Mission #4 24 May 45 Tokyo
Today we hit Tokyo on one of the largest fire raids of the war. We were to drop incendiaries on the central part of the city which is an important industrial (and residential) area. The entire 21st Bomber command consisting of four Wings was to take part and the B-29s carried the largest bomb load in history. We carried thirty-seven 500 lb. aimable incendiary clusters. I figured that with 550 planes taking part about 5000 tons of bombs were dropped on Tokyo.
We took off from Guam at 2046K, May 23rd and headed right for Iwo Jima. Celestial was very good going up to Iwo and I came in O.K. Out of Iwo, which we passed at 0013K at 10,100 feet, I got a celestial fix. It was only 30 minutes out of Iwo and gave me an entirely different wind from Metro. As radar was out it made things a little difficult. I didn't konw whether to use that wind or stick to metro as it closed in right after that. I got a couple of Loran fixes and they showed me right of the DR course. I also carried an air plot along. About thirty minutes away from the Jap coast, I was a little worried as with no radar I wasn't sure where we were coming in and I certainly didn't want to go in there blind. The moon came through the clouds and I shot four LOPs. They showed me over to the right so I put the metro wind on my air plot and it right in the LOPs. I then corrected to 290 true and it took up in to the peninsula, Omai Saki, which was our turning point.
Then we went in over Tokyo. We could see the fires long before we hit the turning point. We left the turning point on a TH of 033 for the IP. Hit the IP, which was a DR point (35-32N 139-12E), at 0339K and the target (33-371/2N 139-43E) at 0345K on a TH of 078. We then turned on a heading of 120 and got the hell out.
That Tokyo is really a rough place. There were well over a hundred searchlights but not too much flak. However, there were fighters working with the searchlights, but none attacked us. We saw some automatic weapons fire before we hit the coast but we were at 12,100 feet which was out of their range. We went over the target with a GS of 270 knots so we were going plenty fast.
The searchlights bothered us plenty. We saw about ten of them all tracking one plane at about 7000 feet and he just couldn't shake them. We understand that the plane was later shot down by night fighters. One of the searchlights was tracking us, that is attempting to find us but we used evasive action and managed to allude him. He got on us just once but we went behind some smoke and got away. There were searchlight-night fighter teams all along the peninsula Easy of Tokyo but they didn't get us. Vincent was throwing out a lot of RCM rope which helped a lot.
Without radar we weren't sure when we passed the coast-line and got out over the ocean but when we saw other planes turn on their lights we also did. Then things popped. We figured they were rockets. They came in at the nose of the ship in bursts of four. About eight attacks. One of the attacks was coming in very close so Ralph put the nose of the ship down and it passed over it. However, none of the rest of us knew what was happening and when we started bouncing around we all thought we had been hit. We came out of it O.K. and needless to say turned out our lights. At 0415 we figured we had passed the coast. I used DR 35-15N 140-40E as a departure point at 0415K. It really was a rat-race over the target. 550 planes went over singly within 70 minutes. It's a miracle that they didn't have any mid-air collisions.
I did straight DR into Iwo Jima and arrived there at 0745K. Iwo was closed in so we went to Minami before turning. The rest of the mission I used Lozan. Hit the turning point at 10011/2 (18-30N 145 15E). We had started to sweat out gas before then. Finally arrived at Guam and landed at 1129K. Two engines (2 + 3) were coughing on landing but we came in all right. Flying time was 14:57. Miles flown
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