On November 26, 1941, 20 submarines and five midget subs followed by a combined fleet of two battleships, three cruisers, 11 destroyers, six carriers, eight tankers, three submarines and 423 planes left Tankan Bay in Japan. Heading east on a northerly route so as not to be discovered, they sailed for the United States and its westernmost outpost, the Hawaiian Islands. During the trip Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto sent a coded message to Vice Admiral
Chuichi Nagumo: Niitaka yama nobore, Climb Mount Nikita, which meant the mission was on. On December 2, Nagumo was directed to open a top secret envelope which contained the directive stating that Japan would, in several days, declare war on the United States, Britain and Holland.
At 6:45 a.m. on December 7 (December 8, Japanese time), the first wave of aircraft took off from the deck of the Japanese command ship, the Akagi. Led by Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, 183 bombers flew southeast for less than an hour until they reached the northernmost shores of Oahu at Kahuku Point.
The first wave split into three groups. Fuchida with 89 Kates (one of three types of aircraft used by the Japanese fleet) headed southwest around the island, heading directly for Ford Island and Battleship Row. The second and third attack groups split again, making their way over the Waialua Valley towards Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Field, Ewa Marine Air Corps Station, Hickam Field, Bellows Field and Kaneohe Bay
A second wave of 168 aircraft reached Oahu just after 8:40 a.m. for further strafing runs on the American air bases. Eventually more than 350 Japanese Zeros, Kates and Vals would fill the sky raining bombs and machine gun fire, leaving the United States Pacific Fleet and much of the island in a state of destruction.
It is a tale of heroism on an epic scale as well as on a level of powerful personal intimacy. But the cataclysm of December 7 is not the end. America's response to the staggering emotional defeat at Pearl Harbor and subsequent defeats in the Pacific is to create one of the most daring and unexpected military events in history: the bombing of Tokyo through a suicide mission led by aviation legend Jimmy Doolittle (Alec Baldwin). When Colonel Doolittle picks Rafe and Danny to be his key leaders on the heroic raid, their lives and their love for Evelyn are once more at the center of this tale of passion and spectacular courage.
Randall Wallace was convinced that the Doolittle Raid should bookend his cinematic story. "Many people who know about Pearl Harbor and the broader aspects of World War II do not know about the Doolittle Raid, although it was a turning point in the morale of Americans," he explains. 'The raid over Tokyo was as unexpected by the Japanese as Pearl Harbor was. It took a tremendous amount of courage because the leaders of the raid did their planning and preparations with the knowledge that the odds were greatly against them. Had Doolittle and his men been overly concerned about their personal fate, they would never have made the attempt. But there was something more important to them than their individual survival. That's the definition of courage.
Joining the production late in the game, Alec Baldwin proved to be a casting coup for the filmmakers. 'We were lucky to get Alec," says Bruckheimer. "He's someone I've always wanted to work with but just couldn't find the right role at the right time. He's perfect for this part. He has the bearing of an officer, the authority and the strength. I think it was also important that we found an actor of his caliber to do justice to someone like Jimmy Doolittle.
'We didn't know that much about Doolittle when we started," the producer admits. "But then we were contacted by his historian and several family members and friends. They helped to shape and define the man for us. He was one of the great heroes of his day long before World War II. H
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