Homeland Defence:
An American Tradition
Richard Poe
Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Homeland Defence.

I love that phrase.

It bespeaks a purity and innocence long absent from our war-making vocabulary. It evokes our forefathers who defended this land with steel, powder and muscle.

Like all bureaucracies, the newly created Office of Homeland Security may or may not prove salutary for America in the long run. But I like the name. And I applaud the new culture of "homeland defence" which gave rise to it.

Too many Americans are ignorant of our proud tradition of "homeland defence." Consider those pundits who insist that September 11 marked the first foreign attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

They are wrong. Pearl Harbor was but the first of many attacks on our homeland during World War II.

In June 1942, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands. For the geographically challenged, the Aleutians are part of Alaska.

The attack began on June 3 and 4, with air raids on Dutch Harbor killing 33 U.S. servicemen and 10 civilians. Japanese troops arriving with a task force of 2 aircraft carriers, 12 destroyers, 5 cruisers, 6 submarines, 4 troop transports and other vessels subsequently occupied the Aleutian islands of Kiska and Attu.

It took 14 months and 700 American lives to drive them off U.S. soil.

On Attu, the Japanese fought to the death. Only 28 surrendered, from a garrison of about 3,000.

The U.S. mainland also suffered Japanese attacks.

On February 23, 1942, a Japanese sub fired 13 shells at an oil refinery at Goleta, California, crippling one oil well. The same submarine later lobbed 17 shells at a naval base at Fort Stevens, Oregon, on JUne 22, 1942.

Japanese commanders also sought to ignite forest fires through incendiary bombing a strategy they believed would cause panic and mayhem behind U.S. lines.

A warplane launched from the submarine I-25 specially equipped with a watertight hangar on deck dropped incendiary bombs on Oregon, September 9 and 29, 1942, igniting forest fires.

Many more fires were started by unmanned balloon bombs, thousands of which were dispatched over U.S. territory by the Japanese.

A favorite media cliché these days holds that we are engaged in "a new kind of war," unique to the 21st century. Yet, Hitler used terrorism as readily as Osama bin Laden.

In June 1943, two teams of German saboteurs landed by U-boat at Amagansett, Long Island and Ponte Vedra, Florida. Their plans included blowing up New York City’s water system, Penn Station and Brooklyn Bridge, and terrorizing civilians by bombing movie theaters and department stores.

The saboteurs were caught and executed, except for two who ratted on their comrades in exchange for reduced sentences of 30 years and life imprisonment.

Following the terror attacks of two weeks ago, gun and ammunition sales have reportedly skyrocketed around the country, by 400 percent in some areas.

Media commentators paint the gun buyers as eccentrics, desperate to "do something," but lacking a constructive outlet for their patriotism. In fact, those gun buyers show a far better grasp of the "homeland defence" concept than their media critics.

The role of our citizens’ militia during the American Revolution is well-known. Yet few are aware that armed civilians also helped win World War II.

After Pearl Harbor, German U-boats infested our East Coast. From January to June 1942, 100 Allied ships were sunk and some 2,000 lives lost in U.S. coastal waters.

Crowds of New Jerseyites watched from shore as the torpedoed oil tanker R.P. Resor went up in flames. Long Islanders grew accustomed to the wreckage, oil slicks and corpses that washed regularly onto their beaches.

The U.S. counterattacked with Navy planes and destroyers. However, civilian volunteers also played an important role in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Amateur pilots organized the Civil Air Patrol, equipping their own private planes with bombs and depth charges.

Civilian mariners patrolled U-boat infested waters with fishing boats, sailboats and motor yachts, armed, in many cases, with nothing more than rifles and handguns. Officially named the Coastal Picket Patrol, this maritime militia was affectionately dubbed the "Hooligan's Navy."

Civilian volunteers mainly provided reconnaissance. But they also engaged the enemy in battle. The Civil Air Patrol claims to have sighted 173 U-boats, attacked 57 with bombs and depth charges, and sunk at least two.

Most readers are unfamiliar with these stories. That is a pity. We need the experience of past generations to guide and inspire us.

Singing, flag-waving and candle-lighting all have their place. But our forefathers understood that
"homeland defence" goes farther than that.

The Atlantic Ocean was a major strategic battle zone (Battle of the Atlantic) and when the Germany declared war on the US, the East Coast offered easy pickings for German U-Boats. In February to May, 1942, 348 ships were sunk, but no U-boat was lost until May. The US was reluctant to introduce the convoy system that had protected trans-Atlantic shipping and coastal shipping was often silhouetted against the bright lights of American towns and cities.

Several ships were torpedoed within sight of East Coast cities such as New York and Boston; indeed, some civilians sat on beaches and watched battles between U.S. and German ships.

Once convoys and air cover were introduced, sinking numbers were reduced and the U-boats shifted to attack shipping in the Gulf of Mexico, with 121 losses in June. In one instance, the tanker Virginia was torpedoed in the mouth of the Mississippi River by the German U-Boat U-507 on May 12, 1942, killing 26 crewmen. There were 14 survivors. Again, when defensive measures were introduced, ship sinkings decreased and U-boat sinkings increased.

The cumulative effect of this campaign was severe; a quarter of all wartime sinkings - 3.1 million tons. It rates as the worst defeat by the United States Navy.

Other sinkings took place in the St. Lawrence River. A significant attack took place on November 2 1942. U-518, under the command of Kapitänleutnant Wissman, attacked two ore carriers at Bell Island, Newfoundland. The attack began at 3:30 a.m. and the S.S. Rosecastle and P.L.M 27 were sunk with the loss of 69 lives. However, one of the most dramatic incidents of the attack occurred after the sinkings when the submarine fired a torpedo at the loading pier. Bell Island became the only location in North America to be subject to direct attack by German forces in World War II.

Attacks and Threats on the U.S. in WW2

Germany - Atomic Bomb

December 18, 1938 Otto Hahn splits the uranium atom, releasing energy. Although top officials were invited to an atomic weapons session, the agenda described the presentation as of a technical nature and lower level individuals were assigned to attend. Little interest developed. Heavy water was recognized as a requirement. The activities to destroy the only facilities in Europe at that time, in Norway, are well documented on the commando raid, February 28, 1943, the bombing raid, November 16, 1943, and the sabotage sinking of the ferry in January, 1944. However, Germany had pretty well given up on the bomb by mid-1943 although work continued at Haigerloch until the end.

German-planned Invasion of the United States

Before the winter of 1941, Germany appeared to be moving toward a swift victory over the Soviet Union. Alfred Rosenberg, Reich Kommisar for Eastern Affairs, was ordered to print the motto "Deutschland Welt Reich" (German World Empire) and Hitler made known his intention of further conquest following victory over Russia. These plans appeared to include an invasion of the United States.

In Autumn of 1940, the attack on the US was fixed for the long-term future. This appears in Luftwaffe documents, one of which dated Octiober 29, 1940 mentions the "...extraordinary interest of Mein Führer in the occupation of the Atlantic Islands. In line with this interest...with the cooperation of Spain is the seizure of Gibraltar and Spanish and Portuguese islands, along other operations in the North Atlantic".

In July 1941, the Führer ordered that planning an attack against the United States be continued. Five months later, on December 11, 1941 Germany declared war on the United States.


Japan - January 1943 -- Atomic Bomb

Dr Hideki Yukawa was awarded the Nobel Price in physics in 1949 for his extensive work with the atom begun in 1941.

An atomic bomb project was launched by Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in January, 1943. Former colonel Toranosuke Kawashina was in charge. Design considerations were promising. All chance of success was destroyed when a German submarine carrying two tons of uranium was surrendered as it approached Japan.

Although the allied atomic bomb was developed from a threat by Germany, it was not completed until after VE day. It was used to avoid the expected 500,000 to one million US casualties from the invasion of the Japanese main islands against an army of almost three million men. Kamikaze boats and planes were being stockpiled. In addition, the public was being issued weapons. Two to five million Japanese casualties were anticipated. It can be argued the atomic bomb saved Japanese civilian and military, as well as US lives. The sudden endertainly saved the lives of thousands of POWs and slave labourers scheduled for assassination upon invasion.

Atomic Bomb -- Allies

Many nations were engaged in atomic research. Radiation was discovered by the Curie's in France. Military uses were researched until the fall of France when their laboratories, directed by the son-in-law of Curie, transferred 410 pounds of Norwegian heavy water to the British team on June 16, 1940.

British calculations showed, in 1941, that a very small amount of the fissionable isotope, uranium 235, could produce an explosion equivalent to that of several thousand tons of TNT.

The key US conference was held January 26, 1939 with increased research approved by FDR after consulting with others, including Einstein. First research contracts were let in Nov 1940 with 15 more started within a year for work lead by the Universities of Columbia, Chicago and California. A feasible design was determined in June, 1942. A decision was made to transfer control to the Army. Col James Marshall Corp of Engineers, established the Manhattan Engineering District. Brigadier General Leslie Groves was assigned September 17, 1942 to start production on a bomb and all research had been transferred by May 1943.

The effort was aided by delivery of 1,140 tons of Belgium Congo uranium ore which had been shipped to Staten Island for safekeeping in October 1940. On December 2, 1942, a US team (Enrico Fermi) activated the first atomic pile in a Chicago stadium. FDR and Churchill agreed to a joint US-UK atomic accord which was established under Englishman, Chadwick, by the Quebec Conference, August 9, 1943.

Bomb production was centered in Los Alamos, NM (Oppenheimer) Oak Ridge, TN and Hanford, WA. The first atomic bomb was successfully tested July 16, 1945. An ultimatum was given to Japan that was timed to the first availability of a bomb on July 31. Japan did not respond to the ultimatum and the treat was delayed by weather until Aug 6 before it was delivered on Hiroshima. Although the atomic bomb was a powerful and efficient weapon, the 66,00 people killed was on the progression of the numbers killed by conventional weapons: London , Pearl Harbor (2,403, December 7, 1941, 384 planes) and on Cologne, Hamburg (40,000, July 1943, 1,500 planes) and Dresden (135,000, February 13-14, 1945, 1,200 allied planes) in Germany and those that increasingly descended on Tokyo, starting with 97,000 killed on March 9, 1945 from 334 B-29s, and rained on other industrial cities. [About 55,000,000 people died in WW2. The overlapping Sino-Japanese War may have taken 50,000,000 lives.]

A third bomb was being shipped from New Mexico, target Tokyo, when the war ended. Production was geared to seven per month with an expectation that 50 bombs would be required to assure that an invasion would not be required. Release of radiation from the untested Hiroshima bomb, designed as the original gun-type and made of uranium, was a surprise. The radiation range was expected to be within the blast radius, that is, a lethal dose of radiation would only kill those already dead from concussion. The Alamogordo bomb test and later production were of the more complicated plutonium, implosion device.

Japan did not surrender to the escalation in bombings alone. The condition of Japan in mid-1945 was hopeless. The war had ended in Europe. Allied divisions, air forces, and fleets were being transferred to the Pacific. US industry and shipping of material was now devoted to war with Japan. The islands were strangled; the fleet destroyed; the air force, the army and industry had been mauled. Yet Japan gave no indication it was to give up and had an army of over 2.5 million men, many recalled from China, and ten thousand suicide planes and boats held in reserve. The civilian population was being armed and a newly created armed militia numbering 25 million and taught how to use hand grenades. Teenaged girls were trained with sharpened poles to use as bayonets. The US troops' hopeful slogan was: The Golden Gate in `48.

Negotiations had taken place with Russia with whom Japan had a treaty throughout the war until this time. By agreement with the Allies in Europe, the USSR declared war on the Empire August 8 and Emperor Hirohito finally accepted "to bear the unbearable" on August 10. Japan capitulated on Aug 15. Dissident attacks continued on the following days on the US fleet off the Japanese coast and the AAF (August 18, B-32 photo reconnaissance flight of "Hobo Queen II", 1 killed) (August 22, Japanese antiaircraft batteries near Hong Kong fire upon navy patrol planes over China Coast.) until the formal surrender September 2, 1945. Conflict continued for months in the case of some guerrillas isolated in the island campaigns.

U.S. Possessions

Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941

That the Japanese would attack was well known to the US government by November 1941. Japan had a tradition of surprise attack. The US had correctly identified the Japanese targets of British Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. It was assumed there would also be a sneak attack on the Philippines in support of the Japanese occupancy of these and other areas of the western Pacific, also true. An air attack on Pearl Harbor was regularly considered in war games, but the audacity to attack 2000 miles across the North Pacific attack the USN fleet headquarters was not seriously considered. At Pearl Harbor, attention was focused on getting aid to our outlying islands and to the Philippines. After Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy had ten battleships and ten carriers. The US had in the Pacific: 3 damaged battleships, 3 sunken, and 2 unsalvageable (Arizona and Oklahoma) and three carriers, Lexington and Enterprise at Pearl Harbor and Saratoga on the west coast.  

The Pearl Harbor attack force returned to Hiroshima to rearm, December 23, 1941. The Japanese fleet was free to rampage, taking Pacific Islands, occupying the East Indies (Jan-March, 1942), raiding Ceylon and India (April 5-9, 1942) and Darwin, Australia (April 20, 1942).

They quickly annihilated the combined Dutch, British, Australian, and US surface ships in the western Pacific, starting with the sinking of the British presence, the battleship Price of Wales and battle cruiser Repulse, December 10, 1941 off Malaya and followed with successes in the battles off Java, February, 1942.  

The Japanese goals of conquest of the resources of Indochina and East Indies and Pacific islands for defence had been achieved within the first six months.

Success was so easy that the protective ring was expanded until blocked at the Battle of Coral Sea on May 7, 1942, with an exchange of aircraft carriers, and the Battle of Midway, June 5, 1942 with the Japanese fleet seriously damaged by the loss of four fleet carriers.   The ultimate Japanese war goal was to complete the conquest of China by capturing the resource rich East Indies islands, Malaya, Java, et al. The attacks on the US, India, and Australia were to weaken reprisals and establish an aural of invincibility. After attaining her goals of suzerainty of the Western Pacific, Japan planned to negotiate a peace from a position of strength over the intimidated Allies, already under pressure with a European conflict, while retaining her newly expanded Pacific empire and to return the Pacific invasion troops to continue with her war to control China.

French Frigate Shoals -- Hawaii

December 1941 and February 1942. Pearl Harbor was observed from submarine launched sea planes on at least three occasions.

Three Kawanishi H8K2 "Emily" long range, flying boats attempted to bomb Pearl Harbor on March 5, 1942. Weather was bad and they dumped their bombs west of Honolulu, Oahu. The flying boats flew from Wotje, Marshalls and refueled from submarines at French Frigate Shoals on the northwestern end of Hawaii. The seaplane tender Ballard (AVD-10), a converted destroyer, was sent to patrol the area until it was adequately mined.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 16,849 Americans of Japanese ancestry were relocated in ten specially built War Relocation Authority Camps in the USA. Most of these camps were located in California. Opened in March, 1942, all were closed by 1946 most internees being released well before the end of the war. In Latin America, around 2,000 Japanese were rounded up so the US would have prisoners to exchange with Japan. During their internment, 5,918 babies were born. A total of 2,355 internees joined the US armed forces and around 150 were killed in combat.

>The 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team was formed after its members petitioned Congress for the privilege to serve in the war. It became the most decorated unit in US military history earning 21 Medals of Honor as well as 9,486 Purple Hearts. After the war, 4,724 US citizens of Japanese ancestry, angered by this terrible injustice, renounced their American citizenship and returned to Japan.
It is strange that in Hawaii, the ethnic Japanese, over 30% of the Hawaiian population, were not interned after
Pearl Harbor.

Midway Island

Midway was shelled by two Japanese destroyers simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941. Bad weather saved Midway from being pounded by planes of the retiring Japanese strike fleet. 

Midway is the western most of the chain of volcanic islands that form the Hawaii chain. The largest Japanese fleet ever assembled, 11 BB, 8 CV, 100 ships, set out to attack the island in May, 1942. The intent was to draw the American fleet into combat where it would be mauled. From intercepted messages, the US fleet knew to wait in ambush and destroyed four Japanese aircraft carriers, with the loss of Yorktown. This battle changed the balance of sea power in the Pacific.


Guam, an American outpost in the Mariana Islands, was air raided on Dec 7 by bombers from Saipan. Guam's defensive force of 365-Marines was captured on Dec 10, 1942 by a force of 5,400 Japanese from neighbouring Saipan.

Guam was recaptured in the battle for the Marianas (Siapan, Tinian) from July 21 - Aug 8, 1944.

Wake Island

Wake Island is about half way between Hawaii and the Philippines. Bombing was simultaneous with Pearl Harbor A Pan Am Philippine Clipper landing in Hawaii during the air strike was rerouted to an alternate site. It immediately returned to Wake to take off the Pan Am personnel. A construction crew of 1,200, mostly youths from Idaho, could not be evacuated.

The initial invasion of Wake Island on Dec 11 was fought off by 447 US Marines. One Japanese destroyer was sunk with artillery fire and another sunk by a Marine Wildcat, along with damage to a cruiser, a transport, and two more destroyers. Two Japanese aircraft carriers and heavy cruisers were dispatched from the departing Pearl Harbor task force and the island was taken by 2,000 Imperial marines on Dec 23, 1941.

The construction crew was shipped to Japan. Five men were beheaded to assure good behaviour on the trip.

Wake Island was bypassed by later events and was not restored to US control until the end of the war.


The Japanese struck Dutch Harbor at the base of the Aleutian Islands on June 3, 1942, with planes from two carriers in support of an invasion and occupation of Attu (13 June), at the tip of the Aleutian chain, and Kiska (21 June) with 1,800 troops. Partially a diversion to cover the attack on Midway, partly geo-political, and only partly military. The capture of Alaskan islands forced the US to establish a northern defence.

Having broken the Japanese military codes, however, the U.S. knew it was a diversion and did not expend large amounts of effort defending the islands. Although most of the civilian population had been moved to camps on the Alaska Panhandle, some Americans were captured and taken to Japan as prisoners of war.

US troops retook Attu in furious fighting, May 11-30, 1943.

Thirty-four thousand US and Canadian troops landed to retake Kiska on Aug 15, but found the island had been evacuated.

Both sides had discovered that bad weather prevented further major attacks on the other's mainland from a northern route.

In response to the United States' success at the Battle of Midway, the invasion alert for San Francisco was canceled on June 8

Japanese Balloon Burn Bombs -- forest fires throughout the western United States

Taking advantage of the jet stream that circles the globe and crosses over both northern Japan and the northern United States, 9,000 balloons, each equipped with four incendiary and one anti-personnel bombs, were released to start forest fires and create terror in the western United States as far east as Michigan. Six people were killed in Oregon. The project was called Fugo (windship) and headed by Major General Sueki Kusaba. Considering the massive damage from natural fires in year 2000, this was a serious threat.

German Long Range Bomber -- New York City

The Ju 390 was a prototype high altitude, heavy bomber flown in 1944 from Bordeaux, occupied France, to New York City and returned. It was developed from the Ju 90 four engine bomber and the Ju 290. Larger than a B-29, the Ju 390 had six 1,700 hp engines and 181.6 ft wingspan. Germany had other priorities than to build a long range, strategic air force. However, a shock raid, such as Doolittle performed on Tokyo, could have happened to NYC.

Heinkel, He-177 “Griffin” with He-219A escort

One He177 was secretly being readied in Czechoslovakia to carry
the planned German Atomic bomb towards the war's end

The United States was in a unique position among all the powers involved in World War Two. For the last time in its history, it was able to undertake military operations on a global scale relatively free of the fear of enemy reprisal. Its cities and factories were beyond the reach of any known enemy bomber. Moreover, much of its industrial capacity was located in its interior, far from the northeastern Atlantic States or the Pacific coast. According to conventional wisdom that has been reiterated countless times in numerous standard histories of the war, there was absolutely nothing the United States had to fear from Nazi Germany with its "tactical mission-oriented Luftwaffe" or its puny navy. To this day, many Americans, even ones relatively familiar with the operational details of Word War Two, believe that Germany had no aircraft even capable of reaching the United States and returning to Europe, much less of carrying a heavy enough payload, or being available in sufficient numbers, to be of any military significance.

Did the Germans possess any strategic bombers or aircraft capable of reaching the North American continent with a significant payload, and returning to Europe?

Peenemünde was a hive of activity in its heyday, before a major RAF bombing raid in 1943, the biggest British mission of the war, destroyed large sections of the facility.

Rockets were tested there until 1945 and fired at Britain from launch pads on the French coast.

Researchers have found evidence that tests were carried out to fire rockets from submarines,

while a chilling speech by the camp commandant, Walter Dornberger, shows where the rockets were headed next.

"The crowning of our work will be the American machine, a two-stage rocket which will cover the distance between Germany and the United States in around 30 minutes,"' Dornberger wrote in a speech for a visit by SS chief Heinrich Himmler.

Allied intelligence knew that the Germans were working on a "New York Rocket." At least twenty of these large rockets were built at the SS underground base at Nordhausen. What happened to them is one of the enduring mysteries of World War II.

Japanese land based long-range bombers

The Japanese Navy ordered the construction of Nakajima G10N1 "Fugaku" (Mount Fuji), an ultra-long range heavy bomber, for bombing the United States mainland. The bomb-load capability of the bomber was 20,000 kg for short-range sorties; 5,000 kg for sorties against targets in the U.S. Another similar project with a similar purpose was the four engined bomber Nakajima G8N "Renzan" Rita.

The Japanese Army ordered the design of Tachikawa Ki- 74 "Patsy", an ultra long-range reconnaissance bomber originally designed to be used against Soviets in Siberian lands. Later, it was ordered for development for bombing missions against the United States. The bomb charge was 500Kg-1,000Kg. This bomber was also known as the "Japanese Siberian Bomber".

Kinoaki Matsuo, a high-ranking officer of the Black Dragon Society, wrote the Book The Three Power Alliance And The United States-Japanese War, which is purported to detail the Japanese war plans for the simultaneous invasions of the Panama Canal Zone, Alaska, California and Washington.

Fascist Italy planned to damage dock facilities and sink ships moored in New York Harbor using Maiale Midget submarines. In 1943 preparations were well underway to deploy these weapons against the United States.

The Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force), working in conjunction with the Regia Marina (Italian Navy), prepared two long-range Cantieri Zappata CANT Z.511 flying boats for the operation. The CANT Z.511 was powered by four 1,500 hp Piaggio P.XII RC 35 radial engines giving it a maximum range of 2,796 miles. This seaplane also had extremely good stability in waters with up to 7-foot waves. It could carry two or four Maiales.

The operation was to commence as follows: CANTs flying the Atlantic would fly low under enemy radar to a point from which the midget submarines could be launched. The crews of the submarines were special volunteers, who after completing their mission, were authorized to surrender. No plans were made for returning them to the seaplanes.

By May 1943 cooperation with supply U-boats was obtained. The CANTs had been successfully tested with Maiales man-guided torpedos and special volunteers for one-way missions. The raid was scheduled to take place under ideal weather conditions in mid-June of the same year. However, only three weeks before, both the seaplanes and their specially fitted launch racks were partially damaged by British fighters when the CANT's base in Lake Trasimento was strafed. The following July Marschal Pietro Badoglio declared an Italian armistice and the project was abandoned. The planned attack against New York might have scored a success paralleling the Italian attack in Alexandria Bay, Egypt during the Axis Powers' North African campaign.

Japanese heavy seaplane bombing raids

Vice Admiral Kazume Kinsei, a former UCLA student and the brother of a famous Japanese aero engine designer, ordered the construction of the Kawanishi H8K "Emily" Flying Boat. These seaplanes had an operational range of 4,443 miles, were equiped with four 1,850 hp 14-cylinder engines, had a top speed of 289 mph, and could climb to 27,740 feet. Using the 92-foot long and 124-foot wingspan seaplanes, Kinsei drew up plans for a concentrated air attack on the American mainland, to be launched from Wojte Atoll (Marshall Islands, South Pacific Mandate) about 2,300 miles west of Pearl Harbor. When asked about why he was interested in the seaplanes, Kinsei responded "To bomb America!"

He wanted six of the flying boats, equipped with 26,445 pounds of high explosives, to rendezvous with three submarine tankers 50 miles off the southern coast of California. Once refueled, they would take off at dawn to fly to downtown Los Angeles and drop their bombs. Then the seaplanes would fly 4,000 miles west to a second refueling from I-Boats near Japanese-controlled waters.

The plan was evaluated by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. A trial operation against the Hawaiian Islands using a trio of H8Ks caused no significant damage and their bombs only fell in uninhabited areas.

Kinsei persisted in his idea. He envisioned a rendezvous of the H8Ks with I-Boats off the Baja California peninsula, south of southern California, from where they could take off and bomb Texas oilfields and then fly to the Gulf of Mexico. They were to operate in conjunction with German U-Boat tankers. This Axis Powers cooperation was planned for air raids up and down the North American eastern seaboard, with special "Propaganda Raids" on Boston, New York and Washington D.C.. The plan was approved by the Japanese naval high command and German U-boat Chief Admiral Karl Dönitz, who authorized the use of the first pair of "Milch Kuh" (Milk Cow) German U-boat tankers for the operation. Vice Admiral Kinsei ordered the manufacture of 30 H8Ks from the Kawanishi Company for completion in September 1942.

However, by the autumn of 1942 Japan's defensive posture compelled their navy's high command to confine all long-range aircraft to more conventional missions nearby in the South Pacific.

Japanese Submarines

Dec. 7, 1941. On its way to the US west coast, I-26 tracks a US freighter. Precisely at 8:00 a.m., Dec 7, Pearl Harbor time, she surfaces and sinks Cynthia Olson with gunfire.
Dec. 15, 1941. Japanese submarine shelled Kahului, Maui, Hawaii.
Dec 20. Unarmed US tanker sunk by Japanese submarine I-17 off Cape Mendocino, California. 31 survivors rescued by Coast Guard from Blunt's Reef Lightship.
Dec 20. Unarmed US tanker shelled by Japanese submarine I-23 of the coast of CaliforniaDec 22. Unarmed U.S. tanker sunk by Japanese submarine I-21 about four miles south of Piedras Blancas light, California, I-21 machine-guns the lifeboats, but inflicts no casualties. I-21 later shells unarmed U.S. tanker Idaho near the same location.
Dec 23. Japanese submarine I-17 shells unarmed tanker southwest of Cape Mendocino, California.
Dec 27. Unarmed US tanker shelled by Japanese submarine I-23 10 miles from mouth of Columbia River.
Dec 30. Submarine I-1 shells, Hilo, Hawaii.
Dec 31. Submarines shell Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii.
23 Feb 1942 The first Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland occurs when an I-17 submarine fires 13 shells at the Ellwood oil production facilities at Goleta, near Santa Barbara, California. Although only a catwalk and pumphouse were damaged, I-17 captain Nishino Kozo radioed Tokyo that he had left Santa Barbara in flames. No casualties were reported and the total cost of the damage was estimated at approximately $500.
It was not clear why this target was chosen until much later, when it was found that the commander of this particular submarine had visited the site in the 1930s and stumbled into a field of prickly pear cactus. Captain Nishino never forgave the ridicule he received from his American hosts that day.
June 20. The radio station on Estevan Point, Vancouver Island was fired on by a Japanese submarine I-26.
June 21. I-25 shells Fort Stevens, Oregon.
Sept 9. Phosphorus bombs were dropped on Mt. Emily, ten miles northeast of Brookings, Oregon, to start forest fires. It was a Yokosuka E14Y1 "Glen" reconnaissance seaplane piloted by Lt. Nubuo Fujita who had been catapulted from submarine I-25.
Sep 29. Phosphorus bombings were repeated on the southern coast of Oregon.

Japanese submarines were generally assigned as screening forces ahead of fleet movements. The US had more submarines assigned to individual action where they methodically destroyed 1,314 ships of the Japanese merchant marine fleet, isolating that island nation. However, the giant I-400 class of submarine seaplane carrier was capable of attacking San Francisco or New York, but targeted the Panama Canal before diverted as the war ended.

German Submarines -- US Coastal waters

Jan 13, 1942. U-boats commenced Operation Paukenschlag (roll of the kettledrums) on the east coast of America, sinking 87 ships of 150,000 tons between Jan and July 1942. U-boats would cruise off shore of coastal tourist towns that did not turn off their lights and target ships that became silhouetted against the coast.
Feb 28. Destroyer Jacob Jones (DD-130) struck by torpedo off NJ by U-578. There were eleven survivors.
April 5,. U552, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp, sealed the fate of the British tanker MV British Splendour east of Cape Hatteras. The U-boat was part of the fourth wave of boats of Operation Paukenschlag, she returned to Saint Nazaire April 27, 1942 having sunk seven ships during the patrol.
Apr 26. Destroyer Sturtevant (DD-240) is sunk by mine off Marquesas Key, Florida.
May 14. Submarine U-213 mines the waters off St. John's, Newfoundland.
June 11. U-87 mines the waters off Boston.
June 11. U-373 mines the waters off Delaware Bay.
June 12. U-701 mines the waters off Cape Henry, VA.
July 27. U-166 completes mining the waters off the Mississippi River Passes.
July 30. U-166 sinks Robert E. Lee and is in turn sunk by escorting PC-566 scoring the first Coast Guard kill of an enemy submarine. Until June 2001 U-166 was thought to have been sunk two days later by a Coast Guard J4F Widgeon.
July 31. U-751 lays mines off Charleston, S.C.
Aug 8. U-98 lays mines off Jacksonville, Fla.
Aug 9. U-98 lays mines off the mouth of St. Johns River, east of Jacksonville.
Sep 10. U-69 lays mines at mouth of Chesapeake Bay.
Sep 18. U-455 lays mines off Charleston, S.C.
Nov 10. U-608 lays mines off New York City, east of Ambrose Light.
July 23, 1943. U-613, en route to mine the waters off Jacksonville, Florida, sunk by George E. Badger (DD-196) south of Azores.
July 30. U-230 lays mines off entrance to Chesapeake Bay.
Sep 11. U-107 lays mines off Charleston, South Carolina.

German Submarines -- Caribbean

Feb 16, 1942. Operation Neuland begins. U-156 shelled oil installations on Aruba and sank three tankers.
Dozens more followed.
Apr 19. U-130 shells oil installations at Curacao, N.W.I.
Sept 9. U-214 lays mines off Colon, Canal Zone, the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal

U-133's mission to destroy the Hoover Dam

According to an article from 1996 U-133's last mission was to travel up the Colorado River from Baja California and destroy the Hoover Dam. The article is from the USS Shaw's newsletter. The article states that U-133, piloted by Captain Peter Pfau along with 54 sailors made it to as far as Laughlin, Nevada before sandbars made them abort their mission and scuttle the sub.

This is only a story, U-133 would never have made it that far (see map showing its approximate path from St. Nazaire, a suitable base, to the target) as its fuel supply would never have allowed this (not even close, the type VIIC could make it to the US east coast by filling up part of its water tanks with fuel but even then it was stretching it). There was also no U-boat commander named Pfau.

Had such an unusual and daring raid been attempted during the war, people would talk and we would know about it by now.

 Japanese Espionage

The US broke the Japanese diplomatic code in 1932 and could read many, but not all, secret embassy and consulate messages. Through 1940, only Japanese military attaches were charged with gathering military intelligence, mostly accumulating publicly available information. With a directive on 20 January 1941, Tokyo charged the Cultural attaches to change from "enlightenment" (propaganda) and to begin using their contacts for civilian spying and to establish intelligence gathering networks to survive even after a break in diplomatic relations. This decrypted report is indicative.

9 May 1941 Nakauchi (Los Angeles) to Gaimudaijin (Tokyo) Message #067


We have already established contact with absolutely reliable Japanese in the San Pedro and San Diego area, who keep a close watch on all shipments of airplanes and other war materials, and report the amounts and destinations of such shipments. The same steps have been taken with regard to traffic across the U.S.-Mexico border.

We shall maintain connection with our second generations who are at present in the (U.S.) Army, to keep us informed of various developments in the Army. We also have connections with our second generations working in airplane plants for intelligence purposes.

A budget of $500,000 was established for 1941 -- $10,000,000 in today's money.

Hawaii. The US did not close the Japanese consulates as was done with the German and Italians. Spies and agent handlers were free to continue under diplomatic immunity to photograph and report naval and air force placement and both military and cargo movements. Military intelligence officers were sent in civilian attire on passenger liners to assure the needed information was gathered correctly. A Japanese pilot whose Zero fighter was shot down at Pearl Harbor was aided and armed by an enemy alien; both were killed while taking hostages.

California. We were losing the war, which lead to great fear of anti-US activity by enemy aliens. Atrocities against English in Hong Kong and Singapore were well known. The sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and new reports of mass murders of white people in the western Pacific seemed to confirm the correctness of that opinion. There were the usual scares: a falling star reported as a signal flare; a strange pattern found in a field reported as a possible targeting signal; a report of a surfaced submarine is later reported to have flown away.

Decoded "diplomatic information" about the spy network was available at the highest levels of Washington and, no doubt, contributed to the decision to relocation enemy aliens away from the west coast war zone.

German Espionage

June 28, 1941

Merchant ship, N J. harbor.

The Normandie renamed Lafayette (AP-53) burns in NY pier and capsizes at her berth

Operation Pegasus:

On June 12, 1942, the U-584 Innsbruck offloaded four men at Amagansett, Long Island, New York, each with equipped with a chest of detonators and explosives suitable for a year of operations.. A Coast Guardsman spotted them, and told his superiors. They planned to blow up hydroelectric dams, canal locks, and a railway station, among other locations. This operation would be foiled when a saboteur named George Dasch confessed the operation to the FBI for reasons unknown.

Four other operatives were dropped off at in Pointe Vedra Beach, south of Jacksonville, Florida from U-202. on June 17, 1942. The Florida group made their way to Cincinnati and split up, with two going to Chicago and the others to New York. However, the Dasch confession led to the arrest of all four.

Six of the eight men were executed later; the others served prison time and were repatriated after the war.

Following the failure of this mission, no more raids on America were ordered by the Nazi leadership.

Enemy Aliens

When war was declared after the attack on Pearl Harbor, no battle fleet existed, the USAAF had few fighter aircraft assigned to the whole west coast, even fewer anti-aircraft batteries, and the area was in a panic. The Japanese intent was to cause diversion of defensive activity to the US coast, thereby taking away from military efforts in the Pacific. It worked better than expected. When combined with reports of murdered civilians in the western Pacific, the stage was set for a massive relocation of the enemy citizens (Iissei) and their children (nisei) from a war zone within the United States. Note: Children (nisei) obviously relocated with their parents who were enemy aliens in a war zone -- it is disingenuous to imply that Americans of Japanese ancestry were targeted for relocation.

With the Pacific coast considered a battle zone, the voluntary relocation of Japanese from coastal areas was sought on 27 February 1942. Eight thousand had relocated by 27 March when all remaining Japanese citizens on the coast defence zone were given 48 hours to report for relocation to the interior. 120,000 people were send to former CCC camps run by the War Relocation Authority. Camps established under emergency conditions sometimes had limited facilities until the permanent camps could be completed. Camp members were paid token wages of $12 as labourers and $19/month for professionals. Resettlement to communities that would accept Japanese was started when the fear of invasion had eased in 1943; 55,000 had been resettled by war end. Iowans of German ancestry were interrogated monthly.

About 4,000 enemy citizens were "interred" as security risks by the Department of Justice; 50% Japanese, 40% German, 10% Italian. As different from relocation.

By the time the US entered WW2, the war had been going on for over two years in Europe, four years in Africa, and ten years in China.