Buckner hoped to envelop Shuri and trap the main Japanese defending force. [31] It was planned that General Buckner would report to Turner until the amphibious phase was completed, after which he would report directly to Spruance. About 95,000 killed. Seizure of the castle represented both strategic and psychological blows for the Japanese and was a milestone in the campaign. The Japanese defenses were sited on reverse slopes, where the defenders waited out the artillery barrage and aerial attack in relative safety, emerging from the caves to rain mortar rounds and grenades upon the Americans advancing up the forward slope. The 4,000 Japanese sailors, including Admiral Minoru Ōta, all committed suicide within the hand-built tunnels of the underground naval headquarters on June 13. Why Did Beaufort and York’s Rivalry Lead to the Wars of the Roses? At sea, 368 Allied ships—including 120 amphibious craft—were damaged while another 36—including 15 amphibious ships and 12 destroyers—were sunk during the Okinawa campaign. The Air Force lost 763 planes. The island of Okinawa … [69] American Military Intelligence Corps[70] combat translators such as Teruto Tsubota managed to convince many civilians not to kill themselves. The super battleship Yamato explodes after persistent attacks from US aircraft. The Japanese death toll was over 100,000 and over 7,000 were taken as prisoners. For their part, by April 30, the Japanese had lost more than 1,100 planes to Allied naval forces alone. Americans always had great compassion, especially for children. The land battle took place over about 81 days beginning on April 1, 1945. [10] The several thousand personnel who died indirectly (from wounds and other causes) at a later date are not included in the total. Claudius Miller Easley, a Brigadier General, died during the battle, on June 19, 1945. Nevertheless, when facing capture, Japanese soldiers often still favoured suicide. "[62], With the impending Japanese defeat, civilians often committed mass suicide, urged on by the Japanese soldiers who told locals that victorious American soldiers would go on a rampage of killing and raping. [76], There is ongoing disagreement between Okinawa's local government and Japan's national government over the role of the Japanese military in civilian mass suicides during the battle. He was shot in the head and killed. The Americans suffered 14,000 dead and 50,000 wounded in the Battle of Okinawa, more than in the Battle of the Bulge in Europe, the largest American battle in history. Okinawa also witnessed heavy civilian casualties, perhaps in excess of 100,000. We had the Battle of Okinawa, in which the exact opposite happened. Medal of Honor recipients from Okinawa are: The US military estimates that 110,071 Japanese soldiers were killed during the battle. Even students, some as young as 14, were mobilised. Summary: The battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg, took place in April-June 1945. [72], Witnesses and historians claim that soldiers, mainly Japanese troops, raped Okinawan women during the battle. To support his offensive, the Japanese artillery moved into the open. Some of the other islands that saw major battles in World War II, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or had been evacuated. Of the U.S. land forces over 7,000 were killed and over 32,000 were wounded. As of June 2008, it contains 240,734 names. Colonel Yahara had asked Ushijima for permission to commit suicide, but the general refused his request, saying: "If you die there will be no one left who knows the truth about the battle of Okinawa. After fierce close combat, the attackers retreated, only to repeat their offensive the following night. Rising 476 ft (145 m) above the Yonabaru coastal plain, this feature was the eastern anchor of the main Japanese defenses and was defended by about 1,000 Japanese. The capture of these two key positions exposed the Japanese around Shuri on both sides. He was the highest-ranking US officer to be killed by enemy fire during the Second World War. Del Valle was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership in the fight and the subsequent occupation and reorganization of Okinawa. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with more than 82,000 direct casualties on both sides: 14,009 Allied deaths (over 12,500 Americans killed or missing) and 77,166 Japanese soldiers, excluding those who died from their injuries later. The Japanese lost 16 combat vessels, including the super battleship Yamato. Estimated 42,000–150,000 civilians killed. The 27th Infantry Division—which had landed on April 9—took over on the right, along the west coast of Okinawa. The Japanese sent Okinawans at gunpoint out to obtain water and supplies for them, which led to civilian casualties. It lasted from April – June 1945. At the end of April, after Army forces had pushed through the Machinato defensive line,[44] the 1st Marine Division relieved the 27th Infantry Division, and the 77th Infantry Division relieved the 96th. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with approximately 160,000 casualties on both sides: at least 50,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese,[27][28] including drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms. The US cleared the surrounding waters of mines in Operation Zebra, occupied Okinawa, and set up the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, a form of military government, after the battle. Even with the female students acting mainly as nurses to Japanese soldiers they would still be exposed to the harsh conditions of war. [71] Survivors of the mass suicides blamed also the indoctrination of their education system of the time, in which the Okinawans were taught to become "more Japanese than the Japanese", and were expected to prove it. The Japanese had prepared their positions well and fought tenaciously. The Japanese land campaign (mainly defensive) was conducted by the 67,000-strong (77,000 according to some sources) regular 32nd Army and some 9,000 Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) troops at Oroku Naval Base (only a few hundred of whom had been trained and equipped for ground combat), supported by 39,000 drafted local Ryukyuan people (including 24,000 hastily drafted rear militia called Boeitai and 15,000 non-uniformed laborers). By doing so, they were able to fire 13,000 rounds in support, but effective American counter-battery fire destroyed dozens of Japanese artillery pieces. It was a terrible thing not to distinguish between the enemy and women and children. The ruthless atrocities by the Japanese throughout the war had already brought on an altered behavior (deemed so by traditional standards) by many Americans resulting in the desecration of Japanese remains, but the Japanese tactic of using the Okinawan people as human shields brought about a new aspect of terror and torment to the psychological capacity of the Americans.[17]. Ushijima based his forces in the hilly southern region of the island, in a heavily fortified system of caves, tunnels, bunkers and trenches. The Battle of Okinawa (codenamed Operation Iceberg) proved to be the deadliest battle on the Pacific side of World War II. HMS Formidable on fire after a kamikaze attack on May 4. We watched each plunging, Civilian losses, suicides, and atrocities. The staff calculated that superior quality and numbers of weapons gave each US division five or six times the firepower of a Japanese division. The force withdrew to San Pedro Bay on April 23. Japanese air opposition had been relatively light during the first few days after the landings. On March 31, Marines of the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion landed without opposition on Keise Shima, four islets just 8 mi (13 km) west of the Okinawan capital of Naha. 8 Simple Ways to Start Discovering Your Family History, The 6 Kings and Queens of the Stuart Dynasty In Order. The Imperial Japanese Navy lost some 3,700 sailors, including Admiral Itō, at the cost of 10 US aircraft and 12 airmen. [49] Ushijima and Chō committed suicide by seppuku in their command headquarters on Hill 89 in the closing hours of the battle. That dark history is still present today – and Japan and the US should study it before they decide what to do with next. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were planning to use Kadena Air Base on the large island of Okinawa as a base for Operation Downfall, the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, 340 mi (550 km) away. Until April 20, British Task Force 57, with 4 large and 6 escort carriers, remained off the Sakishima Islands to protect the southern flank.[37]. [85], In 2012, Korean-Japanese director Pak Su-nam announced her work on the documentary Nuchigafu (Okinawan for "only if one is alive") collecting living survivors' accounts to show "the truth of history to many people", alleging that "there were two types of orders for 'honorable deaths'—one for residents to kill each other and the other for the military to kill all residents". There was heavy fighting before the area was declared secured on April 21, and became another air base for operations against Japan. The official surrender ceremony was held on September 7, near Kadena airfield. "Press rewind: Trump, Tokyo and a welcome back to the 1980s", "Okinawa marks 68th anniversary of bloody WWII battle", "In Okinawa, Talk of Break From Japan Turns Serious", Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945, "The Amphibians Came to Conquer: The Story of Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner", "footage from the National Archives.By Sgt. [99], Significant US forces remain garrisoned on Okinawa as the United States Forces Japan, which the Japanese government sees as an important guarantee of regional stability,[100] and Kadena remains the largest US air base in Asia. The 10th Army swept across the south-central part of the island with relative ease, capturing the Kadena and the Yomitan airbases within hours of the landing. [80] The ministry's Textbook Authorization Council allowed the publishers to reinstate the reference that civilians "were forced into mass suicides by the Japanese military", on condition it is placed in sufficient context. Battle of Okinawa; Battle of Okinawa. Following the practice of changing the fleet designation with the change of commanders, US naval forces began the campaign as the US 5th Fleet under Admiral Raymond Spruance, but ended it as the 3rd Fleet under Admiral William Halsey. The Battle of Okinawa is a stunning account of the last major campaign of World War II and the largest land-sea-air engagement in history. In training for battle, Desmond told his commanding officer, Captain Glover, that he will not touch a rifle, however, he still wants to be a soldier. [39][clarification needed], The ships lost were smaller vessels, particularly the destroyers of the radar pickets, as well as destroyer escorts and landing ships. The British Pacific Fleet, taking part as Task Force 57, was assigned the task of neutralizing the Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Islands, which it did successfully from March 26 to April 10. They expected the Americans to land 6–10 divisions against the Japanese garrison of two and a half divisions. By June 17, the remnants of Ushijima's shattered 32nd Army were pushed into a small pocket in the far south of the island to the southeast of Itoman. In addition, there were 9,000 IJN troops supported by 1,100 militia, with approximately 4,000 holed up at the underground headquarters on the hillside overlooking the Okinawa Naval Base in the Oroku Peninsula, east of the airfield. But most notable of all were the suicides.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'historyhit_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_1',144,'0','0'])); Japanese propaganda painted American soldiers as inhuman and warned that captive civilians would be subjected to rape and torture. Troops lived on a field sodden by rain, part garbage dump and part graveyard. By the night of April 8, American troops had cleared these and several other strongly fortified positions. [55][56][57] 40,000 of the Okinawan civilians killed had been drafted or impressed by the Japanese army and are often counted as combat deaths. On May 1, the British Pacific Fleet returned to action, subduing the airfields as before, this time with naval bombardment as well as aircraft. "[50] Yahara was the most senior officer to have survived the battle on the island, and he later authored a book titled The Battle for Okinawa. The 98-day battle lasted from March 26th until July 2nd, 1945. About 14,000 Japanese soldiers surrendered during the Battle for Okinawa, but almost all were Okinawan or Japanese mainland civilians drafted just before the battle. Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000: Okinawa G8 Summit Host Preparation Council, 2000. Four days from the closing of the campaign, Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire, which blew lethal slivers of coral into his body, while inspecting his troops at the front line. More than one US commander died during the bloody Battle of Okinawa. This total includes conscripted Okinawan civilians. 1 and about 5 mi (8 km) northwest of Shuri, from what came to be known as Cactus Ridge. Japanese high school girls wave farewell to a kamikaze pilot departing to Okinawa, A US military diagram of typical Japanese hill defensive tunnels and installations, A Japanese Type 89 150mm gun hidden inside a cave defensive system, On Okinawa, middle school boys were organized into front-line-service Tekketsu Kinnōtai, while Himeyuri students were organized into a nursing unit.[34]. S. Nichols, Jr., USMC and Henry I. Shaw, Jr", "The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa (Assault on Shuri)", "Battle of Okinawa: The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War", "The Cornerstone of Peace – names to be inscribed", "Okinawa marks 62nd anniversary of WWII battle", "Ernie Pyle, trail-blazing war correspondent—Brought home the tragedy of D-Day and the rest of WWII", United States Army Center of Military History, "Japan's Battle of Okinawa, April–June 1945", "The Basic Concept of the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum", "1945 suicide order still a trauma on Okinawa", "Japan's Textbooks Reflect Revised History", "EDITORIAL – Cornerstone of Peace: A Legacy of Bloodshed", "Military Intelligence Service Research Center: Okinawa", Defiant soldier saved lives of hundreds of civilians during Okinawa battle, "Pressure to prove loyalty paved way for mass suicides in Battle of Okinawa – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun", "3 Dead Marines and a Secret of Wartime Okinawa", "JAPAN Okinawa against Tokyo's attempts to rewrite history – Asia News", "110,000 protest history text revision order", Japan to amend textbook accounts of Okinawa suicides, Texts reinstate army's role in mass suicides: Okinawa prevails in history row, Oe testifies military behind Okinawa mass suicides, Director humanizes tragedy of Okinawan mass suicides, New high school texts say Japanese Imperial Army ordered WWII Okinawa suicides, "Second battle of Okinawa looms as China's naval ambition grows". Who Invented Chess and When Did it Start Being Played? The Japanese Surrender The Japanese lost 16 ships and over 4,000 aircraft. [43] In light of the weak opposition, General Buckner decided to proceed immediately with Phase II of his plan—the seizure of northern Okinawa. A final assault on April 14 was again repulsed. Ninety percent of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures, and the tropical landscape was turned into "a vast field of mud, lead, decay and maggots". By 1945, Japanese airpower was incapable of mounting any serious challenge one-on-one against their American counterparts. Although flame tanks cleared many cave defenses, there was no breakthrough, and the XXIV Corps suffered 720 casualties. March 26th marked the first landing on the Kerama Islands around Okinawa in the Ryukus by the 77th Division. The day after Buckner was killed, Brigadier General Easley was killed by Japanese machine gun fire. [22][23] The Kerama Islands surrounding Okinawa were preemptively captured on March 26th, (L-6) by the 77th Infantry Division. It became common for them to shoot at Okinawan houses, as one infantryman wrote: There was some return fire from a few of the houses, but the others were probably occupied by civilians – and we didn't care. Locals were also pressed into service by the Japanese; used as human shields or suicide attackers. Japan surrendered in August 1945, after being bombed twice with atomic weapons . This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 04:25. Some islands that saw major battles, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or previously evacuated. The US Navy's dead exceeded its wounded, with 4,907 killed and 4,874 wounded, primarily from kamikaze attacks.[59]. Killed in action were 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel. The Japanese military also confiscated food from the Okinawans and executed those who hid it, leading to mass starvation, and forced civilians out of their shelters. The Battle of Okinawa saw heavy casualties on both sides and was a victory for the U.S. forces. In the naval operations surrounding the battle, both sides lost considerable numbers of ships and aircraft, including the Japanese battleship Yamato. Okinawans suffered greatly during the battle, and Okinawa Prefecture estimates that 94,000 civilians were killed during the nearly three months of fighting. Okinawa was the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War. Superbly researched and extraordinarily detailed, this masterpiece of military history is told at the level of the participants themselves, soldiers … Battle of Big Mill Springs, Civil War Casualties Battle of Fallen Timbers Casualties Battle of Lake Eire, 1813, Casualties Battle of Wilson's Creek, Civil War ... OIF Iraq Casualties By Name 08-05-2006 Okinawa WW2 Casualties and Wounded Operation Enduring Freedom, Casualties Operation Hastings, Vietnam US, Casualties Rhodes", "Argentine Admitted To World Parley, 1945/05/03 (1945)", "Final Days of Struggle in Okinawa, 1945/07/05 (1945)", New Zealand account with reference to Operation Iceberg, A photographic record of aircraft carrier HMS, Oral history interview with Mike Busha, a member of the 6th Marine Division during the Battle of Okinawa, Oral history interview with Albert D'Amico, a Navy Veteran who was aboard LST 278 during the landing at Okinawa, Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, Rape during the Soviet occupation of Poland, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Okinawa&oldid=994524828, Battles of World War II involving New Zealand, Battles of World War II involving Australia, Naval battles of World War II involving Canada, Battles of World War II involving the United States, United States Armed Forces in Okinawa Prefecture, United States Marine Corps in World War II, World War II operations and battles of the Pacific theatre, Naval battles and operations of World War II involving the United Kingdom, Amphibious operations involving the United States, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from June 2012, Articles needing additional references from December 2016, All articles needing additional references, Articles needing additional references from November 2019, All Wikipedia articles needing words, phrases or quotes attributed, Wikipedia articles needing words, phrases or quotes attributed from July 2017, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from June 2016, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the United States Army Center of Military History, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 40,000–150,000 civilians killed, committed suicide, or went missing out of an est. [65] Thousands of civilians, having been induced by Japanese propaganda to believe that American soldiers were barbarians who committed horrible atrocities, killed their families and themselves to avoid capture at the hands of the Americans. As many as 100,000 civilians, or one quarter of the pre-war population of Okinawa, died during the campaign.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'historyhit_com-banner-1','ezslot_16',161,'0','0'])); Some were caught in the cross-fire, killed by American artillery or air attacks, which utilised napalm. Okinawa Prefecture's estimate is over 100,000 losses,[62]. This move sparked widespread protests among Okinawans. [67][68] Islands of Discontent: Okinawan Responses to Japanese and American Power by Mark Selden alleges that the Americans "did not pursue a policy of torture, rape, and murder of civilians as Japanese military officials had warned". As the battle entered its final stages, Ushijima himself committed seppuku – ritual suicide. Others died of starvation as the Japanese occupying forces stockpiled the island’s food supplies. Meanwhile, the 77th Infantry Division assaulted Ie Island (Ie Shima)—a small island off the western end of the peninsula—on April 16. Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, located just 350 miles south of the Japanese mainland. 14,009 Allied deaths (over 12,500 Americans killed or missing) and 77,166 Japanese soldiers. The 32nd Army initially consisted of the 9th, 24th, and 62nd Divisions, and the 44th Independent Mixed Brigade. [24][25][26] The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks, and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. During the period March 26 – April 30, twenty American ships were sunk and 157 damaged by enemy action. The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and costliest of World War II in the Pacific. [64] The museum writes that "some were blown apart by [artillery] shells, some finding themselves in a hopeless situation were driven to suicide, some died of starvation, some succumbed to malaria, while others fell victim to the retreating Japanese troops. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions fought for "Sugar Loaf Hill". [32], The British naval contingent accompanied 251 British naval aircraft, and included a British Commonwealth fleet with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian ships and personnel.[33]. [34][73] Marine Corps officials in Okinawa and Washington have said that they knew of no rapes by American personnel in Okinawa at the end of the war. History Hit brings you the stories that shaped the world through our award winning podcast network and an online history channel. In his 1955 memoirs… By the time the Battle of Okinawa came to an end on 22 June, American forces had suffered more than 45,000 casualties, including 12,500 killed. 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