『THE MENACE FROM MORESBY』 A Pictorial History of the 5th Air Force In World War II, 1945
美國陸軍第五航空隊，二次世界大戰圖誌『來自摩斯比的威脅』，民國34年《Black Water Museum Collections | 黑水博物館館藏》
Publisher: Newsfoto Publishing Company, San Angelo, Texas
Publication Date: 1945(民國34年)
This book was compiled from pictorial materials furnished by the Personal Narrative Division, Army Air Forces and from materials and informa- tion contained in the United States Strategic Bombing Survey, "The Fifth Air Force In The War Against Japan", and the pictorial history of the 308th
Bombardment Wing, "From Dobodura To Okinawa".
Special acknowledgment is made of the assistance given by Mr. Leon Schloss, Aviation Editor of the International News Service, who prepared the narrative portion of this book. Mr. Schloss was a former Naval Officer and as such, served with the United States Naval Aviation in most of the areas covered by this story.
The technical information and advice furnished by Colonel Robert E. Beebe, USAF, former Chief of Staff of the Fifth Air Force and the Far East Air Forces: Colonel Benjamin Cain, USAFR, former A2 Officer, Fifth Air Force and Far East Air Forces, and Colonel Francis Gideon, USAF, former A3 of the Fifth Air Force and Far East Air Forces, for the compilation of this book is deeply appreciated.
The story of the Fifth Air Force in the Pacific War will serve as a model for study and analysis by military historians for many years to come. The record is one of brilliant achievement in the tace of tremendous odds by an organization that lacked almost everything except courage, determination and ability to get the most out of what they had to work with.
There was nothing in the previous training or experience of the gallant American airmen belonging to the "Fighting Fifth" that prepared them for a war over vast wastes of jungle and sea. They had never encountered living conditions as primitive or a climate as bad as the steaming tropics of New Guinea, or penetrated thunderheads as towering as in the Equatorial fronts of the South West Pacific; but with a morale never surpassed in the annals of warfare, they fought and won from an aggressive, cruel and ruthless enemy, a series of victories that captured the admiration of the whole world.
The Fighting Fifth became a byword in World War II. This story will tell the reader why they acquired the name and justified General Douglas MacArthur's tribute when he said on the occasion of the arrival of the first units of the Fifth in the Philippines in October 1944:
"The Fifth Air Force has never failed me."
THIS IS A STORY OF THE FIFTH AIR FORCE
It should help bring back to those former members of the Fifth memories, both fond and bitter of Australia, New Guinea, The Phillippines, Okinawa, Japan and Korea. It should also recall K-rations, dehydrated foods, hot sunny days and steamy nights, leave in Australia, rotation with its sweating out of replacements, mosquitos, torrential rains, mud, air strips built with blistered hands, the continuous short supply of essentials, Aussie beer, the arrival of the first state-side beer ration, Nip raids, foxholes and those almost forgotten buddies of squadrons and crews.
The securing of Mindoro and rapid development of airdromes permitted the Fifth's normal plan to be resumed. This plan was to bring forward fighters followed by strafers and heavy bombers as rapidly as facilities were available. (Thus could mounted the heavy, sustained, and coordinated attacks of the air force team of fighters and bombers which experience had proved to be the only effective means of destroying an enemy air force in an area such as Luzon, where sufficient airdromes permitted dispersal and shifting of his forces).
Lingayen was next, and was to become one of the operations which hastened the war's close. That the conflict would end so suddenly, with the atomic bomb, was un- dreamed of, of course. Lingayen got under way before the neutralization of Luzon was complete. Again the risk was accepted of moving a convoy under cover of pocket car- riers into an area where the destruction of the enemy air force had not been finished.
The Kamikaze threat had become serious, sa a maximum air effort had to be expended to cover the approach of the naval bombard- ment and assault forces. Three air units were assigned the Third Air Fleet, the Fifth Air Force and Seventh Air Fleet.
Clark Field, another monument of the Pearl Harbor Day of Infamy, was heavily attacked by the Third Air Fleet on December 14. 15 and 16. From then on until the assault forces reached Lingayen the main chore fell to the Fifth, and it destroyed the Japanese air power as an effective unit. But in spite of all that could be done, the desperate enemy lanched 19 successful Kamikaze attacks on January 6 and 7. Then the suicide attacks all but ceased.
As soon as the Fifth became established at Lingayen, it began blasting Formosa, at the same time holding down Jap Air Luzon, cutting enemy sea lines and support the ground forces. The assault on Formosa was so heavy that by April 1 there were no targets left. On Luzon, by January 15 the Fifth had damaged or destroyed 79 locomotives, 456 railroad cars, 468 motor cars, 67 staff cars and 18 tanks. It flew 47,250 sorties and dropped 38,900 tons of bombs in support of the ground forces. As many as 300 fighters, each carrying Napalm belly tanks, were used in concentrated attacks.
Attacks on enemy sea lines in the South China Sea began as soon as reconnaissance and strafer planes were based in the Philippines. Regular smashes reaching the China and Indo-China coasts quickly weakened the communications between the southern empire and the homeland of Japan, and by May 12, 1945 these lines were completely severed.
The Fifth's success in reducing the bastion of Formosa was evidenced by the negligible number of enemy aircraft that were able to stage through the island's 53 airdromes to attack the Okinawa task forces. Scale of effort can best be seen the statistics. The Fifth dropped 15,315 tons of bombs on Formosa in 7,690 sorties.
On May 25 General MacArthur received orders to invade the Japanese mainland. The Fifth's objective was to soften up the enemy's prepared defenses in order to ease the task of the amphibious invaders. General MacArthur wanted the kind of job that would let his soldiers stroll ashore with weapons slung over their shoulders.
The Fifth needed airdromes for the assault on Kyushu, so an all out building effort was made on Okinawa and le Shima. The new fields were kept saturated with aircraft as fast as they were completed so that by August 14, when hostilities ceased, more than 1,000 planes were pounding the Japanese. The Fifth was throwing everything but the kitchen stove, and pieces of it may have been dropped by individual pranksters. It had happened before. Fragmentation bombs, Napalm, strafing and high explosives were used in coordinated attacks which left the enemy dazed.
Well, just as suddenly as this new paragraph, it was all over. An airplane dropped an atom bomb. Finis. The Fifth's capable,heroic and history-making occupation of the enemy's land has been described earlier in this chronicle.
But before this poor attempt of man to describe the deeds of MEN is closed, the crusaders for air power-young and old, from Billy Mitchell on-are entitled to read these studied conclusions on the record of the Fifth Air Force:
1. No battlefield can be logistically support. ed without continuous air superiority.
2. Aircraft range is the paramount factor in neutralization of enemy power.
3. Best defense against attack is possession of the longest ranged offensive air weapons with which to neutralize the enemy at distances greater than his own ability for counteraction.
4. Air transport alone can support substantial intra-theater operations.
5. With air superiority an area can be seized and held by air power if supplies can be delivered rapidly enough.
While the contents of this book are primarily about the Fifth Air Force and its accomplishments in the Pacific War, it should be remem- bered that U. S. Naval Forces and Army Ground Troops, along whose side the Fifth fought on its way to Tokyo, also played their part in the epic struggle against Japan. No praise can be too great for the officers and men of these two services, nor can the part the Allied Forces played in the Pacific War go unmentioned. The gallant men and officers of the Australian Forces with a minimum of equipment and supplies did a superhuman job.
All the officers and men under the command of General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, be they of the Fifth-Army Ground Forces U. S. Naval Forces-or our Allies, did a herioc job, on a heroic scale, under heroic leadership, for a heroic cause.
While the landings in the Palaus were in progress, the fast carrier task force struck Japanese aircraft, air fields and shipping in the Philippines . Preliminary to the Leyte operation, the fast carrier task force with a concentration of more than 1,000 planes attacked Okinawa, Formosa and the Philippines, exacting a large toll of Japanese air power. B-29 strikes from China against air installations on Formosa supported this operation . The landing at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines was correctly assessed by the Japanese as their last opportunity, short of a defense of the Japanese home islands, to throw in all their available forces to check the United States advance in a decisive engagement.
Three days after the landing at Leyte they committed their entire fleet in a three-pronged attack . The plan contemplated that a carrier force advancing from the north would draw off our main strength, while heavy surface forces approaching through Surigao and San Bernardino Straits and covered by Japanese Army and Navy planes from air fields in the Philippines would destroy our transports and supporting strength off the landing beach. The Japanese strategy succeeded in drawing off our main strength to the north. The southern Japanese force was destroyed in a night surface engagement in Surigao Straits . Four carriers in the northern force were sunk off Luzon . Although one of its super-battleships had been sunk by torpedo plane attack, the central force penetrated close to our transports still possessed of overwhelming surface strength. The Japanese commander of the central force testified to the Survey that lack of expected land-based air support and air reconnaissance, fear of further losses from air attack, and worry as to his fuel reserves induced him to withdraw. As a result of this decision to retire, the Japanese failed to secure the objective for which catastrophic losses had been risked and suffered by the other two Japanese forces .
In the ensuing actions in the Philippines, the Japanese lost all the troops and supplies deployed there, plus three and one-half divisions sent in from China and Manchuria . In the Philippines campaign as a whole they committed and lost 9,000 planes. On 1 March 1945, the Japanese decided to send no further supplies to their ground forces outside of the home islands . Except for delaying actions they had been forced to concentrate solely on defense against invasion .
While the liberation of the Philippines was being completed, the Central Pacific forces made the difficult moves into Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The Allied strategic plan contemplated that the actual defeat of Japan would be accomplished by operations in the Pacific . In the meantime, however, it was essential to defend India and to assist China. We could not afford to make substantial forces available . Our contribution in the China-Burma-India theater was almost entirely air and logistic support . The geography of the theater was such that overland transportation was virtually impossible beyond the Indian bases . As a consequence, the air in the China-Burma-India theater was called upon, not only to give protection against and to fight down enemy air and disrupt Japanese shipping and rail transportation, but also to transport the men and supplies for all forces and provide much of the fire power even in ground operations .
Full superiority over Japanese air forces was gradually attained . British ground forces at Imphal which had been surrounded by an attacking Japanese force were supplied by Allied air . The Japanese force was in turn isolated by air attack and destroyed. The troops that liberated Burma were moved, supplied, and supported by air . Japanese logistics in Burma and China were disrupted . China was kept in the war .
Over 1,180,000 tons of supplies and equipment and 1,380,000 troops were transported by air . The air movement over the "hump" between India and China attained a peak rate of 71,000 tons in 1 month.
In the fall of 1943 it was decided to attack Japanese industrial targets in Manchuria and Kyushu with B-29s flying from advanced bases in China. When this decision was reached, Guam, Saipan and Tinian had not yet been captured, and no other bases were available sufficiently close for direct strikes at the Japanese "Inner Zone" industries . The principal bottleneck in air operation in China was the transportation from India by air of the necessary supplies, most of which were allocated to supplying Chinese ground forces . As a result, the B-29s had sufficient supplies for only a small number of strikes per month . Data secured by the Survey in Japan established that these strikes caused more severe damage to the Manchurian steel plants selected as targets than assessment of aerial photography had revealed. With the benefit of hindsight, however, it appears that the overall results achieved did not warrant the diversion of effort entailed and that the aviation gasoline and supplies used by the B-29s might have been more profitably allocated to an expansion of the tactical and antishipping operations of the Fourteenth Air Force in China. The necessary training and combat experience with B-29s provided by this operation might have been secured through attacks on "Outer Zone" targets, from bases more easily supplied . In November 1944, long-range bomber attacks from Guam, Saipan and Tinian were initiated . The B-29s based in China were transferred to these bases in April 1945 .
By March 1945, prior to heavy direct air attack on the Japanese home islands, the Japanese air forces had been reduced to Kamikaze forces, her fleet had been sunk or immobilized, her merchant marine decimated, large portions of her ground forces isolated, and the strangulation of her economy well begun. What happened to each of these segments of Japan's vanishing war potential is analyzed in the following sections.
The total tonnage of bombs dropped by Allied planes in the Pacific war was 656,400 . Of this, 160,800 tons, or 24 percent, were dropped on the home islands of Japan . Navy aircraft accounted for 6,800 tons, Army aircraft other than B-29s for 7,000 tons, and the B-29s for 147,000 tons . By contrast, the total bomb tonnage in the European theater was 2,700,000 tons of which 1,360,000 tons were dropped within Germany's own borders .
Approximately 800 tons of bombs were dropped by China-based B-29s on Japanese home island targets from June 1944 to January 1945 . These raids were of insufficient weight and accuracy to produce significant results .
By the end of November 1944, 4 months after seizure of the islands, the first of the long-range bomber bases in the Marianas became operational . The number of planes originally available was small and opposition was significant . Losses on combat missions averaged 3 .6 percent. The tonnage dropped prior to 9 March 1945 aggregated only 7,180 tons although increasing month by month . The planes bombed from approximately 30,000 feet and the percentage of bombs dropped which hit the target areas averaged less than 10 percent . Nevertheless, the effects of even the relatively small tonnage hitting the selected targets were substantial . During this period, attacks were directed almost exclusively against aircraft, primarily aircraft engine, targets . The principal aircraft engine plants were hit sufficiently heavily and persistently to convince the Japanese that these plants would inevitably be totally destroyed. The Japanese were thereby forced into a wholesale and hasty dispersal program. The continuing pressure of immediate military requirements for more and more planes during the campaigns in the Pacific had prevented any earlier moves to disperse . When dispersal could no longer be avoided, the necessary underground tunnels, dispersed buildings, and accessory facilities such as roads, railroad spurs and power connections were not ready. As a result the decline in aircraft engine production, which shortages in special steels requiring cobalt, nickel and chrome had initiated in mid-1944, became precipitous .
On 9 March 1945, a basic revision in the method of B-29 attack was instituted . It was decided to bomb the four principal Japanese cities at night from altitudes averaging 7,000 feet. Japanese weakness in night fighters and antiaircraft made this program feasible. Incendiaries were used instead of high-explosive bombs and the lower altitude permitted a substantial increase in bomb load per plane. One thousand six hundred and sixty-seven tons of bombs were dropped on Tokyo in the first attack . The chosen areas were saturated . Fifteen square miles of Tokyo's most densely populated area were burned to the ground . The weight and intensity of this attack caught the Japanese by surprise . No subsequent urban area attack was equally destructive . Two days later, an attack of similar magnitude on Nagoya destroyed 2 square miles . In a period of 10 days starting 9 March, a total of 1,595 sorties delivered 9,373 tons of bombs against Tokyo, Nagoya, Osake, and Kobe destroying 31 square miles of those cities at a cost of 22 airplanes . The generally destructive effect of incendiary attacks against Japanese cities had been demonstrated .
Thereafter, urban area attacks alternated with visual and radar attacks against selected industrial or military targets . In April, an extensive program of sowing minefields in channels and harbors at night was added . In the aggregate, 104,000 tons of bombs were directed at 66 urban areas; 14,150 tons were directed at aircraft factories ; 10,600 tons at oil refineries ; 4,708 at arsenals; 3,500 tons at miscellaneous industrial targets ; 8,115 tons at air fields and seaplane bases in support of the Okinawa operation ; and 12,054 mines were sown.
Bombing altitudes after 9 March 1945 were lower, in both day and night attacks . Japanese opposition was not effective even at the lower altitudes, and the percentage of losses to enemy action declined as the number of attacking planes increased. Bomb loads increased and operating losses declined in part due to less strain on engines at lower altitudes. Bombing accuracy increased substantially, and averaged 35 to 40 percent within 1,000 feet of the aiming point in daylight attacks from 20,000 feet or lower.
Monthly tonnage dropped increased from 13,800 tons in March to 42,700 tons in July, and, with the activation of the Eighth Air Force on Okinawa, would have continued to increase thereafter to a planned figure of 115,000 tons per month, had the war not come to an end.
Three-quarters of the 6,740 tons of bombs dropped by carrier planes on the Japanese home islands were directed against airfields, warships, and miscellaneous military targets, and one-quarter against merchant shipping and other economic targets . Most of the warships sunk in home ports had already been immobilized for lack of fuel . The accuracy of low-level carrier plane attack was high, being at least 50 percent hits within 250 feet of the aiming point. The attack against the Hakodate-Aomori rail ferries in July 1945 sank or damaged all twelve of the ferries, 17 steel ships, and 149 smaller ships .