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Your assessment of 'Operation downfall'

Muldoon

What is this devilry?
it would have failed.

The Japanese knew exactly when and where the landings were going to take place and had massed the largest kamikaze force in history to meet it. The terrain was also a defenders dream for both Olympic and Coronet which the Japanese had prepared very effectively.

Japan still loses but it would probably be through starvation and bombing
 
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Celene

Guest
it would have failed.

The Japanese knew exactly when and where the landings were going to take place and had massed the largest kamikaze force in history to meet it. The terrain was also a defenders dream for both Olympic and Coronet which the Japanese had prepared very effectively.

Japan still loses but it would probably be through starvation and bombing
Yes, this is a conclusion I've come to myself a long while ago, I'm unsure of what others think.

I've done a lot of research into the situation and the americans seemed wholly unprepared.

I think the best case scenario for them if it happened, would be the Kamikaze attacks being effective enough to possibly cause the Americans to abort before they even begin major landings.

Divine wind 3.0 indeed.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
Operation Downfall was the clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks. Even Operation Unthinkable pales in comparison to this.

Also, about that kamikaze force, the US Navy already planned for it by sending a decoy force that looked exactly like the invasion force but the main difference is that these ships would be loaded not with troops but with every AA gun they could strap onto them. This force's main purpose is to basically draw out as much of the kamikaze force as possible and shoot them down. Not to mention that by this time the USN was deploying as many 3"/50cal Mk 27/33/34 guns (which were specifically designed for this sort of thing) they could in preparation for this as well, alongside as many Fletchers and Gearings getting VT fuses for their 5"/38cal guns... then there is the Des Moines being deployed to the operation too and that thing is a floating air denial system back then. Not only that, but the USN -in preparation for this- deployed every carrier they could for the operation and loaded them with as many fighters as they could...

 
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Celene

Guest
Operation Downfall was the clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks. Even Operation Unthinkable pales in comparison to this.

Also, about that kamikaze force, the US Navy already planned for it by sending a decoy force that looked exactly like the invasion force but the main difference is that these ships would be loaded not with troops but with every AA gun they could strap onto them. This force's main purpose is to basically draw out as much of the kamikaze force as possible and shoot them down. Not to mention that by this time the USN was deploying as many 3"/50cal Mk 27/33/34 guns (which were specifically designed for this sort of thing) they could in preparation for this as well, alongside as many Fletchers and Gearings getting VT fuses for their 5"/38cal guns... then there is the Des Moines being deployed to the operation too and that thing is a floating air denial system back then. Not only that, but the USN -in preparation for this- deployed every carrier they could for the operation and loaded them with as many fighters as they could...

I mean whether or not that would have successfully countered the kamikazes is another question.

I also doubt the decoy plan would have worked due to the Japanese opting to send an absolutely massive amount planes over an extended period of constant attacks , meaning there would be ample time to course correct.

Not to mention the host of alternative suicide weapons being deployed which I'm not even sure the Americans knew about (I assume the had some idea, don't know how much)

I'm leaning towards no, as I don't think any level of massed anti air was effective enough to repel several hundred kamikaze at a time in the short period they would be attacking.

The better defence IMO would have been the fighter forces, but even then it's more difficult then it seems to effectively engage enemies that aren't actually trying to fight you.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I mean whether or not that would have successfully countered the kamikazes is another question.

I also doubt the decoy plan would have worked due to the Japanese opting to send an absolutely massive amount planes over an extended period of constant attacks , meaning there would be ample time to course correct.

Not to mention the host of alternative suicide weapons being deployed which I'm not even sure the Americans knew about (I assume the had some idea, don't know how much)

I'm leaning towards no, as I don't think any level of massed anti air was effective enough to repel several hundred kamikaze at a time in the short period they would be attacking.

The better defence IMO would have been the fighter forces, but even then it's more difficult then it seems to effectively engage enemies that aren't actually trying to fight you.
Here is the thing, they retrofitted bombers (mostly B-17s) to act as AWACS in preparation for this operation (this conversion would later be applied to B-29s during the Cold War and be used during the Berlin Airlift), the operation specifically had the outer islands around Kyusu taken first to minimize the risk of suicide boats, the US deception plans were more than just trying to get as few soldiers on the real front lines as possible but also to deceive the IJA that the group that sails first would be the main force and lure the kamikaze force into a trap, the US also had aircraft superiority with the kamikazes being mostly made up of old aircraft, then there is the fact that the US was prepared to dump the world's largest chemical weapons stockpile in the history of mankind (Saddam's stockpile? Peanuts compared to the stockpile prepared for Downfall) on Japan itself (likely also has gas mask defeating agents in the mix too).

The US had planned to win it, but as opponents said 'the only way that Japanese will be spoken would be in hell'...
Assuming the US had the will to force the issue, it would have succeeded, but the casualties on the American and Japanese sides, not to mention all the civilian casualties that would have to happen along the way would have made the Atomic Bombs' death toll look pathetic in comparison.
The US had the will mind you, it was unconditional surrender or nothing... and given what the Imperialists were willing to go through with, simply starving them out would probably be pointless. The atomic bombs gave the Emperor and the Peace faction an out that they needed to convince all but the hardest of the hard core Imperialists that surrender is the only option.
 
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Celene

Guest
oh another thing. many people will conflate 'operation downfall' with 'invasion of japan' I believe America could have won the latter, just not with the Specifics of the former.
 
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Celene

Guest
Here is the thing, they retrofitted bombers (mostly B-17s) to act as AWACS in preparation for this operation (this conversion would later be applied to B-29s during the Cold War and be used during the Berlin Airlift), the operation specifically had the outer islands around Kyusu taken first to minimize the risk of suicide boats, the US deception plans were more than just trying to get as few soldiers on the real front lines as possible but also to thing that the group that sails first would be the main force and lure the kamikaze force into a trap, the US also had aircraft superiority with the kamikazes being mostly made up of old aircraft, then there is the fact that the US was prepared to dump the world's largest chemical weapons stockpile in the history of mankind (Saddam's stockpile? Peanuts compared to the stockpile prepared for Downfall) on Japan itself (likely also has gas mask defeating agents in the mix too).

The US had planned to win it, but as opponents said 'the only way that Japanese will be spoken would be in hell'...

The US had the will mind you, it was unconditional surrender or nothing... and given what the Imperialists were willing to go through with, simply starving them out would probably be pointless. The atomic bombs gave the Emperor and the Peace faction an out that they needed to convince all but the hardest of the hard core Imperialists that surrender is the only option.
I can't see these retrofitted B17s having much of an effect on the Japanese air forces. for example despite having a much larger space in between them, a much much smaller kamikaze force, coming from an easily predictable position and still facing comparative air superiority and anti air, the Okinawa Kamikaze attacks were still quite effective as they go.

Keep in mind the majority of Japans air losses before they resorted to kamikaze's had to do with the massive distances they had to fly to engage their enemies (Who were comparatively just off the ground) and then had to fly back, while still under enemy air superiority which meant that it was really hard for them to not be shot down, in other words, despite there being a clear difference in aircraft ability, Japanese aircraft were not as ineffective as their loses might indicate. Which is why, when they swapped to one way Kamikaze attacks, their effectiveness increased quite a bit, among other reasons of course (Obviously their lose rate increased, but you get the idea)
 

Kylia Quilor

Hopeless Romantic and Nerd
Author
The US had the will mind you, it was unconditional surrender or nothing... and given what the Imperialists were willing to go through with, simply starving them out would probably be pointless. The atomic bombs gave the Emperor and the Peace faction an out that they needed to convince all but the hardest of the hard core Imperialists that surrender is the only option.
I don't know if the American people would have had the will for those casualties. I've read estimates of like, well over a hundred thousand dying in the first few weeks, potentially. Or something along those lines.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I don't know if the American people would have had the will for those casualties. I've read estimates of like, well over a hundred thousand dying in the first few weeks, potentially. Or something along those lines.
The thing is that there is really no other alternative as outside of the nukes, Downfall is the only other 'fast' method available. Operation Starvation would take two years to do it's job by some estimates based on data from the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.
I can't see these retrofitted B17s having much of an effect on the Japanese air forces. for example despite having a much larger space in between them, a much much smaller kamikaze force, coming from an easily predictable position and still facing comparative air superiority and anti air, the Okinawa Kamikaze attacks were still quite effective as they go.

Keep in mind the majority of Japans air losses before they resorted to kamikaze's had to do with the massive distances they had to fly to engage their enemies (Who were comparatively just off the ground) and then had to fly back, while still under enemy air superiority which meant that it was really hard for them to not be shot down, in other words, despite there being a clear difference in aircraft ability, Japanese aircraft were not as ineffective as their loses might indicate. Which is why, when they swapped to one way Kamikaze attacks, their effectiveness increased quite a bit, among other reasons of course (Obviously their lose rate increased, but you get the idea)
Those B-17s were essentially AWACS mate, the moment the kamikazes start flying, the B-17s would detect them and send fighters to intercept. Also, the Japanese airforce at this point was simply just kamikazes, as the US completely and utterly annihilated their air corps and the aircraft in use by both the USN and USAAF were basically superior to anything the Japanese could even hope to field. The USAAF and USN fighter corps knew Japanese air tactics far better than the Japanese at that point...
 
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Celene

Guest
Those B-17s were essentially AWACS mate, the moment the kamikazes start flying, the B-17s would detect them and send fighters to intercept. Also, the Japanese airforce at this point was simply just kamikazes, as the US completely and utterly annihilated their air corps and the aircraft in use by both the USN and USAAF were basically superior to anything the Japanese could even hope to field. The USAAF and USN fighter corps knew Japanese air tactics far better than the Japanese at that point...
My point was, it wasn't that hard to know when the planes were coming anyway, The americans always had a good idea of when and where japanese planese were coming from. From the very specific direction of Kyushu, to attack the very specific landing forces, just like Okinawa. I guess they could spot them pretty quickly, but that's hardly overly effective. Knowing where aircraft are coming from/when was something that actually well, happened in WW2 quite often, and it was never a decisive factor like it is later on in history.

Also I don't know why you are bringing this up, I never said their air force wasn't mostly Kamikazes.

Also japan Fielded several aircraft that were equal to their american Peers. Just never enough.
 

Muldoon

What is this devilry?
Operation Downfall was the clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks. Even Operation Unthinkable pales in comparison to this.

Also, about that kamikaze force, the US Navy already planned for it by sending a decoy force that looked exactly like the invasion force but the main difference is that these ships would be loaded not with troops but with every AA gun they could strap onto them. This force's main purpose is to basically draw out as much of the kamikaze force as possible and shoot them down. Not to mention that by this time the USN was deploying as many 3"/50cal Mk 27/33/34 guns (which were specifically designed for this sort of thing) they could in preparation for this as well, alongside as many Fletchers and Gearings getting VT fuses for their 5"/38cal guns... then there is the Des Moines being deployed to the operation too and that thing is a floating air denial system back then. Not only that, but the USN -in preparation for this- deployed every carrier they could for the operation and loaded them with as many fighters as they could...

A good plan, but the Japanese wouldn't have gone for it. Their tactic was not to go for the USN fleet at sea, or even the carriers, they were going to wait until the US landing force had anchored in the bay and was deploying soldiers to the beach. The target of the Kamikazes were the troop ships which were far less defended than true warships and their goal was to inflict as many casualties as possible in an effort to shake US public morale. The Kamikazes were I think only going to be sent in a day or two after the landings began when the US had decided there was no serious opposition.
The US was firmly committed and did expect massive losses, but there are limits. The plan for Coronet depended on using the same troop ships as Olympic so every ship lost to Kamikazes is a delay to Coronet as the vessel is replaced. Lose too many and resupplying troops already ashore becomes a big problem.
The USN was also planning on leaving only escort carriers in the area, the fleet carriers and battleships were tasked to continue attacking infrastructure as they had been doing earlier leaving a very weak CAP over the landing zones, they just didn't expect any meaningful air attacks as US intel underestimated both the numbers, skill and fuel reserves of the Japanese.

There was also a huge problem with the VT fuses and that was that they were configured to engage the all metal IJN combat aircraft whereas in this battle they would be facing training aircraft which were mainly wood. Because they had less metal they had less of a radar return which spoofed the VT fuses causing them to detonate too late and miss the target. The Navy quickly identified this and began manufacturing more sensitive fuses but they weren't due to be ready in numbers until well after Olympic.
Additionally these Kamikaze weren't the barely trained waves of previous attacks but would be led by the instructors instead. These fellows had a massive advantage and that was the ability to fly at night. Almost all kamikazes were daylight attacks as the novice pilots couldn't navigate at night but the instructors could. They would also of course use the hilly terrain to mask their approach.

So what do we have? A massive night attack led by skilled pilots using terrain to evade radar attacking targets the USN didn't expect in numbers not believed to be possible. The two best defences, VT fuses and an aggressive CAP, aren't going to be available as the US main forces is ranging up and down the coast and not massed enough to meet this attack. And once the troop ships are crippled you have a vast number of experienced Japanese soldiers including the core of the Kwantung army and all the remaining tanks poised to counter attack against the troops already on the beaches. They would also have no doubt sent in the last of their real pilots including several legendary aces to engage US aircraft first, though the night kamikaze attack would probably have been an OCP.

The key to this entire plan was good intel, and the US had absolutely terrible intel. They vastly underestimated Japanese air power and concluded that even if they did have aircraft they had no fuel for them because they failed to spot the last oil tanker which miraculously avoided the US subs and brought enough fuel for the big kamikaze run. The US fleet would have continued aggressively bombing Japan but in doing so would have sailed away from the invasion beaches leaving only support ships to defend the transports which were stationary, hampered by terrain and filled with bodies. We know from Okinawa what happens when Kamikazes use terrain to avoid detection and it isn't good. Their target wasn't the carriers as the USN expected and were going to use as bait, but instead just to take as many lives as possible.
It wasn't until post war that the US investigated Japanese war records and found exactly what they were up against. The US planned for six million casualties with at least a million dead for these two operations and that was without knowing the full extent of Japanese defences.
 

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