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Operation Downfall—The Planned Invasion of Japan A History Presentation and F7F Tigercat Flight Demonstration
September 3, 2022
Saturday, September 3
Museum Opens at 8am Presentation Starts at 9:30am
It was early 1945 and the United States had endured the war for more than three years. Germany had unconditionally surrendered and the United States and its allies had turned their combined attention and resources to end the war in the Pacific Theater against Imperial Japan. To force Japan into an unconditional surrender, U.S. military planners made preparations for a full invasion of the Japanese homeland. This enormous invasion would have dwarfed any other military operation in history, including the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944.
While the ultimate outcome of the invasion of Japan was nearly certain, it was clear that the victory would come at a tremendous cost. Predictions of overall American and Japanese casualties far exceeded any military operation to that date. Estimates ran as high as 500,000 Allied casualties and more than 1 million Japanese casualties.
On Saturday, September 3, the National Museum of World War II Aviation will present “Operation Downfall: The Planned Invasion of Japan.“ Museum docent Johnny Drury, an Air Force combat veteran, will discuss events leading up to the planned invasion, as well as details of the operation and the critical role that airpower would play in taking the Japanese homeland.
This event will highlight the Grumman F7F Tigercat, a new aircraft that was just coming on line as the invasion neared. The Tigercat was designed and produced late in the war to address the unique challengers of air operations in the Pacific Theater.
After the history presentation, there will be a walk-around and discussion of one of the museum’s Tigercats. Then weather permitting, the Tigercat will be taxied out and flown.
This event will take place on Saturday, September 3. Doors open at 8am and the presentation begins at 9:30am. There is no additional charge for this event—just the standard cost of admission to the museum or a museum membership. As always, there will be no charge for World War II veterans.