WW II: What if Japan attacked the west coast?

cavalrytrooper

New Member
I've wondered from time to time what would of happened if the Japanese had after bombing Pearl Harbor their forces had turned east and attacked the west coast. I'm saying that their main objective was to attacked the United States mainland and they had prepared accordingly.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
I think there's already another thread discussing the potential on what the Japanese will or can do in the opening of WW2. In short, the Japanese aimed was for Raw Materials in Malaya and Dutch East Indies.
Attacking and pacifying Pacific Fleet only to eliminate potential immediate oppsing fleet when the rest of their fleet went south for conquering South East Asia at same time Nagumo's task force attacking Pearl HArbour.

Japanese did not have much supply, and Yamamoto gammble all the resources on one way startegy that has to work simultanously.
On Tactical side it work since Nagomo's manage to subdue the Pacific Fleet for some time, and open the rest of the fleet to plunder SEA with limited opposition.

On strategic grand it does not work, since all the US aircraft carriers still save, thus enable US Pacific Fleet to ammount substantive opposition wiithin few months, comparred the Yamamoto plan that aimed to pacified the US fleet for at least a year.

Japanese knows that they can't match US industrial out put and productivity, thus was not planning to attack or invade US continental land, since it's beyond their capabilities.
Afterall, the plan is for a year of SEA and western Pacific Conquest, and after that facing the US in diplomatic table to divide pacific for US and Japan.
 

Mobius 1

New Member
Japan did attack the west coast with firebombs attached to ballons hoping to set the forests on fire, but they were very unsuccessful and only burnt down one house
 

turin

New Member
but they were very unsuccessful and only burnt down one house
Didnt one of these bombs actually and by sheer "luck" come down quite close to some facilities of the Manhattan Project?

Scientists were grateful though, the whole thing teached us a lot about global air currents and the existence and implications of the jet streams.

I think its clear from every perspective that a Japanese attack on CONUS was completely unfeasible and also quite undesirable. After all the whole point about the war in the Pacific was about Japans interests in East Asia and the western pacific area, as was pointed out here before.

One could just as well wonder what would have happened, if Japan had attacked, say, Iceland. ;)
 

Rockstar

New Member
Well, if Japan attack it will some thing like pearl Harbor, imagine during those days it that weapons and way it was use, but now after being advance in technology what and shock awe it will create, never under estimate Japan !!!
Japs are un -predictable, not like Us or UK, it is common with Asians. Asian can't be predicted like westerns. Eg: way Napoleon was defeated by emperor of Russia
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Japs are un -predictable, not like Us or UK, it is common with Asians. Asian can't be predicted like westerns. Eg: way Napoleon was defeated by emperor of Russia
Don't talk nonsense about things about which you know nothing, especially when said nonsense could be construed as racist.

Don't conflate Russia 200 years ago (European, linked economically, militarily & culturally to other European countries) with countries with utterly different histories & cultures.

BTW, think yourself lucky you didn't spew your nonsense about Japanese people to my partner: I can predict her reaction rather well, & you wouldn't like it.

Did I mention that she's Japanese?
 

Rockstar

New Member
Don't talk nonsense about things about which you know nothing, especially when said nonsense could be construed as racist.

Don't conflate Russia 200 years ago (European, linked economically, militarily & culturally to other European countries) with countries with utterly different histories & cultures.

BTW, think yourself lucky you didn't spew your nonsense about Japanese people to my partner: I can predict her reaction rather well, & you wouldn't like it.

Did I mention that she's Japanese?
I am sorry and apology for if someone is hurt. Now before saying me a nonsense and offering me a luck please first be mature in giving statements, if you are having good knowledge then share instead of using above unwanted words. I know what i have said, i did,t mean anything foolish about Japanese, but i mean that Japan like other Asian nations, local politics + cultural and traditional politics plays important role. As recent below was given to US by japan went japan took u-turn to long time enemy China. And now even respected Japanese PM has offered to build an block like EU, which would work in interest of Asians, have this type of things ever predicted by the westerns ?

"Japs are un -predictable, not like Us or UK, it is common with Asians. Asian can't be predicted like westerns. Eg: way Russians were defeated by Japanese" right i made mistake in by giving wrong example and now i have ratified


"nonsense also have word SENSE -- so focus on SENSE"
 

Bonza

Super Moderator
Staff member
I know what i have said, i did,t mean anything foolish about Japanese, but i mean that Japan like other Asian nations, local politics + cultural and traditional politics plays important role.
What, politics and national culture don't play a role in Western nations? I get the impression you're not trying to be offensive, but what you're saying doesn't make sense as anything but a gross generalisation.

The political developments of ANY nation would be difficult to predict for someone who lacks an understanding of said nation and the political forces involved.

It's NOT a cultural trait of Japan or anywhere else.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
Rockstar,

As Bonza says.

Early 16th century Mexicans found Spaniards unpredictable, because Aztecs, Tlaxcalans etc. had never met any Spaniards before, & knew nothing about them. Once you get to know them, Spanish, like Japanese, are as predictable as anyone else, & of course, they find each other predictable.

Why I said what you said could seem racist is because you are saying people you do not understand are unpredictable, as if it is a characteristic of them. I think you need to widen your view point.
 

Rockstar

New Member
Rockstar,

As Bonza says.

Early 16th century Mexicans found Spaniards unpredictable, because Aztecs, Tlaxcalans etc. had never met any Spaniards before, & knew nothing about them. Once you get to know them, Spanish, like Japanese, are as predictable as anyone else, & of course, they find each other predictable.

Why I said what you said could seem racist is because you are saying people you do not understand are unpredictable, as if it is a characteristic of them. I think you need to widen your view point.
Thank you,
this was the best expected answer, i will sure work in my studies and widen my point of view, thanks a lot as i am student of the competitive studies, i do need to get involve in such debates

thank you frnd
 

USMCsburns

New Member
I've wondered from time to time what would of happened if the Japanese had after bombing Pearl Harbor their forces had turned east and attacked the west coast. I'm saying that their main objective was to attacked the United States mainland and they had prepared accordingly.
I think that the US would have been caught off guard. The Japanese would have captured cities on the west coast and advanced into the rural areas. By then, the US Military would have been fighting them slowly back to the West coast. Eventually the USA would beat them back to the sea but the Japanese were known for holding out longer than any other country.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
I think that the US would have been caught off guard. The Japanese would have captured cities on the west coast and advanced into the rural areas. By then, the US Military would have been fighting them slowly back to the West coast. Eventually the USA would beat them back to the sea but the Japanese were known for holding out longer than any other country.
How would the IJN have transported enough troops to the US west coast to do that? How could they have been supplied? What would be the purpose of such an attack?
 

fixdeluxe1

Banned Member
I've wondered from time to time what would of happened if the Japanese had after bombing Pearl Harbor their forces had turned east and attacked the west coast. I'm saying that their main objective was to attacked the United States mainland and they had prepared accordingly.
Interesting.That would defitley be a change of scenery for the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.They might of attack the west coast of mexico,which would have been taken easily then california.Los Angles would be a bloodbath becuase of the lack of Military defences and Large amount of civilians.The japanese were cruel and strang then kind and compasionate towards their prisoners,it just depends on their state of mind and commander.

The Japanese would have to secure hawaii in a vicious battle of attrition which the US would have probably one.But if the Japanese won,then they capture Alaska and run through canada as well as attack US and Mexican West coast's and secure the coastlines.

Then Drive Foward onto the Eastern Seaboard,they would need alot better tanks,and alot of troops and rescources.It would have been a hard almost impossible struggle because the Japanese were lacking in rescources especially fuel and metals.

I think Highly Unlikely.
 

MrBean4

New Member
Personally i think that the Japanese lacked the means to achieve this and they knew that .Someone posted earlier that Yamamoto's plan to attack Pearl Harbor was actually a gample , which is correct.
But i kept on thinking what would have happened if the Japanese had delayed their attack say, two or three years?Would their industry had sufficient growth to produce enough LCT's and strategic bombers for example, capable to use for an invasion to the US?
 

Awang se

New Member
Verified Defense Pro
If Japan managed to achieved a surprise, they may captured some cities in the west coast. but if i were a japanese commander i will forget the cities and dash to every major industrial areas i can reach in what little time i have. Autombile factories, ammo factories, shipyards, trainyards, razed all of em to the ground, then retreat in order, establish a defensive perimeter around the harbor and evacuate the troops. it may not stop the US, but it will give Japan more time.
 

Lostfleet

New Member
I think to invade Hawaii as an immediate follow-up to Pearl Harbour attacks ( immediate as in a few hours) would benefit Japans ambitions more than attacking West Coast of United States.

Although United States was not ready for war, it would still require Japan great amounts of personnel and war materials which Japan needed years to prepare and Hawaii would be the logical base point for those operations. Nevertheless, even without intention of invading the West Coast, capturing Hawaii would hold the US progress in Pacific long enough for Japan's ambitions on the west side of the Pacific.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
I think to invade Hawaii as an immediate follow-up to Pearl Harbour attacks ( immediate as in a few hours) would benefit Japans ambitions more than attacking West Coast of United States.

Although United States was not ready for war, it would still require Japan great amounts of personnel and war materials which Japan needed years to prepare and Hawaii would be the logical base point for those operations. Nevertheless, even without intention of invading the West Coast, capturing Hawaii would hold the US progress in Pacific long enough for Japan's ambitions on the west side of the Pacific.
Precisely that I said in the begining of this thread. Japan simply did not have sufficient raw materials inventory to launched an attack on any US continental teritory, even with US relatively not in high geared at that moment. Saying that US not prepaering I believe simply not correct. Any historical sources show that by early 40's US already preparing for incomming war, but at the time of pearl harbour they just begin to prepared. Waiting another few years simply out of the questions for Japan, since US will then better prepared.

Getting their hand on resources in SEA (British Malaya and Dutch East indies) were essentials for Japan. By that time the only significant oil and other raw materials sources in East and Southeast Asia only in Malaya and Dutch East Indies. Remmembered at that time Chinese Oil still relatively untapped (and even the Japan now the existance of significant oil resources in westen China, they still need time to developed, while Indonesia/Dutch East Indies oils are ready to grab complete with refineries in Indonesia and Singapore).

I believe Midway was realistically the farthest Japan capable on holding any US teritory. If the battle of Midway turn to Nagumo's victory, and Japan practically can lock down Pearl Harbour with significant Air/Sea covered from Midway bastions. That will knock down half of what US can delivered to rest of Pacific, then they can achieve much on their goal that's stale mate on the Pacific.

Japan historical sources and publishment already stated thet in no pre pearl harbour objective Japan even dream on conquering US continent (except some area in Alaska which also aimed to block US moved to rest of Pacific from the north).
The main goal still to get upper possition on the west pacific then force US on negotiations on dividing the Pacific. I beieve if they can get Midway and lock down Pearl Harbour then you can bet many US politicians will think that negotiations on dividing Pacific can be considered.

Midway was the turning point. Lossing battle of Midway's means for Japan tha'st no incentives left for US to negotiate with Japan on equal term.
 

DIREWOLF75

New Member
Personally i think that the Japanese lacked the means to achieve this and they knew that .Someone posted earlier that Yamamoto's plan to attack Pearl Harbor was actually a gample , which is correct.
But i kept on thinking what would have happened if the Japanese had delayed their attack say, two or three years?Would their industry had sufficient growth to produce enough LCT's and strategic bombers for example, capable to use for an invasion to the US?
Distance means Japan could not much improve its ability to invade US west coast regardless of time.
Japan might have a chance to do a short "raid-style" invade-and-leave because USA at the time didnt really have much defenses. Wouldnt be so very useful probably. Might cause plenty of panic which of course could benefit Japan, but unlikely to provide enough for it to be worth it.

Landing crafts would be useless unless someone came up with landing craft ship ahead of time, which i wouldnt expect.
Strategic bombers?!?!? Whatever use would strategic bombers be? And what use would such be for any attempt at invasion? Utterly useless.

Also, more importantly a delay would not gain Japan. Dont forget that the only reason Japan DID go to war with USA/UK/NL etc was because it was being strangled on access to raw materials for its industry.

Interestingly, i recently found ( in a writing from 1975, while searching for specifics about the Manchurian oil production potential of the time for an alternate timeline scenario ) out that USA started its economic warfare against Japan as early as 1935, via money and political assistance to domestic as well as UK and NL oil companies.
And that the embargoes imposed from late 30s and onwards were mostly a matter of making the unofficial, official. Exception being the ban on selling iron scrap to Japan which was a completely new "thing".

Which gives us the "fun" situation of USA effectively starting the war with Japan 6 years before it became official(and yes, economic warfare IS considered exactly that, warfare).



I think to invade Hawaii as an immediate follow-up to Pearl Harbour attacks ( immediate as in a few hours) would benefit Japans ambitions more than attacking West Coast of United States.

Although United States was not ready for war, it would still require Japan great amounts of personnel and war materials which Japan needed years to prepare and Hawaii would be the logical base point for those operations. Nevertheless, even without intention of invading the West Coast, capturing Hawaii would hold the US progress in Pacific long enough for Japan's ambitions on the west side of the Pacific.
Indeed yes. Denying Hawaii as a base for USA alone would cripple the US Pacific incredibly much. And thats before you start figuring in other bonuses from it. Like a chance to take the USN main storage of oil, enough by itself to keep IJN supplied for at least a year, quite possibly 2 years(and with USN not having another ready main source for fuel in the Pacific this would cripple USN operations for at least an extra 6 months). Giving Japan a superb forward base for its long range aircraft(Mavis/Emily) and not to forget its subs, which would now have a far easier time to strike against the Panama canal, a target that could also now be attacked by the regular fleet even.
It would force USAs merchant lane to Australia to take a route at least twice as long...
Any ships sunken during the air attack could be salvaged and repaired by Japan instead of USA as happened. Japan would also have gained easy access to more or less US hardware which could have allowed Japanese radar 2 years early and much better sonar equally much earlier, Japanese early insights in design philosophies...
And so on etc etc...

The advantages are nearly endless. And while rather tricky, a Japanese invasion of Hawaii as part of the initial attack is totally realistic.
 

Thiel

New Member
Personally, I can come up with two scenarios where attack the West Coast would benefit Japan.
First off, and arguably the least likely, they could bomb the major industrial centres and harbours, taking away much of the US's construction capability and maybe more important in the early stages of the Pacific War, their refit capabilities.

Another option was to sneak merchant vessels into WC harbours and sink them in strategic locations. The ships would pose as ships from other countries, in order to circumvent the US-Jap embargoes. They would enter the harbours just before the PH attack, preferably on the day and then scuttle in the immediate aftermath. Assuming it was done right, this could lock up harbours for months.
 
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