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Old November 16th, 2012, 03:56 PM   #1

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Japan Invades California WW2


How far would the Japanese have been able to get if they invaded California in WW2? What if they just landed a division or two and let them go on the rampage? Bearing in mind that Rommel was able to do a great deal of damage in North Africa with a small force, would the Japanese have been able to do the same thing in similar desert terrain? Would they have been able to acquire food/petrol from the USA mainland and civilian cars/guns and avoid the need for replenishment via sea? This is also before the massive US mobilisation so would the regular US Army be able to handle such an invasion?

I spose the acquisition of certain cities would have been useful, but I doubt the Japanese would care so much for civilian welfare so perhaps they'd just carpet bomb them or simply go around instead?

There's also not much in the way of defences when you get past California as there's only a small population in the Western and central states. Would they have been able to get through to Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, maybe even Chicago? It would be interesting to see the gangster mobs reaction to the IJA, perhaps they'd get in a gunfight? Gangsters in fedora hats and tommy guns vs the Japanese army would be an interesting scenario.

Naturally it would be wise to avoid Texas and the south

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Old November 16th, 2012, 04:23 PM   #2

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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.

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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:05 PM   #3

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Originally Posted by Jake10 View Post
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.

Perhaps in the modern day, but how urbanised was California in 1941? How many city people had guns and how much of an effect would an average farmstead have on a division with machine guns, rifles and tanks etc? The Japanese would likely have just shot everyone on sight if the civ population fought back.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #4

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Perhaps in the modern day, but how urbanised was California in 1941? How many city people had guns and how much of an effect would an average farmstead have on a division with machine guns, rifles and tanks etc? The Japanese would likely have just shot everyone on sight if the civ population fought back.
Farmers and people on the street would not have fought back, even though they all had guns. Seeing their women raped and their goods stolen would have led to word getting around and ambushes of people who knew the areas well. Besides, how long would it have been before the armed forces moved in? By the time the army arrived, all the civilians would have been hopping mad. Believe me, it would have been a slaughter of Japanese, and a very severe retaliation.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:33 PM   #5

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All I can say is... LET THEM TRY!
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:36 PM   #6

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Farmers and people on the street would not have fought back, even though they all had guns. Seeing their women raped and their goods stolen would have led to word getting around and ambushes of people who knew the areas well. Besides, how long would it have been before the armed forces moved in? By the time the army arrived, all the civilians would have been hopping mad. Believe me, it would have been a slaughter of Japanese, and a very severe retaliation.

The Chinese had their own army and well trained troops, that didn't stop the Japanese destroying Nanking. Would a few civilians with guns and a few police with pistols really have that much of an effect against a fanatical Japanese division/tanks etc?

If a division had got ashore in California what would be there to stop it going on the rampage?
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:41 PM   #7

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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:44 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
The Chinese had their own army and well trained troops, that didn't stop the Japanese destroying Nanking. Would a few civilians with guns and a few police with pistols really have that much of an effect against a fanatical Japanese division/tanks etc?

If a division had got ashore in California what would be there to stop it going on the rampage?
I don't want to start another east vs west thread, so the only thing that I'll say is that there are distinct cultural differences between China and America. After all, the Japanese did well against China but not against the US.

As for stopping the rampage, I say again, the snipers, ambushers and logistics.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:45 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
The Chinese had their own army and well trained troops, that didn't stop the Japanese destroying Nanking. Would a few civilians with guns and a few police with pistols really have that much of an effect against a fanatical Japanese division/tanks etc?

If a division had got ashore in California what would be there to stop it going on the rampage?
The American Army? IIRC they were preparing for a California invasion after all, despite how unlikely it was.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 05:53 PM   #10

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If they were going to invade California I think they might be better off invading the northern part. Very sparsely populated, tons of forest and mountains to obscure their movements and provide a natural defense from retaliation. They could have been a real thorn in the side of the US if they established a presence there. The closest big population centers would be Portland and Sacramento, hundreds of miles away. The nearest military base would have been in Sacramento. From a position in northern California they could move through Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah...that area is pretty empty even today, I can only imagine what it was like in 1941. You'd have Salt Lake City...and that's about it. Beyond that would be Denver, Omaha, Kansas City...all quite a distance from one another.

I think they probably would have been better off just fighting a guerrilla-type war in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and tying up US resources though.

The hardest part would be landing troops here. The naval and air defenses along with ground forces working to prevent the Japanese from landing and gaining a foothold would be a lot to overcome, especially so far from their homeland.
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