battle of okinawa deaths

Nevertheless, when facing capture, Japanese soldiers often still favoured suicide. This, coupled with thousands of bodies both friend and foe littering the entire island, created a scent you could nearly taste. Yet the battle had only begun, for it was now realized that "these were merely outposts," guarding the Shuri Line. Among the Americans killed was Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., who was killed by Japanese artillery fire. The land battle took place over about 81 days beginning on April 1, 1945. About half of the Tekketsu Kinnōtai were killed, including in suicide bomb attacks against tanks, and in guerrilla operations. A total of 7,401 Japanese regulars and 3,400 Okinawan conscripts surrendered or were captured during the battle. [17][29] 149,425 Okinawans were killed, died by suicide or went missing, roughly half of the estimated pre-war 300,000 local population.[29]. The 2nd Marine Division conducted a demonstration off the Minatoga beaches on the southeastern coast to deceive the Japanese about American intentions and delay movement of reserves from there. By 1945, Japanese airpower was incapable of mounting any serious challenge one-on-one against their American counterparts. [35], The United States Navy's Task Force 58, deployed to the east of Okinawa with a picket group of from 6 to 8 destroyers, kept 13 carriers (7 CVs and 6 CVLs) on duty from March 23 to April 27 and a smaller number thereafter. However, on April 6, the expected air reaction began with an attack by 400 planes from Kyushu. Ten days of fierce fighting followed. There was heavy fighting before the area was declared secured on April 21, and became another air base for operations against Japan. This view is explained by Victor Davis Hanson in his book Ripples of Battle: ... 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. In addition, there were 9,000 IJN troops supported by 1,100 militia, with approximately 4,000 holed up at the underground headquarters on the hillside overlooking the Okinawa Naval Base in the Oroku Peninsula, east of the airfield. Even with the female students acting mainly as nurses to Japanese soldiers they would still be exposed to the harsh conditions of war. As the American assault against Kakazu Ridge stalled, Lieutenant General Ushijima – influenced by General Chō — decided to take the offensive. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with approximately 160,000 casualties on both sides: at least 50,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese,[27][28] including drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms. Rape by Japanese troops reportedly "became common"[attribution needed] in June, after it became clear that the Imperial Japanese Army had been defeated. By the end of May, monsoon rains which had turned contested hills and roads into a morass exacerbated both the tactical and medical situations. [21] The initial invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The Battle of Okinawa began on 1 April, 1945 with the largest amphibious assault of the Pacific War. The IJN troops were led by Rear Admiral Minoru Ōta. The Japanese attack was heavy, sustained, and well organized. Anyone sliding down the greasy slopes could easily find their pockets full of maggots at the end of the journey. The Ten-Go force was spotted by submarines shortly after it left the Japanese home waters, and was intercepted by US carrier aircraft. The resolution stated, "It is an undeniable fact that the 'multiple suicides' would not have occurred without the involvement of the Japanese military and any deletion of or revision to (the descriptions) is a denial and distortion of the many testimonies by those people who survived the incidents. This move sparked widespread protests among Okinawans. "Press rewind: Trump, Tokyo and a welcome back to the 1980s", "Okinawa marks 68th anniversary of bloody WWII battle", "In Okinawa, Talk of Break From Japan Turns Serious", Twilight of the Gods: War in the Western Pacific, 1944–1945, "The Amphibians Came to Conquer: The Story of Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner", "footage from the National Archives.By Sgt. The 98-day battle lasted from March 26th until July 2nd, 1945. Unburied Japanese and American bodies decayed, sank in the mud, and became part of a noxious stew. (US torpedo bombers were instructed to aim for only one side to prevent effective counter flooding by the battleship's crew, and to aim for the bow or the stern, where armor was believed to be the thinnest.) For their part, by April 30, the Japanese had lost more than 1,100 planes to Allied naval forces alone. On March 31, Marines of the Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion landed without opposition on Keise Shima, four islets just 8 mi (13 km) west of the Okinawan capital of Naha. The Battle of Okinawa was a victory for the US but resulted in massive casualties on both sides. The Japanese lost 16 ships and over 4,000 aircraft. The ordinances mobilized the students as volunteer soldiers for form's sake; in reality, the military authorities ordered schools to force almost all students to "volunteer" as soldiers; sometimes they counterfeited the necessary documents. Combat losses were 458, and the other 310 were operational accidents. The ruthless atrocities by the Japanese throughout the war had already brought on an altered behavior (deemed so by traditional standards) by many Americans resulting in the desecration of Japanese remains, but the Japanese tactic of using the Okinawan people as human shields brought about a new aspect of terror and torment to the psychological capacity of the Americans.[17]. It became the last campaign in the Pacific and changed the course of history. Ninety percent of the buildings on the island were destroyed, along with countless historical documents, artifacts, and cultural treasures, and the tropical landscape was turned into "a vast field of mud, lead, decay and maggots". [60] This was the first battle in the Pacific War in which thousands of Japanese soldiers surrendered or were captured. Between the American landing on April 1 and May 25, seven major kamikaze attacks were attempted, involving more than 1,500 planes. The 4,000 Japanese sailors, including Admiral Minoru Ōta, all committed suicide within the hand-built tunnels of the underground naval headquarters on June 13. He was shot in the head and killed. To avoid the mass number of fatality, Truman believed in order to save his military, the dropping of the atomic bomb was necessary. Some islands that saw major battles, such as Iwo Jima, were uninhabited or previously evacuated. Why Was Hereward the Wake Wanted by the Normans? The US Navy's dead exceeded its wounded, with 4,907 killed and 4,874 wounded, primarily from kamikaze attacks.[59]. The protracted length of the campaign under stressful conditions forced Admiral Chester W. Nimitz to take the unprecedented step of relieving the principal naval commanders to rest and recuperate. Japan lost as many as 100,000 soldiers, while the Allies suffered 65,000 casualties… This mobilization was conducted by an ordinance of the Ministry of the Army, not by law. By the time the Battle of Okinawa came to an end on 22 June, American forces had suffered more than 45,000 casualties, including 12,500 killed. Japanese soldiers also killed about 1,000 people who spoke in the Okinawan language to suppress spying. MEXT preferred descriptions that just say that civilians received hand grenades from the Japanese military. The result, whether voluntary or enforced by the Japanese, was mass suicides among the civilian population. In addition to conventional hazards, the 77th Infantry Division encountered kamikaze attacks, and even local women armed with spears. About 95,000 killed. The Japanese death toll was over 100,000 and over 7,000 were taken as prisoners. In the naval operations surrounding the battle, both sides lost considerable numbers of ships and aircraft, including the Japanese battleship Yamato. [22][23] The Kerama Islands surrounding Okinawa were preemptively captured on March 26th, (L-6) by the 77th Infantry Division. A tank assault to achieve breakthrough by outflanking Kakazu Ridge failed to link up with its infantry support attempting to cross the ridge, and therefore failed with the loss of 22 tanks. [24][25][26] The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks, and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The island of Okinawa … The Japanese army not only starved the Okinawans but used them as human shields. Ultimately, this was a factor in the approval of the use of atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. The battle has been described as a “Typhoon of Steel.” There were more than 100,000 Japanese casualties and 50,000 US casualties. There was heavy fighting before the Marines finally cleared Yae-Dake on April 18. In his 1955 memoirs… The council report stated, "It can be said that from the viewpoint of the Okinawa residents, they were forced into the mass suicides. "The Cornerstone of Peace." Summary: The battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg, took place in April-June 1945. The Japanese land campaign (mainly defensive) was conducted by the 67,000-strong (77,000 according to some sources) regular 32nd Army and some 9,000 Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) troops at Oroku Naval Base (only a few hundred of whom had been trained and equipped for ground combat), supported by 39,000 drafted local Ryukyuan people (including 24,000 hastily drafted rear militia called Boeitai and 15,000 non-uniformed laborers). During the 1945 battle, the Imperial Japanese Army showed indifference to Okinawans' safety, and its soldiers even used civilians as human shields or just outright murdered them. The main landing was made by the XXIV Corps and the III Amphibious Corps on the Hagushi beaches on the western coast of Okinawa on L-Day, April 1. [51][52][53] The most complete tally of deaths during the battle is at the Cornerstone of Peace monument at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, which identifies the names of each individual who died at Okinawa in World War II. Lasted from March 26th until July 2nd, 1945 with the same fanaticism the Americans to come ashore unopposed... Terrible cost of 10 US aircraft and 12 airmen one in the naval operations surrounding battle! Be added the Americans had witnessed in battles such as Iwo Jima planes Kyushu... American assault against Kakazu Ridge, two hills with a barrage of 324 guns the! 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