Happy VJ-Day, Plus 73 Years

Happy Victory over Japan Day!

On August 14th in 1945 Imperial Japan accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and averted Operation Downfall, the two stage invasion of Japan. On Sept 2, 1945 the surrender was signed on the USS Missouri in Tokyo bay, This invasion would have resulted in at least a million American casualties and up to 20 millions of Japanese dead from direct effects of the invasion plus the mass starvation that would have been sure to occur in its aftermath.

Since August 2010, it has become an nine years and counting tradition (See link list at the end of this post) for the Chicagoboyz web site to commemorate the major events closing out World War II in the Pacific and address the leftist agitprop surrounding those events. Where the worst recorded war in human history became a nuclear war via the August 6th and 9th 1945 A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, followed by the Imperial Japanese acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, and the Sept 2, 1945 formal surrender on the battleship USS Missouri.

This years year’s Chicagoboyz commemoration will focus on how the Imperial Japanese Military’s two nuclear weapons programs — one each for the Army and Navy — helped to obtain a surrender in an irrational polity bent on suicidal martial glory.  And how their existence has been erased from the narrative of Japanese surrender by the identity issue academics in the diplomatic history community.

Color Photo of the Sept 2, 1945 Imperial Japanese Surrender ceremony marking the conclusion of WW2 on the Battleship USS Missouri.
Color Photo of the Sept 2, 1945 surrender ceremony marking the conclusion of WW2 on the Battleship USS Missouri.

Historical Background –  IJA Ni-Go & IJN F-Go Genzai Bakuden Programs

The Imperial Japanese Military’ s atomic bomb or “Genzai Bakuden” program had a two separate Army and Navy projects;  the Army’s Ni-Go program and the Navy’s F-Go. [1]   Neither of these programs produced a working device, despite 1946 rumors about a test near Hungnam, Korea that were later incorporated into the 1985 book Japan’s Secret War: Japan’s Race Against Time to Build Its Own Atomic Bomb. [2]

The bottom line is that if Imperial Japan of the summer of 1945 had a prototype atomic device.  It’s first test would have been on a ship or aircraft kamikaze aimed where they thought it would hurt the American war effort the most.


The issue of the Hiroshima historical revisionists ignoring matters like the Imperial Japanese nuclear program that are counter to their thesis is very much an issue of “arguing with drunks and religious fanatics.”  Hiroshima revisionists don’t want to hear or consider contrary data because of identity issue ideological conditioning.

The following  is a quick thumbnail to the rise of “Atomic Diplomacy” by Gar Alperovitz, via my 2017 V-J Day post here on the Chicagoboyz web log [3] —

“Atomic Revisionism” started shortly after World War 2 ended with the publication of 1 July 1946 the Pacific War Summary of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS). Authored primarily by Paul Henry Nitze, this summary report claimed that without the two Atomic Bombs Japan would have surrendered by 31 December 1945.


Atomic Revisionism” was furthered by the Royal Navy’s wartime Operational Analyst P.M.S. Blackett with his 1948 book “Fear, War and the Bomb: Military and Political Consequences of Atomic Energy” that debuted the point if what the USSBS said about the Japanese surrendering 31 Dec 1945, regardless of the A-bomb, then dropping the A-bomb had to be all about intimidating Stalin. This was followed in 1956 by Blackett’s Atomic Weapons and East/West Relations


These two threads of revisionism gestated for almost a decade in leftist academia and resulted in the 1965 publication of Gar Alperovitz’s “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam“. Namely that the dropping of the Atomic bomb was all about post war diplomacy with the Soviet Union and the coming Cold War, and not defeating Japan as swiftly as possible.

The academic military historians of the 1965 to 1985 generation were drowned out by “Atomic Diplomacy” until the mass declassification of US Military war time code breaking arrived.  from the early 1990’s onward they systematically demolished Alperovitz’s “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam.”

See the following chronology of major military history efforts:


Edward Drea’s MacArthur’s Ultra: Codebreaking and the War against Japan (1992) — It chronicled how Allied intelligence tracked the Japanese military buildup on the southernmost home island of Kyushu in the months prior to Hiroshima, a buildup that demonstrated Tokyo’s intent to fight to the bitter end and rendered all “low” casualty estimates dating from the spring and early summer of 1945––the estimates relied upon by revisionist historians––obsolete and irrelevant months before American soldiers were scheduled to land in Japan.


Robert P. Newman’s Truman and the Hiroshima Cult — It demolished the credibility of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey’s claim that Japan would have surrendered in the fall of 1945 absent both the atomic bombs and the Soviet entry into the war,

Robert James Maddox’s, Weapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision Fifty Years Later — It effectively dismantled what was left of the “atomic diplomacy” thesis.


D. M. Giangreco ,  “Casualty Projections for the U.S. Invasion of Japan, 1945-1946: Planning and Policy Implications” (The Journal of Military History, July 1997) –D. M. Giangreco conclusively documented the existence of enormous casualty projections, some of which undeniably reached Truman and his top advisers.


Sadao Asada “The Shock of the Atomic Bomb and Japan’s Decision to Surrender––A Reconsideration” (Pacific Historical Review, November 1998) — Asada, relying on a thorough review of Japanese-language sources, exposed as untenable the contention that Japan was prepared to surrender before Hiroshima or that a modification of the Potsdam Declaration guaranteeing the status of the emperor would have produced a Japanese surrender


Richard B. Frank,  Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire  —  Frank brought together the evidence already mentioned and a great deal more, including crucial Japanese-language sources, leaving virtually every aspect of the revisionist case in tatters. It was not long before Downfall gained widespread recognition as the definitive work on the subject. Against this background, the cancellation of the Smithsonian Institution’s proposed exhibit to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, which relied almost exclusively on revisionist scholarship, was only the most publicized setback suffered by proponents of the revisionist case during the 1990s.

The summary of those various sources, particularly Sadao Asada’s, makes clear that the Japanese peace faction quietly got support of the Emperor during the Okinawa campaign (roughly) but no one was going to beard the Imperial Japanese Military for fear of a coup that would place the Emperor’s son in as a Imperial figurehead under a IJA Junta trying to fight to the death.

The academic diplomatic history narrative — Atomic Diplomacy — said this peace faction was much more powerful than later declassified Ultra code breaking  documents showed and that using the Atomic bombs were unnecessary, especially the second one at Nagasaki. For them, this second atomic bomb use was pure Cold War driven “Atomic Diplomacy” aimed at the Soviet Union.

Actually, as Drea, Franks and Giangreco stated repeatedly, it took the triple shock of two atomic bombs and the Russian invasion of Manchuria to shock the IJA high command long enough for the emperor to enforce a surrender.

And it absolutely had to be two Atomic bombs to show that the American military had more than one.

The Imperial Japanese military evaluation of the Hiroshima Atomic bomb was that the Americans only had one bomb and it would be months or longer for a second highly enriched uranium (HEU) device would be available. The records of the Manhattan Engineering District (MED) show that this was an accurate assessment. And this meant the 2nd plutonium bomb at Nagasaki was absolutely vital to the surrender decision on multiple levels.

Since the Japanese Military’s Atomic Bomb Program in WWII (Genzai Bakuden) was split between the Army and Navy. [4] That meant both the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy had world class physicists that senior leaders trusted available to do independent chemical analysis of the nuclear residue of both atomic blasts and identify the different chemical compositions of the bombs. AKA America had not one but two separate atomic bomb production lines, one with HEU and the other with plutonium.

While this is speculation on my part, the singular failure of anyone in the Imperial Japanese Military High command to support the final military fanatic coup attempt against Hirohito seems to make the above an obvious but ignored fact since the 1978 surfacing of the reality of Japan’s WW2 atomic weapon programs. [5]

As it was, Emperor Hirohito had to sent personal emissaries known to the local commander — and flown in US Military Transports — to Singapore to get the General there to surrender Japanese forces in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies.

The academic military history crowd has done a thorough job of demolishing “Atomic Diplomacy” with declassified Ultra documents since the late 1980’s, but has gone off their own “counter-factual analysis” deep end with their “Previews of Hell” narrative regards the use of Tactical Nukes for Operation Olympic, the invasion of Kyushu.

That is, MacArthur was going to invade radioactive landing beaches in Kyushu.

Both narratives rely extensively on the US Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) to make their points, and what my co-researcher Ryan Crierie and I have found bouncing the USSBS reports against the original wartime documents in MED for the Atomic Program, the 20th Air Force files, Gen Kenney’s Far Eastern Air Force files, and the Olympic planning documents is something completely different. [6]

In short, the USSBS was a completely political document that had nothing to do with the impending Cold War with Russia. There was a whole lot of lyin…”narrative adjustment”…going on related to the unification of the services under the Department of Defense. [See Robert P. Newman’s “Truman and the Hiroshima Cult” for the take down of the USSBS]

The complete defenestration of SHORAN from the USSBS is the prime example of this as the 20th Air Force was going to have 1/5th of all its B-29, plus all Tall boy/Grand Slam bomb equipped B-29’s and all it’s “Silver Plate” A-bomb equipped B-29 get SHORAN. And that there were SHORAN beacon submarines were going to be supporting all of the above. [7]

Understanding who controlled 20th Air Force for Olympic and the ability of A-bomb carrying “Silverplate” B-29 to lay an A-bomb within 500 feet of a target at night and in bad weather using submarine-beacon SHORAN radio-navigation utterly invalidates both narratives. [8]

Between Ultra code breaking and radio direction finding the American military had pinpointed all the major Area Army (AKA Army Group), Army (AKA Corps) and Divisional HQ on Kyushu. With that and and SHORAN guided photo reconnaissance, MacArthur and 20th Air Force were in a position to use nukes to decapitate all Japanese high command on Kyushu near-simultaneous with the invasion landings to keep the Japanese reinforcements against the landings disorganized for the 3-to-5 days they needed to get established.[9]

Nuking the various Japanese HQ would serve the same purpose as the Normandy airborne landings in keeping the major enemy reserves off the beachhead while the landing forces were chewing through the initial line of defense and getting heavy weapons ashore.

There was no way that MacArthur would not go there, as replacing people with firepower is the heart of the American way of war.



See the link enabled list of past commemorative blog posts below —

2017 — Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years

2016 — Happy V-J Day, Plus 71 Years and a Few Days

2015 — Happy V-J Day, at 70 Years Plus a Day and Hiroshima, Nagasaki & The Invasion That Never Was (+70)

2014 — History Friday — The WMD Back-Up Plans for the Atomic Bomb

2013 — History Friday: US Military Preparations The Day Nagasaki Was Nuked

2012 – Nagasaki Plus 67 Years

2011 – Happy V-J Day!

2010 – Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Saving Hirohito’s Phony Baloney Job and
Hiroshima — The A-bomb plus 65 years


Sources and Notes:

[1] See the following sources on the WW2 Japanese Nuclear Programs:

Mr. Robert Pfeffer, Physical Scientist, U.S. Army Nuclear and CWMD Agency, “Japan Had an Atomic Bomb (Genzai Bakuden) Program in WWII?”, Combating WMD Journal Issue 7, [Spring/Summer 2011] pages 16 – 19

New evidence of Japan’s effort to build atom bomb at the end of WWII By JAKE ADELSTEIN AUG 05, 2015 | 3:30 AM | TOKYO 



Japanese Atomic Bomb Project

Date: Wednesday, May 25, 2016



Japanese nuclear weapon program

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



[2] Ibid Wiki article, see text at “Reports of a Japanese weapon test”

[3] Happy VJ-Day, Plus 72 Years, Posted by Trent Telenko on September 2nd, 2017 https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/55768.html

[4] & [5] See Robert Pfeffer, page 19, note #1

[6] “Happy V-J Day, Plus 71 Years and a Few Days”, posted by Trent Telenko on September 6th, 2016 . https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/53760.html See section headed by “EXPERT SHORAN CONSULTANT DAVID GRIGGS…ARRIVING.”

[7], Ibid, see photo of “August 1945 20th Air Force memo to Major General Norstad, Deputy Chief of Staff of the USAAF, concerning the use of “Lifeguard” submarines as beacons for SHORAN guided B-29 raids on Japan.”

[8] Ibid, See text section headed by “NUKES, SHORAN AND GRAVITY’S RAINBOW”

[9] Ibid, See photo of “FEAF Operation Olympic Phase I and II SHORAN Employment Map dated 19 JUN 1945, found in the David Griggs secret files of Record Group 107, NARA’s Maryland archives.”


Background on notes above

The “Happy V-J Day, Plus 71 Years and a Few Days” Chicagoboyz post covers how the USAAF institutional leadership, Chief of Staff of the USAAF, General Arnold; operational commander US Army Strategic Air Forces (USASTAF) General Spaatz and Far Eastern Air Forces (FEAF) General Kenney were trying to win the war with conventional bombing via

  1. The Small City Target Plan — Bombing out the smaller, 100,000 person or less, Japanese cities within range of Saipan to ‘induce’ a surrender;
  2. The Transportation Plan — A massive two month (1 Oct – 30 Nov 1945) long campaign intended to destroy Japan’s rail system; and
  3. Beach Preparations on Kyushu — The proposed B-29 carpet bombing of Kyushu beaches on 29, 30 and 31 October with 100 B–29 delivering 1000 tons of conventional bombs per beach per day for a total of nine kilotons of conventional high explosive bombs.


25 thoughts on “Happy VJ-Day, Plus 73 Years”

  1. I’ve stood on that spot on the deck of the Missouri.

    When VJ Day was announced, my parents had a party that lasted 3 days,

    I was 8 years old and I still remember drunks coming upstairs and falling into bed with my sister and me.

    My cousin went to work and came back to the party,

    Everybody was just ecstatic.

    The bar in this photo was jammed for three days.

    I’m getting old but my mother lived in three centuries, and I am counting on her genes. She remembered the Titanic and World War I. She wrote letters to doughboys.

    I know I won’t make three but there are a few more.

  2. Only some of this was known to me. Thank you.

    I have been familiar for many years with the debunking of the idea that the Japanese were poised for surrender. For years, even decades after, there were bands and individual soldiers who did not surrender. Hiroo Onoda did not surrender until 1974, even when his family and military officers appealed to him. He only did so on the orders of his commanding officer, pulled out of retirement and brought to the Philippines. https://www.amazon.com/No-Surrender-My-Thirty-Year-War/dp/1557506639 This was at the time as fanatical a culture as history has witnessed.

  3. Great work Trent. If you’re right that MacArthur planned on using tactical nukes to flatten Japan, then this essentially means Truman saved Japan from MacArthur. That would bring some new context to Truman’s decision six years later to fire MacArthur in Korea. Similar to before, Truman that time saved China from MacArthur. He seems to have had a real knack for saving the enemy.

  4. Grurray,

    Just to be clear. There are no documents showing how General MacArthur planned to use nukes in the invasion of Japan.

    MacArthur was told too late in the Operation Downfall planning process before the Japanese surrender to incorporate nukes in the invasion for a number of reasons amounting to it being his own damned fault.

    What I am saying is that the Operation Downfall planning points to MacArthur not using nukes on the beaches for reasons I laid out in the comment section to my 2016 V-J Day column —

    The photographic plan for Operation Olympic covered most militarily significant terrain every hour for the 10-days before the invasion, excepts for a few areas that were covered twice an hour.

    The night time photo-flash bomb triggered SHORAN runs — cued by Ultra code breaking and radio direction finding — would have revealed where all the major headquarters and logistical areas for nuclear decapitation strikes.



    Which shows where ULTRA decrypts identified Imperial Japanese Army units were located. Nuclear strikes against the following headquarters (HQ) Japanese reserve formations would have done far more good than making the B-29 carpet bombing rubble bounce at the beaches —

    1. The HQ, 57th Army at Takarabe;
    2. The 57th Army reserve at Honjo made up of the 156th infantry Division and 5th independent tank brigade
    3. The HQ, 40th Army at Ijin;
    4. The Southern Kyushu strategic reserve at Kajiki (77th Infantry Div.)
    5. And finally, the over all HQ for Southern Kyushu, the HQ of 60th Area Army at Futsukaichi

    This would use five of the six available A-bombs, leaving one plus additional production for events during the invasion.

    Even if the HQ of all those organizations were underground and hardened, the wire communications, radio antenna and most importantly the trucks associated with these organizations were not.

    Camouflage is no protection against 3 PSI blast waves would wreck about — an educated guess — 40% of the IJA truck fleet in Southern Kyushu.

    It would take three days to a week for the IJA to regain military coordination after a SHORAN nuclear “Shock and Awe” on the night/morning 30 Oct-Nov 1, 1945. Enough time for the American beachheads to chew through the first line of beach defenses and consolidate on the initial objectives with all of its tanks and heavy artillery.

    The substitution of firepower for people was at the heart of the American way of war and dropping nukes on Axis headquarters and reserves, rather than using paratroopers like was done at Normandy, is something no American commander would have forgone.

  5. Greg Cochran had a post a couple weeks ago on his blog wondering about the lack of Japanese strategic vision that featured a bunch of foolishness in the commente about us being able to starve them into surrender in place of dropping the bombs.

  6. I agree with the other commenters, Trent. This is a great post. I had been familiar with some of the material, but much of it was new to me. I’ve always thought the atomic bomb flim flam promoted by Alperovitz and his fellow travelers on the “progressive” Left has to rank among their most idiotic and dangerous lies. It’s gratifying that, at least in this case, so many intelligent and knowledgeable people have taken the trouble to debunk their rearrangement of history. My father’s division, the 76th Infantry, would almost certainly been one of those assigned to the invasion of the Japanese home islands. They had fought across Germany during 1945, and become battle hardened veterans without being too severely bloodied. My father had survived several close calls, including a dud 88mm round that landed a few feet from him. He probably owed his life to some slave laborer who jimmied the fuze somewhere in the Reich. One of the men in his squad had been shot down next to him in their boat as they crossed the Sauer River from Luxembourg into Germany under withering machine gun and artillery fire. He had to make the wrenching decision to order his men forward out of the killing zone, leaving the man behind. I know it bothered him for the rest of his life. He always said that he was pretty sure “his number would come up” if it came to an invasion of Japan. He later wrote a letter to President Truman, thanking him for dropping the bomb, and received a kind reply from someone on his staff. He was convinced until his dying day that the bomb saved his life and many others.

  7. There were serious issues in transferring troops from Europe to the Pacific. Many non-coms had high points totals and wanted to go home.

    The public was convinced the war was over and even in 1944, Eisenhower had trouble finding enough troops for the Battle of the Bulge.

    I’ve read all the volumes of Pogue’s biography of Marshall and he was having a hard time getting Congress to approve an increase in the draft.

    General Hershey, the Selective Service chief, was very reluctant to increase the drafts,

    I doubt the army could have been moved to the Pacific before 1946, if then, and the public might well have rebelled and insisted on some sort of armistice or a submarine only campaign.

  8. Wow…sure wish I’d had access to that information back in 1978 when I wrote my final paper for “History Of The Atomic Bomb” at the University of Washington.

    I know I totally missed the importance of the two DIFFERENT bombs dropped representing two different bomb production lines, not that I could have proved the utility of that observation without the information about Japan’s Army and Navy A-bomb program physicists being able to analyze, discover and report those facts up their chains of command.

    Of course, I’d probably have received an even worse grade for not only arguing in favor of the decision to drop the bombs, but then proving with era specific documents it was absolutely necessary.

    How rude!


  9. I’ve added Amazon links to the Military History books and and links to the articles by Drea, Frank, etc.

  10. >>I doubt the army could have been moved to the Pacific before 1946, if then, and the public might well have rebelled and insisted on some sort of armistice or a submarine only campaign.

    MacArthur did not plan to include any European divisions in either Operation Olympic in Kyushu of the initial portions of the Operation Coronet amphibious landings on Honshu, which would have been successful. However, moving out from the beach heads would have required many of the ETO divisions and they would not have been ready.

    The biggest intial problems would have been the the XIII Corps and its two Armored Divisions, the 13th and 20th, inside of 8th Army. These were low combat time redeploying ETO units and they were going to be amphibiously loaded _in California_ and spend 30 days on amphibious transports before landing in Japan.

    All with a reequipping of the two armored divisions with
    1) All three tank battalions with M26 Pershings and M24 Chaffee for M4 Shermans and M5 Stuarts respectively,
    2) All three armored infantry battalions from Halftracks to M39 full tracked open topped APC (Based on M18
    Hellcat chassis) and
    3) All three armored artillery battalions from M7 Priest 105mm SP howitzers to M37 105mm Howitzers (based on
    the M24 Chaffee chassis).

    These two armored divisions would spend two months travelling from Europe, get a month of stateside leave, then get reequipped and loaded on transports in California, spend a month on ships crossing the Pacific and _THEN_ go directly into combat on the Kanto Plain in Japan.

    It would not have turned out well.

  11. My grandfather had already been moved from Europe to the West Coast in preparation for transport across the Pacific for the invasion. The guys who had to do that were not happy.

    I’m not aware of any chance that Americans would have supported an armistice, but if it had gotten out that there was a new superweapon that could have ended the war but it wasn’t used, there would have been absolute hell to pay. All the revisionist nonsense in the world can’t change how absolutely ecstatic people were that the war was over, without the expected catastrophic losses of an invasion of Japan.

  12. I put what a great number of contemporary Americans might have been thinking about VJ day in a story from the Luna City Chronicles … oh, my, two years ago? How the time flies, in blog-years!

    “…now the war was over, with an abruptness that left everyone dizzy with happiness and relief. Stephen was twenty-four, Doug twenty-six. Because of this all-of-a-sudden, newfangled, and amazingly powerful bomb dropping on two cities that practically no one had heard of ever before, Doug and Stephen and hundreds of thousands of other young men were assured of living to be another year older. And for that, Miss Letty would be grateful for all the rest of her own life.”

  13. There was a guy a while back who used to turn up on Baen’s bar.

    Interesting backstory.

    His Japanese side family was full on Samurai going back millenia. During the ’30s his GGF had ordered a daughter (GM) to woo and marry an American Naval Attache.

    Not as a spy or a cover, though. The GGF, who was part of the Industrial High Command, could see the war coming and had a better understanding than most of the MILITARY of how devastating it would be.

    By marrying a daughter to an American, he spread out the genes and thus guaranteed the survival of the family.

    Which turned out to be quite prescient.

    By the time of the dropping of the bombs there were no living male members of the family who were of any reasonable military age. Only very young males, old men (such as GGF).

    The family was from Hiroshima.

    The bomb was dropped while GGF was in Tokyo.

    GGF and GM (safely in America) were the total survivors of a thousand plus year old family.

    GGF later moved to America in his declining years and the guy on the Bar talked about it. Talked about the young children being trained to be suicide bombers. All the rest.

    ‘The bombs were the best thing that ever happened to Japan. There would be no Japan left if America had not dropped them.’

    The ‘Atomic Diplomacy’ narrative was always recognized as bullshit by most of the people who were there and had skin in the game.

    The Japs were never going to surrender without the bomb.

    It’s the only reason that Halsey’s prediction didn’t come true. (‘At the end of this war, Japanese will be spoken only in hell.’)

    The thing about ‘two production lines’ was interesting as was the data on taking out all the HQs.

    Olympus would have been interesting in a horrifying, saddening historical sense.

    What ifs that are better off as ‘what ifs’.

  14. JR,

    The unwillingness of the “Atomic Diplomacy” crowd to credit the Japanese as a smart, organized, human enemy with an alien culture. As opposed to either being objects for their virtue signaling morality play, or worse treated as children who are not responsible for their actions, has always struck me as unthinking cultural arrogance of the first order.

    That thought and a couple of e-mails from my co-researcher Ryan Crierie, which I dropped in the comments section of my 2017 V-J Day column, was genesis for this year’s V-J Day column.

    See Ryan Criere here —

    I don’t think anyone has pointed out that the Japanese had some very smart people in their universities who could do some crude order of magnitude calculations on the amount of critical mass fissile needed to cause that much damage to Hiroshima.

    Heisenberg when he first heard of Hiroshima did a calculation that said the critical mass necessary was about 13 metric tons, then a later calculation that was only 80 kg.

    The Japanese would have had the same people capable of doing a rough cut in their universities and then estimating the magnitude of industrial effort to get said fissile, based upon what had been known pre war for early uranium experiments.

    Plus through their SIGINT, they’d know the order of battle (roughly) for the 509th along with the rest of the 20th AAF.

    So I’d imagine it’d go like this:

    “Prime minister, the economic analysis of the new weapon indicates that it takes only about 1800 personnel and 20 heavy aircraft to operationally deliver it and it achieves damage equal to a very successful fire raid with a very high probability of success that would otherwise require a full application of the 20th AAF and x men and X planes.

    Our strategic plan to outlast the Americans through Yamato spirit until they grow tired of the economic costs of supporting operations against the homeland just got destroyed, sir.

  15. Trent,

    I disagree about this being lefty cultural arrogance. IMO it’s all anti-Americanism, though they do this with Israel too.

    Lefty tenets of faith start with (1) nothing happens unless the US makes it happen, (2) US enemies are only backdrops upon which the US does awful things, and (3) that it isn’t a war unless the US fights back.

    Change US to Israel and they believe the same thing. But the US is their chief devil. They hate freedom.

  16. Tom H,

    I disagree with your comment as it is too narrow.

    The Left hates Western civilization generally.

    In that pantheon of hate the USA are 1 & 2, but its hate is in no way limited to those Western polities.

  17. Giangreco’s “Hell to Pay” (2007; much expanded 2d ed. in the last year) is conspicuous by its absence in the bibliography.

    Not only MacArthur, but Marshall was very interested in using nukes to isolate the Kyushu beachheads; the Army estimated they would have about 6 available at the start of Olympic.

    Re Japanese nuclear scientists–they quickly determined that the Hiroshima bomb was HEU and knowing how hard it had to be to enrich uranium, they advised that it was unlikely the US had any more such bombs, or could produce many in the near future. But when they found Pu-239 in the Nagasaki bomb they knew the jig was up, b/c if the Americans had a reactor to produce enough Pu-239 for one bomb, said reactor could produce enough to make (likely) a couple such bombs per month. Which was in fact the case at Hanford.

    So, while not planned as such, the second bomb really was critical to the Japanese decision to surrender. Might have been different had the first bomb been Pu-239…

  18. Another point to make is that the atomic bombs are the only factor mentioned specifically by Hirohito in his “surrender” message, the “Jewel Voice Broadcast.”

    In this speech, he says that everyone — military, government, and civilian — has done all they could but to no avail.

    Then, new paragraph, he says:

    “Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives…” [Jewel Voice Broadcast, wiki page]

    As I read this, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki gave an opening to Hirohito to insist that the military accept the Potsdam conditions to end the war.

    (And yes, two bombs had to be used. The first bomb said, “We have a new type of weapon with great destructive power.” The second bomb said, “We have lots of them and will use them until Japan surrenders or is completely destroyed.”)

  19. Martin Johnson said —

    >>Giangreco’s “Hell to Pay” (2007; much expanded 2d ed. in the last year) is conspicuous by its absence in the bibliography.


    Short form, Everything Giangreco said regards the Japanese, the A-bomb and civilian casualties Franks said better, earlier and with better research.

    Everything Giangreco says about what the Japanese were about to do to the Americans fails upon close examination. This impeaches Giangreco as a source without a lot of primary source checking.

    Longer form:

    Giangreco’s issue, in my view, is his ideological pounding the whole “Previews of Hell” narrative while over looking at the adaptations MacArthur’s people were making in light of their experiences and that of 10th Army on Okinawa.

    Off the top of my head for “What the h*ll?”

    o The Japanese anti-tank rifle
    o The Japanese suicide boats
    o The Japanese plywood and canvas bi-plane Kamikazes

    The 6th Army had dealt with the Japanese 20mm ATR extensively in Leyte and Luzon. It had a huge weakness as an Anti-tank weapon. It’s recoil was so bad the thing had to be staked into the ground so it didn’t break the shoulder of it’s user.

    Thus it could only hit stationary targets or hit a pre-set point like a bend in a mountain road. Not a few trucks, half tracks and light tanks were lost in the mountains of Luzon to the 20mm ATR. This did not happen in the rice paddy’s of either Leyte or Luzon. The 20mm ATR’s ability to hit the belly armor of a Sherman tank crawling out of a rice paddy was so minimal as to be miraculous in combat.

    Regards Japanese suicide boats, the 7th Fleet LCI gunboats got caught at anchor at Manila bay and off the Lingayen Gulf. By the time of the Southern Philippines campaign the 7th Fleet’s amphibious forces were using hunter killer patrols of PT-Boats and 5th AF fighters to kill nests of boats and surrounding their at anchor shipping with floating boom’s that the suicide boats escaping the hunter-killer teams could not get over to strike the amphibious shipping.

    The 7th Fleet got Nimitz’s command to include the use ~200 PT-boat’s as a part of the Operation Olympic landings for “Skunk patrols” around the landing sites. Something Adm Turner had refused to do at Okinawa.

    Finally, the whole issue of Japanese plywood and canvas “Stealth” bi-plane Kamikazes is so overblown as to be fantasy.

    Yes the Japanese sank a DD and damaged another with these planes after the official end of the Okinawa campaign.

    No, the issue wasn’t the radar stealthiness of the platform. It was the skill of the pilots flying them. High flight hour instructor pilots with night flying experience were a rare commodity in August 1945.

    And please carefully note it was a group of planes acting a coordinated fashion, by surprise, on a bright moonlit night, in an environment where the US Navy was not using smoke.

    See the following from “COMINCH P-0011 Anti-Suicide Action Summary, August 1945”


    During an attack on Task Group 95.5 at 0100 on 29 July the Japanese used biplane trainers. They were described as flimsily constructed of wood and fabric.

    The action occurred during very bright moonlight, the enemy using several planes simultaneously in coordinated attacks. The Callaghan (DD792) was sunk and the Pritchett (DD5G1) was damaged.

    Although the planes were believed to have approached at an altitude of 1,000 feet they were not picked up by any ship until they had closed to 13 miles. The maximum speed at which they were tracked was 90 knots, but they were extremely maneuverable and expertly piloted.

    Use of such training planes in night attacks may be expected to increase. Despite their low speed these trainers represent AA targets almost as difficult as the fast but less-maneuverable combat planes.

    Their type of construction has led to concern as to the effectiveness of our current weapons in countering them. The standard TD2C drone is of full plywood construction, although currently it is doctored by a wire netting to more closely approach the radar reflection characteristics of service planes. In its stripped condition, however, it closely resembles the Japanese trainer.

    The stripped TD2C will give a reliable burst radius of 30 feet with Mark 53 fuzes. This represents considerable reduction from the 100-foot burst radius of a service aircraft, but the low speed and greater vulnerability of a trainer should offset this to some extent. The over-all effectiveness of VT on the Japanese trainer should be about equal that on a service aircraft.

    The wooden and fabric plane should be very vulnerable to 40-mm. fire. Doped fabric panels are sufficient to activate the standard 40-mm. fuze, and the structural damage of a hit should be great. The 20-mm. fuze will require hits on wing spars, fittings, engine or tanks to be activated.

    Radar characteristics of the TD2C should be applicable to those of enemy trainers. The stripped drone gives the following results:

    Type radar Maximum observed range Maximum trackable range
    …………… Yards………………. Yards
    SC ……………….120,000* ……………..(N/A)
    Mark 4 ……………..22,000………. 18,000
    Mark 22 ……………..12,000………. 12,000
    * Early warning radar

    MacArthur’s theater seems to have been the only one in WW2 that managed to learn from other people’s mistakes without having to directly experience them first.

    And in terms of some high tech warfare tools — electronic warfare, the use of land based radar in amphibious operations and SHORAN — MacArthur’s theater was the best in the world.

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