Know Your Andersen History: Final WW II bomber push noteworthy feat

  • Published
  • By Dr. John Treiber
  • 36th Wing Historian
Overshadowed by the Aug. 6 and Aug. 9 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, conventional bombing operations were both horribly devastating and masterpieces of logistical expertise.
For example, 62 years ago this week on Aug. 1, 1945, the 20th Air Force launched six missions to Japan consisting of 836 aircraft, 784 of which hit their primary target. While the Aug. 1 operation's success is impressive, more astounding was that the B-29s were able to get off the ground in the first place.
Besides such concerns as supplying fuel, munitions and parts to far-flung islands in the eastern Pacific Ocean under wartime conditions, huge numbers of ground and flying personnel were necessary to ensure that the 20th AF operations succeeded.
Each B-29 crew, for instance, consisted of 11 men, so 9,126 Airmen flew to Japan on the Aug. 1 operation. Amazingly, only one B-29 was lost on that day, and exactly two weeks later the war was over.