From: Planning the end of the world, well out to 2023!
Rather than give GJ hundreds of more posts on his thread
From http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AAF/Hansell/Hansell-4.html Around pages `67-`68
By the commander XXI Bomber Command
Memory of the Luftwaffe still fresh in its mind, the Air Staff advocated destruction or neutralization of the Japanese Air Force as an overriding priority for the XXI Bomber Command. The Joint Chiefs of Staff agreed. The aircraft and engine plants assigned as top priority targets to the XXI (based in the Marianas) were precision targets. Thirteen aircraft and engine plants were known to exist in Japan. It was estimated that eight of them turned out seventy percent of Japanese aircraft engines. The towns hosting these factories were known. Even so, the actual plants had not been pinpointed -- a major task for the reconnaissance squadron of the XXI.
We had some general knowledge of the industry. Right after World War I, the Japanese had canvassed European and American aircraft and engine builders and had obtained production licenses. Three major Japanese producers emerged at that time: Nakajima, Mitsubishi, and Kawasaki. They had continued to dominate the Japanese airframe, engine, and propeller business. As the U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey later reported:
While waves of Japanese technicians were studying American factories, America's top engineering schools were training men who, on their return to Japan, were to design the Zero fighter, Betty bomber, and other planes on which the Japanese bid for Pacific domination was to be based.
By 1930, the Japanese Army and Navy had decided the industry should stand on its own feet, and established a policy of self-sufficiency, whereby only aircraft and engines of Japanese designs were to be considered. No more foreign engineers were to be hired. This was intended mainly as a sop to Japanese nationalistic pride, however, and did not prevent their technical missions from continuing to buy the best foreign models as starting points for Japanese designs. In 1935 Nakajima purchased licenses on the early Corsair from Chance Vought Corp., and it acquired designs of the Whirlwind and Cyclone engines from Wright Aeronautical Corp. in 1937. Mitsubishi purchased a French radial engine, which became the basis for their famous Kinsei series, and secured plans for a Curtiss fighter in 1937. Sumitomo Metals bought rights to the American Hamilton Standard and German VDM propellers. Kawasaki secured rights on the German Daimler-Benz engine, from which came the only Japanese liquid-cooled engine of the war. . . .
We knew that Japan had embarked upon a vast and hurried expansion of her military aircraft industry. We knew, for example, that the Japanese government had directed a near-doubling of the aircraft plants in 1941. Japanese newspapers bragged to the world that a great new airframe and assembly plant had been built at Musashino, near Tokyo, and another close to Nagoya was heralded as the second largest in the world. Kawasaki set up immense modern ones near Nagoya. However, the precise location and description of these plants was a mystery to us in the fall of 1944. We recognized that those concentrated in the vicinity of Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kobe would be extremely vital precision targets -- if and when we discovered their precise locations and descriptions.
The aircraft targets could not be found, hit, and destroyed with the radar bombing equipment and the meager information we had. So the units of the XXI Bomber Command required crash retraining to do high-altitude, daylight precision bombing and to fly in formations not yet selected. We had to plan on reconnaissance after we had created a base on Saipan. The airplane and engine factory targets were at the extreme limit of the B-29 radius of action as it was then understood. Formations flying always reduces range, and it made completion of our missions (marginal at best) even more of a problem. In fact, it took several months of actual operation to master the techniques of fuel control that would give the B-29 its design capability.
There was spirited dispute at the time over this change in bombing tactics. The dispute persists, but the reasoning is not hard to trace. Our only real experience in massive bombing operations was over Europe. Had we not learned a painful lesson there? In Europe the whole concept of American air power -- the selection of vital targets on the ground and their destruction through precision bombing -- had faced the possibility of disastrous failure. The ability of massive bomber formations to fight their way through enemy defenses and reach remote targets, without intolerable losses, came dangerously close to being disproved. If the German fighter forces had been left free to expand, the price might have been too high. And if it had been, the air offensive would have failed and with it any hope of surface invasion.
Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum