The Battle of Okinawa

by Nov 30, 2019

The USS West Virginia is struck by a Kamikaze on April 1, 1945 during the Allied invasion of Okinawa.

Monday, April 1, we remember the last major battle of World War II.

The Allied forces involved, their commanders, their objectives, the nature of their operations, and their ultimate goals, are described in formal Navy language in Communique No. 317 (as follows).

The communiqué is addressed to Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA), FADM Chester W. Nimitz:

The communique does not provide any insight into the individual experiences of those who were there.

CINCPOA COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 317, APRIL 1, 1945

The United States Tenth Army, whose principal ground elements include the Twenty‑Fourth Army Corps and the Marine Third Amphibious Corps, invaded the west coast of the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyus in great force on the morning of April 1 (East Longitude Date). This landing is the largest amphibious operation of the war in the Pacific to date.

Admiral R. A. Spruance, USN, Commander Fifth Fleet, is in overall tactical command of the operation. The amphibious phase of the operation is under command of Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner, USN, Com­mander Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet. The Tenth Army is under com­mand of Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., U.S.A.

The landings were made by ships and landing craft of the United States Fifth Fleet supported by the guns and aircraft of that fleet.

The attack on Okinawa has also been covered and supported by attacks of a strong British carrier task force under Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings against enemy positions in the Sakishima group.

Troops of the Twenty‑Fourth Army Corps are commanded by Major General John R. Hodge, U.S.A., and the Marines of the Third Amphibious Corps are commanded by Major General Roy S. Geiger, USMC

The attack on Okinawa was preceded by the capture of the islands of the Kerama group west of the southern tip of Okinawa which commenced on March 26. The amphibious phases of this preliminary operation were com­manded by Rear Admiral I. N. Kiland, USN. The troops consisted of the Seventy‑Seventh Army Division under command of Major General Andrew D. Bruce, U.S.A. The capture of these outposts was completed prior to the main landings on Okinawa and heavy artillery is now emplaced there and in sup­port of the Okinawa attack.

The amphibious support force is under command of Rear Admiral W. H. P. Blandy, USN, who was also present at the capture of the Kerama group of islands and in general charge of those operations. The battleships which form the principal gunfire support element are commanded by Rear Admiral M. L. Deyo, USN.

Fast Carrier Task Forces of the U. S. Pacific Fleet which are participating in the attack are under command of Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher, USN. The escort carriers which are supporting the attack are under command of Rear Admiral C. T. Durgin, USN.

More than 1,400 ships are involved in the operation. The landings were preceded by and are being covered by heavy gunfire from battleships, cruisers and light units of the U. S. Pacific Fleet. U. S. carrier aircraft are providing close support for the ground troops. Strategic support is being given by the shore‑based air forces of the Southwest Pacific Area, the Pacific Ocean Areas, and by the Twentieth Air Force.

The operation is proceeding according to plan. The troops who went ashore at (1830, Tokyo time, advanced inland rapidly and by 1100 had cap­tured the Yontan and Kadena airports with light losses.

The capture of Iwo Island gave us an air base only 660 miles from Tokyo and greatly intensified our air attacks on Japan. The capture of Okinawa will give us bases only 325 miles from Japan which will greatly intensify the attacks by our fleet and air forces against Japanese communications and against Japan Itself. As our sea and air blockade cuts the enemy off from the world and as our bombing increases in strength and proficiency our final decisive victory is assured.

US Marines rest during a brief lull in the Battle of Okinawa.