Informational Intelligence Summary (Special) No. 20.
Distribution: COMMAND CONFIDENTIAL: October 5, 1942
T H E T O K Y O R A I D
April 18, 1942
O29 Army Air Forces
384.3 Air Raid
370.2 Tokyo, Japan
April 18, 1942
The stated purpose of the Tokyo raid was to inflict both material and psychological damage on the enemy.
It was expected that material damage and the retarding of production could be obtained by the destruction of specific targets in the industrial centers of Japan. It was hoped also that it would result in the recalling for home defense of combat equipment from areas then under pressure.
it was anticipated that a fear complex among the Japanese people would follow a successful bombing attack -- that it would improve relations with our Allies and create a favorable reaction on the American public.
The B-25 was selected as the most practical aircraft to do the job. A range of 2,400 miles was set up as a minimum requirement, and a bomb load of 2,000 pounds was considered essential to obtain the proper effect.
A 500-pound demolition bomb was selected. It was to contain 50% TNT and 50% Amatol, with a 1/10-second nose and 1/40-second [sic] required extreme low-level bombing. A 500-pound cluster, containing 128 incendiary bombs, was also to be carried.
Small arms consisted of from 700 to 900 rounds of 50 caliber in the proportion of 1 tracer, 2 armor-piercing, and 3 explosive bullets. Approximately the same amount of 30 caliber was carried.
Primary and secondary targets were selected in the city of Tokyo and adjacent congested areas, with a specific course and coverage for each pilot. It was planned to spread the flight over a fifty-mile front in order to provide the greatest coverage, to create the impression of a larger force than existed, and to dilute the ground fire. It was decided that non-military targets should be avoided and particularly the Temple of Heaven.
About three months were spent in preparation with the crews, consisting of ground maintenance men, armorers, etc., being trained together. Time was spent in cross-country flying, night flying and over water, in order to permit pilots and navigators to become accustomed to flying without visual, radio references or land markers. Low altitude approaches, rapid bombing and evasive actions were practiced.
The mechanical changes were many and ingenious, with all possible effort being made to conserve weight and space for the essential items.
The lower turret developed trouble in its retracting mechanism, and was finally removed and a plate put over the hole.
The metal leakproof tanks and one collapsible rubber tank were installed. Air pressure was used to increase the capacity of one tank by 10 to 15 gallons, and ten 5-gallon tins were carried in the rear compartment. These were to be emptied into the main tank and then thrown overside after being punched full of holes to assure sinking. The total capacity amounted to 1,141 gallons.
To avoid fire hazard no pyrotechnics were carried, although two conventional landing flares were stored immediately forward of the rear bulkhead.
De-icers and anti-icers were installed on all aircraft.
It was found that the turret guns, when fired aft with the muzzle close to the fuselage, would pop rivets and tear loose the skin of the plane. To overcome this, steel blast plates were installed.
Since low-level bombing was planned, the Norden sight was replaced by a simplified sight which, at 1,500 feet, showed a greater degree of accuracy.
Liaison radio sets were removed and each flight leader was equipped with a small automatic, electrically-operated camera.
As a final gesture, two wooden 50-caliber guns were stuck in the tip of the tail. (No airplane in the flight was attacked from the rear.)
Plane No. 2242 (Capt. York). This airplane, carrying 3 demolition and 1 incendiary bomb, had Tokyo as its target. Due to high gasoline consumption, it proceeded to Siberia, landing some 40 miles north of Vladivostok. The crew were interned and therefore no reliable reports are available. The turret of this plane was not operating when it started.
Plane No. 2247 (Lt. McElroy). Dropped 3 demolition and 1 incendiary bomb from 1,300 feet at 200 mph on the Yokosuka Navy Yard, the dock, and a partially completed boat.
Destroyed everything on the dock and enveloped the boat in flames. A large crane was seen blown up and thirty miles away huge billows of black smoke could be seen rising from the target. Heavy A.A. of fair accuracy was encountered, but there was no pursuit.
Plane No. 2249 (Capt. Greening). Four incendiaries were dropped in train from 600 feet on a large oil refinery near Sakura, east of Tokyo. Primary target (Yokohama) not reached.
A large explosion followed with several successive explosions which were felt by the crew. A large column of smoke was visible fifty miles away from the target.
On the approach, four enemy fighters with in-line engines were encountered. They mounted six machine guns in the wings and appeared to have a ground speed of 260 mph. Two were reported shot down.
Plane No. 2250 (Lt. Joyce). To Tokyo -- dropping from 2,400 feet and at 210 mph 2 demolition bombs on the Japanese Steel Company. One bomb fell in the center of the plant and one between two buildings. The third bomb was dropped on a thick industrial area in Shiba Ward, one-quarter mile in shore. The incendiary bomb was placed in the dense residential section near the primary target. A.A. was heavy and nine Zero fighters were evaded by increasing the plane speed to 330 mph in a dive.
Plane No. 2661 (Lt. Lawson). At 1,400 feet, dropped 3 demolition bombs on factories in the Tokyo area. One hit was observed with smoke and flying debris. The incendiary was released over the densely settled residential area near the Palace.
A.A. fire was intense while running over the targets. It appeared to be light flak with black bursts about the size of weather balloons.
Six pursuit ships were observed but they did not close.
Large fires and smoke were seen in the northeast part of the city -- presumably in the area attacked by the Doolittle plane.
Plane No. 2267 (Lt. Smith). Before reaching the coast of Japan picked up a radio station broadcasting a musical program. It continued over an hour and then suddenly went off the air. After ringing an alarm for forty-five seconds, a voice shouted three words. This took place about ten times before the station became silent.
Made a landfall north of its course at 1350. Swung south across Tokyo and Nagoya Bays, which were observed filled with small fishing craft.
Proceeded to Kobe where 4 incendiary clusters were dropped along the waterfront. The first fell in the area west of the Uyenoshita Steel Works; No. 2 on the Kawasaki Dock Yard; No. 3 in the area of small factories, machine shops and residences; and the fourth on the Kawasaki Aircraft Factory.
A.A. was light and two planes sighted (97;s) were soon out-distanced.
A large aircraft carrier was seen nearing completion and several new factories were observed east of Kobe.
Plane No. 2268 (Lt. Farrow). No reliable report received.
Plane No. 2270 (Lt. Gray). Bombed Tokyo at 1,450 feet. The first bomb hit not observed. The second hit the gas works; the third, a chemical plant; the fourth, an incendiary, not seen. Machine-gunned barracks and men.
On the approach, a burning oil tank was seen just west of the Ara Waterway.
A.A. was of right altitude but wrong deflection.
Plane No. 2278 (Lt. Bower). To Yokohama at 1,100 feet and 200 mph. Dropped 1 demolition bomb on Ogura Refinery and the other two on nearby factories and warehouses. The incendiary was dropped on another factory area.
Machine-gunned a power house.
Several pursuits tailed the ship but did not attempt to close. A.A. from 37 or 40mm was reported intense -- of good altitude but a little late.
A large fire was observed east of Tokyo.
The original target was the Yokohama Dock Yards, but a balloon barrage prevented the attack being made as planned.
Plane No. 2282 (Lt. Holstrom). Pilot decided to approach Tokyo from the south on the theory that the three preceding planes had stirred up enemy interceptors further north. As a result, pursuit planes were encountered heading in his direction. Two of these attacked while still off the coast and tracer bullets were seen going over the pilot's compartment. Later, two more cut across the bow and appeared ready to peel off for an attack. At this point the bombs were salvoed from 75 feet and the plane turned down the coast. The guns were not operating.
Plane No. 2283 (Capt. Jones). Flew up Tokyo Bay and dropped 1 demolition bomb from 1,200 feet on an oil tank south of the Palace. Another bomb hit a power plant or foundry, and the third, an incendiary, covered a large factory roughly two blocks long. It had a saw-toothed roof and resembled the North American Plant.
The last target was overrun at 260 to 270 mph.
Primary targets were not attacked because the approach had not been made as expected.
No pursuit but intense A.A. was encountered after the first bomb was dropped.
Plane No. 2292 (Lt. Hoover). Followed Doolittle's plane into Tokyo. Dropped 3 demolition bombs and 1 incendiary from 900 feet on the Army Arsenal. There is no information available as to whether this plant was used as a producer of munitions or merely for storage.
Results of the bombing were not observed although debris flew higher than the plane.
Training planes were seen in the distance but there was no near A.A.
Plane No. 2297 (Major Hilger). To Nagoya. Dropped 4 incendiaries from 1,500 feet on four targets: Barracks adjacent to Nagoya Castle, Matsuhigecho Oil Storage, Atsuta Factory, which is reported capable of producing 500 planes a year, and the Mitsubishi Aircraft Works, which produces the "Zero" fighter.
Hits were observed on all targets and a column of smoke was seen when 20 miles away.
A.A. was heavy but poor, and only one plane was seen. Cities were drab and targets did not appear as expected.
Plane No. 2298 (Lt. Hallmark). No reliable report.
Plane No. 2303 (Lt. Watson). Target was the Tokyo Gas & Electric Company, which was bombed with 3 demolition and 1 incendiary dropped in train from 2,500 feet at 220 to 230 mph. (The target has also been reported as a Tank and Truck Factory.)
One hit was observed. On the way in, about twenty 2-engined bombers were seen dispersed on a field and 15 or 20 pursuits were seen warming up on a ramp.
One pursuit attacked from below but made only one pass. A.A. was intense.
Fires were observed near the Electric Light Plant, radio station, the Japanese Steel Company's plant, and in the Doolittle target area.
Plane No. 2344 (Brigadier General Doolittle). On the approach to japan, passed a camouflaged Naval vessel and saw a multi-motored land plane.
Arrived north of Tokyo and turned south. Saw flying fields and many small biplanes in the air -- apparently trainers. Ten miles north of Tokyo encountered 9 fighters in three flights of three. They maneuvered for attack but did not close.
Proceeded to Tokyo and dropped 4 incendiaries in the congested areas northeast and southwest of the Armory. Then lowered to housetops and slid over the western outskirts into a low haze.
A.A. was heavy and of good elevation but to the right and left.
Rivers, canals and railroads "stood out" but the highways did not.
Nearly every plane, on its approach to Japan, has reported the sighting of naval and merchant vessels, innumerable small fishing craft, and a number of patrol planes. Yet the Japanese apparently were entirely unprepared for the attack. Either their dissemination of information was faulty or the communication system had broken down completely.
As they passed over the countryside, farmers in the field looked up and went back to work undisturbed; villagers waved from the streets; a baseball game continued its play; and in the distance training planes took off and landed apparently unaware of any danger present.
About twenty 2-engined bombers were seen on the field and the same number of fighters warming up on the ramp, but few planes attempted interception and those that did were not inclined to press home the attack. The pilots appeared inexperienced and their gun fire inaccurate.
The anti-aircraft defense has been reported as consisting of either 37 mm. or 40mm., although the description of the bursts and the absence of tracers would indicate that larger caliber guns were in action. This supposition is supported by the fact that no A.A. fire was reported below 1,500 feet. The altitude was accurate but the bursts were generally behind -- it is possible that the gunners did not realize the speed of the B-25's.
There were a few barrage balloons in the Tokyo area in clusters of 5 or 6, and in one case they diverted an attacking plane to its secondary target.
Ineffective camouflage was observed.
The over-all picture is one of inadequate defense. The warning system did not appear to function; interception by fighters was definitely cautious; and anti-aircraft fire, responding slowly , did not reach the intensity one would expect for so important a city as Tokyo.
So thorough had been the preparation for this raid that the majority of mechanical faults had been discovered and corrected before the flight started.
The B-25 proved itself adequate to the mission. One pilot reported that carrying a 31,500-pound load at sea level, using 1,475 r.p.m. and 29" H.Q. manifold pressure, the gasoline consumption was approximately 85 gallons per hour. After releasing bombs and reducing the power to 1,300 r.p.m. and 25" H.Q. manifold pressure, he used 63 gallons per hour with a speed of 166 mph.
Both the M-43 demolition bombs and the M-54 incendiary clusters were considered extremely satisfactory in every case. There was some difficulty in loading, due to the bomb-bay gas installations, but in the release there was no malfunction of racks. It has been recommended that a pilots' emergency bomb release be arranged which could be used if the bombardier became disabled.
The activating mechanism of the lower turrets did not function properly and, even after the trouble had been corrected, it was found that time was lacking in which to train efficient gunners. The lower turrets were therefore removed.
The Azimuth motor of the upper turrets was almost continually in operation with resulting failures due to strain on the electrical system. An individual hydraulic system has been suggested so that the turret may be worked independently. There were three turrets out of commission when the flight started.
Faulty parts were replaced and minor adjustments were made on the 50-caliber machine guns during the period of preparation. During the flight it was found that the 30-caliber nose gun, after it warmed up and expanded, could not be shifted quickly from one position to another, and in steep dives the ammunition lifted out of the cans and the belt jammed.
It is obvious from the records that lack of training has a definite connection with mechanical failures. It was found that natural equipment should be used unless there is ample time to develop a high degree of skill throughout the personnel.
Sixteen B-25's made the flight to Japan. From the pilots or crew members of thirteen of these planes have come reports from which a reasonable estimation of the execution and success of the mission may be made.
The preparation was thorough. The flight was well executed and, in most cases, primary targets were reached, hits were made at low altitudes, and explosions, followed by smoke and fires, were observed by several ships as they passed over the area.
The magnitude of the destruction and the effect on Japanese morale may not be evaluated from the few rumors that have come out of the enemy's country. Had it been known beforehand how complete was going to be the surprise and how weak the resistance, it would have been possible to concentrate all planes on such a target as the Mitsubishi Aircraft Factory.
The reaction on our Allies and the American public was essentially favorable. Any encouragement, however, accruing to the Chinese must have been tempered by the fact that immediately following the raid the Japanese initiated a sever attack on those areas in China which they suspected had been used in the project.
The important lesson of this raid may be that no country should be without home defenses and an adequate system of communication and detection always on the alert.
|1.||Plane||2344 - Armory Area|
|2.||"||2292 - Army Arsenal|
|3.||"||2270 - Steel, Gas, Chemical Works|
|4.||"||2283 - Oil Tank, Large Factory|
|5.||"||2261 - Factories, Residential Area|
|6.||"||2303 - Tokyo Gas & Electric Company|
|7.||"||2250 - Steel Works, Residential Area|
|8.||"||2249 - "Sakura" Refinery & Tanks|
|9.||"||2278 - Ogura Refinery, Factories|
|10.||"||2247 - Dock Yard, Ship, Crane|