Operation Downfall 1945:US invasion of Japan

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by nova2010, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. nova2010 Banned

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    Let's assume that US atomic testing fails. So Operation Downfall
    takes place. The results?

     
  2. LordIreland Well-Known Member

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    100,000s of dead GIs, millions of dead Japanese, absolute devastation of Kyushu at least. The initial landing would have been a battle of such magnitude and ferocity that it would have the kind of impact on the american national consciousness that the Somme and Paschendale did on the British.

    The Russians would have pushed all the way to the bottom of Korea, but despite many people's assumptions they didn't have the assets to stage a serious invasion of the home islands. So most likely Japan would be in the American sphere whilst Korea would fall completly into the Russian/Chinese sphere.

    As a side note, WWZs entry about Korea would probably not be in the book:D
     
  3. Mike Stearns Member

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    I agree. Operation Downfall was a bloodbath waiting to happen. The body count would have been absolutely horrendus.
     
  4. EWHM Well-Known Member

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    Has the stock of purple hearts ordered for the invasion of Japan been used up yet? Last I heard it hadn't.
     
  5. Mike Stearns Member

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    I didn't know that they stamped out that many Purple Hearts for Operation Downfall. That in and of it self says something about how bloody the invasion of Japan would have been.
     
  6. Bmao Sorcerous Firelizard

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    Regardless of how starved and bombed Japan's homeland would have been at the time of the invasion, I have no doubt in my mind that if the Emperor had decreed that the Japanese people should fight to the very end, the majority would have. Japan had been holding back their assets in preparation for the invasion and had correctly guessed that the first landing would have been on Kyushu.

    There was also a Typhoon that took place that year which would have coincided with the timing of the invasion, which would have really messed things up.

    It would have been a bloodbath to say the least. One hundred thousand US dead is not an unreasonable number at all.
     
  7. unclepatrick Well-Known Member

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    There was also a Typhoon that took place that year which would have coincided with the timing of the invasion, which would have really messed things up.

    That would have hit the islands were the US planed to gather it forces before the invasion. It was a nasty storm and there would have been ship with troops and Supplies sinking before the invasion even started.
     
  8. PoeFacedKilla Is Best Poe

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    if anything too low of a number.
    thats going to be the worst guerilla war in history.
     
  9. nova2010 Banned

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    I 've heard that there are still around 100.000 purple hearts from the stock
     
  10. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    The Soviet declaration of war might have been enough to force the Japanese to the table alone but not wishing to derail the thread...

    Downfall would be the most costly operation in American history, possibly causing more deaths than the rest of American casualties in World War Two combined. Kyushu mountainous terrain is pretty perfect for defence, and the Japanese have the troops. The Japanese had staked all their hopes on the battle for Kyushu and by August 1945 it was estimated that the Japanese had parity with the planned American invasion force, and thousands of kamikaze planes and boats with which to hammer the invasion fleet and troops on the beaches. They also know exactly where the Americans are going to land.

    The American plan called for only taking a third of the island, and after they achieve this they can attack a relatively defenceless Honshu with air support. Achieving these goals will take a horrible toll on both the Americans and the Japanese however. Meanwhile the Soviets will have unified Korea, pushed the Japanese out of Sakhalin and most likely Hokkaido as well. Whether or not they invade Northern Honshu is debatable but I'd bet Stalin will try and snatch up as much of Japan as possible. The Soviets occupying Hokkaido will cut off much of Japan's domestic food production, something which will quickly spiral into famine and then all out societal collapse. If Japan doesn't formally surrender by then it will more or less unravel.

    So by mid-1946 you have a starving Japan controlled by the Soviets in the north and the Americans in the south. Without a formal surrender there's every possibility that the die hards in the Japanese military will disappear into the mountains and fight on. However Southern Japan will be very reliant on American aid just to avert starvation, and without any serious preparation for a long-term guerilla war, such a resistance could probably be starved out. The Soviets won't have that problem in the North, (not unless they choose to) but they've got a pretty good record at handling guerilla insurgencies with sheer brutality anyway.

    The longer term implications of a divided Japan are hard to say, although I'm sure no Atomic bomb, or even a delayed one, will cause quite a few butterflies...
     
  11. Snake Featherston Banned

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    Downfall is realistically unlikely to happen. Japan was already bombed to rubble and risked an internal upheaval that would overthrow Hirohito if it kept on trucking with the war. It was a starving hell-hole of shattered cities, gutted armies, and facing a war that it very much knew was lost before it ever started.

    However *if* Downfall happens, it'd be one of the bloodiest operations in human history, the biggest and bloodiest in US military history (ensuring as a cultural byproduct that the USA would focus WWII on the Pacific, not Europe) and for Japan a catastrophe never to be equaled. And while my father and I would not exist, my aunt and mom would, though my grandmother probably remarries and my mother's life would probably have been very different.
     
  12. Julian Well-Known Member

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    As mentioned by The Red, the Soviet Invasion of Manchuria would have forced Japanese surrender whether or not the atomic bombings took place.
     
  13. Anaxagoras 21st Century Jeffersonian

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    Unless it was butterflied away by the changes in the TL. Nothing is more easily butterflied than the weather, so there's no reason to believe that weather events that happened IOTL would take place in an ATL.
     
  14. Alex1guy First Of His Name

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    Would have made Vietnam and Afghanistan look like a barfight.
     
  15. TxCoatl1970 Well-Known Member

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    Piling on

    It would be an unparalleled bloodbath, but if the US Army got serious about using nerve gas and napalm to clear Japanese villages and cities instead of fighting house-to-house, the tactical outcome favors the US even more outlandishly.
    Considering the rather casual attitude toward safety and ensuring proper CBW kit and training for GIs is a bad bet- probably resulting in 5-7 GIs wounded by nerve agents for every casualty inflicted by the Japanese :eek::eek:
    I'm using Vietnam-era casualty figures b/c Vietnam is more or less how the US wanted to fight Operation Downfall. No nerve gas, but Agent Orange makes a good analogue for exposure and indifference to US casualties. YMMV.
     
  16. nova2010 Banned

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    Why those changes in your family?
     
  17. Snake Featherston Banned

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    Because Dad was born in 1946 and my grandfather would have been one of those killed by Japanese suicide attacks in the wake of Operation Downfall. My aunt and mother were born in 1942.
     
  18. The Kiat I'm going to Nixonland!

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    That's the only description for it.

    I can't remember which Marine division it was, but one of them only had battle plans for the first five days of the invasion. They did, because it was assumed the entire division would be effectively destroyed by day six. At least, that's what I read.... and I can never remember where I find these tidbits.
     
  19. sloreck Grunt Bear

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    Losing Manchuria would not cause the Japanese to surrender - by this point in the war the Home Islands received essentially nothing useful from Manchuria, functionally it was as good as gone A bad thing, yes, but the cause of Japanese surrender - no. IMHO the Soviets would not have been able to invade Hokkaido. During WW2 all Soviet amphibious operations were relatively small, and took place over distances way less than that from Vladivostok to Hokkaido. Furthermore such "expertise" as there was in amphibious operations was in the west of the USSR, not in the east/Siberia/Vladivostok. To cap it off, it is unclear whether the Soviet Pacific Fleet had any amphibious related shipping that could make the trip from Vladivostok to Hokkaido, and the waters between the two - especially in the late fall/winter are very nasty indeed.

    A Soviet invasion of Hokkaido would have to have the scenario of: paratroops land successfully near a port which they capture intact and then a few ships with infantry & few if any armored vehicles come in and tie up to the piers and the men march off - all of this in the face of not light Japanese resistance but zero resistance. If there are any planes suitable for kamikaze use in Hokkaido when this happens then the Soviets are screwed as they have no effective means of stopping them.

    A possible scenario is that in the spring of 1946 after lots of prep time the Soviets try this, or if as Japan collapses/surrenders in that time frame they send an occupation force to Hokkaido that's doable. Interesting thought that they send a force to occupy Hokkaido even if the USA has not said they can but Stalin simply says TS, we fought the Japanese so we get some goodies... For those with time to do it this could lead to a reverse Berlin situation where the USN and USAf cut off connections between Hokkaido and the USSR - eminently doable..
     
  20. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake

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    They wouldn't invade Hokkaido from Vladivostok, they'd invade it from Sakhalin and the Kuriles. The Japanese had essentially nothing in place to defend Hokkaido with and trying to redirect anything away from the expected battles on Kyushu would be a nightmare given the planned switch to using the B-29s to dismantle what was left of the Japanese transportation infrastructure.