Best German Weapon for the Japanese


  • @CWO:

    @toblerone77:

    all for the gain of just two useless Aleutian islands.

    I don’t believe the Aleutian Islands occupation was a military blunder. Bombing Dutch Harbor with carriers planes was a huge blunder. Like you said those carriers may have changed the Battle for Midway.

    The Japanese with 5,000 men on two worthless Islands were able force the US to commit 200,000 to 300,000 men to defend Alaska. And forced the US fleet to commit an entire fleet including battleships to the extreme North Pacific. This all is happening while the Solomon Island campaign and North Africa campaign are underway. The Great Alaska Highway was built from the Japanese actions.


  • @ABWorsham:

    The Japanese with 5,000 men on two worthless Islands were able force the US to commit 200,000 to 300,000 men to defend Alaska. And forced the US fleet to commit an entire fleet including battleships to the extreme North Pacific.

    Interesting.  I had a quick look at (for whatever it’s worth) the Wikipedia article on the Aleutian Islands campaign.  It says that US military strength in Alaska in June 1942 was 45,000 men (not 200,000 to 300,000 men), and it doesn’t list any battleships in the composition of ComNorPac’s Task Force 8, whose surface combat units consisted of 5 cruisers, 13 destroyers and 6 submarines.


  • I will look into the troop strength numbers, the Battleships Nevada, Idaho and Pennsylvania were in reserves for the Attu and Kiska invasions.


  • From what I vaguely recall of working at Adak NAS and visiting the little museum there back during the Cold War the peak number of men on just that island was at least 30,000 to support retaking the Aleutians.  The facility had been created during the war as the primary base.  I don’t know how many personnel were elsewhere specifically for that phase of the campaign.

    One of Japan’s biggest blunders was not building escort ships or sufficient merchant ships/tankers for convoys until it was too late.  They had enough of the Pacific secured in the early going that they don’t seem to have considered it important.  Allied fighters/bombers had been overwhelmed and USN torpedoes didn’t function correctly in the early going, giving them a false sense of security.  Amazingly, an island nation dependent on a vast naval transportation system to run its industrial/war machine completely understimated the need for tankers and cargo vessels as well as the need for escort/ASW vessels.  They didn’t get any appreciable number of escorts commissioned until 1944!


  • I must make a correction, the figure of 200,000 -300,000 allied service men in Alaska was wrong.

    In 1942 there were roughly 40,000 men in Alaska, with the Japanese invasion the US response was the building of dozens of new bases. In 1943 saw the high number of troops and personal at 144,000.


  • @Red:

    The ratio increase is probably misleading though, as it is difficult to see how Japan could have fielded an even greater number of aircraft even if it could have produced them (pilot training was a major problem.)  The Japanese aircraft industry was largely safe from attack until the last few weeks of 1944 so it might be that they were near maximum production anyway.

    The mix had shifted upward to nearly 50% fighters for Japan whereas the US built about 40% fighters during 1944 (heavier multi-engine aircraft like heavy bombers, med. bombers, and transports.)  Japanese tank production peaked at 1200 in 1942 and shrank to only 295 in 1944.  Japanese warship production had been nearly flat since 1941 with a spike in 1944 (unneeded carriers it appears, without planes, and one of the converted Yamato class BB’s as a carrier.)  Together, this indicates that Japanese industry was already tapped out just building aircraft…that and merchant vessels.  Japan had gone from producing 260,000 tons of merchant vessels in 1942 to 1,699,000 in 1944…but lost 4,115,000 tons in 1944 alone.

    You don’t even want to see how much the U.S. figures for all the above classes dwarf the Japanese ones.

    Good points. I recall that about 10% of total American aircraft production during WWII consisted of four engine heavy bombers. These are much more expensive to produce than single engine aircraft such as fighters, dive bombers, or torpedo bombers. I don’t think the Japanese produced any four engine heavy bombers during WWII.

    The U.S. produced 102,000 tanks during WWII; as compared to 2,500 for Japan. American tanks had better guns and better armor than their Japanese counterparts. (This is one reason why German ground weapon technology would not have made much strategic difference for Japan. Japan had to either defeat the U.S. at sea and in the air, or not at all.)

    I’ve read that in December of '41, Japan had only 10% of the industrial capacity of the U.S. That percentage increased as the war went on; because Japan was in the process of industrializing.

    The ratio increase is probably misleading though, as it is difficult to see how Japan could have
    fielded an even greater number of aircraft even if it could have produced them (pilot training was a major problem).

    Pilot training was an issue for three reasons:

    1. Lack of oil = lack of training hours in the air.
    2. Pilot training schools which were too exclusive. If you want a few schools for the elite pilots, fine. But there should also have been other schools intended to train large numbers of good but non-elite pilots. And there weren’t.
    3. The Japanese didn’t pull back their best pilots to train the new ones. Their best pilots remained at the front, always.

    While I acknowledge your point about pilot training, that’s not the reason why I brought up aircraft production rates in the first place. During WWII, the rate of military aircraft production was a good proxy for overall military production–a much better proxy than GDP. If Japan’s military aircraft production tripled between '42 and '44–which it did–then that’s a strong indication its overall military production had tripled.

    whereas the US built about 40% fighters during 1944 (heavier multi-engine aircraft like heavy bombers, med. bombers, and transports.

    A good deal of the 60% non-fighters undoubtedly consisted of single engine dive bombers and torpedo bombers. But the real question is whether America increased its percentage of multi-engine aircraft in '44 versus '42. If that percentage had stayed the same throughout the war, then a doubling of American military aircraft production from '42 - ‘44 would indicate a doubling of overall military production. (Albeit, American production of X number of aircraft would represent more production than Japanese production of X; because the Americans’ percentage of two and four engine aircraft would be higher.)


  • The Japanese built a few types of four engine bombers, many of these were good quality like the H8K. This float plane, unlike most Japanese planes, was heavily gunned. This plane was used in operation K- the second attack on Pearl harbor. But so few of these planes were built, 160 total, that they can not be serious mentioned.


  • @ABWorsham:

    The Japanese built a few types of four engine bombers, many of these were good quality like the H8K. This float plane, unlike most Japanese planes, was heavily gunned. This plane was used in operation K- the second attack on Pearl harbor. But so few of these planes were built, 160 total, that they can not be serious mentioned.

    Thanks for the post and the minor correction. I looked up the aircraft you described, and learned it’s also known as the Emily. Apparently, the Emily was widely regarded as the best flying boat of the war. Its bomb payload capacity was a fraction of a Flying Fortress’s. As though to make up for this, the Emily had a much longer range.

    The Emily demonstrates that the complexities of four engine aircraft were not beyond the abilities of Japanese engineers. But it did not make sense for a nation with severely limited industrial capacity–such as Japan–to use very much of that capacity on expensive four engine aircraft.


  • @KurtGodel7:

    @ABWorsham:

    The Japanese built a few types of four engine bombers, many of these were good quality like the H8K. This float plane, unlike most Japanese planes, was heavily gunned. This plane was used in operation K- the second attack on Pearl harbor. But so few of these planes were built, 160 total, that they can not be serious mentioned.

    Thanks for the post and the minor correction. I looked up the aircraft you described, and learned it’s also known as the Emily. Apparently, the Emily was widely regarded as the best flying boat of the war. Its bomb payload capacity was a fraction of a Flying Fortress’s. As though to make up for this, the Emily had a much longer range.

    The Emily demonstrates that the complexities of four engine aircraft were not beyond the abilities of Japanese engineers. But it did not make sense for a nation with severely limited industrial capacity–such as Japan–to use very much of that capacity on expensive four engine aircraft.

    The allied fighter pilots who had the opportunity to attack the Emily were impressed by its armament, 12.5 mm machine guns instead of the 7.5 mm which most Japanese bombers were armed with.


  • I had to vote other as I think a good proximity fuse ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_fuze )could have made a tremendous difference in the naval battles the Japanese lost.  It certainly made a difference for the Americans.


  • @221B:

    I had to vote other as I think a good proximity fuse ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_fuze )could have made a tremendous difference in the naval battles the Japanese lost.  It certainly made a difference for the Americans.

    There is no doubt that Japanese Anti Aircraft were the poorest of the major nations of WW2. Only Rabaul had any success in air defense, and this was due to the massive amount of Allied bombing missions on that target and the practice the Japanese gunners gained. Rabaul would claim 500 aircraft, mostly singing engine bombers.

    The Japanese would use several warship superstructures that were sunk to create " flak towers".

    The allies who cleared the sky’s of the south pacific of Japanese planes and bombed at will anything desired dreadful hated missions to bomb Rabaul.

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