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Dropping of the atomic bombs... saved lives?

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by futballman, May 12, 2008.

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  1. J.A. Costigan

    J.A. Costigan Member

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    My opinion on the subject of the atomic bombs being dropped.
    As stated above I think that it was necessary, had they not been dropped the war would have been dragged out at least another year and killed at least another million people. It brought a swift conclusion with less casualties.
     
  2. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Well, all one really needs to compare is how the fought-over parts of Germany looked, and compare that to the state of Japan after the bombs. Yes, there were burned-out cities, but, as a whole, the nation looked much better than postwar Europe. Think how many Japanese would have been dead after an invasion, especially considering most think the civilians would have fought to the end, too. Many thousands of Allied lives would have been lost, too. Yes, the bombs killed thousands, but, I think those lives were a drop in the bucket compared to what might have been.

    Of course, people can be free to second-guess this, as they have second-guessed Truman and Co for 60 years. I've only studied the Pacific war for 25+ years. Most who come out and say that it shouldn't have been done have access to information that the US leadership did not, could not have had at the time, and, most have made assumptions that really don't fit the data.
     
  3. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I certainly concur. There has been a lot of recent nonsense written and disseminated about the numbers of Japanese killed by the atomic bombs, mostly by the anti-war groups and the Japanese survivors groups who wish to portray themselves as pathetic victims of the Pacific War. In actual fact, the atomic bombs killed far fewer Japanese than the naval blockade, aerial bombing or ground invasion could have reasonably been expected to kill. The highest responsible estimates of Japanese dead due to the atomic attacks was, surprisingly enough, the USSBS report in March, 1947. According to this estimate, there were 80,000 thousand deaths in Hiroshima and 45,000 in Nagasaki for a total of 125,000 deaths. The low figure for these attacks was the Japan Economic Stabilization Board study in April, 1949, which reported a total for both attacks of 101,903 deaths.

    Contrast this with the estimates of 316,000 Japanese civilian deaths resulting from the conventional strategic bombing attacks, which had only been going on for approximately five months. Had they continued for another five months, it's reasonable to expect a comparable additional number of civilian deaths or around 600,000 total. This only includes casualties due to the direct violence of the bombing, and not deaths due to the indirect causes of starvation and disease which would have been the result of destroying the agricultural areas and knocking out the railroads which were the primary means of food distribution.

    There were approximately 20 million Japanese "civilians" enrolled as military auxiliaries in the Patriotic Citizens Fighting Corps, and based on events on Saipan, The Philippines, and Okinawa, one could reasonably expect between 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 of these people to become casualties (deaths) in the event of a ground invasion, not to mention the million or so potential Japanese military deaths or the 500,000 to 750,000 American military dead.

    In addition to that, no matter what the US option the US chose to exercise, for the Japanese, time was of the essence. Because the Fall 1945, rice crop failed due to unfavorable weather and the diversion of chemicals from fertilizer production to production of explosives. The failure of this basic staple meant that from 3,000,000 to 6,000,000 Japanese were going to perish in a country wide famine in the spring of 1946. If the war had not ended when it did, this would have been inevitable. However, the termination of the war in September, 1945, allowed just enough time for the US to organize sea lift, utilizing much of the shipping that had originally been intended for Operation Olympic, of 800,000 tons of emergency food relief to Japan. This avoided what would have otherwise been an inevitable catastrophic famine. In retrospect, it appears almost certain that, had the US taken any other decision than to drop the atomic bombs, at least 3,000,000, and probably as many as 6,000,000 Japanese civilians would have died.

    None of this takes into account the thousands of civilians in Japanese occupied territory who were dying each month that the war continued. My wife's mother and older siblings were among those who experienced the Japanese occupation of Borneo, and it's entirely possible that had not the atomic bombs been dropped, their survival might have been doubtful.

    By any calculus, the atomic bombs saved millions while dooming tens of thousands.
     
  4. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    This subject has been discussed at length as late as Feb of this year.
    http://www.ww2f.com/war-pacific/13852-atomic-bomb.html

    As in every thread I have seen where this is brought up the one thing I agree with that others have said is that hindsight is always 20/20. And also that if you weren't alive during that period then you really can't know what the views,feelings and opinions of those that were in charge and with the information that they had at the time were. Nor of the common civilians and Military.
     
  5. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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  6. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Good article. Had some good stuff.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Some times the post war deaths are added to the casualty total for the atomic bombs. However I've also heard that the survival rate in post war Hiroshima and Nagasaki was substantially higher than the rest of Japan. Unfortunately I've no source for that. Do any of you?
     
  8. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    This question is impossible and unfair. From what point of view are looking here? If you are a Marine with a fistful of nightmares the Bombs must have been a blessing, likewise for the thousand of men who would have died on both sides in a protracted fight.

    What if the bombs were not dropped, and the cold war was the first arena for atomic bombs?

    We cannot change history. What is done is done. The decision to drop them (right or wrong) was a very bold. As a commander of soldiers I would have done anything to keep them alive.
     
  9. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Good one, if the first bombs dropped were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then they would be Moscow and Leningrad :eek: From now on it's the Mother of All What-Ifs!

    And in order to take thunder away from this, when the Wall did collapse and when Borbatchov was thrown down, did we see a NATO invasion of the Ex-USSR? No, "we" let the whole building go down to rot on it's own.
     
  10. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    What if not intended !! Merely pointing out the difficulity in judging the question.
     
    Slipdigit likes this.
  11. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    I remember reading that the death rate for hibakushka (atomic bomb survivors, defined as anyone who was within two kilometers of the epicenter of the explosions at the time, or within a few days thereafter) was almost exactly the same as the death rate for the rest of the Japanese civilian population in the years immediately following the war. I have also seen sources which indicate that the post war Japanese civilian deaths which could be medically traced to the effects of the atomic bombs, numbered, at most, in the low hundreds. This, of course, would be statistically insignificant when dealing with a population base the size of Japan's.

    Richard Frank, in "Downfall", pages 286-287, has some interesting commentary on this matter, suggesting that these numbers have been manipulated by certain groups in Japan to reflect far higher death tolls than actually were incurred. Of course, these manipulated figures are usually the ones cited by critics, here in the US, of the atomic bombs.

    I'll go through my files and see if I can find the documents relating to post war Japanese civilian death rates in Hiroshima and Nagasaki compared to the death rates for the rest of Japan. However, the actual number of deaths arising from the atomic bomb attacks is far lower, generally two or three orders of magnitude lower, than even the most conservative estimates of deaths which could have been expected from alternate courses of action. It amazes me, therefore, that critics of the use of the atomic bombs are willing to engage in a "numbers debate" even when wielding the doctored statistics they usually employ.
     
  12. acker

    acker Member

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    The bombs, in all probability, saved lives.

    Invasion would have been...bloody. Even simply waiting for the Japanese to surrender has the disadvantages of starvation and continued strategic/terror bombing.

    And, quite frankly, I'm very glad that the Soviet sphere of influence was kept to a minimum in the East by the bomb.
     
  13. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Yeah, a pity it wasn't used more often.
     
  14. John Smith

    John Smith recruit

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    No, it did not save lives. Japan was going to surrender. There was no need for invasion, either. It's on Google, you don't have to look hard. This was done to demonstrate nuclear capabilities to Soviet Union. The US achieved its dishonorable "victory" by burning innocent women and children alive, not by smart military maneuvres or persistence.
    Slowly people in this county come to realize that this was an act of terror, unjustified and unforgivable. Ironically, 9/11 helped in that sense. If it's Ok for the US to kill civilians in the most disgusting way why is it not Ok for Bin Laden? He is in a war with us, he gave fair warnings. When it happened people were screaming "He is killing innocent civilians!!!" but very few remembered that the US did much worse atrocity in Japan 50 years back.
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Google also says the Earth is flat, so is that an argument?

    I've seen arguments pro and con, just because you are 'con' does it mean all 'pro' are rubbish because you say so? If you want people to pay attention to what you say you'd better come up with intelligent arguments, otherwise I'm sorry for your self-esteem but you will be discounted.
     
  16. White Flight

    White Flight Member

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  17. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Thanks for posting the link I posted White Flight. I doubt he will read it. It would appear to be contrary to what his views are.
     
  18. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

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    Yeah Right. I posted this in another thread about the Atomic bombs. So here goes again.

    OPERATION KETSU-GO
    The sooner the Americans come, the better...One hundred million die proudly.
    - Japanese slogan in the summer of 1945.
    Japan was finished as a warmaking nation, in spite of its four million men still under arms. But...Japan was not going to quit. Despite the fact that she was militarily finished, Japan's leaders were going to fight right on. To not lose "face" was more important than hundreds and hundreds of thousands of lives. And the people concurred, in silence, without protest. To continue was no longer a question of Japanese military thinking, it was an aspect of Japanese culture and psychology.
    - James Jones, WWII
    Japanese Homeland Defense Strategy
    With the greater part of Japan's troop strength overseas and industrial production suffering under constant American air attacks, the defense of the Japanese home islands presented an enormous challenge to the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ). On 8 April 1945, the Imperial General Headquarters issued orders, to be effective 15 April, activating the First and Second General Armies.(1) These two Armies would be responsible for the ground defense of the Japanese home islands. Also, on 8 April 1945, IGHQ issued an order activating the Air General Army, effective 15 April. The purpose of the new Air General Army was to coordinate the air defense of Japan, providing a single headquarters through which cooperation with the ground forces and the Navy could be expedited in implementing the defense of the home islands.(2) Simultaneously with the activation of the First and Second General Armies and the Air General Army, IGHQ issued orders for the implementation of Ketsu-Go(Decisive) Operation. Defensive in nature, the operation divided the Japanese home territory into seven zones from which to fight the final decisive battles of the Japanese empire.(3)
    The strategy for Ketsu-Go was outlined in an 8 April 1945 Army Directive.(4) It stated that the Imperial Army would endeavor to crush the Americans while the invasion force was still at sea. They planned to deliver a decisive blow against the American naval force by initially destroying as many carriers as possible, utilizing the special attack forces of the Air Force and Navy. When the amphibious force approached within range of the homeland airbases, the entire air combat strength would be employed in continual night and day assaults against these ships. In conducting the air operations, the emphasis would be on the disruption of the American landing plans. The principal targets were to be the troop and equipment transports. Those American forces which succeeded in landing would be swiftly attacked by the Imperial Army in order to seek the decisive victory. The principal objective of the land operation was the destruction of the American landing force on the beach.
    Ketsu-Go operation was designed as an all-out joint defense effort to be conducted by the entire strengths of the Army, Navy and Air Force. In the various orders and directives issued by IGHQ regarding Ketsu-Go, inter-service cooperation was stressed.(5) The basic plan for the operation called for the Navy to defend the coasts by attacking the invasion fleets with its combined surface, submarine, and air forces. The Air General Army would cooperate closely with the Navy in locating the American transports and destroying them at sea. Should the invasion force succeed in making a landing, the Area Army concerned would assume command of all naval ground forces in its area and would exercise operational control of air forces in support of ground operations. An integral part of the Ketsu-Go operational planning included reinforcement of sectors under attack by units transferred from other districts. Since U.S. air raids had already seriously disrupted the transportation system, time schedules were planned to provide for all troop movements to be made by foot.(6) If the battle at the beach showed no prospect of a successful ending, then the battle would inevitably shift to inland warfare; hence, interior resistance would be planned. Guard units and Civilian Defense Corps personnel, with elements of field forces acting as a nucleus, would be employed as interior resistance troops. Their mission would be to attrite the Americans through guerrilla warfare, espionage, deception, disturbance of supply areas, and blockading of supplies when enemy landing forces advanced inland. It is interesting to note that the Japanese normally exercised little inter-service coordination throughout the war. Now when the homeland was threatened, the Japanese finally stressed inter-service coordination and unity of command.
    Operational preparations for Ketsu-Go were conducted in three phases. The first phase, during which defensive preparations and troop unit organization was completed, continued through July 1945. The second and third phases were never completed because of the end of the war. However, the second phase, during which training was to be conducted and all defenses improved, began in August and was intended to continue through September. The third phase, which would see the completion of troop training and deployment, as well as the construction of all defense positions, would be completed during October.(7) Thus, if implemented, X-Day would have occurred just as Japanese defense plans had been completed.
    For Operation Olympic, American forces would have landed against elements of the Second General Army. The defensive zone of the Second General Army was the western portion of Honshu and the islands of Shikoku and Kyushu. Within three days of being activated, on 18 April 1945, the Second General Army established its permanent headquarters in Hiroshima.(8) The Second General Army commanded the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Area Armies (equivalent to a U.S. field army). The seven defensive zones established for Ketsu-Go all had individual defensive plans. The defense of the island of Kyushu came under operation Ketsu-Go, No. 6. While Kyushu previously fell within the Western Military District, under Ketsu-Go, No. 6 the defense of Kyushu became the responsibility of the Sixteenth Area Army under the Second General Army.
    The Second General Army estimated that the U.S. would enlarge its foothold on Okinawa, establish air bases on that island and, as soon as possible, begin its thrust at the Japanese archipelago via southern Kyushu. It was believed that the first objective of the Americans would be to secure operational bases for its Navy and Air Force. The Japanese correctly estimated that the American objective would be to secure Kagoshima Wan for anchorage and port facilities necessary for the buildup.(9) The earliest possible time at which an invasion attempt might be made by the U.S. was estimated to be the first part of July, when it was estimated that a strength of ten divisions could be mustered.(10) By July, Japanese officers were assessing that the invasion would occur in October or November 1945 due to the summer typhoon season.
    The intent of Ketsu-Go was to inflict tremendous casualties on the American forces, thereby undermining the American people's will to continue the fight for Japan's unconditional surrender. This intent is clear in a boastful comment made by an IGHQ army staff officer in July 1945:
    We will prepare 10,000 planes to meet the landing of the enemy. We will mobilize every aircraft possible, both training and "special attack" planes. We will smash one third of the enemy's war potential with this air force at sea. Another third will also be smashed at sea by our warships, human torpedoes and other special weapons. Furthermore, when the enemy actually lands, if we are ready to sacrifice a million men we will be able to inflict an equal number of casualties upon them. If the enemy loses a million men, then the public opinion in America will become inclined towards peace, and Japan will be able to gain peace with comparatively advantageous conditions.(11)
    It is evident by this statement that in the summer of 1945 Japanese strategists identified the will of the American people as the U.S. strategic center of gravity and a critical vulnerability as the infliction of high casualties.(12)
    Defense of Kyushu
    The completion of defensive preparations in Kyushu was of the greatest urgency as the initial U.S. attack was almost certain to be directed at that island. Its defense was also the most difficult of all the districts, as Kyushu had the greatest length of vulnerable sea coast to defend.(13) Since it was generally conceded that the U.S. would make initial landings in Kyushu, the Sixteenth Area Army had been given priority in the receipt of supplies and in the build-up of troop strength. Fortification construction had also been emphasized and, in general, preparations were further advanced in Kyushu than in other areas of Japan.
    Ketsu-GoOperation, No. 6 was the overall guide for the defense of Kyushu, but the Sixteenth Area Army prepared its own detailed defense plan. Known as the Mutsu Operation, the Army's plan divided Kyushu into three sectors which were, in turn, broken down into seven sub-divisions.(14) The Sixteenth Area Army estimated that the main American landing effort would be directed against the southeastern coast near Miyazaki, with secondary assaults anticipated to be made at Ariake Wan and along the southwestern coast at Fugiachi Hama on the Satsuma Peninsula. (see Map 9) Mutsu Operation No. 1 was given priority over the other operations. The Japanese thus were extremely accurate as to the location of the American landing zones.
    Deployed throughout Kyushu and on adjacent islands, the Sixteenth Area Army had three armies and two special forces with a total of 15 divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 independent tank brigades and 2 fortress units. For a complete listing of Japanese units, commanders, and strengths on Kyushu see Appendix D.
    The defensive concept called for each army to hold one division in reserve. In the event of an invasion, the Sixteenth Area Army would concentrate a force composed principally of the armies' reserve divisions and the three tank brigades. This force would then be utilized as an assault group to be rushed to the area of the main American effort. Their mission would be to annihilate the American forces as soon after the initial landings as possible. The defensive plan called for a major counterattack to be delivered within two weeks of the initial American landings.(15) As stated by a Japanese officer, the object of the defense was "to frustrate the enemy's landing plans with a counterattack like an electric shock, and at the proper moment to annihilate the enemy by close-range fire,
    by throwing hand grenades, and by hand-to-hand combat."(16) Groups assigned to coastal defense were to contain the enemy, while reserve troops were being concentrated for the decisive battle or, in some cases, hold out for long periods of time until a decisive battle was won in some other area and permit the release of strength for a counterattack in the sector being held.(17)
    Having no way to counter U.S. air power, every effort would be made to confuse the battle lines so as to prevent the use of naval gunfire and air power to support the ground troops. The advances of the mobile reserves would be accomplished under cover of darkness for protection from aircraft.(18)
    The defense positions in Kyushu were built in accordance with the precepts laid down in The Three Basic Principles on How to Fight Americans, which had been developed as a result of lessons learned in south Pacific combat. In brief, these principles were:
    - Positions should be constructed beyond effective range of enemy naval bombardment.
    - Cave type positions should be constructed for protection against air raids and naval bombardment.
    - Inaccessible high ground should be selected as protection against flame throwing tanks.(19)
    The production, movement and distribution of supplies was one of the most important aspects of the defense preparations on Kyushu.(20) Preparations included the storing of munitions in caves and other underground shelters to protect them from air raids and naval bombardment. The original Japanese plan called for the supplying of each division with one campaign unit of fire, and by July 1945 this quantity was actually in the possession of the area armies. One campaign unit of fire was sufficient ammunition for one campaign - generally understood to be a three month supply.(21) This called for the following rounds per weapon: 1,000 rounds per field piece, 25,000 rounds per machine gun, and 240 rounds per rifle.(22) However, by August 1945 with the greatly increased number of troops, it was necessary to reduce ammunition stocks to a one-half unit of fire for each unit (about 1 1/2 months). This reduction in ammunition supplies made it necessary to adjust supply plans for the high priority areas and to plan for the rapid transfer of ammunition from one area to another when the invasion was actually launched and the place and direction of attack had been determined.(23) The Japanese were preparing and may have been able to bring their ammunition supplies back up to the three month level given the amount of time between August and November.
    Air operations against American landings on Kyushu were to be the responsibility of the 5th Naval Air Fleet and 6th Air Army, both under the control of the Air General Army. They had airfields throughout Kyushu, Shikoku and Chugoku. Fields in southern Kyushu which were being attacked almost daily had been abandoned as bases and were only to be employed for staging suicide missions. Their plan called for the neutralization of as many transports as possible as the American fleet approached the shores of Japan. If landings were made, the air forces would conduct operations to sever supply lines to facilitate the fighting of the ground forces. Planes were to be released in waves of 300-400, at the rate of one wave per hour, against the invasion fleet. Sufficient fuel had been stored for this use, but only about 8,000 pilots were available.(24) Although the pilots were poorly trained and no match against experienced American pilots, they were capable enough to carry out suicide attacks against ships. At the end of the war, Japan had approximately 12,725 planes. The Army had 5,651 and the Navy had 7,074 aircraft of all types.(25) While many of these were not considered combat planes, almost all were converted into kamikaze planes. The Japanese were planning to train enough pilots to use all of the aircraft that were capable of flying.
    Naval operations against the invasion fleet would be conducted in two phases. The first phase would consist of attriting the American fleet as it approached the home islands. The remaining 38 Japanese fleet submarines would attempt to attrite as many transports as possible. They were to serve as launch platforms for manned suicide torpedoes called "Kaitens". Although the Kaitens had not proved too successful in operations on the open ocean, the Japanese hoped that they would be effective in the restricted waters around the home islands. The five-man midget submarines, known as "Koryu," would also be employed with either two torpedoes or an explosive charge for use in a suicide role. The Navy planned to have 540 Koryu in service by the time of the invasion. A more advanced midget submarine, the "Kairyu," was a two man craft armed with either two torpedoes or an explosive charge. Approximately 740 Kairyu were planned by the fall of 1945.
    As the invasion fleet reached the landing areas, the second phase would commence. The 19 surviving Japanese destroyers would attempt to attack the American transports at the invasion beaches. Suicide attack boats, called "Shinyo," carrying 550 pounds of explosives in their bows, would strike from hiding places along the shore. The Shinyo were aiming for any craft carrying troops. The Japanese Navy and Army had an estimated combined total of 3,300 special suicide attack boats. Finally, there would be rows of suicide frogmen called "Fukuryu" in their diving gear 30 feet or so beneath the water. The outermost row of Fukuryu would release anchored mines or carry mines to craft that passed nearby. Closer to shore, there would be three rows of divers, arrayed so that they were about 60 feet apart. Underwater lairs for the Fukuryu were to be made of reinforced concrete with steel doors. As many as 18 divers could be stationed in each underwater "foxhole".(26) Clad in a diving suit and breathing from oxygen tanks, a Fukuryu carried an explosive charge, which was mounted on a stick with a contact fuse. He was to swim up to landing craft and detonate the charge. The Navy had hoped for 4,000 men to be trained and equipped for this suicide force by October.
    Ground operations against the American landings called for the ground forces to quickly determine the area of the invasion and concentrate in this area as many troops as possible before the invasion began. If the preliminary bombardment or early seizure of small islands to the south and southwest of Kyushu indicated an invasion attempt on southern Kyushu, then the 57th Division, the 4th Independent Tank Brigade, and the Chikugo and Higo Forces would move south to the vicinity of Kirishima to stage for a counterattack against the American landings.(27) The main body of infantry were to be deployed on the first commanding ground inland from the beach. These ground forces were to conduct operations so as to destroy the American forces in coastal areas before they secured firm beachheads. Should the Americans advance simultaneously in several locations, the ground forces were to direct the main operation against the main enemy force. If the enemy's main force could not be located, then the Japanese would seek a decisive battle in an area where their main force could most easily be directed. In the other operational areas, elements would carry on delaying actions in order to facilitate the operations of the main Japanese force.(28)
    Medium and heavy artillery were to cover the landing craft approaches, the beaches, and plains areas surrounding the beaches. Plans for the employment of artillery seemed to combine the beach defense tactics employed on Saipan with some of the fixed defense plans employed on Iwo Jima.(29) Coastal defense and artillery batteries were to withhold their fire until landing craft came in range. However, there was no centralized control or fire-direction of the coast defense and artillery batteries.(30) The Japanese considered the massing of fires a waste of ammunition. Each artillery position was to remain in place conducting fires independently until destroyed. Artillery and mortar units were to be emplaced generally on the reverse slope of the first ridges inland from the beach and in caves further inland. The priority for employment of mortars was beach defense.
    Commanders were told to be ready to swiftly divert the necessary troops and military supplies to other sectors at any time. The ground forces were to be concentrated in planned operational areas. Movement of ground forces would be primarily at night by foot, and the movement of war supplies would be by rail or water as the situation permitted. Troop movements were to be executed even under American air attacks.(31) </STRONG>
    Coastal Defenses / Fortifications
    The Japanese had extensive experience with how the Americans conducted amphibious assaults in the Pacific. In late 1944, the Japanese also sent a team of officers to debrief the Germans on their defenses at Normandy and how the Allies assaulted to gain a foothold in Europe. From these experiences the Japanese coastal defenses on Kyushu were divided into three zones.
    1. Beach Positions - These positions were to be used mainly in beach fighting and for firing against landing craft. They were to be heavily fortified and concealed for protection against naval gunfire. Coastal fortifications were constructed in cave type shelters to withstand intense bombings and bombardments, especially from naval gunfire. They were to have the ability to conduct close range actions and withstand attacks from flame-throwers, explosives, and gas. Their purpose was to defeat any landing attempt.
    2. Foreground Zone - If the beach positions could not prevent a landing, then the attack was to be delayed in this zone with localized counterattacks and raids. Obstacles, hidden positions, timed land mines, and assault tunnels utilizing natural terrain features were prepared to slow the attack and to fight within the enemy lines to limit the effectiveness of naval gunfire and close air support.
    3. Main Zone of Resistance - This zone was the area where the main resistance was to be established. Battalions and larger units would occupy key terrain positions which were independent of each other. (see figure 12.) These positions were to be organized mainly for antitank warfare and the fields of fire were to be short. These installations were constructed as underground fortresses capable of coping with close range actions in which flame-throwers, explosives, and gas would be used. This resistance zone was intended to stop the American advance and set up the major counterattack that was to decisively defeat the attack.(32) The Japanese paid special attention to camouflage of their positions even during construction.(33) Defensive positions were to be concealed from air, land, and sea observation. Within all three zones, dummy positions were constructed for deception. Cave installations were to be heavily reinforced and capable of withstanding a direct hit by naval gunfire. Pillboxes, assault positions, sniper positions, and obstacles were to be organized for close quarter combat and mutually supporting. Each position was to store water, ammunition, fuel, antitank weapons, food, salt, vitamin pills, and medical supplies.(34)

    Defensive measures taken inland included Rear Defense Zones. These zones were established in important areas inland as alternate positions for the area army to be used in holding out against a forceful penetration by the enemy or in support of a strategic offensive.(35) Holding positions were constructed across lines of communications to check rapid advances of enemy mechanized forces.
    Inland fortifications were also constructed to provide cover and concealment for heavy equipment such as tanks, motor vehicles and artillery as well as bomb proof storage of ammunition and fuel. As on many islands throughout the Pacific, these storage shelters were impervious to American air and naval bombardment.
    Satsuma Peninsula Defenses (40th Army)
    Mutso Operation, No. 1 covered the defense of southern Kyushu by the 40th and 57th Armies. This part of Kyushu was considered the most probable area to be invaded. Part C provided for the defense of the Satsuma Peninsula region by the 146th, 206th, and 303rd Divisions, and the 125th Independent Mixed Brigade of the 40th Army. In the event of an invasion in this area, those units would attempt to hold the V Amphibious Corps on the beaches until the mobile reserve could be assembled and moved from their inland locations. The counterattack phase would be carried out by a mobile reserve composed out of the 25th, 57th, 77th and 216th Divisions, together with the three tank brigades. The mobile reserve would advance to the vicinity of Ijuin to seal off the Satsuma Peninsula and prepare for the counterattack. There were also plans to redeploy two divisions from the Fifteenth Area Army in Honshu to augment the counterattack in southern Kyushu.(36)
    The Japanese 40th Army had a strong concentration of artillery and heavy mortars on the western side of Satsuma Peninsula, south of Ijuin, in the 206th Division's zone of action. This concentration was closer to Fukiage Hama than to the beaches selected for the V Amphibious Corps.(37) Many units of the 40th Army were considered in poor state of organization and training. The 303rd and 206th Infantry divisions were particularly poor.(38)
    The 77th Division, rated as A-1 by the Japanese, was under administrative control of the 40th Army and was held in reserve north of Kagoshima Wan. It was to be prepared to support the 40th Army if a landing were forced on the western shore of Satsuma Peninsula. The plan called for movement, chiefly by foot and at night, along the shore road of Kagoshima Wan, crossing the peninsula on the road system just west of Kagoshima. The estimated time for this movement was six to seven days.(39)
    The 25th Division, also rated A-1 by the Japanese and under administrative control of the 57th Army, was held in reserve in the area of Miyakonojo. It was prepared to counterattack in the Miyazaki area. It likewise was to be moved chiefly on foot at night, the estimated movement time being five days.(40)
    The 216th Division was centrally located in reserve at Kumamoto, prepared to move south as the situation dictated. If the preliminary bombardment or early seizure of small islands to the south and southwest of Kyushu definitely indicated an early invasion attempt on southern Kyushu, the 216th Division was to be moved, principally on foot and at night, to the area of Kirishima, northwest of Miyakonojo. This movement would have taken 7 days.(41) Likewise, if early indications pointed toward the invasion of southern Kyushu, the 57th Division and 4th Independent Tank Brigade of the 56th Army were to be withdrawn from the Fukuoka area and moved by any and all methods available to the Kirishima area.(42)
    The defensive plan called for the use of the Civilian Volunteer Corps, a mobilization not of volunteers but of all boys and men 15 to 60 and all girls and women 17 to 40, except for those exempted as unfit. They were trained with hand grenades, swords, sickles, knives, fire hooks, and bamboo spears. These civilians, led by regular forces, were to make extensive use of night infiltration patrols armed with light weapons and demolitions.(43) Also, the Japanese had not prepared, and did not intend to prepare, any plan for the evacuation of civilians or for the declaration of open cities.(44) The southern third of Kyushu had a population of 2,400,000 within the 3,500 square miles included in the Prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki.(45) The defensive plan was to actively defend the few selected beach areas at the beach, and then to mass reserves for an all-out counterattack if the invasion forces succeeded in winning a beachhead.(46) The Japanese were determined to fight the final and decisive battle on Kyushu. At whatever the cost, Japanese military leaders were planning to repel any U.S. landing attempt. The defense of the Japanese home islands centered on two primary operations: the Army's fanatical defense of the beaches, and the employment of Kamikaze planes and suicide boats against transports. The Japanese plans for suicide attacks were much more extensive than anything the U.S. had yet experienced in the war. The Japanese special suicide forces were seen as a "Divine Wind" which was to save their nation just as the "Divine Wind" had driven the Mongol hordes back in the thirteenth century.(47)

    OPERATION KETSU-GO
     
  19. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    What makes you think Japan was gong to surrender? Were the Big Six pleading with the US to accept their surrender? If they intended to surrender, why were the Japanese putting so much effort into the Ketsu-Go plan to defeat the Invasion scheduled for November, 1945? Why were they hoarding 10,000 planes and the avgas which would make it possible to fly kamikaze missions? Why were they raising division after division, more than 2.5 million troops in the Home Islands alone? Why weren't they demobilizing their armed forces instead, if surrender was on their minds? Why were they continuing to build thousands of suicide boats and submarines?

    Just WHEN did Japan intend to surrender? And why didn't they respond positively to the Potsdam Proclamation if surrender was on the agenda? Frankly, if the Japanese intended to surrender, they were certainly taking their time about letting the world know about it. And none of the actions they took prior to August 6, 1945, were the actions of a government which acknowledged defeat and was ready to throw in the towel. If you seriously think Japan was ready to surrender, where is your evidence to that effect?

    You are totally and completely mistaken. It was not a dishonorable victory, it was a hard fought war against an aggressor nation which did it's utmost to pursue a brutal, ruthless, and inhumane policy against enemy combatants and civilians alike. Every day that the Japanese were allowed to continue in this course, more people died due to exploitation, neglect, deliberate starvation, and outright murder. putting a stop to it in the quickest and most effective way possible was the only ethical course. And if that meant immolating Japanese "civilians" (most whom weren't), then their blood is on the hands of the Japanese government and no other agency.

    If you have an open mind on this matter, you will present your evidence for your contentions and defend them against the overwhelming counter-evidence, otherwise you can just go on spouting your emotional clap-trap.

    This a forum about WW II; discussions about 9/11 and Osama bin Laden are totally out of place here.
     
  20. bigfun

    bigfun Ace

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    yep!
     

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