good points you raised Epiphany , what comes to my mind thinking about it is, Â “Unternehmen Greif” 1944 BOTB.
The plan was causing confusion in the rear of the Allied lines and to force the Enemy to give out wrong Orders. And that was almost exactly what happend. It was getting that far that American Soldiers distrusted their own men and in some cases even killed own people in the confusions.
Imaging small bombing raids combiend with dropped off Japanese soldiers causing confusions like that on several points in the U.S.
Like you said:
From a mere terror standpoint, the I-400 might have worked to make American’s a little more frightened and on edge. Â Japanese citizens certainly weren’t thrilled when Doolittle hit Tokyo. Â It isn’t always the amount of physical damage you cause; psychology can play a vital factor in war too. Â America felt invincible having not really tasted the war. Â Our reaction to being hit at Pearl would not have been the same to the Japanese knocking down the Empire State Building or the hitting the White House. Â Imagine those happening immediately after the Doolittle Raid.
I agree with Kurt that if the Japanese had specifically targeted things they knew they could destroy or that would seriously disrupt the war effort; such as bombing ball bearing factories or factories that produce batteries. Â If you can hit the right targets, suddenly you have real disruption. Â The I-400 could have afforded Japan some small measure of viable capability. Â Small in the sense that it wouldn’t win the war, but I think it would have definitely been worth the investment for the capability alone.
A war brought to the doorsteps of America would be a Horroable thing…Pearl Harbor was still a little bit to far away…