Okinawa, April-June 1945

Okinawa was the last campaign of World War II in the Pacific, a bloody affair that convinced the U.S. high command that an invasion of Japan would prove so costly that deployment of atomic weapons was a requirement. This tells the story from the Japanese side. From April to June 1945, U.S. forces fought fiercely for control of the island of Okinawa, against the well dug in 32nd Army of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA). The amphibious landing of four divisions of U.S. troops on 1 April 1945 confirmed IJA 32nd Army Staff's worst fears about the U.S. challenge. Within a few weeks, new tactical patterns evolved on Okinawa. U.S. tanks moved forward into dead spaces between cave port fire zones, escorted by infantry. The Japanese, to protect their cave openings, put infantry on the surface to drive back the tank-infantry teams. The result was searing clashes between small units of U.S. and Japanese infantry for the protection of tanks and cave fire ports respectively.Vigorous attacks by U.S. soldiers and marines, using flame-thrower tanks cut through IJA positions quickly after 9 June. The IJA rear-area headquarters were finally threatened so that by 22 June most major unit commanders had committed ritual suicide and ordered surviving soldiers to fight on as long as they could. then do the same, Some of these surviving IJA soldiers unfortunately committed atrocities against the civilian population. and only a small percentage surrendered. By the time the fighting stopped, U.S. casualties of all kinds, including wounded and non-combat injuries, were also high, exceeding 70,000. about equal to the number of IJA regular troops that had defended the island.Over 160 photos and numerous maps help illustrate the riveting narrative, telling the story of American heroism against a fanatical and desperate enemy.