Operation Downfall

Mr. Gregory,
I would like to address you by your rank but I didn't see it in your biography.

For the past few years I have been very interested in "Operation Downfall" and the political-historical mythology connected with the planned invasion vs. use of "the bomb". It may not have been a major item in Australia, but there was a very intense debate over displaying the B-29 "Enola Gay" of Hiroshima fame (infamy?) in the Smithsonian Institution. I was absolutely incensed over the half truths, misstatements and outright lies propagated by representatives of the varying viewpoints. The press and television in particular were horrible: they made loud noises about the debates but did worse than nothing about providing accurate information.

Now that I am finally retired  there is time to pursue the research even further. One of the major points not discussed, and rarely even recognized, is the contribution made by allies of the United States.

Your web page discussing time aboard HMAS Shropshire is extremely interesting and valuable. There is a note that the data on the page was for an article - was the article ever published? If so, will you send me the citation? I'd like to see the final product. I'd also like to hear about feedback from the readers.

I've been Army all my military career, so studying the planning of the largest invasion force seems normal, but my interest is really piqued due to the fact that my father was a ship's engineer in the Merchant Marine. There isn't a lot of doubt as to where he and his tanker would be in November 1945.

There is another aspect that is amusing. My final assignment was to a joint headquarters. The department of the operations division to which I was assigned always had a Naval Captain as the OIC. You should be able to appreciate their fascination when presented with a copy of the naval order of battle (OB) for Downfall. One officer kept a copy posted in his office as a reminder of his father's navy.

With respect to the landing forces, our Marines seemed amazed by the concept of all six USMC divisions going to battle at the same time. Most of the Army types are more interested in our Civil War than WW2, even when shown the number and types of Army divisions in the OB. Air Force officers uniformly know that strategic bombing won WW2 and seem uninterested in how their airfields came to be.

Thank you, sir, for your service and for your website.
Michael Smith

Hello Michael,
Please just call mne Mac, short for my christian name Mackenzie.
Thank you for your interesting message, I had joined the Royal Australian Naval College as a 13 year old Cadet Midshipman to sent almost 4 years there. In August of 1939 all the Cadets had paraded before going on leave, the Commander ordered Years 1, 2, and 3 to proceed on leave, Year 4 is going to sea as we are about to go to War.
Remember that leave is a privilige and not a right. Thus with my 11 other term mates. off I went to join the Fleet and on the 3rd. of September 1939, I was at war with Germany as a 17 year old, as was England, Canada, New Zealand and my country Australia, having joined our 8 inch cruiser HMAS Australia.

In the six years of war that ensued I was either at sea, or overseas in the United Kingdom doing my Sub Lieuitenant's courses.
At the Battle of Savo Island when it commenced on the 9th. of August in 1942 at 0143, I was the Officer of the Watch on HMAS Canberra's , of course we were sunk alongside our US Navy colleagues, US heavy cruisers, Quincy, Astoria, and Vincennes.
I then served in the cruisers Adelaide and Shropshire, to finish the war in her, and be in Tokyo Bay for the signing oif the Japanese surrender. What a wonderful morning that was on Sunday the 2nd. of September 1945.
Can you give me the URL of the Shropshire page you refer to in your message, about being data for an article, there is so much of my WW2 doings on AHOY.
I will send a reference to the story of Shropshire, a book by Stan Nicholls, which is totally on the web.
Also a letter by President Truman where he indicates about a film on dropping the atomic bombs in which the inference is the decision to drop them was a casual one.
The President says in no uncertain terms he took a conscious decision to go ahead with that project. I have been asked my reaction to the bombs, in Shropshire, if the war had not ended, our next operation was to be against the Japanese mainland. I could not have been happier when Truman took his courageous decision to end the war, save thousands of Allied lives by so doing , at the expense of Japanese lives at the two Bomb sites. I had then, and still hold the same view today, I was delighted to find I personally had survived 6 years of war at sea.
At last it was over, the Japanese had attacked the US without any provocation at Pearl Harbor on the 7th. of December 1941, and paid the price. Justifiable in my opinion.
When I resigned frtom the RAN for personal reasons in late 1954, I was a  Lieutenant Commander RAN as an Executive seaman Officer. 
Pardon my rambling on, but I would be delighted to carry on a correspondence with you Michael, should you so wish, ask any questions yuo wish.
Best regards, 

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