The following is courtesy of the Zenith Press (zenithpress.com). Congratulations to longtime Flight Journal contributor Robert F. Dorr on the publication of his latest book!
From Hell Hawks! author Bob Dorr, Mission to Tokyo takes the reader on a World War II strategic bombing mission from an airfield on the western Pacific island of Tinian to Tokyo and back. Told in the veterans’ words, Mission to Tokyo is a narrative of every aspect of long range bombing, including pilots and other aircrew, groundcrew, and escort fighters that accompanied the heavy bombers on their perilous mission.
Several thousand men on the small Mariana Islands of Guam, Saipan, and Tinian were trying to take the war to the Empire—Imperial Japan—in B-29 Superfortresses flying at 28,000 feet, but the high-altitude bombing wasn’t very accurate. The decision was made to take the planes down to around 8,000 feet, even as low as 5,000 feet. Eliminating the long climb up would save fuel, and allow the aircraft to take heavier bomb loads. The lower altitude would also increase accuracy substantially. The trade-off was the increased danger of anti-aircraft fire. This was deemed worth the risk, and the devastation brought to the industry and population of the capital city was catastrophic. Unfortunately for all involved, the bombing did not bring on the quick surrender some had hoped for. That would take six more months of bombing, culminating in the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Robert F. Dorr (Oakton, VA) is an Air Force veteran (Korea, 1957–1960), a retired senior American diplomat (1964–1989), and the author of seventy books and thousands of magazine articles and newspaper columns about the Air Force and air warfare. Bob has written for Air and Space Smithsonian, Flight Journal, Air Forces Monthly, Air Power History, and many other publications. He is a columnist for Air Force Times newspaper and writes the Washington Watch feature for Aerospace America magazine. Mission to Tokyo is a follow-up to his previous book, Mission to Berlin.