The End of WWII
by Haile H. Jaekel


This article was written by USS SLC WWII Veteran H. H. Jaekel in 1996 to the University on behalf of his granddaughter when he found out what a text book she was using said about the dropping of the atomic bomb.

The end of World War II, described by most of our Educational institutions and the Media, especially during 50th anniversary year, centers around the use of the Atomic Bomb. They fail to remember what happened at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, (that started the whole thing in the first place), the Bataan Death March, the Japanese Hell Ship (where 1800 American Prisoners prayed to die and all but 8 got their wish), the Rape of Nanking, plus many other deceitful acts and atrocities not mentioned in this article.

They failed to look at the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland and the enormous cost in human lives on both sides that would have occurred.

They failed to include the planned invasion, that became unnecessary after the A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki, August 9, 1945, plus the acceptance of Allied Surrender Terms, August 14, 1945.

All of the above events and many other facts must also be included in the history books and be part of the equation.

This is what happened after the Japanese surrender, 14th of August, 1945 and what could have happened.

Deep in the National Archives hidden for decades, lie thousands of pages of dusty yellowing documents stamped "TOP SECRET". These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese Homeland during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese Homeland. Even fewer today are aware of the defense the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it occurred.

"Japan, loser of the Pacific War, still had plenty of deadly weapons to defend its homeland against invasion. Any invasion attempt would have been Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and all the other bloody Pacific battles wrapped into one."

The demolition teams started to neutralize Japanese defenses, August 28, 1945, in Tokyo Bay and on mainland Japan, prior to the formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri , September 2, 1945. After the initial "demilitarization" of ships in Tokyo Bay was completed, IE: (destroying ammunition, dismantling guns and throwing the breeches overboard), the teams moved inland. There they blew up fleets of suicide boats moored all along the coast, exploded torpedoes, disabled or destroyed two man "suicide" submarines. In caves that honeycomb the coastline, the big coastal defense guns were blown up.

"Weapons guarding the Japanese homeland were insidiously camouflaged." Gun emplacements were buried in craggy hillsides. Their ammunition supplies moved through a series of underground tunnels on tiny railroads they could have never be seen by invaders from the sea or air. Huge caves had been hollowed out in the hills along the coast. These were crammed with heavy armaments, torpedoes, small suicide submarines, mines and all manner of explosive devices.

The Invasion of Japan, OPERATION DOWNFALL, called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

In the first invasion, (code named OPERATION OLYMPIC), combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and air bombardment.

The second invasion on March 1, 1946, (code named OPERATION CORONET), would send 22 combat divisions against one million Japanese defenders of the main island of Honshu. Its goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan.

OPERATION DOWNFALL was to be a strictly American operation, except for a part of the British Pacific Fleet. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the Seventh Army Air Force, the Eighth Air Force (recently re-deployed from Europe), The 20th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force.

More than 1.5 million combat troops, with 3 million more in support, ( more than 40 per cent of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945), would be directly involved in two amphibious assaults.

Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy. Admiral William Leahy estimated more than 250,00 killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, Chief of Intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, estimated American casualties from the entire operation would be one million men by the fall of 1946. This was considered, by many, to be a very conservative estimate.

A naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered, most everyone agreed that they would choke and destroy cities, but leave whole armies intact.

After extensive deliberation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a top secret directive May 25, 1945, to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu, the southernmost island of Japan. The target date was set for after the typhoon season. Two days later the United States issued a Potsdam Proclamation which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction.

Three days later, the Japanese government news agency broadcast to the world, Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender.

During this same period it was learned from monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts, that they were closing all schools, mobilizing the schoolchildren, arming the civilian population, fortifying caves and constructing underground defenses.

OPERATION OLYMPIC called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu. Its objective was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, destroy units of the main Japanese army and support the later invasion of the Tokyo plain.

The preliminary invasion would begin October 27, 1945, when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu. At the same time the 158th Regimental Combat Team would land and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu. On these islands, seaplane bases would be established, radar stations set up to provide advance warning to the invasion fleet, direct carrier base aircraft and provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of invasion of Kyushu.

As the invasion grew imminent, the massive power of the Third and Fifth fleets would approach Japan, The Third Fleet, under Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, would provide strategic support for operation against Honshu and Hokkaido.

Halsey's fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier groups. Hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu.

The 3000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Spruance, would carry the invasion troops. Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the landing forces had launched. The invasion would begin in the early morning hours of November 1,1945. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu.

Waves of aircraft from 66 carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun and troop concentrations along the beaches. The Eastern Assault Force, consisting of the 25th, 33rd and 41st infantry divisions, would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler and Cord, move inland and attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield.

The Southern Force, consisting of the First Cavalry, 43rd and Ameri-Cal divisions, would land at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenburg, Essex, Ford and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz and Zepher the 5th Amphibious Corps would land the Second, Third and Fifth Marine divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima.

On November 4,1945 the 81st, 98th, and 11th Airborne Divisions would feign an attack off the island of Shikoku then land near Kaimondake, (if not needed elsewhere), near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay at beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard and Plymouth.

Operation Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with three fresh divisions per month to be landed to support the operation if needed.

If all went well with Operation Olympic, Operation Cornet would be launched March 1, 1946. Operation Cornet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu. All along the coast near Tokyo, the American First Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions along with the 1st, 4th, and 6th Marine Divisions.

At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay, then attempt to go as far as Yokohama. The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 32nd and 87th Infantry Divisions along with the 13th and 20th Armored divisions.

Following the assault eight more divisions, the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th, and 104th Infantry divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, would be landed. If additional troops were needed as expected, other divisions re-deployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

The Japanese defense was expected to be even more fierce than any encountered thus far in the war. Schools had been closed and the entire civilian population mobilized. The Shinto cult or religion was the national religion of Japan and the people had been taught to follow the Imperial Cult without question. Self sacrifice was extolled as the highest virtue and any order from the Emperor, the military, the government or at school must be followed without question.

Captured documents and postwar interrogation of Japanese military leaders disclosed that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands were dangerously in error. During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese Kamikaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others.

During the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan. What military leaders did not know was that by the end of July, the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battles defending their homeland.

As part of the Ketsu-go, the name of the plan to defend Japan, the Japanese were building 20 suicide take-off airstrips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.

On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers and 150 kamikaze planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet. The Japanese also had 58 more airfields in Korea, western Honshu and Shikoku, which were also to be used for massive suicide attacks.

Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks. In August 1945, however; unknown to Allied Intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types.

Every village had some kind of aircraft manufacturing activity hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, working to construct new planes. In addition they were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket propelled bomb, like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot.

When the invasion became imminent, ketsu-Go called for a four fold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships. While Allied ships were approaching Japan, but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu.

A second force of 350 Japanese navy pilots were to attack the main body of the Allied task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover from protecting the troop carrying transports. While these forces engaged a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports. As the invasion convoys approached the beaches, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

American troops would be arriving in about 180 lightly armed transports and 70 cargo vessels. By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the land based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense to the carrier pilots and shipboard gunners. Carrier pilots, crippled by fatigue, would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still waves of kamikaze would continue. With the invasion fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining aircraft would be committed to non-stop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days.

The Japanese planned to coordinate their attacks from 40 remaining submarines. Some would be armed with long lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles to attack the invasion fleet 180 miles of Kyushu.

The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers operational. They would be used to counterattack the American invasion fleet. A number of destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea.

Once the troops were on the beaches, they would face suicide attacks from large numbers of armed civilian and army units, all for the Emperor and their homeland. As American troops advanced inland, booby traps, mine fields, and well hidden defenses would make every foot of the way a bloody battle. Casualties on both sides would be extremely heavy but the suicidal attacks and the lightly armed civilians would be cut down in large numbers by the heavily armed and well trained American units.

Harry Truman said in defense of, WHY I DROPPED THE ATOMIC BOMB. "It was a question of saving hundreds of thousands of American lives. You don't feel normal when you have to plan hundreds of thousands of deaths of American boys who are alive and joking and having fun while your doing your planning. You break your heart and your head trying to figure out a way to save one life.

I made the only decision I knew how to make. I did what I thought was right. I still think that".

September 3, 1996
A Pearl Harbor Survivor


Written & Contributed by H. H. "Jake" Jaekel
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