When USS Hornet is mentioned, most people think about the Dolittle Raid of Tokyo in 1942 by USS Hornet.
But there was an earlier USS Hornet that was launched in 1805. Back to in the 19th century, when China lost her first opium war (Anglo-Chinese War) to Great Britain and signed the Treaty of Nanjing (南京条约/万年和约, 道光二十二年七月二十四日) on 29 August 1842, the Brits chose the HMS Cornwallis (1813) to be the venue. It was a part of Royal Navy fleet. Important or inconsequential, it also defeated the USS Hornet (1805) on 27 April 1815, during the War of 1812. The treaty would become the first of many unequal treaties. Interestingly enough, in less than a decade, GB wanted to amend the hurriedly dictated the treaty on board the HMS Cornwallis but China refused… there came the Arrow War, the second opium war, 1856-60.
Back to USS Hornet, (1940), which was the 7th US navy ship of the name Hornet. It was well known because it carried out two famous missions, Doolittle Raid on 1942.4.18 and the Battle of Middle in June of the same year.
The Doolittle Raid was to retaliate of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.It meant to strike fear into the minds of Japanese that their capital was within reach. It was directed by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle (1896-1993), with a PhD in aeronautics from MIT in 1925. On 18 April 1942, sixteen Billy Mitchell B-25B Mitchell took off from the ship for their one-way bombing mission – 800 miles from their target. Afterward destroying industrial cities in Japan, the 80 volunteer raiders flew onto China (Free China) and most of them, included Jimmy Doolittle, a Lt. Colony, were saved by Chinese and missionaries. Doolittle and many his crew returned to U.S. and many went on further tours of WWII. Doolittle became a general, 26 years after leaving the military.
The missionary records kept at DePaul University shed a light on the suffering of the Chinese recently. The Japanese military mounted an attack only days after the Tokyo raid. The horrific punishment for helping the Americans was 250,000 lives lost, on par with the Nanjing massacre in 1937-8. The movie, Thirty Second Over Tokyo was premiered in 1944.
Four photos are from The Smithsonian magazine. The above ⇑ three were in China, after the bombing mission. The wreckage was of Doolittle’s plane who is seated to the right.
航舰大黄蜂系都是身经百战的老手,故事多多.她的前…前身(1805)参加1812年战争时被英国的HMS Cornwallis 康沃尔利斯击败.而康船就是1842年南京条约签署的地方.