The Last Bomb

Synopsis: Documentary of the planning and delivery of the last great bomber attack on the city of Tokyo by the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II.
35 min

Early in 1945

our B-29s began full-scale

operations against Japan.

1,500 miles to the targets...

and 1,500 miles back.

From bases at Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

Here, 21st Bomber Command

concentrated its massive air power

and planned the ultimate

crushing defeat of Japan,

down to the last bomb.

Here was the beginning

of the end of the road to Tokyo.

After six months of reoccupation,

there were few signs of war along

the quiet summer shores of Guam.

The liberated Chamorrans

were back in their native villages,

American citizens again,

smiling and friendly, unaware that

a miracle had happened around them.

A miracle that moved mountains

of material, equipment and supplies

across the Pacific,

that changed their dirt roads

into highways,

that manicured their jungles

into acres of blacktopped airfields.

Nearby, new communities of American

citizens had set up housekeeping

with various types of self-service...

the latest labor-saving devices,

few laundry problems...

and no modern inconveniences.

By midsummer, 21st Bomber Command

was in business - big business.

Under General LeMay's direction,

Bomber Command began punching

the enemy with appalling power.

From Guam, Tinian, and Saipan

600-plane missions

increased the bombing weight

100 per cent in two months.

Behind this expanding power

was planning.

The LeMay plan began on the ground,

with maintenance.

Assembly-line technique

cut engine change time

from three days to less than half a day.

In shops and hardstands crews work

day and night during the blitz weeks

to keep more B-29s on the line.

By July, LeMay's Bomber Command

is an efficient,

well-drilled machine of destruction.

Here's a vital cog of that machine-

11 men and a bomber.

While they wind up for action,

let's find out where they're going

and some of the things they're going

to do and why and with what.

How do they set up the longest,

toughest bomber mission in history?

It began about 12 hours ago

in the war room at Guam

with General LeMay receiving a report

on tomorrow's weather in Japan.

Tomorrow's forecast is typical.

Nagoya, eight tenths

cloud above 10,000 feet.

In the east, Tokyo area

will be six tenths at 22,000,

three tenths at 14,000 feet,

closing up solid after 11 A.M...

Osaka and everything west

is completely socked in.

How will the general solve that one?

His B-29s are up against a blank wall

except for an opening around Tokyo.

The old man considers every factor

and makes his decision.

Four wings will strike Tokyo

at ten o'clock.

They'll go in under that weather

and bomb at 12,000.

Now it's a question of target selection.

First priority in the Tokyo area

is number 573.

Intelligence informs the general that 573

is already three quarters destroyed.

At the moment 574, still untouched,

would seem more important.

Operations checks

the tactical plan for 574.

General LeMay orders

the required changes, OKs the target

and commits

all executive details to his staff.

Operations, with its deputy chief of staff

and project officer,

goes to work setting up the changes.

In that plans folder

is a mountain of preparation

by special sections of

Intelligence and Operations,

a thousand hours of research,

collated facts and figures have

been distilled into tactical plan 574.

Aircraft will assemble as briefed

with three groups of P-51s for escort.

Smoke markers at one-minute intervals

will be dropped to expedite departure

from assembly point.

One squadron each wing

will carry M47 incendiary clusters.

Balance of squadrons,

500 and 1,000Ib GP bombs

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Last Bomb" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 3 Mar. 2021. <>.

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