Thursday, August 8, 2019

TheList 5065

The List 5065 TGB

To All,

Here are a couple of interesting and timely articles.



August 4, 2019

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident – 55 Years Ago Today



American bomber drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima


Thanks to Michael

August 6th also marks the anniversary of the deadliest lost in Naval Special Warfare history, with the shoot down of Extortion 17.

15 U.S. Navy SEALs from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group

2 U.S. Navy SEALs from a west coast based SEAL team.

5 U.S. Naval Special Warfare support personnel.

3 U.S. Army Reserve personnel from the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment

2 U.S. Army personnel from the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment, part of Colorado Army National Guard

2 U.S. Air Force Pararescuemen from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron

1 U.S. Air Force Combat Controller from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron

7 Afghan National Army Commandos, part of Afghan National Army

1 Afghan civilian interpreter

1 U.S. Military Working Dog

Lt. Cmdr. (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall

MCPO (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais

SCPO (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff

CPO (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves

CPO (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson

CPO (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason

CPO (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills

CPO (SEAL) Brian R. Bill

CPO (SEAL) John W. Faas

CPO (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston

PO1 (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman

PO1 (SEAL) Jon T. Tumilson

PO1 (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn

PO1 (SEAL) Jason R. Workman

PO1 (SEAL) Christopher G. Campbell

PO1 (SEAL) Darrick C. Benson

PO2 (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar

Navy SEAL Dog "Bart"

PO1 John Douangdara

SCPO Kraig M. Vickers

CPO Nicholas H. Null

PO1 Michael J. Strange

PO1 Jared W. Day


(Sad that he did not go to the Cleveland Clinic which has an outstanding cardio reputation!)

Neil Armstrong's Bypass Surgery

Neil Armstrong was a great American hero who:

• flew 78 combat missions as a Korean War military pilot,

• was a test pilot for new planes, and

• was the 1966 spacecraft commander for Apollo 11, the first manned lunar mission.

On July 20, 1969, he became the first human to walk on the moon. He later became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.

In February 1991, at age 61, he suffered a heart attack while skiing with friends in Aspen, Colorado. Twenty-one years later, in 2012, he died shortly after undergoing bypass heart surgery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Seven years after his death, The New York Times published a detailed report of the confidential malpractice lawsuit that followed his death (The New York Times, July 23, 2019).

Probable Malpractice

The wrongful death lawsuit brought up several concerns about his medical treatment:

• Armstrong was taken to a local suburban hospital to treat serious heart disease, rather than to an academic institution with highly experienced cardiologists, interns, residents, fellows, other faculty and medical students to look over the care of their patients.

• The doctors chose to perform immediate bypass surgery for a non-emergency situation that can often be managed just with medications and lifestyle changes.

• Temporary wires were placed in his heart to regulate heartbeats (a common practice). The wires were later removed by a nurse. While the wires were being removed, Armstrong's heart started to bleed and his blood pressure dropped.

• At this point he was taken to the hospital's catheterization laboratory, rather than to an operating room. There the doctors drained blood from Armstrong's heart and then moved him to an operating room. He died one week later.

• Consulting doctors for the claimants' lawsuit felt that as soon as the patient started to bleed into his heart and his blood pressure dropped, he should have been taken to the operating room, not the catheterization laboratory. A sudden drop in blood pressure is a life-threatening sign.

• Bypass surgery is almost never a procedure that has to be done immediately, yet the family was apparently not advised to seek second opinions or to take him to an academic hospital.

• The hospital settled for 6.2 million dollars, with the provision that information about Armstrong's death and the lawsuit not be disclosed to the public. The New York Times article notes that, "The legal settlement . . . illustrates the controversial but common practice of confidential settlements in medical malpractice and other liability cases, which protect reputations but hinder public accountability."

Astronaut Neil Armstrong dead at 82 - (3:45)

Who Needs Bypass Surgery or Stents?

Bypass heart surgery is a procedure that diverts the flow of blood around a blocked artery leading to your heart. It is indicated when blood flow to the heart is blocked enough to cause symptoms or irregular heartbeats, and usually involves partial blockage of more than one artery. This major surgery has many immediate surgical risks and complications but once the patient has recovered, the surgery does not cause increased risk for clots in the future.

Stents are tubular devices placed inside a blood vessel to open previously blocked blood flow. The indication for a stent is mainly to unblock a completely blocked artery leading to your heart and doctors have only about three hours from the start of the blockage to prevent the heart muscle from dying. Stents may also help people with chest pain or irregular heartbeats that cannot be controlled by all other treatments and perhaps those in heart failure.

The Bypass Procedure

Blood vessels are taken from another part of the body and used to bypass blocked arteries leading to the heart. Bypass heart surgery is indicated to increase blood flow to the heart when the doctor feels that symptoms are too severe to wait for medical treatment and lifestyle changes:

• heart failure,

• angina (heart pain) that cannot be controlled with medication,

• blocked blood vessels that need to be opened immediately, or

• when medical treatment is not likely to be effective, such as having three or more blocked arteries. Generally, bypass patients are less likely than stent patients to need repeat surgery (N Engl J Med, March 26, 2015;372:1204-1212).

A review of 11 randomized trials involving the follow-up of 11,518 patients with plaques in multiple arteries leading to their hearts showed that those who had bypass surgery were less likely to die than those who had stents (Lancet, Mar 10, 2018;391(10124):939-48). The COURAGE research trial showed that patients with stable heart disease (no complete obstruction of blood flow to the heart) do just as well with medical treatment (drugs, exercise and a heart-healthy diet) as they do with bypass surgery (N Engl J Med, 2007, 356(15):1503-16). This has been confirmed by other studies (Lancet, 2009, 373(9667): p. 911-8). Sudden chest pain or shortness of breath can be signs of complete obstruction of blood flow to the heart muscle.

Too Many Stents?

An estimated two million people get coronary artery stents every year at a cost of more than 15 billion dollars. Many heart specialists feel that stents should not be put into the heart arteries unless a person has virtually complete blockage of blood flow to the heart, a sign of impending death of heart muscle, or uncontrollable chest pain. Stents have not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes, probably because people with plaques in one artery often also have plaques in all of their coronary arteries. Stents increase risk for future clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes, so people with stents usually must take anti-clotting medication for the rest of their lives.

Plaques accumulate over many years on the inner lining of arteries leading to the heart, but heart attacks are not caused by plaques that partially obstruct blood flow through a heart artery. Heart muscle must get oxygen from the bloodstream 24 hours a day. A heart attack means that a part of the heart muscle dies when blood flow to part of the heart muscle is blocked completely for more than three hours. A heart attack occurs when a part of a plaque breaks off, the area bleeds and clots, and then the clot extends to block completely any flow of blood through that artery. Then the heart muscle has no source of oxygen and starts to die. If a cardiologist runs a tube into a completely blocked artery and opens the artery with a balloon, blood flows freely to the heart muscle and the heart muscle does not die. Then the cardiologist inserts a stent into the previously blocked artery to keep it from closing again and the cardiologist may have saved that person's life. Stents can definitely save lives when they are placed within the first few hours after a person starts to suffer a heart attack. There is little good evidence to show that stents placed in heart arteries that are not completely blocked will decrease chest pain or prevent heart attacks. Too Many Stents

Stents and Bypass Surgery

Lessons from the Lawsuit on Neil Armstrong's Death

If you have any risk factors for heart attacks, it is never too early to do some advance planning and to make lifestyle changes. Armstrong had plenty of warning; he had a first heart attack 21 years before his death.

• Discuss any abnormal findings in your annual physical with your physician. Make sure you understand the meaning of those that indicate heart attack risk (high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, high blood sugar and so forth), and how to bring them under control. If you have several heart attack risk factors that do not respond to your lifestyle change efforts, ask for a referral to a cardiologist.

• Anyone with symptoms of heart disease should be managed by a competent cardiologist, preferably one who is willing to talk with you about medications and other decisions, and can motivate you to make any needed lifestyle changes.

• Give some thought to where you will go if you need urgent care, and make sure your spouse, family and/or friends know of your wishes.

• Keep yourself educated on your condition and up to date on the best treatment options. You are your own most important advocate for your health care.

Neil Alden Armstrong

August 5, 1930 - August 25, 2012


6 August 1945

72 years ago the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. That decision by President Truman has been second guessed by many. But after you read this You will realize that it did save many American lives because our estimates of Japanese strength were badly under estimated.

A compelling read!

The Invasion of Japan - Not Found in the History Books

For the history buffs: An Invasion Not Found in the History Books by James Martin Davis reprinted from the Omaha World Herald, November 1987

Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington , D.C. , hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped "Top Secret". These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II. Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

In the first invasion code named Operation Olympic American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 50 years ago. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu , the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment.

(Note - The 11th and13th Airborne Divisions based on Okinawa would be used to fill in the gaps of those units destroyed in the amphibious assault. G L Wells)

The second invasion on March 1, 1946 code named Operation Coronet would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. Its goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan . With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8th Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe ), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 - would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy.

Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the fall of 1946. Willoughby 's own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary.

While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender. The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact.

So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu . The target date was after the typhoon season.

President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24, 1945. Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction. Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses. Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu . Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain.

The preliminary invasion would begin October 27, 1945 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu . At the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu . On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion. As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy the Third and Fifth Fleets would approach Japan . The Third Fleet, under Admiral William "Bull" Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido . Halsey's fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups. From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu . The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.

Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched. During the early morning hours of November 1,

1945 the invasion would begin. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu . Waves of Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches.

The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd and 41st Infantry Divisions would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield. The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and Americal Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

On the western shore of Kyushu , at beaches Pontiac , Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima .

On November 4, 1945 the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack of the island of Shikoku, would be landed if not needed elsewhere near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard and Plymouth.

Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed.

If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1, 1946. Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu .

All along the coast east of Tokyo , the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions.

At Sagami Bay , just south of Tokyo , the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to go as far as Yokohama . The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions.

Following the initial assault, eight more divisions the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division would be landed. If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error.

During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese kamikaze aircraft sank

32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others. But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan .

What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland.

As part of Ketsu-Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases. On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet.

The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea , western Honshu and Shikoku , which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks. Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks.

In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types. Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity. Hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes.

Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot. When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a fourfold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships.

While Allied ships were approaching Japan , but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu . A second force of 330 navy combat pilots was to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. While these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports.

As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners.

Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue. With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days. The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyushu .

The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational. These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion. A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea. Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats

The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing. The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese.

But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war.

Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan 's top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans. This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army. These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain, had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.

Japan 's network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches. Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counterattack. Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade.

On the western shores of Kyushu , the Marines would face the most brutal opposition. Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions, a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command.

Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks.

If not needed to reinforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, 1945, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers, and underground fortresses. As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns.

On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units. Suicide units concealed in "spider holes" would engage the troops as they passed nearby. In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines. Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform; English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops. Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs would attempt to blow up American tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore.

Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach. Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.

The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called "Prairie Dog Warfare." This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean . It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa .

Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy.

In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes

could hold up to 1,000 troops. In addition to the use of poison gas and Bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan "One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation" were prepared to fight to the death. Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.

At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour. The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima . Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki . Within days the war with Japan was at a close.

Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands. Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives. One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks.

In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion were instead lucky enough to survive the war. Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history of modern warfare.

Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan , little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands. Japan today could be divided much like Korea and Germany .

The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however, because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over. The aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan , ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet.

In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans. Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives. These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man. The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful.


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