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Post Was Tulsa 1921 the Worst Aerial Bombardment of a Continental US City?
Created by John Eipper on 06/03/21 3:30 AM

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Was Tulsa 1921 the Worst Aerial Bombardment of a Continental US City? (Cameron Sawyer, Russia, 06/03/21 3:30 am)

JE asked: "[W]ould Tulsa 1921 be the worst aerial bombardment ever of a continental US city?"

Since the extent of damage from the Tulsa bombing is not well documented, I don't think we know whether it was the worst or not, but it may well have been, since hardly any American city has ever been bombed from the air, even a little. The Tulsa attack might even be the only aerial bombing of a city in the Continental US.

An interesting history of aerial bombardment in the US: http://www.aerospaceweb.org/question/history/q0118.shtml

The various Japanese attempts to bomb the Continental US (none of them involving cities) are quite interesting, not to say bizarre, especially the one carried out from a seaplane carried inside a submarine.

Incidentally, the Tulsa air attack, although it was the first time a US city was bombed from the air, was not the first time aerial bombing was used in the US. That incident took place a year earlier, and is described here:


This is a bizarre story I had never heard before now. None other than Billy Mitchell, of WWI fame, was involved, together with a squadron of US Army Air Service planes, and the occasion was a bloody conflict between coal miners and mine owners in West Virginia in 1920. In the event, the military planes dropped no bombs, but the local sheriff rented three Jennies like the ones used in Tulsa, and dropped homemade bombs like those used in Tulsa, and even gas. There were no casualties among the miners and apparently no damage, but one of Billy Mitchell's planes crashed, killing three US Army airmen.

JE comments:  Billy Mitchell, the "father of the US Air Force," was a visionary on the military effectiveness of air power, but he was also a hard-drinking gadfly who frequently got in trouble with his superiors.  The West Virginia incident smacks of hired "goonism," and doesn't paint him in the most humanitarian light.  Yesterday we talked about Himmler's physical therapist, Felix Kersten, and today it's Mitchell:  this week is one for history's enigmas.

While not exactly the United States, General Pershing used warplanes in the ill-fated mission against Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa, 1916.

Returning to Tulsa, Gary Moore has sent a follow-up on his earlier post. Watch for Gary's comment later today.

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