Chōshi, Fukui, Hitachi, Okazaki were bombed on 19 July. Two successful large-scale precision bombing raids were flown against aircraft factories in Tokyo and Nagoya on 7 April; the raid on Tokyo was the first to be escorted by Iwo Jima-based P-51 Mustang very-long-range fighters from the VII Fighter Command, and the Americans claimed to have shot down 101 Japanese aircraft for the loss of two P-51s and seven B-29s. Moreover, the American bombers were capable of flying faster at high altitude than many Japanese fighters. [50], XXI Bomber Command followed up the firebombing of Tokyo with similar raids against other major cities. [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. However, the Japanese anticipated that the Allies might still make small-scale attacks against the home islands using naval aircraft flying from aircraft carriers. [16][17] Despite this vulnerability, few cities had full-time professional firefighters and most relied on volunteers. During the first years of the Pacific War these attacks were limited to the Doolittle Raid in April 1942 and small-scale raids on military positions in the Kuril Islands from mid-1943. The resulting shortage of rice caused widespread malnutrition, and mass starvation would have occurred had the war continued. [294] Compounding the effects of the air attacks, Japan's rice crop of 1945 failed. There are a number of other estimates of total fatalities, however, which range from 241,000 to 900,000. [40] The three IJAAF air brigades stationed in Honshū and Kyūshū were expanded to air divisions between March and June (these were designated the 10th, 11th and 12th Air Divisions). [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. No B-29s were lost in these raids. Supply drops began 10 days later, and continued until 20 September. Requisitions of land and buildings for use by the occupation force and a requirement that the Japanese government prioritize the construction of housing for the Allied troops interfered with reconstruction, however. [6] The first American Volunteer Group (the "Flying Tigers") began operations as part of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) in late 1941 using P-40 Warhawk fighter aircraft. The number of fighter aircraft and anti-aircraft guns assigned to defensive duties in the home islands was inadequate, and most of these aircraft and guns had difficulty reaching the high altitudes at which B-29s often operated. [268] Royal Australian Air Force, British Royal Air Force, Indian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, US Navy and United States Marine Corps air units were also deployed to Japan for occupation duties. [204] Owing to the short range of the country's land-based radar, and Allied attacks on IJN picket ships, the defenders typically had only about an hour to respond to incoming B-29s once they had been detected. [57] XX Bomber Command's performance improved after LeMay instituted a training program and improved the organization of the B-29 maintenance units during August and September. The United States Army Air Corps (which was subsumed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in February 1942)[5] began developing contingency plans for an air campaign against Japan during 1940. [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. [14] Most of the IJAAF and IJN formations in the home islands were training units which had only a limited ability to counter Allied attacks. Nihei often travels from the distant suburbs to the Tokyo Air Raid center to share her story with students and other visitors. [58], Overall, Operation Matterhorn was not successful. [180][181] Following this raid TF 38 steamed north, and began a major attack on Hokkaido and northern Honshu on 14 July. On 3 January 1945, 97 B-29s were dispatched to conduct an area bombing raid on Nagoya. "The United States went too far with the firebombing, but I don't quite understand why the Japanese government and the rest of the Japanese don't talk about this very much," he said. At this time the Task Force comprised nine fleet carriers, six light carriers and their escorts. [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. The Allied bombing campaign was one of the main factors which influenced the Japanese government's decision to surrender in mid-August 1945. In 1940, the U.S. government began funding its own atomic weapons development program, which came under the joint responsibility of the Office of Scientific Research and Development and the War Department after th… If the victims remain anonymous then there's less pressure for compensation," said Yamabe, a researcher at the privately funded Tokyo Air Raid and War Damages Resource Center, Japan's main source of information about the firebombings. [206], Air combat was most intense in late 1944 and early 1945. It has been estimated that B-29s dropped 10 million propaganda leaflets in May, 20 million in June and 30 million in July. Hansell was informed of Arnold's decision on 6 January, but remained in his position until mid-January. [164] As the United States had only occasionally used mines up to this time, the Japanese military had placed relatively little emphasis on keeping its minesweeping force up to date. Hansell protested this order, as he believed that precision attacks were starting to produce results and moving to area bombardment would be counterproductive, but agreed to the operation after he was assured that it did not represent a general shift in tactics. Japan's main industrial facilities were vulnerable to such attacks as they were concentrated in several large cities and a high proportion of production took place in homes and small factories in urban areas. In 1994, an opinion poll found that 55 percent of Americans supported the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [205] Even when the fighters managed to close within gun range, the well-built B-29s were often able to sustain large amounts of damage. [210] As a result, few of the subsequent Allied raids were intercepted. A second American Volunteer Group was also formed in late 1941 to attack Japan from bases in China using Hudson and A-20 Havoc medium bombers. [93] During early 1945 the USAAF conducted raids against cities in Formosa to trial tactics which could be later used against Japanese urban areas. The Eleventh Air Force resumed its offensive in February 1944 after it had been reinforced with two squadrons of P-38 Lightning escort fighters, and it continued to attack targets in the Kurils until June 1945. No B-29s were lost in the raids on these cities, though six were damaged by attacks from between 40 and 50 fighters and another five were hit by anti-aircraft fire. [49] Civilians were also trained to fight fires and encouraged to swear an "air defense oath" to respond to attacks from incendiary or high explosive bombs. The city was attacked again by 61 B-29s on 21 November and by 17 bombers on 19 December. [139][140] This attack marked the end of the first phase of XXI Bomber Command's attack on Japan's cities. 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. [234], Hiroshima was attacked on 6 August. [29], The Eleventh Air Force and US Navy units continued to make small-scale raids on the Kuril Islands until the closing months of the war. These raids formed part of the preparation for the invasion of Japan. The Twentieth Air Force's Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Lauris Norstad, was aware of the change in tactics though and provided support. [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. [274] The Allied occupation authorities were not involved in the urban rebuilding effort, but allowed this work to go ahead despite criticizing it as inappropriate to Japan's status as a defeated country. 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. [9] The USAAF subsequently attempted to send thirteen heavy bombers to China in March and April 1942 to attack the Japanese home islands. On 15 April 303 Superfortresses attacked the Tokyo region and destroyed 6 square miles (16 km2) of Tokyo, 3.6 square miles (9.3 km2) of Kawasaki and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2) of Yokohama for the loss of 12 bombers. [166], LeMay increased the number of mine-laying sorties in June, and the 505th Bombardment Group joined the 313th Bombardment Wing on occasion. On this date 74 years ago, the US dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing more than 70,000 people instantly. I saw a horse being led by its owner. [73], The next American raids on Japan were not successful. "We civilians had no weapons and no strength to fight," Kiyo-oka said. Two days later the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF) was established at Guam under the command of General Carl Spaatz. 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. On March 10, 1945, U.S. B-29 bombers flew over Tokyo in the dead of night, dumping massive payloads of cluster bombs equipped with a then-recent invention: napalm. "It was a hellish frenzy, absolutely horrible. [81] During XXI Bomber Command's first three months of operations, it lost an average of 4.1% of aircraft dispatched in each raid. There is barely any remains of the attack anymore. World War II was a landmark in the development and deployment of technologies of mass destruction associated with air power, notably the B-29 bomber, napalm and the atomic bomb. I could see an arm. 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. why people wanted to rebuild and move back into these cities? Aircraft flying from Allied aircraft carriers and the Ryukyu Islands also frequently struck targets in Japan during 1945 in preparation for the planned invasion of Japan scheduled for October 1945. Only one Superfortress was shot down during this attack, and all members of its crew were rescued after the aircraft ditched into the sea. 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. [90][91] In 1943 the USAAF tested the effectiveness of incendiary bombs on Japanese-style buildings at Eglin Field and the "Japanese village" at Dugway Proving Ground. [277], The air attacks on Japan caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, though estimates of the number who were killed and wounded vary considerably. [20], The Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) conducted a single attack on the Japanese home islands during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese government implemented harsh penalties against civilians who kept copies of these leaflets. "It was as if we could reach out and touch the planes, they looked so big," said Yoshitaka Kimura, whose family's toy store in downtown Tokyo's Asakusa was destroyed.

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