Blog Archives

Japan’s Underground

Ammunition is removed from storage cave at Takatsuki Dump, Osaka.

General Swing made General Pierson commander of the 187th and 188th joint group which became known as the Miyagi Task Force. They set up their headquarters in an insurance company building in Sendai. The principle responsibility of the Miyagi Task Force was to collect and destroy all arms, munitions and armament factories. They were also charged with seeing that General MacArthur’s edicts were all carried out. Many of the military installations had underground tunnels filled with drill presses and machine tools of all types. The entire zone needed to be demilitarized and equipment destroyed. Colonel Tipton discovered a submarine base for the two-man subs and a small group of men still guarding them. They told the colonel that they just wanted to go home.

The Japanese mainland was still potentially a colossal armed camp, and there was an obvious military gamble in landing with only two and a half divisions, then confronted by fifty-nine Japanese divisions, thirty-six brigades, and forty-five-odd regiments plus naval and air forces.

In this, June 23, 2015 photo, journalists walk underground tunnels that Japan’s Imperial Navy once used as secret headquarters underneath of Hiyoshi Campus. (Eugene Hoshiko)

On a hillside overlooking a field where students play volleyball, an inconspicuous entrance leads down a slope—and seemingly back in time—to Japan’s secret Imperial Navy headquarters in the final months of World War II. Here, Japan’s navy leaders made plans for the fiercest battles from late 1944 to the war’s end in August 1945. The navy commanders went rushing to the underground command center whenever US B-29 bombers flew over. The tunnel had ventilation ducts, a battery room, food storage with ample stock of sake, and deciphering and communications departments.

Considerable stocks of war equipment were dispersed amid the tangled masses of fire blackened girders, in thousands of caches located deep in the hills, in carefully constructed tunnels and warehouses, and over miles of Japanese landscape. Along the shores near the great ports, there remained many permanent fortresses. Japan’s frantic preparations for a last ditch stand against invasion resulted in numerous hastily built coastal defenses. (Plate No. 41) The majority of these coastal defenses were manned by brigades. The larger and more permanent installations were equipped with heavy artillery and were concentrated in strategic locations such as the peninsula which forms Tokyo Bay, the northern entrance to the Inland Sea, the southern tip of Kyushu, and the coastline around Fukuoka. Almost three hundred airfields, ranging from bomber and supply strips to “Kamikaze” strips, sheltered some 6,000 Japanese combat aircraft capable of providing air cover and close support for the ground and naval forces. (Plate No. 42) Japanese arsenals, munitions factories, steel plants, aircraft factories, and ordnance depots were widely scattered throughout the country.   Japanese naval vessels consisting of carriers, battleships, destroyers, submarines, and auxiliary and maintenance craft were anchored in all of the major ports.

June 23, 2015 photo, staff members of Keio University walk underground tunnels that Japan’s Imperial Navy once used as secret headquarters underneath of Hiyoshi Campus in Yokohama. (Eugene Hoshiko)

In the Sixth Army zone during the month of November 1945, at least ten ports were in operation, and approximately 4,500 tons of ammunition were disposed of daily.

Records later indicated that actually some 2,468,665 rifles and carbines were received by the Occupation forces and later disposed of. The Japanese reported more artillery ammunition than small arms ammunition. Ammunition for the grenade launcher, often known as the “knee mortar,” was also more plentiful; some 51,000,000 rounds were reported, or an average of 1,794 rounds for each weapon.

This Japanese underground bunker consists of many rooms and was built by Korean and Chinese forced laborers during the Second World War.

a check on the police stations in Aomori, Hirosaki, and Sambongi (all towns in Aomori Prefecture) produced some 1,880 rifles, 1,881 bayonets, 18 light machine guns, 505,260 rounds of rifle and machine gun ammunition, 46,980 rounds of blank ammunition, one case of TNT, and 150 military swords. Daily G-2 and CIC reports revealed many instances of smaller caches, sometimes in school compounds.

The Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters (松代大本営跡, Matsushiro Daihon’ei Ato, “Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters Site”) was a large underground bunker complex built during WWII in the town of Matsushiro which is now a suburb of Nagano, Japan.  The facility was constructed so that the central organs of government of Imperial Japan could be transferred there. In its construction, three mountains that were symbolic of the Matsushiro municipality were damaged.

Entrance to the Matsushiro Zouzan underground shelter

Approximately seven million armed men, including those in the outlying theaters, had  laid down their weapons. In the accomplishment of the extraordinarily difficult and dangerous surrender of Japan, unique in the annals of history, not a shot was necessary, not even a drop of Allied blood was shed. 

Click on images to enlarge.

################################################################################################################

Military Humor –

‘I count only four parachutes. Where’s Mr. Simms?’

################################################################################################################

Quarantine Humor –

“I’ve found the stupidity virus.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Nancy Binetti – Roselle, NJ; Civilian, WWII, Canden Shipyards

Juan M. Covarrubias – Hanford, CA; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/227/1st Air Calvary Division, KIA

Robert Drake (100) – Pueblo, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

John Hilty – MD; US Army, Iraq, Sgt. 1st Class, 1/227 Aviation Regiment/ 1/1st Calvary Division, KIA

Glenn Kraft – Cumberland, WI; US Navy, WWII, PTO, pilot

Eldon “Pounce” Musgrave – Athens, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 crewman

Marshall Roberts – OK; Oklahoma Air National Guard, Iraq, SSgt., KIA

Vera Schapps (106) – NYC, NY; Civilian, WWII, Air Raid Warden

Bob Underwood – DeWitt, AR; US Air Force, Korea, Sgt. (Airman 1st Class), Medic / Red Cross, Baptist Minister

Jennie Zito – Thompson’s Station, TN; Civilian, WWII, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft

################################################################################################################################################################################################################################

%d bloggers like this: