Part 3: Operation Downfall, Continued
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I wrote two blogs a while ago called Nuclear Weapons are Dark Magic. (The links are below) I talk about how evil and destructive nuclear weapons are. However, this doesn’t mean that I think the bombs being dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were 100% unjustified. I get annoyed by the polarizing views that people often have on this subject.
I ended part one with details about Operation Olympic and Operation Coronet. These were two parts of the Allied Deception plan that would have been used if nuclear weapons had not been used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Coronet and Olympic were aspects of Operation Downfall, which would have been the largest invasion in history. The sheer scale of it, coupled with firebombings that had been happening frequently in Japan, are two of the main arguments that people use when they justify the bombs being dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
The deception plan for Operation Coronet included the same psychological warfare tactics as those for Pastel. Different Allied countries coordinated their misdirection through media outlets like newspapers and radio broadcasts. All of these same methods were used in the fake planned assault on Korea, which was going to happen a month after the fictional Shikoku attack.
Hokkaido was intended to be the third and final phase of the deception plan for Coronet. It would involve the same tactics as those for Operation Pastel, and the staged assaults on Shikoku and Korea. The goal behind the misdirection for Coronet and Pastel was to draw attention away from Sagami Bay in Japan. This was going to be the real main target for the whole operation.
The real attack plan for Operation Coronet involved excessive bombing from both the ground and air, obstacles on beaches being removed, and sweeping for mines. This all would have ideally made it a hell of a lot easier for the Allies, especially in combination with the deception plans. They were also going to land in Tokyo while attacking Sagami Bay, and leap-frog from there to other Japanese air bases that were still under their control.
The Japanese defence plan was Operation Ketsugo. They were concerned about an invasion in June or some other time during the summer, so they weren’t expecting one so early in the year. The Battle of Okinawa had lasted so long that they thought the Allies couldn’t attack before typhoon season. It would have been very risky weather for naval invasions.
Ketsugo depended mainly on kamikaze attacks, which were very inefficient because the Japanese had an average of 1 hit for every 9 attacks. They also only had 2000 planes. One main goal behind operation Ketsugo was to develop defensive strongholds in Okinawa, the Shanghai District, Iwo Jima, the coast of South Korea, and Taiwan. If Kyushu or Tokyo had been attacked before the landings there, the Japanese intended to send in reserve forces. But this was the only contingency plan because they didn’t expect to be attacked anywhere else.
Between the start of the war and this time period, the Japanese switched defensive strategies. At first, they had focused on protecting beaches. But later, they changed their tactics to going farther inland and digging in. This second plan had been adopted by the time the Allies were considering assaulting Kyushu during Operation Olympic. The Japanese sent the majority of their assets and war supplies there, which spread them too thinly. They had to rely on the Volunteer Fighting Corps rather than professional soldiers, and they had inferior equipment.
Their defensive strategy was focused on Kyushu in April, before the Allies outlined their plan for that same month. So worrying about Kyushu was based on the assumption that it would be attacked before anywhere else. This was due to the progression path of American forces in Okinawa. Some Japanese intelligence officers disagreed with devoting so much of their forces to Kyushu though. They were worried about supply lines being cut off if the Allies assaulted Saishu Island in the Korea Straight, or south Korea. A small number of them actually thought that Tokyo would be attacked first. So the Japanese made defense plans for Korea and all of Japan by the summer in 1945. This is because other than Kyushu, they became afraid of enemy landings in Korea, China, Shikoku and Tokyo.
In the battle of Okinawa, the U. S. had many casualties because they underestimated the number of Japanese aircraft. But neither side respected their enemy enough, and the Americans also didn’t anticipate the Japanese determination to never surrender. They were also surprised by the complex cave network used by the Japanese as defense, which allowed many of them to survive the air bombardment. Ships that were close to the coast of Okinawa were attacked by Japanese planes that flew long distances over water. This was a risky and unanticipated tactic because aircraft only had to fly over short areas of land to assault boats that were off the coast of Kyushu.
Operation Big Blue Blanket
However, the Allies discovered that the Japanese were going to wait until an invasion to use Kamikaze attacks on naval fleets. They had even been ordered to not fire on landing American soldiers. This led to a counter-offense plan called Big Blue Blanket. The main goal behind this was to use Allied planes to defend against Japanese ones.
In addition to underestimating Japanese aircraft strength, the Allies realized that they had done the same thing with the numbers of ground troops. However, even though this was a huge cost for American ground troops, they still decimated Japanese infantry. Nevertheless, this caused U. S. war strategists like Marhsall to want to make a new plan, or dramatically alter Operation Olympic.
Even though it had been internationally outlawed during the Geneva Protocol after World War One, widespread chemical warfare was going to be used on Japanese crops and people! They were vulnerable to it due to predictable wind patterns. Japanese soldiers would be more affected by gas because it would draw them out of the caves where they had dug into their defenses. Neither the U.S. or the Japanese ratified the Geneva Protocol. They signed it, but didn’t ratify it, meaning that they didn’t have to abide by it. The Americans didn’t ratify it until 1975. But later on, the Americans had promised to not use biological or chemical weapons. We all know how much political promises actually mean though, right? Earlier in the war, the Chinese had been the victims of gas warfare used by the Japanese. The latter also had a nuclear program that ended up failing, and they planned to use biological and chemical weapons on the U. S. By the end of WWII, the ability of the Japanese to use chemical weapons had significantly decreased.
Since Japanese surrender was unexpected, more atomic bombs were going to be used after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How many? At least 7 of those motherfuckers! Yeah, as if two wasn’t horrifying enough, the U. S. basically intended to bomb Japan to hell. The target areas were to be avoided by American soldiers for at least 48 hours after detonation to avoid radiation exposure and nuclear fallout.
Do you have trouble believing that number of bombs? Well, the story gets even worse. According to Ken Nichols, a District Engineer for the Manhattan Project, part of the full scale invasion of the Japanese home island included 15 more atomic bombs! In order to increase the blast radius and reduce radiation for Allied ground troops who would invade after the explosions, air bursts were planned. Whether you believe it was 7, 15, or anywhere in between, any of those numbers are a hell of a lot more bombs than 2! Just try to imagine the magnitude of unparalleled devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but more than trippled at least!
…To Be Continued in Part 4…