Battle of Okinawa

World War II- Garrett Princehouse; US History

Background

Lasted from April 1,1945- June 21, 1945. It was the last and biggest battle on the Pacific of World War II. Okinawa is about 60 miles long and between 2 and 18 miles wide. There were around 287,000 American troops that fought in the Battle of Okinawa. There were around 130,000 Japanese troops that fought in the Battle of Okinawa.

Stakes at Hand

The American troops wanted to sink the Japanese merchant ships. There were four major airfields on Okinawa that the Americans needed to control. They had little to no inside intelligence of Okinawa so they were going old school with maps.

Japanese Plan of Attack

The Japanese were under the command of Lieutenant- General Ushijima. Ushijima was ordered to keep control of the Island for as long as possible. He focused his 130,000 troops on the southern sector of Okinawa. He had his troops spread out into forts and he had
Kamikazes awaiting his command to take flight. They thought the Kamikazes would bring so many casualties to the Americans, that they would retreat.

American Plan of Attack

The Americans were under the Command of Lieutenant-General Simon Bolivar Buckner. Buckner had 180,000 troops under command. His plan of attack was to land on
Hagushi Bay on the western side of Okinawa. A few days before the attack Buckner had a group of troops land twenty miles southwest of Hagushi Bay to secure an anchorage. On March 31,1945 the 77th Division secured its anchor and were ready for attack.

The Battle

The Battle of Okinawa first begun on April 1, 1945. Of the 193 launched Kamikaze attacks on the Americans, 163 of them were destroyed. The 30 planes that got through the Americans did do great damage to the Americans Carrier Fleet. The actual invasion of Okinawa consisted of 300 warships and 1,139 other ships from the American Side. They met little opposition and by the end of the day 60,000 American military personnel had landed at Hagushi Bay. By April 20th, all Japanese resistance in the north of the island had been eradicated except for some guerrilla activity. On April 4th the XIV Corps (US 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th infantry divisions) ran into the Machine Gun line. This brought to a halt the advance of the Americans in the south of Okinawa. The line was finally defeated on April 24th. On May 3rd, Ushijima ordered a counter-attack but this failed. By May 21st, Ushijima ordered his men to pull back from the Shuri Line. However, the resistance by the Japanese stood still. It was in June that it became obvious that the Japanese had lost the fight for Okinawa. On July 2nd, Okinawa was declared secure by the Americans – Ushijima had committed suicide a few days before this.

The Wounded

The Americans lost on land, 7,373 men killed and 32,056 wounded, and at sea,
5,000 killed and 4,600 wounded.
The Japanese lost 107,000 killed and 7,400 men taken prisoner.