"I shall return" and he did.
To prepare for this glorious MacArthur event, however, incessant US bombing of Taiwan started in earnest on 12 October 1944.
In the early days of the Pacific War, the Japanese High Command had decided to make Taiwan a formidable fortress and transform it into an aptly named "Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier". It was estimated that 71 airbases had been reinforced or constructed since then. Initially, some were intended for civilian use, for example, the Tainan Airfield (Eikosho) was built in 1937, drafted by the IJA Air Force in 1943 as were many other civilian airports. [Note: The seaplane port in Tamsui became an IJN base at around the same time.]
From the strategic POV of the US High Command, this Unsinkable Carrier must be sunk at all costs, not only to neutralize the Japanese offensive capabilities but also to clear the way to mainland Japan. The invasion into Taiwan area spearheaded by US Naval Task Force 38 of the Third Fleet, aided by the US Army Air Force, can be found in this book:
The Army Air Forces in World War II, Volume Five: THE PACIFIC: MATTERHORN TO NAGASAKI JUNE 1944 TO AUGUST 1945 - available online [here].
As far as the bombing of Tainan Airfield(s), we will use the declassified history of the 40th Group under the XX [i.e., 20th] US Army Air Force Command, one of the several bombing groups involved, as an example:
HEADQUARTERS 40TH BOMBARDMENT GROUP
Office of the Historical Officer
APO Number 631
20 November 1944
Group History: 1 Oct to 31 Oct 1944
Prepared by WILLIAM M. MC NAIR, Captain, Air Corps, Actg Historical Officer
"It was decided that combat B-29’s should carry bombs rather than gasoline over the hump as XX Bomber Command now had a fleet of C-109 tankers carrying gasoline to the forward area. On 2 October some of the newer B-29’s with center wing tanks were dispatched to China with a load of 40 x 500 pound bombs in each airplane. The trip was accomplished without any unusual occurrences.[Note: this group was based in India, mobilized to Chengdu, China by flying over the Himalayas ("the hump").]
"On 9 October, the 40th Group began dispatching aircraft to China for the first of three missions scheduled for October. The target was the OKAYAMA airfield and arsenal at OKAYAMA, FORMOSA [Note: this was 岡山], called by the 20th Air Force as “the most important target south of Japan.”
“Starting at 132256Z on 14 October 1944 all 34 aircraft were airborne to attack the OKAYAMA airfield and arsenal at OKAYAMA, FORMOSA. By 132338Z 32 aircraft had been airborne, the remaining two being delayed, one by mechanical difficulties and the other becoming mired when it taxied off the runway. Both difficulties were overcome and the last aircraft was airborne at 140117Z.
“A total of 473,500 lb An-M 64 TNT bombs with .1 sec nose and .01 sec tail fusing and 236,500 lb AN-M 76 type incendiary bombs with instantaneous nose and non-delay tail fusing were dropped on the primary target.
"At the completion of the mission the Group did not return to India, but awaited further order in China and they came the next day. Another strike was to be made, this time a maximum effort against Japanese installations at EINANSHO airfield and repair depot at TAIWAN, FORMOSA. The assigned secondary target was shipping harbor installations at TAKAO, FORMOSA. This was to be a special mission by 40th Group airplanes, on 17 October, as planes from the other Groups had flown a mission on 16 October.
“A total of 32 B-29 aircraft at A-1 were considered available for the mission. Starting at 16230Z 30 aircraft were airborne with the last aircraft taking off at 170015Z. Two aircraft were unable to take off due to mechanical difficulties.
“Of the 30 aircraft airborne 10 attacked the assigned primary target dropping a total of 174 GP and 50 incendiary bombs from 24,000 feet with reported good results. Weather over primary target was such that the target was covered by cloud from the east up to the extreme western edge. The target was clearly visible coming in from the west and bombs were seen to explode in the aiming point area. No worthwhile photos were obtained due to cloud cover.
“Between 12 and 14 enemy S/E fighters were sighted below the formation but attacks were not pressed home in this area. Antiaircraft fire was meager and inaccurate. Several aircraft reported sighting high altitude balloons, spherical in shape with a long black box-like object suspended beneath them. The balloons were reported at 23,000 feet and it is believed photos were obtained.
“Thirteen aircraft proceeded to the primary target but finding it cloud covered went on to the secondary target and dropped a total of 281 GP and 121 incendiary bombs from 24,000 feet with good results. Approximately 15 ships, six of which were large ocean going type, we re found in the harbor. The center of the main bomb pattern appears from strike photos to have hit in the midst of the anchored shipping slightly short of the assigned aiming point. Three or more ships appear to have sustained direct hits and there are apparently numerous near misses. Some bombs are seen to be striking the main northern dock area. Weather was CAVU,
After accomplishing the missions in Taiwan, Group 40 was dispatched to attack Japan:
“Starting at 241828Z a total of 14 aircraft were airborne to attack the OMURA Aircraft Plant at OMURA, JAPAN [Note: This was 大村 in Nagasaki].
[Note: More information on the operation of Group 40 also can be found in this excellent post: http://taiwanairpower.org/blog/?p=4178]
Group 40 Bombardment Group was only one of the many that had bombed Taiwan. From November 1944 to February 1945, bombing events without mentioning specific targets were documented in
The United States Air Force: A Chronology
On November 25 1944: B25s, P38s, P51s of the 14th Air Force attacked Formosa Taiwan for the first time
January 17: 91 B29s of the XX Group attacked Hsinchuku, the last mission from Chengdu
January 22: B24s and P38s from the 5th Air Force attacked Formosa, their first mission
February 19: The 14th Air Force hit Formosa with B24s, B25s, and P40s
Then from 1 March 1945 on, a long list of sorties against "Tainan Airfield" and the town of Tainan:
|Loading bombs onto a B24 Liberator|
March 1 - July 10, 1945
The immediate questions are (1) which Airfield and why so many attacks? (2) why target Tainan (City) at all? and (3) what were "targets of opportunity"?March 1, 1945
(FEAF [Note: Far East Air Force]) B-24s bomb the Takao aluminum plant, Tainan AirfieldMarch 3, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s pound the Tainan areaMarch 12, 1945
(FEAF) On Formosa B-24s, with P-38 support bomb Takao and Tainan. P-51s also hit TainanMarch 18, 1945
(FEAF) Aircraft hit Tainan AirfieldMarch 20, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s bomb the town of TainanMarch 22, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit TainanMarch 28, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit TainanApril 8, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s and B-25s hit TainanApril 12, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s attack TainanApril 13, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan AirfieldApril 18, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan AirfieldApril 19, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan AirfieldApril 20, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan AirfieldApril 24, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit TainanApril 30, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit TainanMay 18, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s hit Tainan AirfieldMay 18, 1945
(FEAF) Fighters sweep the Tainan areaMay 29, 1945
(FEAF) B-25s, and fighter-bombers, hit the Tainan alcohol plant and targets of opportunityJuly 10, 1945
(FEAF) B-24s bomb Tainan Airfield, destroying several planes