Today, on April 18, 1942 (Japan):
The United States launched 16 B25s from the USS Hornet on a daring attack on the Japanese home-island hoping to boost American morale, demoralize the Japanese and show that Japan was just as vulnerable to air attacks as Pearl Harbor was.
There’s one main difference. The Japanese successfully attacked military targets on the island of Oahu, whereas the American assault did minimal damage while bombing Tokyo, Kawasaki, Nagoya and other cities and mainly hit non-military targets (or missed). The Japanese stated these attacks violated international law as a handful that died were military (operating anti-air craft guns); however, the rest were citizens of all ages including school children. According to the Almanac of American Military History (Vol 1) by Mr. Spencer Tucker, all but one B25s were lost; on the Japanese side 50 people were killed, several hundred injured.
Doolittle was branded a hero, given the Medal of Honor and promoted. On the Japanese side, this attack changed the defensive posture of the Japanese navy and reinforced the necessity of making the sinking the US aircraft carriers their top priority. There were two negative effects that came of this attack; the first was that the Japanese realized the United States was set on using airfields in China–Japan quickly took these over. The second was the Japanese focusing their efforts on Midway, which is known as being the turning point in the Pacific War.
Read more @: http://www.uss-hornet.org/history/wwii/doolittle_4.shtml
Or some of the Japanese here @ http://www.nids.go.jp/publication/senshi/pdf/200803/06.pdf
Photo from http://www.navy.history.mil
Today, on March 7, 1942 (Japan in Burma):
The Imperial Army of the Japanese, along with the “Burma Independence Army” (BIA), which contained thousands of nationalists and the Thirty Comrades–the predecessor to the Burmese army, captured Rangoon on this day in 1942; ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian Command) and Chinese coalition forces retreated to the north and eventually regrouped in India. The Thirty Comrades had sought military training from the Japanese to fight for their independence from Britain, before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The BIA was formally created on December 26, 1941.
The Japanese focus was to capture Rangoon, both the capital and major seaport in the region–to better defend any gains made in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. An interesting side note is that Japan did not have to fight Thailand, as they had a treaty with them, with allowed Japanese forces to move unhindered. In return, Japan agreed to let the Thais have the Kayah and Shan states of Burma, while Japan controlled the rest.
The ABDA coalition attempted to defend the city; however, they were not ready for war. Even after reinforcements arrived, the Japanese were able to hold off ABDA counterattacks and were able to take the city. This enabled the Japanese to look western, and focus their attention on India.
I know you want to know more: http://1.usa.gov/1cGEbcR
Today, on March 3, 1945 (Philippines):
After one month of fighting; the United States and members from the Commonwealth of the Philippines were victorious against the Japanese and Second Philippine Republic forces. This ended Japanese rule in the Philippines and re-established Manila as a Democracy in Asia.
“American lives were understandably far more valuable than historic landmarks.”
However, there was a great cost. American forces chose not to use infantry, but bombardment and artillery to defeat the Japanese. The old buildings, underground areas, Fort Santiago, and other areas within the city walls provided excellent cover.–as they were created from reinforced concrete.
On this day we remember the estimated 100,000 Filipinos, 16,000 Japanese forces, and 1,000 Americans that died as a result of this conflict.
Read more @ http://1.usa.gov/1cm6YZU (Chapter 16, p291)
(US Army Signal Corp photo)