(WIRED)November 4, 2018 — 1945: In the single deadliest air raid of World War II, 330 American B-29s rain incendiary bombs on Tokyo, touching off a firestorm that kills upwards of 100,000 people, burns a quarter of the city to the ground, and leaves a million homeless.
Tokyo was the first of five incendiary raids launched in quick succession against the largest Japanese cities. Nagoya, Osaka and Kobe were also targeted — with Nagoya getting hit twice within a week. By the end of the war, more than 60 Japanese cities had been laid waste by firebombing.
The Tokyo raid, codenamed Operation Meetinghouse, began an aerial onslaught so effective that the American air command concluded by July 1945 that no viable targets remained on the Japanese mainland.