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The Pilots' Revolt
VS-5kid
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It seems that memories of the March 23rd mission to bomb Chiang Mai also weighed heavily on their minds.  Chiang Mai was 120 miles into enemy territory and was thought to be heavily protected by anti-aircraft fire and enemy fighters.  There would be little chance to escape to safety if any of our pilots had to force-land, and the mission was considered their most dangerous yet.  Even Newkirk had a fatalistic premonition about the mission and his subsequent death proved their intuitions were right.  When the upcoming April raid on Chiang Mai was planned, only 5 pilots volunteered to go.  The others thought it was suicide to escort the RAF's slow Blenheim bombers - more proof that Chennault was willing to risk their lives on futile missions?
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The Pilots' Revolt
BradSmith
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April 17 through 19 of R.T. Smith's 1942 diary provides a description of the events and sense of what was on the minds of many of the pilots at the time.  You can see those diary entries here.  He annotated his diary entries about this period in his book, Tale of a Tiger (1986).


Edited by BradSmith : April 8, 2013, 12:12 pm
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The Pilots' Revolt
BillC
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I don't blame Chennault for Stillwell and Bissels' demands. He was, unfortunately, under their command. Chennault cared too much for his men to throw them away on foolishness, such as came from the higher ups. One could argue that the Doolittle raid was another 'hair-brained scheme'. One can only guess how much more damage could have been done to the Japanese by those lost planes and crews in Chennault's hands, had they not been directed to attack Japan for morale purposes, before joining him.


Edited by BillC : April 8, 2013, 9:00 pm
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The Pilots' Revolt
aaatripp
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cousin of Maax C. Hammer, Jr., AVG 22Sep41 RIP
One with an understanding of military history and analysis would never consider the Doolittle Raid "hair-brained". 

It was a very high risk raid with much at stake beyond the 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers and their dedicated crews.  There were the two aircraft carriers (Hornet & Enterprise) and all of their escorts (including Salt Lake City & Northampton which had escorted Pres. Pierce & Jagersfontein with AVG aboard), plus all the crews aboard (and Admiral Halsey)......well over 1,000 men.

The tactical or operational gains vs risk were minimal.....it was all about strategic effects AND 2nd order effects.  The bombing of Tokyo humiliated the Japanese military because bombs fell on Tokyo so close to the Emperor's palace (the Raiders were strictly prohibited from bombing the palace) and they were responsible for protecting the emperor.  This was a LOSS OF FACE to the Japanese military leadership.  The huge repercussions caused many Japanese forces to be brought home to protect the Japanese home islands, ie. they were not out in the Pacific theater to fight the Allies.  The 2nd massive 2nd order effect was to push the military to pressure acceptance of Yamamoto's plan to destroy the remnants of the American Pacific fleet----and this led to the Battle of Midway which was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.

True, those bombers and crews would have had huge operational effects in the CBI but Chiang and Chennault were doing their job of keeping China in the war so that they could "fix" the Imperial Japanese Army on the Chinese mainland (which was their 1st strategic priority).  The loss of the B-25s hurt our operations in the CBI but the strategic gain in the Pacific far offset.

Also, the bombing of Tokyo cast doubt on the Japanese leadership in the eyes of the population----they were not safe from American bombing.....their home islands had been attacked.

Tripp


Edited by aaatripp : March 18, 2015, 12:02 am

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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
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AVG Flying Tigers Association
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The Pilots' Revolt
mayor
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If I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong
Did the "revolt" take place BEFORE or AFTER Clayton Bissell threatened those that wanted to leave with being drafted when they hit the docks in the U.S. when they arrived?
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The Pilots' Revolt
BradSmith
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Revolt: April 18, 1942
Clayton Bissell's threat: May 21, 1942
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The Pilots' Revolt
BillC
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But Stillwell and Bissell were calling the shots as soon as Chennault was inducted into the US military.


Edited by BillC : April 21, 2015, 10:36 pm
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The Pilots' Revolt
mayor
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If I agreed with you, then we'd both be wrong
I also read that when Bissell and Chennault were both promoted, Bissell was given 1 day, time in grade over Chennault, presumably so that he could overrule Chennault.
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The Pilots' Revolt
aaatripp
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It was more so that Bissell would outrank Chennault by one day.  The rank carried the higher authority and carried even more with it than just "overruling".  It was more of a command statement to set the tone for all relations between Chennault and Bissell in the CBI theater.

Tripp


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Tripp

Tripp Alyn, chair
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