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Fear of armed American citizenry deterred Japan from invading Oahu on December 7, 1941...


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This is the Imperial Japanese Army at its zenith we are talking about here, well-aquainted with and unlikely to be spectacularly rattled by insurrectionist/irregular warfare.

I could see an IJA invasion defeated in part by such a citizenry, but not deterred from making the attempt out of fear of one.

Based on the tactics the IJA would use in combat against an armed, un-uniformed citizenry, its soldiers would not be the only ones in fear. They would likely be causing more than their share of it.

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I have heard it said that the IJA believed armed American civilian franc tirers might be an issue if they invaded.  Ive not heard before that this alleged concern had any operational effects.

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3 hours ago, R011 said:

Do you have a source for this claim?  I rather thought it was because they had neither troops nor transport for this and SE Asia.

The claim, was publicized in today's syndicated USA Today/Gannett newsfeed, which used to mean something WRT moving the needle of American public opinion.

The source, a Facebook post of 20 paragraphs, has now been taken down, unfortunately.

The context, which I got wrong, was not in fact a barely plausible invasion of Oahu that was deterred, but the even more fantastical Japanese invasion of the U.S. mainland.

The sentiment, exemplified by Bogart and his "There are certain sections of New York, major, that I wouldn't advise you to try and invade", is commendable. I would argue, however, that there are also certain Armies that I would not advise the Sicilian Mafia or the Five Points Gang to try and fight a war of insurrection against.

"If they think they can shoot three Americans, jump down and yell I surrender, they are wrong." -- Gen. Omar Bradley

The same, in Gen. Bradley's world, would apply for civilian francs tireurs shooting from behind every blade of grass.

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The link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2021/07/16/fact-check-military-limitations-stopped-japanese-invasion-not-guns/7954564002/

The claim: The Japanese didn't invade the US mainland after Pearl Harbor because they feared armed Americans


Nayeli Lomeli / USA TODAY / July 16, 2021

On Dec. 7, 1941, Japan staged an attack on Pearl Harbor, severely damaging the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Pushing back against U.S. attempts to limit Japan's aggressive expansion, Japan launched a surprise attack on the nation's westernmost outpost. Though the air attack inflicted heavy losses, the Japanese military did not advance to the U.S. mainland.

A lengthy Facebook post claims fear over private gun ownership in the states is what stopped that invasion.

"After the Japanese decimated our fleet in Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941, they could have sent their troop ships and carriers directly to California to finish what they started," says a June 28, 2020, Facebook post that has found renewed life online a year later. "After the war, the remaining Japanese generals and admirals were asked that question. Their answer....they know that almost every home had guns and the Americans knew how to use them."

The post drew more than 650 likes and was shared more than 1,900 times since it was posted.

But it's wrong. According to historians, armed citizens were not among the key reasons Japan opted not to invade the continental U.S. 

USA TODAY reached out to the user for comment...

 

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Hawaii doesn't have a lot of traditional Americans where it'd be an issue of armed resistance.  Japanese invasion of the mainland...LOL, they couldn't keep Guadalcanal fed.   S/F....Ken M

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6 hours ago, Nobu said:

This is the Imperial Japanese Army at its zenith we are talking about here, well-aquainted with and unlikely to be spectacularly rattled by insurrectionist/irregular warfare.

I could see an IJA invasion defeated in part by such a citizenry, but not deterred from making the attempt out of fear of one.

Based on the tactics the IJA would use in combat against an armed, un-uniformed citizenry, its soldiers would not be the only ones in fear. They would likely be causing more than their share of it.

 

The entire place was a bloody fortress with an imperial butt ton of fixed, heavy shore batteries plus lots and lots more of mobile artillery ranging from 8" to 3" and that was in the early 30s. By 41 much infantry and its organic heavy weapons had been added. 

Armed citizens would have been the least of the IJAs troubles. 

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A Facebook post?  You've gotta be shitting me!  Did the editors and writer fail first year journalism at college?  If I had used a source like that in a high school essay, I'd have failed it.

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11 hours ago, JasonJ said:

If any more to get out of a PH campaign, not an invasion, but being more lucky so as to catch a carrier out of sync and/or destroying the fuel storage site. 

a) that was full of barely combustible bunker oil, not avgas.

b) the tank were spread out, each had a levee around it and all were interconnected

=widespread destruction was highly unlikely

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56 minutes ago, Markus Becker said:

a) that was full of barely combustible bunker oil, not avgas.

b) the tank were spread out, each had a levee around it and all were interconnected

=widespread destruction was highly unlikely

I don't know details about the design of the facility other than just seeing photos of it, so just to state that first before replying with some thoughts. A destroyed tank might have meant each getting hit with a bomb. So since there were (what looked liked) 20 to 35 individual tanks, then yes, its not as if a couple of strafe runs or a single bomb would have blown the whole thing up. ISTR after the second wave attack, there was a call for a third wave with targeting the oil tanks, so 150 to 200 planes I guess. So commitment level like that for the oil storage. Not that I'm saying that they absolutely could/should have at that time upon finishing the second wave, that's a matter with several points to go over. Although at risk of echoing a fake quote like the one B1 posted about, IIRC Yamamoto or someone, maybe Nagumo, stated at a later time that a more thorough job should have been done back during the PH attack like giving the 3rd wave attack the green light. That aside, I'm just saying this because something comparable to that level of commitment being needed is what I had in mind, and it was a potential target historically. 

With that said, if the tanks were not extremely flammable avgas, that might be more beneficial for attackers because if each tank would have to be individually hit, then the explosion and resulting smoke might be less visually blocking meaning it would be less prohibitive to successive attacks on subsequent tanks.

One last additive, is also ISTR that the fuel storge was the main fuel storage for just about all operations going westward for the USN. So hitting then surely would have meaning. During or after the time of the attack, the tanks were in the process of being camoflauged so that sorts of highlighys the significance of them.

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3 hours ago, JasonJ said:

I don't know details about the design of the facility other than just seeing photos of it, so just to state that first before replying with some thoughts. A destroyed tank might have meant each getting hit with a bomb. So since there were (what looked liked) 20 to 35 individual tanks, then yes, its not as if a couple of strafe runs or a single bomb would have blown the whole thing up.

Then perhaps some research prior to expressing an opinion would be helpful?

The earliest fuel oil facilities at Pearl were built 1913-1919. They consisted of four 50,000-barrel and one 35,000-barrel fuel oil tanks, a 7,100-barrel diesel tank, a 2,143-barrel gasoline tank, all those above-ground metal tanks, and a 150,000-barrel underground concrete fuel oil storage reservoir. Notably as early as then, considerable attention was paid to fire danger. All the above ground metal tanks were surrounded by catchment berms, designed "so that the contents of the tank could be contained in case of a leak, "with a slight excess for a factor of safety against boiling over in case the escaped oil took fire" (U.S. Navy, Bureau of Yards and Docks [1915]: 1 )." Two fire-fighting foam plants/pumphouses were also built as part of the fire control measures. These were all built near the old coaling station and were still in use in World War II.

The next wave of construction was 1923-1924, in five areas: the Lower, Upper, and Middle Tank Farms, Merry Point, and Ford Island. The Lower Tank Farm consisted of 21 fuel oil tanks, and one diesel oil tank, each 106' in diameter and 32' tall, holding 50,000 barrels of fuel. The Upper Tank Farm consisted of the 17 largest fuel oil tanks built, each 40' tall by 164' diameter, holding 150,000 barrels. The Middle Tank Farm consisted of 10 tanks, 9 identical to those of the Lower Tank Farm and 1 80,000-barrel tank measured 123' in diameter and 34' in height. The Merry Point Tank Farm was built for specialty lubricants, contained in 56 small, 25,000 gallon (595.3-barrel) tanks. The Ford Island Aviation Tank Farm consisted of 9 tanks, each 36' in diameter and 30' in height. Unlike the other tanks, the Ford Island tanks were surrounded by concrete, rather than earthen, berms. All the fuel oil facilities had associated pumphouses for moving the fuel, as well as foam plants/pumphouses for fire control as in the original 1913-1919 construction.

Note that the War Department aviation and motor fuel depot facilities were separate and scattered about at Wheeler, Hickham, and Shafter.

 

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ISTR after the second wave attack, there was a call for a third wave with targeting the oil tanks, so 150 to 200 planes I guess. So commitment level like that for the oil storage. Not that I'm saying that they absolutely could/should have at that time upon finishing the second wave, that's a matter with several points to go over. Although at risk of echoing a fake quote like the one B1 posted about, IIRC Yamamoto or someone, maybe Nagumo, stated at a later time that a more thorough job should have been done back during the PH attack like giving the 3rd wave attack the green light. That aside, I'm just saying this because something comparable to that level of commitment being needed is what I had in mind, and it was a potential target historically. 

There were no Japanese plans for infrastructure strikes at Pearl, in the first, second, or putative third wave. None of the maps provided to Japanese aviators included details of shore-based infrastructure, other than the location of the various airfields, which were targets. Any "quotes" from Yamamato, Nagumo, or any other person involved are usually rewrites of remarks that Nimitz made postwar. The fuel facilities were never a potential target historically.

 

Quote

With that said, if the tanks were not extremely flammable avgas, that might be more beneficial for attackers because if each tank would have to be individually hit, then the explosion and resulting smoke might be less visually blocking meaning it would be less prohibitive to successive attacks on subsequent tanks.

By the time a fictitious Japanese "third wave" could be generated, all of the Army and Navy facilities at Pearl were fully manned and ready. Look at the losses suffered by the actual second wave. The likely outcome, beyond any minor success hitting fuel storage tanks, would be the loss of much of the Japanese attack force, especially any dive bombers employed.

 

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One last additive, is also ISTR that the fuel storge was the main fuel storage for just about all operations going westward for the USN. So hitting then surely would have meaning. During or after the time of the attack, the tanks were in the process of being camoflauged so that sorts of highlighys the significance of them.

The main problem with that is hitting them in such a way the damage ensuing would have some meaning. Given their dispersion and the defenses surrounding them, it is unlikely that any Japanese effort against them, be it a third, fourth, fifth, sixth, or twentieth wave would be meaningless.

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6 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

Then perhaps some research prior to expressing an opinion would be helpful?

...

With the amount of rampant disinformation woven into the narrative and continuously reinforced by US propagandists since FDR years, here's another opinion, I've got a full plate of research hobby stuff already, if your ivory tower of gold nugget research can't even emit golden information light 1 meter into the dense BS hovering fog and its despensors over the masses to only tjen be told to shut up and research first, then I'd say FU to you and yoir ivory tower of uselessness except for existance to be usedas a tool by the fog generating propagandists, CCP American good ole'boy.

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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, JasonJ said:

With the amount of rampant disinformation woven into the narrative and continuously reinforced by US propagandists since FDR years, here's another opinion, I've got a full plate of research hobby stuff already, if your ivory tower of gold nugget research can't even emit golden information light 1 meter into the dense BS hovering fog and its despensors over the masses to only tjen be told to shut up and research first, then I'd say FU to you and yoir ivory tower of uselessness except for existance to be usedas a tool by the fog generating propagandists, CCP American good ole'boy.

...

6 hours ago, RichTO90 said:

There were no Japanese plans for infrastructure strikes at Pearl, in the first, second, or putative third wave. None of the maps provided to Japanese aviators included details of shore-based infrastructure, other than the location of the various airfields, which were targets. Any "quotes" from Yamamato, Nagumo, or any other person involved are usually rewrites of remarks that Nimitz made postwar. The fuel facilities were never a potential target historically.

This makes complete sense, as there is no way Japan was ever going to gain a negotiated peace via a strategy of infrastructure war.

Edited by Nobu
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11 minutes ago, Nobu said:

Play nice, gentlemen.

The old fart is spoiled with honors and purple badges for talking with Glenn.

The post he responded to was plenty tentative in tone. 

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54 minutes ago, JasonJ said:

The old fart is spoiled with honors and purple badges for talking with Glenn.

The post he responded to was plenty tentative in tone. 

 

On 7/17/2021 at 9:07 PM, R011 said:

A Facebook post?  You've gotta be shitting me!  Did the editors and writer fail first year journalism at college?  If I had used a source like that in a high school essay, I'd have failed it.

USA Today is now reacting to the social network's power to move the needle instead of moving it on its own. It may be beneath the dignity its newsroom to do so, but I am not going to fault them in this particular instance for pushing back against the grassroots idea that the IJA was deterred from invading California because of its fear of an armed American citizenry

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6 hours ago, JasonJ said:

With the amount of rampant disinformation woven into the narrative and continuously reinforced by US propagandists since FDR years, here's another opinion, I've got a full plate of research hobby stuff already, if your ivory tower of gold nugget research can't even emit golden information light 1 meter into the dense BS hovering fog and its despensors over the masses to only tjen be told to shut up and research first, then I'd say FU to you and yoir ivory tower of uselessness except for existance to be usedas a tool by the fog generating propagandists, CCP American good ole'boy.

Try making sense instead of indulging in masturbatory word salad.

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On 7/17/2021 at 11:25 AM, Nobu said:

This is the Imperial Japanese Army at its zenith we are talking about here, well-aquainted with and unlikely to be spectacularly rattled by insurrectionist/irregular warfare.

I could see an IJA invasion defeated in part by such a citizenry, but not deterred from making the attempt out of fear of one.

Based on the tactics the IJA would use in combat against an armed, un-uniformed citizenry, its soldiers would not be the only ones in fear. They would likely be causing more than their share of it.

Civilian resistance had nothing to do with it.  The IJA was already balls deep in China and knew all about the problems of trying to conquer a vast country.  Between that and watching the Soviets and providing the troops for Southeast Asia, an invasion of the US continent was beyond their resources.   

There was also the question of distance.  The further the destination the less ships can haul.   Roughly, in comparison to the route from Tokyo to Manila,  it might take about 300% more shipping to get the same amount of stuff to San Francisco.  

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Going back to actual reality stuff, Toll claims that Yamamoto was insisting on a declaration of war before attacking Pearl and the fact that it didn’t happen was mostly bureaucratic snafus. Wouldn’t have made much difference though I guess?

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