Operation Downfall, part two

Operation Downfall/Olympic

In a memo from the Undersecretary of the Navy, a project named “Dagwood” was mentioned, but I am unable to locate any details. MacArthur sent out a deceptive message (with slip-shot secrecy) to be intercepted by the Japanese called “Pastel Two.” This showed a detailed “plan” about Allied landings on the China coast. The Panama Canal had a steady stream of ships loaded with men, equipment and supplies. Seven more atomic bombs were on order for “Operation Olympic” British, Canadian and Australian divisions were to be re-equipped with American weapons and logistical support to standardize the entire operation. The Allied planners felt they would ultimately involve 5 million men. (Operation Overlord in Europe totaled 150,000 men and 1,500 tanks.) They expected opposition from 5,000 kamikazes, which proved later to be correct. The main objective for “Olympic” would be to secure Kagoshima Wan; a great landlocked bay for which men and supplies would flow through for the post-invasion buildup.

Operation Coronet would follow Olympic on 1 March 1946 and would be a more massive invasion. The main objective then would be Tokyo Bay on Honshu.

The Naval plans were also far too complex for me to completely list here, but to give you an idea – Halsey’s Third Fleet was assigned eastern Honshu and the Fifth Fleet would take western Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. The Seventh Fleet would be at Korea (south of the 38th parallel) and Admiral Fletcher’s North Pacific Force would cover Hokkaido.

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Saipan

After the fall of Saipan, Japan knew they were forced to strengthen their homeland defenses. Yet this progress was moving slowly; labor was scarce, with the lack of fuel their mobilization was slow, production, food and weapons were decreasing rapidly. The country was becoming very tired of war. Covering the Japanese islands were four ground armies of eight divisions and 14 cadre divisions; plus three air defense divisions. Immense manpower groups were expected to bring this to 56 divisions, 38 brigades, somewhere in the vicinity of 2 million new men. War materiel was to be brought in from Manchuria. The Japanese plan of defense was called “Ketsu-Go.”

Japanese defenses

I realize the map is difficult to view even after you click on it, but try to see the black squares which represent Japanese defenses with artillery.

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The 11th Airborne, training the reinforcements and handling the “mopping-up” details on Luzon were beginning to set odds on whether or not the war would end before “Olympic” went into play. The combined “Operation Downfall” was a “go” up until the ink on the surrender papers dried.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

From Paul Putnam for his father Robert, a veteran of the 11th Airborne Division.

Robert Putnam

Robert Putnam

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Military Humor –  WW I  Style – 

“I’m HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME.”🙄

Not much different than WWII, eh?

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Farewell Salutes – 

Warren “Bill” Allen – Spofford, NH; USMC, WWII, air traffic comptroller

Margaret “Marty” Bartholomew (102) – Toledo, OH; US Army WAC, WWII, PTO, 1st Lt.

Courtesy of: Dan Antion

H. John Davis Jr. (103) – Pittsburgh, PA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Kenneth Ellsworth – Elkhorn, WI; US Merchant Marines, WWII

Nathan Isaacs – Winnipeg, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, ETO, navigator

Betty (Hale) Johnson – Wichita, KS; Civilian, WWII, Beech Aircraft

Victor Kester (102) – Revere, MA; US Navy, WWII

Richard J. Lewis – Burlington, MD; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

Walter Minick – Elmhurst, IL; USMC, WWII

Hiroshi “Johnny” Okura (100) – HI; US Army, WWII, ETO, Bat A/522/442nd Division

Robert Weaver Sr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, WWII & Korea

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Happy Labor Day!

About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 5, 2022, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. Thank you again for the history and insights, GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Als ik naar de kaart met de zwarte blokjes keek met de met de Japanse artillerie verdediging kan ik me niet ontdoen van de mening dat daar iedereen werd ingezet en er zo geen manschappen genoeg waren om verdediging aan de andere zijde in te vullen en die over te laten aan de marine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry, GP! I’d missed this posting. The Japanese definitely were strong. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The number of Japanese defenses is staggering.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My dad would have been 18 on Jan 8, 1946. He planned to join the Marines then (his mother wouldn’t sign for him any earlier). Luckily, by the time he could sign up, the war was over.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks again for the insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The mention of the Japanese people becoming tired of war certainly makes sense. We don’t hear much about that–or at least I haven’t in the past. Now I wonder if some of the ‘histories’ I’ve read in the past made the Japanese seem more generally ‘gung-ho’ than they actually were: perhaps to make our forces’ victories seem even more remarkable. (No need for that, for sure!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • They had been fighting for at least 5 years before we got into the mix, plus, their government by then had taken over the schools, media, etc. As far as they knew, they were defending themselves. Even the Emperor wasn’t always told the truth.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. All these elaborate plans – and nothing happened.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Reblogged this on History and Hobby and commented:
    My father was being trained for the Invasion of Japan. He was drafted in 1945 as soon as he turned 18. He was told right from the start where he would go since the war in Europe had ended.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. There must be some good reason for the lack of defenses on Japan’s west coast. The Americans surely knew it was lightly defended. Still the plan was to attack the strongly defended east coast. The presence or absence of suitable beaches and easier access to major industrial and political centers might be part of it. As others have said, it is good the plans were never used.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All in all, that’s what it boils down to, John. I think of these plans as a sign of what people are capable of when in a war-mode. With today’s technology, I can’t even image!!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Fortunately the surrender intervened

    Liked by 1 person

  12. GP, for those interested, found a really Great Read about Operation Dragoon in WW2:

    https://history.army.mil/brochures/sfrance/sfrance.htm

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks, GP. This post causes all of us to wonder what would have happened if the US had to invade Japan. My dad was carrier based and going on bombing runs to Tokyo, so I imagine he would have been there for the invasion. G;lad it ended when it did

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Good that they still had plans – just in case they were needed. I was surprised that they had plans for the Allies to have 5 million troops involved still at this late date.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Thank goodness that the Japanese finally surrendered. They would not have been worth the life of a single Allied serviceman.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I would be interested in the details of the deceptive message MacArthur had sent out. If you find them, let us know in another post, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Can you just imagine the sheer logistics of all that!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. When everything is ok when i come back home from hospital you hear me again.Sorry

    Liked by 2 people

  19. glad they didn’t have to use these plans

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The lack of western defenses probably was initially because Americans most likely would send the majority of their forces from the east; the western defenses were put off till resources to build them up were scarce to nonexistent. Just a wild guess. Plus, as Americans found with the island defenses south of the Japanese mainland, the Japanese had abundant defenses dug in, requiring huge efforts by the Americans to wade through.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Thank heavens the Japanese surrendered before the having to land on Japan. What a slaughter that would have been. Love the ‘toons. Rhetorical question, if we can make strong allies from both the Japanese and the Germans, then why can’t we do the same with our fellow Americans?

    Liked by 5 people

  22. I’ve studied the Japanese defensive locations map for several minutes and still wonder about their lack of wisdom regarding the dearth of defenses on their western coasts. The northern and southern points are well defended. But the other western locales are pretty much open. I’m guessing the Imperial Navy cruised in the Sea of Japan, but their navy was only a ghost of its former glory days. Their defensive outlook was quite bleak.

    Liked by 6 people

  23. Dad’s orders were for Saipan, September 1945. I’m thankful he didn’t have to go. (PS – covid here, both of us)

    Liked by 3 people

  24. I am so glad those plans did not have to be put into action. The outcome of the war would not have changed, but so many senseless deaths would have been piled on the already staggering number.

    Thank you for your labor, GP in putting these posts together and telling a story that should never be forgotten.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. Thank you, Brian.

    Like

  26. I appreciate you connecting to this episode of history and your kind words.

    Like

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  2. Pingback: Operation Downfall, part two — Pacific Paratrooper | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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