Watch videos with subtitles in your language, upload your videos, create your own subtitles! Click here to learn more on "how to Dotsub"

The Air Force Story - Air War Against Japan, 1944-1945

0 (0 Likes / 0 Dislikes)
The Air Force Story It is the job of all the people to know and understand what the airman has done and is doing today.... For only with full public knowledge and understanding can we have the support we need to carry out our mission. It is a big mission and an important one. It involves the future well-being of every American - the peace of the world. Sincerely, Your Air Force Chapter 24: Air War Against Japan, October 1944 - August 1945 1944. High over the Pacific Ocean. A fleet of the mightiest super-bombers in the world were completing a 5,000 mile flight from San Francisco to Saipan. Less than 4 months before, the island was in Japanese hands. It was for bases like these that American soldiers, sailors and marines had fought the costly battle. On Columbus Day 1944, B-29's discovered Saipan. Our arrival was a real historic event. Celebrated with a ballad by a local poet and it went like this: "On the 12th of October back in 1944, the citizens of Saipan heard a great 4-engine roar. Bulldozers fled the runway, the soldiers stopped to cheer as down came Joltin' Josie, the Pacific pioneer." It was a great day for the aviation engineers and service crews who had hacked the airfield out of jungle. To them Joltin' Josie was a sensation who shamelessly stole the show. Some Jap officials already knew that Saipan as an American base with its threat of aerial bombardment spelled eventual defeat for Japan. A landing of the B-29s gave reality to that threat. The new arrivals were men who had flown Fortresses and Liberators in all theaters of war. They were led by a former 1928 Flying Cadet, who in 1944 was named deputy chief of air staff. and was now commanding the XXI Bomber Command: General Haywood Hansell. The first element of the XXI Bomber Command has arrived. When we've done some more fighting, we'll do some more talking. Thank you. All over the Marianas, B-29's were getting ready to carry out the general's promise. Saipan, Tinian, and Guam had been seized by Admiral Nimitz's forces for the primary purpose for serving as bases for the Very Long Range Bombers now parked on circular hardstands. The XXI was building up its massive air power as it prepared for the ultimate crushing defeat of Japan. The long arm of the 73rd Bombardment Wing, led by General Rosie O'Donnell, began punching the enemy with appalling strength. Behind this strength was more than bombs and bullets. There was planning. In January, the XXI Bomber Command changed hands. Major General Curtis E. LeMay replaced Hansell. By sheer weight of attack, LeMay believed he could force a surrender of Japan. To that end, he ordered a furious pace of operations. Here was his weapon: the Super Fort, with 2200 horses warming up in each of its 4 engines. Designed to carry more destruction, and carry it higher, faster, and farther than any bomber before the B-29's were like artillery pointed at the heart of Japan. Each plane was armed with twelve 50-caliber machine guns, a 20-millimeter cannon, and 4 tons of bombs. Fully armed, the XXI Bomber Command was taking off for Japan. Day after day, LeMay sent his bombers out in 100-plane formations to hit Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo. In two months, he increased the attack missions to 200 planes, building to an 800-plane climax. Jap raids had tried to stop the B-29's. They might just as well of tried to stop an onrushing typhoon. No war was ever fought over such vastness. We who had battled over Berlin, Ploesti, and Schweinfurt knew it. London to Berlin and back was 1,000 miles. The Ploseti run: 1150. But Saipan to Tokyo and back was more than 3,000 miles. B-29's were the planes for the job. For all their destructive power, those of us who flew the Super Forts felt they were things of beauty. In flight, our navigators were on the spot. An error of two degrees could put all of us over nothing but ocean in a plane with empty gas tanks. It was a long ride on the longest, toughest bomber missions in the world. As we approached enemy sky, the crews prepared for the deadly business ahead. While making the slow climb to altitude, our gunners warmed up the central fire control system. Inside a Super Fort, you cannot see a gun. You fire by remote control. We had electronics. Super-human brain power at the flick of a switch. Then we waited for the Japs. Initial point - Mount Fuji - meant we were 60 miles from Tokyo. The leading B-29's found their objectives. Now, below us: Tokyo. Tokyo, which the Jap high command had boasted was outside the range of land-based American bombers. For 6 months we had proved them wrong. But LeMay wasn't satisfied with the results of these high-level precision tactics. Suddenly in March, he switched to low level, nighttime maximum-effort fire raids. And Japan's dreams of world empire went up in a flaming inferno. The B-29's burned out the industrial heart of Japan. One by one, 66 principal cities received their devastating bath of fire until Japan's military situation was hopeless. They could not have held out. They had lost control of the air. Their capacity to wage war was destroyed. The fire raids had even killed much of their fanatical resistance. B-29's were making Japan bleed internally. Then President Truman made a grave decision. To deliver a special bomb, field orders were signed by General Twining. They instructed Colonel Paul Tibbets and his B-29 crew to drop what they called "The Gimmick". At 08:15, on August 6th, over military target Hiroshima, bombardier Major Ferebee took over. He was about to drop the atom bomb. A bomb of unprecedented destructiveness had exploded. 3 days later a second atom bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Atomic energy has made air power all-important. Dread were the threats for the future. Strong the requirement for air power. As suddenly as is started the war came to an end at surrender ceremonies aboard the Missouri. Without being invaded, without losing a foot of homeland, Japan was surely and utterly defeated. Before the atom bomb, before the Soviet entry into the war, Japan was beaten through the forceful application of Allied land, sea, and air power. The Japanese surrender had come so quickly after mounting the B-29 offensive and the atom bomb climax that advocates of air power felt that our most optimistic predictions were confirmed. Fully recognizing the contributions by army and navy, General Arnold felt that air power's share in the victory may fairly be called decisive. In addition to ushering in the atomic age, the war's end marked one of the revolutionary points in the history of warfare. Control of the air proved to be essential to the success of every major military operation. Coordinated planning and command of ground, sea, and air forces backed up by the full effort of the home front, had enabled the Allies to secure this control of the air. Air power is the technical instrument of our country's defense. Air power can also be the instrument of peace. The United States Air Force has made it apparent to any potential aggressor that and attack on the United States would be immediately followed by a devastating air-atomic counter blow. The atomic weapon thus makes air power the primary requisite of national survival. THE END

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 57 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 581
Posted by: japanairraids on Sep 19, 2010

The Air Force Story - Chapter 24, Air War Against Japan, October 1944- August 1945. Propaganda film produced by the United States Air Forces, 1949. Source: United States National Archives via Public.Resource.Org.

Caption and Translate

    Sign In/Register for Dotsub to translate this video.