Takamatsu Firefighters Practice Extinguishing a Bomb

Civilian firefighters, mostly women, practice extinguishing bombs. This was usually expected to be accomplished with buckets, which are all around the firefighters. The firefighter would scoop up the bomb and place it into a container, where it would be smothered with sand or water. Tonarigumi (neighborhood associations) that organized civilians into enclaves of 10-12 families, began to hold regular drills for fighting "kinka" or "chikabi" (a fire in one's neighborhood) from 0500-0700 Hours daily after the Doolittle Raid. Because of the draft of men for the front, women made up most of the Tonarigumi. The neighborhood associations cut across class lines; every household was expected to contribute. The problem with training such as this is that it taught the firefighting team to all focus on one bomb. With each B-29 Superfortress carrying up to 1,500 of the M69 incendiary, the Tonarigumi were overwhelmed. Takamatsu was bombed on July 3, 1945 by 116 B-29s; 1.4 square miles (3.6 square kilometers) are burned out, destroying 78% of the city.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Date Photographed: 
Monday, March 1, 1943
Kagawa Prefecture