Appendices - Hirohito's War
OIL, RAW MATERIALS, AND LOGISTICS: ‘JUST START SWINGING’
Operation Olympic and Japan’s Logistical Denouement: Finally ‘Operation OLYMPIC’ planned to invade the main Japanese home islands with a force of 1.2m troops (400,000 direct from the complete European operations and 800,000 from the US). It was estimated that 10m tons of supplies would be transferred out of Europe with half of that amount being sent on to the Pacific. It would have been a logistical task of staggering proportions.
However given the success up to that date of a combination of unified logistics and/or ad hoc cooperation by willing partners in all the services, there is no reason to think that an invasion of Japan would have been failed by logistics. Success in the war helped the Army and Navy to work together and at least by 1945 the military output of the United States was such that quality and quantity of supply had largely ceased to be an issue. The same sense of unity of purpose was never the same in the Japanese Army and Navy whose strategic aims and purpose were riven from the outset. The Army wanted to secure China and deflect the threat from the Soviets in the north, while the Navy wanted to secure and then preserve an Empire that would provide it with the resources it needed to flourish. From the outset Japan’s twin strands of logistics of the Pacific War were set on mutually antagonistic courses with an economy that was incapable of sustaining both.
Just as the Imperial Japanese Navy had built ships almost solely with offense in mind, so the Japanese economy at the outset of the Pacific War was geared to an offensive mentality. By falling into Roosevelt’s embargo trap and choosing war, Japan had gambled that it could win a short war and then negotiate. In a war that would develop into one of attrition, Japan’s failure to plan for the long term logistical requirements of its ‘go-south’ strategy, doomed it to disaster once America had decided on a war of all out victory without time limit. The only way to make sense of the Japanese gamble is to reflect that they had assumed that the American nation did not have the stomach for a fight. But in the end Americans had stomach and more. Americans were not only prepared to die on the battle field, but on the home front they were prepared to meet any target set for the logistics of war.