Bombing missions over Japan were not very successful until Gen. Curtis Lemay became commander of the 20th Air Force that brought the air war to the Japanese. Till then Stetson and his fellow pilots were having little luck bombing the enemy from six miles high. Much of the time they couldn’t even see the designated target because of the overcast that blanketed the target area much of the time. Then there was the 200 mph head winds they had to cope with that made high altitude bombing very inaccurate.
“When Gen. Lemay arrived he decided low altitude bombing at 10,000 feet or less would get the job done,” Stetson recalled. “I made five low altitude fire bomb raids one after the other. We fire bombed Nagoya on March 11, 1945, on Mach 14 we hit Osaka, then back to Nagoya on March 18, then Tokyo and finally Nagoya once more.”
He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for the five fire bomb raids he flew over Japan during the closing months of World War II.
Join the mission at altitude en route to the target. Hide the cockpit view and look down to see the bomb sight.
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