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Osprey Campaign 96 : Okinawa 1945 : The Last Battle

By the spring of 1945 the Allies were sweeping all before them in the Pacific War against Japan, and a series of victories had reclaimed many of the islands and territories seized by the Imperial Japanese forces in the early months of the war. The dark days of humiliating defeat were far behind the unstoppable Allied juggernaut - victory was now assured. The question was where the last battle would be fought. That place was the island of Okinawa. The final preliminary to the invasion of the Japanese mainland was possession of the Ryukyu island group, midway between Formosa and Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese homeland. The target of Operation 'Iceberg' was Okinawa, the largest island in the group. In the largest and most complicated amphibious expedition undertaken in the Pacific, Admiral Spruance's Fifth Fleet would lift Lt.Gen. S.B. Buckner's Tenth Army, the XXIV Corps under Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge and III Marine Amphibious Corps (Maj. Gen R.S. Geiger). Defending Okinawa was the Japanese 32nd army of 130,000 men under Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima. The initial landings on 1-4 April 1945 met negligible ground opposition, 60,000 men establishing a beachhead at Hagushi. The Marines turned north and would meet little opposition in clearing the northern area of the island. XXIV Corps turned south and was halted by the Machinato line of prepared mountain defences. The Japanese meanwhile decided on a coordinated air and naval suicide attack to halt the US advance against the mainland. The IJN Yamato the largest battleship in the world was filled with enough fuel for a one-way trip, packed with ammunition and despatched on her last mission. She was bombed into submission by repeated waves of US aircraft and went down with 2,488 officers and men. The bitter fighting continued on Okinawa until 22 June when organised resistance finally ceased. Japanese losses were probably in excess of 120,000 men killed with 7,400 taken prisoner. US losses were 12, 374 killed and 26,656 wounded. Okinawa was the last campaign of the Pacific War. The Japanese mainland was never invaded, instead the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ushered in the Nuclear age. Text by Gordon L. Rottman with illustrations by Howard Gerrard.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • Chronology
  • The Opposing Plans
  • The Opposing Commanders
  • The Opposing Armies
  • Preliminary Operations
  • The Landings
  • Operation Ten-Go
  • Advance and Stalemate
  • Japanese Counterattack
  • Buckner's offensive
  • The Final Operations
  • The Battlefield Today
  • Bibliography
  • Index

 

Osprey Campaign


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