Battle of Okinawa
The Typhoon of Steel
Order of Battle
UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS / UNITED STATES ARMY
- 7th Infantry Division
- 27th Infantry Division
- 77th Infantry Division
- 96th Infantry Division
- 1st Marine Division
- 2nd Marine Division
- 6th Marine Division
UNITED STATES NAVY
- Task Force 50
- Task Force 58
- Task Force 57
- Joint Exp. Force
- 24th Infantry Division
- 28th Infantry Division
- 62nd Infantry Division
- 44th Mixed Brigade
- 45th Mixed Brigade
- 59th Mixed Brigade
- 60th Mixed Brigade
- 27th Tank Regiment
Proceedings of the Battle
Landings on the northern end of the island began on April 1, 1945 and XXIV Corps and III Amphibious Corps forces reached the northern most tip of the island by April 13. Meanwhile multiple different armies were assaulting assorted archipelagoes off the coast of mainland Okinawa.
Landing on the southern end of the island was largely uncontested, but once the infantry made landfall, conflict in south-central Okinawa was where the fiercest conflict was found. Once American troops had settled into positions that fired onto Japan's own garrisons, there was constant back and forth offensives between the Japanese and American forces.
The fighting was so fierce that the name "Typhoon of Steel" was given to the battle by Americans because the surplus of armor, air and other assets that were used destructively by both the Japanese and American forces. The Japanese would often use their assets in a suicidal manner, and would utilize middle school children on the island as suicide bombers to use against US armor.
The last remnants of Japanese forces fell on June 22, some committing suicide or surrendering into the hands of US forces.
US forces lost 768 planes over the course of the entire battle, and 225+ LVTs / tanks.
Many hundreds of troops were also required to be removed from battle due to mental breakdown induced by the brutal fighting.
The U.S. military estimated that 110,071 Japanese soldiers were killed during the battle. This total includes an unknown number of impressed Okinawan civilians who were killed during the battle.
7,401 soldiers and 3,400 Okinawan conscripts surrendered or were captured during the battle, later totaling nearly 17,000.
The Japanese also lost massive numbers of civilians. Okinawa's current estimate is over 100,000, while the official U.S. count is a total of 142,058 civilian casualties, including those killed by artillery fire, air attacks and those who had been pressed into service.
It's widely believed that Okinawa's fierce fighting necessitated the bombing of Japan with nuclear weapons, as a mainland infantry invasion would have been devastating in terms of losses. As historian Victor Davis Hanson writes,
"...because the Japanese on Okinawa... were so fierce in their defense (even when cut off, and without supplies), and because casualties were so appalling, many American strategists looked for an alternative means to subdue mainland Japan, other than a direct invasion. This means presented itself, with the advent of atomic bombs, which worked admirably in convincing the Japanese to sue for peace [unconditionally], without American casualties."
Additionally, US forces still remain on Okinawa as the US Forces Japan garrison.