Three crewmen from these groups were later executed.
The key development for the bombing of Japan was the B-29 Superfortress strategic bomber, which had an operational range of 3,250 nautical miles (3,740 mi; 6,020 km) and was capable of attacking at high altitude above 30,000 feet (9,100 m), where enemy defenses were very weak.
Almost 90% of the bombs dropped on the home islands of Japan were delivered by this type of bomber.
, often referred to as a series of firebombing raids, was conducted as part of the air raids on Japan by the United States Army Air Forces during the Pacific campaigns of World War II.
The US first mounted a small-scale raid on Tokyo in April 1942.
The raid did little damage to Japan's war capability but was a significant propaganda victory for the United States.
Launched at longer range than planned when the task force encountered a Japanese picket boat, all of the attacking aircraft either crashed or ditched short of the airfields designated for landing.
One aircraft landed in the neutral Soviet Union where the crew was interned, but then smuggled over the border into Iran on .
Two crews were captured by the Japanese in occupied China.Strategic bombing and urban area bombing began in 1944 after the long-range B-29 Superfortress bomber entered service, first deployed from China and thereafter the Mariana Islands.B-29 raids from those islands began on 17 November 1944, and lasted until 15 August 1945, the day Japan capitulated.The first raid on Tokyo was the Doolittle Raid of 18 April 1942, when sixteen B-25 Mitchells were launched from USS Hornet to attack targets including Yokohama and Tokyo and then fly on to airfields in China.The raid was retaliation against the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.The initial raids were carried out by the Twentieth Air Force operating out of mainland China in Operation Matterhorn under XX Bomber Command, but these could not reach Tokyo.