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For more information, see: Strategic air warfare against Japan.

Chillingly but accurately named, Operation STARVATION was a program of mining the local waterways of the Japanese home islands, using B-29 bombers of the Army Air Force XXIth Bomber Command. Air Force generals resisted the assignment both from traditional inter-service rivalry, and as a diversion from their goal of strategic bombing of land targets, but the program, pushed by the U.S. Navy, was extremely effective: over 1,250,000 tons of shipping was sunk or damaged in the last five months of World War II. Once the mission was accepted, it was executed with vigor, since it both presented an alternative to the invasion of Japan and created a new postwar role for the Air Force. [1]


Within the XXIth Bomber Command, the mission was assigned to the 312th Bomb Wing, which was given,on 23 January 1945, an order to prepare for operations from its base on Tinian, and began the first of fifty-plus missions on 27 March.


  1. Gerald A. Mason, Captain, United States Navy (May 2002), Operation STARVATION, U.S. Air War College