Impact of Typhoon Louise on the Planned October 1, 1945 American Invasion

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From the book “Hell To Pay, Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947” by D. M. Giangreco regarding the impact of Typhoon Louise on the planned invasion of Japan scheduled for October 1, 1945.

“The divine wind, or kamikaze, of a powerful typhoon destroyed a foreign invasion fleet off of Japan in 1274 and again in 1281. It was for these storms that Japanese suicide missions were named. On October 9, 1945, a similar typhoon named Louise, packing 140-mile-per-hour winds, struck the U.S. staging area on Okinawa, which would have been expanded to capacity by that time if the war had not ended in August yet was still crammed with aircraft and assault shipping. There was enough time to fly most aircraft out of harm’s way to bases on Luzon, but 12 ships were sunk, 222 grounded, and 32 were heavily damaged as eighty-three men were lost and more than one hundred severely injured. fully four-fifths of all the military structures on Okinawa were destroyed or rendered unusable with vast amounts of the carefully assembled war stocks suffering the same fate. U.S. analysts at the scene matter-of-factly reported that the storm would have caused up to a forty-five-day delay in the invasion of Kyushu.

The point that goes begging, however, is that while these postwar reports from the Pacific were correct in themselves, they understandably stayed within the purview of their authors’ orders or responsibility and did not make note of the critical significance of such a delay if the war had continued. Simply stated, a forty-five-day postponement would have entailed launching Olympic well past the initial, and unacceptable, target date of December 1, retarding the completion of base construction on Kyushu, and, consequently, forcing the Honshu invasion to be pushed back as far as mid-April 1946. “

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