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SMOKE BILLOWS FROM AN INDUSTRIAL SECTION OF YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, as B-29s continue to dump fire bombs during a daylight raid on May 29, 1945.  Haywood Hansell, “The Strategic Air War Against Germany and Japan”, p. 235.


This was a daylight incendiary mission involving 25 planes from the 6th Bomb Group:

The last mission in May was flown against the urban area of Yokohama. This was a daylight incendiary strike with twenty-seven Sixth planes taking part. Enemy opposition was light, and total battle destruction was nine planes with minor damage. Results of the mission were excellent as reported by visual observations and by reconnaissance photos.


[Pirate’s Log, p. 44]


According to the DFC Citation for Crew #3915:

For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 29 May 1945. These individuals were members of the crew of a B-29 aircraft based in the Marianas Islands on a daylight incendiary attack on the city of Yokohama, leading a flight within the lead squadron. On the bomb run, heavy, intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire was encountered, and the lead aircraft of the squadron developed engine trouble causing the formation to disperse into flights. Notwithstanding extensive damage to their plane, this crew immediately assumed the initiative and led the flight through the remaining portion of the bomb run and over the target, successfully dropping their bombs as briefed with devastating effect on the industrial area of the city. During the bomb run, the plane was subjected to aggressive attacks by three fighters, two firing cannons and machine guns, the other dropping phosphorous bombs from above. On the breakaway from the target, the formation was subjected to further intense flak and five additional fighter attacks, but returned successfully to their home bases. These individuals, veterans of more than thirty combat missions, performed their assigned duties with skill and devotion, accomplishing a dangerous mission with outstanding success and reflecting great credit on themselves and the Army Air Forces.

  • First Lieutenant LEE M. JEPPERSON as Pilot
  • First Lieutenant GEORGE E. LITTLE as Bombardier
  • Flight Officer IRWIN L. PODELL as Navigator
  • Master Sergeant MARVIN SELITSKY as Flight Engineer
  • Technical Sergeant STANLEY L. POWELL as Central Fire Control Gunner
  • Staff Sergeant EDWARD D. FISCHER as Radar Operator
  • Staff Sergeant ROBERT I. HANLEY as Radio Operator
  • Staff Sergeant CHARLES PITTS, JR as Right Gunner
  • Staff Sergeant NORMAN H. LEMOI as Left Gunner
  • Staff Sergeant WILLIAM A. JOHNSTON, JR as Tail Gunner

A separate DFC Citation was written for:

  • Captain JEFFERY RICHARDS as Airplane Commander of Crew #3915.

[Transcribed by David Wilson, son of Sgt Bernard E. Wilson (Gunner, “Anonymous IV”)]


20th AF Mission 186


Date: 29 May 1945
Target:Yokohama Area
Participating Units: 58th Bombardment Wing
73rd B.W.
313th B.W.
314th B.W
Number of A/C Airborne: 510
% A/C Bombing Primary:90.8% (454 primary and 21 opportunity)
Type of Bombs and Fuzes:N/A
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 2569.6 tons of bombs were dropped on the primary Target and 105.6 tons on Targets of opportunity.
Time Over Primary:291014K - 291129K
Altitude of Attack:17,500 - 21,000
Weather Over Target:9/10 cloud coverage
Total A/C Lost:7
Resume of Mission:Available photos indicated excellent bombing results. A total of 6.9 square miles of the city were burned and destroyed. A total of 2569.6 tons of bombs were dropped on the primary Target and 105.6 tons on Targets of opportunity. Thirty-five A/C were non-effective. Fighter opposition consisted of 55 A/C sighted making 110 attacks. Claims were 6-5-10. Flak was heavy, meager to intense, accurate to inaccurate, and shot down 3 B-29’s. The B-29’s were escorted by 101 P-51’s. Two P-51’s were lost over the Target. One B-29 was intentionally rammed. Two A/C ditched. Thirty-nine A/C landed at Iwo Jima. Average Bomb Load: 12,040 lbs. Average Fuel Reserve: 811 gallons.