American Invasion Fleet could have been destroyed by the "Divine Wind"

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Soundbreaker Welch?, May 1, 2007.

  1. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Creepy to think, but Nature still ran it's course, even after Japan could no longer benefit from it. :shock:

    Now, It's possible nothing may have happened too, we could have missed it. But it is an "if."

    The Story of the Invasion of Japan

    Invasion of Japan

    Post Script

    With the capture of Okinawa during the summer of 1945 the Americans in the Pacific had finally obtained what the allies in Europe had enjoyed all along, a large island capable of being used as a launching platform for invasion. Following the cessation of hostilities with Germany, millions of American soldiers, sailors, and airmen were being redeployed to the Pacific for the anticipated invasion of Japan. The center of this immense military buildup and the primary staging area for the invasion was the island of Okinawa.

    American military planers knew that the invasion of Japan would be a difficult undertaking. Japan had never been successfully invaded in its history.

    Six and one-half centuries before, an invasion similar to the planned American invasion had been attempted and failed. That invasion had striking similarities to the one being planned by the Americans that summer of 1945.

    In the year 1281 A.D., two magnificent Chinese fleets set sail for the Empire of Japan. Their purpose was to launch a massive invasion on the Japanese home islands and to conquer Japan in the name of the Great Mongol Emperor Kublai Kahn. Sailing from China was the main armada, consisting of 3,500 ships and over 100,000 heavily armed troops. Sailing from ports in Korea was a second impressive fleet of 900 ships, containing 41,000 Mongol warriors.

    In the summer of that year, the invasion force sailing from Korea arrived off the western shores of the southern most Japanese island of Kyushu. The Mongols maneuvered their ships into position and methodically launched their assault on the Japanese coast. Like human surf, wave after wave of these oriental soldiers swept ashore at Hagata Bay, where they were met on the beaches by thousands of Japanese defenders who had never had their homeland successful invaded.

    The Mongol invasion force was a modern army, and its arsenal of weapons was far superior to that of the Japanese. Its soldiers were equipped with poisoned arrows, maces, iron swords, metal javelins and even gunpowder. The Japanese were forced to defend themselves with bow and arrows, swords, spears made from bamboo and shields made only of wood.

    The battle was fierce, with many soldiers killed or wounded on both sides. It dragged on for days, but aided by fortifications along their beaches of which the Mongols had no advance knowledge; and, inspired by the sacred cause of the defense of their homeland, these ancient Japanese warriors pushed the much stronger Mongol invaders off the beaches and back into their ships lying at anchor in the Bay.

    This Mongol fleet then set back out to sea, where it rendezvoused with the main body of its army, which was arriving with the second fleet coming from China.

    During the summer of 1281, this combined force of foreign invaders maneuvered off shore in preparation for the main assault on the western shores of Kyushu.

    All over Japan elaborate Shinto ceremonies were performed at shrines, in the cities, and in the countryside. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese urged on by their Emperor, their warlords, and other officials prayed to their Shinto gods for deliverance from these foreign invaders. A million Japanese voices called upward for divine intervention.

    Miraculously, as if in answer to their prayers, from out of the south a savage typhoon sprang up and headed toward Kyushu. Its powerful winds screamed up the coast where they struck the Mongol's invasion fleet with full fury, wreaking havoc on the ships and on the men onboard. The Mongol fleet was devastated. After the typhoon had passed, over 4,000 invasion craft had been lost and the Mongol casualties exceeded 100,000 men.

    All over Japan religious services and huge celebrations were held. Everywhere tumultuous crowds gathered in Thanksgiving to pay homage to the "divine wind" that had saved their homeland from foreign invasion. At no time thereafter has Japan ever been successfully invaded. The Japanese fervently believed that it was this "divine wind" that would forever protect them.

    During the summer of 1945 another powerful armada was being assembled to assault the same western coastline on the island of Kyushu, where six and one half centuries earlier the Mongols had been repelled.

    The American invasion plans for Kyushu, scheduled for November 1, 1945 called for a floating invasion force of 14 army and marine divisions to be transported by ship to hit the western, eastern, and southern shoreline of Kyushu. This shipboard invasion force would consist of 550,000 combat soldiers, tens of thousands of sailors and hundreds of naval aviators.

    The assault fleet would consist of thousands of ships of every shape, size and description, ranging from the mammoth battleships and aircraft carriers to the small amphibious craft, and they would be sailing from Okinawa, the Philippines and the Marianas.

    Crucial to the success of the invasion were nearly 4,000 army, navy and marine aircraft that would be packed into the small island of Okinawa to be used for direct air support of our landing forces at the time of this invasion.

    By July of 1945, the Japanese knew the Americans were planning to invade their homeland. Throughout the early summer, the Emperor and his government officials exhorted the military and civilian population to make preparations for the invasion.

    Japanese radios throughout that summer cried out to the people to "form a wall of human flesh" and when the invasion began, to push the invaders back into the sea, and back onto their ships.

    The Japanese people fervently believed that the American invaders would be repelled. They all seemed to share a mystical faith that their country could never be invaded successfully and that they, again would be saved by the "divine wind."

    The American invasion never came, however, because the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as if by a miracle, ended the war.
    ----------------------------------
    Continue to next post.
     
  2. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Almost immediately American soldiers, sailors and airmen, in for the duration, were being discharged and sent home. By the fall of 1945, there remained approximately 200,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen still on Okinawa, which would have been the major launching platform for the invasion of Japan, was now peaceful.

    In October, Bruckner Bay, on the east coasts of the island, was still jammed with vessels of all kinds, from Victory ships to landing craft. On the island itself, 150,000 soldiers lived under miles of canvas, in what were referred to as "Tent Cities." All over the island, hundreds of tons of food, equipment and supplies stacked in immense piles lay out in the open.

    During the early part of October, to the southwest of Okinawa just northeast of the Marianas, the seas were growing restless and the winds began to blow. The ocean skies slowly turned black and the large swells that were developing began to turn the Pacific Ocean white with froth. In a matter of only a few days, a gigantic typhoon had somehow out of season, sprung to life and began sweeping past Saipan and into the Philippine Sea. As the storm grew more violent, it raced northward and kicked up waves 60 feet high.

    Navy Meteorologists eventually became aware of the storm, but they expected it to pass well between Formosa and Okinawa, and to disappear into then East China Sea.

    Unexplainably, on the evening of October 8th, the storm changed direction and abruptly veered to the east. When it did do, there was insufficient warning to allow ships in the harbor to get under way in order to escape the typhoon's terrible violence. By late morning on the 9th, rain was coming down in torrents, the seas were rising and visibility was zero. Winds, now over 80 miles per hour blowing from the east and northeast, caused small crafts in Bruckner Bay to drag their anchors.

    By early afternoon, the wind had risen to over 100 miles per hour, the rain coming in horizontally now was more salt than fresh, and even the larger vessels began dragging anchor under the pounding of 50 foot seas.

    As the winds continued to increase and the storm unleased its fury, the entire Bay became a scene of devastation. Ships dragging their anchors collided with one another; hundreds of vessels were blown ashore. Vessels in groups of two's and three's were washed ashore into masses of wreckage that began to accumulate on the beaches.

    Numerous ships had to be abandoned, while their crews were precariously transferred between ships.

    By midafternoon, the typhoon had reached its raging peak with winds, now coming from the north and northeast, blowing up to 150 miles per hour. Ships initially grounded by the storm were now blown off the reefs and back across the bay to the south shore, dragging their anchors the entire way. More collisions occurred between the wind-blown ships and shattered hulks.

    Gigantic waves swamped small vessels and engulfed larger ones. Liberty ships lost their propellers, while men in transports, destroyers and Victory ships were swept off the decks by 60 foot waves that reached the tops of the masts of their vessels.

    On shore, the typhoon was devastating the island. Twenty hours of torrential rain washed out roads and ruined the islands stores of rations and supplies. Aircraft were picked up and catapulted off the airfields; huge Quonset huts went sailing into the air, metal hangers were ripped to shreds, and the "Tent Cities," housing 150,000 troops on the island, ceased to exist.

    Almost the entire food supply on the island was blown away. Americans on the island had nowhere to go, but into caves, trenches and ditches of the island in order to survive. All over the island were tents, boards and sections of galvanized iron being hurled through the air at over 100 miles per hour.

    The storm raged over the island for hours, and then slowly headed out to sea; then it doubled back, and two days later howled in from the ocean to hit the island again. On the following day, when the typhoon had finally passed, dazed men crawled out of holes and caves to count the losses.

    Countless aircraft had been destroyed, all power was gone, communications and supplies were nonexistent. B-29's were requisitioned to rush in tons of supplies from the Marianas. General Joseph Stillwell, the 10th Army Commander, asked for immediate plans to evacuate all hospital cases from the island. The harbor facilities were useless.

    After the typhoon roared out into the Sea of Japan and started to die its slow death, the bodies began to wash ashore. The toll on ships was staggering. Almost 270 ships were sunk, grounded or damaged beyond repair. Fifty-three ships in too bad a state to be restored were decommissioned, stripped and abandoned. Out of 90 ships which needed major repair, the Navy decided only 10 were even worthy of complete salvage, and so the remaining 80 were scrapped.

    According to Samuel Eliot Morrison, the famous Naval historian, "Typhoon Louise" was the most furious and lethal storm ever encountered by the United States Navy in its entire History. Hundreds of Americans were killed, injured and missing, ships were sunk and the island of Okinawa was in havoc.

    News accounts at the time disclose that the press and the public back home paid little attention to this storm that struck the Pacific with such force. The very existence of this storm is still a little-known fact.

    Surprisingly, few people then, or even now, have made the connection that an American invasion fleet of thousands of ships, planes and landing craft, and a half million men might well have been in that exact place at that exact time, poised to strike Japan, when this typhoon enveloped Okinawa and its surrounding seas.

    In the aftermath of this storm, with the war now history, few people concerned themselves with the obsolete invasion plans for Japan.

    However, had there been no bomb dropped or had it been simply delayed for only a matter of months, history might have well repeated itself. In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of this typhoon, had things been different, all over Japan religious services and huge celebrations would have been held. A million Japanese voices would have been raised upward in thanksgiving. Everywhere tumultuous crowds would have gathered in delirious gratitude to pay homage to a "divine wind" which might once again protected their country from foreign invaders, a "divine wind" they had named, centuries before, the "Kamikaze."
     
  3. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    Come to think of it, Nature backslapped us after the Normandy Landings too, with that big storm in the English Channel. I guess in the long run, the Germans and Japanese couldn't win with storms.

    Planning for D-Day Normandy Invasion

    Operation Mulberry began and continued under fire, and the most essential parts of the job, started on the evening of June 7, were completed on D plus 8, June 14--one day ahead of schedule. "It functioned so smoothly," Lester E. Ellison, first mate on an army tug recalled, "that on 14-18 of June inclusive, an average of 8,500 tons of cargo poured ashore over it daily." This exceeded the design quota of 5,000 tons by nearly 60 percent.

    As soon as they were unloaded the merchant ships returned to English ports for another cargo, some making three round trips. This was during the height of the Buzz Bomb era, when the Strait of Dover was known to mariners as Doodlebug Alley for the low-flying V-1 bombs. Gun crews on several freighters succeeded in shooting down V-1s in port or en route.

    The British artificial harbor functioned at its design capacity from D-Day plus four, but its early role was accumulating stores and not landing personnel or vehicles. Eventually, however, it handled about one-quarter of all British personnel put ashore in Normandy, continuing in service even after the major ports of Le Havre and Cherbourg had been opened. By July 31 it had landed more than 627 million tons of supplies. It was finally closed on October 31.


    The Storm

    Bad luck, in the form of a ferocious summer storm, the worst June gale in 40 years, blew in on June 19 (D plus 13). It came from the north, the worst possible direction, piling up the seas against the beaches, creating a barrier of surf no landing craft could penetrate intact.

    In three days of unrelenting fury, it all but demolished the American harbor, tossing smaller vessels athwart the causeways and creating general wreckage. The spuds were ruined, and most of Mulberry A was left good for nothing but repair parts for the British harbor. The British port sustained heavy damage too, but, partly sheltered by the Calvados Reef, it was much less damaged than its American counterpart and it was quickly restored to service.

    In fact, the American Mulberry was a work in progress throughout its short life. It began receiving ships while its facilities were still being installed, and its installation as designed was never completed. But even as major elements were being destroyed by the storm, essential activity went on at both harbors. The SHAEF report previously quoted observed:

    The harbours had been designed to insure against precisely this emergency; but unfortunately the sudden gale caught them before they were finished and before the whole of the breakwaters had been laid. Moreover, whereas we had taken the possibility of a summer gale into our calculation, this gale was of winter strength.

    An extremely dangerous situation arose. The [Bombardon] breakwater broke up and ceased to give any protection. Both outside the harbours and within them there were ships in distress, ships dragging their anchors or whose anchors were already lost. These threatened further to damage the structure of breakwater and piers.

    The American harbour was the worse hit. Great seas surged through the gaps torn in the breakwater, drove small craft ashore, and seriously damaged the piers. Caissons [Phoenixes] which had been breached by pieces of wreckage began to crumble away.

    However, the harbour and separate "shelters" were already to a great extent performing the function for which they had been designed. A very large number of ships and craft found sanctuary under the lee of the blockships and within the harbour breakwaters. Ships in distress, which would otherwise have been lost with their valuable cargoes, were saved by the friendly shelter of the artificial harbours.

    And for three days of appalling weather, while beach unloading was impossible and the Army's supply situation became extremely difficult, a small but very vitally important trickle of stores went ashore through the harbour. Even on the worst day of the gale, 800 tons of petrol and ammunition as well as many hundreds of troops, were landed at Arromanches over the pierheads. Next day, while the gale still raged, this was increased to 1200.

    Great damage was sustained by the American harbour, which lacked the useful shelter which the Calvados reef provided for the British; and to make matters worse many of the components--caissons and lengths of pier -- were lost or damaged while on tow in the Channel during the three days' gale.

    In view of these heavy losses of material it was decided to discontinue work on this harbour, which was now less necessary in view of the capture of Cherbourg. The main structure of the British port had stood up well to the weather, and the harbour was completed--partly with material salvaged from the American one. The work of strengthening its breakwaters is still proceeding.

    Meanwhile the port continues in full operation. Within its breakwaters Liberty ships and coasters discharge their cargoes into DUKWs ["Ducks"] and lighters; and against its pierheads other ships unload thousands of tons each day into lorries which carry the stores straight to the Army's dumps.

    Through the two harbors came 73,000 U.S. and 83,000 British and Canadian troops.

    As the SHAEF report put it, "For the first time in history, a harbour has been built in sections, towed across the sea, and set down, during a battle, on the enemy shore."

    And be it noted: towed across the sea, and set down, during a battle, on the enemy shore by the gallant men of the United States Merchant Marine and Naval Armed Guard, and their British and Canadian counterparts.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The Typhoon would caused headaches for the US, but it wouldnt be a show stopper.

    The forces involved in "Downfall" were going to be coming from all of the Pacific for the invasion.
     
  5. Hunter368

    Hunter368 Active Member

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    I agreed it would of cost the Allies (mostly USA) a lot of lives and ships (which could be replaced)......but it would not of stopped things.
     
  6. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    But think of the propaganda value that would have for the Japanese. It could have made them even more determined in their defense of the homeland. It would not have changed the outcome, but it would have been even more costly to the allies.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Agree'd
     
  8. HealzDevo

    HealzDevo Active Member

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    Also a lot of those pacific troops at that stage could possibly have been replaced by drafting those that served in Europe. Thus getting an experienced force, especially if you aimed at those involved in the D-Day invasion.
     
  9. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    I think Ultimately, the invasion would have been a success, but the casualty rate on our side would have been epic
     
  10. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Why? battle hardened troops from the PTO would have a hell of a lot more experiance in storming enemy beach heads.
     
  11. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    Yeah and so would the guys who took Normandy,Sicily, Anzio and North Africa
     
  12. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but why ship them half way around the world to do a job the blokes in the PTO are more then capable of doing? Probably more capable when you take into account the number of enemy held Islands and beach heads that were taken in the Pacific.
     
  13. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    The more men the better, and the more experience EVEN BETTER
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I would have to have pity on a poor bastard that survived all of those and then got sent to the meatgrinder.
     
  15. amrit

    amrit Member

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    In David Westheimer's "Death Is Lighter Than a Feather" (a fictional account of the invasion of Japan), the storm is described quite well, but doesn't affect the ongoing operations too much.

    And the C-in-C Pacific Fleet's report on the storm is quite interesting:

    Typhoons and Hurricanes: Pacific typhoon, October 1945
     
  16. amrit

    amrit Member

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    Previous typhoons affecting USN:

    18 December 1944
    Pacific Typhoon, 18 December 1944

    June 1945
    Typhoons and Hurricanes: Pacific Typhoon, June 1945

     
  17. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Well if the Typhoon was expected during the Invasion it certainly would have postponed the invasion until the storm had passed. It however would not have stopped an invasion from happening.
     
  18. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The last invasion of in the ETO took place in Aug 1944. By May 1945, many of the troops had been "used" up by attrition, thus the units present at VE day, were hardly the same as during the invasion.

    The troops in the Pacific on the other hand, didnt have such attrition and were involved in many invasions through out 1944/45.

    The officers in the USN in the pacific didnt think very highly of their counterparts in the Atlantic when it came to large invasions. In the planning for Normandy, they told CinC Atlantic to add dozens more cruisers and battleships to add for fire support. They were told 'thanks for the info, but we know what we are doing". The debacle at Omaha Beach could have been averted if they were listened too.
     
  19. Soundbreaker Welch?

    Soundbreaker Welch? Active Member

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    You're right. The Allies probably would have been smart enough to not let their fleet be caught sailing in the midst of a Typhoon, even though it sounds like it hit Okinawa 5 days after it was spotted and many of the ships in harbor couldn't escape it by going out to sea in a differant direction.

    The Mongols couldn't predict weather like the GI's could! And that's saying a lot, since I still am baffled by high tech weather predictions and the unpredicted final outcome!
     
  20. 102first_hussars

    102first_hussars Active Member

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    It wouldnt of matterd one goddam bit what the Marines thought of the Army, they would have had to SUCK IT UP, if they were to fight together, SOLDIERS AND OFFICERS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN, and expected to work as a team

    The USN had more battleships and cruisers at IWO JIMA and Okinawa, F*ck they even had Aircraft Carriers, and what a big difference that made...NOT!

    (there was no CV that i recall playing any key role in the normandy landing)


    So if youre saying that if the Allies had more BB and BC available at Normandy, the near disastor at Omaha wouldnt have happened, compared to the Iwo Jima and Okinawa Landings, Normandy was a stunning success.

    The Japanese And Germans alike were extremely well dug in, it wouldnt have mattered one bit how much indirect fire support they had, the only weapon that would have made a HUGE difference, is if today's Guided Bunker Buster Bombs, and Thermol Night Vision existed back then

    and the whole "thanks for the info, but we know what we are doing" sounds made up
     
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