Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

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Rob Stuart
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Rob Stuart » 11 Jun 2021 15:26

glenn239 wrote:
11 Jun 2021 14:23
Rob Stuart wrote:
11 Jun 2021 13:22
That leaves very little room for pilot error or any momentary issue with one of the engines. I think the odds of planes going over the side to port or hitting the bridge and blocking the flight deck would be significantly higher than it was for Doolittle's B-25s on Hornet.
First question is whether it's a G4M Betty or a G3M Nell. The advantage of the latter was that it was going obsolete anyways.
From 100 nm off the coast of Oregon to DC is 2200 nm. The nominal range of a G3M was 2365 nm, according to Sunburst. That's not enough of a margin, especially since the bombers would need to fly to the target in formation, meaning that the first ones launched would burn too much fuel circling the carrier until the last one is airborne.

The second question is which between the G3M and the G4M could have more of its wing clipped to deal with the deck clearance issue you describe.
It has to be the G4M, if Washington is to be bombed, so this question is moot,

The third question is how many bombers could be kept in a deck park before the flight deck was closed. The limiting factor is space forward of the crash barrier - I'm thinking maybe about 6?
Presumably you're proposing that the carrier should be able to launch and recover fighters on the way to the launch point, by pushing the bombers aft when the fighters take off and pushing them forward when the fighters need to land. They would never to that. It's impractical and it would so seriously limit the number of G4Ms carried that the raid would not be worth doing.

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by OpanaPointer » 11 Jun 2021 16:03

The Doolittle raiders were, for transit, parked on the center line, with the wing of one plane sticking between the planes fore and aft. This took up about 1/2 of the flight deck length. For launching they were moved into a herring bone pattern. The tails of the planes hung over the side of the ship and they were packed as tight as they could fit. This provided, IIRC, 2/3s of the flight deck for the first launch.
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by maltesefalcon » 11 Jun 2021 16:43

Sorry to throw more cold water on this, but two more important considerations.

The proposed route would be approximately double that of Saipan to Japan which was pretty far as far as navigation goes for the time. The Japanese pilots would be flying over sparsely populated areas of the US for much of the flight, leaving little in the way of landmarks. So they would need to navigate by dead reckoning for the most part. An error or drift of only 2 degrees over this distance would mean they would miss their target by 100 miles. And they would have no electronic beacons or navigation aids to correct the flight path.

The other consideration is that this operation would only work if it was a surprise attack. By April 1942 the US Navy could read enough IJN traffic to predict major ship movements and plans. This resulted in the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway. There is no way the IJN could get to the US coast without the US Navy knowing ahead of time. Any carrier would likely meet with a reception by submarines, PT boats and land based air if no US carriers were available in the area.

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Jun 2021 16:59

100 miles off the boglands of Orgeon? Seriously? Does anyone look at a map before they come up with these? That places the Japanese launch point about 250 miles southeast of Seattle and Boeing Field. About 230 miles southeast of Tacoma and McChord AAF. About 120 miles southeast of the mouth of the Columbia. About 230 miles southeast of the entrance to Puget Sound. Oh, and about 240 miles southeast of the Bremerton Navy Shipyard.

Does anyone have any idea just how much naval and commercial traffic was transiting north-south along the coast...right through the area off the boglands of Oregon where the IJN will launch?
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by glenn239 » 11 Jun 2021 17:32

Rob Stuart wrote:
11 Jun 2021 15:26
From 100 nm off the coast of Oregon to DC is 2200 nm. The nominal range of a G3M was 2365 nm, according to Sunburst. That's not enough of a margin, especially since the bombers would need to fly to the target in formation, meaning that the first ones launched would burn too much fuel circling the carrier until the last one is airborne.
Agreed, assuming the target is Washington and the launch point is practically in Puget Sound. The OP's premise is very interesting, but I'm not so sure Washington is a suitable objective. The carriers would want to launch more like 300-600 miles out, and that would rule Washington out as a target - which is the main reason against the G3M. The big reason for the G3M is that it was being replaced anyways, so the spares were presumably going into 2nd line units or training.
It has to be the G4M, if Washington is to be bombed, so this question is moot
I thought you'd identified a valid issue with wing clearance, but wing clipping presumably would come at the cost of range, meaning again that Washington is probably too far.
Presumably you're proposing that the carrier should be able to launch and recover fighters on the way to the launch point, by pushing the bombers aft when the fighters take off and pushing them forward when the fighters need to land. They would never to that. It's impractical and it would so seriously limit the number of G4Ms carried that the raid would not be worth doing.
The disadvantage to all on one carrier is that they might all have to be jettisoned if the deck is required. Whatever the method, I would assume that after launch (considerably further out than the OP's proposal), that the TF would switch to raid mode and go hunting, so in this way not like the Doolittle Raid at all. That, in turn, suggests 6 carriers on the raid, and that would allow for 2 deck parks of 6 planes each, or 1 deck park of maybe 12 or more.

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by sailorsam » 11 Jun 2021 18:15

danebrog wrote:
10 Jun 2021 21:16
With the Japanese mentality, where capture was dishonorable, an attack flight would most likely be a one way ticket.
And since the attack is purely propagandistic in concept anyway:
Why fly over the entire USA, of all places, when a suicide attack on the Golden Gate Bridge would be much more promising?
After all, THE landmark on the West Coast, where even damage would have considerable symbolic character. 8O
+1
I think if the IJN could bomb Pearl Harbor they could make it close enough to bomb California.
even a few planes over San Francisco and LA would have had a devastating morale effect.

IIRC they had a modified sub that could carry a plane. they could have bombed the mainland with that.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-400-class_submarine
apparently the Panama Canal was a potential target.
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by OpanaPointer » 11 Jun 2021 18:25

I don't know about "devastating". We got through the Great Los Angeles Air Raid intact.
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Rob Stuart » 11 Jun 2021 19:08

OpanaPointer wrote:
11 Jun 2021 16:03
The Doolittle raiders were, for transit, parked on the center line, with the wing of one plane sticking between the planes fore and aft. This took up about 1/2 of the flight deck length. For launching they were moved into a herring bone pattern. The tails of the planes hung over the side of the ship and they were packed as tight as they could fit. This provided, IIRC, 2/3s of the flight deck for the first launch.
Interesting. I hadn't known that the planes were parked and then re-parked in the way you mention.

When you say that "the tails" of the planes hung over the side, did you mean to say that the wingtips hung over the side?

I take that the attached image shows the planes re-parked for take-off per your description?
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USS_Hornet_flight_deck_April_1942.jpg
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Takao » 11 Jun 2021 19:42

Rob Stuart wrote:
11 Jun 2021 19:08
OpanaPointer wrote:
11 Jun 2021 16:03
The Doolittle raiders were, for transit, parked on the center line, with the wing of one plane sticking between the planes fore and aft. This took up about 1/2 of the flight deck length. For launching they were moved into a herring bone pattern. The tails of the planes hung over the side of the ship and they were packed as tight as they could fit. This provided, IIRC, 2/3s of the flight deck for the first launch.
Interesting. I hadn't known that the planes were parked and then re-parked in the way you mention.

When you say that "the tails" of the planes hung over the side, did you mean to say that the wingtips hung over the side?

I take that the attached image shows the planes re-parked for take-off per your description?
.
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USS_Hornet_flight_deck_April_1942.jpg
The photo is for how the B-25s were spotted for the voyage to Japan.

They were respotted to give the minimum of 500-some feet for the 1st plane's takeoff roll.
Image

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Rob Stuart » 11 Jun 2021 20:14

Von Schadewald wrote:
10 Jun 2021 00:59
The carrier has a 10,000 mile range [...]

Taking the north Pacific route and arriving undetected in June 1942, the carrier launches two flights 100 miles from off the fog-shrouded coast of the boglands of Oregon. Each Betty carrying three 500lb bombs at 200mph at extreme range, eight set off the 1850 miles to Chicago, and the other eight the 2450 miles to bomb Washington DC.
It is about 3200 nm from Paramushiro to a launch point 100nm from Oregon, so a 6400 nm round trip if there are no deviations (e.g., to dodge Soviet ships, turning into the wind so that the second carrier could launch or recover fighters, etc).

Kaga's 10,000 mile range could be realized only if it sailed at a steady 16 knots. Fuel consumption would go up when steaming in heavy weather, during the final sprint to the launch point, while launching and recovering planes, and when withdrawing after the G4M1 were launched. Furthermore, a significant reserve of fuel would have to be carried to permit unplanned high speed steaming to take place, in the event that a US task force is encountered, for example.

The carrier(s) will also require escorts. At a minimum it will have to have a couple of heavy cruisers, lest enemy surface vessels be encountered in the dark, and at least four destroyers. To keep the destroyers' tanks topped up, and to ensure that the carriers and cruisers always had enough fuel to steam at high speed if required, you now have to have at least a couple of oilers supporting the operation, plus an additional destroyer to escort the oilers when they are detached from the main body.

It would take eight days to steam 3200 nm at 18 knots, but refueling and deviations from the direct route could easily add another day or two, so even if the task force turned for home immediately after launching the G4M1s, the mission would last 16-20 days. To that you have to add the necessary preparations, including loading the bombers, preferably at an isolated port, moving to Paramushiro (or wherever) and refueling there before departing. Refueling at sea training or practice may also be required, certainly for ships which had not been involved in the PH operation. All in all, the ships in question could be unavailable for up to a month. MO or MI, or perhaps both, would have to be postponed.

Furthermore, what do you do if a carrier is damaged and its speed is reduced to say 10 knots while deep in enemy waters? It would be highly dangerous for the other ships to stay with it and try to escort it home, so most likely the carrier's crew would have to be removed and it would then be sunk with torpedoes from the destroyers.

To sum up, a reverse Doolittle raid would be far less practical and far more dangerous for the IJN than the 18 April raid was for the USN.

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by OpanaPointer » 11 Jun 2021 20:33

Rob Stuart wrote:
11 Jun 2021 19:08

I take that the attached image shows the planes re-parked for take-off per your description?
.
.
USS_Hornet_flight_deck_April_1942.jpg
That's a good photo. Takao save me some typing. :thumbsup:
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by The Ibis » 11 Jun 2021 21:22

OpanaPointer wrote:
11 Jun 2021 18:25
I don't know about "devastating". We got through the Great Los Angeles Air Raid intact.
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by Kingfish » 11 Jun 2021 21:40

...Tosses a ridiculous grenade into an already absurd WI...

ROCKET ASSISTED TAKEOFF...

...WITH A HMS FURIOUS STYLE SKI JUMP

*Drops mic*
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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by maltesefalcon » 11 Jun 2021 23:31

Let's look at this from another angle. The US launched the attack on Tokyo out of desperation. They were being hit for six on land, sea and air by Japan at the time of the raid's inception. (Late February 1942.) So the raid was mounted as a propaganda coup while the Navy licked its wounds and bought time to rebuild. This was about as close to a bona fide suicide mission as the American public would accept. But at the time there were precious few other options.

On the the other hand, time was not on the side of Japan. If they could not defeat the US and its allies quickly, they would be out-built and over run in the long term. The raid on Toyko was embarrassing to be sure, but it was more important to ensure it would not happen again than to stage one on Washington.

So it was better not to waste valuable time and resources for a symbolic gesture. Rather, they should focus on destroying the allied naval forces opposing them. Hence the Coral Sea and Midway campaigns.

It is also worth noting that training for the Doolittle raid took about six weeks. I would imagine training Japanese army pilots to fly off a carrier would take about the same time. Thus it would take until late June-early July to mount the attack. IMHO if Japan had not inflicted a severe enough defeat on the allies to bring them to the bargaining table by that time, they never would.

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Re: Japanese carry out their own Doolittle Raid & bomb Washington DC

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Jun 2021 03:41

And don't forget the attack on Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia river in Oregon...

Image

They did damage the fort's baseball field...

The sub also launched their E14Y (Glen) floatplane that dropped a couple of small bombs. Does that count as a Doolittle style raid on the US?
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