Japan strikes America

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T. A. Gardner
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Japan strikes America

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Oct 2023 06:29

Japan, desperate to strike back against the US, embarks on a somewhat different plan to do so. In early 1945, now having three complete I-400 class submarines, the Japanese instead of carrying aircraft aboard, load each submarine with their version of the V-1 missile.

Japan buys one or more working copies of the missile from Germany along with manufacturing plans and such. They also acquire say, a couple dozen sets of the guidance system for early use and to allow faster copying of the missile. The Japanese make sure that the catapults on the subs they're going to use for this operation are fitted where they can accelerate a V-1 to a minimum of 160 mph at the end of the launch. This shouldn't be very difficult, as the catapults they were using were to fire aircraft about twice the weight of a V-1 into the air.

Japan begins manufacture of V-1's by late 1944 and has say, 50 or so available for submarine use. The submarine version comes with the wings not assembled to the fuselage until launching time to make them more compact. Each I-400 is to carry 6 in lieu of aircraft (9 might be a possibility). Other subs with a catapult are carrying 1 or 2 instead of a airplane.

The three I-400, along with several other subs that could carry aircraft leave Japan in March 1945 to arrive off the US West Coast and Hawaii around the end of the month. All are given a specific date that they are to attack on, so surprise isn't lost by early launches by one or two subs. Surfacing at the designated day and time, each sub assembles then proceeds to launch their V-1's against targets like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Pearl Harbor.

For the subs with just one or two missiles, they fire and then head back to Japan. For the I-400's they fire about half their load, then move to a new position and fire one, repeating this over several days and then head back to Japan when all their missiles are expended.

Sure, it's more of a pinprick than a serious attack, but Japan gets in their licks and the US is forced to expend lots of effort moving AA guns to the West Coast, putting far more ASW ships and aircraft in place, and in general expending an inordinately larger amount of effort and money to guard against a repeat attack.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by Kingfish » 12 Oct 2023 10:36

The obvious question is why the US west coast?

B29s based on the Marianas were already ravaging Japanese cities and this prompted counter-raids against US airfields. Why not add the V1s to that effort?
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by EwenS » 12 Oct 2023 10:49

The guidance system won’t work properly if launched as you suggest. This from Wiki referenced to Peter Cooksley’s 1979 book “Flying Bomb” with my emphasis.

Final Assembly: After moving the V-1 from the storage area, the wings were slid/bolted over/to the tubular spar.[2]: 35 

Final Checkout: In the non-magnetic building, "compass swinging" was completed by hanging the V-1 and pointing it toward the target. The missile's external casing of 16-gauge sheet steel was beaten with a mallet until its magnetic field was suitably aligned. The automatic pilot was set with the flight altitude input (300–2500 metres) to the barometric (aneroid) height control and with the range set within the air log (journey computer).[2]: 29, 35 

Can’t do that in a large metal submarine. Can’t do it before loading onto submarine due to variations in Earth’s magnetic field between Japan and the launch point.

Only then was it loaded onto the launch ramp.

Edit: typical V1 launch site. Note the non-magnetic building marked Q

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... i_Site.jpg

Edit 2:- in the later “modified” sites the non-magnetic building became a flat area of concrete with holes into which posts could be inserted to suspend the V1

http://www.v1histoireetpatrimoine.fr/me ... tte-5-.jpg

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by OpanaPointer » 12 Oct 2023 12:49

Japan would have had to launch well out at sea. From there blind chance plays a major role where the bombs will land.

Any submarine-based attack would be a pot shot, no war load would do enough damage, barring a miracle*.


*God was on our side, so the Japanese were out of luck there too.
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Oct 2023 15:26

OpanaPointer wrote:
12 Oct 2023 12:49
Japan would have had to launch well out at sea. From there blind chance plays a major role where the bombs will land.

Any submarine-based attack would be a pot shot, no war load would do enough damage, barring a miracle*.


*God was on our side, so the Japanese were out of luck there too.
Actually, against a city sized target, like Los Angeles, the V-1 could be fired with an excellent probability of hitting somewhere within the city. The sub could fire from as much as 100 miles at sea and using the same method of steady course with a timed flight using the revolution counter, gotten the missile to hit in about a 1 to 5 mile radius of the aim point. That's accurate enough that it hit the city and did some damage.

I'm really surprised the Japanese didn't try this. They had the means at hand to do it and in late 1944 early 1945 could have managed this operation.

If they wanted a more accurate version, they could have just used the manned Fi-103 instead. After all, they had little compunction against suicide missions...

The only real factor against Japan here is the reliability of the missile itself. If the guidance (assuming an unmanned version) goes wrong, the missile crashes prematurely or misses. If some mechanical system fails, the missile crashes. Outside of that, it's a pretty fool proof plan. Yes, not that it would have done much real damage, but it certainly would have shook up the American public.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by T. A. Gardner » 12 Oct 2023 15:30

Kingfish wrote:
12 Oct 2023 10:36
The obvious question is why the US west coast?

B29s based on the Marianas were already ravaging Japanese cities and this prompted counter-raids against US airfields. Why not add the V1s to that effort?
Certainly another use for a sub launched V-1. And, singularly, the IJN had the boats with very little modification, to carry and launch V-1 missiles.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by OpanaPointer » 12 Oct 2023 16:41

Random explosions would cause a tizzy or two, but the results would still be negligible. Thousand plane raids didn't knock anybody out of the war by their onesies.
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by Kingfish » 12 Oct 2023 23:20

T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2023 15:26
I'm really surprised the Japanese didn't try this. They had the means at hand to do it and in late 1944 early 1945 could have managed this operation.
It's because Dan Akroyd would be waiting for them inside an M3 at the end of the Santa Monica Pier.

It was suicide back in '41 and even more so in '45.
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by LineDoggie » 12 Oct 2023 23:33

V-1 is a flying bomb with only a 1,800 lb HE warhead. how many could the subs carry to make it worthwhile?

the V-1 was an area weapon with no pinpoint precision guidance so you fire a dozen and what? hundreds didn't stop Londoners you would be lucky if one hit within 7 miles of the intended target.

Now a V-2....
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by T. A. Gardner » 13 Oct 2023 00:22

LineDoggie wrote:
12 Oct 2023 23:33
V-1 is a flying bomb with only a 1,800 lb HE warhead. how many could the subs carry to make it worthwhile?

the V-1 was an area weapon with no pinpoint precision guidance so you fire a dozen and what? hundreds didn't stop Londoners you would be lucky if one hit within 7 miles of the intended target.

Now a V-2....
I pointed that out in the original post. An I-400 could carry somewhere between 6 and 9 instead of 3 M6A1 floatplanes based on the later's size and weight along with carrying spare parts for those. The V-1's would require the wings be assembled onto the missile after positioning on the catapult. The catapult is capable of generating the necessary speed to successfully launch a V-1 given the loaded M6A1 is about 2.5 times heavier loaded than a V-1.

The B1 class submarines--assuming a few are held and not sunk at the end of 1944 for this--could likewise carry 2 V-1's in lieu of the E14Y floatplane and likewise could launch a V-1 using its catapult as the E14Y is about 1.5 times heavier loaded.

The V-1 launched on a city has a CEP of about 6 miles at 100 miles range. The range error is smaller. That means launched against a larger US city it will hit something in that city.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Oct 2023 04:19

T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2023 15:26
If they wanted a more accurate version, they could have just used the manned Fi-103 instead. After all, they had little compunction against suicide missions...
Gets you around the accuracy problem, fer sure.

What was the range of the Baku rocket propelled bomb? Is it a alternative to this manned Fi-103?

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by thaddeus_c » 13 Oct 2023 14:44

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2023 04:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2023 15:26
If they wanted a more accurate version, they could have just used the manned Fi-103 instead. After all, they had little compunction against suicide missions...
Gets you around the accuracy problem, fer sure.

What was the range of the Baku rocket propelled bomb? Is it a alternative to this manned Fi-103?
that Bachem Natter? do not see an estimated range, only 3 - 4 minutes "duration"

my speculation is always around the small disposable jet they schemed for the V-1, which would have eliminated the need for launch ramps (or to the same degree) and estimated several hundred mile range.

IDK what effectiveness any of this would have against the US, think there was some validity to the idea of setting fires in CA (obviously) that the Japanese attempted with the balloons.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by OpanaPointer » 13 Oct 2023 15:11

the first missile fired from a US sub was a V-1.
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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by lordroel » 13 Oct 2023 15:12

OpanaPointer wrote:
13 Oct 2023 15:11
the first missile fired from a US sub was a V-1.
Did Japan get some V-1 tech from the Germans, they have the sub to launch a rocket.

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Re: Japan strikes America

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 13 Oct 2023 15:13

thaddeus_c wrote:
13 Oct 2023 14:44
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
13 Oct 2023 04:19
T. A. Gardner wrote:
12 Oct 2023 15:26
If they wanted a more accurate version, they could have just used the manned Fi-103 instead. After all, they had little compunction against suicide missions...
Gets you around the accuracy problem, fer sure.

What was the range of the Baku rocket propelled bomb? Is it a alternative to this manned Fi-103?
that Bachem Natter? do not see an estimated range, only 3 - 4 minutes "duration"

No, I was trying to remember the Japanese designed Okha Model 11 Rocket propelled Suicide Bomb. It looks like the version built, the Model 11 was set up as a glide bomb & dropped from a aircraft. The rockets were very short burn & installed to accelerate the bomb in the final minute of its trajectory. 852 (?) built.

However there were six to ten other models built or on the drawing board. Four of those were intended to fly with various jet engines.


Ohka Model 43A Ko, powered by a Ne-20 turbojet engine, with folding wings, to be catapult launched from submarines


Ohka Model 43B Otsu, similar to the Model 43A for catapult launching from caves


Does not look like any of the Model 43 of either variant were built, but if it could have been in limited production and operational, then the pilot solves the accuracy problem of the Fi-103. A dozen or two dozen are still not very desstructive. Attacking the petroleum refinery near los Angeles would start some spectacular fires, and reduce US oil production by a few percentage points for a few days or weeks. Any of the naval bases along the west coast could be targets. If they are really lucky they hit a ammunition ship foolishly docked. Otherwise they can make holes in assorted ships around the harbor. Not quite the damage at Pearl Harbor, Truk harbor, or Bari Harbor in Italy but great newspaper headlines. Strategic consequences? Increase the PO factor in the US population.

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