The Imperial Japanese Surrender in Tokyo Bay, Sept. 2, 1945…Plus 75 Years

On September 2, 1945, the surrender ceremony for Imperial Japan occurred in Tokyo  Bay with General Douglas MacArthur officiating.

There are several films of this event. There was the official one MacArthur’s Signal Corps camera crew recorded.  There is a film from war correspondent William Courtenay and a finally a film taken by Commander George F. Kosco of the US Navy.

I have included in this post several versions of each of these films in black and white and color below.

The end of this ceremony marked the close of the most destructive war in human history whose 75th anniversary passed today.

 

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Happy VJ-Day, Plus 75 Years.

Happy VJ-day!

Seventy five years ago today the Imperial Japanese Government broadcast their unconditional acceptance of the terms Potsdam Proclamation.  It would take several weeks to arrange the surrender in Tokyo bay and more time to land an occupation force to begin disarmament.  Yet it is this day that is remembered.

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.

Chicagoboyz has commemorated this day — more or less — since 2010.

Below is a link list with thumb nail descriptions of the columns.

2020 – Hiroshima and the Atomic Bomb…Plus 75 Years.

This column speaks to how the US military use it’s secret SIGSALY digital radio-telephone system to communicate about the Atomic Bomb.

2019 — The Collapse of Atomic Diplomacy…Again?

This months delayed column was on a 2011 NHK documentary titled as follows:

“Atomic bombing – top secret information that was never utilized

原爆投下 活(い)かされなかった極秘情報”

The NHK documentary answers questions that “Atomic Diplomacy” has never bothered to ask. Specifically “What did the Imperial Japanese Military & Government know about the American nuclear weapon program, when did it know it, and what did it do about it.”

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Hiroshima and the Atomic Bomb…Plus 75 Years.

Today’s date, 6 August 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Some where in the neighborhood of 70,000–80,000 people in Hiroshima were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm that reached it’s peak three hours after the detonation.  Japanese military personnel made up 20,000 of the 70,000–80,000 immediate deaths.   This bombing set in motion a train of events including the subsequent atomic bombing of Nagasaki, the Soviet Union’s accelerated invasion of Japanese occupied Manchuria on 9 August 1945 and Emperor Hirohito’s 15 August 1945 broadcast of Japan’s surrender under the terms laid out by the Potsdam Declaration.

Much has been written on these events and I’ve revisited them here on Chicagoboyz annually from 2011 to 2018.  This year, 2020, I’m going to address a different part of the Atomic attacks.  Namely, how the American military electronically communicated about the Atomic bomb.  How the secrecy and limitations of that communications system meant Admiral Nimitz knew about the Atomic bomb long before General MacArthur. And how General  MacArthur was working to change that for the proposed and cancelled by A-Bomb invasion of Southern Japan

Figure 1 – This is the mushroom cloud marking the use of the “Little Boy” uranium-235 atomic bomb dropped from the B-29 “Enola Gay.” This photo was taken from the B-29 “Necessary Evil” which was piloted by Captain George W. Marquardt.

 

AMERICA’S SECRET TALKER

In World War 2 many of the major powers developed strategic level code & cypher radio electronic communications systems between it’s top level political & military leaders and the various theater commanders.  The German Geheimschreiber (secret writer) is the best known of these systems because British crypt-analysts at Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park with the the aid of eventually ten Colossus computers.

Much less well know is the Anglo-American equivalent of the German Geheimschreiber,  The US Army Signal Corps and Bell Telephone Laboratories SIGSALY.  This system was the only form of secret broadcast radio-electronic communications the American and British government trusted to transmit information on the Atomic bomb in the World War II.   It was due in large part to that level of communications security that Admiral Nimitz was informed of the atomic bomb before General MacArthur.  Admiral Nimitz in Hawaii and later Guam was reachable by SIGSALY after his initial courier briefing.  General MacArthur between October 1944 and May 1945 was not, for a number of reasons I’ll get into a little later.

First, a quick introduction: SIGSALY was a highly secret WW2 digital voice communications system that used a special one-time pad encryption.  There were only 12 station made in all of WW2 and MacArthur’s had two.  The first in Brisbane was sent to Manila.  The 2nd SIGSALY meant for Hollandia was instead placed in a Australian built barge barge in the SWPA “Signal Corps Grand fleet,” a motley collection of small ships and barges with powerful Signal Corps radios.  The barge mounted SIGSALY  was intended for quick sea movement and it was key for MacArthur’s communications at Okinawa and Kyushu during the planned invasion of Japan.

Figure 2 – This is a SIGSALY digital radio-telephone system screen captured from the Crypto Museum web site.  

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The Beginning of the Okinawa Campaign — Plus 75 years

In the press of events related to the Great Wuhan Coronavirus Pandemic, many anniversaries of the Second World War have been passing by with little notice and less comment.  For example, April 1st 2020 was the 75th Anniversary of the April  1st 1945 “Love-Day” landings on the western shores of Okinawa.

This is the West Point Atlas map of the 1 April 1945 Love Day landings through 8 April 1945.
Figure 1 – This is the West Point Atlas map of both the 1 April 1945 Love Day landings through 8 April 1945 and initial Imperial Japanese 32nd Army dispositions to defend Okinawa.

The Okinawa campaign in WW2 has often been described as marking the end old style total war. Where “cork screw and blow torch” close combat to the death between American attackers “who fought to live” and Japanese defenders who “died in order to fight” played out its last dance.

This is a photo of the USMC III Corps Landing beachhead on Okinawa a April 1945.
Figure 2 – This is a photo of the USMC III Corps Landing beachhead on Okinawa April 1, 1945.

Upon closer examination, as this 75th anniversary article series will demonstrate, Okinawa is far better described as a high tech war for the electromagnetic spectrum between technological peer competitors air and naval forces.  A “secret radar war,” if you will, where two opposing command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) sensor networks were directing land, sea and air forces in a series of both combat and logistical moves and countermoves.

And while the less advanced, and organizationally deficient, Japanese military lost Okinawa proper. It still took advantage of the primarily US Navy institutional biases, American military inter-service rivalries, logistical planning weaknesses caused by that rivalry and US Navy’s unwillingness to learn from “non-approved” sources to never the less defeat the US Navy’s original Phase III plan to overrun the upper Ryukyu’s and install island air and radar bases close enough Kyushu to properly provide land based air superiority for the invasion of Japan.

These campaign objective failures were hidden in tales of US Navy destroyer picket heroism in the “Fleet That Came to Stay:…and classified top secret files…because of the coming budget war associated with the pending merger of the War and Navy department’s into the Department of Defense.  After 75 years, this series will part the curtains on these hidden histories.

 

This is a map of the Ryukyu Island chain with Okinawa at the lower center-right. It's location would allow American airpower to dominate the sea lanes from China and Korea to Japan. Phase III of Operation Iceberg was to capture Miyako Jima for the RAF Bomber Command Tiger Force as well as Kikaiga Jima, Amami Oshima and Tokuno Shima for fighter bases to cover the Operation Olympic landings on Kyushu.
figure 3 – This is a map of the Ryukyu Island chain with Okinawa at the lower center-right. It’s location would allow American airpower to dominate the sea lanes from China and Korea to Japan. Phase III of Operation Iceberg was to capture Miyako Jima at the lower center-left for the RAF Bomber Command Tiger Force as well as Kikaiga Jima, Amami Oshima and Tokuno Shima for USAAF & USMC fighter bases to cover the planned Operation Olympic landings on Kyushu.

Too accomplish that objective, this series will examine the planned goals of the Operation Iceberg campaign against what was accomplished. How various American military institutions, doctrine and planning failed.  And why the defeat of the US Navy’s  Phase III plans set the stage for an American blood bath of preventable naval casualties during the planned Operation Olympic assault of the Japanese home islands, had the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki not made the invasion of Japan unnecessary.

The yellow highlighted names on this map show island in the Ryukyu chain that hosted Japanese air bases that were used through out the 83 day Okinawa campaign as staging areas for kamikaze, spotter and snooper aircraft. These bases were never fully suppressed by American or British air strikes.
Figure 4 – The yellow highlighted names on this map show islands in the Ryukyu chain that hosted Japanese air bases that were used through out the 83 day Okinawa campaign as staging areas for kamikaze, visual spotter and radar snooper aircraft. These bases were never fully suppressed by American or British carrier air strikes. Three of these air bases were scheduled for invasion and capture in the Operation Iceberg Phase III plans. None of these bases were taken due to US Navy casualties from the fanatical Japanese resistance on and around Okinawa.

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