Saipan Bomber Base Critical in Beating Japan

The first of the long-range bombing raids on the Japanese home islands took place as early as 28 Nov 1944, mainly from the newly constructed air fields in the Mariana Islands. In Jan 1945, American General Curtis LeMay took over the 20th and 21st Bomber Commands, merging them into the XX Air Force. The XX Air Force immediately took on the task of bombing Japanese naval and air bases from high altitude, though most of the early attacks achieved relatively little.
ww2dbaseIn the spring of 1945, the B-29 Superfortress bombers were transferred to the XXI Bomber Command based at Guam, Mariana Islands. With increased scale, intensity, and frequency, the bombing campaign began to rain considerable destruction on Japanese cities. Tokyo, being the Japanese capital, received a greater share of attention from American bombers. The XXI Bomber Command missions on Tokyo and surrounding areas in 1945 were as follows.
19 Feb: 119 B-29 bombers hit the port and Tokyo urban areas.
Night of 24-25 Feb: 174 B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs and destroyed about 3 square kilometer of the city, or about 28,000 buildings.
4 Mar: 159 B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo urban areas.
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