Operations MO MI AL

From the Washington Naval Treaty to the end of the Second World War.
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marcelo_malara
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Operations MO MI AL

Post by marcelo_malara » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:05 pm

Hi guys. I am curious about these names given by the Japanese to the operations of Port Moresby, Midway and Aleutians. They are found in every book. Question is, what were the originals names in Japanese language? Would they be so dumb as naming the ops with the first letters of the target...?

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wadinga
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Re: Operations MO MI AL

Post by wadinga » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:47 am

Hello Marcelo,

These names were merely pre-war outline contingency plans much like the US Rainbow codes, but were superceded by actual, less obvious, operational codenames once they became reality. It would have been unforgivably stupid to link the peacetime contingency name with the wartime target.

"RZP Campaign" was the operational codename for the Port Moresby campaign and this

https://stationhypo.com/2017/04/17/part ... -campaign/

gives the story of identifying the target from this uninformative codename. The trick in confirming "AF" as the codename for Midway by seeding the idea that freshwater was running short there and then looking for references for this in decoded Japanese transmissions is well known, even making it into the movies (Battle of Midway and Midway).

But then sometimes the unbelievably stupid actually happens. In Part 3 of the Midway story on the stationhypo site is this revelation:
One such key break-through occurred as early as January 18, 1942 — a mere month after Station HYPO had been given responsibility for breaking the operational code. Dyer and Wright had revealed enough of the code groups in three intercepts to allow for partial translation. Common to all three was one particular code group which Rochefort translated as “koryaku butai,” or, “assault landing force.” Preceding the code group was the letter “R.” Rochefort believed, and Nimitz’ intelligence officer agreed, that the “R’ was Rabaul. Based on his knowledge of the current disposition of Japan’s forces — courtesy of his traffic analysts and ship plotters — Rochefort deduced that Nagumo was going to head south from Truk, attack New Britain and occupy Rabaul.
So Duh? Yes sometimes the Japanese were that stupid, as were other every other nation, because in war everybody makes mistakes and the winner usually makes the fewest.

All the best

wadinga
"There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today!"

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marcelo_malara
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Re: Operations MO MI AL

Post by marcelo_malara » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:04 pm

Thanks Wadinga, very informative. Now I am thinking why the authors of all these books don´t use the wartime plan name...

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Operations MO MI AL

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:42 pm

The use of Roman letters, or Romanji, within the Japanese language date back to 16th century AD when Christian missionaries needed a way to cross translate scriptures. Of course if morse code is used, Romanji must be used instead of Japanese script.

There are three writing systems in Japanese over the last millennium and a half. They are used together, at the same time, even within the same sentence. The Hiragana and the Katakana are phonetic/syllabic alphabets. The Hiragana and the Katakana or the Kana convey how a word sounds. The Romanji gives the sounds of the Kana in a Roman letters or Roman phonics. It does not necessary have a relationship to the Roman letters in terms of meaning. The letters are probably just randomly picked and not given as an abbreviation. However, there may possibly be a more complex reason for the use of similar letters to English word objectives of the operation.

Japanese root words consist usually of two syllables. Often, a consonant followed by a vowel. Sometimes particles consist of a single syllable. Such are ga, wa, and mo. Mo as a particle is often a marker to an optional objective. Or depending on the context an equal but alternative option in terms of sequence. As now noun Mo can be construed as a secondary objective or as the first objective that sets up the primary objective which follows.

Mi is the word that describes most important, the meat, or the primary function of something.

There is no L sound in the Japanese language. (The use of L may indicate that they were just randomly picked letters for the code word in Romanji.) R is the closest phonic to L when speaking Japanese. AL may actually be AR. If AL means something it may be for the action verb are (RA). The verb always comes last in Japanese. Japanese follows a subject>object> verb sequence. Mo be a marker for the verb to an absent subject. Incomplete sentences are the rule in Japanese unless the context is not known. Japanese also uses postparticles instead of prepositions. The marker could give the verb a dual meaning to the verb meaning a diversion. Of course a correlation proves nothing.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Dave Saxton
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Re: Operations MO MI AL

Post by Dave Saxton » Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:57 pm

The third writing system in Japanese is the Kanji. Kanji is not phonetic, but uses symbols to convey a meaning. It can therefore convey a more complex meaning than just the sound of a word. The Kanji borrows its symbols from Chinese but they may or may not mean the same things in Japanese. A Kanji word will usually consist of two or more radicals grouped together into a block of symbols. Since Kanji, nor the kana, can not be transmitted using dots and dashes Roman letters may have been used to represent three different radicals of a Kanji word or phrase?

*That's actually four writing systems and they are used at will, interchangeably, and mixed together. Katakana looks sharp and so is often used for titles and slogans, as well as advertising, but its main purpose is delineate non native vocabulary in the Japanese written language. The Hiragana is used for native vocabulary. For example, if your given name is Japanese and you were born in Japan and of Japanese descent, you may write your name using Hiragana. If you were not born in Japan or are not of Japanese ancestry you should write your name using Katakana or Ramanji.
Entering a night sea battle is an awesome business.The enveloping darkness, hiding the enemy's.. seems a living thing, malignant and oppressive.Swishing water at the bow and stern mark an inexorable advance toward an unknown destiny.

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Re: Operations MO MI AL

Post by marcelo_malara » Sun Nov 01, 2020 11:39 pm

Thanks Dave, this is something I doubted too, not only the real names of the operations but if the places name´s were the same in Japanese and in English.

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