Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

What were the various "super weapons programs" of World War II???

Discussion in 'Weapons & Technology in WWII' started by DiegoMaxwell, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    Your English is better than mine, but you need to capitalize German and English.
     
  2. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    362
    Initially, the Allies were demanding total unconditional surrender. That included the deposition of the emperor and his trial for war crimes. Thanks in good part to the threat of casualties that would incur with an invasion, the Allies relented and the emperor was retained. This was immensely important to the Japanese. So the Kamikaze tactics did change things.

    Conventional weapons were more effective in the first half of the war. In the last year of the war Japanese piloting skill was so poor (as you point out) and their planes so out of date, conventional weapons were useless. Some Kamikazes dropped their bomb a half-second before they hit but they still were kamikazes. These pilots could, however, steer their planes into a ship. Either using conventional weapons or suicide tactics those pilots were going to die. At least the Kamikaze method gave them some chance of doing some damage-and damage they did. They inflicted more casualties than their conventional air forces did in the last half of the war.

    The V-1 was pretty cheap. The V-2 was quite expensive. Both V-weapons were terror weapons with extremely poor accuracy. They could maybe hit London. The Kamikazes inflicted their damage on Allied military assets.

    So, while the Japanese were shooting (sorry :rolleyes:)for a negotiated peace and that was for naught, at least they got to keep their emperor, which was more concession than Germany got.
     
  3. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    This is very true. Also, one side or the other can be quite fanatical in their devotion to their cause, leading to suicidal actions if it will further their cause.

    It is not necessarily a lack of morale. Morale can be quite high, and suicide tactics are still used to achieve a given goal. Suicide tactics are just one tool in the toolbox.

    Well, inhumane is a matter of perspective. Some go willingly, while others do not - reading Kamikaze letters home clearly shows that some were quite willing to die, while others had more trepidation. As to the leadership, it is much the same - The Japanese initially balked at the idea of sending Kamikaze to their deaths. However, as Japanese pilots became much less able to cope with American defenses, and that the Japanese pilots were more likely to die anyway, the Kamikaze ideology gained more traction with the leadership. The Japanese leadership rationalized/justified it that they were basically sending the men out to die anyway, so what difference did it make if they were shot down or died crashing into a ship.

    The Kamikaze aircraft & submarines were relatively cheap. The aircraft tended to be older or "war weary" models that had seen better days. Later, newer aircraft were used, because new pilots could not be properly trained to handle the new aircraft efficiently(the last "new" aircraft, the Ki-115 was specifically designed to be a cheap Kamikaze). The submarines were miniature submarines with a one or two man crew(far cheaper than a full-sized submarine).

    Recycling & re manufacturing took time, time the Japanese did not have. With the major crunch coming when the Americans began their fire raids early in 1945.

    It did not help that the untrained pilots lacked the necessary navigational skills to find targets. Roughly half of the Kamikazes sorties launched, returned because they were unable to find a target.

    The only real strategic impact on the Americans was the short diversion of B-29s to attack Japanese airbases, in an attempt to suppress Kamikaze sorties.

    A case for ending the war in 1943 is easier to make for the Germans than for the Japanese. That being said, wars are easy to start, but much harder to end.

    That is a hard case to make, as the totalitarian rigemes took drastic measures to suppress malcontents - it was much easier to go with the flow, than be executed or spend time in a prison camp. Also, along this line, the British people did, more or less nothing to end the war it looked like they were losing, but no ones has said they deserved the Blitz or the V-Weapon attacks...Guilt is a double-edged sword.

    Your English is fine, I took it as your first language.
     
    belasar likes this.
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    The retention of the Emperor was a practical move for the Allies, he could control the public and the military. If he had died there would have been competing factions each with some person with a claim on the throne that they would use to further the war.
     
  5. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    362
    The retention of the emperor made surrender somewhat more acceptable for the Japanese. If we'd would have demanded his head than I doubt Japan would have surrendered no matter how many atom bombs we dropped. By keeping him on the throne it signaled that we weren't going to destroy the Japanese culture and society. However, the trade-off for the emperor was that he had to renounce his divinity.

    Actually, the emperor didn't directly control much of anything. Starting with the occupation, there was no Japanese military, or national government for that matter. But the emperor was the symbol, lynchpin and guardian of Japanese culture and society.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2020
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    2,200
    The emperor made the decisions in the end. I accept taking him out of god like position and that he told it to people was such a big thing. The nation was entwisted.
     
  7. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    The decision was the first time Hirohito had been able to cast a deciding vote, or any vote at all in the Imperial Conferences. The Liaison Conference had been deadlocked when the Big Six*, the guys who were the real government, were unable to present a decision that just needed rubberstamping.

    *Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, War Minister, Navy Minister, Head of the Army, and Head of the Navy.
     
    belasar likes this.
  8. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Huh? You must have gotten this from the History Channel.

    The Allies demanded and continued to demand unconditional surrender, which the Japanese finally did agree to. There was no mention of the Emperor or his deposition for war crimes or his remaing on the throne. The US State Department had made mention that in the surrender demand, it should be said that the Emperor should be kept on the throne to "sweeten the pot." However, no such mention was made.

    The decision to keep Hirohito on the throne was made by Washington, and implemented by MacArthur, only after the Japanese had already surrendered and US troops had occupied Japan. As such, the threat of casualties & Kamikazes was zero, nil, zip, zilch, nada, on retaining the Emperor.

    Convential weapons were not "useless" - Far from it, and were still more effective. The USS Franklin was struck by conventional bombs - not by kamikaze - and was the most heavily damaged Essex class of the war. In the latter half of the Pacific War, the largest US Warship sunk by conventional attack was the CVL USS Princeton, the largest sunk by Kamikazes was a CVE.

    Note - In the last half of the war, Japanese aircraft were not "so out of date", but quite modern. The IJN N1K2 "George" 7 IJA Ki-84 "Frank" were equal to or better than US fighters. The B6N "Jill" & D4Y "Judy" were the equal of their American counterparts. However, the lack of skilled pilots capable of handling such aircraft to maximum efficiency greatly hindered these aircraft being used effectively. That is not the fault of the aircraft though.


    I am not considering bomb-dropping Kamikaze as conventional bombers.

    Actually, the Japanese pilots had trouble steering their planes into ships. This is why the Japanese changed their Kamikaze tactics away from steep dives into ships. Because the untrained Japanese pilots were unable to control their aircraft as speed built up, resulting in a great many misses.

    Not much else to do with untrained pilots...But, turn them into flying bombs. This does not make Kamikaze a "super weapon" though. Despite the damage done, a great many were shot down without achieving anything.

    During war, all assets are military - The workers building the weapons, the factories making the weapons, the farmers growing food for troops & war workers, etc.

    The Japanese got to keep the Emperor because of the Soviet Union and the need to quickly return Japan to becoming productive for the West, not the Kamikaze...Does that mean the Soviet Union was a "super weapon"?

    It was more of a concession than Germany got...Well, no duh, Hitler killed himself. Rather hard to keep a dead man as Fuhrer...
     
    belasar likes this.
  9. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Japan surrendered before the matter of retaining the Emperor was brought up. Hirohito's future was still very much in doubt when Japan surrendered...So, yours is a false statement.
     
  10. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    362
    I believe the kamikazes sunk something on the order of 57 ships with many more damaged. During the same time, how many ships did the Japanese conventional forces skink and damage? Unless the numbers are at least roughly comparable, the kamikazi's were a super-weapon or a "force multiplier" to use current jargon.

    Hitler would have been hung in short order. Nothing could save him. There was to be no concessions whatsoever for Germany. At the time Hirohito could not be directly linked to Japanese war crimes.

    The Japanese did come up with some modern planes at the end of the war but like Germany, didn't have enough gas to train pilots to use them competently or had enough industrial capacity to make the needed numbers of a/c. For all intents and purposes they were inconsequential. The same as not having them.

    Do you have a quote to show that fear of the USSR was the driving force behind keeping the Emperor? How much of a threat did Truman and the War Dept. see the Soviets? You sure there wasn't some back-channel communication with Japan via neutrals?
     
  11. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    8,092
    Likes Received:
    2,216
    Harold makes some good points...the aircraft were also being built quickly and not always with the desired materials...so the late Japanese aircraft were better on paper than in the sky. I could go for days on this subject...
    [​IMG]
    Japanese wonder weapon...

    And how sexy does this look??

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    Well, it is a wonder weapon alright...A wonder it flew - Base on a German design, based on German engines, with the main landing gear of a Zero, and tail of a Ginga.

    More of a hodge-podge weapon.
     
  13. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2002
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    2,200
    Wonder if the japanese needed protective planes during landing and what did they use. The Germans had red bellied FW190's.
     
  14. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    The Kikka was only test flown once, and was wrecked during takeoff for the second test flight.

    Given it's maximum speed at altitude was equal to or less than the Allied piston fighters, it would need a lot of help in combat, since it would unlikely or unable to out distance/ outrun opposing fighters.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    Nope. When the Voice of the Crane was heard Japan surrendered.
     
  16. belasar

    belasar Court Jester

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,515
    Likes Received:
    1,176
    To return to Imperial decision making, the procedure generally to have the Council hash out the various options, come to some form of compromise acceptable to all factions, then presenting it to the Emperor for formal approval. It was considered vital that a 'harmonious' plan of action be presented to the Emperor for his approval. Not entirely different from the English monarch who has nothing to do with party elections but then 'invites' the winner to 'form' a government
     
  17. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    10,019
    Likes Received:
    2,525
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    According to the then Japanese Constitution, the Emperor was the one who was in charge, both politically & militarily. There are over 300 instances of Hirohito approving chemical weapons use in China. Hirohito was the one who gave final approval for the opening of the Pacific War. There are many more instances of Hirohito directing the war. As we have seen, very few officers chose to go against Hirohito and continue the war once the Emperor decided to surrender. Indeed, recent scholarship has shown that the Emperor had exercised far more control over the direction of the war. Of course, very little was done or said while Hirohito was still alive, and much of this work was done after his death.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    The Liaison Conferences, attended by the Big Six, produced unanimous or majority decisions that were read out during the Imperial Conferences. The Emperor only spoke during one of these, when the Big Six were deadlocked and unable to present a unanimous or majority decision to the Emperor. In that instance he was able to speak and break the tie. It was somewhat similar to the President of the Senate breaking ties in the US Congress. Hirohito never actually signed off on anything earlier, he was never given the chance to act. Hirohito haters ignore that part of events to make the Emperor look bad. He was purely a puppet at every other Imperial Conference.
     
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1,874
    Likes Received:
    362
    Perhaps, but would the Japanese civilian population been willing to "...endure the unendurable" if their emperor, god or not, been hauled off to prison. When the Japanese surrendered their small arms they ground the "mums" off. Their devotion to the emperor was very powerful. We may have not had such a peaceful occupation as we did had we turned Hirohito into a criminal..
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    15,784
    Likes Received:
    4,902
    You didn't understand my post. "The Voice of the Crane" is a poetical reference to the Emperor speaking. EVERYTHING was supposed to stop when the Voice of the Crane was due to speak. People coasting down hill on bicycles would stop and get off when the first siren sounded and remount and proceed at the second one. When he ordered the Japanese to "endure the unendurable" they had to, no questions. The only soldiers who kept fighting were the isolated characters who didn't hear the first hand speech.
     
    Kai-Petri likes this.

Share This Page