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The Last Bomb – Stranded in Sonoma

- by - February 18, 2013 - 19:55 America/New_York - 3 Comments

By the summer of 1945, General Curtis LeMay had transformed the 21st Bomber Command into one of the most efficient bombing forces ever seen. His bombers were destroying Japan and the Japanese ability to wage war. His firebombing tactics were very successful, even if later academics demeaned them as inhumane because they had no idea what the terms total war and initiative mean in a military setting. Many people thought we needed to invade the Japanese homeland. We didn’t. The raids by the B-29s and the blockade by the US Navy’s submarines were effective in turning Japan into a smoldering ruin with no food and no raw materials for industry. There is no way Japan would have lasted another year. The atomic bombs gave them a way to surrender and still “save face.”

The link will take you to a 36 minute color video of a B-29 bombing raid on Japan in the closing days of the war. At one early point, the narrator talks about the weather report over Japan. Remember, this is 1945 and they did not have weather satellites, computers, and automated weather stations. Each temperature, wind, and barometric pressure reading was done by hand and by weather balloons. They didn’t have people in Japan to do this. Our weather people were stationed in the Gobi Desert and then forcast when the fronts would be over Japan. My understanding is that they didn’t have permission to do this but did it anyway.

The video is a bit long, but worth it. If the video doesn’t load, click the link that says Prefer Flash just under the video.

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» 3 Comments

  1. Blink

    February 19th, 2013

    Thanks. Great film. Incredible logistics and planning. And bravery. It wasn’t over till the planes had safely landed at the end of the mission.

    The Japanese had plans for guys to set on the sea floor in the landing areas with mines or set in spider holes with a 500# bomb and a hammer. An invasion would likely have killed more people than the last bomb.

    I had 4 uncles in WW2. 3 in Europe and 1 in the pacific. One uncle was part of the D-Day landing, fought through to the end there and was in Hawaii going west for the invasion of Japan when the last bomb made that unnecessary.

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  2. Wyatt, Insensitive Progressive Jerk

    February 19th, 2013

    People think the atomic bombs were devastating (and they were), but more people were killed in various incendiary bomb attacks on major Japanese cities than in Hiroshima or Nagasaki – one raid in Tokyo was estimated to have killed 100,000 people. Not surprising when one thinks of the combination of cities built largely from wood, windy conditions, and incendiary bombs.

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  3. 99th Squad Leader

    February 19th, 2013

    Wonderful film. Sadly, the U.S. Armed Forces won’t be making patriotic, pro-American documentaries like this ever again.

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