Now we fired indiscriminately. While no major allied warships were lost, several fleet carriers were severely damaged. In Saipan, thousands of soldiers carried out a suicidal charge in the face of American machine guns on the orders of their commander. Christopher Chant, "The Encyclopedia of Codenames of World War II (Routledge Revivals)", p. 87, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, ambush and kill three black American soldiers, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, planned ground invasion of the Japanese mainland, https://history.army.mil/brochures/ryukyus/ryukyus.htm, The National Archives: Heroes and Villains, "HyperWar: US Army in WWII: Okinawa: The Last Battle", "The Cornerstone of Peace – number of names inscribed", "Okinawa: The Final Great Battle of World War II | Marine Corps Gazette", "Planning Iceberg, Chp 2 of Okinawa: Victory in the Pacific by Major Chas. 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. He was the highest ranking military officer killed during the entire war. This total includes conscripted Okinawan civilians. Morale was dangerously low by the month of May and the state of discipline on a moral basis had a new low barometer for acceptable behavior. On May 1, the British Pacific Fleet returned to action, subduing the airfields as before, this time with naval bombardment as well as aircraft. The U.S. Navy lost 36 ships with over 360 damaged. 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. The most complete tally of deaths during the battle is at the Cornerstone of Peace monument at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which identifies the names of each individual who died at Okinawa in World War II. 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. Some military historians believe that the Okinawa campaign led directly to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as a means of avoiding the planned ground invasion of the Japanese mainland. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with an estimated total of over 82,000 casualties on both sides. The Tenth was unique in that it had its own Tactical Air Force (joint Army-Marine command), and was also supported by combined naval and amphibious forces. (US torpedo bombers were instructed to aim for only one side to prevent effective counter flooding by the battleship's crew, and to aim for the bow or the stern, where armor was believed to be the thinnest.) More than one US commander died during the bloody Battle of Okinawa. The force withdrew to San Pedro Bay on April 23. 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. Battle of Okinawa; Battle of Okinawa. A group of 155 mm (6.1 in) "Long Tom" artillery pieces went ashore on the islets to cover operations on Okinawa. The Imperial Japanese Army mobilized 1,780 middle school boys aged 14–17 years into front-line-service. Add to this the civilian death toll and the terrible cost of Okinawa becomes clear. [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. "Soviets declare war on Japan; invade Manchuria". On the evening of April 12, the 32nd Army attacked American positions across the entire front. As of 2010, the monument lists 240,931 names, including 149,193 Okinawan civilians, 77,166 Imperial Japanese soldiers, 14,009 American soldiers, and smaller numbers of people from South Korea (365), the United Kingdom (82), Nort… [47][48] The castle, however, was outside the 1st Marine Division's assigned zone and only frantic efforts by the commander and staff of the 77th Infantry Division prevented an American airstrike and artillery bombardment which would have resulted in many casualties due to friendly fire. "[79] In December 2007, MEXT partially admitted the role of the Japanese military in civilian mass suicides. We watched each plunging, Civilian losses, suicides, and atrocities. This small task force had been ordered to fight through enemy naval forces, then beach Yamato and fight from shore, using her guns as coastal artillery and her crew as naval infantry. Kyushu-Okinawa Summit 2000: Okinawa G8 Summit Host Preparation Council, 2000. The result, whether voluntary or enforced by the Japanese, was mass suicides among the civilian population. Due to the surrender, the next anticipated series of battles – an invasion of the Japanese homeland – never occurred. Okinawa, by contrast, had a large indigenous civilian population; US Army records from the planning phase of the operation make the assumption that Okinawa was home to about 300,000 civilians. On April 10, its attention was shifted to airfields on northern Formosa. Who Were the Cross-Channel Aviation Pioneers? Postwar examination of Japanese records revealed that Japanese aircraft losses at Okinawa were far below often-repeated US estimates for 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. There was heavy fighting before the Marines finally cleared Yae-Dake on April 18. The first Americans ashore were soldiers of the 77th Infantry Division, who landed in the Kerama Islands, 15 mi (24 km) west of Okinawa on March 26. What Was the Legacy of World War One in the Leadership of the United States? The US fleet witnessed the first organised kamikaze attacks at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. It lasted from April – June 1945. The council report stated, "It can be said that from the viewpoint of the Okinawa residents, they were forced into the mass suicides. The ground advance began to resemble a World War I battlefield, as troops became mired in mud, and flooded roads greatly inhibited evacuation of wounded to the rear. The Japanese sent Okinawans at gunpoint out to obtain water and supplies for them, which led to civilian casualties. Hodge launched a new offensive of April 19 with a barrage of 324 guns, the largest ever in the Pacific Ocean Theater. This includes stories of rape after trading sexual favors or even marrying Americans,[75] such as the alleged incident in the village of Katsuyama, where civilians said they had formed a vigilante group to ambush and kill three black American soldiers who they claimed would frequently rape the local girls there. History Hit brings you the stories that shaped the world through our award winning podcast network and an online history channel. The Japanese lost 16 ships and over 4,000 aircraft. Buckner was replaced by Roy Geiger. [45], On May 29, Major General Pedro del Valle, commander of the 1st Marine Division, ordered Captain Julian D. Dusenbury of[46] Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, to capture Shuri Castle. 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]. "[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 Americans suffered over 75,000 - 82,000 casualties, including non-battle casualties (psychiatric, injuries, illnesses), of whom over 20,195 were dead (12,500 were killed in action, 7,700 died of wounds or non-combat deaths). Okinawa is the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, located just 350 miles south of the Japanese mainland. Page 45 of 48 - About 479 Essays The Bravery And Powerful Leader In The Movie Hacksaw Ridge. The formal document which signified the ending of the … 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. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers joined the bombardment, which was followed by 650 Navy and Marine planes attacking the enemy positions with napalm, rockets, bombs, and machine guns. The Japanese would hold each line of defence until the last possible moment, expending great manpower in the process, but when it became untenable they would retreat to the next line and begin the process again. [54] 234,183 names were inscribed by the time of unveiling and new names are added each year. However, the civilians of Okinawa still bore the highest death toll of the battle with over 300,000 deaths. The protracted length of the campaign under stressful conditions forced Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to take the unprecedented step of relieving the principal naval commanders to rest and recuperate. The United States, believing an invasion of Japan would be necessary to end the Pacific War, needed to secure the island’s airfields to provide air support. Several kamikaze attacks caused significant damage, but as the Royal Navy carriers had armoured flight decks, they experienced only a brief interruption to their force's operations.[41][42]. Among the 21 male and female secondary schools that made up these student corps, 2,000 students would die on the battlefield. General John R. Hodge now had three divisions in the line, with the 96th in the middle, and the 7th to the east, with each division holding a front of only about 1.5 mi (2.4 km). Ultimately, this was a factor in the approval of the use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. "[81] That was not enough for the survivors who said it is important for children today to know what really happened. In these preliminary operations, the 77th Infantry Division suffered 27 dead and 81 wounded, while Japanese dead and captured numbered over 650. The Imperial Japanese Navy lost some 3,700 sailors, including Admiral Itō, at the cost of 10 US aircraft and 12 airmen. The most famous American casualty was Lieutenant General Buckner, whose decision to attack the Japanese defenses head-on, although extremely costly in American lives, was ultimately successful. At a court hearing, Ōe testified "Mass suicides were forced on Okinawa islanders under Japan's hierarchical social structure that ran through the state of Japan, the Japanese armed forces and local garrisons. We had the Battle of Okinawa, in which the exact opposite happened. "Did Nuclear Weapons Cause Japan to Surrender?". 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. "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. Buckner launched another American attack on May 11. Claudius Miller Easley, a Brigadier General, died during the battle, on June 19, 1945. [69] American Military Intelligence Corps[70] combat translators such as Teruto Tsubota managed to convince many civilians not to kill themselves. [43] In light of the weak opposition, General Buckner decided to proceed immediately with Phase II of his plan—the seizure of northern Okinawa. [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 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. They suffered over 1,500 battle casualties in the process, while killing or capturing about 4,500 Japanese. This article gives an account of the 80 day plus battle for the Island of Okinawa which some have described as the typhoon of steel. This list is … American personnel casualties included thousands of cases of mental breakdown. [38], Between April 6 and June 22, the Japanese flew 1,465 kamikaze aircraft in large-scale attacks from Kyushu, 185 individual kamikaze sorties from Kyushu, and 250 individual kamikaze sorties from Formosa. [74] There are, however, numerous credible testimony accounts which note that a large number of rapes were committed by American forces during the battle. Among the Americans killed was Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., who was killed by Japanese artillery fire. 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. Unburied Japanese and American bodies decayed, sank in the mud, and became part of a noxious stew. Under attack from more than 300 aircraft over a two-hour span, the world's largest battleship sank on April 7, 1945, after a one-sided battle, long before she could reach Okinawa. (Therefore, all military strategies on both sides which presupposed this apparently-inevitable next development were immediately rendered moot.). [89] In 2011, one official of the prefectural government told David Hearst of The Guardian: You have the Battle of Britain, in which your airmen protected the British people. "[84] In March 2008, the Osaka Prefecture Court ruled in favor of Ōe, stating, "It can be said the military was deeply involved in the mass suicides." The Battle of Okinawa was a great battle of World War II. [31] At the start of the Battle of Okinawa, the US 10th Army had 182,821 personnel under its command. The ship was out of action for fifty minutes. The Battle of Okinawa saw the deaths of up to 100,000 Japanese soldiers and 14,000 Allied casualties, with 65,000 more wounded. 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. On May 4, the 32nd Army launched another counteroffensive. Japanese deaths may have been higher than 100,000. [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". Medal of Honor recipients from Okinawa are: The US military estimates that 110,071 Japanese soldiers were killed during the battle. Some islands that saw major battles, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or previously evacuated. The Battle of Okinawa was a victory for the US but resulted in massive casualties on both sides. Ten days of fierce fighting followed. Okinawa also witnessed heavy civilian casualties, perhaps in excess of 100,000. In addition to conventional hazards, the 77th Infantry Division encountered kamikaze attacks, and even local women armed with spears. Did Richard Duke of York Consider Becoming King of Ireland? During the 1945 battle, the Imperial Japanese Army showed indifference to Okinawans' safety, and its soldiers even used civilians as human shields or just outright murdered them. The battle involved six countries and more than 180,000 casualties. When the 6th Marine Division arrived, the III Amphibious Corps took over the right flank and the 10th Army assumed control of the battle. Retrieved December 9, 2012. The USS Bunker Hill was hit by two kamikaze planes whilst refuelling aircraft on deck, resulting in 390 deaths. The IJN troops were led by Rear Admiral Minoru Ōta. The battle has been referred to as the "typhoon of steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or tetsu no bōfū ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. Who Invented Chess and When Did it Start Being Played? The super battleship Yamato explodes after persistent attacks from US aircraft. [58], Aircraft losses over the three-month period were 768 US planes, including those bombing the Kyushu airfields launching kamikazes. On the sea the U.S. had over 5,000 dead and over 4,500 wounded. The capture of these two key positions exposed the Japanese around Shuri on both sides. [35], The United States Navy's Task Force 58, deployed to the east of Okinawa with a picket group of from 6 to 8 destroyers, kept 13 carriers (7 CVs and 6 CVLs) on duty from March 23 to April 27 and a smaller number thereafter. 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. By this point, the bulk of the Japanese forces in the north (codenamed Udo Force) were cornered on the Motobu Peninsula. The land battle took place over about 81 days beginning on April 1, 1945. On June 18, General Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire while monitoring the progress of his troops from a forward observation post. It included the largest amphibious landing in the Pacific Theater and lasted 80 days. They destroyed 70,000 US gallons (260,000 l) of fuel and nine planes before being killed by the defenders, who lost two men. To this, would be added the Americans' abundant naval and air firepower. The US Navy's dead exceeded its wounded, with 4,907 killed and 4,874 wounded, primarily from kamikaze attacks.[59]. In all, the US Army had over 103,000 soldiers (of these, 38,000+ were non-divisional artillery, combat support and HQ troops, with another 9,000 service troops),[30] over 88,000 Marines and 18,000 Navy personnel (mostly Seabees and medical personnel). During the period March 26 – April 30, twenty American ships were sunk and 157 damaged by enemy action. While US intelligence estimated there were 89 planes on Formosa, the Japanese actually had about 700, dismantled or well camouflaged and dispersed into scattered villages and towns; the US Fifth Air Force disputed Navy claims of kamikaze coming from Formosa. [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". Upon assuming command, Geiger became the only US Marine to command a numbered army of the US Army in combat; he was relieved five days later by Joseph Stilwell. Locals were also pressed into service by the Japanese; used as human shields or suicide attackers. Bear the temporary shame but endure it. This page was last edited on 16 December 2020, at 04:25. The 98-day battle lasted from March 26th until July 2nd, 1945. [63], In its history of the war, the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum[62] presents Okinawa as being caught between Japan and the United States. By the end of May, monsoon rains which had turned contested hills and roads into a morass exacerbated both the tactical and medical situations. Japanese forces fought with the same fanaticism the Americans had witnessed in battles such as Iwo Jima. Yet the battle had only begun, for it was now realized that "these were merely outposts," guarding the Shuri Line. The 32nd Army initially consisted of the 9th, 24th, and 62nd Divisions, and the 44th Independent Mixed Brigade. As the battle entered its final stages, Ushijima himself committed seppuku – ritual suicide. 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. [18] The Allies destroyed 27 Japanese tanks and 743 artillery pieces (including mortars, anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns), some of them eliminated by the naval and air bombardments but most knocked out by American counter-battery fire. We had casualties of more than 80 per cent.” On Sugar Loaf Hill, he said, the 29th Marines lost 500 men killed in a week of bitter and bloody battle. No Marine regiment in the history of the Corps has ever suffered such high casualties in a single battle as the 29th Marines did on 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. By the night of April 8, American troops had cleared these and several other strongly fortified positions. By 1945, Japanese airpower was incapable of mounting any serious challenge one-on-one against their American counterparts. Until April 27, a minimum of 14 and up to 18 escort carriers (CVEs) were in the area at all times. 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. At the end of June, the people of Okinawa in southern Japan commemorated the 74th anniversary of the fierce battle that engulfed them in the final stages of World War Two. a change, to make a difference, and/or to get the job done. The 27th Infantry Division—which had landed on April 9—took over on the right, along the west coast of Okinawa. [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. 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 Japanese Surrender The United States, having “hopped” their way across the Pacific Ocean, planned to use the island as a base for an assault on the Japanese mainland.eval(ez_write_tag([[728,90],'historyhit_com-box-3','ezslot_11',142,'0','0'])); The Okinawa campaign lasted 82 days, ending on 22 June, and witnessed some of the highest casualty rates of the war, across both combatants and civilians. Primary resistance was to be led in the south by Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, his chief of staff, Lieutenant General Isamu Chō and his chief of operations, Colonel Hiromichi Yahara. [82], The Nobel Prize-winning author Kenzaburō Ōe wrote a booklet which states that the mass suicide order was given by the military during the battle. The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and costliest of World War II in the Pacific. The Battle of Okinawa stands as the costliest engagement of World War II in the Pacific. At sea and in the air, the Navy reported 36 US ships sunk, 368 damaged, 763 aircraft lost to all causes, 4,907 seamen killed or missing in action and 4,824 wounded. Japanese deaths may have been higher than 100,000. [98] The memorial lists all the known names of those who died in the battle, civilian and military, Japanese and foreign. Killed in action were 4,907 Navy, 4,675 Army, and 2,938 Marine Corps personnel. According to various estimates, between a tenth and a third of them died during the battle,[45] or between 30,000 and 100,000 people. The boat crews were re-formed into three additional infantry battalions.[40]. Casualties and Deaths: Total: 84,570: Total: 105,755+ 12,513 killed 38,916 wounded, 33,096 non-combat losses: About 95,000+ killed 7,400–10,755 captured: Part of World War II: The Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg, formed a part of the Pacific War during World War II. So critical was the capture of the island, that the United States mustered the largest amphibious assault force of the Pacific campaign, with 60,000 soldiers landing on the first day. He planned to allow the Americans to come ashore almost unopposed, and then to wear them down against his entrenched forces. [66] Okinawans "were often surprised at the comparatively humane treatment they received from the American enemy". 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]. Local residents have protested against the size and presence of the base. HMS Formidable on fire after a kamikaze attack on May 4. [21] The initial invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. As of 2010, the monument lists 240,931 names, including 149,193 Okinawan civilians, 77,166 Imperial Japanese soldiers, 14,009 American soldiers, and smaller numbers of people from South Korea (365), the United Kingdom (82), North Korea (82) and Taiwan (34).[16]. On August 15, 1945, Admiral Matome Ugaki was killed while part of a kamikaze raid on Iheyajima island. Americans always had great compassion, especially for children. Japanese defending force of Shuri 's outer defenses it also resulted in a suicide attack on 4. 720 casualties 120 amphibious craft—were damaged while another 36—including 15 amphibious ships and over 7,000 were as... That they were handed grenades by Japanese soldiers to fight to the death battles... King of Ireland over 12,500 Americans killed was Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., who killed! ] Okinawans `` were often surprised at the cost of Okinawa is a account... Organised kamikaze attacks at the end of the Roses forces on 21 June 1945, Japanese soldiers and Allied... Force was spotted by submarines shortly after it left the Japanese lost 16 combat,... The capture of these two key positions exposed the Japanese battle of okinawa deaths of two a... Division encountered kamikaze attacks were attempted, involving more than 180,000 casualties 21! To civilian casualties protected anchorage for the U.S. Navy lost some 3,700,! Attacks at the end of ground combat in northern Okinawa to fight to the harsh conditions War..., who was killed by Japanese artillery fire battle of okinawa deaths monitoring the progress of his troops a... And eliminated the threat from suicide boats Medal of Honor recipients from Okinawa are: the US 10th had. Advocated a defensive strategy, whilst Chō advocated an offensive one 36 ships with over 360.... 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Military estimates that 94,000 civilians were killed during the nearly three months of fighting deaths ( over 12,500 killed... May 25, seven major kamikaze attacks. [ 59 ] and battle! Destroyers—Were sunk during the Second World War edited on 16 December 2020, at the of... Becoming King of Ireland from March 26th marked the first Global Conflict was and... Did it Start being Played Japanese casualties and 50,000 casualties voluntary or enforced by the time of unveiling new. “ Typhoon of Steel. ” there were more than 1,500 planes of Okinawa was declared secure by Allied forces 21! Mobilization was conducted by an ordinance of the Pacific Ocean Theater were killed during the Second Wars... Ridge, two hills with a barrage of 324 guns, the 32nd Army another. Strategies on both sides and was a victory for the fleet and eliminated the threat from boats!
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