This week in the War, 13–19 November 1944: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo—The Movie
Spencer Tracy (left) as Colonel James Doolittle in the movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo [Public domain]
Barely two months after the Pearl Harbour attack
, the United States began planning a reprisal raid against Japan. The result was the attack against Tokyo and other targets in April 1942.
The so-called Doolittle Raid was led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle who commanded the attacking force of B-25 Mitchell medium bombers flying from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet.
This week in the war, 15 November 1944, saw the release of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, the movie that described the story of the raid.
Ellen Lawson (Phyllis Thaxter), wife of flier Ted Lawson (Van Johnson) say goodbye before he ships out to take part in the Doolittle mission in the movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo [Public domain]
The movie was acclaimed for its authenticity (using actual footage taken from battle) and its attention to the human element.
The movie starred Spencer Tracy in the role of Doolittle. It also starred Van Johnson in the role of Ted Lawson, one of the B-25 pilots, and Phyllis Thaxter as his wife, Ellen.
Lawson was in one of the many planes that ran out of fuel before reaching the pre-arranged landing fields in China. The Chinese helped him to reach safety but not before his wounds required the amputation of a leg.