Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Operation Starvation was an American mining operation conducted in World War II conducted by the of the Army Air Force in which vital water routes and ports of Japan were mined by air in order to disrupt enemy shipping.
The mission was begun at the insistance of Admiral Nimitz who wanted his naval operations augmented by an extensive mining of Japan itself conducted by the air force. While General Henry H. Arnold, felt this was strictly a naval priority, he assigned General Curtis LeMay to carry it out.
Curtis assigned the 313th Wing to the task with orders to plant 2000 mines in April 1945. Beginning in March 27 1945, 1000 mines with magnetic and acoustic triggers were initially dropped, which were followed up with many more, including models with water pressure triggers as well.
Eventually most of the major ports and straits of Japan were repeatedly mined, severely disrupting Japanese logistics and troop movements for the remainder of the war with 35 of 47 essential convoy routes having to be abandoned. Furthermore, by May 1945, 85 ships (213,000 tonnes) were sunk due to the mining, which was a superior tally to US submarine forces kills.
After the war, the commander of Japan's minesweeping operations noted that he thought this mining campaign could have directly led to the defeat of Japan on its own had it began earlier.
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