Friday, August 17, 2012
B-25 Mitchell - 1st flight 8/19/40
First flight of the B-25 Mitchell was August 19, 1940. This was the plane used for the Doolittle Raid over Japan from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. All planes were lost due to fuel exhaustion, stormy nighttime conditions with zero visibility, and lack of electronic homing aids at the recovery bases. Only one B-25 bomber landed intact; it came down in the Soviet Union, where its five-man crew was interned and the aircraft confiscated. Of the 80 aircrew, 69 survived their historic mission and eventually made it back to American lines.
The Doolittle Raid on 18 April 1942, was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese Home Islands (specifically Honshu) during World War II. By demonstrating that Japan itself was vulnerable to American air attack, it provided a vital morale boost and opportunity for U.S. retaliation after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. The raid was planned and led by Lieutenant Colonel James "Jimmy" Doolittle, U.S. Army Air Forces.