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Old 19th October 2022, 02:26
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

In the book "When the Airlines Went to War" by Robert J. Serling there is a reference to something I did not know and would like to know more:

" The airline's [United] first major commitment to the war effort began one month after Pearl Harbor , when a pair of brand new B-17s ferried in from the Boeing factory in Seattle arrived at United big overhaul base in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The modification orders indicated that they were obviously being prepped for some kind of special mission. UAL's mechanics were told to cram extra fuel tanks into every available space, remove all guns and bomb bay racks and install new racks that would hold photographic equipment. Seven weeks later, in mid February, the two Flying Fortresses left Cheyenne and headed for Alaska...These were the B-17s that flew photo reconnaissance flights over Tokyo preceding Jimmy Doolittle's bombing raid the following April"

I have never heard of B-17 Reconnaissance flights over Tokyo in early 1942. Is this correct?
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Old 19th October 2022, 10:35
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Kaki3152,

Parts of an online (books.google) 'historical novel' called 'Top Secret Flight' by Dale Cox can be viewed and text points to the episode you describe.

Yet, it would need full reading and cross-checking to verify all that's written. Date of flight on 27 March 1942 is put forward.

Regards,
Leendert
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Old 19th October 2022, 10:35
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

The nearest Alaskan airfield I can find that was open in early 1942 is what is now Elmendorf AF.

It is 3500 miles from Tokyo.

You can decide for yourself whether a B-17 D or E, even one loaded with all the fuel it could carry, could more than double its normal maximum range to go 7000 miles (not allowing for a reserve)

Martin
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Old 19th October 2022, 11:59
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Book suggests that flight was from India/China to Dutch Harbor, at the tip of the Aleutians, Alaska... Indeed, a very long distance.
But all characters, some of which are fictional, and places need verification thru whatever other sources available.

Dutch Harbor Naval Air Station was ready in September 1941.

Regards,
Leendert
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Old 19th October 2022, 14:48
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Here is a little more description of the "historical novel".

http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/5...-secret-flight
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Old 19th October 2022, 15:24
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Quick view on Amazon lets you see the chapter headings

Flight end of March 1942 Agra to Tokyo to Dutch Harbour = 6500 miles.

Same question applies. Normal B-17E has 2500 gals of fuel, max range 3500 miles = 1.4 miles per US gallon

(This is roughtly what the manual says - 1.47 miles/Gal for best range)

6500 miles = 4650 Gals needed with no reserve. With 10 % reserve 5000 Gals approx required

Therefore need to double the fuel capacity of a B-17E.

2500 extra gals = an extra 16,000 lbs of fuel

2500 gals = 334 cu ft = roughly 9ft x 6ft x 6ft of additional tanks

Hmm


Show me the photo they took of Tokyo and I will change my mind

Martin
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Old 19th October 2022, 19:05
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Martin,

I agree that story somehow must be substantiated with verifiable references, documents, perhaps personal accounts, etc.
It strikes me as strange, that this photo flight would have come to light only now. And if a photo is to be produced, then perhaps the author can help you.

Leaves of course the question what maps and/or recce photos Doolittle's B-25 crews could rely on.

Still, it makes an intriguing read...

Regards,
Leendert
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Old 19th October 2022, 19:53
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is online now
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Quote:
"Dale Cox's TOP SECRET FLIGHT is nonfiction, but fictional themes are woven into the plot........."
Author Cox and/or his publisher need to reveal where he got his information from. I know from my years of dredging the U.S. National Archives as well as the Air Force Historical Research Center in Alabama that many particularly sensitive documents of that era have not yet been declassified, but I strongly doubt that this would be one of them. If the author or publisher refuse to disclose this information, then they are doing a very considerable disservice to the history of World War II.

L. deZ.
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Old 19th October 2022, 20:03
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

For what it's worth:


https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...135436733.html
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Old 19th October 2022, 20:13
MW Giles MW Giles is offline
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Re: B-17 Photo Recon over Japan before Doolittle raid

Just to correct the press release

Lindbergh's was not the longest flight

The longest flight at the time was 7162 miles from Egypt to Darwin Australia by RAF Wellesleys in November 1938

Casts further doubt on the other claims

Martin
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