Aerial Mining - the 313th Bomb Wing - North Field, Tinian
| The 313th Bomb Wing arrived in the Marianas in early
February, 1945. It was initially composed of four bomb groups - the 6th, 9th, 504th, and 505th. Assigned to General
LeMay XXI Bomber Command, it participated in the fire-bombing raids, but its primary mission was the mining of Japanese sea
| The mining operation was conceived by the
U.S. Navy. At the time, it was considered a secondary mission, but later analysis revealed that it had a devastating
effect. Japan was an island nation highly dependent on imports, especially fuel and food. The operation resulted
in imports being reduced by almost 95%. This caused enormous shortages. Above: "Rattle N' Roll" from the 6th Bomb
Group. Note the pirate on the nose. He was later adopted by SAC's 6th Bombardment Wing.|
On Tinian, the wing was assigned to the XXIst Bomber Command of Twentieth Air Force. Once in place, the groups of the 313th began flying missions, initially against Iwo Jima, the Truk Islands, and other Japanese held areas. Later, they flew low-level night incendiary raids on area targets in Japan; participated in mining operations in the Shimonoseki Strait, and contributed to the blockade of the Japanese Empire by mining harbors in Japan and Korea. In April 1945 the 313th assisted the invasion of Okinawa by bombing Japanese airfields used by kamikaze pilots.
A fifth group, the 509th Composite Group, was assigned to the wing in May, 1945 from Wendover AAF, Utah. The 509th, although assigned to the 313th Bomb Wing, was operationally controlled by Headquarters, Twentieth Air Force. The 509th was given a base area near the airfield on the north tip of Tinian, several miles from the main installations
in the center part of the island where the other groups were assigned. Also unlike the other groups in the wing, the 509th
used a wide variety of tail codes from various XXI Air Force groups, instead of using its own, so that the group's planes
could not be identified by the Japanese. The 509th was also self contained, and drew little in resources from the 313th Wing
or its other groups.
In early August, the mission of the 509th was revealed when the group flew the Atomic Bomb missions to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In November, the 509th was relieved from assignment to the 313th Bomb Wing and was reassigned to Roswell AAF, New Mexico.
After the Japanese surrender in August, 313th Bomb Wing units dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners and participated
in show-of-force flights over Japan. As part of the postwar drawdown of forces, two of the Wing's groups, the 504h and 505th
were inactivated in late 1945 and early 1946.
These historic documents were furnished by Bill Copeland! Thank you, Bill!