RE: Doolittle Raid B25B 40-2242 that landed in Russia after the raid
Since I first read "30 Seconds" in elementary school I was curious about the flight of "2242". Why did those guys go north and no one else? Internment in the Soviet Union was certainly preferable to bailing at night over the Chinese wilderness and it should have occurred to one of the other crews.
It is no surprise that Stalin was suspicious of the U.S., particularly with a capitalist like Roosevelt as president (even though FDRs policies toward the USSR were open). Stalin was afraid of everyone.
Key to the story is York's and/or other crew's qualifications as intelligence agents. I have forgotten, was there anything in York's background that would attract Doolittle? Wasn't there a former military attache aboard the Hornet?
Although I was/am cautious about attributing the landing in Vlad as part of an intelligence mission I would offer these ideas in support of the theory:
- U.S. intelligence gathering was casual at best in those days. Tasking a "civilian" with an intelligence mission was typical. Consider the whole American Volunteer Group project in China.
-Knowledge of the SU and particularly the Soviet Far East was critical to prosecuting the war against Germany. The supply line across the Pacific to Vlad dates back to the First World War and promised to be an important lifeline for Stalin (my own father delivered P-39s to the Sovs in Montana and Alaska in '43 and '44)
-Five GIs killing time in Vlad could learn a lot. As it worked out, they took the train (didn't they?) to Iran which would have given them an idea of the quality of the rail net.
Son of 1LT Francis R. "Dick" Wilma (1920-2005)
Air Transport Command, Chabua, India, '44 - '45 www.DavidWilma.com