XX Bomber Command

XX Bomber Command

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= XX Bomber Command

caption= Emblem of XX Bomber Command
dates= 1941 - 1948
country= United States
branch= United States Army Air Force
role= Command and Control
* World War II: American Campaign (1941-1942): Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1944-1945)
The XX Bomber Command (XX BC) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It's last assignment was with Far East Air Forces, based on Okinawa. It was inactivated on 16 July 1945.



* Constituted as I Bomber Command on 4 September 1941: Activated on 5 September 1941: Inactivated on 15 October 1942
* Activated on 1 May 1943: Redesignated XX Bomber Command in August 1943: Disbanded on 6 October 1943
* Constituted as XX Bomber Command on 19 November 1943: Activated on 20 November 1943: Inactivated on 16 July 1945: Disbanded on 8 October 1948


* First Air Force, 4 Sep 1941 - 15 Oct 1942
* Second Air Force, 1 May - 6 October 1943, 19 Nov 1943 - 28 Mar 1944
* Twentieth Air Force, 28 Mar 1944 - 17 Jun 1945
* Far East Air Forces, 7 - 16 Jul 1945

Bases Assigned

* Langley Field, Virginia, 5 Sep 1941
* New York City, New York, 12 Dec 1941 - 15 Oct 1942
* El Paso AAF, Texas, 1 May - 16 Oct 1943
* Smoky Hill AAF, Kansas, 20 Nov 1943 - 12 Feb 1944
* Kharagpur, India, 28 Mar 1944-17 Jun 1945
* Sakugawa, Okinawa, 7-16 Jul 1945.

Units Assigned

* Numerous units (1941-1942)
* 58th Bombardment Wing, 1943 - 1945
* 73d Bombardment Wing, 1943 - 1944

Operational Command Structure

General Henry "Hap" Arnold named himself the commander of the Twentieth Air Force to avoid diversion of assets from the B-29 effort against Japan, particularly by Admiral Nimitz, who was given command authority over all efforts in the Central Pacific. Brigadier General Haywood S. Hansell became Twentieth Air Force chief of staff. The subordinate commanders of XX Bomber Command were:
* Major General Kenneth B. Wolfe
* Brigadier General LaVern G. Saunders
* Major General Curtis E. LeMay
* Brigadier General Roger M. Ramey

Operational History

As I Bomber Command, the organization engaged primarily in antisubmarine operations along the east coast of the United States as part of First Air Force. Later, as XX Bomber Command it controlled Operational Training Units (OTU)s as part of Second Air Force.

Reassigned to Twentieth Air Force in 1943, to oversee B-29 Superfortress training in the US. The "XX", an operational command of the Twentieth Air Force was then moved to India. Under the plan known as Operation Matterhorn the "XX" bombed Japan from forward bases in China, supported by supplies from India flown over the Hump. Early in 1945 the B-29 moved to newly established bases in the Marianas and XX Bomber Command stopped being an operational command.

The organization was inactivated on 16 July 1945, and disbanded on 8 October 1948.


The American Bomber Summary Survey states that "Approximately 800 tons of bombs were dropped by China-based B-29s on Japanese home island targets from June 1944 to January 1945. These raids were of insufficient weight and accuracy to produce significant results." [United States [http://www.anesi.com/ussbs01.htm#taaatjhi Strategic bombing survey summary report (Pacific War)] , Washington D.C. 1 July 1946. Page 16.] XX Bomber Command had failed to achieve the strategic objectives that the planners had intended for Operation Matterhorn, largely because of logistical problems, the bomber’s mechanical difficulties, the vulnerability of Chinese staging bases (see Operation Ichi-Go), and the extreme range required to reach key Japanese cities. Although the B–29s achieved some success when diverted to support Chiang Kai-shek’s forces in China, MacArthur’s offensives in the Philippines, and Mountbatten’s] efforts in the Burma Campaign, they generally accomplished little more than the B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators assigned to the Fourteenth, Fifth, Thirteenth, and Tenth Air Forces.

Chennault considered the Twentieth Air Force a liability and thought that its supplies of fuel and bombs could have been more profitably used by his Fourteenth Air Force. The XX Bomber Command consumed almost 15 percent of the Hump airlift tonnage per month during Matterhorn. Lt. Gen. Albert C. Wedemeyer, who replaced Lt. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell as American senior commander in the China theater, agreed with Chennault. The two were happy to see the B–29s leave China and India. Yet, despite those objections, Matterhorn did benefit the Allied effort. Using the China bases bolstered Chinese morale and, more important, it allowed the strategic bombing of Japan to begin six months before bases were available in the Marianas. The Matterhorn raids against the Japanese home islands also demonstrated the B–29’s effectiveness against Japanese fighters and antiaircraft artillery. Operations from the Marianas would profit from the streamlined organization and improved tactics developed on the Asian mainland.


* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
*USGovernment|sourceURL=Daniel L. Haulman " [http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps51153/airforcehistory/usaaf/ww2/hittinghome/index.htm The U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Hitting Home; The Air Offensive Against Japan] ( [http://usaaf.net/ww2/hittinghome/index.htm backup site] )
** [http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps51153/airforcehistory/usaaf/ww2/hittinghome/hittinghomepg4.htm Chapter 4: The Superfortress Takes to the Skies]
** [http://permanent.access.gpo.gov/lps51153/airforcehistory/usaaf/ww2/hittinghome/hittinghomepg5.htm Chapter 5: Over the Hump to Matterhorn]

External Links

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