XBradTC posted on the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge a couple of days ago. On this day in 1944, 77 B-29 Superfortress and 200 other aircraft of U.S. Twentieth and Fourteenth Air Forces bombed Hankow (also spelled Hankou), part of the Wuhan metropolitan area in China. Its military significance was as a port where the Han River meets the Yangtze. There were also steelworks in nearby Hanyang. The city was hit with five hundred tons of incendiary bombs and burned for three days.
The city had been bombed earlier in 1944 with little strategic effect. Operation Matterhorn set up B-29 bases in China and India for bombing Japanese-held cities in mainland China, Formosa (now Taiwan) and the Japanese island Kyushu. Major General Curtis LeMay was transferred from Europe to China to lead this operation, which was hamstrung by the supply lines. From Wikipedia, “For every Superfortress combat mission, the command flew an average of six B–29 round-trip cargo missions over the Hump.” They just couldn’t supply enough fuel and bombs to keep up. The Marianas ended up being better bases for bombing Japan.
Interesting politics must have been involved, because there were deals with both Chiang Kai-Shek and Mao Zedong.