The daylight raid on Tokyo, led by Lt Col James H. Doolittle on Sunday 18 April 1942, has rightfully entered the history books as one of the most daring and courageous operations of the Second World War. On that day, in mid-ocean, Doolittle had launched his B-25 Mitchell bomber from the heaving, spray-soaked flight deck of an aircraft carrier, a deck too short to land on, and flown on to bomb Tokyo. He knew there would be no return to the USS Hornet, either for him or the 15 heavily- laden B-25s behind him, for this was a feat never before attempted, and for every crew member the mission was a one-way ticket. Yet, under the leadership of Jimmy Doolittle, they all dared to survive.
The mission for the 16 bombers was to bomb industrial targets in Tokyo and surrounding areas, to slow production of strategic war material, then fly on to land in the part of south-west China that was still in the hands of friendly Nationalist forces. All being well, the mission would be so unexpected it would plant the first seeds of doubt into enemy minds. It worked – the Japanese were forced to quickly divert hundreds of aircraft, men and equipment away from offensive operations to the defence of their homeland.
There was, however, another reason behind the Doolittle’s raid – to lift the morale of an American public devastated by the attack on Pearl Harbor four months earlier. And the success of the mission provided the boost that was needed. If any had doubted America’s resolve in the face of uncertainty, the courage, determination and heroism displayed by Lt Col Doolittle and his band of aviators restored their determination. Although it might take years, and the price would be high, America and her allies understood that the fight could, and would, be won.
Specially commissioned to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid in support of the James H. Doolittle Education Fund, Anthony’s inspirational painting portrays the dramatic moment that Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle lifts his B-25 off the pitching deck of the USS Hornet. Having timed his launch to perfection he climbs steeply away, ready to adjust his compass bearing for a direct line to Tokyo. On the sodden deck behind him the crews of the remaining 15 aircraft, whose engines are warmed, ready and turning, will quickly follow their commanding officer into the murky sky.
Overall Print Size: 31 ½” wide x 24” high
Image Size: 25” wide x 16 ¼” high
It is of great historical importance that the prints are personally autographed by veterans that took part in the raid, allowing enthusiasts the opportunity to acquire a momentous collector’s piece in what is likely to be the last Doolittle Raiders signed edition that will ever be made available.
Each print is individually numbered and signed by artist Anthony Saunders. To commemorate this historic Anniversary every print has been personally signed one of the most highly regarded veterans to fly on the Doolittle Raid: