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SAOTOME Katsumoto interview, August 2009, part 3

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It wasn't as if the bombs were coming down singly or in pairs. The density was very high. Thirty of them would come down at a time. Some houses would be hit by as many as ten incendiaries. If it had been just one or two, maybe we could have put them out. But there was just nothing to be done in this situation. As soon as they hit the ground, the jellied gasoline napalm inside would begin to spray out and everything it landed on would burst into flame. Flesh would just keep burning all the way down to the bone. Anyway, we just tried to keep as close to the ground as possible. I knew it was best to remain huddled down. Eventually my father returned to where I was and shouted: "Just follow me!" We continued to flee along the tracks. Fortunately, both sides of the railroad were bordered at that point by one-story buildings, not two-story houses. So when they crumbled down into a smoldering heap, it wasn't so dangerous for us. But the wind was horrible. Of course, they had chosen this season for that purpose... The wind and flames strengthened each other into a mass of turbulence. So even if you weren't actually on fire you still had to continually douse yourself with water from fire-fighting troughs. If you didn't, you'd ignite--the flames were spreading like that. Regarding the sparks... There was a woman who was carrying a baby on her back. She often tells her story at our historical center. Anyway, she was carrying her baby as her family fled and she heard the infant let out a strange scream. She knew something was wrong and took him off her back. His mouth was glowing red... Sparks had lodged themselves into his mouth and were burning there. She had to pry them out with her finger before continuing to flee the flames. It's just not the sort of thing you can imagine happening with a normal fire. The sparks were really more like chunks of fire... powerful balls of fire... and an infinite number rolled around the streets. Due to these conditions, the fires spread far beyond the confines of what was originally targeted by the B-29s. The wind was that powerful. And everything was made of wood--the only construction materials used were wood, paper, and dirt. Everything was therefore completely susceptible to combustion and nothing could stop the spread of the flames. That's another reason for the unprecedented loss of life.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: United States
Language: Japanese
Genre: None
Views: 331
Posted by: japanairraids on Sep 14, 2010

SAOTOME Katsumoto interview, August 2009, part 3

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