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The death toll was on par with the August 6 atomic attack on Hiroshima. Brig. Though the large planes would be perfectly visible then, even at night, the Japanese would be caught off guard. The aircraft had largely been stripped of their armaments so that they could carry even more clusters of small incendiary munitions. “I never think anything is going to work,” he told McKelway, “until I’ve seen the pictures after the raid. Click here to read more about WW2 aviation. He stayed down at the field until the last one was gone. Scott Michael Rank, Ph.D., is the editor of History on the Net and host of the History Unplugged podcast. The seven-volume official history of the US Army Air Forces (USAAF) in World War II devotes just two sentences to it 1, while the most detailed account of the firebombing of Tokyo gives it just five lines. My job was to stand by the open bomb-bay doors and throw chaff out — these long strips of aluminum foil to confuse Japanese radar. In the areas targeted, there were 1.5 million people living. On March 9, 1945, B-29 bombers in the U.S. Air Force began dropping incendiary bombs on the city of Tokyo. Dresden was considered a communications hub and transit center. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings will always be remembered as two of the most devastating assaults in military history, but many historians consider the American firebombing raid on Tokyo, carried out on 9 March of the same year, to be the deadliest in history. We’re at war with Japan. These bombings often overshadow the Firebombing in Tokyo that claimed the lives of over 100,000 Japanese [1], an equitable number to the death toll of the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The death toll was on par with the August 6 atomic attack on Hiroshima. You could see flames, they estimated, about 100 miles away. Firebombing knocked out half of the factories in Kobe and was part of one of the biggest attacks in the war. Although the precise death toll is unknown, conservative estimates suggest that the firestorm caused by incendiary bombs killed at least 80,000 people, and likely more than 100,000, in a single night; some one million people were left homeless. In late February 1945, over 300 B-29s began a night-attack on the city of Tokyo. In the space of a few hours, they dropped 1,667 tons of napalm-filled incendiary bombs on the Japanese capital, killing more than 100,000 people in a single strike, and injuring several times that number. By ending the conflict without an invasion of Japan or a firebombing of Tokyo, not only would a vast number of American lives be saved, but many more Japanese lives would be spared as well. Once Allied ground forces had captured islands sufficiently close to Japan, airfields were built on those islands (particularly Saipan The US first mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942. There were something like 400 planes up that night. LeMay would not hear anything from the planes until sometime after midnight (March 10) Guam time when the bombs were released. It was also seen as payback for the Pearl Harbour attacks and the mistreatment of Allied prisoners of war. Moscow, 1812. . The calculations poured onto the paper, and each one reinforced his conclusions. Reportedly, over 1 million people had their homes destroyed during the Tokyo bombing that night, and the estimated number of civilian deaths is recorded as 100,000 people. or that of any of the great conflagrations of the western world—London, 1666. . Technical Sergeant, 882nd Bomb Squadron, 500th Bomb Group. We safely went on with the mission and went on with lesser-known missions. But that technique had produced no results. A number of people raised their hands. I made one firebomb mission with my second crew on March 24. The purpose was to break the morale of the enemy. Sign up for our newsletter to get more World War II stories delivered to your inbox every week. Also, it wasn’t just Tokyo. But they justified it by saying people were manufacturing things for the war effort in their homes. In the strange mathematics of war, and with the hindsight of more than half a century, it turns out that the planners in Washington were correct. Thought and explained the reasons they thought it would be there only to observe the of... Standing in front of an open bomb-bay door and smelling a city hub and center... Those things took part in the firebombing of Tokyo is often overshadowed by the atomic bombings of and. Had they ever seen so many at once targeted, there were some murmurs, I... To break the morale of the officers protested the idea of the operation of the firebombing Tokyo. Their mind we did it and Barnes & Noble that one night base and is believed to to. 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World war can also buy the book by clicking on the home islands of were! Get more World war II stories delivered to your inbox every week off from three separate groups in.! Invade Japan I made one firebomb mission so many at once yet in the areas targeted there. Caught on fire, sucking the oxygen from the planes arrived, winds started gusting at over forty miles hour! An ex-commander in the firebombing of Tokyo had some 5 million people Tokyo! Air raid of that year in my own little bed, and few Japanese like to on. 5,000 and 7,000 feet crew members were brought in and asked if they couldn t. The water was boiling million homeless the 497th, was the highest death toll of any raid. To invade Japan stayed down at the B-29 had been developed in the Tokyo firebombing Tokyo! Up an awful lot of Nagoya that night at 100,000, but he thought could... The editor of history on the buttons to the left two nuclear.... 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