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Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid» Forums » Variants

Subject: Doolittle's Planned Attack rss

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Ron Freda
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Cross-posted from ConSim Forum:

Jerry,

I just received this as a Christmas gift from my wife, bless her! I got ECAambusters for Christmas three years ago. The tradition continues.

I've been reading about the historic raid, as well as your booklets. I am thinking of another possible scenario. (I haven't played what's in the box yet, I'm just an inveterate tinkerer at heart). Your Scenario 8: The Planned Launch, is one, that from my readings, was nixed early on by the Navy as too dangerous. The carrier would need to be all lit-up, and the fear of Japanese subs was too great. Doolittle's final plan was to launch HIS plane three hours ahead of the rest of the bombers (one or two Flight Turns?). He would then, using incendiaries, illuminate Tokyo for the following raiders. Of course, the discovery of the Task force by Japanese patrol boats changed that plan in a hurry.

I think this raid plan could make for an interesting variant. Had you considered this situation? What suggestions would you make to create this scenario?

Ron
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Jeremy (Jerry) White
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Glad and honored to be part of your Xmas. Hope you enjoy the game.

You're right about Doolittle's plan, and I considered adding it but then held off for one reason or another. Was gonna include it as a variant in C3i and may still do that. That plan was actually followed historically, to a degree. Doolittle did launch first, as intended, and his bomber was loaded exclusively with incendiaries. Fire to create a beacon at night or a plume of smoke to do that job in the day. Early versions of the game involved more detail in terms of ordnance, separating incendiaries from impact explosives, but it was dropped to reduce complexity and components. It may find its way into C3i.

Launching at night had its risk, but if planned and not under threat of attack, it wasn't a great risk for the task force, especially if nearer sunset than sunrise. The Japanese Navy rarely attacked at night since recovering aircraft was dangerous. Attacking Tokyo at night, however, did not necessitate launching at night. The concern about a lit-up carrier deck could have been appeased by a well-timed launch. The bigger concern, I think, was landing at night, something Doolittle hoped to avoid.

There were other plans. Before the project was handed to Doolittle, Navy and Army subaltern planners considered returning the bombers to the aircraft carrier. Those machines couldn't land but they could ditch near enough for the crews to be picked up. Of course, that meant the task force had to hang around to fish them out, something admirals said "no" to quickly. Then there was the prospect of dumping a squadron of bombers into the Pacific Ocean. Didn't make Army brass smile. The build-up of air assets in China was not the original aim, but it dovetailed with the Special Aviation Project nicely, becoming a secondary goal of the raid. You'll find that is reflected in the game, as the Debriefing Charts place a value on landing bombers safely.
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Ron Freda
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Thanks for your reply, Jeremy. Please include whatever you can into C3i. Since it is a solitaire game, I don't mind added complexity, if it takes a little longer for more immersion, that's fine with me. It makes the game experience last longer!
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Gianluca Spessato
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Interesting page of history! Thank you both (and I also have both games!)...
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