Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Doolittle B-25 Raid on Japan

All the following is drawn or quoted from: The First Heroes, by Craig Nelson.

From page 95: "In a mere five months the entire Pacific Ocean west of a line drawn from the Aleutian Islands to Hawaii and Australia has come under the control of Dai Nippon Teikoku. The Japanese empire stretches six thousand miles from the home islands to Korea and eastern China, across today's Vietnam to Myanmar, down Malaysia to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and then across all of Indonesia to most of New Guinea. What Tokyo calls the Greater East Asia Coprosperity Sphere spells the end of Western control over Sarawak, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, the Celebes, the Moluccas, western New Guinea, the Solomons, the Philippines, Malaya, Indochina, the Andamans, Guam, Wake, the Gilbert and the Marshall Islands, and includes a vast amount of the world's oil, rice, tin, and rubber. The bucktoothed, nearsighted race of American cartoons had unceasingly defeated England, Australia, and the United States in battle after battle. The tally: 15,000 killed and wounded Japanese; 320,000 killed, wounded, and captured Allied soldiers."

The enemy, pg. 73: "(The attack on China)...was the beginning of a Japanese reign of cruelty that today remains a permanent stain of the country's history: Locals were treated like slaves and animals; POW's were subjected to unspeakable brutality; and soldiers were allowed to run amok. Over the next eight years, more than two hundred thousand illiterate rural women in the conquered territories would be told that high-paying factory jobs were available in Japan. They were instead sent to "comfort stations" across the Chrysanthemum Empire, imprisoned for up to eight years, referred to as "public toilets," and required to sexually service up to fifty soldiers a day. "

"Manchkuo's 2nd Lt. Tominaga Shozo described what the Kwangtung Army did with its new recruits: 'At the last stage of their training, we made them bayonet a living human. when I was a company commander, this was used as a finishing touch to training for the men and a trial of courage for the officers. Prisoners were blindfolded and tied to oles. the soldiers dashed forward to bayonet their target at the shout of 'Charge!' some stopped on their way. We kicked them and made them do it. After that, a man could do anything easily...Everyone became a demon within three months. Men were able to fight courageously only when their human characteristics were suppressed."

Broadsword: This last sentence, true in the totalitarian regimes, is not universally true. Greater love hath no man, who lays down his life for his friends. This is why our guys fight. See Murphy, below. The Japanese savagery has nothing over the current Islamists except its scale. The latter are working to alleviate this deficiency. Some in this country yet have eyes closed.
The enemy, continued: "Throughout China, Japanese troops would follow senki-saisaku, the 'Three All' policy: Burn All, Seize All, Kill All. They torched the town of Sungchiang, killing one hundred thousand civilians, and slaughtered nearly the entire population of 350,000 in the ancient city of Suzhou. When the Republic of Chin's capital city of Nanking fell on December 13, 1937, fifty thousand Japanese soldiers faced the task of subduing its five hundred thousand inhabitants. After going from neighborhood to neighborhood and tacking up posters on every street corner that urged TRUST OUR JAPANESE ARMY, THEY WILL PROTECT AND FEED YOU, the troops would methodically divide local men who had surrendered their arms into groups of around 150, promise the beleaguered, starving residents food and water, send them outside the town walls, and kill them. "
"During Nanjin Datusha- the Rape of Nanking-Japanese soldiers rampaged through the streets for months, eventually killing between 260,000 and 350,000 civilians; the exact number remains unknown. 'Few know that soldiers impaled babies on bayonets and tossed them still alive into pots of boiling water,' a Japanese eyewitness reported. 'They gang-raped women from the ages of twelve to eighty and then killed them when they could no longer satisfy their sexual requirements. I beheaded people, starved them to death, burned them, and buried them alive, over two hundred in all. It is terrible that I could turn into an animal and do these things. There are really no words to explain what I was doing.' "

Broadsword: The citation for this Japanese soldier's quote comes from Iris Chang's book, The Rape of Nanking. She is citing Japanese veteran Nagatomi Hakudo in Joanna Pitman, "Repentance", New Republic, February 10, 1992. Chinese civilians were selfless helping downed Doolittle Raiders to escape and evade the Japanese.

Doolittle, pg. 32: "Boys growing up between the wars had two kinds of men to look up to. There were the sports titans like Jack Dempsey, but looming much larger were those aces of the air, those awe-inspiring aviators who defied the laws of ordinary life, men like 'Lucky Lindy' Lindbergh and World War I ace fighter Eddie Rickenbacker. For these Eglin Volunteers, at that time, to learn that their mission leader was none other than the world-famous and notorious Lt. Col. James Harold Doolittle-well, it would be like being asked to join a secret new baseball team, and it just so happens the lead guy's Babe Ruth. They were completely stunned and excited."

"My name's Doolittle. I've been put in charge of the project that you men have volunteered for. This is the toughest training you'll ever have. It will be the most dangerous thing any of you have ever done. It is inevitable that some of your planes will fall into the hands of the enemy....If you have any doubts, drop out now. Any man can drop out and nothing will ever be said about it. In fact, if there's any worry at all, if you've got a wife, or some kids, it would be your duty to drop out. No one will ask any questions; no one will think less of you for it. None of the volunteers even considered taking Doolittle up on this offer. One airman said, 'Within five minutes, we were his...we'd have followed him anywhere.' "

Broadsword: Once the aircraft carrier Hornet was underway, the men were once again given the opportunity to unvolunteer.
""...Jimmy called his men together for the most important briefing of their lives. He explained, briskly, exactly where there were going to go and what they were going to do. Howard Sessler remembered him saying, 'If there's any of you who don't want to go, just tell me. Because the chances of you making it back are pretty slim.' One flier said, 'When Doolittle revealed what the mission was, I was scared, but also impressed and fascinated by the audacity of this plan. Mot volunteering was as unthinkable as not stepping over the line at the Alamo.' "
"Two days after the task force cleared the Golden Gate Bridge, the bosun's whistle sounded. It was the moment every officer had been waiting for-the time to let the curtain rise. Captain Mitschner announced over Hornet's loudspeakers, and simultaneously via semaphore to the other ships: 'The target of this task force is Tokyo. The army is going to bomb Japan, and we're going to get them as close to the enemy as we can. This is a chance for all of us to give the Japs a dose of their own medicine.' "
"Cheers and screams of excitement broke out across the decks of every ship. Both services would now unite, at every level, to strike a blow of vengeance. ...Bob Bourgeois remembered. 'People went wild. I rejoiced just like everyone else. I was glad to see somebody was going to retaliate for Pearl Harbor.' Mac McClure said, 'The sailors I saw were jumping up and down like small children.' "

"American had never seen darker days. Americans badly needed a morale boost," Doolittle noted. "I hoped we could give them that by a retaliatory surprise attack against the enemy's home islands launched from a carrier, precisely as the Japanese had done at Pearl Harbor. It would be the kind of touche the Japanese military would understand."
Broadsword: It's difficult for us to comprehend the national mood then. But before the Hornet left San Francisco, an incident which did not happen is illuminating. Page 60: "One sailor on leave, in fact, told a reporter that for the right amount of cash, he could tell him all about a pending raid on Japan. The newspaperman patriotically turned down this scoop of a lifetime." On the 210th anniversary of Washington's birthday President Roosevelt mad a few remarks.
Roosevelt, pg. 30: "This war is a new kind of war. It is different from all other wars of the past, not only in its methods and weapons but also in its geography. It is warfare in terms of every continent, every island, every sea, every air-lane in the world...Speaking for the United States of America, let me say once and for all to the people of the world: We Americans have been compelled to yield ground, but we will regain it. We and the other United Nations are committed to the destruction of the militarism of Japan and Germany...This generation of Americans has come to realize, with a present and personal realization, that there is something larger and more inportant than the life of any individual or of any individual group-something for which a man will sacrifice, and gladly sacrifice, not only his pleasures, not only his goods, not only his associations with those he loves, but his life itself. In time of crisis when the future is in the balance, we come to understand, with full recognition and devotion, what this nation is and what we owe to it...The task that we americnas now face will test us to the uttermost. Never before have we been called upon for such a prodigious effort. Never before have we had so little time in which to do so uch. These are the times that try men's souls..."
Broadsword: It's very easy for us to 'look back' at history and see the path beaten out by those who preceded us. We need to appreciate and remember that the future was, and always is hidden, obscured, and dark. The current Long War against the totalitarian Islamists is also a new kind of war. The Islamists are the tares in the wheat, the Aids virus attacking the immune system. They will use Liberty and Freedom to destroy Freedom and Liberty.
By the way, after the Doolittle Raid, the Japanese decided to end any possible future attacks on the home islands by, once and for all, destroying the American fleet by attacking and occupying the Island of Midway. Midway was, as you know, a decisive defeat for the Japanese, who never again regained the offensive. I will not say that Iraq is Midway, or, perhaps more apt, Guadalcanal. But I will say Iraq is, and dare I uses a past tense, has been not a war, but a battle. Scorn upon those who have refused to persevere in the fight.
Thomas Paine, The Crisis: "Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet determined to stand the matter out: I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state: up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it."

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