
Lieutenant Colonel JAMES H. MACIA
Navigator/bombardier on plane #14. After the Tokyo raid, transferred to Europe for the rest of the war.
Lieutenant Colonel HARRY C McCOOL
Navigator in Brick Holstrom's plane #4, meeting stiff resistance from Japanese fighter opposition. Remained in DBI theater until September 1942 then assigned to Europe.
Lieutenant Colonel CHASE J. NIELSON
Navigator on plane #6. Captured by Japanese forces and spent 40 months as a prisoner of war.
Colonel HENRY A POTTER
Navigator on General Doolittle's plane #1. they bombed the industrial area of Tokyo. He landed in China and transferred back to the US after the raid. Later flew a combat tour of North Africa in B-26s.
Major HOWARD A. SESSLER
Navigator and bombardier on Don Smith's plane #15, attacked targets in Kobe, then ditched in the sea off China. Later flew all through Mediterranean and Europe, a total of 103 missions, all in b-25s.
Captain J.ROYDON STORK
Co-pilot of B-25 plane #10 detailed to attack a chemical plant on the Hencola River. After the raid he served with the 10th Air Force in India until 1943 when he returned to the US.
Staff Sergeant DAVID J. THATCHER
Flight engineer and gunner on Harold Watson's B-25 plane #9. After the raid transferred to North Africa and England.
Overall Print size: 33 1/2" wide x 24 1/2" high.
Image size: 27" wide x 16" high.