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Shattered Jade: Japanese Götterdämmerung, 1945-1947

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  • Shattered Jade: Japanese Götterdämmerung, 1945-1947

    Alright,
    Most people here are probably familiar with the story of the cancelled invasion of Japan, Operation "Downfall," which was originally set to begin on December 1, 1945, on Kyushu, the southernmost Japanese Home Island. They are also likely to be familiar with the massive numbers of forces to be committed on both sides, and the enormous losses likely to be suffered by all participants, combatants and non-combatants alike.

    But it is also important to remember that the Home Islands were only one part of the vast Japanese Empire. The Japanese military in 1945 still numbered close to 7.4 million men. It's Army was still very much intact and considered itself 'unbeaten' in the field. In addition, Japanese puppet and satellite armies added hundreds of thousands more soldiers to their control. Axis forces still dominated huge swathes of Manchuria, Korea, China, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. They still kept vast reserves of biological and chemical weapons, and demonstrated on a massive scale in China that they were willing to use them.

    However, Japan's position was not exactly secure: the Soviets were rolling across the Manchurian border, the British were leading a fightback in Southeast Asia, the Chinese had renewed their offensive in the South and were driving towards the sea, and (worst of all), the US had lashed the homeland with two new bombs the like of which had never before been seen on this Earth.

    In this alternate timeline, the Japanese Government reacts to these grave setbacks not with submission, but defiance. As they very narrowly avoided doing in real life, the desperate militarists in Tokyo blare forth a directive to all Japanese units anywhere in the world to stand and fight, with whatever means available, to utter annihilation. Doing this, they hoped, would produce losses so severe for the Allies that they would have to agree to a negotiated settlement.

    Thus, my challenge is this: what would a disastrously extended Pacific War, one waged by the majority of the World's military might against an enemy determined to battle to extinction, look like? How would each of the campaigns have played out? The British in Malaya? The Russians in Manchuria? The Chinese in Guangxi? The Americans and British Commonwealth in the Home Islands?

    Do the Allies finally vanquish Japanese Fascism once and for all, or does the Empire live to fight another day?

    "The shattering of the hundred million like a beautiful jewel."

  • #2
    For one thing, we would have used herbicides to kill the rice crop for 1945 and 1945. Maybe 20 million die of starvation.
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    • #3
      A few things of note IMHO:

      The Soviets would end the war outright owning a goodly chunk of China. Chiang, backed by the US and Brits, would likely have a smaller slice of China, but it's more likely that the Soviets avarice would be noticed and part of Mainland China, centered around Hong Kong could become what Formosa did IRL.....imagine a Republic of China covering a large chunk of southern coastal China and Formosa. And Red China being smaller....and likely a Soviet within the Soviet Union rather than a completely separate entity. Other things related to this could also include no North Vietnam, all of Indochina being saved by the British, with some American help.

      "The only place that they'll speak Japanese is in Hell!".....yep.....if they go this route this is going to happen.

      I'd estimate 2 million, maybe 2.5 million total casualties for the greater allied forces, including Russia and China.....nukes, mines, and air/sea attack would finish off the ability for Japan to functionally supply its forces within a few more months, but if units refused to surrender, they didn't require a huge amount of supply as most Japanese units were light infantry, and they could hold out for quite some time on short rations and captured food/fuel/weapons.
      Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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      • #4
        The US for certain would have fire bombed and atomic bombed every city in Japan into ash. Once the US has established forward airfields where tactical aircraft can operate the amount of destruction would increase exponentially.
        They would destroy the rail system entirely. Manufacturing would be obliterated along with refineries and electrical power.

        The USN would mine every harbor ending virtually any and all imports.

        The Soviets, using US provided amphibious equipment would have taken the Kurile Islands in short order, even if it meant heavy casualties.

        That means when the US invades in the south the Russians invade from the North.

        It just gets worse and worse for Japan.

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        • #5
          Atomic bombs being dropped from B29s?
          My worst jump story:
          My 13th jump was on the 13th day of the month, aircraft number 013.
          As recorded on my DA Form 1307 Individual Jump Log.
          No lie.

          ~
          "Everything looks all right. Have a good jump, eh."
          -2 Commando Jumpmaster

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          • #6
            Warlords and revolution

            This would be - interesting. I would expect to see some quite brutal local fighting in areas of the " Old empire" Okinawa and Formosa- as sea ravel becomes restricted or non existent. You would probably see a lot of former German and Italian weapons dropped to insurgents.

            the Moluccas and the Philippines would go up in flames, followed by Indonesia.

            the end of the Asian co- prosperity sphere...
            The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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            • #7
              Tactical nuclear strikes prior to amphibious invasion/Soviets in China

              Here is where it really gets disturbing. Marshall was rather unimpressed by the atom bombs being used against Japanese cities, and ordered a halt to all future strikes against urban targets. Instead, he ordered the A-bombs to be hoarded for tactical strikes on Japanese reserve areas in order to counter the Japanese buildup on Kyushu, which had, unbeknownst to the Americans, actually outnumbered planned US 6th Army forces 917,000 to 766,700.

              The Americans, who had little concept of nuclear fallout at the time, planned to deploy combat troops over ground hit by the bombs as little as 48 HOURS AFTER DETONATION.

              Imagine the casualties to radiation poisoning, not to mention the horrible birth defects that would afflict descendants of the survivors years down the road...

              Originally Posted by TacCovert4
              "The Soviets would end the war outright owning a good chunk of China..."
              Call me crazy, but I honestly think that if the war continued, and the Soviets would have had to actually fight the Manchuria Campaign to the finish, the losses they'd incur there (despite the weakened state of the Kwantung Army) would have exhausted the three Fronts committed to the offensive on August 9.

              It seems that the Kwantung Army's main body had yet to do battle with the Red Army, before being ordered to lay down its arms by IGHQ.

              From S.M. Shtemenko's "The Soviet General Staff at War: 1941-1945" pg 354 of the English version
              On August 17th, the Commander-in-Chief of Soviet Troops in the Far East radioed a categorical demand to the commander of the Kwantung Army to order all Japanese garrisons to lay down their arms and give themselves up. No further stratagems were possible. On the same day the Japanese Command gave orders for surrender and made this known to Marshal Vasilievsky...

              To precipitate a real surrender and prevent unnecessary bloodshed, it was decided to land airborne forces at key points in the enemy's likes- Harbin, Kirin, Mukden, Changchun, and some other cities in Manchuria and Korea...

              We had no precise information about the situation in the city [Harbin] and the Soviet Consulate there. All we knew was that the main forces of the First Front of the Kwantung Army were falling back on Harbin after their defeat at Mutanghiang. They formed a very considerable force.
              During the Manchurian Campaign, the Soviets claimed to have inflicted over 84,000 losses (killed and missing) on their opponents, while suffering about ~37,000 casualties themselves. While the figure of 12,031 dead and 24,425 wounded for the USSR is what is used by Glantz and therefore nominally above question, the 84,000 claim is in conflict with Japanese medical records. This link, http://www.geocities.co.jp/WallStree...o/siryo16.html, from the 'Ministry of Health and Welfare Relief' would put the total number of dead and missing from Manchuria at 46,700. (This seems to make no distinction between the 1938/39 Soviet-Japanese Border Wars and the '45 Campaign, so if it is the cumulative total of both, then it would mean a total of about ~37,000 Japanese KIA and MIA in '45, assuming the KIA/MIA of the 'Border Wars,' really mostly Khalkhin-Gol, was about ~10,000.)

              Now, I'm about to do some very rough calculations, so please try to bear with me...

              Ordinarily, the ratio for wounded:killed is somewhere between 2:1 and 4:1.
              However, I don't think this accurately describes the character of battles involving the Japanese, even when they had a chance to retreat. The battle of Khalkhin-Gol (where the Japanese lost) had about a 1:1 Jap. wounded:killed ratio, the Malayan Campaign (not including Singapore), had about a 1.8:1 WIA:KIA ratio, while Bataan had about a 1.7:1 ratio. What I'm getting at is that the character of the Japanese soldier meant that even in battles the Japanese won, the WIA:KIA ratio rarely topped 2:1.

              So, guesstimating based on these ratios, it is likely that total Japanese casualties for the Manchuria '45 Offensive were between 74,000 and 104,000. If this is the case (keep in mind the total strength of the three Japanese Area Armies facing the Soviets is cited by Glantz as 993,000, not counting auxiliaries, which may go some way to compensate for the casualty report disparity), then to inflict 100% casualties on the Japanese in Manchuria and Northern Korea (let alone 100% KIA), the Soviets would suffer between 353,300 and 496,500 casualties, and this isn't even taking into account the increasingly beneficial terrain available to the Japanese, and the lengthening Soviet supply lines. Also, keep in mind that the IJA formations the Soviets were fighting were rated in Glantz's study at between 15-30 percent combat effectiveness on average, compared with the more experienced formations in Central and Southern China, as well as in the Pacific and the Home Islands.

              So it appears the Soviets would not be facing an 'easy battle' in China and Korea, in fact, it looks like they would have to conduct major refitting and consolidation in Manchuria before they would be ready to go anywhere!

              Again this is all just my conjecture, but still, it's worth a thought...

              As for what the Soviets would have done once they penetrated China Proper...
              I wonder if Stalin would form any designs for Chiang Kai-Shek's regime, especially with Mao and the ChiComs afoot. Perhaps a possible Soviet failure to fight both the Nationalists and the Japanese on behalf of Mao, instead of just focusing on the IJA, which would make military sense, would lead to an earlier souring of relations between the USSR and the ChiComs compared to what really happened...
              Last edited by BobTheBarbarian; 26 Jan 15, 22:49.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                EDITING POST... PLEASE WAIT UNTIL THIS MESSAGE IS GONE BEFORE QUOTING ME


                Here is where it really gets disturbing. Marshall was rather unimpressed by the atom bombs being used against Japanese cities, and ordered a halt to all future strikes against urban targets. Instead, he ordered the A-bombs to be hoarded for tactical strikes on Japanese reserve areas in order to counter the Japanese buildup on Kyushu, which had, unbeknownst to the Americans, actually outnumbered planned US 6th Army forces 917,000 to 766,700.

                The Americans, who had little concept of nuclear fallout at the time, planned to deploy combat troops over ground hit by the bombs as little as 48 HOURS AFTER DETONATION.

                Imagine the casualties to radiation poisoning, not to mention the horrible birth defects that would afflict descendants of the survivors years down the road...
                Actually, as testing in the 50's demonstrated, the effects of a bomb 48 hours before, 2 hours before, would be minimal or non-existent on US troops in terms of the battle space and time.



                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plumbbob

                30 minutes after one of these tests the US Army marched a 1000 man battalion in nothing but normal uniforms across ground zero. It would make zero difference in terms of the battle.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  The Soviets, using US provided amphibious equipment would have taken the Kurile Islands in short order, even if it meant heavy casualties.

                  That means when the US invades in the south the Russians invade from the North.

                  It just gets worse and worse for Japan.
                  Didn't the planned Soviet Invasion of Japan get cancelled because of the US? Even though the Soviet 87th Rifle Corps was deemed incapable of seizing Southern Hokkaido by US planners, any Soviet lodgement in the Home Islands was deemed politically unacceptable, and the operation was nixed by Washington.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                    Didn't the planned Soviet Invasion of Japan get cancelled because of the US? Even though the Soviet 87th Rifle Corps was deemed incapable of seizing Southern Hokkaido by US planners, any Soviet lodgement in the Home Islands was deemed politically unacceptable, and the operation was nixed by Washington.
                    The Soviets used the first of the US delivered amphibious equipment to invade Shumshu island in the Kuriles days after the war officially ended. The Soviets took that island and Paramushir island in fighting that lasted about a week.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                      (...)
                      Call me crazy, but I honestly think that if the war continued, and the Soviets would have had to actually fight the Manchuria Campaign to the finish, the losses they'd incur there (despite the weakened state of the Kwantung Army) would have exhausted the three Fronts committed to the offensive on August 9.
                      I seriously doubt that the Red Army would be exhausted in Manchuria.
                      The Kwantung Army of 1945 was on a late 30s equipment level. It's troops were not as well trained as those of the 1939 Kwantung Army.

                      The Soviets OTOH were fielding modern Tanks, Artillery and other heavy equipment.
                      They could rely on reinforcements of Veteran troops from the war in Europe. The worst enemy of the Soviets was: supplies.
                      The Japs were wise to lay down their arms.
                      One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hanov View Post
                        I seriously doubt that the Red Army would be exhausted in Manchuria.
                        The Kwantung Army of 1945 was on a late 30s equipment level. It's troops were not as well trained as those of the 1939 Kwantung Army.
                        So the Soviets would have had little difficulty exterminating a force of nearly 1 million armed men, who had already inflicted 36,456 casualties on some of their best formations, mostly between the periods of August 9 to August 17, and then still have been able to conduct large scale offensive actions into China and Korea? I don't think that's something any army would be able to take in stride. Whether or not my hypotheses are right, the suicidal fanaticism of the Japanese soldier, even those of the depleted Kwantung Army, should never be underestimated in its ability to produce mass casualties (on all sides).

                        I don't think any campaign against such a mentality could be described as "easy."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                          The Americans, who had little concept of nuclear fallout at the time, planned to deploy combat troops over ground hit by the bombs as little as 48 HOURS AFTER DETONATION.
                          I've read 30 minutes for combat usage.
                          Hyperwar: World War II on the World Wide Web
                          Hyperwar, Whats New
                          World War II Resources
                          The best place in the world to "work".

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                          • #14
                            Why invade. Killing off the crops from the air and let them starve. Start forest fires to destroy fuel supplies of wood. The people of the Home Islands were not going anyplace and what forces outside the Home Islands had no way and no place to go .
                            "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                            Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                            you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                            • #15
                              Operation Tiderace/Zipper

                              Also remember the fighting in Southeast Asia. Under this alternate timeline the Allied Operations 'Tiderace' and 'Zipper,' meant to recapture Malaya and Singapore from Japanese control and involving about ~200,000 on all sides, would now be launched against fully armed Japanese opposition. In addition, the Axis forces in Burma were hastily withdrawing and probably would have linked up with their Armies in Thailand. Clearing this country, as well as occupied French Indochina, likely would have been extremely expensive, and would have resulted in tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of losses.

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