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Did Britain make any preparations to join the U.S. in the expected invasion of Japan?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: October 09, 2012 
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Once the war in Europe was over, did Britain make any preparations to join the U.S. in the expected invasion of Japan?


Gary Carlton

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Carlton,

Seeing as the Royal Navy had had a contingent supporting the Okinawa campaign (Task Force 57), the British Commonwealth most certainly did plan to support the invasion of Japan.  Its planned force for the landings, Operation Olympic, consisted of Task Force 37: six fleet aircraft carriers accompanying Admiral William F. Halsey's Third Fleet; Tiger Force, consisting of 480 to 580 Avro Lancasters modified for maximum range bombing or for fuel transport; and the Australian First Tactical Air Force, comprising 20 fighter and attack squadrons of the RAAF.

For the land campaign, Operation Coronet, the Americans would be backed by the Commonwealth Corps under Lt. Gen. Charles Keightley, consisting of the British 3rd Infantry Division, the 6th Canadian Infantry Division, and the Australian 10th Division.

This would have been Britain's contribution to dealing with what remained of the Japanese forces, had Enola Gay, Bockscar and the Soviet army not beaten them to it.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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6 Responses to “Did Britain make any preparations to join the U.S. in the expected invasion of Japan?”

  1. 1
    Jez Lewis says:

    So what did the so-called "Soviet Army" have to do with it, other than a quick "land grab" when they saw that Japan was being finished by the AMERICANS. They were too busy raiding and pilliaging in Germany, Poland and elsewhere, to care.

    • 1.1
      Jon Guttman says:

      Jez, what you dismiss as a quick land grab involved 1,685,500 Soviet troops with armor, artillery and air support, transported across the length of the USSR to engage 1,217,000 Japanese, as well as 200,000 Manchkuoan and 10,000 Mengjiang (Inner Mongolia) soldiers. That the Soviets were better equipped and more experienced after having taken on the Germans accounts for the fact that they tore through the Japanese Kwantung Army within days, though fanatical Japanese holdouts fought on thereafter. By the time Soviet forces halted, they had killed 83,737 and taken 640,276 prisoners, for the loss of 9,726 dead and 24,425 wounded. that's pretty intense fighting for less than three weeks. More important, though, it shattered the last forlorn hope of diehard Japanese army commanders who believed (in a mirror image of Adolf Hitler's hopes) that the Soviet Union would enter the war on their side to counter the Western Allies.

  2. 2
    Steve Elmes says:

    Britain also had to mop up Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and the Malay Peninsula, along with "assisting" the Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies.

  3. 3
    lyndon says:

    Who succeesed general Mark Clark in October 1953 as supreme commander United Nation forces Japan?

    • 3.1
      Jon Guttman says:

      Clark's successor, from October 1953 through his own retirement in April 1955, was double world war veteran General John E. Hull.

  4. 4
    lyndon says:

    How many German Prisoners-of-war perished in the Gulag

    Archipelago between their capture and the return of 5,000 to

    German Federal Republic in 1955?

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