C.B.I. Theater – June 1945 (1)

Harassed and groggy after ever-increasing aerial blows, residents of Japan’s main cities once more sought shelter underground this week as Super-Forts rode high and unchallenged over the island kingdom. But, for once, the giant planes did not only unleash cargoes of flaming death. Huge paper bombardments also rained down on the cities, spraying millions of propaganda leaflets over wide areas.


Text of the leaflets was soon revealed by Radio Tokyo, which reported they were signed by President Truman and advised the Japanese people to get out of the war or face the same destruction that was accorded the German people. “Unconditional surrender,” the broadcast reported the pamphlets as reading “would not mean obliteration or slavery for the Japanese people.”
However, Uncle Sam’s airmen backed up the threats implied in the propaganda warfare with two “knockout” punches aimed at Nippon’s “glass jaw” – her concentrated industrial empire.

As Maj. Gen. Curtis S. Lemay, Commander of the 12th Bomber Command, assessed the results of last week’s destruction raids on Tokyo in an announcement that 51 square miles surrounding the Imperial Palace grounds in the heart of Japan’s capital city are “great masses of gray ashes and fire-blackened ruins of the few buildings left standing.” Super-Forts struck in force at Yokohama and Osaka.

Metrotogoshi Railway Station, Tokyo, after incendiary bombing.

The next day, more than 450 B-29’s returned from the heaviest daylight raid on Japan and reported giant fires were burning all over the industrial section of Tokyo’s port city of Yokohama. Later the enemy High Command conceded that “considerable damage” was inflicted and reported a high wind was spreading fires throughout the city’s automotive, aircraft, shipbuilding and rubber plants. Aerial photographs revealed that the raid, in which 3,200 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped, had burned out nearly seven square miles of Yokohama’s principal business and industrial center.

The Super-Forts were out again, this time striking at the manufacturing center of Osaka. More than 450 bombers, escorted by 150 Mustang fighters, dropped 3,200 tons of bombs. The attack was concentrated on harbor facilities, shipyards, warehouses and factories. Reports indicated that 86 square miles of Japan’s most highly industrialized city were destroyed or heavily damaged and Japanese broadcasts admitted that flames started throughout the manufacturing heart of the city were only gradually being brought under control.

Osaka 1945

The naval air force was out in strength, too. Striking on two successive days, planes attacked Southern Kyushu airfields from which the Japs have been launching suicide aerial attacks against the American fleet. Meanwhile, the Jap government announced that the entire naval air corps of Japan has been converted into a “suicide corps” for attacks against Allied warships.

*****          *****          *****

The British this week announced formation of new SEAC Army, the 12th, under the command of Lt. Gen. Montague Stopford, to be based in Rangoon.
In the meantime, the 14th Army continued its mopping up operations in Burma, with the enemy making desperate attempts to keep open his escape routes to the east.
At the “Kama” escape route, north of Prome and east of the Irrawaddy River, the British killed 1,221 Japs in a series of engagements.
In the Kalaw, area Empire troops have captured a “staircase,” which goes up to the mountains northwest of Kalaw. This was rugged terrain and presented difficulties comparable to any in the entire Burma campaign.
The Japs are resisting in Burma from Pegu in the south to Mawchi Road in the north. British reports say the enemy is just as fanatical as ever in his resistance. During the week, planes of Eastern Air Command hit troop concentrations in Moulmein and attacked the jetty area in Martaban.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – CBI Roundup Style – 

“BE CAREFUL, JOE! IT MIGHT BE A TRAP!”

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Blancheri – Los Angeles, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pharmacists Mate,  2/2nd Marines, KIA (Betio)

Harry ‘Bud’ Calsen – Brookfield, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO, TSgt., A/2nd Amphibian Unit, KIA (Betio)

Robert Holmes – Salt Lake City, UT; USMC, Pfc., KIA (USS Oklahoma)

Robert Kitchner –  Pittsburgh, PA; US Army, Korea

Richard Murphy – Washington DC; USMC, WWII, PTO, SSgt., 6th Marines, KIA (Saipan)

Henry Sakaida – Los Angeles, CA; Civilian, Pacific War Historian, eg: “Winged Samurai”, “The Siege of Rabaul”, “Pacific Air Command WWII”

Lester Schade – Holton, WI; USMC, WWII, PTO, Captain, 4th Marines, KIA,  (Enoura Maru, hellship)

Neil Simon – Bronx, NY; US Army Air Corps, (renown playwriter)

Arthur Weiss – St. Louis, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Lowell “Whip” Wilson – Lynchburg, SC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 306th Bomber Group, Silver Star

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 3, 2018, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 83 Comments.

  1. Really the horrors of war were so short!

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  2. “ChronosFeR2” brought me here and I am happy about it because I liked what I found.
    I would like to invite you to have together a cup of tea in “El zoco del escriba” so we can keep talking about whatever you want.
    Un abrazo.
    Alberto Mrteh (El zoco del escriba)

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  3. It was interesting having this post come up since I recently wrote again about the film In This Corner of the World about the Japanese domestic front.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Of de A bom nodig was ja dan neen daar kan ik niet over oordelen maar de enormoppervlakte en de dingen daarna slagen me met verstomming..had liever een andere oplossing gezien maar of die er was is een ?

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    • De A-bom werd afgezet omdat de president moest aantonen dat de enorme hoeveelheid geld om het te ontwikkelen gerechtvaardigd was. Bovendien was het geschatte verlies aan menselijke macht tijdens een invasie in Japan één miljoen. Het was zeker niet omdat we wilden dat de steden verwoest werden, omdat ze al door andere bommen waren gefolterd en opgebrand door brandbommen.
      De behoefte aan het laten vallen van de A-bom wordt nog steeds besproken.
      Bedankt voor je interesse, Mary Lou!

      Like

  5. Would that this had done the trick

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder if wounds of a surrender, however humanely done, do not fester and resurface years, even generations later. Whether it is two nations at war, or two individuals scrapping. But then, what is the alternative??

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know that wounds ever really heal when they are passed down through the generations, but perhaps mediation can come to a compromise that will better suit both sides than one side getting “it all”.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. They would not agree to unconditional surrender.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Excellent post, GP. It is hard to imagine 450 bombers all dropping bombs. Must have been like a firestorm.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 51 square miles! Curtis Lemay and Arthur Harris must have been best buddies! I read recently that the advent of the Soviets had more of an impact than is often thought. The theory is that whereas the Japanese might have accepted well behaved Americans, the thought of the red hordes was enough to scare them into considering surrender.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Perhaps those in charge simply did not trust the calls for peace. We were in peaceful negotiations with the Japanese government when Pearl Harbor was attacked. In addition, if the resistance of the remaining Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Islands was any indication, a full-scale invasion of Japan would have created a horrible loss of life on both sides.

    I am not going to say the use of the bomb was the right or wrong thing to do. I do, however, know that arm-chair quarterbacking always has the benefit of hindsight … an advantage not available by those making the call to use the bombs at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The powers that be in the beginning were Hawks and ignored calls for peace talks from the Japanese Prince. They had to get into the war for England’s sake. And Pearl was no surprise.
      I appreciate your answer to the Bomb question – good reply!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know Pearl was not a complete surprise. But, many also thought the American West Coast was an intended target. This also does not change the fact that negotiations were ongoing up until the attack.

        If the entire Japanese plan for the attack on Pearl Harbor were common knowledge among the American powers that be, I do not believe we would have suffered such losses. Steps would have been taken to help minimize them.

        There were also pretty serious war hawks on the Japanese side as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Actually, our losses could have been far worse. It was Sunday, only a skeleton crew was aboard each ship and on base. Luck? that the aircraft carrier Lexington (CV 2) was delivering aircraft to Midway Island, and that Saratoga (CV 3) was off the California coast that morning. Luck? that poor weather delayed the return of Task Force 8 to Pearl Harbor, saving the carrier Enterprise (CV 6) and Halsey from probable destruction. Luck? that the invaluable fuel tank farm, which was loaded with aviation gas and bunker fuel, did not take a single bomb or bullet that might have set the harbor on fire. Luck? that Nagumo was more afraid of losing his force than finishing off the Pacific Fleet and its facilities on the first day of the war. Luck? that the fleet was in the shallows of Pearl Harbor that morning and not the much deeper offshore Lahaina anchorage. Had battleships like the California (BB 44) or West Virginia (BB 48) gone down there, personnel casualties would have been much heavier and salvage would have been impossible, even with the technologies of today. Luck? that the submarine base did not get hit?
          Yes, Japanese had plenty of Hawks themselves, but remember FDR was putting a choke leash around them with his sanctions.

          Liked by 2 people

  11. Reading this made me wonder why and how they didn’t surrender in June rather than waiting two more months and suffering the consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Some time ago, I found this interesting article about how ramen noodles — that staple of college kids and low-income diners — became a staple in Japan after the devastation of their industries and agriculture. I thought it might fit well with this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Given today’s 70 years in hindsight view, there are those who will not agree with the assessment that attacking Japan with an atomic bomb was the proper decision. Those who were engaged in combat against Japan at the time and those slated for the invasion of Japan, though, would not agree. As one veteran who was there told me, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb meant my friends and I would not have to die. Sometimes I wonder how many of those today who believe it was wrong who even exist if the men who became their fathers had had to invade Japan or continue the air and naval war against it.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. While the leaflets were handwritten by a Nisei in the Military Intelligence service, the “prettiness” of the writing would indicate he may have been educated a bit in Japan but for only a few years. It is similar to our block printing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for contributing, Koji. I was wondering if you could translate this leaflet for us? I don’t believe it is the one dropped at this point in the war, but it’s always interesting to know was said back then.

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  15. I can barely imagine the devastation caused by the fire-bombing of those cities. However, my own view of that, and the later A-Bombs, was that such knockout devastating blows were necessary. Not only had the Japanese carried out appalling atrocities in China, and other countries they had invaded, they had also enslaved tens of thousands of civilians and POWs. And the prospect of a land invasion of mainland Japan would have been unthinkable, with casualties in unimaginable numbers on both sides.
    My opinion is also based on the fact that my father was in India, awaiting possible orders to join the invasion of Japan, and his brother was a POW of the Japanese, suffering inhuman treatment. So, partly biased, I confess.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Oh, the horrors of war!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It’s so hard to imagine over 600 planes in the air, on the attack. I see four together at an airshow and I’m so glad they aren’t coming after me.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. There has been a great deal of criticism regarding both the conventional and nuclear bombing of Japan. However, it is important to remember that most of the critique ignores the causalities that were being inflicted at the same time by the Japanese army on China and Southeast Asia, and those casualties were enormous.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. As you stated in your comments above, it sure looks like the A-bomb wasn’t needed. On the other hand, the Japanese didn’t surrender even after all that destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. It’s the beginning of the end. With the manufacturing facilities being bombed, they would be running short of supplies soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’m surprised the war was so short!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. What an incredible bombardment. It must have been frightening for ordinary citizens. Nice to see Neil Simon’s name in the Farewell Salutes. I didn’t know he was an army man.

    Liked by 1 person

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