Nancy Mayborn Peterson

The most important quota ever, CU classrooms echo words of the enemy

The Homefront, Then and Now

Doolitle's Tokyo Raiders

January 2, 2014

Tags: Bombs Fall on Toyko, First good news America hears in WW II

The first-ever land-based planes to take off from a carrier deck.
The war news was all bad. Japanese forces were taking Pacific islands at will. The American public, frightened and discouraged,was hearing nothing but retreat and loss. Then came word 16 U.S. bombers had reached Tokyo. The Japanese capital was burning, just like Pearl Harbor had. Finally, something to cheer about!

Sixteen B-25's, stripped down to bare necessities and each crewed by only five men, finally learned what their dangerous, secret mission involved. They launched their planes from the USS Hornet and headed for Japan, 600 miles across the waters. Unexpected, undetected by the Japanese, they met only token resistance and all successfully bombed their targets.

Then, without sufficient fuel to reach any friendly base, they continued west, hoping to land in part of China free of Japanese occupation. One plane crash-landed in waters off the China coast; two men drowned; one man was killed bailing out. The rest were captured and held in Japan. One plane landed in Russia. Fourteen Liberators crash-landed in China; many airmen were helped by villagers who paid a terrible price. It is estimated the Japanese killed 250,00 civilians during their search for the Doolittle Raiders.

Eight Raiders were held in Japan; all were sentenced to death, but several sentences were commuted. Three were executed; one died in prison. Survivors in China were returned to the U.S., later flying missions in Burma, North Africa and Europe. Twelve eventually died in battle.

The Doolittle raid did little material damage to Japan, but raised American morale and forced the Japanese to shift resources to defend their homeland, weakening the navy that would face Americans two months later in the decisive Battle of Midway.

Selected Works

Historical Fiction
It's 1942. The World's at war. Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, is awash in fear and hatred. Before it is over the passions the war arouses will forever mar the lives of Sis Greggory, her soldier-brother, Danny, and Horst, a German prisoner of war.
Western History
Torn between two cultures, eleven mixed-blood women fight to discover who and what they are.
Indians, artists, Mormons and scientists all left their footprints in this rich Platte River history.
... a brilliant narrative of the successive cavalcade of fearless men and women who penetrated the far West... Aspects and biographies about the fur trade and the opening of the West have been published with consistency, but no one has used such a strong uniting force as does Peterson.
--Dean Krakel, High Plains Heritage Society

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