Operation FS: Japan's Final Strike

The Army-Navy rivalry is only escalating I see.
More on that very shortly ;)

I wonder if a direct attack on the Java oil fields would actually be faster at cutting off Japan's oil given the situation....
Yeah, I hate to say it but I am with MacArthur on this one. Go to Java and take the oil fields. They are far more important than Micronesia.
A fair amount of that oil is already getting sunk by submarines that now have working torpedoes, and the blockade is only going to get tighter. And taking Java doesn't get the Allies any closer to the Marianas or any other potential B-29 airfields, so there's certainly a good reason to support the Navy's choice as well.

- BNC
 
XLV: A Game of Blame (7/43)
XLV: A Game of Blame, July 1943

To an outside observer, Tokyo in the middle of 1943 appeared to be living in its own fantasy land. The war effort had turned very suddenly and very decisively against them since the failed invasion of New Caledonia, but instead of their senior commanders attempting to make a plan to throw MacArthur back or prepare defences in islands further back, generals and admirals were fighting each other. The few parties in the dispute that could be called neutral would later describe the situation as one of “near civil war”. There was no open conflict on the streets, and for the moment no-one had died, but hostility remained all the same. While the civilians of Tokyo were completely unaware (newspapers were filled with grandiose stories of victory in New Guinea and China), inside the Imperial General Headquarters the humble conference table was turning into a war zone.

At the heart of the dispute was an order given by IJA Chief General Sugiyama to his subordinate General Hyakutake, ordering the 17th Army to ensure all Japanese units in New Guinea, the Bismarcks, Solomons and New Hebrides to be placed under Army control. The effect of this was minor in pure military terms, with little more than a Navy infantry regiment and some small ships not already fitting that description. Sugiyama had convinced himself that the Navy was leaving the Army out to dry after New Caledonia, where Yamamoto had beaten the US Navy before withdrawing his major fleet units. Less than a dozen cargo ships had survived Operation FS, so further support for ground units had become impossible, but instead of blaming Admiral Fletcher, the Army decided that it was the Navy’s fault. To them, seizing the islands had been the goal of the operation and the Navy had let them down. Yamamoto, who had won a decisive battle, disagreed. Had the matter ended there, nothing would have been out of the ordinary for a years-old interservice rivalry, but when the “defeated” US Navy showed up again off Fiji the Imperial Navy was suddenly described as a pack of cowards. 17th Army had to take control of every asset in the region or the Navy would betray the war effort again.
Hoping to put an end to the crisis, the Emperor called a meeting of the most senior Army and Navy commanders: Generals Sugiyama and Tojo (who doubled as Japan’s Prime Minister), and Admirals Nagano and Shimada. It was hoped that a unified war effort could be once again maintained, with the Army and Navy closely cooperating as they had throughout several major operations in 1941 and 1942. That hope quickly evaporated as the generals accused the Navy of holding back its forces, sending poorly-trained pilots to oppose the Americans while a group of elite veterans were doing light duty and training in the Home Islands, and the fleet remained in port. “A lack of fighting spirit” was a phrase used by the Army several times, while the Navy described the Army as being reckless and irresponsible for having provoked numerous incidents without authorisation from Tokyo.

Rivalry between the services no longer meant distrust, but hatred, and if the dispute was allowed to go on any longer the United States would not even have to do anything to win the war. A map of the Pacific region was produced, and both factions were ordered to divide Japan’s territory into spheres of influence. Once a line was agreed upon, any units in that zone would answer to the respective service, even if nominally they belonged to the other, the sole exception being transport ships carrying raw resources to the Home Islands.
The result was the “Two Black Lines”: the first extending from the southern tip of Kyushu to the northernmost point of New Guinea, the second from there to a point of open sea somewhere near the Ellice islands. North and east of those lines, including Iwo Jima, all of Micronesia as far as the Gilbert islands, but not Rabaul, belonged to the Navy. Everything south or west: the Solomons, New Guinea, the East Indies and all of continental Asia became the Army’s domain. The Home Islands were to be organised jointly, although the Army dominated everything that wasn’t a naval base.
The Two Black Lines favoured the Navy’s strategy of drawing the Americans in before crushing them in a second decisive battle, and gave the Navy control of more than 60,000 Army soldiers making up the garrisons of Japan’s scattered atolls in the Central Pacific, while ceding the Army very few of their own resources. The Army quickly approved however, pleased to have been granted total control of what they saw as the most important islands in the Philippines, East Indies and New Guinea. Only hours later, when the conference was adjourned, did the generals realise that they had effectively thrown away any chance of the Navy sending the fleet against MacArthur if he struck the East Indies. Nor did they appreciate that the Emperor looked to be favouring the Navy once again.

The Two Black Lines system lasted only a matter of days before the Army tired of it. IJN Chief Admiral Nagano moved with the greatest haste to ensure the island garrisons would remain under his authority, and as soon as General Sugiyama realised his mistake he was determined to backtrack. Every island that had a single Army soldier on it had to be under his command and his only. Three days after the conference that created the Two Black Lines, another meeting was called, to be attended by every senior Army officer in Tokyo. The details of this meeting are not well known, for most generals present did not survive the war, but it appears that Sugiyama declared the Navy to be as great a threat to Japan as the United States, and that their authority should be opposed at every opportunity.
This began the following day, when the Imperial General Headquarters met for the next time. Although the meeting had been called to organise an improved ground defence of the Caroline islands, most importantly Truk, Army officers obstructed the meeting with demands to have the Two Black Lines overturned and the eastern garrisons restored to their command. The Navy was willing to abandon the lines, which Grand Admiral Yamamoto believed would be problematic if it turned out to be MacArthur that presented the best opportunity for a decisive battle, but no admiral was willing to concede the garrisons. They were an essential part of the decisive battle plan, it was argued, and if the battle was to be fought with the greatest level of success it would have to be under a unified (Navy) command. The meeting ended without a satisfactory conclusion, Truk’s defence as pitiful as it had always been, and the garrisons’ fate uncertain although likely to belong to the Navy.
That night, Admiral Nagano was shot dead.

- BNC
 
OTL Japan helped us in our job in eliminating talented and promising military officers by committing seppuku (As pointed out in a book I read) in this one they are assassinating each other as well.
 
I know it's likely a disgruntled Army officer, but if it turned out to be an Allied spy that would be epic.
Wouldn't an Allied spy be more likely to knock off an Army boss instead of a Navy one though? Giving the Army a chance to put more crazy people in charge isn't exactly going to end the war more quickly.

OTL Japan helped us in our job in eliminating talented and promising military officers by committing seppuku (As pointed out in a book I read) in this one they are assassinating each other as well.
x'D

- BNC
 
"General MacArthur. Latest Purple Dispatches from Admiral Nimitz in Hawaii."

"Read'm to me. The summaries."

"Well, General sir, it appears the Japs have come up with an innovative way to bring new strategies to the command staff."

"Oh?"

"They Jap Army under Tojo and Yamamoto's lot are shooting each-other, hacking each-other to death with swords and throwing around accusations of defeatism before blowing up members of the other faction."

"..."

"The last intercept was an 'in the clear' signal from Tokyo stating that they 'would fight on to the end', sent by the last officer in the Imperial Japanese Army shortly before the sender was clubbed to death by the 2nd Lieutenant holding the role of Chief of the Imperial Navy General Staff."
 
XLVI: Boiling Over (7/43)
XLVI: Boiling Over, July 1943

General Sugiyama claimed that Nagano’s death was merely an unfortunate accident when questioned the following morning. If it had been, it was a very convenient one for the general. Sugiyama had been attempting to weaken the Navy’s influence on the war effort for the better part of a year, and there was hardly a better way to do that than by removing the second most prestigious admiral in the country from the equation. The junior Army officers that had directly led the assassination had made sure to cover up the details of the death, and in hiding the body they made Sugiyama’s lie believable to any who did not know otherwise.
Unfortunately for Sugiyama, one senior officer knew the truth, or at least enough of it to see through Sugiyama’s lies. Worse, he was someone who Sugiyama had been relying on for support. That man was Hideki Tojo, Prime Minister and Minister of War. As Minister of War, he was one of the most politically powerful men in the Army, while the office of Prime Minister gave him some power over the Navy as well. Sugiyama believed that the conflict with the Navy was very much a bipolar conflict, and because Tojo was an Army man, it would follow that he would support the Army. However Tojo’s loyalty lay first and foremost to the Emperor, and Hirohito had made it known in the past that he at the very least approved of Yamamoto’s plan for a decisive battle. When Tojo privately asked the Emperor if he still had faith in Yamamoto, he received a ‘yes’ in reply.

No replacement for Nagano had yet been found, and with the approval of the Emperor Tojo appointed Admiral Shimada to the post, making him both Chief of the IJN and its top Minister. Tojo was no stranger to the thought of taking multiple positions at once, for his own list of duties had grown several times throughout the war, and Shimada was both a political lightweight and quite friendly towards Tojo. Everyone knew that de facto control of the Navy had lain with Grand Admiral Yamamoto ever since his great victory in the South Pacific, and now that the only other admiral who could rival his prestige was gone that was likely to be even more true than ever. Shimada, Tojo had realised long ago, was merely Yamamoto’s messenger in Tokyo.
Tojo had also grown tired of the endless infighting between the services, knowing that such dysfunction reflected badly on him as Prime Minister. Relieving Sugiyama was out of the question, as it would not look good for him to sack his own superior officer. The only alternative was compromise between the Army and Navy, which had so far failed in the somewhat public environment of the Imperial Headquarters, but may still be possible if done in private, with Tojo acting as middleman.
Tojo ordered Yamamoto and Shimada to meet him in Yokosuka, outside of Tokyo to reduce the risk of any further assassinations. Yamamoto was pleased to see that at least one other senior officer seemed to recognise that the United States was Japan’s greatest threat. Tojo asked him what he, and by implication the rest of the Navy, would need to defeat that threat. Yamamoto replied with “a division for the Carolines, six months to get everything ready, and enough of a free hand to fight the battle without interference from the Army”. Tojo remarked that the Army had effectively given him two of those three things with the Two Black Lines agreement. To that Yamamoto shook his head, noting “that didn’t even last a week.”

When Tojo met with Sugiyama the next day, the reception he received was not nearly so friendly. “Yamamoto has already had his six months!” Sugiyama exploded, before insisting that only the Army could win the war, and if they were to do so they needed the troops that the Navy had “stolen” in the Central Pacific islands. Clearly, Sugiyama had no interest in any compromise with the Navy, or at least none that would see the Emperor’s support for Yamamoto respected. Tojo decided that if he was to honour the Emperor’s wishes, he would need the Emperor to give the order.
The opportunity for that came before the end of that week, when the Emperor summoned Tojo, Shimada, Sugiyama and Yamamoto to the Imperial Palace. All four officers were told of his extreme displeasure towards Japan’s armed services, who were more distracted by their infighting than in their duty to Japan. He ordered that all internal conflicts were to cease immediately and that Yamamoto be given official command of the division he requested as well as those disputed garrisons in the Central Pacific. Furthermore, Yamamoto was to be given all relevant authority with regard to the planning and execution of the decisive battle. Sugiyama was furious, but the Emperor rebuked him. “Where are your great victories, general?”

With orders from the Emperor in hand, Yamamoto left the Imperial Palace relieved that he finally had the power, and written proof of said power, in hand to fight his second decisive battle. His new group of well-trained pilots were showing promising results in their training, although they were still short of the elite fighters that had helped him bomb Pearl Harbour. The new planes were entering service too, with the B6N torpedo bomber starting to fill hangars on board his carriers. His flagship, the Musashi, had pride of place in Tokyo Bay, and her sister Shinano was nearing completion. MacArthur’s efforts into New Guinea and Timor had convinced him that while the Americans would be coming, they were still weak. If all went to plan, he would have enough time to beat them again before their factories put him out of action for good. A meeting with the Emperor looked to have finally gotten the Army off his back.
No mere meeting could put an end to the rivalry however. Sugiyama was just as sure that the Army’s plan – his plan – for defeating the Americans was the best way to win the war. More sure, actually, for he did not acknowledge the strength and industrial power of the United States in the same way that Yamamoto did. The Imperial Navy, Yamamoto principally, was a threat to that plan, taking resources away from the Army when there were never enough to go around. Now the Emperor had backed the Navy, and it seemed that Tojo too had had a hand in Yamamoto’s schemes.
Sugiyama smiled as he left the Imperial Palace, more than an hour after the other three officers were dismissed. While he had not ordered Nagano’s assassination personally, he was in close contact with the man behind the scheme: General Korechika Anami, commander of various armies in China and Manchuria, more recently known for his outspoken contempt towards Yamamoto’s “theft of Army glory” in Fiji. Anami was a perfect representation of Japan’s interservice rivalry, and had a reputation as a dangerous fanatic to go with it. Nagano’s death had not been enough, and Anami was eager to see the Navy eliminated from a position of influence. That could mean only one thing:
The assassin’s job was not yet done.

- BNC
 
Nagano’s death had not been enough, and Anami was eager to see the Navy eliminated from a position of influence. That could mean only one thing:
The assassin’s job was not yet done.

- BNC
Jesus Christ. Is the Army so blind as to take out one of the best Admirals the IJN has to offer? Do they really not care about the war effort at all?
 
That's one way to put it. Geeze. At this rate, the Americans should just wait and build massive forces while Japan destroys themselves... Well at least Japan will have even less militarism by the time this is through.
Well, the IJN may throw the Army under the bus, and Japan gets to keep more of a Navy than OTL, while they swear off an Army even more.
 
Well, the IJN may throw the Army under the bus, and Japan gets to keep more of a Navy than OTL, while they swear off an Army even more.
True. But I think they're going to keep ships, not personel. Personel's also going down. Just not as bad as the army. I do think that Article 10 is going to be more viciously ingrained than ever.
 
True. But I think they're going to keep ships, not personel. Personel's also going down. Just not as bad as the army. I do think that Article 10 is going to be more viciously ingrained than ever.
Part of me hopes the hit on Yamamoto fails, and he sneaks off to give himself up to the US.

Totally ASB, but this is insane what the IJA is pulling.
 
There are a lot more soldiers than seamen. From memory they had more seats in the diet too. Not sure how the Navy wins this one.
 
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