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In the early hours of March 10, 1945, 279 U.S. B-29s dropped 1,665 tons of bombs, mostly 500-pound E-46 napalm-carrying M-69 incendiary bombs, killing approximately 100,000 civilians in a single night. Almost 270,000 buildings were destroyed, and more than 1 million residents were rendered homeless.

It was the single most destructive bombing raid in history — even more than the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Most of the victims were civilians, and most of them were women, children, and elderly, in light of the fact that the able-bodied menfolk were off to war and the full scale evacuation of these vulnerable groups from urban areas had not begun in earnest yet.

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