The European theatre and the Pacific theatre are very different for a number of reasons. The bombing was spread over a greater area than had been the case at Tokyo, and the attack caused less damage. These aircraft reached India, but remained there as the Japanese conquest of Burma caused logistics problems and Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek was reluctant to allow them to operate from territory under his control. An air defense general headquarters was established in November and a program of demolishing large numbers of buildings in major cities to create firebreaks began the next month. The national government placed the burden of constructing civilian air-raid shelters on the prefectural governments. They needed to get out of the house and to an underground shelter without any delay. An image from the US National Archives shows an Army Air Force newsletter from the summer of 1945. Following the landing on 1 April, TF 58 provided air defense for the naval force off Okinawa and regularly conducted patrols over Kyushu. The Twentieth Air Force's Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Lauris Norstad, was aware of the change in tactics though and provided support. [43] Arnold relieved XX Bomber Command's commander, Brigadier General Kenneth Wolfe, shortly after the raid on Yawata when he was unable to make follow-up attacks on Japan due to insufficient fuel stockpiles at the bases in China. As the fighters met few Japanese aircraft, they were mainly used to attack transportation infrastructure and targets of opportunity; these included at least two strafing attacks on groups of civilians. Just above it, children sit on a cloud. The USAAF's headquarters did not regard these claims as credible, and Chennault's requests for reinforcements were not granted. Two days later the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF) was established at Guam under the command of General Carl Spaatz. [213] During the last weeks of the war Superfortresses were able to operate with near impunity owing to the weakness of the Japanese air defenses; LeMay later claimed that during this period "it was safer to fly a combat mission over Japan than it was to fly a B-29 training mission back in the United States". Arriving in the Marianas in April 1945, the 315th underwent a period of operational training before flying its first attack against the Utsube Oil Refinery at Yokkaichi on the night of 26 June. [202], Attacks on airfields and transportation infrastructure in southern Japan continued until the end of the war. The resulting firestorm destroyed 7 square miles (18 km2) of the city (equivalent to half its area), killed 8,000 people and rendered 650,000 homeless. [152] As the small cities were not defended by anti-aircraft guns and Japan's night-fighter force was ineffective, only a single B-29 was shot down during this campaign; a further 66 were damaged and 18 crashed as a result of accidents. The nine raids conducted against Japan via bases in China succeeded only in destroying Ōmura's aircraft factory. The resulting explosion killed tens of thousands of people and destroyed about 4.7 square miles (12 km2) of buildings. Moreover, the American bombers were capable of flying faster at high altitude than many Japanese fighters. The incendiary raid conducted on the night of 29/30 November by 29 Superfortresses burnt out one tenth of a square mile, and was also judged to be unsuccessful by the Twentieth Air Force's headquarters. [92] The American military also attempted to develop "bat bombs", using incendiary bombs attached to bats dropped by aircraft to attack Japanese cities, but this project was abandoned in 1944. In an attempt to prevent further naval raids, the IJN launched an offensive in the Pacific Ocean which ended in defeat during the Battle of Midway. [94], Napalm, used by the Americans for flamethrowers and incendiary bombs, was increased in production from 500,000 lb (230,000 kg) in 1943 to 8 million lb (3.6 kt) in 1944. Katsumoto Saotome, the founder of the Tokyo Air Raids Center, had pushed for there to be a government-funded state museum dedicated to the raids. "Most men left the briefing rooms that day convinced of two things: one, LeMay was indeed a maniac; and two, many of them would not live to see the next day," wrote James Bowman, son of a B-29 fire raid crewman, in. The planners estimated that incendiary bomb attacks on Japan's six largest cities could cause physical damage to almost 40 percent of industrial facilities and result in the loss of 7.6 million man-months of labor. [300] In particular, Prime Minister Kantarō Suzuki stated that the combination of the conventional B-29 raids, Potsdam Declaration and atomic bombings gave the Government the opportunity to begin negotiations with the Allies. You will be doing research on key members of the meeting and the various options open to the U.S. One was a painting depicting charred bodies piled one on top of another. Fast-moving, dramatic, and exciting, Inferno is a must for all those interested in World War II in the Far East. On 16 July, XXI Bomber Command was re-designated the Twentieth Air Force and LeMay appointed its commander. "It brought back memories of that day, and I really felt like I owed it to all those people who had died to tell others what happened that day," said Nihei. Further fire raids on the Japanese capital on April 14 and 18, and May 24 and 26 reduced a further 38.7 square miles to cinders -- an area one-and-a-half times the size of Manhattan. [215], Many of the Allied airmen who were captured after being shot down over Japan were mistreated. Shortly after the attacks an opinion poll found that about 85 percent of Americans supported the use of atomic weapons, and the wartime generation believed that they had saved millions of lives. At 8:15 am local time the B-29 Enola Gay, piloted by Tibbets, dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb over the center of the city. [189] A force of 79 USAAF Liberators flying from Okinawa participated in this attack on 28 July. [7] However, these areas were rapidly captured by Japanese forces, and the USAAF heavy bomber force in the Philippines was largely destroyed when Clark Air Base was attacked on 8 December 1941. The middle portion of historical fantasy novel Teito Monogatari, is set during the period of the Allied firebombings in Japan. The Task Force attempted a second raid against the Tokyo area on 25 February, but this operation was frustrated by bad weather. [175] On 27 May, Admiral William Halsey assumed command of the Fifth Fleet (redesignated the Third Fleet) from Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Another raid was launched against Tokyo on the morning of 15 August, and the 103 aircraft of its first wave attacked their targets. Explosions buffeted his bomber, but the crew focused on their drop. While no airmen were executed in the Tōbu district (eastern Musashi), which included Tokyo, those captured in the Tōkai, Chūbu and Seibu (western Musashi) districts were sometimes killed after a brief trial or summarily executed by the Kempeitai ("Military Police Corps"). [162], During mid-July the USAAF strategic bomber forces in the Pacific were reorganized. While the P-51 pilots only occasionally encountered Japanese fighters in the air, the airfields were protected by anti-aircraft batteries and barrage balloons. [199] By the end of the war, VII Fighter Command had conducted 51 ground attack raids, of which 41 were considered successful. On the night of 19 June B-29s struck Fukuoka, Shizuoka and Toyohashi. Read Chapter 13 and watch the video below on the Firebombing of Japan before you start work on this assignment. Tokyo after the 1945 firebombing (USAF) Most of the homes in Tokyo in 1945 were still simple constructions of wood and paper. [140] From August 1944 Japanese aircraft occasionally conducted suicide ramming attacks on B-29s, and several specialized kamikaze fighter units were established in October; by the end of the war, ramming tactics had destroyed nine B-29s and damaged another 13 for the loss of 21 fighters. [256][257] While the Eighth Air Force units at Okinawa had not yet conducted any missions against Japan, General Doolittle decided not to contribute aircraft to this operation as he did not want to risk the lives of the men under his command when the war was effectively over. XXI Bomber Command flew six major missions between 23 January and 19 February with little success, though an incendiary raid against Kobe on 4 February caused significant damage to the city and its main factories. [10] In July 1942, the commander of the American Volunteer Group, Colonel Claire Lee Chennault, sought a force of 100 P-47 Thunderbolt fighters and 30 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, which he believed would be sufficient to "destroy" the Japanese aircraft industry. [18] Air raid drills had been held in Tokyo and Osaka since 1928, however, and from 1937 local governments were required to provide civilians with manuals that explained how to respond to air attacks. There are a number of other estimates of total fatalities, however, which range from 241,000 to 900,000. The city was attacked again by 61 B-29s on 21 November and by 17 bombers on 19 December. Tokyo residents who lost their homes as a result of the US bombing air raid "Operation Meetinghouse" conducted on March 10, 1945. [165][168], The US Navy conducted its first attacks against the Japanese home islands in mid-February 1945. We must live." [271], Japan's bomb-damaged cities were rebuilt after the war. [32] Chennault, by now the commander of the Fourteenth Air Force in China, advocated building the B-29 bases near Kweilin, closer to Japan, but this area was judged too vulnerable to counterattack. [112][113], The Japanese government was concerned about the results of the March firebombing attacks as the raids had demonstrated that the Japanese military was unable to protect the nation's airspace. -- Charles Whiting, Author of Hunters from the Sky: The German Parachute Corps, 1940-1945 . [28], Following the Doolittle Raid, the next air attacks on Japan were made against the Kuril Islands in mid-1943. The Eighth Air Force was led by James Doolittle (who had been promoted to general) and was being reequipped with B-29s. Much of the napalm went from nine US factories to bomb-assembly plants making the M-69 incendiary and packing 38 of them into the E-46 cluster bomb; these were shipped across the Pacific and stored for future use. Haruyo Nihei, a survivor of the deadliest single bombing raid in human history, looks at maps at Tokyo Air Raids Center for War Damages. In January 1945, LeMay selected the 313th Bombardment Wing to be the Twentieth Air Force's specialist mine-laying unit, and the Navy provided assistance with its training and logistics. [304], There has been debate over the morality of the air campaign against Japan since World War II. The Minister of Home Affairs, Iwao Yamazaki, concluded after these raids that Japan's civil defense arrangements were "considered to be futile". Firebombing is a bombing technique designed to damage a target, generally an urban area, through the use of fire, caused by incendiary devices, rather than from the blast effect of large bombs.. The Japanese defenses were relatively successful on this occasion, and 26 Superfortresses were shot down and another 100 damaged. Firebombing of Japan . In Japan, the US air war reached peak intensity with area bombing and climaxed with the atomic bombing of Japanese cities between the night of March 9-10 and Japan’s August 15, 1945 surrender. As part of the Allied response to these attacks, XXI Bomber Command conducted major raids on airfields in Kyushu on 8 and 16 April, though the first of these attacks was diverted to strike residential areas in Kagoshima after the airfields were found to be covered by clouds. Inferno takes a provocative and indeed controversial stand on the firebombing of Japan's cities…. An attack on the aircraft arsenal at Tachikawa six days later was aborted due to cloud cover; some of the heavy bombers attacked the city of Hamamatsu instead. A stranger wrapped himself around her to protect her from the flames. The bombers were the culmination of 20 years of aviation advances leading up to World War II and were the first to have pressurized, heated fuselages, enabling them to operate above 18,000 feet without crews having to don special gear or use oxygen masks. [308] It has also been suggested that anti-Japanese sentiment was a factor motivating the USAAF's emphasis on firebombing during the campaign against Japan while most of its raids on Germany used precision bombing tactics. Despite the vulnerability of Japanese cities to firebombing attacks, the firefighting services lacked training and equipment, and few air raid shelters were constructed for civilians. [114] Japanese air defenses were reinforced in response to the firebombing raids, but remained inadequate; 450 fighters were assigned to defensive duties in April. [272] In September 1945 the Japanese government offered to provide material for 300,000 small temporary houses to evacuees, but the emphasis of its policies in this year and 1946 was to stop people returning to the damaged cities. US war planners came up with a target list designed to obliterate anything that might help Tokyo, from aircraft bases to ball bearing factories. As well as the extensive physical damage in the targeted cities, the attacks also caused increased absenteeism as civilians were afraid to leave their homes to work in factories which might be bombed. They began to arrive over the city at 2:00 am Guam time on 10 March, and 279 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of bombs. In addition to the loss of mostly civilian life, the raids contributed to a large decline in industrial production. [229] Four days later the 509th Composite Group's modified "Silverplate" B-29s began flying practice raids against Japanese cities, each armed with a single high-explosive "pumpkin" bomb; further practice missions took place on 24, 26 and 29 July. Tokyo (CNN)Everywhere she turned, 8-year-old Haruyo Nihei saw flames. "It suddenly spread its four legs and froze -- then the luggage caught fire -- then it caught onto the horse's tail and consumed the horse," she said. The clusters would separate during their descent and small parachutes would carry each bomblet to the ground. [104] The Tokyo police force and fire department estimated that 83,793 people were killed during the air raid, another 40,918 were injured and just over a million lost their homes; postwar estimates of deaths in this attack have ranged from 80,000 to 100,000. On 6 July, attacks were conducted against Akashi, Chiba, Kōfu and Shimizu. Between 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. the main force of American B-29s unleashed 500,000 M-69 bombs, each one clustered in groups of 38 and weighing six pounds. Almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber. Moreover, the bomber forces often had to pass through severe weather fronts between the Mariana Islands and Japan, which broke up formations and caused navigation problems. [212] The number of fighters assigned to the Air General Army peaked at just over 500 during June and July, but most frontline units had relatively few serviceable aircraft. During that year the naval attaché to the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo reported that Japan's civil defenses were weak, and proposals were made for American aircrew to volunteer for service with Chinese forces in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Another unsuccessful raid was conducted against Yawata on 20 August in which the B-29 force was intercepted by over 100 fighters. The figures most frequently cited in the literature on the campaign are sourced from the USSBS report The Effects of Bombing on Health and Medical Services in Japan which estimated that 333,000 Japanese were killed and 473,000 wounded. No Japanese fighters were encountered in the air, however, as they were being kept in reserve for a planned large-scale suicide attack on the Allied fleet. [254] On 13 August, B-29s dropped copies of the Japanese government's conditional offer to surrender over Japanese cities. Overall, the two air forces flew 6,435 sorties against targets in Kyushu during July and August for the loss of 43 aircraft to Japanese anti-aircraft guns and fighters. [311] American historian Barrett Tillman has also written that area attacks were unavoidable because, owing to the limitations of their bombsight and the high winds common over Japan, the B-29s were incapable of bombing individual targets without also causing widespread damage to surrounding areas. [291] Absenteeism caused by the air attacks further reduced output. In popular usage, any act in which an incendiary device is used to initiate a fire is often described as a "firebombing". And they would go in single file, rather than in the large multi-layered formations the US had used in the daylight bombing of German forces in Europe; Smoke and fire rise from Tokyo during the US firebomb raid. However, these attacks were frustrated by high winds and cloud cover and little damage was inflicted. The F-13s were generally able to evade the heavy anti-aircraft fire they attracted and the large numbers of Japanese fighters that were scrambled to intercept them as they flew at both high speed and high altitude. [128][129], After being released from supporting the Okinawa campaign, XXI Bomber Command conducted an intensive firebombing campaign against Japan's main cities from mid-May. [66] These bases were more capable of supporting an intensive air campaign against Japan than those in China as they could be easily supplied by sea and were 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south of Tokyo, which allowed B-29s to strike most areas in the home islands and return without refueling. Among the dead Japanese on March 10 were six of Nihei's close friends. The government chose not to develop strong defenses to meet the threat of air attack as the country's industrial resources were unable to maintain offensive air forces in China and the Pacific as well as a defensive force in the home islands. In 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō took responsibility for Japan’s refusal to surrender when defeat was inevitable, thus placing the blame for the firebombing on Japan itself. [120][121] Over 250 B-29s struck three different aircraft factories on 12 April; during this operation the 73rd Bombardment Wing inflicted heavy damage on the Musashino aircraft plant and fought off 185 Japanese fighters without loss. [206], Air combat was most intense in late 1944 and early 1945. [273] The reconstruction of 115 cities began in 1946, and this work was conducted in line with guidelines developed by the Japanese government. Over the course of the bombing raid, American planes dropped an estimated 2,000 tons of explosives on the city, creating a massive firestorm which killed countless numbers of civilians. At first, Nihei was too frightened to go alone to the center in 2002, so she asked a friend to come with her. The Japanese fought back against these raids with kamikaze and conventional attacks, and inflicted light damage on three carriers on 18 March and severely damaged USS Franklin the next day. [265] A similar operation was conducted the next day, and on 2 September 462 B-29s and many naval aircraft overflew the Allied fleet in Tokyo Bay following the surrender ceremony on board USS Missouri. [269][270] There was no Japanese resistance to the Allied occupation, and the number of air units stationed in the country was gradually reduced from late 1945. While the March 9-10, 1945, bombing of Tokyo was the deadliest raid of the war, for sheer totality of destruction it was eclipsed by the August 1, 1945, firebomb raid on Toyama. [161] On the night of 6/7 July the 315th Bombardment Wing destroyed the Maruzen oil refinery near Osaka, and three nights later it completed the destruction of the Utsube refinery. From February 1945, the bombers switched to low-altitude night firebombing against urban areas as much of the manufacturing process was carried out in small workshops and private homes: this approach resulted in large-scale urban damage. Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberators also bombed the railway terminals in the port of Nagasaki on 31 July and 1 August. [107] Following the attack on Tokyo, the Japanese government ordered the evacuation of all schoolchildren in the third to sixth grades from the main cities, and 87 percent of them had departed to the countryside by early April. The Kurils were attacked again on 18 July by six B-24 Liberator heavy bombers, and the unopposed liberation of Kiska (Operation Cottage) took place on 15 August. [14], Japanese cities were highly vulnerable to damage from firebombing due to their design and the weak state of the country's civil defense organization. Once again no Japanese aircraft opposed this attack, though 25 were destroyed on the ground. Most of the factories targeted were badly damaged. Japanese positions in the Bonin Islands were normally able to provide an hour's warning of American raids and air raid sirens were sounded in cities threatened by attack. By the end of the war 614,000 housing units had been destroyed to clear firebreaks; these accounted for a fifth of all housing losses in Japan during the war and displaced 3.5 million people. As a result, the GDC's functions were limited to coordinating communications between the Imperial General Headquarters—Japan's highest military decision-making body—and the military districts. And while the Allied bombing of Dresden in Germany in. War damage and the need to rehouse soldiers and civilians returning from overseas resulted in a shortage of 4.2 million units of housing which, combined with food shortages, led to many civilians being forced to live in harsh conditions. At one point, the B-29s' base at North Field, on the tiny island of Tinian. Commentary: And what’s sometimes forgotten in this history is that these B-29s were firebombing Japan long before the nuclear bombs were dropped. "[144], In mid-June Arnold visited LeMay's headquarters at Saipan. On the night of 13/14 March, 274 Superfortresses attacked Osaka and destroyed 8.1 square miles (21 km2) of the city for the loss of two aircraft. The first of these attacks was made against southern Shumshu and northern Paramushiru by eight B-25s on 10 July. [232][233] On 26 July the United States, Britain and China issued the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded Japan's surrender after warning that the country would be devastated if the war continued. That summer of 1945 was tough for Nihei. It was expected that the Allies would not be able to re-capture these bases. In addition, industrial and military facilities in urban areas were normally surrounded by densely populated residential buildings. The March 1945 firebombing of Tokyo and the immorality of war A residential section of Tokyo is seen destroyed following Operation Meetinghouse, the … [139][140] This attack marked the end of the first phase of XXI Bomber Command's attack on Japan's cities. [20] A small number of sophisticated shelters were constructed for air defense headquarters and to protect key telephone facilities. [3] The urban area attacks reduced the morale of the Japanese population, and postwar surveys conducted by the USSBS found that air attacks were the most important factor in convincing the Japanese that the war had been lost. [157][158] The cities of Imabari, Maebashi, Nishinomiya and Saga were attacked on 5 August. The cities were almost undefended and no B-29s were lost to Japanese actions. The planes dropped their explosive loads from the high altitudes -- around 30,000 feet -- they were designed to operate at, but as few as 20% hit their targets. During the same period the command conducted a number of attacks on targets in Manchuria, China and Formosa from its bases in China, as well as striking targets in Southeast Asia from India. [294] Compounding the effects of the air attacks, Japan's rice crop of 1945 failed. While plans for attacks on Japan had been prepared prior to the Pacific War, these could not begin until the long-range B-29 Superfortress bomber was ready for combat. The US bombers then targeted "medium-sized towns," hitting 58 of them, according to the official history. Antonov said that they would start preliminary base construction. While these raids were focused on tactical targets, the Okinawa-based aircraft made several strategic attacks against industrial facilities; these included an unsuccessful raid on a coal liquefaction plant at Ōmuta on 7 August. TF 58, renumbered TF 38, continued operations off Okinawa in late May and June, and on 2 and 3 June one of its task groups attacked airfields on Kyushu. The next day they attacked Japanese warships at Kure and Kobe, damaging the battleship Yamato and aircraft carrier Amagi. They were running with babies burning on their backs," Nihei said. [153], August 1945 began with further large-scale raids against Japanese cities. [102] XXI Bomber Command mounted a maximum effort, and on the afternoon of 9 March 346 B-29s left the Marianas bound for Tokyo. [223][224] Between six[225] and eight[226] US airmen shot down on 5 May were subjected to vivisection at the Kyushu Imperial University; Professor Fukujirō Ishiyama and other doctors conducted four such sessions throughout May and early June. The next day, President Truman ordered a halt to the bombing due to the possibility that it would be interpreted as a sign that the peace negotiations had failed. [87] These changes were not popular with XXI Bomber Command's aircrew, as they believed that it was safer to fly heavily armed aircraft at high altitude. US crews blamed poor visibility in bad weather and said the strong winds of the jet stream often pushed bombs off target as they fell. They were designed largely by Gen. Curtis LeMay, commander of the US bombers in the Pacific. The first raid took place on the night of 15/16 June when 75 B-29s were dispatched to attack the Imperial Iron and Steel Works at Yawata in northern Kyūshū. [315], Aerial bombing of Japan during World War II. [178] Halsey sought to coordinate his fleet's attacks during the last months of the war with those of the USAAF's land-based aircraft, but the two forces often operated separately. During May and June the bombers had destroyed much of the country's six largest cities, killing between 112,000 and 126,762 people and rendering millions homeless. [116] Mine-laying operations were disrupted in April as the wing was assigned to support operations in Okinawa and participate in conventional bombing raids. [82], In late January 1945 the Imperial General Headquarters belatedly adopted a civil defense plan to counter the American air raids. [313] Since then, Japanese academics, such as Yuki Tanaka and Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, have argued that use of the bombs was immoral and constituted a war crime. The horrors Nihei saw that night were the result of Operation Meetinghouse, the deadliest of a series of firebombing air raids on Tokyo by the United States Army Air Forces, between February and May 1945. [299], Allied air raids significantly influenced the Japanese government's decision to surrender. Such firefighting forces that did exist lacked modern equipment and used outdated tactics. It was decided to press for this at Yalta. LeMay was tasked with finding a way to get results. The Allied bombing campaign was one of the main factors which influenced the Japanese government's decision to surrender in mid-August 1945. Allied forces conducted many air raids on Japan during World War II, causing extensive destruction to the country's cities and killing between 241,000 and 900,000 people. [138], The firebombing campaign against major cities ended in June. Closely read the scenario, the pre-briefing questions, and the problem before starting your work. But the atomic bombing of Hiroshima occurred just five days later, and Toyama's tragic story was all but lost in the closing days of World War II. [201] From 17 May, P-47 Thunderbolt fighters flying from the Ryukyus made frequent day and night patrols over Kyushu to disrupt the Japanese air units there. These orders specified that the first attack should be made after 3 August, and named Hiroshima, Kokura, Niigata and Nagasaki as targets. "You'll be burned alive (in here)," her father said. XXI Bomber Command's effectiveness was also limited by poor B-29 maintenance practices and over-crowding at its airfields—these factors reduced the number of aircraft which were available for operations and complicated the process of launching and recovering the bombers. [84] Moreover, while improved maintenance procedures implemented by LeMay reduced the number of B-29s that had to return to base during raids due to technical problems, the Command suffered a loss rate of 5.1% in these operations. These aircraft were launched on 18 April, and individually bombed targets in Tokyo, Yokohama, Yokosuka, Nagoya and Kobe. The first two of these attacks on 13 and 18 December used precision bombing tactics, and damaged the city's aircraft plants. From June 1944 until January 1945, B-29s stationed in India staged through bases in China to make a series of nine raids on targets in western Japan, but this effort proved ineffective. In addition, Hansell's preference for precision bombing was no longer in accordance with the views of the Twentieth Air Force headquarters, which wanted a greater emphasis on area attacks. 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