Relief map of Honshu

Honshu is the largest of the Japanese home islands, with a land area of about 89,000 square miles (230,000 km2). Its climate varies from cool in the north to nearly subtropical in the south, but the entire island receives ample rainfall and is lushly vegetated. Unfortunately, it is also very mountainous, with little arable land, though the existing farmland is very productive. Navigable waterways are almost nonexistent, and though the island had a modern rail system in 1941, the total rail mileage was quite small, and the Japanese were heavily dependent on coastal shipping. This would prove disastrous during the American aerial mining campaign of 1945.

Major cities on the island included Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Sendai. There were important naval bases at Yokosuka, at the entrance to Tokyo Bay; Kure, near Hiroshima; Maizuru on the Sea of Japan; Aomori commanding Tsugaru Strait; and Shimonoseki on Shimonoseki Strait. There were many lesser ports and cities, particularly on the Inland Sea between Honshu and Shikoku, and numerous airfields.

The heart of Japan was the Kanto Plain surrounding Tokyo Bay. Had the Allies actually carried out their plans to invade Japan, this area would have been the target of the second phase of the invasion, CORONET. The projected date for CORONET was 1 March 1946, and the operation would have been carried out by 8 and 10 Armies with a total of fourteen divisions. These would be joined later by 1 Army with ten more divisions. Four more divisions were to be held in reserve. However, the American use of nuclear weapons, combined with the Russian invasion of Manchuria, prompted the Japanese surrender without an invasion.

Frank (1999)

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