Japanese invasion of California following up Pearl Harbor?

witchbottles

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a recent reference in "Coral and Brass":

Our greatest shortage was ammunition for rifle and artillery practice. The country had allowed its reserve to sink so low that if the Japanese had continued from Pearl Harbor with an amphibious force and landed on the West Coast they would have found that we did not have enough ammunition to fight a day’s battle. This is how close the country was to disaster in 1941.

Smith, Holland M.. Coral and Brass (Kindle Locations 1578-1581). Motte Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If indeed true ( and we know that even after the Selective Service Act the US armed forces were sorely undermanned in all respects - no factories or units were equipped to anything near full capability.

How far could have an invasion of say, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego as a three-pronged assault gotten on the weeks after Pearl Harbor?
 

Bob Walters

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a recent reference in "Coral and Brass":

Our greatest shortage was ammunition for rifle and artillery practice. The country had allowed its reserve to sink so low that if the Japanese had continued from Pearl Harbor with an amphibious force and landed on the West Coast they would have found that we did not have enough ammunition to fight a day’s battle. This is how close the country was to disaster in 1941.

Smith, Holland M.. Coral and Brass (Kindle Locations 1578-1581). Motte Publishing. Kindle Edition.

If indeed true ( and we know that even after the Selective Service Act the US armed forces were sorely undermanned in all respects - no factories or units were equipped to anything near full capability.

How far could have an invasion of say, Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego as a three-pronged assault gotten on the weeks after Pearl Harbor?
They would not have had the chance of a snowball in hell. The logistics train alone would have been way too long and they would never have been able to support it. Heck, it is unlikely they could have supported an invasion of Hawaii.
 

bendizoid

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Nowhere, the Japanese would have no ammo for the second days battle and all the ones after.
 

aiabx

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Sure, an invasion might have been possible. But it would have been totally unsustainable. The Japanese supply line would have been far too long and the US Navy still had all of it's carriers. And the American arms industry wasn't starting from zero - they were already rolling making arms for the British Lend-Lease program.
I don't believe it for a minute.
 

aiabx

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Our friends from Canada would have saved us.
We were kinda busy fighting the Germans for the previous two years but we'd definitely have sent you some back bacon and beers to sustain you in your fight.
 

Yuri0352

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A complete fiasco for the Japanese.
Although, such an invasion would have relieved quite a bit of pressure on the British in Malaya and the Chinese in their struggle.
 

Paul M. Weir

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I might speculate that Californian civilians might have more small arms rounds than that any Japanese invasion force could bring, never mind small arms. Could they have got a force ashore with a decent quantity of supplies? Yes, California has a very large coast line. Could they have gained a deepish lodgement? Yes, fairly likely. Could they hold out for long? Almost certainly not, though in the panic I suppose you could get a fumbled US response. A month or with particularly inept US actions, possibly two at best. Someone Japanese in the Philippines or Burma would undoubtedly be cursing the waste of good troops on such a forlorn hope which gains Japan nothing.

While the Japanese displayed gross strategic overreach, I think even they recognise the impracticality of such an operation. So, my original reaction still stands.
 

Tuomo

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I would have enjoyed seeing the look on the face of the Japanese Commander who, upon scaling the summit of the Sierra Nevadas, looked east across the Nevada desert and realized they only had 3000 miles to go to hit Washington.

"Welp, boys, nothing for it. Let's crack on"
 

Justiciar

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I would have enjoyed seeing the look on the face of the Japanese Commander who, upon scaling the summit of the Sierra Nevadas, looked east across the Nevada desert and realized they only had 3000 miles to go to hit Washington.

"Welp, boys, nothing for it. Let's crack on"
Donner Party-ish either there or having managed to get across Nevada into the Wasatch for winter...

Sushi anyone...well sort of...
 

jrv

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I would have enjoyed seeing the look on the face of the Japanese Commander who, upon scaling the summit of the Sierra Nevadas, looked east across the Nevada desert and realized they only had 3000 miles to go to hit Washington.

"Welp, boys, nothing for it. Let's crack on"
Couldn't they have gotten themselves interned? If they got the right camp the US Government would pay to transport them as far as the Mississippi.

JR
 

witchbottles

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I might speculate that Californian civilians might have more small arms rounds than that any Japanese invasion force could bring, never mind small arms. Could they have got a force ashore with a decent quantity of supplies? Yes, California has a very large coast line. Could they have gained a deepish lodgement? Yes, fairly likely. Could they hold out for long? Almost certainly not, though in the panic I suppose you could get a fumbled US response. A month or with particularly inept US actions, possibly two at best. Someone Japanese in the Philippines or Burma would undoubtedly be cursing the waste of good troops on such a forlorn hope which gains Japan nothing.

While the Japanese displayed gross strategic overreach, I think even they recognise the impracticality of such an operation. So, my original reaction still stands.
Perhaps that might have been true in the 1930's, but I really think not. (civilian owned ammunition) - Now, nearly every home did have a shotgun or rifle, used primarily to take game for the table. Being as single or at best 2 or 3 shot capability, they would fare little better than an Arisaka, and in fact, likely a damn sight worse - if used for combat purposes. Ammunition was not an abundant feature as it is in many states of the US now ( California has been working diligently to remove ammunition from the hands of gun owners for the last two decades, and a whole slew of laws now control their ownership, use and sale.) Fact was, most post-depression homes had barely any income at all - so ammunition was bought, many times reloaded locally several times over, many times to the point of affecting accuracy. Further, it was a scarce commodity. Little Johnny was handed Dad's shotgun, 3 shells, and the leash for the hunting dog and told to go shoot supper. He was not given a box of 25 shells, those were needed to last at least 2 weeks, if not longer.

So I seriously doubt seeing a depression recovery dependent civilian mob rising up to defeat the Japanese. There were reasons the deportations occurred in the first place. Most US service personnel were on or preparing to go towards Europe, the wrong coast. the US Navy PAcific Fleet could barely even keep its own three carriers from sinking, and were not a threat in being to the IJN/ IJA.

What was a major issue was logistics. It takes a special blend of power projection to create the trinity that allows for successful long range campaigning. The IJN never learned the "recipe". They could have, certainly, America took enough time about learning it herself.
To make such a landing successful in any way for the Japanese IMO would have meant scrubbing the Malayan Campaign completely. ie - go for the throat at the US, forget the Brits and minor neutrals.

End result would have likely been a hastening of the Japanese defeat, in retrospect. But it does make you wonder what FDR really feared when he ordered the deportations in the first place......
 
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