American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 11

assures that the airplane will be fully operational and minimizes the fire and explosion hazard characteristic of a nearly empty tank. In all other respects the airplanes are conventional. The work of installing the required additional tankage is being done by MidContinential Airlines at Minneapolis. All production and installation work is progressing according to schedule, and the 24 airplanes (six spares) should be completely converted by March 15th. Extensive range and performance tests will be conducted on airplane number 1 while the others are being converted. A short period will be required to assemble and give special training to the crews. The training will include teamwork in bombing, gunnery, navigation, flying, short takeoff, and at least one carrier takeoff for each pilot. Then-Lt. Col. Doolittle wires a Japanese medal to a 500-pound bomb during a ceremony on the flight deck of the USS Hornet shortly before the launch of his raid on Japan. If the crews are selected promptly from men familiar with their jobs and the B-25B airplane, the complete unit should be ready for loading on the carrier by April 1. General operational They will then take off from the carrier deck and proceed directly instructions will be issued just before takeoff from the carrier. to selected targets in the Tokyo-Yokohama, Nagoya, and OsakaKobe areas. Due to the greater accuracy of daylight bombing, a daylight raid is contemplated. The present concept of the project calls for a Simultaneous bombings of these areas is contemplated, with the night takeoff from the carrier and arrival over objective at dawn. bombers coming in up waterways from the southeast and, after Rapid refueling at the landing points will permit arrival at dropping their bombs, returning in the same direction. After Chungking before dark. clearing the Japanese outside coastline a sufficient distance, a general westerly course will be set for one or more of the following A night raid will be made, if, due to last-minute information airports in China: Chuchow, Chuchow (Lishui) Yushan, and/or received from our intelligence section or other source, a daylight Chienou. Chuchow is about 70 miles inland and 200 miles to the raid is definitely inadvisable. The night raid should be made on a south-southwest of Shanghai. clear night, moonlight if Japan is blacked out, moonless if it is not. After refueling, the airplanes will proceed to the strong Chinese air base at Chungking, about 800 miles distant, and from here to All available pertinent information regarding targets and defenses will be obtained from A-2, G-2, and other existing sources. such ultimate objective as may, at that time, be indicated. The greatest nonstop distance that any airplane will have to fly is 2,000 miles. Eighteen B-25 (North American medium bomber) airplanes will be employed in this raid. Each will carry about 1,100 gallons of gasoline, which assures a range of 2,400 miles at 5,000 feet in still air. The extra gasoline will be carried in a 175-gallon auxiliary leak proof tank in the top of the bomb bay, and a 175gallon flexible rubber tank in the passageway above the bomb bay. It is anticipated that the gasoline from this top tank will be used up and the tank flattened out or rolled up and removed prior to entering the combat zone. This AMERICAN VALOR QUARTERLY - Summer 2008 - 11 Top: U.S. Navy Photograph Bottom: U.S. Air Force Photograph Each bomber will carry two 500-pound demolition bombs and as near as possible to 1,000 pounds of incendiaries.