Bombing of Tokyo file photo

Bombing of Tokyo and Other Cities

19 Feb 1945 - 10 Aug 1945

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

This article covers the conventional bombing of Japanese cities. For details on the atomic bombing, please see the article dedicated to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Bombing of Tokyo

The first of the long-range bombing raids on the Japanese home islands took place as early as 28 Nov 1944, mainly from the newly constructed air fields in the Mariana Islands. In Jan 1945, American General Curtis LeMay took over the 20th and 21st Bomber Commands, merging them into the XX Air Force. The XX Air Force immediately took on the task of bombing Japanese naval and air bases from high altitude, though most of the early attacks achieved relatively little.

In the spring of 1945, the B-29 Superfortress bombers were transferred to the XXI Bomber Command based at Guam, Mariana Islands. With increased scale, intensity, and frequency, the bombing campaign began to rain considerable destruction on Japanese cities. Tokyo, being the Japanese capital, received a greater share of attention from American bombers. The XXI Bomber Command missions on Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1945 were as follows.

Yutaka Akabane, a senior level civil servant, observed that

It was the raids on the medium and smaller cities which had the worst effect and really brought home to the people the experience of bombing and a demoralization of faith in the outcome of the war.... It was bad enough in so large a city as Tokyo, but much worse in the smaller cities, where most of the city would be wiped out. Through May and June the spirit of the people was crushed. (When B-29s dropped propaganda pamphlets) the morale of the people sank terrifically, reaching a low point in July, at which time there was no longer hope of victory or draw but merely desire for ending the war.

By the time of the Japanese surrender, 50% of Tokyo was reduced to rubble.

Bombing of Kobe

Tokyo was not the only Japanese city targeted by American bombing in 1945. The city of Kobe, Japan, also suffered from American bombing.

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More on Bombing of Tokyo and Other Cities
Participants:
» Anabuki, Satoru
» LeMay, Curtis

Location:
» Japan

Ship Participant:
» Wasp (Essex-class)

Notable Aircraft:
» B-29 Superfortress

Related Book:
» Whirlwind: The Air War Against Japan 1942-1945


Bombing of Tokyo and Other Cities Photo Gallery
US airmen reading a bulletin announcing their Saipan, Mariana Islands-based unit
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