Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Halsey-Doolittle Raid

SAT 18 APR 1942
Pacific
Submarine Searaven (SS-196) completes rescue of Australians from Japanese-occupied Timor, begun the previous evening.

Japanese troops land at Panay, Visayan Islands.
Halsey-Doolittle Raid: TF 16 (Vice Admiral William F. Halsey Jr.), formed around carriers Enterprise (CV-6) and Hornet (CV-8), approaches to within 650 miles of Japan. Discovery by Japanese guardboat No.23 Nitto Maru compels Vice Admiral Halsey to order Hornet to launch 16 USAAF B-25s (Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle) earlier than planned. B-25s bomb targets in Tokyo, Yokosuka, Yokohama, Kobe, and Nagoya; one B-25 bombs and damages carrier Ryuho (being converted from submarine depot ship Taigei) at Yokosuka. Of the 16 B-25s launched, 15 are lost in occupied China, where brutal reprisals by Japanese against Chinese populace (Chekiang province) ensue; one B-25 lands intact at Vladivostok where it and its crew are interned by the Soviets. SBDs (VB 3, VB 6) and F4Fs (VF 6) from Enterprise, meanwhile, attack Japanese guardboats ("picket" boats) encountered near TF 16, damaging armed merchant cruiser Awata Maru and guardboats Chokyu Maru, No.1 Iwate Maru, No.2 Asami Maru, Kaijin Maru, No.3 Chinyo Maru, Eikichi Maru, Kowa Maru, and No.26 Nanshin Maru. Guardboats No.23 Nitto Maru, and Nagato Maru, also damaged by SBDs and F4Fs from Enterprise, are sunk by gunfire of light cruiser Nashville (CL-43) (see 19 April). While the material damage inflicted by the bombers is small, the psychological effect of an air raid on the Japanese capital itself is great. Most importantly, the Halsey-Doolittle Raid ends all debate within the Japanese high command whether or nor a thrust against the important U.S. advanced naval base at Midway should be attempted.

Carrier Lexington (CV-2), in TF 11 (Rear Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch), ferries USMC F2As (VMF 211) to Palmyra Island.

USAAF B-26s sink Japanese aircraft transport Komaki Maru in Rabaul harbor, 04°12'S, 152°10'E.

Atlantic
Unarmed U.S. tanker Axtell J. Byles, in a coastal convoy, is torpedoed by German submarine U-136 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, 35°32'N, 75°19'W, but reaches Hampton Roads the next day; there are no injuries to any of the 39-man crew.

Europe
Change of government in Vichy France: Pierre Laval becomes Chief of Government, Minister of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Information.
Xaxnar at Daily Kos has more on the raid, including a link to an Air Force Magazine article. But do not ignore the U.S. Navy's part.

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