US Military Casualties: 49,000 (12,520 killed)Japanese Military Casualties: 110,000 killedOkinawa Civilian Casualties: Estimated that between 40,000 and 150,000 were killedMotivation for Allies: Allies hoped to use Okinawa as an air base for the future invasion of mainland Japan. They decided to invade Okinawa as Okinawa was a large island that was only 500 km away from mainland Japan. The invasion of Okinawa was one of the 3 things that the Allies had planned to achieve in order to win the war in Japan.
Motivation for Japan: Japan had to defend Okinawa with all their might as Okinawa was one of the largest islands in Japan and the island was home to four airstrips in the island, which the Allies could utilize to bomb the Japanese industrial cities efficiently. Because of this, the general assigned with protecting Okinawa, General Ushijima, was told to retain the island regardless. This is because the Japanese government was certain that the failing in Okinawa would lead to fall of Japan.
Basic Info: Last major battle in WW2Start: April 1, 1945180,000+ U.S soldiers arrived in OkinawaPart of Operation Iceberg, plan to capture Ryukyu islands, which Okinawa was a part of.U.S troops arrived in Okinawa when the war in Europe was culminating.Allies had freed most of the countries under Nazi Germany’s control and Germany was close to surrenderingAmericans were still attempting to seize Japan’s mainlandShuriJapanese troops waited in a town called Shuri, which enabled the American troops to set up supplies and ammunition on the beach quickly.Because of this, the troops easily seized two of the four airstrips in Okinawa, named Kadena and Yontan.Japanese army consisted of 130,000 men commanded by General Ushijima.
Americans soon had to get past the Shuri Defense Line, which was a defensive position set up by General Ushijima, which included heavily defended hills which the Americans had to conquer.The U.S got past the Shuri defensive line on the 29th of May, 1945.
KamikazesJapan’s Kamikaze army composed of hundreds of pilots who intentionally dove planes into soldiers and enemy zones, and in the process killing themselves, for their empire.On April 4th, Kamikaze pilots were ordered to crash their planes into the American fleets, which causedAlmost 5000 men were killed due to Kamikaze warfare, with another 5000 woundedYamato BattleshipOn April 7th, the Japanese military sent the battleship Yamato in order to commence an attack on the Americans.Yamato was the largest and most powerful battleship that had ever been built.Although it was meant to be a surprise, the U.S detected the battleship and attacked it, causing the ship to sink.Almost 380 US planes were sent to destroy the battleship.
Hacksaw RidgeApril 26Hacksaw Ridge was a clif that was almost 400 feet tallJapanese troops hid in bunkers and caves, while the Americans slowly and steadily made their way up the mountain and made shelter in small trenches.The Japanese and Americans mostly fought using hand to hand combatThe Japanese were ruthless in the battle, killing many Americans, which forced the Americans to retreat.However, a medic, named Desmond Doss, who refused to carry weapons, stayed behind and saved 75 injured soldiers, which earned him the Medal of HonorAmericans captured Hacksaw Ridge on May 6th.Japanese SurrenderMany Japanese military personnel forced the citizens of Okinawa that Americans would be ruthless to them, as the end of the war edged closer. This prompted many of the citizens to commit suicide.Most Japanese soldiers decided to commit suicide due to their belief that Americans would kill them and they decided to die with “honor” rather than at the hands of the Americans.On June 22nd, General Ushijima committed suicide, which ended the Battle for Okinawa.Significant Individual : General Simon Bolivar Buckner JrSimon Bolivar Buckner Jr, General of the 10th Army, lead the Americans to victory.
His father was a Confederate general in the Civil War, which could’ve motivated him to become a general as well. He graduated from the U.S military academy at West Point in 1908, and eventually became a general in the army. From 1940 to 1944, he acted as the commanding general of the Alaskan General Command. In September 1944, he was designated the role as the lieutenant general of the 10th army.
He was assigned with the task of invading and capturing the Ryukyu islands in Southern Japan. He died on June 18th, due to a Japanese artillery gun hitting a rock near the general, which caused pieces to enter the General. He was announced dead at an aidstation that was close to the observation post.This image shows the American troops arriving in the southern part of Okinawa. Although the army believed that the Japanese would be defending the area, similar to D-Day, they were taken aback by the lack of Japanese troops that were to be seen surrounding the coast.
This assisted the Americans in setting up their equipment and troops on to the beach. This is an image of USS Bunker Hill taken after being struck by 2 kamikaze aircrafts on May 11th, 1945. The kamikaze attack wounded 264 people.
This shows why the Japanese placed such importance on Kamikaze attacks as it involved very few Japanese soldiers dying, while, at the same time, killing hundreds, and sometimes thousands of opposing soldiers. The Japanese recruited many young pilots to crash into many key places and objects, such as battleships in order to damage the American Army significantly.This image focuses on the Japanese battleship Yamato. Yamato was the largest battleship ever made and this image was taken just a few seconds after the ship was struck by blows from the U.S. The ship was struck on April 7th, during Operation Ten-Go, in which the ship sank, along with its crew. The surprise attack that the Japanese had organized had failed magnificently as a U.S submarine discovered the ship early on, which initiated America’s ambush.