Lessons from an Aerial Mining Campaign (Operation Starvation)

by Frederick M. Sallagar

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A selective account of the B-29 aerial mining campaign conducted against Japan's Inner Zone (the homeland, north China, Manchuria, and Korea) during the last five months of World War II. The object is to provide a convenient overview of the operation as a whole, and of the strategic setting in which it occurred. The astonishing success of the campaign, which virtually paralyzed Japan's essential maritime traffic, was not anticipated by top military leaders. Although Japan's situation offered exceptional opportunities for this form of warfare, offensive aerial mining also may play a more important role in future conflicts that is now visualized. It could provide a unique capability in situations in which political constraints inhibit the use of the traditional weapons of aerial warfare.

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