On this day...64 years ago, perhaps the deadliest air raid in history was mounted on Tokyo by the USAF. Millions of its people lived in closely-packed wooden houses in the world’s most densely populated urban area, while the Japanese capital’s defences and its medical services were in a poor state.
More than 300 B-29 bombers dropped incendiary bombs for over two hours. For the loss of just 15 aircraft, they destroyed more than a quarter of a million buildings, and perhaps 140,000 people died.
The atomic bomb dropped six months later at Hiroshima killed 92,000 in the immediate aftermath, though up to another 50,000 are estimated to have died in the years that followed from the effects of radiation.