The 6th Bomb Group

Mission 10. Tokyo Urban Area  (Mar 9)

A picture of Tokyo the following day.
Thanks to Col Clarence E. Becker for finding these photos.


This was a  night incendiary mission involving 32 planes from the 6th Bomb Group:

The next mission was flown five days later on 9-10 March and was the beginning of the famous March Blitz.  * * *

Gen LeMay's new strategy was announced to flyers in their briefing rooms 9 March.  Concisely, it was this: a series of maximum effort nigh incendiary attacks were to be made on major Jap industrial cities.  Bombing altitudes would be 5,000 to 8,000 feet.  No armament or ammunition would be carried and the size of the crew would be reduced.  Aircraft would attack individually.  Tokyo, heavily defended by fighters and anti-aircraft artillery, would be the first target.

The Sixth's answer to Gen LeMay's call to arms was thirty-two B-29's winging their way to the 1,500-mile distant Empire, carrying a total of 989 five hundred pound incendiary clusters for Tokyo's urban area.  Takeoff for "Enkindle 5" was at 1853; bombs were released between 0201 and 0313 on the 10th.  Opposition by enemy aircraft was surprisingly light.  Considerable ack ack was encountered but no damage was sustained by any of the planes, all of which returned safely.  Pilots said Tokyo was burning like a "forest of pine trees".  Col. Gibson led the attack and received an Oak Leaf Cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross for his action on the raid.

[Pirate's Log, p. 32]


20th AF Mission 40

Date: 9 March 1945
Code Name: Meetinghouse #2
Target: Tokyo Urban Area
Participating Units: 73rd, 313th and 314th Bombardment Wings.
Number A/C Airborne:  325
% A/C Bombing Primary:  86% (279 primary, 0 Secondary, 5 last Resort and 15 Opportunity)
Time Over Primary: 100107K - 100400K
Altitude of Attack: 4,900 - 9,200
Weather Over Target: 3/10
Total A/C Lost: 14
Resume of Mission: 469,146,000 square feet destroyed or damaged (1080 acres - 16.8 square miles). Bombing results excellent. Twenty six aircraft non-effective. One aircraft lost to AA, one aircraft lost to survey, five aircraft ditched and seven aircraft lost to reasons unknown. Enemy air opposition weak - 40 attacks, no claims. AA moderate to intense and accurate. Average bomb load 13,880 lbs. 73rd wing, 12,857 lbs. 3l3th Wing and 9,672 lbs. 314th Wing. Average gas reserve 1044 gallons.