Getting Ahead of Ourselves: A B-29 TL

I wonder if the U. S. knows about Unit 731? And if they do, do you think they would still use chemical agents?
The Americans knew about Japan's use of biological and chemical warfare as early as 1942, prompting Roosevelt to issue a statement condemning it in 1943. But they did not become aware of Unit 731's specific existence until after the war, when they got their hands on Shiro Ishii's assistant, Ryoichi Naito.
 
The Americans knew about Japan's use of biological and chemical warfare as early as 1942, prompting Roosevelt to issue a statement condemning it in 1943. But they did not become aware of Unit 731's specific existence until after the war, when they got their hands on Shiro Ishii's assistant, Ryoichi Naito.
This is getting really interesting. Who's VP?
 
The morning of October 4th brought no lull in the fighting, the marines had shrugged off the banzai charge of Nagumo's sailors, and were hot on the tail of the retrating Japanese soldiers. Their next objective was Isa Drive, a road connected north and south Saipan through the central mountains. Kuribayashi had realized the natural chokepoint of the pass, and had concentrated the main effort of his defense here. That morning, several advance recon units of the marines were obliterated by the waiting japanese. As most of the Japanese defenses were expected to be facing the sea, the fortifications looking down on Isa Drive had been neglected in the preparatory bombardment.


Pre-sighted anti tank guns laid waste to the marine shermans and stuarts, destroying 36 on this day alone. The road itself was so heavily mined that men and vehicles were forced to crowd the hills to its side. Hundreds of 14 inch shells were fired, to little effect as the Japanese would simply slink into their underground bunkers during the bombardment. Again the carrier aircraft were the heros of the day, over 1,000 sorties were flown in support of the marines. In spite of this Saito was pleased to report that his forces had held up well, only suffering 5,000 casualties in spite of Nagumo's stupidity. The Americans were bleeding for every inch of Saipan, and they would not yield with out bleeding them for every inch that remained.

That evening on Guam, General Kuribayashi oversaw the delivery of his surprise. While the American air strikes had destroyed most of the Japanese strike aircraft, they had missed 43 Ki-51 attack aircraft hidden in the jungle, each loaded with a single 250kg bomb. The pilots were not specifically told this was a suicide mission, but none of them expected to return. As their planes began the short flight to an area 50 miles off the coast of Saipan, they scanned the twilight sea for targets. They spotted Carrier Divison 2, the southern flank of Halsey's carrier fleet, consisting of the old workhorses Enterprise and Saratoga as well as escorts, who were conducting fighter sweeps and ASW support of the forces closer to Saipan. The last daytime sortie of dauntlesses were coming in to land when radar contacts were reported.

Minutes later, the sky was bright with flak. The aircrew on board were struggling to get the dive bombers back in the hanger, while fighters from the rest of the fleet were speeding to their aid. The sonia's were plucked out of the sky one at a time, not not all of them. A crippled sonia slammed into the Saratoga's bridge killing her captain and most of the bridge crew. Another dropped her bomb on the flight deck of the Enterprise, her armor not stopping the fire that formed from aviation fuel and cooked off ammunition. Yet another sonia landed a near miss that shore off several propeller blades. Another plane slammed into the side of Saratoga, shrapnel maiming many of her hanger crew. The attack lasted mere minutes, but the damage was severe.


Only six sonia's would return, all of which were destroyed in bombing attacks the next morning. The Saratoga would suffer 130 killed and nearly 400 wounded, while the crippled Enterprise's luck finally ran out. The fire spread despite the valiant efforts of her crew, reaching the five inch ammunition storage before the magazine could be flooded. The explosion knocked out the ships power, and she was finally scuttled six hours after the attack, taking 400 sailors with her. Over the next weeks, President Roosevelt would read the daily casualty reports with a heart full of regret.
Possibly Roosevelt rethinks his operation to the use of chemical weapons?
 
Part 10-Running the Gauntlet
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Admiral Kurita had been pleasantly astonished with his luck so far, and optimism had begun to creep into his head. It wasn't just luck, he conceded. Great care had been taken to conceal the convoy. On the way out of the home islands, all messages had been sent via dispatch vessel or lamp signal. After passing Formosa close enough to do the same, a complete communications blackout had been enforced, so much so that on approach to Borneo, they were briefly suspected to be an American invasion fleet. Kurita had hugged the coast of Indochina and Formosa both ways, so that the only open section of the South China Sea they had to cross was between Hainan and Formosa. The cover had surprising worked for once, American codebreakers had little to work with. Kurita's luck had run out however, the night of the 15th, 200 miles southwest of Formosa.


There was no warning, just an explosion as a hole was blown through a bulk carrier full of rubber. Just 1,500 yards away, three Sargo class submarines under the command of skipper Robert Ward on the Squalus were busy getting to work. Kurita didn't hesitate to react, even as an oiler went up in a fireball, from his flagship Haruna, he ordered the closer Kongo and three destroyers to fire star shells and close to engage. He knew the risk, but he figured if nothing else, Kongo would be a more enticing target than the cargo ships. After nearly an hour, and four more ships being hit, A lookout spotted the periscope of the Squalus. Kongo opened fire with high explosive shells. Squalus dived, but the 14 inch shells landed close enough to rattle her bones. Finally the boats ballast tanks were ruptured, and she plunged to the bottom, taking her whole crew with her. Her sister Seawolf retaliated launching a full spread of torpedoes that all struck home. The destroyer Wakatsuki Was blown in half and sank in minutes, taking all but six of her crew to the bottom. Kongo was struck by the other three and while her speed was cut to 20 knots and she listed heavily, she managed to stay afloat. The experimental destroyer Shimakaze charged ahead at 40 knots, a depth charge attack damaging and driving off the Seawolf. The remaining submarine Swordfish would continue to hassle the Japanese convoy for six more hours, sinking another seven vessels before Shimakaze drove her away.


with no wolfpacks or submarines close enough to engage, the convoy arrived in Sasebo next week without further incident. While the state of the convoy was such that Kurita faced a court-martial (That cleared him of any wrongdoing) The convoy had succeeded in deliver tens of thousands of tons of oil, rubber, lubricant, and important metals that Japans industry longed for. After a lengthy and rather shameful haggling session with the army, they were promised a third of the fuel for aviation and fleet use. While they didn't realize it at the time, the Kongo had the distinction of being the only battleship to sink a submarine with gunfire. Admiral Shimada did however order the discontinuation of large convoys after the losses suffered.
 
Part 11- Don't Let Him Touch Anything

Walter Reed Medical Center, January 16th 1944​



The boardroom that those here now assembled was full of quiet turmoil. At the front of the room stood Vice-President Henry Wallace, who along with house speaker Sam Rayburn at his left, had managed to pass an emergency bill through congress last week. Giving Wallace essentially the powers of acting President until Roosevelt recovered (or did not, though that part remained unspoken).The supreme court was presently ripping said bill to shreds, but the hope was it would not be needed by then, one way or the other. All they knew at this point was that The President was alive, and conscious, but had gotten little else out of the doctors. The first lady had joined them in refusing to allow any presidential business while he was in a hospital bed, a demand that only became more firm when the most hated American citizen in the world had arrived.


"You are aware that you're done." Secretary Stimson spoke up "Yes sir I am." MacArthur replied in his now typically passive tone, it seemed that almost killing the President had finally humbled the man. General Marshall spoke up, the fury of a great war veteran peaking through his tired eyes "Let us be clear, the only reason we aren't looking for something to court-martial you for is because we all have better uses of our time. That said, you will never step foot off mainland America so long as you wear that uniform. We're letting you stay in the military without assignment, so here's what you're going to do. After this meeting you are going to go home, you are going to stay quiet. No Interviews, no public statements, and absolutely no chemical weapons talk. If you behave we'll overlook that, and maybe give you a logistics position in a port city. One, and I do mean one slip up, and I will personally lock you inside a bomb casing with General Patton and drop you on Hamburg. Am I clear. "Yes sir" MacArthur said quietly. Stimson silently pointed to the door, and the General exited.


Minutes later, a doctor arrived, Mrs.Roosevelt following "Is that wretch gone?" she almost spat. Wallace nodded and she relaxed. The doctor spoke up "The president suffered a major stroke, his lower body is now completely paralyzed, he'll never stand again." "And of his... mental faculties?" Wallace asked hesitantly. "Intact it seems. He's very fatigued of course, so when we release him next week he'll be going to Warm Springs for a month or so to unwind. Of course he insists on retaking his duties as soon as he leaves." Wallace sighed with relief, he did not want this job, especially now. The cabinet men and General Maeshall left, and they braced for a return to the real fight.
 
I really doubt they could court-martial MacArthur for talking with the President on the telephone. Yes he suffered a heart attack but blaming solely MacArthur for it seems outlandish (he was not alone also), and the most hated American citizen in the world? Said man was, if not extremely then very popular during the war and afterwards until Korea.
 

The Pentagon: April 20th 1943​


The office those assembled now sat in still reeked of fresh paint and varnish. The Pentagon had been offically completed months ago, and this office was one of the few that was suitable for those who were attending. General Marshall sat at the head of the table, joined by Generals LeMay and Arnold, who together formed the closest thing to the USAAF's commanders. Also joining them were the two leading engineers at Boeing in charge of the project the were here to discuss, and a few other assorted army officers who were here for various reasons.


Marshall opened the meeting "From my undertstanding, the B-29 has passed all the necessary trials needed for entering service and production.". "Yes General" The lead engineer spoke up "In fact production has already begun, and we have 250 service ready aircraft as of today, And a monthly production of 100 and rising steadily.". Marshall pondered that, That was enough for combat service to begin today, in theory at least. One of the other officers spoke up "We've already begun cross-training crews who have seen action in europe, We should have enough crew to keep up with production, with some to spare." Marshall nodded aprovingly. "Now the more important business, what are we going to do with these machines?" LeMay spoke up "General Stilwell is already overseeing the construction of facilities in China, they should be prepared for the aircraft by a month from today." Marshall nodded again. "I'd prefer to command whatever bombardment group gets sent to china" Arnold said "Out there, we'll need top down pressure to make sure the nationalists are keeping these things out of Jap hands." "Agreed" said Marshall "General Arnold, you are hereby ordered to take command of twentieth air force, You'll be expected to ship out this week" "Thank you sir" Arnold said as both men exchanged salutes.


Marshall Continued "Are any other concerns anyone thinks need to be adressed today?". LeMay stood up "Sir I think we should discuss who and what will be protecting these bombers.The Jap army air forces in china are still potent enough to pose a threat, and on the ground the superfortress is as vulnurable as any other aircraft. We can't rely soley on the Chinese to protect us in the air, as they will on the ground." Marshall waved him off "That reminds me, Arnold, you'll also be given a wing of about 80 P-40s, they're old, but they're the best we can spare at the moment, and they can operate from existing airfields. If there's nothing else, this meeting is over." After a round of saluting and plesentries, the men filed out, with one unifed thought that they all shared in some way or another "It's payback time you son's of bitches".
Sorry to be a pedant but LeMay was not a General at this point. He was still a Colonel. It would be more likely someone like Spaatz or Doolittle.

Also Arnold was Chief of the Army Air Forces. It would be a demotion to put him in charge of the 20th Air Force and shunting him off to China.

"On March 9, 1942, after the creation of the AAF failed to define clear channels of authority for the air forces, the Army adopted the functional reorganization that Arnold had advocated in October 1940. Acting on an executive order from Roosevelt, the War Department granted the AAF full autonomy, equal to and entirely separate from the Army Ground Forces and Services of Supply. The Air Force Combat Command and the Office of the Chief of Air Corps were abolished, and Arnold became AAF Commanding General and an ex officio member of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff"
 
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I really doubt they could court-martial MacArthur for talking with the President on the telephone. Yes he suffered a heart attack but blaming solely MacArthur for it seems outlandish (he was not alone also), and the most hated American citizen in the world? Said man was, if not extremely then very popular during the war and afterwards until Korea.
Yeah, keep in mind this is a very heated conversation, not everything they say is the exact truth. Rumors travel fast, by now every soldier sailor and civilian has heard about MacArthur stroking out the president, so his popularity is tanking fast.
Sorry to be a pedant but LeMay was not a General at this point. He was still a Colonel. It would be more likely someone like Spaatz or Doolittle.

Also Arnold was Chief of the Army Air Forces. It would be a demotion to put him in charge of the 20th Air Force and shunting him off to China.

"On March 9, 1942, after the creation of the AAF failed to define clear channels of authority for the air forces, the Army adopted the functional reorganization that Arnold had advocated in October 1940. Acting on an executive order from Roosevelt, the War Department granted the AAF full autonomy, equal to and entirely separate from the Army Ground Forces and Services of Supply. The Air Force Combat Command and the Office of the Chief of Air Corps were abolished, and Arnold became AAF Commanding General and an ex officio member of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff"
True, but I believe he actually went to china IOTL, he's mostly there to supervise things closely, making sure the ROC is taking care of things properly. His rank means he has more pull with Stillwell and even Shek.
 
Yeah, keep in mind this is a very heated conversation, not everything they say is the exact truth. Rumors travel fast, by now every soldier sailor and civilian has heard about MacArthur stroking out the president, so his popularity is tanking fast.
In the same vein you could say that the president suffered a stroke while on the phone with MacArthur not necessarily caused by said man. If the narrative is that MacArthur caused FDR to have a stroke then the opposition will gladly use it to weaken FDR's position by pointing out that the president is so weak that he couldn't even survive a conversation with MacArthur (he - MacArthur- will probably defend himself and while he might feel guilty about the stroke, he will not bow down to being away from the front - or Asia as he firmly believed the future of the US was there- , his battle plan might change, being more cautious and ignoring the Philippines for a while.)

(I have the impression that you want to get rid of MacArthur no matter what)
 
Part 12- Out of the Frying Pan

USS Blue Ridge, anchored off Saipan January 22nd, 1944​


"So it's a no then?" General Eichelberger asked mournfully. General Smith nodded "Afraid so sir. Even if we neutralize Guam now, unless we blow the whole island off the face off the earth, the Japs can just ferry aircraft by way of the Phillipines." "And why not just neutralize them as well" Admiral Halsey quipped. "You'll probably have to get around to that eventually, but that's a whole project on it's own. Not to mention to completely cut the chain you'd also have to neutralize at least Formosa and South China, by then we'll all be retired.". The men all chuckled lightly. It was true, Guam had to go. But the losses the marines had suffered had meant they all felt they needed to be sure that was their only option.

Even as they spoke, marine corsairs and army thunderbolts were striking Guam from their bases on Saipan. Halsey had pitched in as well, and Oldendorf had been promised perhaps as many as eleven battleships for the bombardment, but they all knew that would not be enough. General Smith stood to speak "I think we should review our options for landing strategy. At both Saipan and Tinian the enemy waited until our forces had concentrated on the beachhead before opening fire, therefore we should not give Kuribayashi that chance. Therefore, what I recommend is a sort of first wave charge. Our first wave will come ashore with direct fire support from the LVT's, they'll be ordered to make immediately inland to force the enemy to start firing early." "Bait" Eichelberger replied grimly "Unfortunately, yes. But they'll also be saving the men behind them from being shredded on the beach. If the Japs don't fire, their positions will get overrun. They'll be in for it one way or another."


150 miles away, General Kuribayashi was still seeing to the construction of his defenses. His biggest challenge had been deciding which end of the island to concentrate his defenses. With Guam being long and narrow, attempting to hold both ends would likely result in his men being split in half. The north had better roads, and was the likely sight of the airfields that had led to this fight. On the other hand the south had more defensible terrain, and ample freshwater. In the end Kuribayashi had decided to go south, putting his main defensive line between Aga and Yona, and leaving some snipers and landmines up north. The occupation had been brutal, of the 20,000 locals nearly a quarter were dead, the men from forced labour and the women from an appalling ammount of violence, much of it sexual, on the part of the Japanese soldiers. Additionally, nearly 6,000 Korean laborers had been worked to death in the hot sun, the Japanese had increasingly decreased their rations, seeing them as a liability once the fighting started.


Kuribayashi had also spent much of his time training the reinforcements that joined him on Guam. Many of them were 17 year old boys and 45 year old men, who had avoided conscription until now. Kuribayashi's time in charge of a training division had paid off, and the men were gradually beaten into quite fine soldiers by his standards. Kuribayashi knew they would all be dead by springs end, but expected and hoped to take many marines with him.
 
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Part 13- Into the Fire
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Starting January 28th, an armada of 11 battleships, 20 cruisers, 40 destroyers and nearly 1,000 carrier aircraft from 9 fleet carriers, began to rain hellfire upon guam. General Kuribayashi had realized a week prior from increasing airstrikes and more ships being spotted that the invasion was imminent, and ordered construction to cease. The men crawled into their start positions, and awaited the coming storm. As usual, the bombardment did little besides silencing some of the shore batteries, which still managed to sink the USS Burns.


The marines had originally been planned to land two points, south of the orote peninsula , and near Agana. However the concentration of Japanese forces in the south had meant only the later site was used. With only a few snipers and a handful of static positions. The marines were so perplexed by this that they took three days to advance towards the Japanese main line, suspecting an ambush. Some of the Japanese skirmishers in the north would outlast the entire battle, a few even fighting for years after the war ended.


Kuribayashi gave the order for the main fighting to commence on the 7th, and the marines fell under heavy artillery attack. The Aga-Yona line was nearly two miles deep, it's north consisting of machine gun nests and snipers, and heavier bunkers and pillboxes in the hills to the south. Kuribayashi had anchored his left flank with support from the east slope of mount Lam Lam, where the largest fortress on the island had been constructed. The entire mountainside had been practically hollowed out, dozens of artilery and machine gun positions overlooked the rest of the island.


The main fortres, nicknamed Kyoto Castle by the garrison, was inspired by fortifications on the Maginot line. Consisting of four different levels bulit near the summit, It held 3,000 troops and contained nearly five miles of tunnels. On level three were the centerpieces of the fort, two 28cm siege howitzers, nearly as old as Kuribayshi himsellf. The guns were still 30 feet underground, a small opening permitted 10 degrees of traverse and elevation, the range could be further adjusted by manually lowering the amount of propellant in the shells.


The fortress had steel doors and ventilation to protect against flamethrowers, and the terrain itself stopped tanks from getting too close. As it was also Kuribayshi's command post, it was equipped with radios and telegraphs to allow him to communicate with the island. The fortress had many access points, designed to also allow retreat when the time came, as well as an ammunition depot nearly 70 feet underground. The fortress had cost nearly 1,500 Korean and Chamorro lives to contruct, and would now become a bane to the marines.


The marine advance was constantly hampered as they clawed through the Yona line. Each post was supported at it's sides and rear, requiring a blooody assault, that often would find the positions already deserted. The bravest marines would sometimes try to use these tunnels to ambush the Japanese, only to find themselves pulled away and ripped to pieces by awaiting Japanese infantrymen. Many historians would later compare the ferocity of the fighting on Guam to the eastern front.


(Note: I edited the Casualty number's after some discussion that I couldn't really argue with)
 

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