Maj. Williams: Japan – air target! (4-4-45)

The Pittsburgh Press (April 4, 1945)


Maj. Williams: Japan – air target!

By Maj. Al Williams

If our purpose in the Pacific is complete destruction of the heart of the Japanese war machine and surrender of the lords of Japan proper, then we face a comparatively short war, economical above all else in manpower losses.

If, on the other hand, our strategy involves the invasion of the Asiatic continent and the destruction of the four to six million Jap soldiers there, we face a long, bloody war.

This decision, one of the most momentous in American military history, is in the making or perhaps already made.

I believe we must assume that our war aim against Japan is the elimination of that nation as a potential aggressor in the immediate future – and as far ahead as we can plan. Second, if this is our aim, then continuing the naval air drive against Japan. aided by long-range bombing operations of the Army, is a most logical development of our strategy. In other words, instead of starting at the southernmost extension of the newly-won Japanese Empire and working our way laboriously northward to attack Japan proper, our naval air-sea forces took the shortcut and scissored the Jap lines of communication in the middle. As a result, no seaborne Jap munitions can supply garrisons to the southward.

The major percentage of Jap aircraft, engine and munitions factories are in Japan. Demolish those factories by intensive bombing and the Jap war machine must fold. Nothing can save it because modern warfare means production and transportation.

The day must inevitably come when the last Jap fighter plane factory in Japan will be destroyed, and the last Jap fighter plane will rise to attack our bombers. From then on, the only defense against our bombing operations will be anti-aircraft fire. The Germans couldn’t stand up under the constant day and night bombardment, even though they still possessed some fighter forces. But the first complete vacancy in Japanese defense against our continued bombing of the homeland will be the elimination of Jap fighters. With that accomplished, what is there to prevent us from ringing Japan proper with our carriers and bombing its facilities and its population to submission?

Japan is a concentrated target. There isn’t enough room in Japan to hide munition producing facilities. That narrow little island is teeming with people who must be fed. And to feed them food must be grown (fishing will be “out” with our complete control of the seas adjacent to Japan). Food must be transported, and that’s where our bombing of Japan’s railroads and highways will sever another artery of national life.

Japan is an insular power that has lost control of the sea and of the air. Militarily isolated she has nothing ahead of her except piecemeal destruction and ultimate surrender. The Japanese people without food and without the means of life may surrender. We already know from our swelling manpower losses that the Jap armed forces will never surrender and must be killed.

Japan is truly an airpower target.

No way. Who could have guessed that?

Probably the worst line in this immaculate and lucid article.