Date: 14/15 August 1945
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
was the order of the day at the interrogation afterwards but
in spite of the difficulties, Intelligence Officers extracted
some poop from the crews.
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.
- 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
330) Eighty-six B-29's drop incendiaries on the Isezaki
urban area destroying .17 square miles or 17% of the city.
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)