Post by SolomonW
Say you are a planner and after Okinawa, you are asked to consider
an alternative to the invasion, of besieging Japan. You do not know of
nuclear weapons or the Russian intensions.
The Soviets had agreed at the Tehran and Yalta conferences to join the
war against Japan within three months of the end of the war in Europe.
Post by SolomonW
You are allowed some landing in Japan, but the primary aim will be
to neutralize Japan with minimum losses and place it under a long
How do you think your plan would look?
We're in June 1945 or later, so we know what collapsed the German war
economy, and that looks like a good line to take. You need to cut
Japanese industry off from its sources of fuel, and you need to destroy
the transport infrastructure. Since Japanese coal is produced at the ends
of the country, and the industry that uses it is in the centre, the
transport system is the main target.
That comes down to wrecking the railway system, preferably at its bridges,
viaducts and marshalling yards, since those are much harder to repair
than lengths of track. You also want to step up the mining of Japanese
coastal waters, since a lot of transport is done by coastal shipping. The
results from Germany give confidence that
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Starvation is on the right track.
The USN submarine force needs to work further from Japan, to avoid the
minefields, interdicting imports from China and Korea.
There are some special cases, like the rail ferries that moved lots of
coal from Hokkaido to Honshu, which the USN did a lot of damage to, but
that job needs to be finished off. The USN has the main tactical air
force that we can bring to bear, so it should deal with tactical targets
like airfields, military HQs, and ports.
The other missions of the XXI Bomber Command, burning cities, and
destroying the Japanese oil industry, can continue unchanged, since
they're going to damage industry and deprive the Japanese military of
With all of this done, Japan's combat power will be small, but it will be
necessary to keep up reconnaissance and attack missions to keep them
suppressed and allow the Japanese military time to realise that this is
They would realise that faster if we switched to attacking agriculture
and used tactical aviation on the fishing fleet, but this would cause
There's no obvious need for invasion at this stage. Commando raids to
destroy railway bridges and the like may be worthwhile, once detailed
planning has been done.
If Japan holds out for a long time, the combat power of their forces in
China and south-east Asia will start to wither, while that of the Allied
armies will grow, and the Soviets must be expected to join in, as per
their agreements. The Chinese Civil War may re-ignite, and we need to
decide what we do about that, since the Soviets will presumably side with