the 315th Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force and a B-29
The official story of WWII is that it ended with the dropping of two atomic bombs in August 1945. This story was to justify the horror of the world's only use of atomic weapons to force Japan's surrender and the terrible destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but there is much more to why Japan's "never say die" military leaders were ready to quit. From manuscripts recently discovered and declassified military documents we find that precision night bombing raids persuaded Japan's military leaders to surrender. In the closing months of the war, Japan's entire oil refining capacity and reserves of oil and fuel were wiped out. Japan's war machine was totally paralyzed by lack of fuel. As one analyst put it, "There wasn't enough gasoline left in Japan to drive a jeep through Tokyo."
Until 1985 the US Government kept data classified as SECRET that six days after the last atomic bombing of Nagasaki Japan one more city was bombed. As the Domei News Agency of Japan announced to the US Government the "Surrender is coming soon" one last target was set for destruction. This was the Nippon Oil Refinery at Tsuchizaki near Akita, 300 miles north of Tokyo on the West Coast of Japan. This was the last missions of a plan set forth to destroy all oil production in Japan. It is the opinion of this writer that by running both options concurrently we were assured that our ground troops would not have to assault the Japanese mainland. The goal was achieved, the total destruction of the Japanese oil production capability and reserves. This was done with 1300 men and 134 B29's from the Pacific Island base on Guam and the Air Forces 315th Bomb Wing who flew 15 missions between June 25, 1945 and August 14, 1945.
As the last survivors of this account are slowly dwindling and the ability to dispute any first hand account is slowly slipping in to obscurity. Now is the time to get a more accurate accounting. From the manuscript it appears that the planners of this group of missions believed they were the one ending the war by the goals set forth. Their final mission was timed to make a point to the Japanese, who had begun peace negotiations after the atomic bombings. The military leaders were still not ready to give up the fight after the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 143 B-29s would fly the longest mission of the war to attack Japan's last standing refinery under cover of total darkness. Because of its long distance from American bomber bases Guam, the Japanese thought this city was safe from attack. By 4 PM on the 14th of August, planes were on their way, with flight engineers sweating to conserve enough fuel to get them back home safely. After eight long hours in the air, the planes arrived over the target and located it using their primitive radar scopes. It was now midnight and the target was under attack. By the time the bombing had stopped the total destruction of the last remaining oil production capability and oil reserves in Japan had been achieved. Aircraft were still returning to Guam as by 9:00 AM President Truman made the announcement that the Japanese had accepted the surrender conditions and the war was over. We believe if it were not for the dedicated efforts of this groups in the days following the historic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Japanese may have continued. That last attack settled any doubts and assured the surrender.