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Tokyo


Photograph of Tokyo

Smithsonian Institution. Via ibiblio.org. Fair use may apply.

(139.778E 35.704N) In 1941, the greater Tokyo area had a population of 10 million persons, concentrated along the western shore of Tokyo Bay.  Tokyo itself had a population of 6,778,804 persons in October 1940. This was Japan’s most important governmental, industrial, and commercial center.  There were major shipbuilding facilities at Kawasaki and Yokosuka and numerous airfields in the area, including an Army airfield at Haneda. Tokyo itself hosted a shipyard owned by Ishikawajima Heavy Industries.


Photograph of Tokyo following firebombing
National Archives. Via Frank (1999)

On 9-10 March 1945, Tokyo was attacked by 279 B-29 Superfortresses loaded with 1650 tons of incendiary bombs. The city was experiencing a windstorm at the time, with gusts of up to 70 miles per hour (110 km/h), which fanned the fires into a firestorm. The attack burned out over 10,000 acres (4000 hectares) of the city, killing between 80,000 and 120,000 persons and leaving a million more homeless. Some 1.7 million residents had already left the city, and many more fled after the attack. Tokyo was firebombed two more times before the surrender, but casualties in these attacks were much lighter, due to the weather being less favorable for the attackers and to the unwillingness of civilians to pay any further heed to government exhortations to fight the fires rather than flee for their lives.

Antiaircraft defenses at the time of the attack amounted to 3067 automatic weapons and 331 heavy antiaircraft guns. Lemay ordered his aircraft to fly at an altitude between 5000 and 7800 feet (1500m to 2400m) which was above the range of the automatic weapons but low enough to evade the heavier guns. Only 74 Japanese fighters were encountered, and these managed only 40 attacks. Twelve B-29s were lost in the raid.

Wolk (2010) has aptly described the raid as "... the single greatest disaster suffered by any nation in the history of war."

On 25-26 May 1945, another raid by 498 B-29s met much increased fighter and antiaircraft opposition, losing 26 aircraft, the most on any single mission of the war. Some 3262 tons of incendiaries were dropped on the city, destroying twenty square miles of the city (5200 hectares). The destruction included 27 buildings of the Imperial Palace complex, which came as a profound shock to the Japanese, who seemed to believe that the survival of the Palace to that point was proof of divine protection. It was the last firebombing raid on Tokyo during the war; there was nothing left worth burning.

Showa Hikoki K.K.  The production schedule of this small aircraft factory was approximately as follows:

Aircraft Type Average Airframes Per Month Starting Month Ending Month
D3A Val
6 1942-12
1945-8

Shipyards


Yard
Floor Space
Building Way Length
Merchant Tonnage
Naval Tonnage
Ishikawajima
1340
2441
2993
173
Uraga
814
2685
2243
532
Konan-Mitsubishi
384
1200
1112
0
Tokyo
895
2362
1352
2120
Senshu-Kawasaki
435
2271
0
173
Shimizu
183
469
52
0

Rail connections

Chiba

Kashiwa

Kawasaki

Omiya

Takamatsueho

Tokorozawa


Climate Information:

Elevation 19' 

Temperatures: Jan 47/29, Apr 63/46, Jul 83/70, Oct 69/55, record 101/17

Rainfall: Jan 5/1.9, Apr 10/5.3, Jul 10/5.6, Oct 11/8.2 == 61.6" per annum


References

Hastings (2007)

Parillo (1993)

Pearce and Smith (1990)

Wolk (2010)



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