39th Bomb Group (VH)

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Isezaki Urban Area (Night)

Mission Number: 48
Mission Date: 14/15 August 1945

The Kawaguchi mission was flown on 10 August; it was that night that the first news of Japan's willingness to surrender came through. Many believed that the 39th had made its last bombing visit to the empire, but actually such was not the case.

A scheduled attack on the little town of Isesaki was delayed for several days while the super gears somewhere negotiated with the sons of Nippon. The Japanese seemed to be stalling fir time and maybe it was decided to needle them a little bit into making up their minds, if the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not already done that.

Everybody in the Group felt that the attack at Isesaki might be called off at any time. If the briefing had been interrupted with the word that it was all over, no one would have been surprised. But it wasn't. Arrangements were made to recall the bombers en route to target in case the war was over, but they were never told to turn back. So the boys of the 39th carried out their forty-eighth and last strike at the erstwhile empire of the rising sun.

42 airplanes of the group were on the mission, 14 from each of the three squadrons. The first plane left the runway at North Field at 18:39 Guam time. And the first bombs were away on the 15th 02:04. There was no opposition from enemy aircraft, although two were seen near the initial point and two more in the target area. Except for two crews who said flak was moderate, it was described as meager. From five to seven ineffective searchlight beams were observed in the target area. No battle damage or injury to personnel was incurred on the attack, and all but one plane returned to base. This airplane landed at Iwo Jima because of mechanical difficulties.

President Truman's announcement that the war was over came as the first of our B-29s was touching the runway after the return from Isesaki.

Jubilation was the order of the day at the interrogation afterwards but in spite of the difficulties, Intelligence Officers extracted some poop from the crews.

Thus ended the 48th and last mission of the 39th Bomb Group. Though several missions from dropping supplies to Prisoners Of War in Japan were run and some show of force - including the maximum effort over Tokyo Bay when the surrender terms were signed - the history of the group had reached that point at which everything that happened was anti-climatic.

JAPAN - Seven hundred fifty-two B-29's fly seven missions against Japan without loss. (These are the last B-29 missions against Japan in WWII. Before the last B-29's return, President Harry S. Truman announces the unconditional surrender of Japan.)

(Mission 330) Eighty-six B-29's drop incendiaries on the Isezaki urban area destroying .17 square miles or 17% of the city.
Source:"Air War Pacific Chronology: America's Air War Against Japan in East Asia and the Pacific 1941-1945" by Eric Hammel, (Pacifica, CA: Pacifica Press, 1988, ISBN 0-935553-26-6)

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Source: "History of the 39th Bomb Group"
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