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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:55 PM   #11

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Japan did not have the fuel reserves to even consider trying to land troops in Hawaii, let alone California. The US oil embargo is what provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor as part of a Japanese strategy to gain the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today). With France having to bow to the Germans and the UK in a desperate fight to protect itself, Japan knew that its only real obstacle was the US Pacific Fleet. The destruction of which would enable them to send massive troops in the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Hong Kong, Malaya, and Burma and thus cut off supplies going to the Chinese, who were still fighting the Japanese as well.

And the war in China had been raging since the 30s and by 1941 it was now a war the Japanese desperately needed to end. They could/wouldn't surrender their conquests, so they needed to find a way to get China to surrender and essentially cede the areas already conquered to Japan. This meant that Japan couldn't provide troops for major action on the eastern edge of the Pacfic.

And even if they did have the fuel, they wouldn't have the men. While the US military was badly unprepared for war in 1941, Japan did not have the manpower to capture and occupy the continental US. I'd see the Japanese managing to secure coastal areas around Los Angles to San Fransisco. They would be able to push inland from there, but I'd imagine that somewhere around California's eastern borders or at least just into Nevada and Arizona, the Japanese offensive would bog down because any further advance would open up large holes in their lines that would enable either American militia units to infiltrate their lines or allow what few US Army units that were available in 1941 in the continental US to destroy the Japanese invasion force piece by piece.

They'd then take up defensive positions, much like they did on Attu and Kiska in history, and would hold there and wait for either the war with China to end and they could be reinforced, or for a miracle in the surrender of the US ending the war they'd just started.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #12

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Originally Posted by Sam-Nary View Post
Japan did not have the fuel reserves to even consider trying to land troops in Hawaii, let alone California. The US oil embargo is what provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor as part of a Japanese strategy to gain the oil fields in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia today). With France having to bow to the Germans and the UK in a desperate fight to protect itself, Japan knew that its only real obstacle was the US Pacific Fleet. The destruction of which would enable them to send massive troops in the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Hong Kong, Malaya, and Burma and thus cut off supplies going to the Chinese, who were still fighting the Japanese as well.

And the war in China had been raging since the 30s and by 1941 it was now a war the Japanese desperately needed to end. They could/wouldn't surrender their conquests, so they needed to find a way to get China to surrender and essentially cede the areas already conquered to Japan. This meant that Japan couldn't provide troops for major action on the eastern edge of the Pacfic.

And even if they did have the fuel, they wouldn't have the men. While the US military was badly unprepared for war in 1941, Japan did not have the manpower to capture and occupy the continental US. I'd see the Japanese managing to secure coastal areas around Los Angles to San Fransisco. They would be able to push inland from there, but I'd imagine that somewhere around California's eastern borders or at least just into Nevada and Arizona, the Japanese offensive would bog down because any further advance would open up large holes in their lines that would enable either American militia units to infiltrate their lines or allow what few US Army units that were available in 1941 in the continental US to destroy the Japanese invasion force piece by piece.

They'd then take up defensive positions, much like they did on Attu and Kiska in history, and would hold there and wait for either the war with China to end and they could be reinforced, or for a miracle in the surrender of the US ending the war they'd just started.

As I said in the OP, I don't mean for the Japanese to land an entire army and attempt to occupy the Western seaboard, clearly that would be too ambitious to attempt and I would have thought completely obvious tbh. But if they were to land one or two divisions similar to Rommel's Afrika Korps which caused the British so much trouble in the desert then surely it might have been quite effective?

Another poster has already pointed out the lack of population in the Northern US, if the Japanese could raid oil supplies from civilian vehicles and just take food/supplies on the way as Napoleon did, or as the Germans did in their Blitzkrieg of Russia, then what's to stop them charging about all over the place and causing chaos?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 06:39 PM   #13

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Once they were in the north and encountered the Rockies and the Mojave to the south I think their supply lines would be far too short for any further movement. These natural barriers would have prevented them from defeating the U.S. mainland.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #14

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As I said in the OP, I don't mean for the Japanese to land an entire army and attempt to occupy the Western seaboard, clearly that would be too ambitious to attempt and I would have thought completely obvious tbh. But if they were to land one or two divisions similar to Rommel's Afrika Korps which caused the British so much trouble in the desert then surely it might have been quite effective?

Another poster has already pointed out the lack of population in the Northern US, if the Japanese could raid oil supplies from civilian vehicles and just take food/supplies on the way as Napoleon did, or as the Germans did in their Blitzkrieg of Russia, then what's to stop them charging about all over the place and causing chaos?
The difference is that Rommel had a local population that was largely indifferent or supportive of him. According to the sources I've seen, the Arabs of Libya and Egypt were far more supportive of him than they were of the Italians or the English. As a result he had little fear of a major uprising in his rear. In addition, Rommel's forces reinforced an Italian force that was already in Libya.

The Japanese would not have gotten that in the US. Most of the people the Japanese would encounter would be potentially hostile to them, and unlike many other places, the average American has legal access to some firearms. The average Japanese citizen, to my knowledge, did not. This means if the Japanese were to keep their men supplied, they'd NEED to occupy territory, and a division or two wouldn't be enough. With only that many, they might be able to secure the city of Los Angeles, but that'd be about it. If they left, they'd lose all hope of supply and contact with the Japanese high command, and would rapidly become surrounded by a hostile enemy. And that would ultimately mean their distruction.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #15
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The US has a great deal of diversity culturally, racially and socially, but if their homeland were threatened the five different finger coming together to form a fist analogy would apply. There's a huge number of guns in the US, and they would all put their differences aside to combat the invasion. Every edifice window would become a potential sniper, gangs and criminals would become militia units and the population would provide logistics for them. It would have been suicide for Japan to try that, and they knew it. If anything, they might have tried air strikes like they did in Pearl Harbor.
Excellent example of 'being prepared for war averting war' 2nd amendment a national necessity
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Old November 16th, 2012, 09:07 PM   #16
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Japan would have to be really winning the Pacific war to attempt such a thing. Almost impossible due to ocean, large territory and population, rough terrain, and industrial resources. Plus if you invade the west coast, you have sparsely populated mountains, desert, and plains separating you from the more populated parts of the US.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #17
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Japan would have to be really winning the Pacific war to attempt such a thing. Almost impossible due to ocean, large territory and population, rough terrain, and industrial resources. Plus if you invade the west coast, you have sparsely populated mountains, desert, and plains separating you from the more populated parts of the US.
Yeah, that wouldn't go well at all
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Old November 16th, 2012, 11:23 PM   #18

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There only shot (IMHO) to do any real damage would have been to land a "Kamikaze Division", just an entire mechanized division instructed to roam up and down the west coast and cause as much damage as possible, loot as much fuel as possible and fight to the last man knowing that there would be know transport ships coming to get them.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 02:34 AM   #19

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Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said these words: "Should hostilities break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march to Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war glibly bandied in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices."
Isoroku Yamamoto knew as well as we do that the chances of success in this venture where incredibly thin. But he knew that Japan did not have the manpower simply to occupy an enormous country such as USA, and that a sizeable, fast-moving force cutting straight across the country until Washington DC was the only possibility. Perhaps if the Battle of Midway had not happened, Japan could have occupied Hawaii and struck the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, occupying that part of the US, but no more. I consider there to be a possibility of victory for Japan, but one so slim it is almost nonexistent. However, I don't think the American people would join arms and fight off a Japanese army as guerrila fighters. This could have happened in Eastern Europe or South-East Asia where large-scale foreign incursions as such were common, but the Americans have never experienced anything of the sort and considered themselves untouchable from World War I to 9/11.
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Old November 17th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #20

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[...] However, I don't think the American people would join arms and fight off a Japanese army as guerrila fighters. This could have happened in Eastern Europe or South-East Asia where large-scale foreign incursions as such were common, but the Americans have never experienced anything of the sort and considered themselves untouchable from World War I to 9/11.
I agree. As a comparison, hunting rifles and shotguns are common in rural Norway, which is where most people lived at them time of WW2. In addition there was general conscription which meant almost every man had military experience and could be called up for war. But when Nazi Germany invaded, no one reached for their guns. Only the men who were already in uniform put up a fight - and in most cases a rather half-hearted fight too.

It took a few years for the resistance to get things going. And that was also only minor isolated incidents and by no way a partisan or guerilla warfare.
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