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
[Pirate's Log, p. 32]