Naval War College Review


At the close of World War II, the combined fleets of the United States and Great Britain included over 115 aircraft carriers with a total capacity of some 6,700 aircraft. Typifying their strength was the U.S. Navy's Task Force 38, operating off Japan from 10 July through 15 August 1945. Because carrier airpower had already contributed greatly to the destruction of the Japanese Fleet, this force was free to operate within 100 miles of the coast. Aircraft from the task force proceeded to devastate Tokyo and ranged across the Japanese countryside attacking targets of opportunity virtually at will.