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Shattered Jade: Japanese Götterdämmerung, 1945-1947

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  • #16
    Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
    ... 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. ...
    Refer to the battle of Manilia for how a Japanese stand in Singapore might have gone. The Red Army would be encountered the same situation when the better parts of the Kawantung Army made a stand in the larger cities.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
      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 .
      Our pre-bomb options were:

      1. Invade and take the country by force.

      2. Blockade and starve them out.

      3. Declare victory and pack up and go home.

      1. Was the plan we had.

      2. Would require a standing force of troops not doing anything except siege duty, something even Henry V thought wasteful. It's also expensive.

      3. Non-starter because it left the Japanese in control of large chunks of Asia.
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      • #18
        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
        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, (...)
        Very much indeed Sir! The Soviets had done this before - against German troops in Bagration. The Soviet advance (in terms of distance) was without equal. They achieved this because they fought poorly trained and equipped units. Huge pincers are not to kill enemies but to cut them off and make them surrender or mince-meat them when isolated and without supply if they refuse to give up. So your loss comparisons are not telling the whole picture.


        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
        (...) 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.(...)
        I agree. As soon as the Soviets reach the end of their logistical trail they have to stop. Depending on the infrastructure, their efforts, the enemy etc. it would take time before they could roll again. But as soon as they roll it would - again - be a very one-sided event. T-34/85, Stalin Tanks, ISU-122, massed Artillery etc. against what? Against obsolete crap!

        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
        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 think the key word is suicidal. The huffy way of suicidal Banzai and stuff had an ability to produce mass casualties. But imo not on all sides, but especially for the IJA.
        Last edited by Hanov; 27 Jan 15, 08:50.
        One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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        • #19
          IMHO there was no hope whatsoever of Japan fighting successfully to obtain a 'negotiated' settlement. Being allowed to retain the emperor was about as far from a truly unconditional surrender as they were going to get. If they had fought to the bitter end, as suggested in the OP, they likely would not have even gotten that. Furthermore I expect that actual US losses in the home island invasions would have turned out to get somewhat lower than the 'worst case' figures being put out before the invasions. I suspect that some of the late war forces, especially the poorly equipped 'militia' for defense of the home islands, would have been less willing to die to the last man (or woman!) in an obviously lost cause than regular Japanese forces had been earlier in the war. Later in the war some Japanese forces started to surrender (e.g. Okinawa). They would also have been less effective at inflicting losses on the US.

          I think some of the more important impacts would have been in the post-war situation in Asia. If the fighting had dragged on into what started to be the Cold War there may have been less and less cooperation. As has been previously noted, there may have been a separate communist state of Manchuria, with a united communist Korea and the US may have committed forces to ensure that the remainder of China remained non-communist. Perhaps the Soviets may have invaded Hokkaido, with the result that Japan may have ended up 'partitioned' with a communist North Japan.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
            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).
            This was the reason we didn't hesitate to use the atomic bombs. We needed an impact on the highest leadership that would cause them to call a halt to the war. Casualty projections based on data from previous invasions were very high, and were probably rather low.
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            • #21
              Originally posted by deadkenny View Post
              I think some of the more important impacts would have been in the post-war situation in Asia...
              Indeed, as TacCovert4 already noted, a Soviet Korea and Allied Indochina would likely have prevented the future wars that would occur there (at least as we know them, perhaps the Vietnamese would still have revolted in the 1950s). If Korea fell completely under Soviet control, then this would pose a unique threat to the US/Commonwealth forces in the Home Islands, once the radioactive dust finally settled there. It would bring the front lines of the Cold War a lot closer together.

              Originally posted by deadkenny
              Perhaps the Soviets may have invaded Hokkaido, with the result that Japan may have ended up 'partitioned' with a communist North Japan.
              The US would never have permitted this to take place. It would have been a military/political catastrophe waiting to happen (see post #9).

              Originally posted by Hanov
              As soon as the Soviets reach the end of their logistical tail they have to stop. But as soon as they roll it would - again - be a very one-sided event. T-34/85, Stalin Tanks, ISU-122, massed Artillery etc. against what? Against obsolete crap!
              I think you're being too dismissive of the IJA. They were not cavemen, they were a modern army! The Soviets themselves certainly didn't consider the Japanese as "weak." Not that the Japanese would have been able to drive the Soviets out of China, (they were also facing a massive offensive by the Chinese in the South), but they would have offered much stiffer opposition once the Soviets reached their experienced formations in Central China.

              Remember Operation Ichi-go? It was a huge blitzkrieg operation by the Japanese against the Chinese Army/US 14th Air force in 1944. It involved 510,000 soldiers, 6,000 artillery pieces, 15,500 trucks, close to 1,000 tanks, around 700 planes, and 100,000 horses. According to General Stilwell, this offensive, in addition to overrunning many 14th Air Force bomber bases, annihilated four Chinese Armies, killed 300,000 soldiers, wounded over 100,000 more, and captured 80,000. The Allies lost 6,723 Artillery pieces, 190 planes, and thousands of motor vehicles, compared to about ~100,000 Japanese casualties. This was the last great Axis victory of WWII.

              Originally posted by Hanov
              I think the key word is suicidal. The huffy way of suicidal Banzai and stuff had an ability to produce mass casualties. But imo not on all sides, but especially for the IJA.
              'Banzai charges' were not the IJA's primary infantry doctrine. In fact, gyokusai (shattering of the Jade) attacks are not referenced in Japan's infantry tactics manuals at all. They resulted when Japanese units, cornered and without possibility of escape, usually starving and out of ammunition as well, realized that they had effectively 'lost,' and saw no other alternative but an honorable death in battle, taking with them as many of the enemy as possible. They were less an attack, and more mass-suicide, ie, Japan's alternative to surrender.
              Divine Mercy Sunday: 4/21/2020 (https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message) The Miracle of Lanciano: Jesus' Real Presence (https://web.archive.org/web/20060831...fcontents.html)

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              • #22
                As I understand it the gyokusai attacks were based on the premise that the American will to fight could be shattered by determined mass attacks. This is what happened at the Ilyu (Teneru) River battle IIRC.
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                • #23
                  Dupe.
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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                    I think you're being too dismissive of the IJA. They were not cavemen, they were a modern army! The Soviets themselves certainly didn't consider the Japanese as "weak." Not that the Japanese would have been able to drive the Soviets out of China, (they were also facing a massive offensive by the Chinese in the South), but they would have offered much stiffer opposition once the Soviets reached their experienced formations in Central China.
                    Please don't get me wrong. I don't want to leave the impression of underestimating the abilities of the IJA. I'm still fascinated by what the Japanese achieved in 41/42. But i think by 1945 both, the IJA and the Wehrmacht were bled out. They were a shadow of the forces they represented 3 or 4 years earlier. The problem for the IJA facing the Red Army was that the Red Army had transformed into a monster Force compared to what it was in 1939. Whereas the IJA...
                    Just look at the Tank/Panzer development in Europe/USA from 1939 to 1945. The Japanese fielded few Tanks and those had a level which was completely obsolete compared to what the USSR, USA, GB/CW or Germany had by that time. The Soviets had just won the biggest conflict of mankind, had built the largest and most fearsome Attack Force in the World. You cannot compensate/counter that with fanatism.

                    Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                    Remember Operation Ichi-go? It was a huge blitzkrieg operation by the Japanese against the Chinese Army/US 14th Air force in 1944. It involved 510,000 soldiers, 6,000 artillery pieces, 15,500 trucks, close to 1,000 tanks, around 700 planes, and 100,000 horses. According to General Stilwell, this offensive, in addition to overrunning many 14th Air Force bomber bases, annihilated four Chinese Armies, killed 300,000 soldiers, wounded over 100,000 more, and captured 80,000. The Allies lost 6,723 Artillery pieces, 190 planes, and thousands of motor vehicles, compared to about ~100,000 Japanese casualties. This was the last great Axis victory of WWII.
                    Thats grapes compared to apples. Remember June 22nd, 1941? Barbarossa? The Germans captured over 3 million Soviet Troops. What happened exactly three years later on June 22nd, 1944?
                    Imagine the IJA would have faced Soviet troops and equipment in Operation Ichi-go. You think the outcome would have been the same?

                    Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                    'Banzai charges' were not the IJA's primary infantry doctrine. In fact, gyokusai (shattering of the Jade) attacks are not referenced in Japan's infantry tactics manuals at all. They resulted when Japanese units, cornered and without possibility of escape, usually starving and out of ammunition as well, realized that they had effectively 'lost,' and saw no other alternative but an honorable death in battle, taking with them as many of the enemy as possible. They were less an attack, and more mass-suicide, ie, Japan's alternative to surrender.
                    I know when and why the Japanese started their Banzai charges. I merely tried to point out, that fanatism wont help you if you're equipped with rifles, MGs, some small caliber AT-guns and Artillery, but your Enemy fields monster tanks, massive Artillery, dominates the Skies above you and stuff. The Japanese were done in 1945.
                    One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by OpanaPointer View Post
                      As I understand it the gyokusai attacks were based on the premise that the American will to fight could be shattered by determined mass attacks. This is what happened at the Ilyu (Teneru) River battle IIRC.
                      This was different from the traditional "banzai" attacks such as those encountered on Saipan, Tarawa, Attu, etc. IIRC, it was a foolhardy frontal assault (but not necessarily a banzai charge) against entrenched marine positions from across a river, lead by an overconfident officer who grossly underestimated his enemy. Other instances, such as Edson's Ridge, convey an image of aggressive close infantry assaults through unfavorable terrain by a force unsure of what it was facing. Time and again, the Japanese on Guadalcanal either underestimated/had little idea of their opposition, mostly due to a lack on intelligence/communication, leading to disasters such as the aforementioned actions. (Even then, on Edson's Ridge and around Henderson Field, the issue was sometimes in doubt.)
                      Divine Mercy Sunday: 4/21/2020 (https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message) The Miracle of Lanciano: Jesus' Real Presence (https://web.archive.org/web/20060831...fcontents.html)

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                        The US would never have permitted this to take place. It would have been a military/political catastrophe waiting to happen (see post #9).
                        I don't agree with post 9. It is my understanding that the US only opposed a Soviet occupation after Japan had surrendered. The US itself had supplied the Soviets with considerable amphib assets. The Soviets had been planning on an invasion and presumably would have carried it out if Japan was still fighting. Are you suggesting that the US would have militarily opposed the Soviets if they had launched their invasion?


                        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                        I think you're being too dismissive of the IJA. They were not cavemen, they were a modern army! The Soviets themselves certainly didn't consider the Japanese as "weak." Not that the Japanese would have been able to drive the Soviets out of China, (they were also facing a massive offensive by the Chinese in the South), but they would have offered much stiffer opposition once the Soviets reached their experienced formations in Central China.
                        The Japanese had a difficult time against the Red Army in 1939. They were seriously outclassed by the veterans of the war against Germany. The German AGC was a 'modern army' in 1944 as well, and in fact better equipped than the Japanese. I think if you consider what happened in Manchuria in August '44, it would be pretty much the same where ever and whenever the Soviets attacked the Japanese.

                        Originally posted by BobTheBarbarian View Post
                        Remember Operation Ichi-go? It was a huge blitzkrieg operation by the Japanese against the Chinese Army/US 14th Air force in 1944. It involved 510,000 soldiers, 6,000 artillery pieces, 15,500 trucks, close to 1,000 tanks, around 700 planes, and 100,000 horses. According to General Stilwell, this offensive, in addition to overrunning many 14th Air Force bomber bases, annihilated four Chinese Armies, killed 300,000 soldiers, wounded over 100,000 more, and captured 80,000. The Allies lost 6,723 Artillery pieces, 190 planes, and thousands of motor vehicles, compared to about ~100,000 Japanese casualties. This was the last great Axis victory of WWII.
                        The Nationalist Chinese army was worlds apart from the Red Army of 1945. Similarly the Japanese would have seen a very different result, offensively or defensively, against the Red Army in '45.

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                        • #27
                          Another interesting thought which I'll expound on later is that the Soviet Union could find itself in a very poor position early in the cold war if the Japanese manage to hold out for another year. The falling out with the west is inevitable. But if the west still has reason to maintain a war footing. ...then stalin could find himself stretched thin trying to control Europe and fight in Asia while also maintaining his nation's ascendancy.

                          A continuous war with Japan would keep the west on a war footing and mean that there would be a likely more aggressive response to Soviet action in Europe. I would not be surprised to see the US arming german pows and sending them back to Germany as a west german army in 1946. The west has this option in 46. The soviets do not yet have control of the eastern European countries to a reliable degree. ....and therefore they must deploy their reliable army in Europe as well as send it to the east. Plus maintain it and the country entirely on their own resources.

                          Maintaining a Soviet China is also problematic in 46 as there is no red navy to speak of and the land routes between the two are crap. Otoh the sea routes to China are big and easily secured by the huge western fleets.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by deadkenny View Post
                            I don't agree with post 9. It is my understanding that the US only opposed a Soviet occupation after Japan had surrendered. The US itself had supplied the Soviets with considerable amphib assets. The Soviets had been planning on an invasion and presumably would have carried it out if Japan was still fighting. Are you suggesting that the US would have militarily opposed the Soviets if they had launched their invasion?
                            From D.M. Giangreco's 2009 book Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947, Chapter 3 pg 27:

                            Lastly there were the Soviets, who planned to invade the northernmost Home Island of Hokkaido little more than two weeks after their armies stormed into Manchuria. It must be noted, however, that both the Soviet Army's intent and capabilities are regularly blown well out of proportion by breathless individuals who have not bothered to closely read the works of the principal Western scholar to have intimately examined this subject. At one point the Soviets had looked at the possibility of conducting an amphibious operation to seize the relatively populous southern half of the island. But between their essentially nonexistent assault shipping, some transportable artillery but no armor, woefully inadequate naval gunfire support, and no ability to provide air support for the operation, plus the fact that the Japanese Fifth Area Army's defenses in southern Hokkaido, although undermanned, were well developed and recently upgraded, the Soviets wisely changed course. U.S. planners looking at the same territory estimated that four U.S. infantry divisions and one armored division, with the customary lavish support, were required for much the same task.

                            Instead, the Soviets switched to an operation calling for landings at a small, isolated port on the northwest coast. When the war ended, plans were put on hold for the piecemeal insertion of two 87th Rifle Corps infantry divisions supported by a naval infantry battalion and as many as two construction battalions, while a third division continued mopping up the Kuril Islands and could eventually be made available for the lodgment. It was intended that air elements sufficient to support the invasion be hastily deployed forward to captured Japanese airfields on the southern half of Sakhalin Island, and the Soviets would have been able to do this with not an excessive amount of difficulty.

                            The Soviet navy's support was another matter, and the operation's naval component was so ludicrously small that the second rifle division to land would have had to wait until the six Lend-Lease LCIs (landing craft infantry) and a variety of slow-moving vessels used in place of assault shipping (trawlers, torpedo cutters, subchasers, and American-made mine-sweepers), returned more than two hundred miles to a recently secured Sakhalin port to pick them up. Soviet warships had conducted no exercises, either combined or on their own initiative, in naval gunfire support of troops ashore, and all ships' antiaircraft protection were dangerously inadequate.

                            Despite the obvious deficiencies in Soviet amphibious capabilities, limitations in both manpower and materiel for this operation, and likelihod that the understrength 87th Rifle Corps would have been easily contained by minimal Japanese forces in this heavily mountainous region, a successful lodgment would nevertheless have served the wider political purposes of the Soviet government by its simple presence on Japanese soil if Washington had given a green light to the escapade.
                            If the Soviets had gone ahead with this operation despite US objections, I doubt the US would do anything militarily to stop them. It would, however, be extremely detrimental to US-Soviet relations and raise the tension between the two considerably.

                            Originally Posted by BobTheBarbarian
                            Remember Operation Ichi-go? It was a huge blitzkrieg operation by the Japanese against the Chinese Army/US 14th Air force in 1944. It involved 510,000 soldiers, 6,000 artillery pieces, 15,500 trucks, close to 1,000 tanks, around 700 planes, and 100,000 horses. According to General Stilwell, this offensive, in addition to overrunning many 14th Air Force bomber bases, annihilated four Chinese Armies, killed 300,000 soldiers, wounded over 100,000 more, and captured 80,000. The Allies lost 6,723 Artillery pieces, 190 planes, and thousands of motor vehicles, compared to about ~100,000 Japanese casualties. This was the last great Axis victory of WWII.
                            The reason I posted this was not to infer that the Japanese would be driving the Soviets out of China, or even stalemating them. I posted this to show that the IJA was still capable of large mechanized operations even later in the war, and still showed a high degree of competence and military professionalism. In fact, by the time of the Soviet invasion, the Japanese units that participated in Operation Ichi-Go were either deployed to the Home Islands, or (mostly), along with the rest of the 6th Area Army, thrown into headlong retreat by the subsequent Chinese counteroffensive. As resources dwindled due to the US submarine blockade, the IJA in Southern China retreated toward the coast, where it was, at the time of the surrender, in very real danger of being crushed against the sea.

                            The IJA North China Area Army, which was not hit by this offensive, would therefore be the first formation of Field Army magnitude outside of Korea the Soviets would encounter following the campaign in Manchuria. It consisted of 6 divisions and 14 brigades. To the south, the 6th Area Army, though fighting for its life, was far larger. It consisted of 15 divisions and 22 brigades. The Japanese also had an additional 6 divisions, a brigade, plus the (admittedly extremely unreliable) Wang Jingwei troops to assist them.

                            Would these forces be enough to stop or defeat whatever the Red Army could throw at them?

                            No, not at all!

                            But, the troops of the China Expeditionary Army, owing to the fact that fewer formations had been transferred to the Pacific vs the Kwantung Army, would have offered a much tougher fight. The Soviets would have eventually won, yes, just like they eventually won in Europe, but it would have been far more laborious and casualty-intensive for them to root out Japanese resistance from Northern and North-Central China that it would be to overcome the resistance of the remaining Japanese units in Manchuria, units which, as we know, were in the middle of redeployment and were mostly rated at 15-30% efficiency when the Soviets struck.

                            Remember too that the Japanese possessed a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, as well as the delivery systems for them, and when faced with a Soviet offensive they would not hesitate to use them, just as they did not hesitate to use them on the Chinese, military and civilian.

                            In the end, though, the result would still be the same IMHO: the IJA in China, ground down from prolonged fighting, would eventually be crushed between the Soviets to the north and the Chinese to the south and west. Just how many Allied corpses they take with them is the factor of importance.
                            Divine Mercy Sunday: 4/21/2020 (https://www.thedivinemercy.org/message) The Miracle of Lanciano: Jesus' Real Presence (https://web.archive.org/web/20060831...fcontents.html)

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                            • #29
                              MacArthur wanted the Soviets to invade in the north to distract at least some of the forces away from the southern front.
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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                                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 .
                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbicide

                                Good catch. The market garden vegetables would have been wiped out,and the deciduous trees would be defoliated, if not killed outright, making a burn much easier .

                                rice in 1945 -46 would not be affected by 24,d and MCPA.
                                The trout who swims against the current gets the most oxygen..

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