Marine Corps Gazette, August 1965, Vol. 49, No. 8.
Dr. K. Jack Bauer describes the United States’ plans to assault Kyushu in the fall of 1945, a preliminary to the more massive invasion of Honshu.
Dr. Alan C. Coox authored the italicized portion of the following article, an account of the Japanese plan to defend Kyushu.
“Hell was upon us, when we lost Saipan,” the Chief of the Japanese Naval General Staff told American interrogators shortly after the war. A high-ranking NGS planner explained: “After the Coral Sea and Midway, I still had hope. After Guadalcanal, I felt we could not win, only we would not lose. After the Marianas, we had little chance. After Okinawa, it was all over.”
“The United Nations war objective is the unconditional surrender of the Axis Powers. The accomplishment of this objective may require the invasion of Japan.” Thus stated the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a May 1943 memorandum on strategic plans for Japan. This is the earliest plant to mention the possibility of invasion. But as long as the Japanese islands remained a distant objective any discussion was academic. It was not until the 1944-1945 winter that Allied forces had reached positions which permitted a serious study of the question.
The 3 October 1944 JCS directive that provided for the Luzon, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa operations not only completed the strategic preparations for the invasion but settled the question of the route of approach to the Japanese islands. With both the success of Manhattan Project and Russian assistance in the final stages of the Pacific war uncertain, American planners had to assume that a difficult and bloody invasion would be necessary to bring Nippon to her knees. The assumption, however, was challenged by several Navy and Air Force leaders who felt that a naval and air blockade would force surrender.
When Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ) had given up on Leyte, in December 1944, even Japanese sources admit that the over-all outcome of the Pacific war had been decided: There was no further hope of frustrating the Americans. Former Prime Minister Konoye told the Emperor privately in February 1945, “I think there is no longer any doubt about our defeat.”
IGHQ anticipated that the Americans would now intensify their air and naval operations throughout the Pacific theater and would seek to neutralize the Japanese homeland. Japan Proper was in the process of being isolated from the Asian continent and from the Southwest Pacific region. Exhaustion of Japanese production resources and demoralization of the populace had been begun. The main Japanese naval, air, and ground forces were being sought out and destroyed (as at Leyte). Next the islands of Japan would be brought within the range of American land-based fighters. IGHQ also expected American operations designed to move forward the strike bases around Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Taiwan, central China, and perhaps south China, Hainan, and the Kuriles. If Japanese strength were sufficiently eroded after Iwo fell, the Americans might even attack Japan directly by mid-1945. Ordinarily, however, the enemy could be expected to consolidate positions in the Philippines and the Marianas, and to accelerate preparations to invade the Japanese homeland. This process ought to be completed by August or September 1945.
U.S. planner’s work led to the JCS 25 May 1945 directive. It proposed to force Japan’s unconditional surrender through a combination of lowering her ability and will to resist and the seizing of portions of the industrial heartland of Honshu. The directive set up a two step assault beginning 1 November 1945 to accomplish the second objective. Although considered only tentative when issued the plan was not appreciably altered in later discussions. Its final reconsideration came in a series of White House conferences during June. On the 18th, President Truman approved the plans although he requested a study of the cost in money and lives. But so complex was the study that it was never finished.
With the intensification of enemy pressure from all sides, strengthening of the homeland defenses had commanded Japanese attention, especially after the fall of Saipan. Yet the setup, according to a Japanese evaluation, was “deplorable;” greater progress was being made overseas. Much strength had had to be diverted to defend the Philippines. In Japan itself, things were not proceeding smoothly. Labor was lacking, and there were difficulties with mobilization and billeting, production, weapons, and food, regulations and procedures, jurisdiction and duties, etc. Countrywide war weariness was deepening.
The Allied operations envisioned would have ultimately involved 5,000,000 men and the largest concentrations of planes and ships yet used in a single operation. The bulk of the force would be American although the British Commonwealth would contribute three divisions of troops (one each from Britain, Canada, and Australia), the British Pacific Fleet, and a small number of air squadrons. The limited British contribution was largely a practical matter resulting from the logistical difficulties in supplying them with unique items. In part it also grew out of past difficulties in combined planning. Similar reasons led to a rejection of the contingents offered by France and the Netherlands.
The first phase of the invasion of the Japanese home islands was to be Operation OLYMPIC. This 400-mile jump from Okinawa to southern Honshu was scheduled for 1 November. It had three objectives: the isolation of the southern Japanese island, destruction of the Japanese forces there, and most important the seizure of site the airfields and bases needed to support the invasion of Honshu. The second phase, Operation CORONET, was to be a massive invasion of Honshu in March of 1946.
Overall responsibility for the invasion rested on General of the Army MacArthur who had named Commander-in-Chief?, US Army Forces Pacific, in April as a preliminary. Fleet Admiral C. W. Nimitz had charge of the naval aspects of the campaign while retaining his two hats as Commander-in-Chief?, Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean Areas.
MacArthur picked Gen. Krueger’s veteran Sixth Army to stage the initial assault. That army, resting after the Luzon campaign, had formed the backbone of the advance northward from New Guinea. The nearly half a million troops would stream ashore from Admiral R. A. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet. It was the first time that MacArthur’s soldiers would land from the ships of that famous fleet which had executed nearly all the landings in the long westward advance across the Central Pacific. For the first time both Fifth and Third Fleets would operate simultaneously with Adm. W. F. Halsey’s carrier groups supplying strategic cover and support.
In broad outlines the OLYMPIC Plan offered little new except for its size and complexity. It provided for a four corps landing on the east and west sides of the southern tip of Kyushu; the consolidation of the beachheads; and a drive northward to the Sendai-Tsuno? line. There the OLYMPIC phase would end and succeeding operations be governed by later events. American strategy not necessarily look forward to the conquest of the entire island since the main objective of OLYMPIC was the acquisition of real estate-the ground on which to build the airfields and supply bases from which to support CORONET. Thus the most important objective would be the securing of Kagoshima Wan. That great landlocked bay had been picked by the planners as the port through which the men and supplies would flow for the post-invasion buildup. It would also serve as the Navy’s advance base for CORONET.
The greatest danger to the assault was assumed to come from the air. The Americans expected opposition from 5,000 kamikazes, a realistic estimate in keeping with Japanese plans (KETSU-GO Operation). These called for 5,000 planes to be expended in attacks on the invasion force, whose appearance was expected sometime after September. The Japanese estimated that the assault force would be carried in 1,000 transports and that if half were sunk in the first ten days the landings could be smashed. Using the 1:6 ratio derived from their Okinawa experience, Japanese planners estimated this would require 3,000 planes. They assigned an additional 350 kamikazes to attacks on the carrier forces. The remaining 1,650 included those under repair and lost before the attack. As late as 15 July, however, only 70% of the required planes were in hand so it seems reasonable to assume that aerial opposition would have been less than expected.
Of great concern to the American planners were the 60 airfields on Kyushu and the five additional ones under construction. This would give great opportunities for dispersal and increased the difficulties of eliminating the suicide planes on the ground. Dispersal obviously complicated the air defense problems of the beachhead and the attack force, a job already made difficult by the close proximity of the main Japanese air bases. This was one of the reasons that the assault plan contained provisions for the seizure of offshore islands for radar and fighter control stations prior to the main landings.
Covering the Japanese home islands were four ground armies of eight ground divisions (one in Kyushu and five in the Kanto area), plus three brigades, four AAA divisions (with 1200 guns), and 14 cadre divisions. Nominally there were two air armies but the one centering on the Kanto district had an operational strength of only 50 planes, and the other (on Honshu) was only a training force. The three air defense divisions comprised less than 900 fighters. Coastal defenses were behind schedule, and secondary sectors were still in the planning stage. Weapons were poor, quality was deteriorating, ammunition was short, and training levels were low.
From the outset of 1945 the Japanese High command struggled to improve the defensive posture in the homeland where 2 1/2 million men were supposed to confront an invasion. It was hoped to transfer many troops and munitions home from the Asian continent by autumn, but this task grew more difficult with the acceleration of American assaults, and the consequent decrease in Japanese strength. In January 1945 the first joint Army-Navy? operational plan was devised, stressing decisive combat in the homeland but the gaining of time through delaying operations on the periphery, especially Okinawa. Surprise and “special attacks” (a euphemism for suicide assaults) were to be the main points of Japanese strategy. The front line of the heartland perimeter would be southern Kuriles-Bonin-Ryukyus-Taiwan-Shanghai?. Operational preparations against American landings would be accomplished in the regions of the Kanto, Kyushu, Eastern Sea (Tokai), and South Korea. Particular emphasis would be ascribed to air defense of these districts and the Osaka-Kobe? (Hanshin) section. Every effort would be made to destroy the attackers while they were still in the water, in the main battle theater of the Pacific and the East China Sea.
Immense manpower levies were to be raised, on the basis of the new operational plans, within a few months: 56 divisions, 38 brigades, etc.-involving between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 new men. Army headquarters were abolished and replaced by operational area army headquarters, and army district headquarters (mainly handling military administration). Munitions soon proved to be a serious problem. Stocks of light machine guns to outfit the new units amounted to only 23%; of small arms, only 50%. Materiel would have to he brought in from the Kwantung Army in Manchuria, or from the Navy, or else produced in 1945; but priority had to be given the production of 9,000 special-attack boats and 16,000 planes.
The intelligence experts correctly predicted a strong defense. They estimated 450,000 men on Kyushu with 220,000 of those (including five field divisions) south of the line Minamata-Nabeoka?. An additional three or four divisions were believed available in the northern part of Kyushu as reinforcements while a small additional force could be committed from Honshu. Intelligence estimates, however, predicted that few troops would be committed from Honshu in order to conserve them for the defense of the main island.
By March 1945 the General Staff had completed an outline for the defense operations (coded as KETSU-GO). All homeland area armies were directed to send their chiefs of staff and key officers to examine the draft informally in Tokyo. Exploiting the terrain of the home islands, and exhorting the fighting spirit and cooperation of the 100 million Imperial subjects, all Navy and Air Force remnants were to tackle the special-attack mission of destroying enemy forces while still at sea. But since Japanese naval power was almost destroyed, and the air units were so weak, homeland ground formations (deployed in depth and massed in decisive battle sectors) would take the offensive against enemy troops who managed to land, and would “recoup in one stroke the declining fate of the Nation.”
Emergency defense preparations must be accomplished between April and July 1945 (completed by early June in the case of Kyushu and Shikoku). Reinforcement would be effected in the second stage, August-September?; and the plan would be completed thereafter. Provision would be made to rush reinforcements to main landing theaters, whether Kyushu or Kanto. In anticipation of enemy disruption of the transportation system, the troops were essentially to move on foot, which meant that planning factors had to be protracted, although enemy landing operations could be expected to be carried out swiftly. For example, it might take 65 days to move Japanese divisions from Kyushu to the Matsumoto-Nagano? sector, and another 10 days to deploy them.
Formation of new ground divisions proceeded apace, under the goad of imminent invasion, while elite divisions and the last armor in the Kwantung Army were recalled from Manchuria.
The fixed defenses on Kyushu were expected to be formidable. Not only were the landing areas themselves well defended but the island’s terrain was mountainous and deeply scarred by numerous narrow and steep stream beds. Thus it was the type of terrain which particularly lent itself to the defensive tactics at which the Japanese had proven themselves so adept.
In April, IGHQ directed changes in its homeland command system, although the Army was never able to achieve unified command of all ground operations, even during operational preparations, because of Navy opposition. A 1st General Army was formed at Tokyo, under Field Marshal Sugiyama, covering eastern Japan, and including three area armies (exclusive of Hokkaido, under direct IGHQ control). A 2nd General Army was established at Hiroshima, under another field marshal, Shunroku Hata, to cover western Japan and Shikoku, utilizing two area armies. Lastly an Air General Army was set up in Tokyo, under General Masakazu Kawabe, to command three air armies. The United States forces, the main enemy, were to be defeated in decisive battles in strategic zones of the homeland, especially in Kyushu and Kanto. Hundreds of air squadrons were in process of being fitted out, mainly fighters. In addition the suicide air units were being rushed into shape. By the end of June, some 2,000 suicide aircraft had been produced.
The Navy estimated that it would have to face as many as 50 large submarines but no major surface units. The American intelligence experts recognized that the southern Kyushu coastline lent itself to the use of suicide craft and their studies of photographs and other information led them to conclude that the coastline would be dotted with midget submarine and suicide boat lairs.
After the defense of Okinawa collapsed in the spring of 1945, the Japanese began to fear that the “jubilant” Americans might assault Kyushu directly, before the lagging defense preparations had made much progress. Even at vital Ariake Bay, only 50% of the projected construction was ready, and the percentage was far lower elsewhere. Along the coasts of Kyushu, a mere 4 1/2 ground divisions were in place by now-poorly trained, ill equipped. Headquarters were not ready, troops were still en route, ammunition was being assembled. The situation was much the same in Shikoku island, and little better on the Kanto front, where 7 1/2 divisions were on the coast, working on defenses.
Judging that there was now little likelihood of an immediate attack from the Aleutian area against northeast Japan, IGHQ decided to withdraw strength from the Hokkaido region and transfer it to Honshu and Kyushu. In late May, operational preparations in the Kanto area were temporarily suspended, and all available rail transportation was diverted to the buildup southern Kyushu. Units made up of untrained or old reservists were deployed prior to being fully equipped. Even bayonets were in short supply, a and mortars had to be substituted for artillery. The rationale was that harmony among individuals was more important than weapons themselves. But a hard-headed Japanese military critic commented that if the Americans had attacked southern Kyushu in June or July 1945, the country would have found itself in a critical situation.
Japanese Intelligence was reporting no evidence of an early American invasion of the homeland, and the Army began to expect no landing attempts against the main islands before October 1945-which was an immense source of reassurance. The dogged resistance at Okinawa was thought to have purchased time for the homes defense buildup, and the outlook in Kyushu brightened a bit.
In the spring of 1945, IGHQ was of the opinion that after the end of the Okinawa battle, American forces would attempt landings at key places along the Chinese coast, in the Korea Strait, and on islands near the Japanese homeland. These springboard operations might occur sometime in the summer. Subsequent landings in the Kanto area (or, alternatively, first in Kyushu and then in the Kanto) would most probably take place after autumn.
The land forces available for a November assault were almost exclusively those already in the Pacific. Substantial reinforcements were en route from Europe but they would not arrive in time for the Kyushu landings. Their assignment would be to form the major portion of the forces destined for the Honshu landings in the spring of 1946. The same, of course, was not true of naval vessels since many European veterans already had been bloodied at Okinawa.
Some 2,902 ships and craft, not counting those temporarily assigned to the service squadrons, would make up Adm. Spruance’s Fifth Fleet. Organizationally, it consisted of five major forces:
TF-40 Amphibious Force (Adm. R. K. Turner) consisting of
TF-43, Third Amphibious Force (Adm. T. S. Wilkinson);
TF-45, Fifth Amphibious Force (Vadm.. H. W. Hill); and
TF-47, Seventh Amphibious Force (Vadm.. D. E. Barbey);
TF-54 Gunfire and Covering Force (assigned to Vadm.. J. B. Oldendorf in
the plans but he was hospitalized as a result of injuries
received in the 12 August torpedoing of USS Pennsylvania);
TF-55 Escort Carrier Force (Radm.. Calvin T. Durgin) for close air
TF-56 Mine Force (Radm.. Alexander Sharp);
TF-58 Fast Carrier Force (Vadm.. F. C. Sherman), two groups containing
seven fleet and three light carriers.
The notable feature was Adm. Turner’s direction of all three Pacific Amphibious Forces. Never before had the three participated in a single assault.
Adm. Halsey’s Third Fleet consisted of Vadm… J. H. Towers’ Second Carrier Task Fleet (TF-38) and Vadm… H. Bernard Rawling’s British Carrier Task Force (TF-37) and the usual collection of supporting vessels. In aggregate, Third Fleet could muster 17 fleet and light carriers, 8 battleships, 20 cruisers, and 75 destroyers. Some conception of the fleet’s power can be formed from its record of 10,000 sorties in the month before Japan’s surrender.
Third Fleet as the force assigned the task of softening up the objective area and isolating the battlefield would strike first. Between X-75 (28 July) and X-8 (23 October) the British and American fliers and gunners would attack widely scattered targets in the Japanese home islands in order to inflict the maximum damage on the Japanese air forces, disrupt communications between Honshu and Kyushu, and eliminate as much as possible of the remaining Japanese navy and merchant marine. Part of this effort would be diversionary British strikes on Hong Kong and Canton on X-45 (18 September) and X-35 (28 September).
Between X-14 (18 October) and X-8 Third Fleet would concentrate on aircraft, air installations, and shipping in and around Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu in order to isolate the assault area and divert Japanese attention. On X-8 two of Halsey’s carrier groups would join Spruance’s fliers in softening up the landing area while the rest of Halsey’s force continued pounding more distant targets.
In general, Halsey’s forces were restricted to operations east of a line drawn from Kinosaki on the north coast of Honshu, along the railroad through Wadayama to Himeji, and thence to the eastern tip of Shikoku. Targets to the west of that line and diversionary strikes along the Chinese coast were the responsibility of Gen. G. C. Kenney’s Far Eastern Air Forces (Fifth, Seventh, and Thirteenth Air Forces, and 2nd MAW). In their attacks after X-10 (22 October) Kenney’s men would pay particular attention to cutting, communications between the assault area and northern Kyushu. The key points in this effort would be the destruction of bridges near Mimitsu, Hitoyoshi, and Yutsushiro. At the same time the plans directed Kenney’s aviators to cut the road and rail lines leading to the potential staging areas for reinforcements and counter-landing forces-Sasebo, Nagasaki, Omuta, Kumamoto, Oita, and Nobeoka. Following the landings Kenney’s forces would move to Kyushu as fields were built or seized and once enough planes had arrived to support operations ashore, the Air Forces would assume responsibility for air support from the Navy.
Loosely tied to Operation OLYMPIC were the B-29s and B-32s of Gen. C. A. Spaatz’s Strategic Air Forces. Air Force doctrine limited their use to “strategic” targets such as specified installations in Kyushu, the mining of Shimonoseki Strait, and after X-30 (2 October) the isolation of the Ningpo-Chusan? area in China to prevent reinforcements reaching Kyushu from the mainland. An emergency provision provided for direct support by Lt. Gen. N. F. Twining’s Twentieth Air Force from the Marianas-if directed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Task Force 41, Adm. Turner’s Advance Force, would arrive off the objective on X-8 in company with TF-58, Adm. Sherman’s Fleet carriers. While the carrier planes maintained command of the air in the objective area, those from Adm. Durgin’s 16 “Jeep” carriers would begin softening up the beaches, attacking defenses, and preventing reinforcements from reaching the area. At the same time the fire support groups would begin their bombardments and cover Adm. Sharp’s sweepers as they plodded back and forth, sweeping and check-sweeping. On X-4 (27 October) the UDTs would begin clearing the seaward defenses. Thus the plans called for little change from the pre-invasion pattern worked out so painstakingly and successfully during the preceding three years.
Off Ariake Wan 6 old battleships, 6 cruisers, 13 destroyers, and 34 support craft under Radm.. R. L. Conolly drew the mission of eliminating the batteries on Toi Misaki, Hi Saki, and along the shore of the bay. Conolly would also eliminate the suicide boat and submarine pens at O Shima, Odatsu, and Biro Jima, as well as the seaplane bases near Sakida and Odatsu. Once these preliminary targets were removed the force could concentrate on the defenses along the beaches at head of the bay over which Lt. Gen. C. P. Hall’s XI Corps would land.
Further north Radm… I. N. Kiland’s 3 old battleships, 8 cruisers, 11 destroyers and 35 support craft would eliminate the batteries near Tozaki Hana, the suicide boat lairs south of it, and the seaplane bases at Hososhima and Miyazaki. A second assignment called for shelling of the rail junctions at Tsuma Jogasaki, and Tsuno to prevent southward movement of reinforcements. Having accomplished its initial mission, Adm. Kiland’s force could then concentrate on clearing the beaches near Matsuzaki across which the Seventh ‘Phib would land Maj. Gen. I. P. Swift’s I Corps.
Probably the most difficult softening up job fen to Radm… Jerauld Wright. With only 4 old battleships, 10 cruisers, and 14 destroyers and 74 support craft he had the dual responsibility of smashing the defenses both in the Koshiki Retto and along the beaches between Kushikino and Kaminokawa. Specifically mentioned in Adm. Wright’s orders were batteries at Noma Misaki and Hashima Saki, the Kushikino airfield, and the Akune seaplane base. Wright’s vessels were also to interdict the Akune-Kushikino? road and railroad as well as softening up the beaches for Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt’s V Amphibious Corps. Wright’s force also was responsible for covering and supporting the invasion of the outer islands by Radm… G. B. Davis’s Western Attack Force TF-42).
Plans drafted in April 1945 called for main fronts in the Pacific and the East China Sea, with emphasis on operations, as always, in the Kanto and Kyushu regions. Strategic locations on the Japan Sea coast must be defended to the maximum, and American maneuvers in those waters blocked. US air assaults must be countered, and the capital and key points protected-especially centers of production, operational preparation, and communications. Again it was stated that invasion attempts should be thwarted on the high seas if possible. Main targets should be transport convoys. Exploiting the special features of the terrain, the Japanese ground forces must heroically attack enemy forces that did land, although Japanese air support might not be available. Even if enemy elements penetrated inland, resistance must be continued and domestic security maintained.
In June, IGHQ established a Tokyo Defense, Army, with the mission of defending the district centering around the Imperial Palace. Against 3
direst possibility, the Army tentatively decided upon a site for a provisional Imperial Palace to be located in the suburbs of Nagano city, in the direction of the Sea of Japan. A large-scale Imperial General Headquarters was in the process of secret construction in caves at Matsushiro, in Nagano prefecture, from 1944. The Government itself, however, decided that Tokyo had to be defended to the last. An immense position construction program was studied, largely as a political gesture.
Since the capitulation of Germany and the deterioration of Japan’s overall position, acquisition of intelligence concerning Allied intentions grew increasingly difficult for the Japanese. Yet by July 1945 it became imperative to draft a new estimate of the situation. Using whatever information was available to them, the Japanese revised their earlier judgments. Operational evidence was helpful: Enemy attack and reconnaissance planes were most active over Kyushu, while the Bonins bases appeared quiet. It was now thought that the Americans would not invade Kyushu and Shikoku until after late September when the typhoon season was over. US bases of operation would meanwhile have been expanded or set up in the Ryukyus, Amami Oshima, and other nearby islands. Once major air and naval installations had been established in Kyushu and Shikoku, etc., the Americans could be expected to land in the Kanto region and seek a showdown in the spring of 1946, after redeploying the necessary forces from the European theater. Diversion or feints could be anticipated in the regions of Hokkaido and the Tohoku.
Although the preceding judgment represented a significant modification of the April estimate (it now being the view that the Kyushu invasion would precede the Kanto landings, and that the latter would not materialize until the next year), there was by no means unanimity concerning details and alternatives. Some felt that Japan’s disintegrating posture might encourage the enemy to press straight to the Izu islands and land in the Kanto area by the late autumn of 1945, in one fell swoop. Or, if the Americans judged that defenses were too far advanced in the Kyushu and Kanto areas, they might even try to split the homeland by pushing from Ise Bay against the Nagoya and Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe? sectors. Elements might possibly dare to penetrate the Korea Strait and land on the Japan Sea coast of Honshu.
A number of Japanese planners were of the opinion that the Americans might first strive to isolate the home islands from the Asian continent, setting up springboards in central and north China, as well as South Korea, before striking into the Japanese homeland. Not unreasonably, it was believed that the Americans might tighten their aerial and naval noose around Japan, intensifying and protracting the surface and underwater blockade and the incendiary bombing campaign. At that point, reeling Japan might be given a surrender ultimatum which, upon rejection, would be followed by simultaneous landing operations various key points.
A total of 60 American divisions, richly endowed in artillery and armor, were expected to be committed to the landing operations against Kyushu and the Kanto district, with all-out strategic and tactical support by the US Navy and Air Force. Airborne units would probably be employed, especially against Kyushu from Okinawa.
Since May and June 1945, IGHQ and the General Army Headquarters had come around to the point of view that the way to win was not to fall back from the coast after the invaders had got past the suicide planes and ships and the coastal batteries. Instead, the enemy must be engaged in decisive battle on the beaches and in the all-important coastal zones. The foe must not be given the time to consolidate the beachheads; he must be attacked unrelentingly, lest he dig in.
The occupation of Kerama Retto during the Okinawa campaign had proven the tremendous advantages to be gained from securing a nearby offshore base before the start of a major landing. Koshiki Retto off the southwestern tip of Kyushu offered a similar opportunity and the OLYMPIC Plan called for its seizure by Bgen. D. J. Myers’s 40th Infantry Division beginning on X-5 (27 October).
Western Attack Force also drew the assignment of landing elements of Myers’s division on the outer islands of Uji Gunto, Kusakaki Shima, Kuro Shima, and Kuchinoerabu Shima, also starting on X-5. The seizure of these islands would clear the sea lanes to the Kushikino beaches. Even more important, they provided sites for the early warning radar and fighter director stations necessary to protect the assault forces and beachhead from the heavy kamikaze attacks. On X-4 Davis’s vessels would land the bulk of the division of Kami Koshiki, Tama Shima, and Shimo Koshiki. This would permit the doughboys to clear the defenders from Nakakoshiki Wan and Nakagawara Ura and allow their use as an emergency anchorage and seaplane base.
The plans contained one contingent operation. It provided for the landing of Bgen. MacNider’s 158th Regimental Combat Team on Tanega Shima on X-5 or later if necessary to eliminate Japanese interference with the sweepers clearing Osumi Kaikyo. If the RCT was not needed there, Radm… R. P. Briscoe’s Southern Attack Force (TF-44) would put the force ashore on Kyushu as reinforcements after X + 3.
Most of the troops assigned to OLYMPIC were in the Philippines although the Marines were to mount out of their bases in the Marianas and Hawaii. All three Amphibious Forces were to stage rehearsals, the Third and Seventh in the Philippines and the Fifth in the Marianas.
The wide dispersal of the landing areas caused one change in amphibious doctrine. The plans did not call for a simultaneous assault by all major forces. Each attack force commander was to set his own landing time independent of the others. How great the difference in landing hours would have been we do not know as they had not yet been set when planning ceased.
In the light of what is now known about the details of the American landing plans, it is of interest to note the sites which the Japanese themselves had thought would be invaded. It was clear that the Americans would want major air and naval bases in southern Kyushu, especially in view of a subsequent operation against the Kanto region. Southern Kyushu was particularly vulnerable to an attack from Okinawa, and the installations were excellent: air bases at Kanoya, Chiran, Miyakonojo, Nyutabaru; airfields at Miyazaki, Kokubu, Kogoshima, Izumi; naval bases in the bays of Kagoshima and Ariake. At first there was some thought that northern Kyushu might be attacked, after Cheju-do and the Goto islands had been seized by the Americans; but later it was felt that southern Kyushu would probably receive main attention.
As for debarkation points, there were three likely coastal sites: Miyazaki prefecture, Ariake Bay, and Satsuma peninsula. Until May 1945, the major enemy effort was expected in the region of the Miyazaki Plain, but later priority was accorded Ariake Bay. Airborne raiders could be anticipated at the airbases at Kanoya and Miyakonojo. Enemy fighter and naval springboards might be set up at Tanegashim beforehand; less likely at Koshiki.
In conjunction with an invasion of southern Kyushu, some American diversionary units would probably be landed on Shikoku island-on the
Tosa Plain in particular, and at Sukumo Bay in the southwest.
If the enemy forces did attack northern Kyushu, they could be expected to commit even more powerful strength than was hurled against south Kyushu. The main body would land on the Fukuma coast east of Hakata, elements in Hakata Bay and in the Shimonoseki-Moji? sector. Beforehand, Cheju-do and the Goto islands might be taken, and Tsushima-Iki? neutralized.
Japanese military circles were not unanimous as to the focus of the envisaged landings in the Kanto area. Kujukurihama and Sagami Bay would undoubtedly be assailed simultaneously, with the main American effort directed against the former-farther from Tokyo but easier to get ashore. Landings were also probable at Kashimanada. Some enemy forces might attack the peninsulas fronting on Tokyo Bay-Miura? and Boso. American fighter bases would probably first have been moved up to Oshima, Omaezaki, and/or Tateyama.
Apart from problems of concentration and special-attack effectiveness, Japanese planners considered that time was working against them. Admittedly, training and construction measures could be advanced if the enemy delayed an invasion attempt till the spring of 1946, but in the meantime the air raids were bound to cause growing devastation and shortages of food and fuel. This in turn would tend to sap public morale and to affect combat operations indirectly. Evacuation of the populace from coastal battle zones posed another major problem. Many of the evacuees would be workers taken from industry, and their pull-out ought to be put off as long as possible. Transportation, housing, protection, sanitation, and food difficulties were almost insuperable for the masses of noncombatants who would have to be moved. There was even fear that the Americans might try to worsen the food problem by razing rice fields with incendiaries on a massive scale just before harvest time.
The Japanese clung to the consistent expectation that the “special attacks” by planes and ships would cripple any invasion force. Suicide operations, in fact, were viewed as the key to success in the defense of the homeland, as the Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff told an Imperial Conference in June 1945. High-spirited regular troops, supported by the fanatically patriotic citizenry in death-defying combat, would inflict fantastic losses on those invaders who managed to get ashore. The homeland was not far-off New Guinea or Guadalcanal. The odds against the defenders were far from impossible. This time, for example, shipping across immense distances would be the problem of the Americans, not the Japanese. Defending planes could operate from improvised airstrips and underground installations. The main strength of the Japanese Army remained intact. All material and psychological resources could be combined to defend hearth and home, to annihilate the invaders on soil that was known and loved. The motto would truly be, “Victory or Death!”-and the spirit would be that of the special attack corps.
A former Japanese military attaché who once served in the United States exhorted Army personnel to risk their lives and to kill several enemy soldiers with one, thus breaking the foe’s will fight. “American troops,” he claimed, “tend to launch bold and reckless headlong rushes when the military situation develops somewhat badly for them. That is the very best time to deal them a violent blow, by means of surprise attack.”
The Chief of the Naval General Staff told the Imperial Conference in June 1945 that he believed it possible to destroy nearly half of the enemy forces before they ever landed on the Japanese beaches. This represented a significant step-up from the Admiral’s very recent view that 60-70% of the enemy invaders would probably get ashore. Referring to “countermeasures,” the NGS estimate of the same month asserted that although utmost efforts must be made to destroy enemy invasion forces at sea, in case landings did take place in the homeland earlier than expected (that is, in summer) only half of the troops would be able to get ashore, after the suicide assaults mounted by the combined services. In the event of a delay in the invasion timing, things would prove even more favorable for the Japanese: The possibility of annihilating the enemy forces on the high sea would be enhanced.
To evaluate the high-level assurances, map maneuvers were conducted at Fukuoka by the General Air Army and the Combined Fleet, in July 1945. The assumption was that 16 American divisions would invade southern Kyushu in October 1945-6 divisions on the Satsuma peninsula at X minus 7; ten divisions on the coast of Miyazaki at X Day. The Japanese staff officer concluded that suicide air attackers would be able to sink some 500 enemy transports, and that surface attackers would get another 125. Consequently 34% of the enemy troop strength (the equivalent
of over 5 divisions) would be smashed at sea.
Depending upon various factors, many of the Japanese officers thought it not at all unreasonable to expect to be able to destroy 30-50% of the invasion forces; in fact, these calculations were judged to be conservative. Certain Army leaders, however, considered that a 15-20% destruction rate might be closer to reality. The premise of “one suicide plane (or boat), one enemy transport” struck some as unsound. Air Staff Officer Inogachi, for example, judged that in the Philippines only one of every six kamikaze planes their target; at Okinawa, approximately one in nine. In view of the inexperience of the pilots and the lack of defense against American fighters, the kamikaze planes committed to defense of the homeland might hit only 1/9 or 1/10 of their prey, even though they struck in bright moonlight or at dusk, against massed targets.
By August 1945, the Japanese armed forces had 2,350,000 officers and men under arms in the homeland, organized into 53 infantry divisions (apart from 5 divisions in Hokkaido and the Northeast Islands) and 25 brigades. Additionally there were two tank divisions and seven brigades, plus four AAA divisions. The 55 divisions were deployed as follows: Honshu-35 infantry, 2 tank; Shikoku-4 infantry, Kyushu-14 infantry. Behind the combat troops were 2,250,000 Army workers, 1,300,000 Navy workers, 250,000 Special Garrison Force personnel, and a National Volunteer Force of militia officially put at 28 million.
At 0600 on X-day Adm. Turner’s TF-41 or Advance Force would cease to exist and its component parts would be absorbed into TF-40, the Amphibious Force also commanded by Kelly Turner. It would then fall to Turner’s three able subordinates to get the troops established ashore. All corps would make the assault in the normal, by now nearly traditional, “two up-one back” formation used in early all landings in the Pacific. Each division in turn would follow a similar arrangement, but while the reserve regiments would be afloat off the beaches on X-day the reserve divisions would not arrive until X-2.
Adm. Wilkinson’s Third Amphibious Force was charged with landing Gen. Hall’s XI Corps (1st Cavalry, 43rd Infantry, and AMERICAL Divisions). After securing the Shibushi-Kashiwabaru? beaches at the head of Ariake Wan the veteran troops would push in to seize Shibushi and its airfield. Then, after consolidating, the Corps would push inland towards the Aoki-Iwakawa-Takakuma-Kanoya? line while making contact with I Corps to the north. After reaching this Phase II line, XI Corps would attack northward in conjunction with the other portions of Sixth Army to secure its part of the Sendai-Tsuno? line.
Adm. Barbey’s Seventh Attack Force drew the northern-most landings, that of Gen. Swift’s I Corps (25th, 33rd, and 41st Infantry Divisions). The Corps’s initial objectives were the beaches in the vicinity of Yamazaki and Matsusaki. Swift’s nlen would follow up the seizure by pushing on to secure Matsusaki and its airfield as well as a beachhead on the south bank of the Hitosusagawa including Fukushima. I Corps was to block any Japanese southward movement along the east coast while at the same time striking inland to the Sadohara-Honjo-Takaoka-Aoidake? line and southward to link up with XI Corps. Once this was accomplished Gen. Swift’s troops were ready to join in the general northward advance.
The lone west coast landing would be by the battle proven Marines of Gen. Schmidt’s V Amphibious Corps (2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions). They would pour ashore from Adm. Hill’s Fifth Attack Force to seize the Kaminokawa-Kushikino? beaches. From there they would fan out to seize a beachhead including Sendai. Following consolidation the Marines would push on to the Kagoshima-Kawakamicho-Ichino-Sendai? line while blocking any Japanese drive down the west coast. Following this the Marines would join in the general northward drive.
With the failure of the last Japanese peripheral counterattack operations, the Army and the Navy agreed (in July) upon decisive air operations in defense of the homeland-the KETSU-GO Air Operation. This time it was intended to smash the American transports and troops just before they began the landings. Convoys were to be shattered by special attack planes, day and night, at about the time the ships were anchoring at beachheads. The old Navy preference for singling out enemy aircraft carriers and task forces was diverted to the Army choice: Both the Army and Navy would combine all air strength mainly against the convoys. Ground support missions would become secondary; the emphasis was upon hit-and-run tactics. Highest priority was to be assigned Kyushu, Shikoku, and South Korea. Cooperating with these final counterattack operations in defense of the homeland would be approximately 700 Army and 5,200 Navy suicide attack boats, in addition to the 19 surviving destroyers and 38 submarines.
In mid-July the Army worked out air defense plans in conjunction with the Navy. One thousand regular planes and 1,600 suicide planes would be hurled into the defense of Kyushu, Shikoku, and/or the Kanto area. From Korea, Manchuria, and even North China, 200 regular and 500 suicide planes would be rushed in emergency. Another 500 to 1,000 suicide craft were expected to be fitted out in the homeland by August 1945. Cooperating with the Air General Army were to be 5,225 Navy planes-over 1,000 fighters, over 4,000 anti-convoy and anti-task force bombers, the rest reconnaissance aircraft. A further 600 Japanese planes from Taiwan were also slated to strike at American bases in the Ryukyus, when the Kyushu battle began. The Air General Army would direct operations covering Kyushu, from headquarters near Osaka; the Navy, from the Nara area. In all, then, against the expected invaders, there would be over 10,000 last-stand planes (75% of them special attack aircraft hastily converted from trainers). Two-thirds of the force would be committed to defend Kyushu at the outset, one-third to cover the Kanto district.
After the late shift in emphasis upon operational preparations in Kyushu, some portion of the planning to guard the Kanto region had to be sacrificed. In all probability, operational preparations in the Kanto could not be finished before the end of 1945. And if the enemy attacked the Kanto area right after Kyushu, the Japanese would find most of their remaining aerial and naval forces tied up in Kyushu. By the same token, if the enemy attacked the Kanto before Kyushu, defense of the Tokyo plain would prove to be extremely difficult.
In any event, the last test of the glorious Imperial Army forces was imminent, and they must stake all on offensive action for victory. There was even a growing feeling that Japan’s entire fate must be decided in the battle on Kyushu-and Kyushu alone, where 10 million fanatical subjects buttressed the fighting troops. Fuel and food shortages were growing so severe that the Japanese nation might not be able to wage crucial struggle past the spring of 1946. In other words, Japan might not be able to fight two decisive battles.
What did the Japanese Army leaders foresee from the fierce campaign to defend Kyushu? Former Col. Takushira Hattori, in his published study called Dai Toa Zenshi, asserted that IGHQ deemed it imperative to inflict a staggering defeat at least upon the first wave of enemy invaders, thus compelling America to comprehend the mighty fighting spirit of the Japanese forces and population, as well as the difficulty of invading the Japanese home islands. IGHQ, continued Hattori, was of the opinion that Japanese success in the Kyushu fighting could delay if not prevent an American invasion of the Kanto region, or allow Japan to negotiate peace on relatively advantageous terms of compromise. Hence victory in Kyushu must be sought at any cost; it was the last chance to obtain an honorable peace, with conditions. This meant that the Kyushu campaign would be decisive for Japan in far more than the military sense.
As late as surrender time-even after the A-bombs had been dropped-a staff lieutenant colonel, related to the War Minister himself, was fervently convinced that even if the whole Japanese race were all but wiped out, its determination to preserve the National Polity would be forever recorded in the annals of man; whereas a people who sacrificed their will upon the altar of physical existence could never deserve resurrection. It would be useless for the people to survive the war, anyhow, if the structure of the State itself were destroyed. It was better to die than to seek ignominious “safety.” But the entire people would not, in fact, be annihilated by fighting to the finish. Despite the continuous Japanese victories in China, relatively few Chinese died. Almost every key point in China had been occupied by the Japanese, but the Chinese Nationalist government could not be crushed. Now, even if a crucial campaign was fought in the main Japanese islands and the Japanese troops were driven into the mountainous regions, relatively few Japanese would be killed. Was the Japanese national will inferior to that of the Chinese? Dignity and practicality demanded Japanese resistance to the end; certain victory might yet be snatched from certain defeat. In this same vein, a last-minute War Ministry statement called upon the Army to fight through the “holy war” to defend the national Polity, even though there was nothing to eat except grass and dirt, and no place to sleep but the open fields. Eternal life was to be sought in death.
The preceding remarks typify the outward views of the fire-eaters. Was there an inner view? Former Col. Saburo Hayashi has given us a rare glimpse in his book Kogun: “Although it was said that there were prospects of success in the decisive battle for the homeland, this did not imply confidence of defeating the American forces’ second and third landings when made continuously. All of the Army High Command felt secretly (when they considered the course of the decisive battle in the homeland coolly and concretely) that it was impossible to defeat the American troop landings, because of lack of weapons, ammunition, and food, in case second and third landings were made one after another. This held true even if initial American landing could be frustrated.”
The best-informed Japanese civilians sensed as much. Domei correspondent Masuo Kato, for example, was already convinced that no successful Japanese resistance was any longer possible, that perhaps the country was continuing to fight only from habit and because it did not know how to stop. Kato judged that by the summer of 1945 Japan’s war had been irrevocably lost, and that the leaders-“floundering in dissension and indecision”-knew it all too well, although the public could not. Terrorized and ignorant, the people might “feel in their skin” that all was not well, but they were obliged to cling desperately to a world of myths, till the end.
These subjective conjectures are supported by classified surveys conducted by the Supreme War Direction Council since the spring of 1945, when the American air offensive was reaching a crescendo. The military and civilian analysts reported evidence of declining Japanese civil morale, marketing and corruption, growing distrust of the leadership, and criticism of the military and government. Although inherently patriotic, the public revealed egotism, lack of spirit, despair and resignation, restlessness, peace-mongering, and even revolutionary tendencies. The president of the Privy Council admitted at an Imperial Conference that public morale had obviously been lowered, that public willingness to glorify the best traditions of the ancestors might suffer “under certain circumstances.”
The state of the economy and of the armed forces was deteriorating. Navy units lacked fuel to support more than two sorties by the few remaining destroyers, even in homeland waters; and the last two Japanese battleships had had to be moored in Kure, with skeleton crews. A government estimate judged that because of the critical fuel shortage, ships and small craft could be used only in the harbor AA defense role.
In the Japanese Army and Navy air corps, routine flight training was abandoned, and emphasis was assigned to primary training in the piloting (essentially the takeoff and steering) of suicide planes. Many such pilots were given only 20 to 90 hours of training. Aviation fuel reserves were dwindling to the point where a final sortie by all available planes could not even have been mounted. Army pilots said that oil had become more precious than blood. Wood turpentine and charcoal were used as fuel, and imaginative government chemists worked on many a feckless project designed to create ersatz petrol. One example was the much publicized effort to extract oil from the roots of the pine tree.
By July 1945, production of civilian goods was below the level of subsistence. Munitions output was less than half the wartime peak-a level they could not be expected to support sustained defensive operations against an invasion. The vital railway net was overburdened, defenseless, and deteriorating. Production and raw-material shortages were felt in all sectors of the economy-oil, transport, aircraft, coal, steel. The manufacturers of suicide boats, for example, could provide only 20 to 40% of the total force projected for the end of September 1945. Quality control was also suffering. By the end of 1944, 70% of the output of new planes broke down before ever entering combat. To conserve air strength, the Japanese High Command issued instructions in July 1945 that direct combat with enemy task force sweeps and bombardments was to be avoided. Little Japanese resistance was being put up against American carrier planes, bombers, and warships that were now hammering at the homeland. Serious (but ineffective) thought was given to the dispatch of airborne raiding teams against B-29 bases in the Marianas, or surprise attacks by submarine launched planes. Planes were actually readied at Misawa air base to fly teams out, but the concentration was destroyed by US carrier planes on 14 July 1945.
The Japanese leaders might be publicly calling for a struggle of flesh against iron, of spirit against materiel, in the Japanese tradition (which, after all, despised surrender). And the Diet might be passing a “volunteer military service” law for boys of 15 and men of 60, for girls of 17 and women of 40. But even the highest-ranking government were horrified at the Army’s primitive notions for militia defense. In July 1945, Premier Suzuki and his associates were invited to visit an amazing display of weapons to be issued the Japanese citizenry: Single-shot, muzzle-loading muskets; longbows and arrows (effective range 30-40 meters, hit probability 50%, said the placards); bamboo spears; pitchforks. The ordinarily phlegmatic old prime minister mumbled to his secretary, “This is awful!” The secretary agreed, in fury and despair. There was a limit to deceiving the people, he felt; this was hardly a sane way of fighting in the 20th Century. Something must be done to achieve peace….
In those last months of the war, work was rushed on the still-unsatisfactory coastal defenses. Operational preparations in Kyushu and Shikoku were more advanced than in the Kanto district. Units at the former places were expected to be fully outfitted by around October 1945; those in the Kanto area by next spring. Beach defenses at main coastal sectors in Kyushu, Shikoku, and the Kanto reached 60 to 80C% of the goals by August. The imperativeness of construction overrode considerations of training. Provision supply lagged all over. Steel and concrete were in particularly short supply. Japanese inspectors described much of the fortifications as primitive and toy-like, hand-made and crude.
OLYMPIC was unique in its provision for a delayed landing. Maj. Gen. C. W. Rider’s IX Corps (77th, 81st, and 98th Infantry Divisions) was to land from Adm. B. J. Rodgers’s Reserve Force (TF-43) on X+3 or later. Rider’s orders were flexible in order to meet any contingencies. The 98th Division would land either on the Kaimondaike beaches or on one of the existing beachheads as a reinforcement; 81st Division and Corps troops would go ashore at Kaimondaike; while 77th Division, not scheduled to arrive until X+5, would land where needed. Once established ashore, IX Corps would push on to the Sesekushi-Chiran-Otonai-Shirasmazu? line and clear the southwestern shore of Kagoshima Wan. Like the other corps it was to start construction immediately on airfields and other installations.
Once Kagoshima Wan was cleared, Adm. Rodgers was to take charge as Senior Officer Present, Afloat and begin construction of naval installations there. A Naval Operating Base was to be constructed at Takasu, a section base for local defense craft at Uchinoura Wan, and a PT base at Yamakawa Ko. As soon as they could be safely transferred the Koshiki Retto facilities would be moved to Kagoshima Wan.
Until X+22 (23 November) the 13 divisions of the assault force would have to carry the burden of the fighting. Then Sixth Army reserve, 11th Airborne Division, would arrive. Presumably, however, this would have been a sufficient- 44 ly large force to allow the Sixth Army the requisite superiority to reach its Phase III line, Tsuno-Sendai?. The securing of that line would bring OLYMPIC to a close and as the Sixth Army order for the campaign said it would then undertake “such additional overland and amphibious operations on Kyushu and in the Inland Sea as may be directed subsequently.”
At a climactic last Imperial Conference, War Minister Anami was still talking about going on with the war, of meting out a terrible blow to the enemy and achieving a good opportunity to end the war. Japan must press forward courageously, seeking Life in Death: certain victory was not assured, but neither was utter defeat. The terrain was working in favor of the defenders, and so was the inflexible national unity. But just in case a massive blow against the enemy proved not possible, it seemed appropriate for the name of Nippon to be inscribed forever in history by the annihilation of her 100 million loyal subjects, etc., etc. And tears welled into the eyes of the earnest War Minister.
When the Emperor, by a thrilling act of personal courage, opted for peace-and surrender-he too was weeping. He reminded his stunned auditors that ever since the outbreak of the war there had been frequent cases when Army and Navy actions differed from plans. Now the armed forces were preparing for decisive battle in the homeland and were claiming that the prospects of victory were satisfactory. But this very point troubled His Majesty. The Army Chief of Staff had recently described the defense plans for Kujukurihama, yet this appeared to be at considerable variance with a report rendered by the Imperial Aide after an on-the-spot inspection. Construction of defenses at Kujukurihama was definitely behind schedule, could not be finished before the end of August. It had also been alleged that the outfitting of a certain new infantry division had been completed, but the Emperor had learned the fact that even small arms had not been issued.
He was profoundly troubled, continued the Emperor. What would happen if Japan plunged into decisive battle under such circumstances? The entire race would be obliterated, and this would be a betrayal of the trust of ancestors and the duty toward posterity, lest Japan never again rise. Continuation of the war, then, could only serve to cripple Japan, extinguish civilization, and bring misfortune to mankind.
The Japanese Emperor’s decision to end the war, under enormous external and internal pressure, obviated the American landings and the hemorrhage that was bound to occur soon on the beaches of Miyazaki, Satsuma, and Ariake. Not only would five US ground divisions, etc., be saved from the destruction at sea which the Japanese resolutely promised them, but untold thousands of Japanese would not die either-such as squadrons of kamikaze pilots and sailors with one way tickets to the shrine of heroes at Yasukuni; or the women and children clutching pitiful staves and bamboo spears.
The Japanese themselves have called the ending of the war a form of merciful euthanasia, and thank their gods that the nightmare Operations OLYMPIC and CORONET never had to be invoked. But the US Strategic Bombing Survey, in its famous report, reached the significant conclusion that Japan’s capitulation in 1945 was strict matter of time-and pressure: “Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved,” said USSBS, “it is the Survey’s opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bomb had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.”
OLYMPIC, despite its massive size, was merely a preliminary to CORONET, the invasion of the Honshu Plain. Little concrete can be said of the latter because it was still in a preliminary stage when the Japanese surrendered. Its general outline, however, had taken shape. In March 1946 the Eighth and Tenth Armies (nine infantry, two armored, and three Marine Divisions) would land along the seaward side of the Kanto Plain between Choshi and Ichinomiya. Behind the two veteran Pacific armies would come the First Army (ten infantry and one airborne divisions) units redeployed from Europe. After seizing the Kanto Plain the three armies would occupy the Tokyo-Yokohama? area. Should the Japanese continue fighting after the fall of their industrial and political heartland, the troops would fan out and clean out the surviving Japanese forces.
Such were the plans rendered unnecessary the Japanese surrender. Drawn up before the atomic bomb exploded over the Hiroshima parade ground, the plans naturally included no provision for nuclear weapons. But whether the introduction of the new weapons would have radically changed the plans is doubtful. More uncertain is the question of whether it would in indeed have been necessary to stage CORONET at all. Certainly many of the planners at the time doubted its necessity and the historian nearly twenty years after the event cannot avoid the surmise that had not Hiroshima stampeded Japan into surrender, the occupation of Kyushu would have done so. The planning was not wasted, however, as it formed the basis for the plans used for the occupation. USMC
Dr. Bauer is a Harvard graduate who received a Ph. D. from Indiana University. He was an assistant to Samuel Eliot Morison during the preparation and writing of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II.
Dr. Coox collaborated with Mr. Saburo Hayashi on the English-language edition of Kogun, a history of the Japanese Army in the Pacific. He is with the Department of History, San Diego State College.