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Unformatted text preview: 18. Japan’s Achilles’ Heel Heel One of great prizes for which Japan would go to war MidJanuary 1942: began to destroy wells as the Japanese were closing in Balikpapan Oil Fields Destroyed Balikpapan Next plan: Everyone needed to escape • Pulled out tubing and cut it up and jammed it down the wells • A tin of TNT was placed in each well and the wells were all destroyed • Crews started with the least productive wells, but at last all were destroyed • Refinery complex was also completely destroyed • Four decades of oil industry created had been destroyed in less than a day • 75 people left stranded by the Bay of Balikpapan awaiting rescue – only 35 survived Japan – Victory Drunk Japan MidMarch 1942: Japan’s control of East Indies was complete “Victory fever” gripped the country • In just three months Japan had won all of the rich resources of Southeast Asia Americans: Dismal Outlook Americans: Americans were in shock and despair • War was now in both hemispheres • Pearl Harbor was the worst humiliation in American history • There was also a lot of conflict between the Army and Navy in the Pacific – led to bitter and wasteful battles over scarce resources and poor coordination in key military operations in far flung battles Japan’s Next Move Japan’s Japan was faced with a decision: Move westward through India and link up with German forces in Middle East or Russia Extend their defense perimeter • Japan decided to mount a major attack on Midway Island, just 1,100 miles west of Hawaii • Battle of Midway turned out to be a decisive turning point in favor of Americans Japan underestimated American subs Japan Balance shift: American manpower, resources, technology, organizational ability and sheer determination after Pearl Harbor Japan assumed the resources of the Southern Zone would secure Japan the staying power to maintain a “Pacific wall”
• Strategy was a gamble • Japan’s major weakness was the vulnerability of its shipping to submarines Underestimated American submarines and the men who would sail on them • Thought Americans were too soft and luxuryloving to endure undersea living and warfare • However, American submarines were best in the war The War of Attrition The Battle of Marus (term to describe merchantmen) • Long, drawn out confrontation between American submarines and Japanese ships between the Southern Zone and the Home Lands • Having cracked Japanese codes, American submarines could easily detect convoy positions • By 1944, sinking rate outrun new tanker construction rate • Of Japan’s total wartime steel merchant shipping, about 86% was sunk, while another 9% was seriously damaged – oil tankers were also a favorite target • Also, evertightening blockade on Japan • “The shortage of liquid fuel was Japan’s Achilles Heel.” Japan’s Oil Position Japan’s As oil situation worsened, Japan tried many expedients and improvisations By 1944, civilian gasoline consumption was down to 257,000 gallons, just 4% of the 1940 figure In 1943, Japan’s synthetic fuels production amounted to 1 million barrels – only 8% of the target amount
• Over half of this value was in Manchuria, which was useless due to the blockade Oil Shortage Consequences Oil The overall consequence of the oil shortage caused the naval strength of the Japanese fleet to be divided when it truly needed to be combined The shortage worsened in 1945, and navigation training for flight pilots were eliminated; pilots were simply to follow their leaders to targets
• Caused Japanese to lose up to 40% of their aircraft on ferrying operations alone Battle of Leyte Gulf Battle Primacy of fuel led to Imperial Navy throwing all of its weight into the Battle of Leyte Gulf, off the Philippines in Oct 1944
• Shortage of fuel handicapped the Japanese again and again • 3 day battle led to devastating defeat for Japanese • Losses: three battleships, all four aircrafts, ten cruisers, and thirteen destroyers Desperation led to a new weapon introduced by Japan: kamikazes Japan’s Condition Continues to Worsen Japan’s Americans had an abundant fuel supply in the Pacific • Huge floating bases – gave U.S. Navy long legs across the Pacific • In 1944, Guam was a major American base for bombing Japan • By early 1945, Manila recaptured at appalling cost Just from this one location Americans used 6 times as much oil as the Japanese 6,800 American and 21,000 Japanese dead for 4.5x2.5 m island At home, in Japan, oil had virtually disappeared from the domestic economy • Gas, electricity, and charcoal were all in short supply • Food intake was also down to less than 1800 calories per day Pine Root Campaign Pine Navy growing desperate for fuel • Launched pine root campaign • Pine roots were heated for 12 hours, producing a crude oil substitute • Each gallon produced required 2.5 man days of work (12,000 bbl/d target would have required 1.25 million persons per day!) New Government New Spring 1945 new government came into power in Japan • Headed by 80 year old retired admiral, Kantaro Suzuki • Suzuki ordered a survey of Japan’s fighting ability to determine if they were sufficient to carry on the war • July 1, 1945: fuel capabilities were at just 0.8 million barrels For all practical purposes, Japan was out of oil Japan Would Not Surrender Japan Possibility of surrendering was far from accepted for many at the top of the Japanese government
• Fierce Japanese resistance to the American invasion of Okinawa in April of 1945 • Bloodiness and stubbornness led to the decision for Americans to use new deadly weapon – the atomic bomb, if necessary • Tokyo rejected the Allies’ Potsdam Declaration, which would have allowed Japan to quit the war on reasonable grounds The Atomic Bombs The August 6, 1945: First atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima (U235) August 8, 1945: Soviet Union declared war on Japan and sent troops pouring into Manchuria August 9, 1945: Second atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki ( Pu239) Japan’s Surrender Japan’s August 14, 1945: Emperor made a phonograph recording of Japan’s surrender message Finally, the war with Japan was over • Some still didn’t want the war to end; soldiers tried to break in the Imperial Palace to steal the recording before it aired and to also assassinate Premier Suzuki • However, the attempt was unsuccessful Video: Japan’s Oil Shortage Video: QuickTime ™ and a YUV420 codec decompressor are needed to see this picture. Discussion Discussion Are there present day equivalents to Japan’s wartime fuel production? What are the ecological impacts? How did Japan value life versus fuel? Was dropping the atomic bomb necessary? How did America exact revenge on Admiral Yamamoto in April 1943 for Pearl Harbor? What are your views on the way the Razor – General Hideki Tojo died? ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course EGEE 120 taught by Professor Considine,timothy during the Spring '07 term at Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
- Spring '07