BATTLE OF JAPAN: The Planes Came

It was just after midday, when thousands of Osaka workers had paused to bolt down meager lunches in the partly ruined Chicago of Japan. High in the heavy overcast the U.S. planes rode in—more than 400 B-29s and 150 escorting P-51 Mustang fighters. For three hours the planes were overhead. High-explosive bombs fell first, driving Japanese air-raid workers to the shelters. Then the fire bombs fell, destroying without interruption.

Sister city Kobe, 20 miles northwest, was still smouldering from an earlier attack. Flyers had driven through snow, fog, thunderheads, antiaircraft fire and...

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