THE VETERAN WHO
FLEW THE ROYCE RAIDS:
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When our entire Army, west of Pearl Harbor, was penned up in Bataan and on Corregidor; and your local Air Force was doing infantry duty, the only way that you could mount an air raid was to do the following:
Take a bunch of B-25's in Australia, load half the bomb bays with auxiliary fuel tanks, then fly them to a secret airfield on Mindanao. Then you hit the Japs, and high tailed it back to Australia, carrying as many refugees as you could.
In early April 1942, under the command of General Ralph Royce, and almost a week before the Doolittle raid – seven B-25C Mitchells and three B-17 Fortresses of the 5th Air Force, lifted off from their base in Australia and headed for the staging field at Del Monte on the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines. Richard Taylor’s new painting shows one of 5th Air Force B-25C Mitchell taking off from the Del Monte on Sunday 12 April 1942, en-route to hit the harbor and shipping targets at Cebu. In the three days of Royce’s raids, the Mitchells flew over twenty sorties, sinking and seriously damaging three Japanese transport ships, and shooting down three enemy fighters. In a triumph of surprise aerial strikes, all seven B-25s and their crews returned safely to base.
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