Why didn't the Japanese develop air defenses after the bombing of Tokyo?
Japan was a feudalistic agrarian state throughout WWII. They were massively outmatched technologically and economically. They had trouble feeding their population and taking care of the prisoners of war they captured(*), much less fight a war of attrition on the scale which WWII ended up becoming. They made a conscious decision to hold back significant reserves for the impending invasion of Japan's home islands and this included thousands of aircraft. Simple put in 1945, they didn't have the economic resources to both commit such large resources to their reserves and significantly improve their existing air defenses. see Operation Ketsugō
(*) Bruce Johnston's "Japanese Food Management during World War II."
Here are some production numbers.
Military Production during WWII
Tanks & SPGs Artillery Mortars Machine guns
Britain 47,862 226,113 239,540 1,090,410
United States 108,410 257,390 105,055 2,679,840
Empire of Japan 4,524 13,350 29,000 380,000
Fighters Bombers Total Aircraft
Britain 38,786 38,158 177,025
United States 99,465 96,872 295,959
Empire of Japan 33,405 11,943 64,484
Aircraft Battleships Cruisers
Britain 65 20
United States 124 23
Empire of Japan 18 2
@DevSolar Overall correct, and the numbers are nice, but there should be a caveat that Britain and the US did split their forces among theaters, while Japan fought only the one. (Doesn't change the fact though, Axis was outproduced right off the bat, which was part of how WWII came to be in the first place.)
That's true. The US fought the pacific war with only about 10% of it's industrial capacity. The majority of it's war materials went to fight in Europe. However in 1945 after the fire bombing of Tokyo war materials were definitely shifting to the pacific as the VE day in Europe was only two months away. Bombing of Tokyo was 9–10 March 1945 VE day was May 8, 1945. I read once that the US economy provided more than 2 tons support war materials (measurement tons per man table) for each of the 100,000 Marines who hit the beaches at IwoJima.. Contrasted by the Japanese economy which provided less than 50 lbs of support materials for each of the 20,000 Japanese defenders of that island. WWII for japan was a colossal mismatch even given it was a two front war for the US.
@LangLangC 65 carriers for The Navy? I know the angle used here, industrial capacity and planning ahead, emphasis, etc; but still. Seems you might have to qualify how many were built, just planned/started, and operational – LаngLаngС 14 mins ago
@LangLangC All of them were built. The UK had 65 operational Aircraft Carriers in 1945 see table on total strength and losses... Of coarse most of these were escort carriers and not Fleet Carriers.
If you want to talk Fleet Carriers the UK built 4 I think during the war. The United States built 36 Fleet Aircraft Carriers The Japanese did not build a single capital ship after Pearl Harbor. Not one capital ship of which construction was begun after Dec 7 1941, was deliver to the Japanese Navy during WWII.
from @MichaelB76 - Quite a few errors in your production tables I'm afraid. The total aircraft listed for Britain is less than the number of fighters and bombers.
Fixed that thank you.
from @MichaelB76 Also, the UK and US did not produce 20+ battleships, that was the total size our their fleets, mostly ships of WW1 vintage. I can't make any sense of the Naval forces table on Wikipedia, it's pretty mixed up. – MichaelB76
I just looked into the United States numbers. It appears the original source of 23 battleships is accurate broadly. With two caveats. (1) They include Battle Cruisers as Battleships, which the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 equated with battleships calling them both "capital ships".
Washington Naval Treaty, London Naval Treaty, and Second London Naval Treaty all equate Battle Cruisers and Battleships.
Washington Naval Treaty
- A ten-year pause or "holiday" of the construction of capital ships (battleships and battlecruisers), including the immediate suspension of all building of capital ships.
- Capital ships (battleships and battlecruisers) were limited to 35,000 tons standard displacement and guns of no larger than 16-inch calibre. (Articles V and VI)
(2) Second caveat and this is a big one, It doesn't distinguish between ships which were commissioned into service and ships which were ordered by congress but were never commissioned into service because production was canceled.
List of American "Battleships" who's production was awarded by congress
North Carolina Class
(1) USS North Carolina commissioned 9 April 1941
(2) USS Washington commissioned 15 May 1941
South Dakota Class
(3)USS South Dakota
(8)USS New Jersey
(11)USS Illinois (production cancelled)
(12)USS Kentucky Laid down March 1942, launched January 20, 1950, never commissioned
Montana Class ( All were cancelled before delivery )
(13)USS Montana, (production cancelled)
(14)USS Ohio (production cancelled)
(15)USS Maine (production cancelled)
(16)USS New Hampssure (production cancelled)
(17)USS Louisiana (production cancelled)
Alaska Class (Battle Cruiser)
(18) USS Alaska Commissioned June 1944
(19) USS Guam commissioned sept 1944
(20) USS Hawaii launched 3 November 1945, never commissioned
(21) USS Philiippines
(22) USS Puerto Rico
(23) USS Samoa
Alaska Class Cruiser
USS Philippines (CB-4), Puerto Rico (CB-5), and Samoa (CB-6) were planned as the fourth, fifth, and sixth ships of the class, respectively. All three ships were to be built at Camden, New Jersey, but they were cancelled before construction could begin.