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XXI Bomber Command
Active 1944-1945
Country United States
Branch United States Army Air Force
Role Command and Control
Engagements World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1944-1945)

The XXI Bomber Command (XXI BC) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Twentieth Air Force, based on Guam. It was inactivated on 16 July 1945.





  • Constituted as XXI Bomber Command on 1 Mar 1944 and activated the same day.
Inactivated 16 Jul 1945


Bases Assigned

Units Assigned

Operational History

The XXI Bomber Command was established at Smoky Hill AAF, Kansas on 1 March 1944. After a period of organization and its assigned groups receiving their B-29 Superfortress aircraft, the command transferred first to Peterson Field, Colorado, the deployed to the southwest Pacific, being headquartered at Harmon Field, Guam, in the Mariana Islands.

The XX Bomber Command was the main operational component of Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific War. Its assigned units engaged in very-long range bombardment operations primarily against Japan until mid-Jul 1945. Although each wing of the command conducted general bombardment operations, the wings did have specific areas on which their units concentrated:

  • 58th Bomb Wing, Based at West Field, Tinian.
The first B-29 Superfortress Wing in the Pacific War, the wing was initially based in India with XX Bomber Command. The 58th commanded the 40th, 444th, 462nd and 468th Bomb Groups, and concentrated primarily on Japanese industrial targets.
  • 73d Bomb Wing, Based at Isley Field, Saipan.
The 73d was the second B-29 wing in the Pacific, and It was composed of the 497th, 498th, 499th and 500th Bomb Groups. The primary mission of the 73d was the firebombing of Japan, flying low-level night missions dropping incendiary bombs over wide areas to destroy Japanese industry and military capability.
The 313th was initially composed of four bomb groups - the 6th, 9th, 504th, and 505th. Its participated in the fire-bombing raids, but its primary mission was the mining of Japanese sea lanes. The mining operation was conceived by the United States Navy. At the time, it was considered a secondary mission, but later analysis revealed that it had a devastating effect. Japan was an island nation highly dependent on imports, especially fuel and food. The operation resulted in imports being reduced by almost 95%. This caused enormous shortages.
The 314th Wing began operations from Guam in February 1945. It consisted of the 19th, 29th, 39th and 330th Bomb Groups. It participated in the fire bombing, but the first ten day blitz resulting in the Army Air Forces running out of incendiary bombs. Like her sister wings, the 314th then flew conventional strategic bombing missions using high explosive bombs.
  • 315th Bomb Wing, Based at Northwest Field, Guam.
The fifth and last B-29 wing to be assigned to XXI Bomber Command, it consisted of the 16th, 331st, 501st and 502d Bomb Groups. The groups of the 315th were equipped with the fast B-29B variant armed only with a radar controlled tail turret and fitted with Eagle radar. It's mission was the destruction of the Japanese petroleum industry.

The history of XXI Bomber Command terminated on 16 July 1945. On that date the command was redesignated Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Twentieth Air Force. This redesignation brought to an end the XXI Bomber Command as a separate establishment, as it was absorbed into the internal organizational structure of Twentieth Air Force and was placed under the command of United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific.


  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.

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