39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Kagoshima Urban Area (Night)

 

Mission Date:
17-18 June 1945

Weather conditions expected over Japan for several weeks during the middle of June precluded precision bombing. The necessity for applying constant pressure on the enemy war economy prompted the Bomber Command to schedule night attacks against urban and industrial areas with incendiaries when it was forecast that all bombing would be entirely by radar and often on instruments. Therefore, a series of smaller Nipponese towns were earmarked for destruction. The first of these drawn by the 39th Bomb Group was Kagoshima on southern Kyushu.

The town was important to the Japanese as a shipping center - the major activity of this southern island.

On 18 June, the Group hit Kagoshima with twenty-six aircraft. Although eleven enemy fighters were seen, none attacked our bombers. Flak was described as intense but inaccurate at the target. Only a few ineffective searchlight beams were observed. Most of the crews bombed by radar but a few were able to so visually.

Kagoshima originally had an area of 4.87 square miles. After the attack 2.15 square miles were written off and added to the damage sustained before, 44.1% of the city was destroyed after that one wild night.


Back to History: Chronology
Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group" by Robert Laird, (crew 5) and David Smith (crew 31)
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This page was revised on 14 June 2001
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