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tv   That Last Bomb  CSPAN  August 20, 2016 11:50am-12:27pm EDT

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all the beliefs of george washington and that included once again, the idea that this nation would exist forever. no state had a right to leave it. it that his man's daughter would marry robert e lee who became the great confederate general and the man who can closest than any other man in history to destroying the nation that was created. complete schedule go to each week american history tv's real america brings you archival films that provide context for today's public affairs issues. the last bomb is a 1945 war department's own document in the final months of the b-29 air campaign against japan -- japan.
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the film from the national archives concludes with the august 1945 atomic bombings of hiroshima and not decisive. nagasaki. >> 1945, b-29s began full-scale operations against japan. target andwas the 1500 miles that.
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-- mouse back. it concentrated its massive air power and blame the christian defeat of japan brown -- down to last bomb. there were few signs of war. the liberated samoans were back in their native village. american citizens smiling and friendly unaware that a miracle had happened around them. a that moved mountains of material, equipment and supplies across the pacific that changed their roads into broad highways, that cure their jungles. a new community of american , the latest set up
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laborsaving devices. , and nodry problems modern clean conveniences. this bomber command was in business. big business. under general amazed direction and began punching the enemy .ith power 600 plane missions increase the bombing right 100% in two months . behind its expanding power, they plan to get on the ground. assembly-line technique cut engine change times from three days to less on half a day. ground crews worked days and nights during the blitz to keep more be 29th on the line. the bomber command is an efficient well drilled machine of destruction.
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here's the final cost of the machine. 11 men and a bomber. while they wind up for action let's find out where they are going and some of the things they're going to do and why. with what. how do they set up the longest bombing mission in history? ago inn about 12 hours the warroad pentagon. with general lemay and his staff receiving a report on tomorrow's weather in japan. there was a cloud above 10,000 feet. 3/10 ato area will be 14,000 feet closing up solid after 11 p.m.. with soccer was socked in. -- his b-29snerals are up against a blank wall picks afford partial opening around tokyo. he makes his decision.
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for wenzel struck tokyo at 10:00. they will go in under the weather and bomb at 12,000. now it is a question of target selection. first priority in the tokyo area was number 573. intelligence informs the general that 573 is already three quarters destroyed. at the moment number 574 is still untouched would seem more important. operations checks the tactical plan for 574. the general ordered the required andges, ok the target released details to his staff. operations with the deputy chief of staff and project officer goes to work setting up the changes. the mountain of preparation i special people of operations, a thousand hours of research, collated facts and figures have been collated into plan 574.
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aircraft were assembled with three groups, they will be drop by lead planes from the assembly point. will carryn each way clusters. the balance of squadrons bombs are used. altitude of attack is 12,000 feet. the wing will carry capacity fuel loads us every 300 gallons per line. airspeed of 210 miles per hour will be flown by all aircraft. rainfall 34 and 140 east will be the same for all planes. the navy has requested to furnish the following facilities for air sea rescue purposes. for some marines
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agreed -- assigned to lifeguard duty, one at station c, for b-29s will orbit super gumballs at the following positions. each section of the plan is double checked. there are certain aspects of pilot wasaternal -- a brought in as project officer. his extensive combat experience helps to iron out operational kinks. he will accompany this mission to observe new smoke signals at assembly point. flash-- take up time is the vastrganize network gathered here at the height of the nerve center of the command. this shows the up-to-the-minute details of all daily operations.
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prior to takeoff each mission is set up on the board. some takeoff to target and return. wing are laid out to indicate the flight lines. proceed as specified in the field order for the proper target. others are marking air sea rescue missions assigned table is plan and flown as recorded. beginning with takeoff time.
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the veteran crews it is -- to veteran crews it is another day at work. 15 hours, 7000 gallons, for engines, 11 guys. -- jump.ohn destination is tokyo. it's like taking off in mexico for targets in canada. the threat or 14th is airborne. apart 67s one minute tons each.
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those b-29 takeoffs are tough. that first long moment is the worst. some swear it takes luck, like a white stocking to beat it. at kenny and -- tinian 100 miles north, two more b-29 wings prepare for takeoff. 134 aircraft from the 58th wing. 100 more from the 313th wing.
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at saipan, the veteran 73rd wing lines of for takeoff. 153 are added to the mission striking force. the last b-29 is airborne at
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15:40. the tower at saipan relays this information to the controller back at guam. first and last takeoff times of each wing are recorded here and go to make up the first of a series of tabulated mission reports. copies of these reports are dispatched to headquarters in washington and posted on a control room report board. during that first hour the b-29's has settled down for the big grind, saving precious gas, cruising 1000 feet off the water. ability, experience, confidence ride in each plane. a plan of action for 11 men trained and tested to function
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as one. the navigator says the course logging island checkpoints. after about four hours of flight the bombers pass closer to iwo jima. the hot rock. a black gritty pork chop, 8 square miles paid for by our marines. we made some quick changes. cutting way the sulfurous volcanic crust and rolling the surface into one enormous flat top. three big airstrips. p-f1's for bomber escort over japan. general moore and his staff run the show in close collaboration with bomber command. a last minute briefing check just to make sure today's fighter escort knows all rescue
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positions. out of the line, the p-51s are warming up for the longest right or flight -- fighte flight on record. seven hours on one engine, extra belly tanks, extra nerve and stamina in the cockpit. about the time our wings are passing iwo jima, the pea shooters are taking off. scheduled to join them 3.5 hours later off the shores of japan. after a rendezvous at kita, the p-51's heads for an assembly point led by b-29's designated as navigator ships. further west the bomber wings
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grind ahead on the last lap to the empire. reports of the controller back at guam give their flight condition, which is kept up to the hour on the mission board. still at low altitude the b-29's are approaching the bad weather built where 100 reported storms and cold fronts appear suddenly across the course. >> pilot to crew. we are to start our climb. check oxygen equipment. >> tell buck he better get out his doghouse. narrator: the crews prepare for the vital business ahead. from now on until they come off target and head home it is all business. the central fire control system is warmed up. superhuman brainpower at the flick of a switch. each gunner flexes his sites and tries the coordinated fire
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control with a few short bursts to clear the guns. after pushing up to altitude the bombers arrive close to assembly point. air in the pressurized cabin is comparable to 8000 feet, but oxygen masks are adjusted and ready for instant use. from the southeast our fighter escort appears for this navigator ships, which now turn off to wait for the finest return on rally point. the mustangs climb in formation to take position above the b-29's. lead bombers begin to circle, dropping the new smoke markers for assembly. the project officer observes this part of the tactical plan in action. from various zone positions, the group separates.
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and form on their lead ships in nine or 11-plane waves which had for initial point. the big parade is on. landfall is picked up, along with the first flak bursts from enemy coastal batteries. fujiyama, the familiar white beacon marks the turn for initial point. flak becomes heavier and more accurate. and now the first japs appear, diving head on into the formations.
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some are suicide fighters trying to ram our bombers. other jet fighters dropped phosphorus bombs set to explode in front of the oncoming b-29's. our p-51's go after them. they know they are tangling with experts. their job is to protect the b-29's, but some of those jap fighters will meet the blast of bomber guns. [gunfire]
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a tail gunner pleads with a nip fighter to come in a little closer. [gunfire] from the turn at initial point, the tight bomber waves moves steadily on and get ready for business. flak and fighters fall off. but those clouds are beginning to close in and it looks worse ahead.
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just east of hachiochi, the tokyo area breaks clear. the bombardiers begin to draw a beat on 574. the planes sit tight for the bombing run. here's where we pay off. ♪
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two jap aircraft plants and an air drone 12,000 feet below are prepared to receive 4000 tons of destruction. the first waves of b-29's has already found their objective. ♪ succeeding bomber groups add to the smoking carcass. ♪
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tactical plan 574 is now an accomplished. the bombers turn a good downwind -- go do down when ownwind across the burning acres of tokyo. close-up camera shows the scars of the spectacular fire strikes last march. 51 square miles of lemay treatment. across the bay, this is fighter country. with the first call on the intercom, the mustangs peal off and go to work again. [gunfire]
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with the big bombers homeward bound, our p-51's drop down for strafing runs. concentrating on objectives from here to the enemy coast. skimming along get maximum speed, they go to work cutting vital jap flight lines, blasting communications, radio installations, power lines. [gunfire] swooping down on enemy
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transportation, railroads, small factories. [gunfire]
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narrator: and airfields. [gunfire] then onto shipping targets, freighter, fishermen, trawlers, harbor and coastal craft, destroyer or lugger, it is the same enemy. [gunfire]
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after strafing, the fighters go back to the rally point. in the waiting navigator planes. fuel gauges are down close to empty. but fighters spirits begin to rise.
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they wind up and finish with kicking speed. once over for each enemy killed. after the last fighter groups are in, all hands sweat in the first limping b-29's. that runway is a beautiful site, as they letdown with engines out, low on gas or beat up by flak and fighters.
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in three months, nearly 2000 crippled or gas-shy b-29's haven here. you can understand by the blessed the marines and name their airplanes after them. the lucky ones fuel and head for home bases in an hour, but iwo still has its hazards. weather can turn this station into a hopeless deluge. fog and overcast often block the airstrip during these periods. that means orders to bail out. or with luck, a b-29 might drop in for a ditching. from here you can see how the
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cloud cover up there smothers the runway and realize what one pilot went through. sometimes a battle scarred bomber staggers back to iwo only to flatten out at the last heartbreaking second. [siren] by some miracle, the whole crew got away from their stations to safety before 2000 gallons of flaming gas enveloped them. firefighters risk their lives to save the ship. this too takes courage beyond the line of duty. further south most of the wings
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are clearing the bases. exhausted crews wait out the last endless hour when time seems to stop. their position is radioed in. the controller gets word of the approaching flight. ♪ at last, the marianas appear on the horizon. the bombers fly across guam and turn into the landing pattern. 15 hours ago they left the other end of that runway. it is a pleasure to be back, a
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pleasure to roll on solid familiar blacktop. ♪ it is good to feel the sudden humid heat, to be among the living, swapping details with the ground crew. flak, fighters, the close calls, the one that got away. but some of those b-29 crews won't be able to talk it over today. 11 men on a bomber that didn't quite make it. ♪
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[sirens] ♪ the rescue squads tear away the hot metal. somehow in that wreckage a man has lived to feel those gallant hands. one life saved and 10 lost. that is part of the day's total. and there were many other days
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and nights that took their toll of young american lives in the service of our relentless expanding airpower. by the end of july, our b-29's had all but obliterated the enemy's ability to make war. thousands of missions would hit japan with twice the monthly tonnage that ever fell in germany. the question was, how much longer when a beaten japan hold out? in august we made a test that never was applied to germany. while great land, sea, and air forces gathered for the last invasion, our b-29's dropped two atomic bombs which hastened the surrender of japan and saved untold thousands of american lives. ♪
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so the mission of our air forces, which began nearly four years ago, was accomplished. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] american history tv airs on c-span three every weekend, telling the american story three events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span three. the lectures in history, business to college classrooms across the country dinner lectures by top history professors, american artifacts, a look at the treasures of u.s. historic sites, museums and archives, railamerica reviewing -- railamerica, the civil


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