Kobe was the next target in the firebombing campaign, and was attacked by 331 B-29s on the night of 16/17 March. [138], The firebombing campaign against major cities ended in June. [156][163], From mid-1944, the US Navy pressed for B-29s to be used to lay naval mines in Japan's home waters to strengthen the blockade of the country. Bombs dropped by the Americans had created tornadoes of fire so intense that they were sucking mattresses from homes and hurling them down the street along with furniture -- and people. [210] Moreover, as the anti-aircraft guns were mainly stationed near major industrial areas, many of the raids on small cities were almost unopposed. [115], The start of the major firebombing campaign was delayed as XXI Bomber Command was used to attack airfields in southern Japan from late March to mid-May in support of the invasion of Okinawa, an island only a few hundred miles south of the home islands. The following table provides examples of the estimated number of Japanese casualties from air attack in different sources: Much of Japan's industrial capacity was also destroyed by Allied bombing. This offensive achieved its objectives and resulted in the deaths of 250,000 Chinese soldiers and civilians; many of these civilian deaths were due to war crimes. In October 1943 the Home Ministry directed households in the major cities to build their own shelters, though these were normally only trenches. [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. It was expected that the Allies would not be able to re-capture these bases. Flames still raged in Tokyo the morning after the fire bombs fell. [83], The first attacks conducted under LeMay's leadership achieved mixed results. Another unsuccessful raid was conducted against Yawata on 20 August in which the B-29 force was intercepted by over 100 fighters. By this time 9,000 balloons had been dispatched but only 285 were reported to have reached the contiguous United States. [171], TF 58 renewed its attacks on Japan in mid-March when it made a series of raids that sought to destroy Japanese aircraft within range of Okinawa prior to the landing there. "[144], In mid-June Arnold visited LeMay's headquarters at Saipan. At the Yalta Conference one year later, Stalin told Roosevelt that American B-29s would be based at the remote Komsomolsk-Nikolaevsk area. During the war the American public approved of the bombing of Germany and Japan, and the few people who criticized the raids were seen as unrealistic or even traitors. [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. [281] The destruction of buildings housing government records during air raids contributed to the uncertainty about the number of casualties. [76] The third raid was a daylight incendiary attack which was conducted after the Twentieth Air Force directed that 100 B-29s armed with M-69 bombs be dispatched against Nagoya to test the effectiveness of these weapons on a Japanese city. [291] Absenteeism caused by the air attacks further reduced output. [145] LeMay's plan called for precision attacks on important industrial targets on days when the weather over Japan was clear and incendiary attacks guided by radar on overcast days. Overall, 1,700 tons of bombs were dropped, 16 square miles were burned, and 100,000 people lost their lives. [187][188] On 24, 25 and 28 July the Allied fleet attacked Kure and the Inland Sea and sank an aircraft carrier and three battleships, as well as two heavy cruisers, a light cruiser and several other warships. After a break of almost a week, Matsuyama, Omuta and Tokuyama were firebombed on 26 July. Commentary: And what’s sometimes forgotten in this history is that these B-29s were firebombing Japan long before the nuclear bombs were dropped. [127] On 11 May a small force of B-29s destroyed an airframe factory at Konan. These aircraft were placed in reserve to counterattack the Allied invasion. Arnold and his staff were unenthusiastic about these proposals, however, as they believed that such missions would divert too many Superfortresses away from precision bombing attacks. [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. By the end of the campaign, hundreds of thousands of refugees were created across Japan. As the flames closed in, Nihei found herself at a Tokyo crossroad, screaming for her father. [148] Four days later, 510 B-29s escorted by 148 P-51s were sent against nine factories in southern Honshu and Shikoku. [175] On 27 May, Admiral William Halsey assumed command of the Fifth Fleet (redesignated the Third Fleet) from Admiral Raymond A. Spruance. Allied naval and land-based tactical air units also attacked Japan during 1945. They had little success in permanently clearing minefields or downing the B-29s, however. The wing's B-29s were fitted with the advanced AN/APQ-7 radar that allowed targets to be accurately located at night. In an operation conducted primarily to raise morale in the United States and to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor, 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers were carried from San Francisco to within range of Japan on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet. Bombs released, Bigelow banked his B-29 sharply and headed out to sea. Arguments made against the attacks include that Japan would have eventually surrendered and that the attacks were made to either intimidate the Soviet Union or justify the Manhattan Project. The 313th Bombardment Wing lost only 16 B-29s during mine-laying operations. Several of those found guilty were executed and the remainder were imprisoned. Closely read the scenario, the pre-briefing questions, and the problem before starting your work. These leaflets did not have any effect on Japanese civilians, but demonstrated that China could potentially conduct small scale air attacks on the area. [304], There has been debate over the morality of the air campaign against Japan since World War II. The key development for the bombing of Japan was the B-29 Superfortress strategic bomber, which had an operational range of 3,250 nautical miles (3,740 mi; 6,020 km) and was capable of attacking at high altitude above 30,000 feet (9,100 m), where enemy defenses were very weak. Historian E. Bartlett Kerr supported this assessment, and argued that the firebombing of Japan's major cities was the key factor motivating Hirohito's decision to end the war. Over 600 major industrial facilities were destroyed or badly damaged, contributing to a large decline in production. The Japanese government rejected the Allied demands on 28 July. The naval aviators claimed to have destroyed 251 aircraft in their attacks on 9 August and damaged a further 141. [95] Arnold and the Air Staff wanted to wait to use the incendiaries until a large-scale program of firebombing could be mounted, to overwhelm the Japanese city defenses. [34], In 1944 bombing of Japan from the Soviet Union by American aircraft with American or Soviet crews was considered. The firebombing of Tokyo was an American bombing raid on the Japanese city of Tokyo which occurred on the night of 9 March, 1945. [51] The government also encouraged old people, children and women in cities that were believed likely to be attacked to move to the countryside from December 1943, and a program of evacuating entire classes of schoolchildren was implemented. [241] Two days later, daylight incendiary raids were conducted against the cities of Yawata and Fukuyama; these attacks destroyed 21 percent of Yawata's urban area and over 73 percent of Fukuyama. The most commonly cited estimate of Japanese casualties from the raids is 333,000 killed and 473,000 wounded. From 17 April until 11 May, when the B-29s were released for other duties, about three-quarters of XXI Bomber Command's effort was devoted to attacking airfields and other targets in direct support of the Battle of Okinawa; this included 2,104 sorties flown against 17 airfields. The most important of these was the weather; the American raiders frequently encountered cloudy conditions and high winds over Japan which made accurate bombing extremely difficult. [153], From late June the 315th Bombardment Wing conducted a series of night precision bombing attacks against the Japanese oil industry, independently of the precision day and night incendiary raids. [36][37] The Twentieth Air Force was formed in April 1944 to oversee all B-29 operations. [86] This attack was a large-scale test of the effectiveness of firebombing. LeMay was tasked with finding a way to get results. [230] Meanwhile, on 24 July President Harry S. Truman approved the use of atomic bombs against Japan, and the next day Spaatz received written orders to this effect. 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. Before the war it was believed that Soviet aircraft based in the Russian Far East posed the greatest threat. [235] The six American aircraft involved in this attack returned safely to the Marianas. [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. Three B-29s were lost. This policy evolved from the relationship between the USAAF commander, General Henry Arnold, and his subordinates in the field. "We, the subjects, are enraged at the American acts. As more people piled into the intersection, she was pushed to the ground. [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. LeMay would later acknowledge the sheer brutality of it. The Commonwealth Tiger Force, which was to include Australian, British, Canadian and New Zealand heavy bomber squadrons and attack Japan from Okinawa, was also to come under the command of USASTAF when it arrived in the region during late 1945. [182] The loss of the railway car ferries reduced the amount of coal shipped from Hokkaido to Honshu by 80 percent, which greatly hindered production in Honshu's factories. On 16 July, XXI Bomber Command was re-designated the Twentieth Air Force and LeMay appointed its commander. The attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 led to open hostilities between the US and Japan and ended the need for covert operations, however, and this unit did not become active. A force of 472 B-29s struck Nagoya by day on 13 May and destroyed 3.15 square miles (8.2 km2) of the city. [24] The weak state of the country's air defenses greatly embarrassed the Japanese military leadership, and four fighter groups were transferred from the Pacific to defend the home islands. The American ships sailed south, and attacked Okinawa from 1 March. [89], USAAF planners began assessing the feasibility of a firebombing campaign against Japanese cities in 1943. Over 2,600 American bomber crew members were killed, including POWs who died in captivity, and a further 433 were wounded.[2]. "My mom called out that dinner was ready, and we promised we would meet to play again the next day.". Firebombing knocked out half of the factories in Kobe and was part of one of the biggest attacks in the war. The number of fighters available declined from late January, however. In a quiet corner of Tokyo's Koto ward a two-story building that has the air of a residential home in fact houses the Tokyo Air Raids Center for War Damages. Fanned by a strong … The strategic bombing campaign was greatly expanded from November 1944 when bases in the Mariana Islands became available as a result of the Mariana Islands Campaign. Anti-Abomb folks generally of the western extraction ie North America and Europe are often appallingly ignorant of the firebombing campaign that led up to Hiroshima and … Targeting Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe, as well as smaller Japanese cities, Major General Curtis LeMay (1906-1990) and his squadrons of B-29 bombers - flying low and carrying nothing but incendiary explosives - unleashed an almost nightly bombing campaign througout the spring and summer of 1945 that reduced the residential and commercial centers of the nation to rubble and charcoal. XXI Bomber Command attacked Tokyo three times between 27 November and 3 December; two of these raids were made against the Musashino aircraft plant while the other targeted an industrial area using M-69 incendiary cluster bombs, specifically developed to damage Japanese urban areas. [96][97] This was in line with Arnold's targeting directive for XXI Bomber Command, which specified that urban areas were to be accorded the second-highest priority for attacks after aircraft factories. Japanese signals intelligence units could provide longer warning times of incoming raids by eavesdropping on the bombers' radio communications, but were unable to predict the target of the attack. [141][142][143] In Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Kobe, and Kawasaki, "over 126,762 people were killed ... and a million and a half dwellings and over 105 square miles (270 km2) of urban space were destroyed. [153], August 1945 began with further large-scale raids against Japanese cities. The Japanese government implemented harsh penalties against civilians who kept copies of these leaflets. Inferno takes a provocative and indeed controversial stand on the firebombing of Japan's cities…. The second image portrays the glistening Tokyo skyline. [63], Stalin had agreed at the 1944 Moscow Conference to the United States having air bases near Vladivostok (where six or seven large aerodromes had been built and reserved[63]) and the use of Petropavlovsk (Kamchatka) as a base; he "virtually ignored" earlier proposals for a Soviet bombing force. [78] XXI Bomber Command raided the Musashino aircraft plant in Tokyo again on 27 December, but did not damage the facility. [65] USAAF and US Navy engineers subsequently constructed six airfields on the islands to accommodate hundreds of B-29s. Everything was burning. Sixteen multi-city incendiary attacks had been conducted by the end of the war (an average of two per week), and these targeted 58 cities. 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