Appendices - Hirohito's War

A. Submarines: America Draws Tight the Noose
December 1941 – August 1945

[Charts: A.1]
Planned Submarine Attack on the Panama CanalThe Failure of Japanese Submarine DesignWasteful Dissipation of Japanese Submarine ForceJapanese Submarine Cargo Missions to EuropeJapanese Submarines’ Disappointing ‘Kill’ PerformanceJapan’s ‘Long Lance’ JockeysNewport Torpedo StationRear Admiral Charles LockwoodUS Submarine Achievements in the Pacific WarThe Failure of Japanese Counter-Submarine StrategyThe Missed Opportunity 
B. Oil, Raw Materials and Logistics: 'Just Start Swinging'
December 1941 to August 1945

[Charts: B.1, B.2 ]
Logistics of Oil in the Asia Pacific WarAmerica’s T-2 TankerJapan’s Oil Tanker FleetRaw Materials Issues of the US EconomyLiberty Ships ‘to go’Attack Cargo Ships, LSTs and Higgins BoatsJapan’s Cargo Ship ProblemsJapan’s Air Force LogisticsUS Supply Logistics in the Asia Pacific RegionOperation Olympic and Japan’s Logistical Denouement 
C. Economics of the Pacific War: The 'New Deal' Mobilized
[Charts: C.1, C.2, C.3, C.4, C.5, C.6, C.7, C.8, C.9, C.10, C.11, C.12, C.13, C.14, C.15 ]
Management of the US Wartime EconomyGuns and ButterInflation and ‘General Max’Production Line and Management SystemsProductivity, Entrepreneurs, Management, Labor, Blacks and WomenManaging the ScientistsExpansion of America’s Productive CapacityUS Aircraft ProductionTanks, Artillery, Trucks, Ordnance and the Problem of ObsolescenceElectronics, Radio, and RadarWas the Depression a Boon or Hindrance to US War Mobilization?Japan’s Wartime EconomyConclusion 
D. ‘Victory Disease’: The Japanese Empire: From Co-Prosperity to Tyranny
[Charts: D.1, D.2 ]
The Four Phases of Japan’s Imperial ExpansionThe Economics and Philosophy of Japan’s Co-Prosperity SphereOld Empire, Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria,  The Structures of Japan’s New Empire,  Slave Labor in Japan and in the FieldCruelty and SuppressionPrisoners of WarThe Psychology of BrutalityUnit 731 and the Secrets of Medical ExperimentationConclusion
E. Typhoons and Divine Winds: Kamikaze
[October 1944 to August 1945]

[Charts: E.1 ]
IntroductionHalsey: After Leyte GulfKamikaze: Individual BeginningsThe Formal Adoption of a Kamikaze as a StrategyRecruitment, Motivation and TrainingJapanese Government PropagandaDevelopments in Kamikaze Technology and the US ResponseNaval Kamikaze and Yamato’s Suicide MissionUS Defense TacticsFight to the Death and Operation KETSU (Decisive)Admiral Ugaki, The Last KamikazeThe Cost and Effectiveness of the Kamikaze CampaignKamikaze: A Unique Japanese Phenomenon? 
F. American Intelligence in the Pacific War
G. Could Japan Have Won the Pacific War?
Introduction Distance, Logistics and Extension of Power Mobilization, Logistics, Isolationism and the Will to Fight Weapons that could have won Japan the War Strategies for Japanese Victory Conclusion  
H. Month by Month Timeline of the Pacific War
[December 1941 - August 1945]
I. The 'Pacific War': Sundry Tables and Lists
J. Pacific War Photographs
K. The Battle of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
L. The Battles of Attu and Kiska
Attu and Kiska
M. Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific War
SummaryComparison of Pacific War Aircraft CarriersEssex Class CarriersUS Light CarriersJapanese fleet carriers 
N. The Role of Oil in the Pacific War
[Charts: N.1, N.2, N.3, N.4, N.5]
Oil’s Early HistoryDevelopment of the Oil Industry in the United StatesRoyal Dutch ShellThe Growth of Oil Fired Engines in the Marine IndustryThe Rise of the AutomobileTanks and Trucks Transform Battlefield MobilityAviation GasolineInterwar Development of the Aeronautical IndustryGlobal Oil OutputOil and the Decision for WarConclusion  
O. Japanese - Soviet Conflict in Siberia, Mongolia and Manchuria
[April 1945–5 September 1945]

[Maps: 39.1, 39.2, 39.3, 39.4, 39.5, 39.6]
IntroductionRusso-Japanese Relations from the Late Nineteenth CenturyThe Trans-Siberian Railway Transforms the Geopolitics of Northeast AsiaThe Battle of Lake Khasan and Amur River ClashesThe Japanese-Soviet Neutrality PactThe Yalta ConferenceJapanese Preparations for the Defense of ManchuriaDeployment of Soviet ForcesSoviet Invasion of Northwest Manchuria from MongoliaInvasion of Northeast Manchuria from Far Eastern SiberiaThe Battle of MutanchiangThe Battle of Sakhalin IslandThe Occupation of the Kuril Islands  The Significance of the Soviet Invasions 


Liberty Ships ‘to go’: If there was a single symbol that defined the global logistical effort undertaken by the United States in World War II, it was the manufacture of the Liberty Ship. In the mid 1930s the US government had recognized a need to build cargo ships that would be viable as naval auxiliaries in time of war. The American Merchant Act [1936] authorized the subsided construction of merchant vessels, some 200 by 1940. The Maritime Commission’s mandate was to ‘Develop and maintain a merchant marine sufficient to carry a substantial portion of the waterborne export and import foreign commerce of the United States on the best equipped, safest and most suitable type of vessels owned, operated and constructed by citizens of the United States, manned with a trained personnel and capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.’13

The willingness of Congress to vote funds for subsided cargo shipping revealed an understanding of the increasing possibility of war. While the US population may have been psychologically committed to its ‘isolationist’ stance, Congress could not have been unaware of the bellicose noises emerging from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. US politicians with longer memories would also have recalled that 80% of the tonnage ordered in World War I only arrived after the conflict had ended. The Merchant Marine Act [1936] was designed to pre-empt the possibility that America would need auxiliary transports. The new marine legislation barely worked. Only a small proportion of the new cargo auxiliaries were built. Indeed by the end of 1941, of America’s 1,442 ocean going vessels, 92 percent were over 20 years old and were considered obsolete. Shipbuilding capacity was largely in the hands of the ‘big five’ shipyards; Newport News (Navy controlled); Sun (subsidiary of the Pew family’s Sun Oil); Federal (a subsidiary of US Steel); New York (Navy controlled) and Bethlehem (a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel). Noticeably with regard to the logistics of the Pacific War, nearly all the capacity was located on America’s Atlantic East Coast, in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Chesapeake Bay, Maryland.

A vast increase in new slipways was required to increase the productive capacity of the shipbuilding industry. In the first stage of expansion in 1941 some 65 new slipways were commissioned. Although there was a significant increase in capacity on the east coast and the south, for the first time the west coast would also develop a significant shipbuilding capacity. Thus new entrants Kaiser-Bectel added eight new slipways in Los Angeles while Todd Shipyards put on seven slipways in Richmond, California. Richmond Kaiser Shipyards built a record 747 ships during the course of the war. Kaiser also built eight new slipways in Portland, Oregon. Capacity increased further thereafter. In aggregate Kaiser was responsible for the building of 1,490 ships, 27% of the number acquired by the Maritime Commission. In December 1941 the number of slipways was 110 with a Dead Weight Ton manufacturing capacity of 3.0m tons; by the end of 1943 there were 330 slipways with a total capacity of 15.0m tons.

Slipway capacity was only one way in which the output of tonnage was increased. Scarcity of management and skilled worker resources also meant that new methods of production had to be developed.

Change came after the British government ordered 60 ‘tramp’ cargo ships from a Todd-Kaiser joint venture to make up for losses caused by the start of Germany’s U-boat campaign to strangle British trade at the outset of World War II. The resulting Ocean Class cargo ships were a relatively simple design based on the Northern Coast, Open Shelter Deck Steamer produced in Sunderland by JL Thomson & Sons. It was design with modifications that was produced in the UK until 1938. Britain specified that the Ocean Class should be coal powered because of the abundance of coal in the UK. The engine, bridge and accommodation were all located amidships with a cargo hold either side. A long tunnel contained the drive shaft connecting the engine to the propeller.

The design chosen by the United States Maritime Commission for an auxiliary cargo ship of its own, in large measure, copied the British ‘Ocean Class’. However important changes were made to design in terms of using pre-assembled parts to enable rapid mass production. Importantly, assembly was to be speeded up by the use of welding rather than the traditional rivets to hold plates together. The new standard auxiliary would have a length of 441ft 6inches and a beam of nearly 57ft. In the 10,856 DWT (Dead Weight Ton) American version the vessels would be fitted with two oil-fired boilers, a triple expansion steam engine and a single screw. It was designed to carry 10,000 tons of freight. Armament included anti aircraft guns and a four-inch gun mounted on the stern. The US government selected a group of six companies headed by Henry J. Kaiser to build it.

Even President Roosevelt who launched the first of these vessels, the SS Patrick Henry, on 27 September 1941 described it as “a dreadful looking object” but his speech ended with the quotation from Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”14 The Liberty Ship was born. Time magazine called it an ‘ugly duckling’. The SS Patrick Henry took 244 days to build. However rapid assembly techniques reduced the time taken to build a Liberty Ship and the average fell to 52.6 days by January 1943 and eventually to just 42 days. This compared with the 12 to 14 month delivery time for a cargo ship in World War I. The SS Robert E. Peary, as part of a publicity stunt was actually launched within five days of the keel being laid. At the Kaiser yard where the Robert E. Peary was built, shipbuilders jokingly told the story of a woman invited to launch a Liberty ship with a bottle of champagne only to find that down below there was an empty berth: Henry Kaiser assures her ‘Lady, don’t worry. Just start swinging…’15

Denounced by some as a publicity stunt, Kaiser responded by saying that the rivalry between yards brought torrents of suggestions from workers about how ships could be built quicker. Managers from other yards were also able to see for themselves how their operations could be made quicker. Most Americans would have agreed with columnist Raymond Clapper who wrote, ‘If it is a stunt it’s the kind of stunt we can watch without ever becoming tired of it.’16 In any case, Kaiser who insisted on calling the bow of a ship, the ‘front end’, was no shrinking violet when it came to offending the sensitivities of the traditional shipbuilding fraternity.

The ships were named after deceased Americans and naming rights were awarded to any group that raised war bonds of US$2.0m. The man-hours required to build a Liberty Ship also halved over the same period as faster work processes were introduced. At the start of the war the US government could call on eight Navy yards and 24 private yards. By the end of the war 99 new yards appeared, some of them purpose built for the production of Liberty Ships. However it was innovations in mass assembly systems that enabled America to build the volume of cargo shipping that its burgeoning logistical commitments required. Keels were laid in rows of slipways behind which were laid prefabricated parts. There was no production line in the same sense as the auto industry where chassis moved down a production line with pieces being added; in shipbuilding it was huge gantry cranes that provided the mobility, moving up and down the piles of prefabricated parts on parallel rails, to place the appropriate pieces on the keels that had been laid down. Shipbuilders worked in three shifts - morning (8am-4pm), swing (4pm-midnight) and night shifts (midnight to 8am) - 24 hours a day.

Pre-assembly became more sophisticated as the private companies led by entrepreneurs such as Henry Kaiser, who had never built a ship before 1940, as well as Joseph Moore and Warren Bectel, both experienced shipbuilders, strove to increase productivity and profits. Miles of pipes and wiring were pre-assembled in standard ducting. By the end of the war accommodation sections were being delivered with doors and doorknobs attached and kitchens were installed with cooking utensils already packed into the galleys. America’s extensive railway networks could deliver from far afield. Kaiser’s shipyards in San Francisco Bay area brought assembled anchor winches from New York.

The writer John Dos Passos observed that the “speed of production has reached such a point that you can see a steel ship grow before your eyes as the huge sections are put together. The whole process to a layman seems strangely simple, like putting models together out of children’s construction toys…”17 Similarly the British reporter Alastair Cooke noted that Kaiser’s yards were “absurdly clean and neat. The elements of a ship are divided into separate piles…”; Cooke counted fifty “unvarying automatic processes.”18

The most productive shipyard of the war however was a start-up built in North Carolina in less than a year on a 57-acre riverfront industrial site. A Charlotte company, VP Loftis, and the Wilmington firm of Orrell and Underwood put up the US$5m investment. Starting with only 400 experienced shipworkers the yard employed 21,000 people at its peak. Its initial six slipways increased to nine.

By far the most important contributor to increased productivity however was the development of welding technology. Although riveted hulls were durable, they held significant drawbacks compared to welding. Alignment of plates and the drilling of holes was time consuming and required a far higher skill and experience level than welding. Riveting was labor intensive with 150,000 rivets required for a typical hull. Skilled drillers and reamers were needed before the two riveters got to work - one either side of the plate. Rivets also added 300 tons to a ship’s weight and they acted as a drag on a cargo vessel. The main advantages of welding versus riveting however were production efficiency and manpower. Welding was not only a faster way to put a prefabricate ship together but a new labor force, with no previous experience of shipbuilding could be put to work quickly. While experienced welders worked the difficult welds, novices could work on simpler joints. Training facilities sprang up around the shipyards. For efficiency, workers were trained to do one task repetitively. Although trade unions objected to the new work practices introduced, the needs of the country overcame all obstacles including race and gender issues.

A high percentage of the workers drafted into the welding workforce were women. While the aircraft industry glamorized ‘Rosie the Riveter’ for propaganda purposes, the shipbuilding industry poster-girl was ‘Wendy the Welder’. Female participation in the civilian labor force rose to 35.4 percent during the war from just 25.8 percent in the pre-war period. (Notably female participation in the German labor force rose from 37.4% in the pre-war period to over 50% in 1944). In 1941 six million women entered the US industrial workforce; by 1944 this number had grown to 20m. In shipbuilding, women trained as riveters, welders, shipwrights, machinist and pipefitters. Women came from all backgrounds - housewives, maids, farm workers and secretaries. Katherine Hulme, who became a welder on the ‘swing’ shift for Kaiser in San Francisco, was a leading theosophist and writer who had studied as a member of The Rope under the tutelage of philosopher-spiritual teacher George Gurdjieff in Paris. [After the war Hulme became the best selling author of A Nun’s Story [1956] which became a box office movie sensation starring Audrey Hepburn. She befriended Hulme and employed her as a nurse after a near fatal horse riding accident while filming the epic John Huston Western, The Unforgiven [1960].] Liberty Ladies, temporarily giving up their work overalls for frocks, often featured in the launch ceremonies and attendant publicity photographs. 114 Liberty Ships were also named after famous American women; Liberty ships included the SS Amelia Earhart and SS Annie Oakley.

Alarm spread to Washington when at 2.41am on 24 November 1943, the SS John P. Gaines split in half bound for the west coast after leaving Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Ensign John E Jurgens reported that “the ship broke in two just forward of the deckhouse. The crews were forced to abandon ship and all were rescued except a lifeboat containing one gun crew member, three ship crew members and seven soldiers.”19 A panic stricken MarCom initially concluded that the poor welding by inexperienced workers was largely to blame until testing done by English woman Constance Fligg Elam Tipper, a researcher in metallurgy and crystallography at Newnham College, Cambridge, proved that the high sulfur content of steel being used in fabrication meant that plates could become brittle and fracture in cold temperatures. The ‘Tipper Test’ became an important part of airframe testing in the post war period. Some 12 Liberty ships broke in half during the war. It was a problem that also afflicted the T-2 tanker. On 16 January the SS Schenectady, a T-2 tanker built by Kaiser, broke in half while fitting out in cold conditions in Portland, Oregon.

Monthly production peaked at 127 in December 1943. During the war some 2,710 Liberty Ships were built out of a total of 4,600 new ships produced by American shipyards; in aggregate it represented some 29m tons (DWT) of cargo shipping. Although other cargo ships were built in America during World War II, the Liberty Ship was the vessel that overwhelmingly enabled the United States to sustain the largest exercise in global logistics that has ever been accomplished.

Liberty Ships became the ubiquitous face of America’s global logistical quest. 117 Liberty Ships were included in the 200 ships supplied by the ‘Lend Lease’ agreement with the UK. Their importance to British survival in World War II cannot be overstated. On 8 December 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote to Roosevelt to tell him that “The mortal danger to our country is the steady and increasing diminution of our sea tonnage. We can endure the shattering of our dwellings and the slaughter of our civilian population by air attacks but the decision for 1941 lies upon the sea. Unless we can establish our ability to feed this island, to import the munitions of all kinds that we need, we may fall by the way. It is therefore in shipping and the power to transport it across the oceans, particularly the Atlantic Ocean, that in 1941, the whole crunch of the war will be found.”20

Apart from keeping Britain afloat in its ‘darkest hour’, Liberty Ships carried tanks, aircraft, munitions and supplies from the north of Britain or Iceland to Archangel or Murmansk; some 50 Liberty Ships were lost on the 78 perilous ‘Russian Convoys’ where sinking led to rapid death for the American and British sailors who found themselves in the freezing waters. 70 years after the event, Arctic Star and Ushakov Medals were finally offered to the few remaining survivors of the Russian convoys on 16 June 2013 at Downing Street by Prime Minister David Cameron and President Vladimir Putin; Cameron recalled, “you were responsible for what Winston Churchill called: the toughest journey, the worst journey in the world.”21

Liberty Ships also supplied Russia via Iran. In the Mediterranean Liberty ships were used to support the North African campaigns and the landings in Italy. Troops and matériel were ferried by Liberty Ships to India where Stilwell’s armies were supplied northern Burma, as well as in China over the ‘Hump’. Liberty Ships were also present at the Normandy landings. Above all Liberty Ships carried America’s armies and their supplies across the vast expanses of the Pacific in the longest-range seaborne invasion of a country, Japan, ever attempted.

In spite of their basic design and rapid construction the Liberty Ship proved one of the great successes of war. Just 196 ships were lost and although they were designed to last for just five years, the survivors formed the basis of the great post-war Greek shipping fortunes of Aristotle Onassis, John Theodorcopulos, Stavros Niarchos, George Livanos and the Goulandris family. In case of future need, some 800 others were tied together and moored in the James River off Chesapeake Bay or at Suisan Bay, up the Sacramento River from San Francisco Bay. Here Liberty Ships en masse served as the backdrop to the Sam Pekinpah movie The Killer Elite [1975] starring James Caan, Robert Duvall and Gig Young. Some of the Liberty Ships would serve again in the Korean War. Many continued to operate well into the 1970s often serving under a Panamanian flag of convenience.

In addition to Liberty Ships, US shipyards continued to turn out high volumes (compared with Japan) of conventionally built cargo vessels. During the course of the war, 173 (7,815 DWT) C1s were built. The same number of (8,793 DWT) C2s were launched. 400 even larger C3 cargo ships (12,595 DWT) were completed as well as 65 (DWT 13,418) C4s; 59 of the latter were used as troop transports while six were converted for use as hospital ships. The C4 hospital ships were a luxury that was foreign to the inadequately treated Japanese troops and seamen and showed the degree to which America, by the end of the war, was able to sustain the health and morale of a vast army and navy, some 1.5m strong in Asian operations thousands of miles from home.

Over the course of the war the United States increased its capacity to build ships from just 300 per year in 1942 to 1,500 per year in 1945. Altogether the United States constructed 6,000 ships during World War II.

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