Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Incendiary experimentation at Dugway
12020-04-30T18:05:51-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f353Standard Oil Development Company, ed., Design and Construction of Typical German and Japanese Structures (unknown: Standard Oil Development Company, 1943).plain2020-09-15T14:01:04-04:001943Japanairraids.org.Standard Oil Development CompanyPublic domain.David FedmanDF-0009Kandra Polatis4decfc04157f6073c75cc53dcab9d25e87c02133
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12020-04-30T18:05:49-04:00Engineering Urbicide9Planning for the destruction of Tokyo at the Dugway Proving Grounds.plain2021-10-07T12:58:28-04:0035.7167, 139.8000Tōkyō40.21378, -112.75682Dugway Proving Ground, Utah11/19421943David FedmanUnited States Army Air Forces
But while American audiences tapped their feet to these calls for retribution from the air, a growing cadre of engineers, chemical scientists, and intelligence officers began research into the campaign to actually achieve this destruction. Many different planning documents offer insight into the process whereby the US military-industrial-academic complex facilitated the shift towards indiscriminate firebombing of urban zones. As early as 1942, for example, cartographers in the OSS began to precisely demarcate Tokyo’s vulnerable fire zones—a point perhaps best evidenced in OSS Map no. 877.
While the style and utility of this visual intelligence varied considerably, one factor remains consistent throughout geo-spatial representations of Tokyo used to plan the raids: an abiding fixation on the Shitamachi district of the northeast. Planners took particular interest in the most densely built-up and inhabited Asakusa District, where plans estimated an average of 40,000 persons per square kilometer.
Thus, at the very moment that USAAF commanders were publicly affirming their commitment to the strategic doctrine of high altitude precision bombing—and condemning the use of incendiaries in Europe—strategists, planners, and scientists were vigorously studying their application to Tokyo and its built environment (Plung 2018).