Advertisements

Dr Aidan McCarthy-Rescued from Dunkirk -Survived the Nagasaki bomb.

DrAidanMcCarthy_large

“Aidan MacCarthy was one of a handful of people who survived the two events that mark the beginning and end of the Second World War,” said Jackson, a lecturer in creative media at the Institute of Technology, Tralee.

aidan

Air Commodore Joseph Aidan MacCarthy OBE, GM (1914–1995) was an Irish doctor of the Royal Air Force who showed great courage, resourcefulness and humanity during his capture by the Japanese during the Second World War.

War_flag_of_the_Imperial_Japanese_Army.svg

MacCarthy was born in 1914 in the town of Castletownbere, Beara Peninsula County Cork, Ireland. His parents owned land and businesses in the area.

-The_Square.Castletownbere

He attended Clongowes Wood School and University College Cork. He graduated with a medical degree in 1938. Lacking family connections, he was unable to obtain employment as a doctor in Ireland so he moved to the United Kingdom, working first in Wales, then in London. There, he met two former classmates from his medical school and, after a night of drinking with them, decided to join the British armed forces as a medical officer. Which service (the Royal Navy or the Royal Air Force) was decided for him by a coin toss made by a nightclub hostess in the early hours of the morning.

In 1940 he was posted to France and was evacuated from Dunkirk where he attended wounded Allied soldiers while under fire from German aircraft.

mem10202

In September 1940, he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

The following year he was awarded the George Medal for his part in the rescue of the crew of a crashed and burning Wellington bomber at RAF Honington.The aircraft had crash landed after its undercarriage had failed to lower and it came to rest on the airfields bomb dump, where it caught fire. Together with Group Captain (later, Air-Vice Marshal) John Astley Gray, MacCarthy entered the burning wreck and rescued two crewmen, but were unable to save the pilot.Gray was badly burned during the rescue; MacCarthy was also burned, but less seriously.

Posted to the Far East in 1941, MacCarthy was captured by the Japanese in Sumatra. The prison ship transporting Allied prisoners to Japan was sunk by US bombers. MacCarthy had to do the best he could for his patients whilst splashing around in the South China Sea. A Japanese fishing boat pulled him out of the ocean and transported him to Japan. There, he cared for Allied prisoners of war who were forced to work in horrific conditions. To the Japanese ear ‘MacCarthy’ and ‘MacArthur’ were indistinguishable. The Japanese assumed that MacCarthy must be a close blood relative of the American commander. Therefore, whenever MacCarthy answered his name, he was struck on the forehead. This may have contributed to his developing a brain clot in later life.

He spent the final year of the Second World War working as a slave for the Mitsubishi Corporation. After the war, he was never bitter towards the Japanese but refused to allow a Mitsubishi car in his driveway.

(A photo of the POW officers at Keisen, August 1945, with Aidan MacCarthy seated, second from right, )

zzzDrAidanMcCarthy1_large

The Mitsubishi Steel & Arms Works, the Nagasaki factory, where he was imprisoned and where he sought refuge from the atomic bomb, was in fact the target of the bomb on August 9, 1945.

The atomic cloud over Nagasaki, 1945

He put his medical training to good use in the camp while treating his fellow prisoners, including making a protein-rich maggot soup for those who were ill, smuggling yeast in balls of rice to other camps, and treating eye infections with shaving cream.

Dr MacCarthy was the first non-Japanese doctor to assist civilians in the aftermath of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki.

On August 15, 1945, the day the Japanese surrendered, he was gifted an ancestral Japanese sword by his camp commandant, whose life he saved from POWs intent on revenge.

Aidan_MacCarthy_

sword

He was one of the few people who survived the two events which bookend the Second World War — Dunkirk and Nagasaki.

The Japanese ship on which he was being transported to Nagasaki was sunk by an American submarine. Out of the 1,000 POWs on the ship, just 35 survived.

Before the war, he had weighed 14 stone. When he returned home at the end of the war, following years of starvation and malnutrition, his body weight had halved to just seven stone.

On Thursday 20th July 2017 Prince Harry will name the medical facility in RAF Honington after this Irish WWII hero Dr Aidan MacCarthy.

000618ee-488

zzzDrAidanMcCarthy3_large

Advertisements

St. Stephen’s College massacre-Japanese Hong Kong atrocity

Screen-Shot-2016-09-23-at-2.20.00-PM

The St. Stephen’s College massacre  involved a series of acts of extreme cruelty committed by the Imperial Japanese Army on 25 December 1941 during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong at St. Stephen’s College.

ststephens

Several hours before the British surrendered on Christmas day at the end of the Battle of Hong Kong,

Japanese_Artillery_Firing_at_Hong_Kong,_WWII

Japanese soldiers entered St. Stephen’s College, which was being used as a hospital on the front line at the time.The Japanese were met by two doctors, Black and Witney, who were marched away, and were later found dead and mutilated.They then burst into the wards and bayoneted a number of British, Canadian and Indian wounded soldiers who were incapable of hiding.The survivors and their nurses were imprisoned in two rooms upstairs. Later, a second wave of Japanese troops arrived after the fighting had moved further south, away from the school. They removed two Canadians from one of the rooms, and mutilated and killed them outside. Many of the nurses next door were then dragged off to be gang raped, and later found mutilated. The following morning, after the surrender, the Japanese ordered that all these bodies should be cremated just outside the hall. Other soldiers who had died in the defence of Stanley were burned with those killed in the massacre, making well over 100 altogether

When the college and the grounds of Stanley Prison became a civilian internment camp, the internees gathered up the burnt remains, shards of bones, buttons and charred effects from the cremation, and then buried them. A gravestone marks the spot where these items were interred at Stanley Cemetery.

d8cb8a5155b01748b26f1d

Japanese attacks on North America

Alaska_Death_Trap

A little known fact of WWII is that Japan attacked North America several time. Aside from the Pearl Harbor attack, the other attacks were relatively unsuccessful

Below a summary of some of those attacks.

On June 3–4, 1942, Japanese planes from two light carriers Ryūjō and Jun’yō struck the U.S. military base at Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, Unalaska, Alaska.

Originally, the Japanese planned to attack Dutch Harbor simultaneously with its attack on Midway but it occurred a day earlier due to one-day delay. The attack only did moderate damage on Dutch Harbor, but 78 Americans were killed in the attack.

On June 6, two days after the bombing of Dutch Harbor, 500 Japanese marines landed on Kiska, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. Upon landing, they killed two and captured eight U.S. Navy officers, then took the remaining inhabitants of the island, and seized control of American soil for the first time.

flag

 

The next day, a total of 1,140 Japanese infantrymen landed on Attu via Holtz Bay, eventually reaching Massacre Bay and Chichagof Harbor. Attu’s population at the time consisted of 45 Native American Aleuts, and two Americans – Charles Foster Jones, a 60-year-old ham radio operator and weather observer, and his 62-year-old wife Etta, a teacher and nurse. The Japanese killed Jones after interrogating him, while his wife and the Aleut population were sent to Japan. The invasion was only the second time that American soil had been occupied by a foreign enemy, the first being the British during the War of 1812.

A year after Japan’s invasion and occupation of the islands of Attu and Kiska, 34,000 U.S. troops landed on these islands and fought there throughout the summer, defeating the Japanese and regaining control of the islands.

Bombardment of Ellwood

The United States mainland was first shelled by the Axis on February 23, 1942 when the Japanese submarine I-17 attacked the Ellwood Oil Field west of Goleta, near Santa Barbara, California. Although only a pumphouse and catwalk at one oil well were damaged, I-17 captain Nishino Kozo radioed Tokyo that he had left Santa Barbara in flames. No casualties were reported and the total cost of the damage was officially estimated at approximately $500–1,000. News of the shelling triggered an invasion scare along the West Coast.

Bombardment of Estevan Point Lighthouse

More than five Japanese submarines operated in Western Canada during 1941 and 1942. On June 20, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-26,

26

under the command of Yokota Minoru,fired 25–30 rounds of 5.5-inch shells at the Estevan Point lighthouse on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, but failed to hit its target.Though no casualties were reported, the subsequent decision to turn off the lights of outer stations was disastrous for shipping activity.

Bombardment of Fort Stevens

In what became the only attack on a mainland American military installation during World War II, the Japanese submarine I-25, under the command of Tagami Meiji, surfaced near the mouth of the Columbia River, Oregon on the night of June 21 and June 22, 1942, and fired shells toward Fort Stevens. The only damage officially recorded was to a baseball field’s backstop.

Shell_crater_resulting_form_Japanese_shelling_on_Fort_Stevens._-_NARA_-_299678

Probably the most significant damage was a shell that damaged some large phone cables. The Fort Stevens gunners were refused permission to return fire for fear of revealing the guns’ location and/or range limitations to the sub. American aircraft on training flights spotted the submarine, which was subsequently attacked by a US bomber, but escaped.

Lookout Air Raids

The Lookout Air Raids occurred on September 9, 1942. The only aerial bombing of mainland United States by a foreign power occurred when an attempt to start a forest fire was made by a Japanese Yokosuka E14Y1 “Glen” seaplane

Fujita&Glen

dropping two 80 kg (180 lb) incendiary bombs over Mount Emily, near Brookings, Oregon. The seaplane, piloted by Nobuo Fujita, had been launched from the Japanese submarine aircraft carrier I-25. No significant damage was officially reported following the attack, nor after a repeat attempt on September 29.

Fire balloon attacks

Japanese_fire_balloon_Moffett

Between November 1944 and April 1945, the Japanese Navy launched over 9,000 fire balloons toward North America. Carried by the recently discovered Pacific jet stream, they were to sail over the Pacific Ocean and land in North America, where the Japanese hoped they would start forest fires and cause other damage. About three hundred were reported as reaching North America, but little damage was caused. Six people (five children and a woman) became the only deaths due to enemy action to occur on mainland United States during World War II when one of the children tampered with a bomb from a balloon near Bly, Oregon and it exploded. The site is marked by a stone monument at the Mitchell Recreation Area in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. Recently] released reports by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian military indicate that fire balloons reached as far inland as Manitoba. A fire balloon is also considered to be a possible cause of the third fire in the Tillamook Burn. One member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion died while responding to a fire in the Northwest on August 6, 1945; other casualties of the 555th were two fractures and 20 other injuries.

5194

 

The Great Yokohama Air Raid

Boeing B-29

An estimated seven or eight thousand people were killed in a single morning on May 29, 1945 in what is now known as the Great Yokohama Air Raid, when B-29s firebombed the city and in just one hour and nine minutes reduced 42% of it to rubble.

ww2-newspaper-may-29-1945-british-war-casualties-1-128-315-yokohama-raid-bnp-8-101113-p

High-altitude, daylight attack on Yokohama urban area. 517 B-29s were escorted by 101 P-51Ds. 2,570 tons of bombs were dispensed, 6.9 square miles burned out

North American P-51 Mustang

79,017 houses were destroyed, and 42 percent of the city area was burnt to ashes. The cities of Japan were vital to the ongoing war effort. Japan dispersed manufacturing to prevent precision attacks from interfering with productions. Small factories were extremely vulnerable to incendiary attack.

Incendiary Raid on Yokohama

Yokohama did escape a fate worse afterwards. It was actually one of the intended targets for the atom bomb.Ironically Nagasaki wasn’t even on the list

2017-05-29

2017-05-29 (1)

 

The Japanese attack on Bly, Oregon. USA

Balloon_Bomb_Memorial_(Lake_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(lakDA0010)

A fire balloon , or Fu-Go was a weapon launched by Japan during World War II. A hydrogen balloon with a load varying from a 15 kg (33 lb) antipersonnel bomb to one 12-kilogram (26 lb) incendiary bomb and four 5 kg (11 lb) incendiary devices attached, it was designed as a cheap weapon intended to make use of the jet stream over the Pacific Ocean and drop bombs on American and Canadian cities, forests, and farmland.

Japanese_fire_balloon_Moffett

 

The Japanese fire balloon was the first ever weapon possessing intercontinental range (. The Japanese balloon strikes on North America were at that time the longest ranged attacks ever conducted in the history of warfare, a record which was not broken until the 1982 Operation Black Buck raids during the Falkland Islands War.

The balloons were ineffective as weapons but were used in one of the few attacks on North America during World War II.

On May 5, 1945, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded as it was being pulled from the woods by curious picnickers.

342-FH-3B23428_(18160060525)

Killed in the explosion were: Elsie Mitchell, 26, wife of minister Archie E. Mitchell; Edward Engen, 13; Richard Patzke, 14; Jay Gifford, 13; Sherman Shoemaker, 11; and Joan Patzke, 13.Rev. Mitchell heard the explosion and discovered the bodies. Victims were compensated by the government. A memorial was erected at what today is called the Mitchell Recreation Area.

Mitchell_Monument

Operation Vengeance-Revenge for Pearl Harbor.

yamamoto-barber-print

Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, was the Harvard-educated, poker-playing mastermind of the December 7, 1941, attack.

Admiral-Yamamoto

 

On April 14, 1943, naval intelligence scored another code-breaking coup. The message began: “On April 18 CINC Combined Fleet will visit RXZ, R–, and RXP in accordance with the following schedule . . .” Adm. Isokoru Yamamoto was planning an inspection visit of Japanese bases in the upper Solomon Islands. The information immediately went from Commander in Chief Pacific Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitznimitz

to Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox who delivered the news to President Franklin Roosevelt. Reportedly, the president’s response was, “Get Yamamoto.” Regardless of whether or not the president actually said those words, the order was given: kill the mastermind of the Pearl Harbor raid.

 

 

 

 

As Yamamoto was viewed as the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt instructed Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to give the mission the highest priority.

pearl-harbor-large-56a61b573df78cf7728b5f29

Consulting with Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, Commander South Pacific Forces and South Pacific Area, Nimitz ordered planning to move forward. Based on the intercepted information, it was known that on April 18 Yamamoto would be flying from Rabaul, New Britain to Ballale Airfield on an island near Bougainville.

Though only 400 miles from Allied bases on Guadalcanal, the distance presented a problem as American aircraft would need to fly a 600-mile roundabout course to the intercept to avoid detection, making the total flight 1,000 miles. This precluded the use of the Navy and Marine Corps’ F4F Wildcats or F4U Corsairs. As a result, the mission was assigned to the US Army’s 339th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force which flew P-38G Lightnings. Equipped with two drop tanks, the P-38G was capable of reaching Bougainville, executing the mission, and returning to base.

Overseen by the squadron’s commander, Major John W. Mitchell,

 

53742e57bbc2cb8e4cb1078991ee8d12planning moved forward with the assistance of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Luther S. Moore. At Mitchell’s request, Moore had the 339th’s aircraft fitted with ship’s compasses to aid in navigation. Utilizing the departure and arrival times contained in the intercepted message, Mitchell devised a precise flight plan that called for his fighters to intercept Yamamoto’s flight at 9:35 AM as it began its descent to Ballale.

Knowing that Yamamoto’s aircraft was to be escorted by six A6M Zero fighters, Mitchell intended to use eighteen aircraft for the mission.mitsubishi-a6m-type-0-zero-fighter-01While four aircraft were tasked as the “killer” group, the remainder was to climb to 18,000 feet to serve as top cover to deal with enemy fighters arriving on scene after the attack. Though the mission was to be conducted by the 339th, ten of the pilots were drawn from other squadrons in the 347th Fighter Group. Briefing his men, Mitchell provided a cover story that the intelligence had been provided by a coastwatcher who saw a high ranking officer boarding an aircraft in Rabaul.

Departing Guadalcanal at 7:25 AM on April 18, Mitchell quickly lost two aircraft from his killer group due to mechanical issues. Replacing them from his cover group, he led the squadron west out over the water before turning north towards Bougainville.

Flying at no higher than 50 feet and in radio silence to avoid detection, the 339th arrived at the intercept point a minute early. Earlier that morning, despite the warnings of local commanders who feared an ambush, Yamamoto’s flight departed Rabaul. Proceeding over Bougainville, his G4M “Betty” and that of his chief of staff, were covered by two groups of three Zeros

Slide1

Mitchell’s flight of four led the squadron at low altitude, with the killer flight, now consisting of Lanphier, Barber, and spares 1st Lt. Besby F. Holmes and 1st Lt. Raymond K. Hine, immediately behind. Mitchell, fighting off drowsiness, navigated by flight plan and dead reckoning. This proved to be the longest fighter-intercept mission of the war and was so skillfully executed by Mitchell that his force arrived at the intercept point one minute early, at 09:34, just as Yamamoto’s aircraft descended into view in a light haze. The P-38s jettisoned the auxiliary tanks, turned to the right to parallel the bombers, and began a full power climb to intercept them.

The tanks on Holmes’s P-38 did not detach and his element turned back toward the sea. Mitchell radioed Lanphier and Barber to engage, and they climbed toward the eight aircraft. The nearest escort fighters dropped their own tanks and dived toward the pair of P-38s. Lanphier, in a sound tactical move, immediately turned head-on and climbed towards the escorts while Barber chased the diving bomber transports. Barber banked steeply to turn in behind the bombers and momentarily lost sight of them, but when he regained contact, he was immediately behind one and began firing into its right engine, rear fuselage, and empennage. When Barber hit its left engine, the bomber began to trail heavy black smoke. The Betty rolled violently to the left and Barber narrowly avoided a mid-air collision. Looking back, he saw a column of black smoke and assumed the Betty had crashed into the jungle. Barber headed towards the coast at treetop level, searching for the second bomber, not knowing which one carried the targeted high-ranking officer.

 Barber spotted the second bomber, carrying Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Matome Ugaki and part of Yamamoto’s staff, low over the water off Moila Point, trying to evade an attack by Holmes, whose wing tanks had finally come off. Holmes damaged the right engine of the Betty, which emitted a white vapor trail, but his closure speed carried him and his wingman Hine past the damaged bomber. Barber attacked the crippled bomber and his bullet strikes caused it to shed metal debris that damaged his own aircraft. The bomber descended and crash-landed in the water. Ugaki and two others survived the crash and were later rescued. Barber, Holmes and Hine were attacked by Zeros, Barber’s P-38 receiving 104 hits. Holmes and Barber each claimed a Zero shot down during this melee, although Japanese records show that no Zeros were lost. The top cover briefly engaged reacting Zeros without making any kills. Mitchell observed the column of smoke from Yamamoto’s crashed bomber. Hine’s P-38 had disappeared by this point, presumably crashed into the water.
1024px-Yamamoto's_airplane_crash
Running close to minimum fuel levels for return to base, the P-38s broke off contact, with Holmes so short of fuel that he was forced to land in the Russell Islands. Hine was the only pilot who did not return. Lanphier’s actions during the battle are unclear as his account was later disputed by other participants, including the Japanese fighter pilots. As he approached Henderson Field, Lanphier radioed the fighter director on Guadalcanal that “That son of a bitch will not be dictating any peace terms in the White House”, breaching security. Immediately on landing (his plane was so short on fuel that one engine quit during the landing rollout) he put in a claim for shooting down Yamamoto.

A success, Operation Vengeance saw the American fighters down both Japanese bombers, killing 19, including Yamamoto. In exchange, the 339th lost Hines and one aircraft. Searching the jungle, the Japanese found Yamamoto’s body near the crash site. Thrown clear of the wreckage, he had been hit twice in the fighting.

Lieutenant Hamasuna noted Yamamoto had been thrown clear of the plane’s wreckage, his white-gloved hand grasping the hilt of his katana sword, his body still upright in his seat under a tree. Hamasuna said Yamamoto was instantly recognizable, his head tilted down as if deep in thought. A post-mortem of Yamamoto’s body indicated two bullet wounds, one to the back of his left shoulder, and a separate bullet wound to his left lower jaw, that appeared to exit above his right eye. The Japanese navy doctor examining Yamamoto’s body determined the head wound killed Yamamoto. (These more violent details of Yamamoto’s death were hidden from the Japanese public, and the medical report whitewashed, this secrecy “on orders from above.

Cremated at nearby Buin, his ashes were returned to Japan aboard the battleship Musashi.

Japanese_battleship_Musashi_cropped

He was replaced by Admiral Mineichi Koga.

220px-Koga_Mineichi_3

Several controversies quickly brewed following the mission. Despite the security attached to the mission and the Magic program, operational details soon leaked out. This began with Lanphier announcing upon landing that “I got Yamamoto!” This breach of security led to a second controversy over who actually shot down Yamamoto. Lanphier claimed that after engaging the fighters he banked around and shot a wing off the lead Betty. This led to an initial belief that three bombers had been downed. Though given credit, other members of the 339th were skeptical.

Though Mitchell and the members of the killer group were initially recommended for the Medal of Honor, this was downgraded to the Navy Cross in the wake of the security issues. Debate continued over credit for the kill. When it was ascertained that only two bombers were downed, Lanphier and Barber were each given half kills for Yamamoto’s plane. Though Lanphier later claimed full credit in an unpublished manuscript, the testimony of the lone Japanese survivor of the battle and the work of other scholars supports Barber’s claim.

 

Japanese Human Target practice

Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942 2

The Japanese treatment of prisoners of war in World War II was barbaric. The men shown in the above picture are part of the Sikh Regiment of the British Indian Army. All of them are sitting in the traditional cross-legged prayer position. They’re probably reciting their final prayers as this picture was being taken. It’s very morbid if you think about it. The vast majority of Indian soldiers captured when Singapore fell belonged to Sikh community. These photographs were found among Japanese records when British troops retook Singapore.

Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942 1

If you examine carefully the second picture you’ll note a marker hanging over the heart of each prisoner and the stakes in front bear of the rifle. Each target position is marked with a number, indicating that the solider in position one is going to shoot the prisoner on position one, and so on.

The positions where the targets are located is generally called “the butts”. This is a target practice, not a straightforward military execution by firing squad. A firing squad usually has a half-dozen or more shooters per condemned, to guarantee a pretty instant death. In this case, shooters are assigned one per victim. Moreover in a military execution, victims don’t get bayoneted at the end. If any are still alive, the officer in charge should administer a coup de grace with a pistol.Japanese troops using prisoners of war for target practice, 1942 3

The most severe treatment was directed at the Chinese who were killed in large numbers by a variety of brutal means. The killings were conducted in many ways including shooting, burying alive, bayoneting, beheading, medical experimentation, and other methods.a2e13e6832e9f98f827d8bd31755940b

 

Atom Bombed Madonna- A WWII Miracle

mary2

When the atom bomb “Fat Boy” devastated on the 9th of August 1945, one of the buildings reduced to rubble was the city’s Urakami cathedral — then among the largest churches in Asia.

4086nagasakibkj_00000003561

The blinding nuclear flash that would claim more than 70,000 lives in the city also, in an instant, blew out the stained glass windows of the church, toppled its walls, burnt its altar and melted its iron bell.

images

But, in what local Christian followers have likened to a miracle, the head of a wooden Virgin Mary statue survived amid the collapsed columns and scorched debris of the Romanesque church flattened on August 9, 1945.

The appearance of the war-ravaged religious icon is haunting. The Madonna’s eyes have become scorched, black hollows, the right cheek is charred, and a crack runs like a streaking tear down her face.

0dc609bf2df7733952e64d37a62e678e

The remains of the statue of the Virgin Mary have found a new home inside a rebuilt church, also called St Mary’s, built on the same site, only 500 metres from the bomb’s ground zero.

Urakami_church

Operation Meetinghouse- The Bombing of Tokyo

+++CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES+++++

b_29_bomber_630x

“If war with the Japanese does come, we’ll fight mercilessly,” General George C. Marshall told news reporters in an off-the-record briefing on November 15, 1941, three weeks before Pearl Harbor. “Flying Fortresses will be dispatched immediately to set the paper cities of Japan on fire. There won’t be any hesitation about bombing civilians—it will be all-out.”  More than three years of brutal global warfare would pass before Marshall’s prediction came true, but come true it did on the night of March 9-10, 1945.

 An aerial armada of 334 B-29 bombers took off from newly established bases in the Mariana Islands, bound for Tokyo. In the space of a few hours, they dropped 1,667 tons of napalm-filled incendiary bombs on the Japanese capital, killing more than 100,000 people in a single strike, and injuring several times that number. It was the highest death toll of any air raid during the war, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By comparison, the bombing of Dresden a month earlier had resulted in around 25,000 deaths.
Tokyo_kushu_1945-3
800px-Tokyo_1945-3-10-1

The charred body of a woman who was carrying a child on her back

Tokyo_kushu_1945-2

The March 9 raid, code-named “Operation Meetinghouse,” marked a shift in American bombing strategy. It wasn’t B-17 Flying Fortresses that did the job, as Marshall had predicted, but the new long-distance B-29s based in Saipan and Tinian.

b29-11-tokyo

 

General Curtis LeMay, newly appointed as the head of B-29 operations, called for a change in tactics.

220px-Lemay4

The high-flying bombers had shown themselves on their first missions to be horribly inaccurate in hitting their targets. At a time when the jet stream was still poorly understood, B-29 crews watched as the high winds at 30,000 feet scattered their bombs as soon as they dropped. That, and the frequent cloud cover over Japan, had led to B-29s hitting their targets, on average, less than 10 percent of the time.wczt1gd

 

For the March 9 raid on Tokyo, LeMay made some key changes. The B-29s would overfly the city’s most densely populated areas at 7,000 feet instead of 30,000 feet, in single file rather than in formation. To reduce the risk from Japanese fighters, they would raid at night (in fact the American bombers met with little resistance). And the B-29s would be stripped of nonessentials, including guns and gunners, to make room for more bombs. “By changing tactics and doubling the bombload per plane,” wrote historian Thomas Searle, LeMay created “a force capable of starting enormous firestorms.
U.S. planners knew the wooden Japanese buildings would burn hot. Army engineers had prepared maps of Tokyo’s most flammable sectors, and had observed Japanese-style houses put to the torch in a mock “Japanese village” constructed at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utahtokyo_inflammable_areas

On the night of the Tokyo raid, 15 square miles of one of the world’s most densely populated urban centers—equivalent to half the area of Manhattan—burned to the ground. More than a million people were left homeless. As historian John Dower described in his 1986 book War Without Mercy, “The heat from the conflagration was so intense that in some places canals boiled, metal melted, and buildings and human beings burst spontaneously into flames.”

Watching Tokyo on March 10 from our Evacuation Home in Ibaraki PrefectureArtist: Hashimoto KimisukeLocation: Yoshinuma (Tsukubane City), Ibaraki PrefectureAge at time of raid: 7

5936_hashimoto

The Umaya Bridge on the Night of March 10Artist: Fukushima YasusukeLocation: Umaya BridgeAge at time of raid: 6

2505_fukushima

For Japan, it was a grisly beginning to the war’s end. According to a postwar U.S. estimate, total civilian casualties in Japan as a result of nine months of air attack were about 806,000, including 330,000 deaths—more than the 780,000 combat casualties suffered by Japanese soldiers

 

LIFE VEST FROM JAPANESE ‘HELL SHIP’

46.-NIOD-180404

The Nitimei Maru, a Japanese troop ship with around 1,000 Dutch prisoners of war and 1562 Japanese soldiers aboard, departed from Singapore on 29 December 1942.

The prisoners of war were being taken to work on the Burma Railway.

download

The Nitimei Maru was just one of many ‘hell ships’, given this name because of the deplorable conditions on board and the frequent beatings by the guards. American planes bombed the ship on 15 January 1943.

180px-XB-24_in_Flight

Thirty-eight Dutch prisoners of war were killed. This Japanese life vest, a tangible reminder of that disaster, saved the life of a Mr A.B. Kresmer.

Below is the list of the victims.

Last Names First Names Date of Birth Place of Birth Place of Death
van den Berg Wilhelmus 09-12-1914 Utrecht Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Berkeveld Willem 20-03-1919 Djombang Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van den Biesheuvel Anthony Adrianus 04-05-1914 Rotterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Bouquet Jacob 27-06-1915 Amsterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Bouter Albert 25-05-1911 Den Haag Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Brouwer Eugčne George 26-02-1916 Soerabaja Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Brunet de Rochebrune Alphonse George 29-11-1895 Batavia Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Burg Herman 13-09-1905 Semarang Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Consemulder Adrianus Gerardus 24-09-1912 Amsterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Correlje André 28-03-1918 Rotterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Crugten Henri Hubert André 17-09-1907 Maastricht Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Dumas Rudi 25-03-1920 Batavia Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Evertse Jan Pieter 03-03-1903 Haamstede Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Fleuren Johannes Petrus 06-03-1917 Oeffelt Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van der Gaag Reijer Wijnandus Willem Theodoor 14-09-1915 Utrecht Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
de Haas Adrianus 22-05-1914 Rotterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van den Heuvel Johannes 12-10-1913 Edam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Hoeberechts Louis Joseph Marie 12-08-1902 Maastricht Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van der Hoeven Johannes Hendrikus 25-01-1914 Rotterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Houthuijzen Evert 08-05-1910 Hilversum Gulf of Martaban o/bb Nitimei Maru
Huismans Marinus 11-04-1907 Oss Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Huizinga Wilhelmus Johannes 01-12-1913 Wildervank Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Jansen Johannes 22-02-1912 Zutphen Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Konings Adriaan 06-03-1905 Alkmaar Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van Kooij Jan Thijs 22-01-1922 Cheribon, NOI Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van der Meer Hendrik 24-08-1915 Haulerwijk Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Meijer Jan Frederik 05-02-1907 Utrecht Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Olivier Hendrik 07-05-1915 Deventer Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
van Oorschot Petrus Adrianus Joseph 11-03-1914 Sint-Oedenrode Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Peelen Theodorus Johannes 18-08-1915 Elst Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Snijders Theodorus Marinus 15-05-1909 Haarlem Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Soetens Hendricus 22-04-1919 Vessem Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
von Stockhausen Hans Waldemar Adalbert 11-12-1902 Salatiga Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Tergouw Otto 20-10-1914 Sittard Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Verhoeven Johan Willem 14-09-1912 Paramaribo, Sur. Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Vos Klaas 03-08-1918 Strijen Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Walda Roelof Hendrik 04-05-1922 Bolsward Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru
Zegers Veeckens George Frederik 01-01-1911 Amsterdam Gulf of Martaban o/b Nitimei Maru

 

%d bloggers like this: