(Pdf Read) Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945–1947

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  • Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947
  • D.M. Giangreco
  • English
  • 05 August 2020
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D.M. Giangreco Ð 7 characters

characters Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 107 D.M. Giangreco Ð 7 characters review È eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ð D.M. Giangreco Hell to Pay is a comprehensive and compelling examination of the many complex issues that encompassed the strategic plans for the proposed American invasion of Japan US planning for the invasion and military occupation of Imperial Japan was begun in 1943 two years before the dropping of atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki In its final form Operation Downfall called for a massive Allied invasion on a scale dwarfing D Day to be carried out in two stages In the first stage Operation Olympic the US Sixth Army would lead the southernmost assault on the Home Island of Kyushu preceded by. There is an on going seven decade old debate about whether the Japanese Empire would have surrendered absent the dropping of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs The simple answer is yes Japan was the lone surviving member of the Axis Alliance Surrounded by the combined forces of history s greatest military alliance Japan s fate was sealed But capitulation at what cost and how long would it take Answers to these uestions are the heart of this on gong debate with those opposed to the dropping of the bombs believing an encircled and starving Japan was about to collapse and those grateful for the fruits of the Manhattan Project claiming the sudden and violent end to the war was a lifesaving blessing In Hell to Pay DM Giangreco weighs in on the debate employing information from new Japanese and American sources He relies heavily on data and concludes that on balance Truman s use of the atomic bombs was the best alternative for ending the warGiangreco avoids using a litany of post war biases to strong arm readers into backing his conclusions Instead he combines data with an understanding of the perspectives of the wartime American and Japanese military and political leaders and reconstructs their views of the war prospects for success the price already paid in blood and treasure and their respective cultural viewpoints towards continuing what had become vicious and at times pointless combat The debate has neglected this 1945 context Later scholars and pundits understandably would enter the debate with different contexts and biases They would persuasively support their views both for and against the use of the bombs which served to further illuminate American and Japanese actions and reinforced the war s wasteful misery Nevertheless the author believes the core of the debate ought to remain centered on the mid 1945 conditions in Japan and United States Using this approach Giangreco takes the reader back to 1945 as an observer of the unfolding events in what unknowingly were to be the waning days of the warBy early 1945 war weariness gripped the United States The manpower pool for armed forces was nearly exhausted Since the June 1944 Normandy invasion the nation has been suffering an average of 65000 casualties a month by far the most costly of the war The successful Pacific Ocean island hopping campaign had been unrelenting Americans growing familiarity with the heretofore obscure geography of the vast Pacific Ocean was centered on a successive list of remote islands each associated with brutal combat and increasingly larger casualty lists Tarawa Tinian Saipan Leyte Luzon Iwo Jima and Okinawa More importantly the Japanese mostly killed because they fought to the death to American casualty ratio 51 in the Philippines had shrunk to 1251 on Okinawa In the air war by July 1945 the Army Air Force s strategic bombing campaign had run out of civilian targets despite ravaging almost every Japanese city with a population of 40000 or killing 178000 Japanese and leaving another 8000000 homeless Japan nevertheless remained a ferocious foe in spite of these losses and the destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy Through June Kamikazes off Okinawa fought their way into 400 American ships sinking 32 damaging 40 beyond repair and killing and wounding over 10000 American sailors by far the greatest casualties and damage ever inflicted upon the US Navy One of Giangreco s contributions to the on going debate is his clarification of projected American and Japanese casualties resulting from an American invasion of Japan s home islands He notes that post war critics of the bombs point out that the 1945 estimate of American casualties was uite low but he also shows that their numbers were only for the first 60 days of combat for the first of two massive amphibious landings Estimates for the entire campaign were much higher General George C Marshall said there would be at least 500000 American casualties The New York Times printed this figure in the summer of 1945 and it was the number briefed to members of the armed forces Hidden from public view were well informed and larger estimates Former President Herbert Hoover working with a group of Army colonels told President Truman that his research showed there would be 500000 1000000 casualties Dr William Shockley later famous for the invention of the transistor estimated 17 4000000 American casualties and 5 10 million Japanese casualties Operation Downfall the code name for the invasion and defeat of Japan was a two stage behemoth dwarfing Normandy s D Day in scope size logistical complexity and tactical difficulty The first stage Operation Olympic scheduled for November 1945 was the invasion of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu Using Kyushu as a major forward base stage two of Downfall Operation Cornet spring of 1946 was to be the invasion of Honshu and the eventual capture of Tokyo Together both operations would involve 5000000 men over 4000 ships 20000 aircraft and 42 divisions The terrain at both invasion sites was rugged easy to defend and a nightmare to attack In the meantime the Japanese boldly prepared their defenses While the Americans were fully engaged on Okinawa the Japanese redeployed 24 army divisions from China and Korea back to the home islands Twelve tankers full of aviation gasoline eluded American submarines and aircraft and brought home over a million gallons of high uality fuel While American intelligence estimated the Japanese had 5000 aircraft remaining for Kamikaze attacks there were actually almost 13000 with 18000 moderately well trained pilots to fly them Many of the aircraft were constructed of wood and fabric making them invisible to American early warning radars This construction also reduced the effectiveness of the American s variable time VT fused anti aircraft shells the foundation of effective long range air defense Kamikaze submarines and over 2400 explosively laden small craft rounded out a Japanese arsenal focused on destroying American troop transports Finally the Japanese civilian population was drafted en mass to strengthen the country s defenses All males between the ages of 15 and 60 and females between 17 and 40 were conscripted into the home defense forces With the allies insisting on unconditional surrender and the Japanese unwilling to accept this humiliating demand the Empire of Japan prepared for the inevitable invasion For the United States since the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943 all indications were the fight to subdue Japan would be a fight to the death Despite overwhelming American superiority in firepower and resources the April June 1945 Okinawa campaign had been unprecedentedly costly Once the Americans met the Japanese main line of resistance every inch of ground was contested The battle s casualties set a new record for the Pacific War 100 150000 civilians 110000 Japanese soldiers and 82000 members of the American armed forces Operation Downfall appeared destined to repeat this slaughter on a much larger scale As the Empire abruptly receded and resources dwindled the tenacity and savagery of the Japanese remained undiminished It is true that the percentage of Japanese soldiers surrendering on Okinawa surpassed those of previous battles but they remained an insignificant minority Japanese military culture reuired absolute allegiance to the Emperor and transformed dying for the Chrysanthemum Throne into a spiritual honor of the highest order Beyond this intangible force the Japanese now had uniue advantages They were defending the core of their homeland Despite being surrounded they possessed interior lines of communication and supply while their foes were fighting thousands of miles from home Japanese defensive strategy and tactics had radically evolved during the Pacific War Initially the Japanese had contested the invaders on the beaches Tarawa and fought to the death At Iwo Jima the Japanese allowed the Americans to land uncontested later seeking to destroy them in artillery mortar and machine gun kill zones on the crowded landing beaches They also went underground fighting from positions carved into every defensible terrain feature The Marines at Iwo complained they rarely saw the enemy that was killing them At Okinawa the Japanese further refined the strategy and tactics used on Iwo Jima They allowed the Americans to land and only contested the most defensible and for the Americans the most costly geography How did the Japanese apply the experience of successive defeats to the defense of the home islands After the war the Americans learned that Japanese predictions of the likely invasion sites time frames and the size of the invasion forces were uncannily accurate The Japanese planned to aggressively contest the landings using air and seaborne Kamikazes against the troop transports Further they intended to defend every inch of ground by exploiting the defensive friendly geography On Kyushu Olympic and Honshu Coronet that geography began on the landing beaches Once inland off the beaches the terrain remained unfriendly to the invader the antithesis of France s rolling hills and good roads that General George Patton s 3rd Army found so accommodating once the breakout from Normandy occurred In contrast Downfall s inland invasion routes featured hills mountains terraced rice paddies soggy plains unfriendly to vehicles of any sort and pre set kill zones whose lethality rivaled any the Americans had previously encountered The frame of mind of a war weary America in mid summer 1945 must also be considered 80% of the country s World War II casualties occurred during the last fourteen months of the war following the invasion of Normandy The manpower pool was depleted Domestic pressure forced the release of some European theater veterans to civilian life at the same time the Army Marine Corps and Navy were concerned they would not be able to muster enough replacements to maintain momentum once Olympic and Cornet were executed The inhumane destructiveness of the Pacific War and what likely lay ahead in the Downfall s fighting was demoralizing But for a select few Americans a rapid end to the war with minimal casualties was a pipe dream of the crazed until the morning of August 6 1945 The end of the Pacific War was not in sight GI humor targeted end dates based on wishful thinking with sayings like the Golden Gate in 48 and the Bread Line in 49 but the only certainty was the light of peace remained at the end of a very long and unpredictable tunnel The Enola Gay s incineration of Hiroshima on August 6th and Bockscar s leveling of Nagasaki three days later instantaneously turned the world upside down Later generations have no idea what it felt like to be locked in a marathon death dance with Japan one day and then the next suddenly accepting the surrender of an enemy still capable of inflicting and enduring unspeakable casualties Today we tend to assume the surrender of Japan on August 15 1945 was unremarkable and expected when in fact it was an extraordinary miracle Following the war distaste for the use of the atomic bombs grew over time but not among those who were doing the fighting Wounded combat infantryman and later prolific anti war intellectual and historian Paul Fussell wrote the degree to which Americans register shock and extraordinary shame about the Hiroshima bomb correlates closely with the lack of information about the war Famous novelist and Pacific War veteran James Michener wrote how he and his comrades felt after the bombs were dropped and Japan surrenderedHow did we react With a gigantic sigh of relief not exultation because of our victory but a deep gut wrenching sigh of deliverance We had stared into the mouth of Armageddon and suddenly the confrontation was no longer necessary From my experience on Saipan and Okinawa when I saw how violently the Japanese soldiers defended their caves to the death I am satisfied that they would have done the same on Kyushu Americans knew that an invasion of the Japanese home islands and the destruction of that country s war making capacity were necessary to fulfill Allied war aims The evidence Giangreco presents shows that the Japanese intended to inflict unprecedented casualties among the invaders and had the ability to do so Post war debate over the dropping of the bombs rarely accounts for the mindset of the Japanese and the Americans during the mid summer days of 1945 particularly those Americans who were doing the fighting and those who were ordering them into battle These individuals were grateful for the end result of the bombings Japan s surrender but did not rejoice over the deaths and destruction Their focus was on themselves and their friends for they were now going to live All I know is that we said prayers of deliverance and kept our mouths shut when arguments began as to whether the bombs needed to be dropped or not And I have maintained that silence to this moment 1995 said Michener While much of the on going debate has been academic for non participants for those whose lives were on the line the bombs were salvation On a personal note my father fought in the Central Pacific from March 1944 to March 1945 as a member of Navy Patrol Bombing Suadron 150 VPB 150 which first flew out of Tarawa and later Tinian After 55 combat missions and a few close calls the suadron returned home to Alameda California in April 1945 and was disbanded Following a month s leave my father reported to a new training suadron preparing crews for the invasion of Japan They were being euipped with the new Lockheed PV 2 Harpoon a redesigned version of VPB 150 s PV 1 Ventura The Harpoon was slower stable easier to fly at low altitudes and slower speeds and specifically armed for low altitude ground attack By this time my father had come to hate flying Perhaps it was the several close calls he had experienced including a belly landing a close encounter with a mountain one night and the memory of he the pilot and the co pilot pulling back on the plane s yokes with all their might during a dive bombing attack to keep the plane from hitting the ground at 250 miles per hour and succeeding with but 200 feet to spare The moment the Japanese surrendered he decided to turn in his wings and end his flying days He was diverted from this mission when most of the suadron s personnel were grounded as unneeded excess He was soon ordered to Camp Shoemaker California to begin discharge processing My father was a gentle thoughtful individual Though he fought against the Japanese Empire he never spoke disparagingly about Japan or the Japanese He never used the term Jap In fact he rarely spoke of the war and not because he had horrible experiences but because it was a difficult sometimes dangerous and often fearful time when he didn t think too much about the future because he might not have one He did hate one thing however war He had volunteered to serve his country less than 60 days after Pearl Harbor but he avoided Korea He took an early mid 1960s stand against the Vietnam War In his final years he never wavered in his opposition to President George W Bush s invasion of Ira and the costly aftermathWhen the topic of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs was broached he spoke plainly he supported President Truman s decision For him the atomic bombs had suddenly and unexpectedly terminated the Pacific War his impending second combat tour and his participation in Olympic and Coronet He never presumptively imposed this viewpoint on anyone but unhesitatingly put if forth when the impact of the bombs on ending the war was minimized or dismissed I know he would have smiled and understandingly nodded in agreement at James Michener s 1995 comment I stood there on the lip of the pulsating volcano and I know that I was terrified at what might happen and damned relieved when the invasion became unnecessary I accept the military estimates that at least 1 million lives were saved and mine could have been one of them Perhaps as Giangreco notes it is time for the post World War II debaters of Truman s decision to give full weight to the views of those who had tickets to the Pacific War s final act to be played out on the beaches of Kyushu and the Tokyo Plain This acknowledgement would not undermine the horror of nuclear war Instead it would reinforce the notion that all war is brutal and the way death is dealt or experienced matters little to those doing the killing and dying

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Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947

characters Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 107 D.M. Giangreco Ð 7 characters review È eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ð D.M. Giangreco Icles A common theme in these works is their reliance on a relatively few declassified high level planning documents In contrast Hell to Pay examines the invasion of Japan in light of the large body of Japanese and American operational and tactical planning documents unearthed by the author in both familiar and obscure archives as well as postwar interrogations and reports that senior Japanese commanders and their staffs were ordered to produce for General MacArthur's headuarters Hell to Pay brings the political and military ramifications of the enormous casualties and loss of mater. Hell to Pay Operation Downfall and the invasion of Japan 1945 1947 by D M Giangreco Naval Institute Press 2009 Well Now I have everything I need if ever I get into a debate about whether we should have dropped the Bomb The uneuivocal answer Yes Chapter by chapter page by page footnote by footnote Gianfranco examines every issue involved in the discussion How about a blockade Among other things Japan had much food available and would have been able to grow a great deal How long would it have taken Would even that have induced an actual surrender What about the straight up invasion Wasn t Japan completely exhausted its armies fatally weakened its resources used up No In fact morale among the troops was high Even worse the Japanese had figured out when Olympic the invasion of Kyushu would begin and what beaches would be attacked Starting in spring 1945 they had begun moving masses of troops including several of the veteran divisions of the Kwantung Army into very carefully prepared positions on around and behind the beaches and throughout southern Kyushu They planned to resume the ferocious defense of the beaches that had been abandoned at Iwo Jima and Okinawa And then they were completely prepared for a deadly defense once the American troops got inland such as they demonstrated on the bloody hills of Okinawa How about the American troops Many divisions from Europe were already en route to the Pacific though none of them had actually left the United States At the same time there was a partial demobilization going on GIs with a certain number of points could go home those points were precious and came only to those who had been in serious combat Not many GIs from the European theater was happy to be sent to another war after they had just finished one How about the terrain on Honshu The land itself was superb for defense and terrible for attack narrow routes overlooked by hills and mountains at every point the landing beaches themselves would have been subject to overwhelming artillery attack from the surround hills the land mountainous cut through with canyons and defiles covered with wet and easily flooded rice paddies and fields was deadly for tanks and far worse than the hedgerows of Normandy But beyond the nature of the land what of the invasion itself Although in number of ships aircraft and men it would be far beyond the numbers involved in D Day the Japanese defenders would actually outnumber the attackers The Japanese had learned how to fight the Americans they built extensive underground fortifications dug and fortified caves and tunnels built to be almost impervious to air and naval bombardment and extremely difficult for infantry attackers The fight would have been a slog comparable to the trenches of World War I The civilian population had been armed sort of even with spears and bamboo it had been prepared for guerrilla war the fighting would have been continuous with nighttime infiltration presaging the Vietnam War What about the invading fleets with battleships dozens of aircraft carriers hundreds of ships The Japanese unbeknown to the Americans had hoarded than 10000 planes to be used as kamikazes Many of them were obsolete and built of wood meaning that they could not be detected by radar and the deadly proximity fuse would not work on them And even when they were shot up they could still fly into the ships And the targets stationary anchored in enclosed areas unable to maneuver perfect easy even for untrained pilots The probability is that the kamikazes would have overwhelmed the defending aircraft and anti aircraft weaponry The fleet could not have handled them And they would have sunk transports carrying tens of thousands of soldiers We had never experienced such losses Which comes to a couple of other points the US was running out of men the nation was getting very tired of the war and the longer it went on the tired it would become The American manpower pool was being drained month after month Selective Service fell short of its goals And its goals were immense 100000 new troops every month or Turning to the Japanese the military had no intention of giving up the generals and admirals were willing to accept the death of 20 million of their people or they even spoke of the annihilation of the entire race of 100 million They were not going to be impressed by the demonstration of a single bomb Not only did the Japanese soldier fight to the death in a way that the most courageous Germans never did he was prepared to kill his own people to prevent them from surrendering American troops saw Japanese soldiers throwing civilians off the cliff at Okinawa and elsewhere Every Japanese soldier would have to be killed one by one In addition the Americans were working on a tight timetable the planned invasion of Kyushi and the capture of Tokyo Operation Coronet had to take place in March 1946 before the rains came and turned the ground into impassable muck So Olympic the invasion of Honshu had to take place no later than October And October was the season of typhoons the divine winds that destroyed the Korean invaders occurred in October And during 1945 there were several tremendous storms that even after the war sank ships damaged many destroyed facilities built ashore they would have wreaked havoc on an invading fleet What about the immediate effect of the bombs and the near simultaneous Soviet invasion of Manchuria Even then the Japanese did not respond There was no answer in the first few days The Americans began to prepare not just for the invasion but to use WMDs chemical weapons mustard gas the horrible munitions that traumatized even the armies that used them We were prepared to engage in chemical warfare if the Japanese continued to resist When finally the Japanese announced that they would accept the Allied terms there was a coup attempt by hard line militarists It was beaten back but it still happened What about Japanese hints of peace negotiations through the Soviets Nobody took them seriously they were not coming from very high officials there was no support for them in the government They were not real What about the casualty estimates Did the Americans really expect millions of dead and wounded and upward of a million dead Yes Those numbers were used again and again in discussions of the invasion The lower estimates come from misunderstanding the nature of the figures used and how the military counted casualties There was another factor Harry Truman s World War I experience was not as thin as some make it he was engaged in heavy fighting and he saw what the war looked like If he could avoid that he would This book is so full of figures and statistics that one s eyes could glaze over but Giangreco pounds them in over and over until their meaning cannot be ignored Not to mention that the troops themselves were unbearably relieved Nobody wanted to go into that hellfire

review È eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ð D.M. Giangreco

characters Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947 107 D.M. Giangreco Ð 7 characters review È eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB Ð D.M. Giangreco The dropping of as many as nine atom bombs behind the landing beaches and troop concentrations inland Sixth Army would secure airfields and anchorages needed to launch the second stage Operation Coronet five hundred miles to the north in 1946 The decisive Coronet invasion of the industrial heartland of Japan through the Tokyo Plain would be led by the Eighth Army as well as the First Army which had previously pummeled its way across France and Germany to defeat the Nazis These facts are well known and have been recounted with varying degrees of accuracy in a variety of books and art. This is a data rich account of the plans resources strategies and preparations on both Japanese and US sides for the inevitable unavoidable invasions of Japan Kyushu followed by the final invasion of the Tokyo plains on Honshu Truman s decision to nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war unexpectedly There is a lot of revisionist history critical of Truman s decision and arguing that it was not necessary revisionist and wrong Monthly casualties in Japanese held territories alone were over 400000 per month The US expected to war to last throughout 1946 perhaps into 1947 The US suffered almost 14 million casualties in WWII over one million of them between June 1944 and August 1945 Yet a partial demobilization was politically forced upon the US following the German surrender that reduced US troop strengths by nearly 50% even as troop reuirements were increasing in the PacificBased on intelligence estimates of Japanese resources and preparations on Kyushu it was estimated that US casualties would be on the order of 500000 in the first 90 days but that intelligence was wrong Japan had two to three times the numbers of troops suicide planes and boats ammunition fuel and defensive fortification they intended to replay Okinawa on a grand scale including millions of civilian suicide attackers The Japanese had learned a great deal about American war doctrine and practice and they prepared accordingly The Honshu invasion was even bigger fully resourced desperately defended Read this book and Downfall by Richard Franks Truman s decision brought the war to an early unexpected conclusion and saved millions of lives in the process These two books make that simple fact unmistakably clear