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,
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
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
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
A naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered, most everyone
agreed that they would choke and destroy cities, but leave whole armies
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"SO DO I HARRY"
A Pearl Harbor Survivor