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What if Japan invaded mainland America?

Discussion in 'World War 2' started by Miller phpbb3, Aug 31, 2006.

  1. Miller phpbb3

    Miller phpbb3 New Member

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    What would've happened. Could we have won? Or would we have lost miserablly?
     
  2. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    I don't mean to be overly critical but really the idea is preposterous.
    No foreign power and certainly not the Japanese had the ability to conduct such a massive amphibious invasion. Forgetting the tactical military difficulties( which would be considerable) the logistics alone would be staggering.
    For all practical purposes, impossible.
     
  3. JCalhoun

    JCalhoun New Member

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    I agree.
     
  4. smeghead phpbb3

    smeghead phpbb3 New Member

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    Well, the Japanese had plans to invade Australia, which they had planned right up to producing the currency for their new "Japanese colony" :grin: However we beat 'em back...

    If you consider Hawaii to be part of America then yes, Japan had the capability to invade America, (they had plans for that one too)... But they could never produce the industrial resources required for an invasion of the mainland... Australia was invadeable because it was surrounded by islands which provided potential airbases/docks... An invasion of America would require a fleet to sail all the way across the pacific, through American controlled waters with no docks to resuply at... that would cost more resources than the Japanese had... If you want to be nit picky the Japanese probably could have landed a small amount of troops, but it would have been pointless, would detract from their pacific fleet, be a huge waste of money, and they likely would not make it far inland
     
  5. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Hi smeghead, do you have sources for the Japanese intention to invade Australia?

    Everything I have ever read states that their Pacific defensive line would stop at New Guinea, and they (sensibly) did not intend to get dragged into trying to conquer such a huge chunk of land.

    Ditto for Hawaii - except it ain't huge.


    Bottom line, the most the Japanese could realistically expect to do is invade Hawaii, but this would mean less advances elsewhere in the Pacific, and the effort of keeping Hawaii supplied - let alone stopping the Americans from counter-invading - was beyond their capabilities.
     
  6. Quillin

    Quillin New Member

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    However, some of the american generals did say that when japan invaded the mainland right after pearl harbor, they could penetrate until chicago before they could be stopped.
    After all, untill pearl harbor, america had as many troops as roemania had and bearly some tanks.
     
  7. Ricky

    Ricky New Member

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    Very true (about the small size of the army)...

    Except there was no Japanese force large enough to invade the USA with any degree of success.
     
  8. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    Well in that case Canada would try to help as always being the friendly neihbours to the north. The statement that they could penetrate to Chicago is largely overexadurated because the large number of armed American citizens would do their best to ambush and attack the enemy.
     
  9. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Regular troops maybe, but armed civilians and militias who knew their local areas well would make any Japanese advances very costly indeed. As for equipment, all that would happen would be anything earmarked for Lend-lease would be interred and used by the US instead.
     
  10. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    Surprisingly Canada declared war on Japan a whole day ahead of America :cool:. Now I am pretty sure there was an agreement with Canada and the US but I dont know what it was called.
     
  11. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    In theory they could have used submarine to land troops, establish a foot hold, (capture a port?) and use sub to ferry troops there.

    What am I saying? That's hardly worth the effort of typing it! :lol:
     
  12. Gunter_Viezenz

    Gunter_Viezenz New Member

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    Its highely impracticle. Also the foothold would be relatively small and would be under constand attack under American and perhaps Canadian forces. Also the RCAF was training Pilots in different locations of Canada from all around the British commenwealth.
    http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca/hist/ww_2_e.asp
    Pretty much 2 paragraphs from the site.
     
  13. Lone Wolf

    Lone Wolf New Member

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    There was genuine worry in America post-Pearl that an invasion may take place but I think this was a combination of understandable paranoia and deliberate attempts to whip-up America onto maximum war footing ASAP - shades of "the British are coming !" the American muster has a well known historical precedent - furthermore look what the threat of invasion (albeit more justified) did to the British nation in 1940. The results of this "threat" combined with the need to avenge Peal Harbor were twofold - 1) The American nation moved very quickly onto a war footing that would inevitably be all but unstoppable and 2) Enthnically Japanese Americans were given a pretty hard time.

    Such an invasion, of course, would never have taken place - even the perpetrators of Pearl Harbor would not be foolish enough to attempt that hiding to nothing. It is possible, however, that they may have invaded Hawaii and contemplated limited hit-and-run raids against key mainland west coast targets - any such thoughts would have been abandoned after the defeat at Midway - a very important battle indeed.

    Here's a thought though - Alaska ....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Aleutian_Islands
     
  14. PMN1

    PMN1 recruit

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    Here is a very intresting post in response to numerous 'whats ifs' involving what more the Japanese could have done.

    Unless they found a Klingon Bird of Prey (Tironu, your response when it was brought up elsewhere that the Hood was sunk by one of the British cruisers was amusing to say the least....) they were finished the moment they attacked.

    Not sure how the formatting will work out so i'll post the link.

    http://p069.ezboard.com/falltheworldsba ... 2455.topic

    The Limits of Japanese Strength: December, 1941

    In December of 1941, the Japanese imperial army and navy mounted a series of combined operations that reached from Wake Island in the east to Bangkok, the Isthmus of Kra, and northeastern Malaya in the west. These operations were an impressive display of Japanese planning and operational capabilities, and the very judicious allocation of limited combat power.

    However, the sheer breadth of the offensives - which were the maximum amphibious effort the Japanese military managed during the entire war - obscured some very real weaknesses in the Japanese forces, their doctrine, and leadership.

    First and foremost, the Japanese operations were all against opponents that were significantly weaker, both in terms of forces in the theater and available for redeployment from elsewhere, in 1941 then at almost any other time during the conflict. The British were fully occupied in the defense of the British Isles and the Atlantic and Mediterranean; India, Australia, and New Zealand were all still essentially mobilizing, and their combat-ready forces were deployed in Africa and Middle East; the Dutch, with the Netherlands occupied, were even more limited; and the United States, which had begun mobilizing in the fall of 1940, was simultaneously equipping the large American forces being mobilized, preparing them for contingency operations in the Atlantic and ETO, and committed to supporting the European Allies - US forces in the Pacific, although significantly stronger then they had been in 1940, still came farther down the priority list then the forces at home or in the Atlantic.

    Secondly, it is worth understanding that the Japanese rarely if ever chose to mount an opposed amphibious operation, unless the nature of the target demanded it; generally, IJA forces were landed at undefended locations, and marched overland to their targets. The only significant exception to this among the December operations were the 1st and 2nd Wake assaults, and 1st Wake is notable for being among the very few WW II amphibious operations that was decisively defeated at the water's edge.

    Third, a review of all of the December operations reveals just how scant Japan's resources, in both landing forces and the shipping necessary to move and sustain them, were in 1941. The demands of an industrialized island nation for shipping are always large, and the Japanese merchant marine was incapable of meeting them, even in peacetime; with the ongoing war in China, the need to maintain large and expensive ground and air forces in Manchuria and Korea to guard against the Soviets, and the occupation of French Indochina, an already thin asset had to be spread even farther, thus limiting what shipping was available for the Pacific offensives.

    As it was, when the December operations were planned and then mounted, the available amphibious forces - meaning both troops and shipping - were relatively small; the total ground force allotted by the Army and Navy to the Pacific offensive amounted to four corps-level headquarters and about 12 division equivalents, something less than a quarter of the IJA's total ground forces, and a corresponding number of IJAAF air units; the IJNAF provided the bulk of the air power, including the land-based aircraft, used by the Japanese in the December offensives.

    Of those 12 division equivalents, moreover, it appears that no more than about a third - perhaps four division equivalents, or about 12 brigade/regimental combat team equivalents - were ever afloat simultaneously in December, 1941.

    The specifics of the Japanese offensives (see list below for sources) are as follows:

    1. SHANGHAI Operation: IJA and IJN forces cooperated to occupy the International Settlement in Shanghai, China; the forces allotted amounted to small elements of the existing Japanese forces in China and IJN forces already assigned to the China Station.

    2. HONG KONG Operation: The IJA's 38th Division, strongly reinforced by other elements of the Japanese forces in China, moved overland to attack the British colony; the troops were supported by a relatively small IJN task force.

    3. THAILAND Operation: The IJA's 15th Army (a corps equivalent) invaded the independent but neutral kingdom overland from occupied French Indochina, with the Guards Division as the spearhead; the only amphibious element was a battalion combat team built around the 3rd Battalion of the 4th Guards Regiment, which departed Saigon 12-5-41 aboard one transport and landed at Bangkok on 12-8-41.

    4. MALAYA Operation: The IJA's 25th Army (corps equivalent) invaded southern Thailand and northeastern Malaya (then a British colony) with four brigade- to division-sized forces, included a substantial force of IJAAF ground units to operate the captured airfields; these forces included:

    4-A) KRA force: a brigade-sized force built around the 143rd RCT, detached from the 55th Division, which landed on eastern side of the Isthmus of Kra; it left Saigon on 12-5-41 aboard 7 transports and landed just before midnight 12-7-41;

    4-B) SINGORA force: the reinforced 5th Division (built around the 11th and 41st RCTs, plus divisional- and corps-level artillery, armor, engineers, etc.), aboard 12 transports, which left Hainan 12-4-41 and also landed just before midnight 12-7;

    4-C) PATTANI force: a brigade-sized force built around the 42nd RCT, detached from the 5th Division, aboard six transports, which also landed 12-7;

    4-D) KHOTA BHARU force: a brigade-sized force built around the 56th RCT (detached from the 18th Division), aboard three transports, which also landed 12-7.

    4-E) MALAYA SECOND WAVE: additional army elements and supply and support ships, some of them reloaded vessels of the initial convoys, left Cam Ranh Bay on 12-13 and arrived off their respective beachheads on 12-16 and 12-17;

    5. BORNEO Operation: A brigade-sized force built around the IJA's 124th RCT (detached from the 16th Division) and the battalion-sized 2nd SNLF, aboard 10 transports and support vessels, left Cam Ranh Bay on 12-13. The force landed troops in Borneo on 12-16 and occupied Miri, Seria, and Lutong (5-A); six days later, elements of the same force were loaded aboard the same transports and landed at Kuching (Sarawak) on 12-23 (5-B).

    6. PHILIPPINE OPERATION: The IJA 14th and 16th armies (both corps-equivalents) each provided a reinforced division and corps troops for the Philippines invasion, which proceeded in two stages against targets on Luzon and Mindanao (the two largest and northernmost and southernmost islands, respectively, of the archipelago): The first phase included:

    6-A) LUZON STRAIT force: Small (battalion-sized or less) elements of the IJN aboard a two large and several smaller transports and support vessels left Taiwan and occupied the Luzon Strait islands (Batan and Camiguin) on 12-8 and 12-10, respectively;

    6-B) APARRI force: An understrength regimental-sized force (about 2,000 men drawn from the 2nd Taiwan (Formosa) RCT, part of the 48th Division) aboard seven transports, left the Pescadores (south of Taiwan) on 12-7 and landed at Aparri and Gonzaga (far northern Luzon) on 12-10.

    6-C) VIGAN force: An understrength regimental-sized force (about 2,000 men also drawn from the 2nd Taiwan RCT, part of the 48th Division) aboard five transports, left the Pescadores (south of Taiwan) on 12-7 and landed at Vigan (northwestern Luzon) on 12-10.

    6-D) LEGASPI force: A regimental-sized force (3,000 men drawn from the 33rd RCT, part of the 16th Division, and the 1st SNLF) aboard six transports, left Palau (Western Carolines) on 12-7 and landed at Legaspi (far southeastern Luzon) on 12-12.

    6-E) DAVAO force: A brigade-sized force (5,000 men, built around the 146th RCT, part of the 56th Division) aboard 14 transports left Palau on 12-17 and landed at Davao (southern Mindanao) on 12-20; a day later, a detachment (about two battalions) was re-embarked and sailed for Jolo, in the Sulu Islands (far southwestern Philippines) landing there on 12-24.

    6-F) LINGAYEN force: A large force (43,100 men) that included the bulk of the 14th Army (34,900 men), logistics personnel (4,600 men) and IJNAF personnel (3,600 men), the ground combat element included the 48th Division, built around the division's own 1st Taiwan and 48th RCTs, and the attached 9th RCT (detached from the 16th Division) plus divisional and corps-level artillery, cavalry, armor, and engineers. Loaded aboard some 60 transports, freighters, and support vessels, with about 150 purpose-built and 50 extemporized (described as "motorized sampans") landing craft embarked, the force left ports in the Pescadores and Taiwan on 12-17 and 12-18 and began landing troops at four separate points on Lingayen Gulf (Central Western Luzon) on 12-22 through 12-24;

    6-G) LAMON BAY force: A reinforced brigade-sized force (7,000 men drawn from the 16th Division, including the 20th RCT and division troops) left the Ryukyus on 12-17 aboard 24 transports and began landing at Lamon Bay (Central Eastern Luzon) on 12-24.

    7. GUAM Operation: A reinforced brigade-sized force, the Army's 144th RCT, (roughly 5,000 men) aboard nine transports, landed on Guam on 12-8 and rapidly overran the island.

    8. WAKE Operation: An SNLF battalion, aboard four transports, left Kwajalein on 12-6 and attempted to land on Wake on 12-10; it was repulsed (First Wake); the survivors, now reinforced to a strength of 2,000 men with additional personnel and shipping (six transports total) drawn from the IJA Guam occupation force, landed on 12-22 and forced the island's surrender on 12-23.

    9. GILBERTS Operation: Very small (company-sized or smaller) IJN elements left Jaluit 12-8 aboard small naval vessels and landed on Tarawa and Makin on 12-10.


    So the grand total was approximately 14 brigade/regimental combat team equivalents, or - very roughly - four triangular infantry division equivalents and supporting elements, all only partly motorized. The Japanese infantry was, for the most part, true leg infantry, and horse-drawn artillery and logistics elements were still very much part of the IJA.

    This is pretty impressive for 1941 (the Allies would not manage multi-division landings until TORCH in 1942), but it is also the largest amphibious effort the Japanese managed, historically, throughout the war. The largest subsequent amphibious operations in the NEI (the invasion of Java, for example) were no larger than corps-divisional level, and often smaller, at the brigade, regimental, or battalion scale. The reality is that Japan's greatest amphibious effort during the war amounted to the roughly simultaneous movement, landing, and support of four reinforced divisions - and this at the ranges and sea states common in the Western and Southwestern Pacific in December.

    The ultimate point, of course, is that given the sheer size of the Pacific, the strength (however limited) of the Allies in their major bastions, and the relatively small forces available for the December offensives, anyone attempting to detail a alternative yet realistic strategy for the Japanese in the winter of 1941-42 has to consider the historically finite resources that were available to Japan. Otherwise, such speculation is simply fantasy.

    SOURCES: I used the following books and on-line resources:

    "The Rising Sun in the Pacific" by SW Morison; Vol. III of "United States Naval Operations in WW II.";

    "The Fall of the Philippines" by Louis Morton, one of the US Army Official History volumes (the "Green Books");

    "Chronology of the War at Sea" by Jurgen Rohwer and Gerhard Hummelchen;

    Leo Niehorster's WW II Order of Battle webpage, specifically the "Initial Operations" page under the Japan heading; see
    niehorster.orbat.com/014_japan/_ops.html
     
  15. King Randall

    King Randall New Member

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    i believe the waves of japan might have taken the west coast but they woulda stoped at the rockies. now that i think of that if japan invaded i bet mexico wouda joined the axis, they woulda but there bordering the greatest country on the earth and couldnt get help
     
  16. Simonr1978

    Simonr1978 New Member

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    Based on what? I can't see Japan getting further than about a 100 miles radius absolute maximum from a single beach-head before being defeated by a combination of logistics and military/civil resistance. Any source for the Mexicans invading? Such invasions require massive preparation and would be unlikely to be successful if done in an opportunist and ad-lib fashion.

    Did you read PMN1's post at all?

    There's a good essay out there somewhere which shows how even Hiwaii would be beyond the capability of Japan to successfully invade.
     
  17. Grieg

    Grieg New Member

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    I second what Simon has to say on this issue. Where do you think the logistical support for such a huge amphibious invasion would come from?
    I think that a raid, which would probably have been suicidal (not necessarily a problem for the Japanese) could have ben mounted on a limited objective and for a limited time but a raid is not an invasion.
     
  18. Siberian Black

    Siberian Black New Member

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    I grew up about half an hour from (as far as they can tell) one of the final stop for cadets in training- Norman Rogers in Kingston. Worked at the flying club for about a week and a half...it's been there pretty much since the end of the war (longer I think)
     
  19. majorwoody10

    majorwoody10 New Member

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    assuming the japanese had the troops ,supplies and sealift ...how does one island hop to california...oahu is bout 3000 miles away
     
  20. Hoosier phpbb3

    Hoosier phpbb3 New Member

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    Honestly, I don't think the Japanese would have gotten far off the beaches. One hundred miles seems a stretch. To actually expand a beach-head to the Rockies seems a pipe-dream.
    The United States was a nation of "riflemen"--especially so in the western states--at that point in time. The Japanese could retaliate against an unarmed civilian population--as they were so fond of doing--in response to "partisan-tactics" by the locals, but they would only find themselves isolated that much faster.
    Much of the west was unpopulated and desert-like. If the Japanese could not resupply themselves, the land would have provided little to them in terms of shelter and food-stuffs. The terrain was too vast for them to effectively control anything but cities and population-centers... and they would have eventually been cut-off and annihilated to the last-man.

    Tim
     

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