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WW 2 ALMOST DID NOT END 1945


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#1 Cadetat6

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Posted 27 June 2005 - 12:23 PM

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Acropolis/...1/downfall.html

papa Art

#2 texas38

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Posted 28 June 2005 - 12:37 AM

Not too long ago I finished reading, "With The Old Breed," by E.B. Sledge. This guy was a Marine that fought on Peleliu and then Okinawa and later wrote about his experiences there. I am old enough to remember the stories being told in those war years about the ferocity and tenacity of the Japanese; they were real tigers and every inch of territory won from them was paid for, deeply, in lives and in blood, by the troops who were tasked to fight them. If there is anyone out there who still questions the benefits derived from dropping the Bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then I urge you to read Sledge's book. Simply, he tells it like it was -  and it was horrific.

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#3 j3rdinf

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 10:52 PM

Operation Downfall
The Invasion of Japan, November, 1945

"An Invasion not found in the history books" by James Martin Davis, The Omaha World Herald, November, 1987  ".    Yes, the invasion of Japan was a well known fact back in
1945.  Many ETO divisions were scheduled to be "pipelined" for it.  However thanks to Harry Truman using his head it was not needed as was shown.  The "news media" is just
showing a "newsbreaking story" after 40 years.  As far as I am concerened it was only
to sell papers.  Same as they do now about Iraq, Gitmo and anything.   The U.S. ALWAYS has contingencery plans for one hell of a lot of countries, just in case.  Along
with manpower needed and probable casualties.

#4 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 11:26 PM

Joe:

I have to agree with you.  It seems they are now treating this as something new and astounding.  What the hell?  This was always in the works and never a secret.  Yes, I'm sure the details and planned actions were, but everyone in the world knew that we were to invade the Japanese mainland.  The only thing that stopped this occurence was the guts of our then president Truman.

It sickens me everytime I hear these young brats admonish our men and government for dropping the BIG ONES.  God bless them for doing so.  They simply have NO comprehension of the Japanese mindset in pre-1946.  NONE!  They would have fought until the VERY bitter end and my God, we would have lost millions more on both sides.  How dare they play Monday morning quarterback and criticize.  It is so easy to do 60 years later and with the world in a totally different frame of mind.
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#5 Cadetat6

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 09:48 AM

GOOD old Harry.
If it was not for him there would be no  papa  Art.
Aug. 14,1945 papa was in Philippine Island (Panay)
training for Japanese Invation.

Happy  papa

#6 Reg from the Bulge

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:26 PM

QUOTE (Cadetat6 @ Jul 4 2005, 04:48 AM)
GOOD old Harry.
If it was not for him there would be no  papa  Art.
Aug. 14,1945 papa was in Philippine Island (Panay)
training for Japanese Invation.

Happy  papa

Leroy ,

Please tell me more about this .

#7 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 09:39 PM

I am glad that Harry dropped the big one because Papa Art might not be around and then we wouldn't have met and then I wouldn't be as happy and then and then...  Wow, things could be a whole lot different huh Papa?

sad.gif
Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon

There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Marion Chard

#8 Cadetat6

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 12:34 PM

YUP PARTNER,
Harry saved a lot of us.
For those who think he should not have dropped it, you would not be here to-day if he had not dropped it.

papa  Art

#9 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 04:09 PM

Ah, Papa, sounds like Lennon wants to hear more about your adventure....

QUOTE
QUOTE (Cadetat6 @ Jul 4 2005, 04:48 AM)
GOOD old Harry.
If it was not for him there would be no papa Art.
Aug. 14,1945 papa was in Philippine Island (Panay)
training for Japanese Invation.

Happy papa 


Leroy ,

Please tell me more about this .

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon

There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Marion Chard

#10 Reg from the Bulge

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 09:44 PM

QUOTE (Cadetat6 @ Jun 27 2005, 07:23 AM)

thanks for that link Art

#11 Cadetat6

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:28 PM

Lennon, Here is untold story

WWII Unknown Stories

This is what I remember.  If it helps good, if not it’s something different.
July 8, 1945 I arrived at Leyte Island, July 25, 1945 arrived at Panay Island.
Japan surrendered August 14, 1945.
Sept. 8 or 15, 1945 we arrived at Inchon, Korea and took a train to Taegu, Korea.  We were the first Americans the Koreans ever saw.  We marched into the Japanese compound past the Japanese guard and stopped in front of a 2-story building we were to use as our barracks.  Being in the first squad we marched to each guard post, the Japanese soldier fell in the rear of our column and one of our men took over the guard post.  I took guard of the ammo dump and it was raining very hard.  The Japanese soldiers were very cordial and bowed to each of us as we replaced them.  When we got back from guard duty the Japanese were gone.  The following night we were just getting in bed and the C.O. came in and told our squad to make a full field pack (with rations), get our rifles and ammunition, because of some trouble in town.  We packed up (13 in our squad) and were taken to the city hall.  We just got there and were standing at the gate when up from three directions came three Japanese soldiers running at us.  To us it looked like the whole Japanese army was coming at us.  Those rifles of our got loaded really quick and ready.  The Japanese just came up to surrender to us Americans.  They were afraid of the Korean Police.  We were to guard some important criminal and political papers.  My guard post was two vaults and it was pitch black.  Here comes the kicker!!  We were the regular army troops, but the only ones there so we were given M.P. helmets, M.P. arm bands and 45 caliber revolvers and we worked with the Korean Police.  We set up our radios in police stations to talk to our jeep.  There was a city block of houses, built side by side, no back door, and facing the courtyard.  Only one way to get in and we were there to keep G.I.’s out from this whorehouse district.  I don’t know how they would get in but a Korean madam would come out saying American, American and we would have to go in and check each room and kick them out.  Four of us were put at an out-post many miles from town at bottom of some mountains.  Every morning a jeep with a hot stove would come and make us hot breakfast, the rest of the day k-rations or one time two of us took our rifles and got a few ducks.  We were guarding a large barn.  One day we looked in the barn and it was full of rice bowls.  Many miles away another 4-man post was guarding parachutes.  The Korean toilets were oblong holes in the floor and they had Honey dippers who would take away the human waste and spread it on their food gardens, everything grew twice as large as ours.  We were not aloud to eat anything that came from the ground.  We did not destroy any arms; I assumed the Japanese took them home with them.  There was a room that had a few things we could have, I brought back a sword.  We did turn in our rifles and they dunked in some preservation gook.  I left Korea Feb. 26, 1946 and was dis-charged March 20, 1946.  When I was at Taegu, we (GI’s) had no problems with the Korean people and knew nothing about political problems, we just wanted to go back to the states.  I was in the 40th Division, 185th Infantry, Company E, 1st Platoon, 1st Squad.  I have a few pictures of farmers, Korean Police, and our M.P.’s if you need them.

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#12 Reg from the Bulge

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Posted 09 September 2005 - 11:32 PM

Art ,

I love these stories . As for the pics you may send them by PDF .
I'm collecting your strories Art . I keep reading them over and over again ....

Lennon

#13 Reg from the Bulge

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 10:59 PM

Thank you Art .

#14 Walt's Daughter

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:27 AM

[left]Revising an old post with additions.

Below please find correspondence which was sent to me via Bill on the Hill (Bill Jasper) and James Hennessey....

===============================================

QUOTE
Jim, I read this rather hastily and I did not see any mention of the 87th Infantry Division.  Did I miss it"

A little over 20 years ago, I received a copy of a declassified TOP SECRET document that included the plans for the invasion of Japan.  This was made available to the public, but there was very little interest in it.  At the time I wrote a letter to the "Officer Review" on this subject, and I will try to find a copy and send it to you via the Internet.

In the document that I have, that was released in 1985, there is the following paragraph:
    "At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay, and attempt to go as far as Yokohoma.  The assault troops landing to the south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 32nd, 37th, 38th and 87th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions."
                                --Bill Jasper (BOTH)


QUOTE
Jim, I just reread the Invasion Plans that you forwarded.  I found out why the 87th Infantry Division (our Division) was not mentioned.  On page four it lists the assault troops the same as those listed in the paragraph that I sent to you.  They listed the 8th among them, and later they listed the 8th again.  The second listing was supposed to be the 87th.  A significant typographical error!   --BOTH


==========================================================================

Subject: Declassified WWII invasion and defense plans

I don't generally send things like this out to such a large group, however, I think that this is so interesting that you would appreciate seeing it (if you have not already). If not, I apologize.

This is fascinating reading... And it should be required reading for all the misguided Hiroshima/Nagasaki-bashing anti-nuke folks.

Thank God for the work done in the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge , Hanford , Los Alamos and other places....

I don't have a reference to cite, so I can't verify the absolute truth of the comments, however, the data given tracks pretty well with other historical pieces I have seen or read.

********************************

    This documentary is especially of interest to WW II vets and historians interested in why the decision was made to use two atomic bombs to bring Japan to surrender unconditionally.  Those events have been an issue over the years since, condemning America for their use.  It was even mentioned by the Iranian at the UN in the past couple of weeks. This documentation provides some of the planning and anticipated destruction that we've heard about over the years but, to my knowledge, have not seen before.  Sorry, I don't have the reference for the article.  

    

    1945 Invasion of Japan Plans

     An Exceptional Part of History Revealed.


    Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington , D.C. , hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped "Top Secret".  These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall , the invasion of Japan during World War II.  Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands.  Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched.

    Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945.  It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

    In the first invasion - code named "Operation Olympic"- American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 - 65 years ago  Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu , the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment.

    The second invasion on March 1, 1946 - code named "Operation Coronet" - would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain.  It's goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan .  With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation.  It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8 Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force.&n bsp; More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 - would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults.  Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy.

    Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone.  General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the Fall of 1946.  Willoughby's own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

    During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary.  While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender.  The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact.

    So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General M MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu .  The target date was after the typhoon season.

    President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24.  Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction.

    Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender.  During this same period it was learned -- via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts -- that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses.

    Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu .  Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain.  The preliminary invasion would began October 27 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu .  A t the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu .  On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion.

    As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy - the Third and Fifth Fleets -- would approach Japan .  The Third Fleet, under Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido .  Halsey's fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups.  From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu .  The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.

    Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas.  They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched.  During the early morning hours of November 1, the invasion would begin.  Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu .  Waves of Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches.

    The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd, and 41st Infantry Divisions, would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield.  The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and America Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

    On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima.

    On November 4, the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack on the island of Shikoku, would be landed -- if not needed elsewhere -- near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard, and Plymouth.

    Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well.  It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed.  If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1,1946.  Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu .

    All along the coast east of Tokyo , the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions, along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions.  At Sagami Bay , just south of Tokyo , the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to go as far as Yokohama .  The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th, and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions.

    Following the initial assault, eight more divisions - the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th, and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division -- would be lande d.  If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

    Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error.  During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese Kamikaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others.  But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan .

    What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland.  As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan -- the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars.  They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.

    On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet.  The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea , western Honshu and Shikoku , which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks.

    Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks.  In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types.  Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity.  Hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes.

    Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot.  When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a fourfold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships. While Allied ships were approaching Japan , but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu .  A second force of 330 navy combat pilots were to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. While these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports.

    As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300 , to be used in hour by hour attacks.  By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners.

    Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel.  Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce.  Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue.  With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days.  The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy -- some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles -- when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyus hu.

    The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational.  These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion.  A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.  Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea.  Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats.

    The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing.  The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese.  But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war.

    Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1.  In Japan it would be different.  By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan 's top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

    Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 indep endent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops.  On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans.  This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

    The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army.  These troops were well-fed and well equipped.  They were familiar with the terrain, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air.  Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.  Japan 's network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches.  Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counter attack.  Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade.

    On the western shores of Kyushu , the Marines would face the most brutal opposition.  Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions, a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command.  Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks.  If not needed to r einforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

    All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers, and underground fortresses.  As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns.

    On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units.  Suicide units concealed in "spider holes" would engage the troops as they passed nearby.  In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines.  Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform, English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops.  Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs would attempt to blow up American tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore.

    Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach.  Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.  The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called "Prairie Dog Warfare." This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean .  It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific -- at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa .

    Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy.  In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits.  Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.  In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

    Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan - "One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation" - were prepared to fight to the death.  Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force.  They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars.  Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears.  The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.  At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour.

    The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima .  Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki .  Within days the war with Japan was at a close.  Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands.  Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives.

    One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks.  In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion, were instead lucky enough to survive the war.  Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history o f modern warfare.

    Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture.  When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities.  The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

    With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan , little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands.  Japan today could be divided much like Korea and Germany .  The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over.  The aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan , ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet.

    In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans.  Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives.  These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man.  The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives, and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon

There's "No Bridge Too Far"
Marion Chard