After the battle for the Tinian island, which lasted from 24 July until 1 August 1944, the island became a very important base for Allied operations in the Pacific campaign. Camps were built that could hold up to 50,000 troops.
In a few weeks, fifteen thousand Seabees turned Tinian into the busiest airfield of the war; they built six 7,900-foot runways for the United States Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress bombers. These would be used attacking enemy targets in the Ryukyu Islands, the Philippines, and mainland Japan.
B-29 bombers took off from Tinian for Operation Meetinghouse firebombing of Tokyo, which took place on March 9/10 1945. The bombers that dropped the atomic bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also took off from Tinian.
North Field was built over what were former Japanese Airfields No. 1 and 3, and became operational in February 1945. The West Field was built over former Japanese Airfield No. 2, it became operational in March 1945.
US Navy Seabee view USAAC B-29 Superfortresses arriving at uncompleted North Field, Tinian, 1944 [Via]
509th Composite Group aircraft immediately before their bombing mission of Hiroshima. Left to right: Back-up plane, The Great Artiste, Enola Gay. Photo by Harold Agnew 1945 [Via]
North Field in 1945, just prior to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the 509th Composite Group private collection of Harold Agnew [Via]
Officers salute each other as photographers and men look on in front of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” (509th Composite Group), Tinian, Mariana Islands, 1945. Saluting officer facing camera appears to be Colonel Paul Tibbets…Credit: George E. Staley. (Smithsonian Institution) [Via]
Left side view of the cockpit section of a Boeing B-29 Stratofortress, “The Ernie Pyle”, featuring a portrait of the war correspondant. Aircraft also shows the victor number 56. Tinian, c.1945…Credit: George E. Staley (Smithsonian Institution) [Via]
The Enola Gay, with Necessary Evil (No. 91) on the far right. Because the aircraft received its Circle R disguise on August 1 and the aircraft name on August 5th, it can be concluded that this photo was taken after the mission, when the tail had been painted back to its 509th identification. [Via]
505th Bombardment Group B-29s North Field Tinian July 1945 [Via]
B-29’s lined up, Tinian – Raymond J. Biedenbach Collection [Via]
Tinian, Mariana Islands, 1945 after airfield construction, looking north to south. The massive North Field, 313th Bombardment Wing in front, West Field, 58th Bombardment Wing, in background. The 313th BW consisted of 4 B-29 Superfortress Bombardment Groups, later adding the 509th Composite Group, which conducted the Atomic Bomb Attacks against Japan in August 1945. [Via]