The Clean-up Drive1
Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima and Lieutenant General Isamu Cho, respectively commander and chief of staff of the Japanese Thirty-second Army, fulfilled their last obligation to the Emperor on the night of 21-22 June. In the traditional manner of adherents to the warrior code of their homeland, they atoned for their failure to stem the tide of American advance by committinghara-kiri.
At 0300 on 22 June both generals, wearing their bemedaled full field uniforms, led a party of aides and staff officers out onto the narrow ledge of a cave entrance that overlooked the ocean. U.S. soldiers of the 32d Infantry who held the crest of Hill 89 less than 100 feet away were unaware of the silent preparations for the suicide ceremony. First Ushijima, then Cho, bared his abdomen to the ceremonial knife and thrust inward while a simultaneous slash of the headquarters adjutant’s saber struck his bowed neck. The men were secretly buried and not uncovered until 25 June when patrols of the 32d Infantry found the bodies at the foot of the seaward cliff-face of Hill 89. General Cho had written his own simple epitaph:
22d day, 6th month, 20th year of the Showa Era. I depart without regret, fear, shame, or obligations. Army Chief of Staff; Army Lieutenant General Cho, Isamu, age of departure 51 years. At this time and place I hereby certify the foregoing.2
While the enemy generals were preparing to take their own lives in a rite peculiar to Japanese philosophy, the theme of military suicide was carried out in the skies overhead by Kamikaze pilots making the last major organized air attack of the Okinawan campaign. About 1830 on 21 June, a small group of raiders showing friendly radar recognition signals3 penetrated to Kerama Retto where one dived into the seaplane tender Curtiss, starting night-long fires that severely damaged the ship. Other planes of this flight crashed LSM 59 and the decoy ship ex-Barry,4 sinking both. Between 0001 and 1130, 22 June Okinawa underwent a total of 30 air raids. Admiral Hill reported that the “magnificent work of CAP and northern pickets prevented all but a few stragglers getting through. Those that did penetrate were knocked down by AA fire, and only insignificant damage was reported by one LST and one DE.”5 The
strength if not the ferocity of Japanese air attacks diminished as the tide of battle turned against the Thirty-second Army on Okinawa. In preparation for the final defense of the home islands, the enemy high command adopted a policy of extreme conservatism, saving its remaining plane strength for the last battle when thousands of Kamikazes were scheduled to hit the American invasion fleet.6 After the cessation of the last suicide air attack, TF 31 and TAF shot down or turned back all the enemy raiders that attempted to penetrate to Okinawa.7
Ground combat action on Okinawa did not stop with the official declaration of the end of organized resistance. Although unprecedentedly large numbers of Japanese soldiers, both officer and enlisted, surrendered, die-hard groups and individuals continued to fight until they were annihilated. An extensive, coordinated mop-up of southern Okinawa was necessary before the area could be considered safe for the planned build-up of supply depots, airfields, training areas, and port facilities.
A line of blocking positions manned by companies of the 1st Marines and 307th Infantry was set up in the hills above the Naha-Yonabaru valley to stop the attempts of the Japanese to infiltrate to the north. On 22 June the four assault divisions that had smashed the Kiyamu Peninsula defenses were ordered to conduct a sweep to the north, destroying any resistance encountered, blowing and sealing all caves, burying all dead, and salvaging friendly and enemy equipment left on the field of battle. Three phase lines were established across the island for coordination of the effort, and the pace of advance was to be set by the progress of the 96th Division, moving up the center of the island on the left of the XXIV Corps zone. Ten days were allotted for the completion of the mopping-up action which was to be controlled by the new Tenth Army commander, General Joseph W. Stilwell. General Stilwell, former Commanding General, Army Ground Forces, formally relieved General Geiger on 23 June.
The final reduction of the 24th Division defensive position also took place on 23 June as elements of the 381st Infantry mopped up the last holdouts in the ruins of Medeera. Hill 85, which had been seized by 3/305 on 22 June, was thoroughly probed, and the 96th Division concentrated its efforts in the Medeera-Aragachi area. Units of the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions worked over Komesu and Kiyamu-Gusuku Ridges, while the 7th Division probed Hill 89 and Mabuni. On 25 June after the area of most recent battle action south of the Yaeju Dake-Yuza Dake escarpment had been intensively combed, the Tenth Army began its clean-up drive to the north with both corps responsible primarily for the ground they had taken during the previous month.
Kume Shima, the last and largest of the islands of Okinawa Gunto chosen as radar and fighter director sites, was secured during the mop-up period. The FMF Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, attached to Island Command on 23 April for garrison duty in the Eastern Islands, was released to Tenth Army control on 21 June for use as the landing force on Kume Shima.8 Patrols from Company B had scouted the beach areas of the 40-square-mile island on the night of 13-14 June and learned from captured civilians that there was only a 50-man enemy garrison present. Although this estimate later proved to be correct, the possibility of a stronger Japanese force being met was answered by attaching Company A and the 81mm Mortar Platoon of 1/7 to the 252-man reconnaissance battalion for the operation.9
After the landing had been delayed two days by adverse weather conditions,10 the assault took
STOCKADE housing some of the thousands of Japanese troops who surrendered in the last stages of the campaign on Okinawa. (Army Photograph)
place at 0644 on 26 June. There was no opposition. Company A of 1/7 took over the initial beachhead from the reconnaissance companies which then sent out patrols to contact the garrison. On 30 June, after five days of intensive patrolling had failed to uncover any enemy opposition, Major Jones, the battalion commander, declared the island secure.11
The end of June also brought the end of the mop-up campaign in southern Okinawa which had accounted for an estimated 8,975 Japanese killed and added 2,902 military and 906 unarmed labor troop prisoners of war to the Tenth Army total. A recapitulation of enemy losses for the entire Okinawan campaign showed 107,539 counted dead plus 23,764 estimated to be sealed in caves or buried by the Japanese themselves. A total of 10,755 prisoners of war had been captured. Since this casualty total of 142,058 was “far above a reasonable estimate of military strength on the island,” Tenth Army intelligence officers concluded that approximately 42,000 civilians had fallen victim to artillery, NGF, and air attacks because of their unfortunate proximity to Japanese combat troops and installations.12
American losses were heavy. Tenth Army reported 7,374 Americans killed or died of wounds, 31,807 wounded or injured in action, and 239 missing. In addition there were 26,221 non-battle casualties. The combat divisions reported their battle casualties as:13
|1st Marine Division||1,115||6,745||41||6,901|
|6th Marine Division||1,622||6,689||15||7,326|
|7th Infantry Division||1,122||4,943||3||8,068|
|27th Infantry Division||711||2,520||24||3,255|
|77th Infantry Division||1,018||3,968||40||5,026|
|96th Infantry Division||1,506||5,912||12||7,430|
Army units absorbed 12,277 replacements between 1 April and 30 June, while Marine units joined 11,147 Marines and naval corpsmen.
The United States Pacific Fleet and attached British carrier forces suffered a severe mauling in supporting and maintaining the operations of Tenth Army in Okinawa Gunto. During the three-month ICEBERG Campaign 36 ships were sunk and 368 were damaged, 763 aircraft were lost to all causes, and 4,907 seamen were killed or missing in action and 4,824 were wounded. In grim return for these losses, ships and ground AAA and planes operating under Navy coordination or control accounted for 7,830 Japanese aircraft and 16 combatant ships.14
On 1 July 1945, in accordance with the planned progression of operational control,15 General Stilwell established Headquarters, Ryukyus Area. He assumed responsibility as a joint task force commander directly under
INFANTRYMEN of Company K, 3/305 advance against the last organized enemy positon on Okinawa on 22 June. (Army Photograph)
Admiral Nimitz for the defense and development of all captured islands and the waters within 25 miles. CinCPac dissolved Task Force 31 and Admiral Hill and his staff departed for Pearl Harbor; Rear Admiral Calvin H. Cobb took over as Commander Naval Forces, Ryukyus under General Stilwell. In like manner, TAF, Tenth Army became TAF, Ryukyus. It would be General Stilwell’s mission to coordinate and control the vast effort necessary to support the coming operations against the Japanese home islands.
Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army16
More than a month before the destruction of the Thirty-second Army was completed, planes of General Mulcahy’s Tactical Air Force had joined those from carriers and superfortress bases in bringing the war to the Japanese home islands. The primary mission of the fighter squadrons that comprised the bulk of TAF’s complement was the defense of the Okinawa area from enemy air attack. Efficient execution of that mission demanded destruction and interdiction attacks against staging fields in the northern Ryukyus and air bases on Kyushu that harbored the swarms of Kamikazes.
By 30 June reconnaissance flights reported that two-thirds of the known aircraft strength available to the Japanese had been withdrawn from fields within range of TAF squadrons. With this withdrawal, forced by frequent fighter sweeps and nightly intruder missions flown against the enemy bases after 13 May,17
MAJOR GENERAL FRANCIS P. MULCAHY, Commanding General, Tactical Air Force, Tenth Army, throughout most of the Okinawa campaign.
the potential of the Japanese for seriously interfering with the development program on Okinawa ceased to exist.
The most important element of TAF was Brigadier General William J. Wallace’s Air Defense Command which controlled the air warning squadrons of MAG-43 and the Marine and Army fighter groups assigned to Tenth Army. General Wallace considered the Kamikaze menace to be his primary problem, and from 7 April when Corsairs of VMF-311 splashed TAF’s first suicide plane while flying in to Yontan, the emphasis of his command was placed on meeting and stopping the destructive attacks. Tactical flights were airborne from Yontan and Kadena on the first day that squadrons of MAG-31 and -33 reached their new bases from CVE transports. Despite frequent bombing and shelling that damaged both planes and runways, aviation engineers and ground crews kept the fields operative and the planes aloft. Before the end of April TAF had flown 3,521 combat air patrol sorties and downed or helped to down 143¾ potential suiciders.
The tempo of air defense stepped up during May as additional planes from MAG-22 and the Army’s 318th Fighter Group increased TAF strength. Long-range Army P-47’s, rising from airfields on Ie Shima, hit Kyushu in the first of many attacks on 17 May. A barrier combat air patrol was established north of Okinawa, and more than 6,700 sorties were flown to protect troops on the island and picket ships on its defensive perimeter. Despite foul weather which severely hampered air operations and worked to the benefit of enemy raiders during much of May, the total of planes shot out of the air by TAF rose to 369. During the same period (7 April-31 May) only three American planes were shot down by Japanese pilots out of 109 aircraft lost to all causes including operational accidents.
Throughout June and especially after the termination of organized resistance on Okinawa, increasingly stronger attacks against Japanese bases were mounted. MAG-14 and the remaining two groups of the Army’s 301st Fighter Wing were added to the TAF strength during the month. Unfortunately, General Mulcahy, who had commanded the joint Marine-Army aerial task force since its inception, was in such poor health that he was unable to finish out the campaign with his pilots. On 11 June, Major General Louis E. Woods assumed command of both TAF and the 2d Marine Aircraft Wing.
On 30 June the score card for air defense showed 600 Japanese planes shot down by TAF with 484½ kills credited to Marine squadrons. Only 41 Marine aircraft were reported lost to enemy air or antiaircraft action during the course of the campaign.18
Although the majority of the more than 29,000 sorties flown by planes of General Wallace’s Air Defense Command were combat air patrols and far-ranging fighter sweeps, direct support of ground operations was an important part of the TAF mission. Plans for ICEBERG had provided that TAF would assume full responsibility for air defense of Okinawa as soon as the amphibious phase of the operation was ended. However, because of “the all out efforts of Japanese aircraft and the success of their Kamikaze suicide attacks directed against
TWO DIVISIONS OF VMTB-231 fly over the scarred terrain of southern Okinawa while returning from a strike against Kiyamu Peninsula defenses.
naval units, operational control of aircraft in the Ryukyus remained with the Navy until the area was secured.”19 As much as 60 per cent of ground support missions were flown by Navy and Marine20 carrier pilots, while the Tenth Army’s air force made its main effort against the Kamikazes. The allocation of planes–both land- and carrier-based–for each day’s missions were made on board Admiral Turner’s and later Admiral Hill’s flagship by the Commander Air Support Control Units (CASCU) on the basis of intelligence reports and availability data furnished by subordinate commands.
To at least one TAF air group commander “it seemed strange for planes off the carriers to come in for close support missions, passing Marine planes flying out for CAP duty, when it was the Marines who were supposed to be close support experts.”21 Even the CVE’s Block Island and Gilbert Islands, which arrived in the Ryukyus in May with an all-Marine flight complement and a primary mission as designated by Admiral King of close troop support,22 spent
A FULL SALVO of eight 5-inch rockets is fired by a Marine Corsair against an enemy target in northern Okinawa.
more time blasting targets in Sakishima Gunto than they did bombing and strafing ahead of Tenth Army lines. Rear Admiral Calvin C. Durgin, who commanded the escort carriers at Okinawa, provided a partial explanation of this anomaly when he pointed out that Navy CVE squadrons were similarly specially trained in close air support techniques and that:
The advent of Marine Air Groups in CVE’s should not be permitted to complicate the support carrier picture any more than is necessary. . . . Marine Air Groups should be and probably are as flexible as navy squadrons and groups, and should remain so, and should expect no preferential treatment. To assign all Marine squadrons to direct support work would probably work to the detriment of morale of the Navy groups and squadrons and this command sees at present writing no reason for such assignments and has no intention of allowing it to occur.23
The aerial support of ground operations at Okinawa was handled through a smoothly functioning system of coordinating agencies. Once the operation was underway Marine Landing Force Air Support Control Units (LAFASCU’s), commanded by Colonel Vernon E. Magee, acted as the representatives ashore of the Navy CASCU and relayed all orders concerning aircraft direct to TAF. At Tenth Army headquarters LAFASCU-3 coordinated the work of LAFASCU-1 and -2 which handled the air support requests of IIIAC and XXIV Corps respectively. Front line direction of close support missions by both TAF and carrier aircraft was provided by Air Liaison Parties (ALP’s) from the Joint Assault Signal Companies (JASCO’s) attached to each division. LAFASCU-3 “screened all requests for air support of the ground troops and ordered Tactical Air Force to fulfill such of those missions as was consistent with the required Combat Air Patrol.”24
Navy ASCU’s on board amphibious force flagships directed 6,908 ground support sorties during the first days of April before the Marine control units were set up ashore. After the LAFASCU’s took over they controlled 10,506 close support sorties during which carrier and TAF planes expended 4,725 tons of bombs, 37,653 5-inch rockets, and 1,116 tanks of napalm on enemy targets.
The value of close air support was proven repeatedly on Okinawa where “ground troops attacking with close air support were materially aided in taking enemy strong points.”25 The actual instances of bombing and strafing friendly troops were surprisingly few considering the quantities of flame and explosives dropped on the Japanese from a sky that seemed at times to be actually crowded with planes attacking targets as close as 100 yards26 to American lines. Foul weather and the requirements of aerial defense limited the number of air support requests that could be granted.27 Army units getting their first real taste of close air support were “insatiable in their demands”28 for aerial attacks, matching the Marines in their enthusiasm for this tactic.
The senior Marine commanders, who had worked steadfastly throughout the Pacific War
to increase the quality and quantity of close air support, were convinced that more extensive use of the Air Liaison Party at division, regimental, and battalion levels would sharply increase its effectiveness. They believed that the ALP’s, with proper communication equipment and training, were capable of taking over control of strike groups from LAFASCUs and “talking” the pilots directly onto their targets.29 The reason this procedure of direct ground-air communication and control between ALP’s and planes (developed by the Marine Corps and utilized by the 1st and 6th Division in their training cycle) was not used was explained by Colonel Magee who commented that:
. . . to have permitted each battalion liaison party to control striking aircraft on a corps front of only ten miles, when many simultaneous air strikes were being run, would obviously have led only to pandemonium and grave hazard for all concerned. On the other hand, where conditions approximated those in the Philippines, i. e., battalion or regimental actions in an uncrowded area, actual control of aircraft was frequently delegated to the air liaison party.30
The air support missions flown for Tenth Army by TAF were not limited to strikes against ground targets. Numerous observation flights were made to provide intelligence officers with first-hand information of enemy dispositions. The Army’s 28th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron rephotographed the entire Okinawa Gunto area to help correct errors found on L-Day maps and provided assault commanders with large-scale aerial photographs of masked terrain features in their zones of action. Hundreds of air supply drops enabled assault troops to maintain the impetus of attack when terrain and weather cut off the front lines from regular supply channels.
Between 3 and 18 April 70 planeloads of ammunition, rations, and water, packaged and loaded by teams of the Air Delivery Section of
AIRDROP was often the only means by which front line troops could be supplied.
IIIAC, were parachuted from CVE-based torpedo bombers to isolated units of the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions. In the battle for southern Okinawa, two Marine squadrons, VMTB-232 (from 20 April) and VMTB-131 (from 30 May),31 provided the planes and pilots that pinpointed air drop zones with 760 loads of vitally needed supplies for both Marine and Army units. In all, 495,257 pounds of variegated supplies were dropped with a 98 per cent recovery rate by ground troops.32
The contribution of these highly-skilled pilots and equally proficient air delivery specialists is evidenced by the letter of appreciation sent to Major Allen L. Feldmeier and the members of VMTB-232 by General del Valle on behalf of the 1st Marine Division. In it he noted that during the period 30 May-9 June his assault
units were almost entirely supplied by air deliveries and that the “unerring accuracy of VMTB-232 in making drops during all types of weather and enemy fire contributed immeasurably to the continued advance of this division during a period when supply routes were impassable.”33
On 24 June, General Geiger, a naval aviator himself, culminated the stream of commendatory messages that flooded TAF from ships and ground units when he wrote to General Woods that the air support provided by TAF was “outstanding. and contributed materially to a speedy and successful completion of the campaign.”34
Between 7 April, when the first Corsair of MAG-31 touched down on Yontan airfield, and 30 June when it had over 750 planes under its control, TAF swelled enormously to meet the constantly changing pattern of air operations in the Ryukyus. At the end of the third month of the Okinawa operation, General Woods commanded a Marine Aircraft Wing with four fighter groups, an Army Fighter Wing with three groups, and a Bomber Command with one light, one medium,35 and two heavy bomb groups assigned.
The character of the air war in the Ryukyus shifted swiftly from fighter defense to bomber offense after the completion of the ground campaign on Okinawa. On 14 July, its mission completed, TAF was dissolved, and the Far Eastern Air Force assumed control of the widening span of attacks against Japan.
Island Command Activities36
Major General Fred C. Wallace’s Island Command had perhaps the most complex task of any major element of Tenth Army participating in ICEBERG. It had the concurrent missions of providing administrative and logistical support of combat operations, executing the CinCPOA base development plan, and assuming, as directed by the Commanding General, Tenth Army, the responsibility for garrison and defense of Okinawa and its outlying islands. In order to accomplish these diversified assignments, Island Command was set up as the controlling and coordinating agency of a vast multipurpose joint task force. In much the same manner that the Air Defense Command encompassed a large part of TAF’s groups and squadrons, Island Command directed the efforts of a substantial portion of Tenth Army’s service and support troops. “In effect, Island Command [operated] as a combined Army Service Area and advance section of a Communication Zone.”37
As the area of active combat steadily decreased, the scope of command delegated by Tenth Army to General Wallace correspondingly increased. By the end of June he controlled 153,000 men and was responsible for the defense and development of every major island in the Okinawa Gunto.38 Reporting to him were the commanding officers of the Naval Operating Base, Joint Communication Activities, Hydrographic Survey, Army and Navy Air Bases, Construction Troops, Military Government, and Ground Defense Forces. In addition to these type commands, General Wallace exercised control over a considerable body of service troops assigned directly to his headquarters.
The cancellation of Phase III operations against Miyako and Kikai Shima late in April transferred the bulk of base development operations and troops slated for other islands in the Ryukyus to Okinawa. Revised plans called for
TRAFFIC CIRCLE south of Kadena airfield handled as many as 20,000 vehicles a day by mid-August.
double the number of airfields originally scheduled and a corresponding increase in supply installations and troop staging, rehabilitation, and training areas. However, until the enemy Thirty-second Army was destroyed, first priority on the services of Island Command units was given to direct combat support of Tenth Army air and ground operations.
As an instance of this singleness of purpose, General Buckner directed all airfield construction units to concentrate on maintenance of supply roads during the period of heavy rains in late May and early June when mud threatened to halt the Tenth Army attack. Despite such delays incident to the weather, the first American-built airstrip on Okinawa, a 7,000-foot runway at Yontan, was completed by 17 June. Before the end of the month five airfields were operational and eight of the 18 proposed and sited were in the process of rehabilitation or construction to meet the demands of a burgeoning bomber force.
The engineering task of the construction troops of Island Command during the campaign was not confined to air base development and road maintenance. Over 160 miles of existing native roads were widened to take two-lane traffic, and 37 miles of new two-, three-, and four-lane highway were built to accommodate the increasing load of supply and troop traffic. New beaches were opened, piers constructed, and dump areas cleared to handle the supply buildup. A water system adequate for the needs of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians was developed. Pipelines and tank farms capable of handling vast quantities of aviation gas
to meet current and projected needs were built. A good start was made on the job of constructing the hundreds of headquarters, hospital, and storage buildings necessary for operations against Japan.
Island Command’s responsibilities became so complex as the campaign progressed that they defy complete description. For example, elements of General Wallace’s organization handled such widely separated tasks for Tenth Army as the maintenance of communications with higher headquarters, the processing of casualties evacuated by air and sea, the handling of all classes of supply from ship to combat boundaries, and the administration of enemy civilians and control of prisoners of war. In short, Island Command eventually became responsible for every logistical task necessary for the successful continuation of Tenth Army combat operations.
After the end of organized resistance, the emphasis of the logistical effort shifted to preparation for future operations. Tremendous areas were pre-empted in southern Okinawa and on Motobu Peninsula for base development, which substantially altered the pre-invasion topography and way of life on the island. For the duration of the war, at least, much of the arable land and many of the most heavily populated areas were lost to the native inhabitants, who became, in effect, wards of Island Command.
Military government, as it operated on Okinawa, was, like so many Tenth Army activities, a joint service effort. The JCS had assigned the task of governing the Ryukyus to the Navy, but Admiral Nimitz requested and received permission for the Army to assume that responsibility since ICEBERG would be primarily an Army effort once the amphibious phase was over. Although the War Department was unable to provide sufficient trained personnel to take over the entire military government operation, it provided 183 officers including the Deputy Commander for Military Government, Brigadier General William E. Crist, and the Navy furnished the remainder of the officers and all of the enlisted men necessary to operate the various teams at division, corps, and army level.
27TH DIVISION PATROL scouts a stream bed during the three-month mop-up drive in northern Okinawa. (Army Photograph)
During the initial stages of ground combat, military government on Okinawa took on the aspect of a “disaster relief operation–food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care, and sanitation–and evacuation of civilians with speed from the fighting front to rear areas, so as not to hamper military operations”39 was the primary consideration. In this situation, the talents of many specialists in civil government processes, assigned to teams at corps and division level, were not adequately realized. As the area of actual combat diminished and the civilian population was concentrated in northern Okinawa, strong efforts were made to develop a self-sustaining economy and to reinstitute most normal civil governmental functions with an increasing participation by the Okinawans themselves.
Largely because of the fairness and decency of military government personnel in dealing with the natives, the Okinawans overcame their Japanese-inspired fear of Americans and were surprisingly cooperative. “A deep impression was made by American failure to discriminate against the poor and ragged,”40 and the strict impartiality of treatment that characterized military government operations. The magnitude of the task performed by the few hundred men assigned to military government agencies
can be gauged by the fact that 261,115 civilians were in their charge on 30 June 1945 and an additional 100,000 before the end of the war.
General Wallace’s mission of garrison and defense of occupied areas involved considerable mopping-up operations that assumed at times the magnitude of pitched battles. Most of the resistance was encountered on Okinawa proper where the 27th Infantry Division was the main garrison force, but enemy outbreaks occurred from time to time in Kerama Retto also.41
On 2 May when the 27th Division officially passed to Island Command control, the 165th Infantry was assigned responsibility for the former 1st Marine Division sector, and the 105th and 106th42Infantry were sent north to relieve the 6th Marine Division on Motobu Peninsula and in the areas farther north. The next two weeks were spent in intensive patrolling, assisting military government teams in the collection of civilians, and in blowing caves and prepared positions found within zones of responsibility. Gradually the toll of Japanese killed rose from an average of three or four to 15 a day, and increasing evidence of recently occupied assembly and bivouac areas was found. The decision was made to make a thorough sweep of northern Okinawa and clean out the remaining Japanese.
On 17 and 18 May the regiments, leaving small detachments behind to protect their bivouac areas, assembled at the base of the Ishikawa Isthmus and on 19 May began a sweep northward with three regiments abreast. Five days later the men had reached Onna Take, a heavily forested 1,000-foot hill mass in the center of the island just north of the isthmus. The Japanese had extensively fortified the area, and the 106th and 165th Infantry fought a ten-day battle in the rain without artillery or air support to reduce the position. When 1/165 and 1/106 finally broke through the defenses they found 195 bodies and the evidence that the enemy had buried many more. Others of the strong point’s garrison had escaped northward, and the 27th Division’s drive continued.
When the fighting in the south of Okinawa ended, the 27th was still sweeping Motobu Peninsula, soon to be the rest camp and training area of the 1st Marine Division. It was 4 August before the mop-up campaign was completed at Hedo Misaki and the division was able to move down out of the hills to return to its bivouac area. Over 1,000 Japanese had been killed and 500 captured in the course of the operation.43
The Okinawa operation represents “the culmination of amphibious development in the Pacific War.”45 Before it was ended “more ships were used, more troops put ashore, more supplies transported, more bombs dropped, more naval guns fired against shore targets”46 than in any previous campaign. But even the staggering wealth of data regarding ICEBERG can not obscure the trenchant demonstration of the validity of fundamental amphibious doctrine. As General Geiger pointed out, the battle for Okinawa “reemphasized most clearly that our basic principles of tactics and technique are sound, are ‘in the book,’ and need only to be followed in combat.”47
Interservice cooperation was the keystone of success at Okinawa where “Army artillery supported Marine infantry and vice versa,” where “Marine and Army planes were used interchangeably and operated under the same tactical command,” where “each contiguous infantry unit was mutually supporting and interdependent,” and where “the Navy’s participation was
vital to both throughout.”48 Instrumental in ensuring the most efficient utilization of the power of the various supporting agencies was the Tenth Army’s system of centralization of target information and assignment.
At each staff level down to the battalion, the artillery officer acted as the target coordinator for infantry support. Working in close conjunction with the NGF and air liaison officers, and using the facilities of a Target Information Center which collated intelligence regarding enemy defenses, he allocated fire missions to the support elements whose capabilities promised the most effective results. The system stood the test of combat without major difficulties and drew unanimous praise from the divisions using it and a recommendation from Tenth Army that it be adopted for all future amphibious operations.49
The majority of ground support missions assigned to TAF planes were pre-planned and did not come as a result of ALP requests. Strikes were usually asked for and assigned through the LAFASCU’s well in advance to allow, where possible, thorough target briefing. As the strength ofKamikaze attacks gradually waned in May and June, more planes became available to ground units and the tempo of close air support stepped up considerably.
The main complaint of the assault battalions concerned the length of time which elapsed between request and execution of a mission. Because the ALP’s could not enter the Support Air Direction (SAD) net linking LAFASCU’s and strike groups, but had to relay their information for the pilots through the control units, many lucrative but fleeting targets escaped aerial destruction. Although Tenth Army did not go as far as the Marine units in recommending more extensive use of ALP’s, it did call for authorization for the ALP’s to enter the SAD net “in an emergency or when necessary to give information to flight units.”50
The role of aerial supply drops in sustaining isolated front line assault units impressed Tenth Army with the need for the formation of a unit similar to the III Corps Air Delivery Section to work with each field army or independent corps. At the same time Tenth Army recommended the disbandment of the JASCO’s that were assigned to each assault division. The marked dissimilarity of training and duties between the various components of these signal companies pointed to more efficient operations if separate air liaison, naval gunfire, and shore party communication units were formed. The NGF spotting and liaison teams were singled out for special commendation because of their competence in handling the tremendous volume of naval shells fired at shore targets.
Approximately 579,000 rounds from 5-inch or greater caliber naval rifles were expended in shore bombardment on Okinawa. On L-Day alone, in “the heaviest concentration of naval gunfire ever delivered in support of the landing of troops,”51 3,800 tons of shells from battleships, cruisers, and destroyers, and from the rocket racks and mortars of support craft, exploded ashore. Throughout the campaign naval support was readily available to assault units, with ships of TF 54 (later TF 34) alternating between ammunition resupply at Kerama Retto and shore bombardment at Okinawa. At least one call fire ship and one illumination ship were assigned to each front line regiment during most of the campaign, and on occasion, such as the 6th Marine Division’s drive into northern Okinawa, each assault battalion had a destroyer on call.
Because fire support ships were not rotated to the screen but remained on station, their value increased as their gunnery officers and ground and aerial observers became increasingly familiar with the Okinawa terrain and the character of enemy defenses. In most cases, especially when ships were firing directly on observed targets, the high velocity, flat trajectory, and destructive power of the naval rifles enabled them to disrupt enemy activities and neutralize
his installations. However, even the weight of broadsides from battleship main batteries was insufficient to penetrate many of the enemy cave positions. The task of reducing the intricate network of deeply dug-in defenses was impossible for any single supporting arm to accomplish. Even the artillery, which used every expedient including the use of antiaircraft guns and LVT(A) howitzers to supplement regular fires, were stymied continually by the impenetrability of the Shuri and Kiyamu fortifications.
During most of the battle for southern Okinawa, the artillery battalions of all six divisions were in line to support the attack. While infantry units were rotated on the front lines, artillery outfits stayed in position and maintained a constant drumfire of support. Marine and Army corps artillery provided 12 battalions for general support to reinforce the fires of the 24 divisional battalions. In addition, IIIAC organized, trained, and used its two LVT(A) battalions as field artillery, giving each the equivalent reinforcing power of a four-battalion regiment of 75mm howitzers.
During the campaign field artillery battalions alone fired 1,766,352 rounds52 in support of the infantry. The governing factor in the assignment of artillery units to general and direct support roles was need. The centralized fire direction and target assignment system enabled artillery officers to mass the fires of all guns within range of any given target in minimum time. Coordination between Marine and Army units was exceptional, and a pervading spirit of cooperation placed the protection and support of the infantryman ahead of all other considerations.
The strength of the Japanese defenses on Okinawa and the expectation that future ground operations against the enemy home islands would call for vastly increased firepower led Tenth Army to recommend a heavy increase in Corps artillery. In addition to a field artillery observation battalion and four group headquarters and headquarters batteries, the proposed new strength included the following firing battalions: one 105mm howitzer (self-propelled); three 155mm howitzer; one 155mm howitzer (self-propelled); two 155mm gun; one 155mm gun (self-propelled); two 8-inch howitzer; one 8-inch howitzer (self-propelled); and one 240mm howitzer. Both the self-propelled units and the additional heavy artillery were added to meet the threat of naturally strong cave positions which were best reduced by direct fire of the heaviest calibers. General Geiger, impressed by the penetrating and destructive power of the 200-pound shells of the 8-inch howitzer as compared to the 95-pound rounds of 155mm weapons, asked for the inclusion of 8-inch battalions in Marine Corps artillery in future campaigns against the Japanese.
The attack on heavily fortified enemy positions is an example of teamwork, or rather the work of many interrelated teams, such as the air-NGF-artillery team, the infantry-tank-artillery team, the infantry-engineer team, and the tank-artillery team. But the partnership of actual assault operations is shared primarily by the tank and the infantryman. On Okinawa, in the judgment of General Shepherd, “if any one supporting arm can be singled out as having contributed more than any others during the progress of the campaign, the tank would certainly be selected.”53The Marine general was supported in his opinion by the commander of the Japanese Thirty-second Army who issued a battle lesson which stated that “the enemy’s power lies in his tanks. It has become obvious that our general battle against the American forces is a battle against their M-1 and M-4 tanks.”54
Tenth Army units lost 153 tanks to all causes during the battle for Okinawa. The loss figure to Japanese action undoubtedly would have been much higher had accompanying infantrymen not been charged with the protection of the tanks from enemy attackers. An elaborate Japanese plan for destroying armored vehicles by close-in assault with hand-thrown mines and demolition charges failed miserably in the face of infantry covering fire. Only seven tanks from the five Army battalions in Okinawa were
initially put out of action by individual attackers, while the 6th Marine Division had only three disabled, and the 1st Marine Division reported no tanks lost because “the alertness of the covering infantry and the tank crews prevented the successful completion of these attacks.”55
Armor was used entirely as an infantry weapon on Okinawa, and the one time the tanks attempted to operate without infantry support, during the 27th Division’s attack at Kakazu Ridge on 19 April, the results were disastrous. The success of the tank-infantry team was due to the stress laid in training and in combat on mutual cooperation: the tank supported and protected the infantryman and vice versa. When the heavy rainfall of late May prevented tank support of assault battalions, Tenth Army’s attack on the Shuri defenses bogged down.
Companies of the Army’s 713th Armored Flamethrower Battalion, the first of its type to be formed and see sustained action, supported both Marine and Army units in Okinawa, eliciting only the highest praise for a “consistently outstanding record of performance.”56 Covered by the fire of infantry and standard medium tanks, the flame tanks were particularly effective in burning out enemy positions in rocky crags, on reverse slopes, and in the fortified ruins of villages. Both IIIAC and XXIV Corps recommended increased use of the armored flame throwers, with General Hodge asking for the attachment of two battalions in future operations and General Geiger recommending that a company of these tanks be made organic to each Marine tank battalion.
Another Army supporting weapon which found favor with the Marine infantrymen was the 4.2-inch chemical mortar. Each division of IIIAC had a company of these heavy mortars attached to furnish high angle fire on targets which were not suitable for artillery howitzers or 81mm mortars. The accuracy, long-range, and terrific destructive power of the rifled mortars convinced General del Valle that each Marine division should add a 4.2-inch mortar company to its T/O.
The battle for Okinawa was not marked by startling innovations in infantry tactical methods. As General Geiger reported: “No new or unusual features of infantry combat were disclosed or developed during the campaign on Okinawa which would tend to modify or annul current standard principles or doctrines.”57 Aspects of the Okinawan fighting frequently cited as new developments in the Pacific War, like the extensive use of night attacks and the refinement of tank-infantry tactics, were merely logical applications of existing combat principles stemming from increased familiarity with the enemy and his methods of fighting. In the final analysis the success of battle rested on the quality of the individual infantryman and his training. American material and numerical superiority was insufficient to root the enemy out of his massively strong defenses without prohibitive losses unless the infantryman was thoroughly trained to operate with maximum effectiveness as a member of an assault team.
Trained infantrymen were at a premium on Okinawa once the fighting intensified before Shuri. Replacements that came in during the campaign were often insufficiently trained to take their places in the front lines, yet had to be used to fill the ranks of hard-hit assault units. Attempts were made to give the new men battle indoctrination and unit orientation before they met the enemy and to feed them into their new organizations in periods when these were in reserve. However, the exigencies of the combat situation often dictated that replacements enter combat before they were completely “shaken down” into their units.
In the case of IIIAC where General Geiger “had only two divisions to fight,” it was impossible to effect the “relief of front line divisions for rest and assimilation of replacements.” The use of the triangular organization of a corps for extended operations provided an “automatic reserve,” and without it the Marine
divisions had to remain on line in assault continually. A corps of at least three divisions was considered necessary for maximum effectiveness in any future operations that had the features of infantry combat on Okinawa.58
The practice of Marine divisions training replacement drafts with infantry units and then taking them to the target as shore party labor until casualties forced their use as infantry was duly noted by the understrength divisions of XXIV Corps. Although the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions were severely hampered by the limited training of replacements arriving during the later stages of the campaign, the replacement drafts which accompanied the divisions to the target were quickly integrated when the need for them arose. Tenth Army recommended that each Army division in future operations include a strong replacement company which had been trained with its parent unit. XXIV Corps went further and asked that infantry battalions be allowed to carry a 25 per cent overage of strength to the target and that balanced 1,000-men battalions of infantry replacements be attached to and loaded out with each division.
The concern with the infantry replacement system reflected the high degree of training necessary to make the assault operations of a complex military unit effective. The teamwork of infantry and supporting arms was vital to victory on Okinawa and in the words of Tenth Army’s final action report:
The support rendered the infantry by naval gunfire, artillery, air and tanks was adequate in every respect. Without such magnificent support, little progress could have been made by the infantry in their advance against the heavily organized enemy positions in southern Okinawa. Supporting fires enabled the infantry to carry out the tremendous task of repeated assaults against strongly fortified positions.59
Key to Conquest60
Fleet Admiral King in his post-victory report to the Secretary of the Navy observed that “the outstanding development of this war, in the field of joint undertakings, was the perfection of amphibious operations, the most difficult of all operations in modern warfare.”61 ICEBERG was the culmination of that development in the Pacific, but it was merely a foretaste of the operations that were planned against Japan itself. Okinawa was destined to play a major part in these operations as a staging and supporting base, thereby more than justifying the heavy cost of its capture in human lives.
In the fall of 1945, a three-pronged assault on southern Kyushu, code-named OLYMPIC, was to be mounted by the Sixth Army with ten infantry divisions and three Marine divisions (2d, 3d, and 5th). Early in the spring of 1946, operation CORONET was planned to bring the Eighth and Tenth Armies ashore in assault on the Tokyo Plain, with the First Army trans-shipped from Europe to furnish a ten-division reserve. In CORONET, the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions together with the 4th Marine Division were to strike the Japanese again as part of IIIAC.
By the beginning of August 1945 Tenth Army had lost a large part of its striking force as infantry units were shifted to other islands in the Pacific for rest, rehabilitation, and training. The 77th Division and part of the 96th were in the Philippines, and headquarters of IIIAC and the whole of the 6th Division were located in the Marianas. The time of the combat troops remaining on Okinawa was divided between routine mopping-up activities and preparations for the coming assault on Japan.
The influx of garrison, service, and support troops kept pace with the departure of infantry units as southern Okinawa assumed the aspects of a vast supply and munitions dump. Fleet logistical operations at Kerama Retto were rapidly transferred to Chimu Wan and Buckner Bay62 after 1 July as construction battalions
SURRENDER of all Japanese Forces in the Ryukyus takes place on 7 September at Tenth Army Headquarters. (Army Photograph)
worked feverishly to complete the development of naval operating base installations. It is doubtful if the assault troops that landed on 1 April would have recognized their battleground by August, for the topography of Okinawa underwent a drastic change as soon as engineers could turn their full attention from combat support to base development activities. Hills were leveled and ravines filled, and enormous storage areas came into being where Americans and Japanese had struggled short weeks before. New highways interlaced the island, connecting the camps, airfields, dumps, and headquarters that studded the altered landscape.
As the preparations to support projected amphibious operations against Japan kept pace with target schedules, the fury of aerial destruction mounted from Okinawa increased. By mid-August the Far Eastern Air Force had four heavy bomber, five light and medium bomber, and nine fighter groups striking the enemy homeland. Plans called for 47 groups, including 12 of B-29’s, to be based on Okinawa in time to support OLYMPIC.
The news of the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki came with startling suddenness in the midst of all-out war preparations. On 10 August, “at 2113 hours a spontaneous celebration broke out all over Okinawa when the local radio station interrupted its evening musical broadcast program with a dramatic announcement that Japan desired to surrender
under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration.”63 Offensive operations continued unchecked, however, until the last day of the war to emphasize to the Japanese that delay in meeting the ultimatum of unconditional surrender would be disastrous. The end of nearly four years of bitter fighting in the Pacific was signaled on Okinawa early on the morning of 15 August. Acting on directive from higher headquarters, the commander of the 7th Air Force messaged his subordinate tactical groups to “cancel all missions against Japan. Recall all airborne aircraft.”64 The war with Japan was over.
On all the conquered islands of the Pacific wide distribution was given to the Imperial Rescript ordering the Japanese to lay down their arms. Intensive efforts were made to persuade enemy holdouts to surrender and prevent needless bloodshed. On Okinawa, as the word of defeat was gradually spread and believed, hundreds of enemy soldiers and sailors turned themselves in to Tenth Army forces. Large organized groups65 surrendered near Machinato, Kunishi, Nago, Oroku, and Mabuni during August and September. Stragglers continued to come in for months after the fighting ended. After the war, surviving officers of the Thirty-second Army, using Japanese demobilization records, estimated that approximately 10,000 Japanese Army and Navy personnel and 8,000 Okinawans (Boeitai and conscripts) had survived the battle for Okinawa.66
On 26 August 1945, General of the Army MacArthur, appointed Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific to accept the Japanese surrender, authorized General Stilwell to negotiate the capitulation of enemy garrisons in the Ryukyus. In accordance with Stilwell’s orders, the top enemy commanders appeared at Tenth Army headquarters on 7 September to sign “unconditional surrender documents representing the complete capitulation of the Ryukyus Islands and over 105,000 Army and Navy forces.”67 Appropriately enough, the ten-minute surrender ceremony took place in the presence of representative Army and Marine infantry and tank platoons while hundreds of planes flashed by overhead.
When surrender teams were organized to supervise the actual disarmament of enemy garrisons, their infantry components were made up of converted AAA battalions. The combat troops that had seized Okinawa Gunto had been chosen to take part in the occupation of Japan and Korea and the repatriation of Japanese troops from North China. The 4th Marines of the 6th Division, inheritors of the name and traditions of the regiment captured at Corregidor, went ashore at Yokosuka Naval Base on 30 August, three days before the formal surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri. The remainder of IIIAC was sent to China in late September and early October: corps headquarters and the 1st Division to Tientsin and Peiping and the 6th Division (less the 4th Marines) to Tsingtao. The 27th Division was airlifted to Honshu and the 7th Division, as the advance force of the XXIV Corps was shipped to Korea in September.
The transfer of control of the Nansei Shoto to the United States in the brief surrender ceremony at Tenth Army headquarters on 7 September 1945 marked the beginning of a new era of American influence in the Pacific. Okinawa and its satellites in the Ryukyus, wrested from the Japanese at heavy cost, were entrusted to American hands by the United Nations. The strategic position of the islands in relation to China, Japan, and the Philippines, their potential in terms of airfields, anchorages, and forward supply bases, made them too important to relinquish in the face of unsettled world conditions. Okinawa’s post-war destiny was to serve as the western bastion of the defenses of the United States.
1. Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from Tenth Army AR; IIIAC AR; XXIV Corps AR; 1st MarDiv SAR; 6th MarDiv SAR, Ph III; 7th InfDiv AR; 77th InfDiv OpRpt, Okinawa; 96th InfDiv AR.
2. Tenth Army G-2 Rpt No 92, 26Jun45, Annex A, Rpt by 7th InfDiv G-2.
3. CinCPac War Diary, June 1945, 75.
4. The APD Barry was hit and severely damaged by a suicider late in May. A Board of Inspection and Survey recommended that she be decommissioned and canabalized. The hulk was under tow to its final station as a Kamikaze decoy when it fulfilled its mission. Ibid.
5. Ibid. The toll of naval casualties on 21-22 June was 30 KIA, 154 WIA, and 193 MIA. CTF 31 AR, Part III, 95-97.
6. Campaigns, 12, 339; USSBS Interrogation No 62, Capt Rikibei Inoguchi, IJN, I, 63. The enemy air forces in the Formosa area called off their part of the attack against Okinawa in early June because they were convinced that the Sakishima Gunto would be invaded in the near future. Okinawa Operations Record, Record of the 8th Air Div, 30.
7. CTF 31 AR, Part III, 97-106.
8. During the early planning for ICEBERG, Kume Shima was considered as a possible target for Phase III if further reconnaissance proved the island suitable for airfield development. The assault force tentatively allotted for the operation was 25,736 men, including one infantry division, and the estimated casualties were set at 4,000. ICEBERG Study, Appendix H.
9. 1/7 SAR, 25. It was necessary to transfer men from other companies of 1/7 into Co A in order to build that unit up to the three-quarter strength called for in the attachment order.
10. CTF 31 AR, Part III, 99.
11. AmphReconBn AR, Phase III, Encl A, The Assault and Capture of Kume Shima, 15 Aug 45. Two fire fights with the lightly-armed enemy garrison in early July resulted in the capture of three of the four machine guns that had been its principal armament and the death of six Japanese. Constant aggressive patrolling forced the survivors to scatter into the hills in the interior of the island where they offered no threat to the successful operation of air warning facilities.
12. IntelMono, Part I, Sect B, Chap 2, 3. Japanese sources indicate that approximately 75,000 soldiers and 50,000 Okinawan noncombatants were killed during the campaign and that half of the survivors were wounded. Okinawa Operations Record, 125.
13. See Appendix VI for the final compilation by unit of all Marine casualties.
15. Tenth Army Tentative OpPlan 1-45, 6Jan45, Annex 1, 4.
16. Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from R. Sherrod, History of Marine Aviation in World War II, (Washington, 1952), hereinafter cited as Marine Aviation History; TAF AR; 2d MAW War Diary, April-July 1945; MAG-43 War Diary, April 1945; TAF Air Defense Command War Diary, May-July 1945.
17. The first strike mission and first night fighter mission were both flown off Okinawa on 13 May. Fighter-bombers of VMF-441 attacked the airfield at Kikai Jima and night fighters of VMF(N)-543 hit targets on Amami-O-Shima.
19. Tenth Army AR, Chap 11, Sect VII, 5.
20. For the story of the operations of carrier-based Marine squadrons that supported the Okinawa operation see Marine Aviation History, 357-368.
21. Ibid., 386.
22. Adm King had followed the recommendations of senior Marine troop commanders in the Marianas campaign (LtGen H. M. Smith, MajGen H. Schmidt, and MajGen R. S. Geiger) in designating four CVE’s for close troop support with an all-Marine flight complement embarked. See Maj O. R. Lodge, The Recapture of Guam, MC Historical Monograph, (Washington, 1951),109, 168.
23. Quoted in Marine Aviation History, 397, which adds that “the core of this argument resembles nothing so much as the Army’s thesis that ‘anybody can do amphibious operations.'”
24. TAF AR, Chap 6, Sect III, 1.
25. 7th InfDiv AR, 42.
26. 96th InfDiv History, 154.
27. IIIAC requested 704 air support missions and had 562 filled. IIIAC AR, Appendix 3, Summary of Air Support. XXIV Corps requested 945 missions and received 630. XXIV Corps AR,47.
28. Col V. E. Magee quoted in Marine Aviation History, 411.
29. IIIAC AR, 197-198; 1st MarDiv SAR, Air Support Annex; 6th MarDiv SAR, Ph I&II, Part X, 24-26.
30. Quoted in J. A. Isely and P. A. Crowl, The U. S. Marines and Amphibious War, (Princeton, 1951), 567, hereinafter cited as The U. S. Marines and Amphibious War. For the story of Marine close air support in the recapture of the Philippines, see Maj C. W. Boggs, Jr., Marine Aviation in the Philippines, MC Historical Monograph, (Washington, 1951).
31. The TBF’s of these squadrons were included in TAF primarily for antisubmarine warfare, but VMTB-232 was not equipped with essential sound ranging gear and the job of day antisubmarine patrol was taken over by Kerama-based seaplanes until VMTB-131 arrived at the target.
32. Air Delivery Sect, IIIAC H&S Bn AR, ICEBERG, 24 Jun 45, 1-3.
33. 2d MAW War Diary, June 1945, 3. Showing the versatility of the TBF pilots and the various types of jobs they performed, this same squadron received a letter of commendation from the CG, XXIV Corps for “the outstanding performance, excellent cooperation, and enthusiasm which VMTB-232 has shown in accomplishing close support, heckler, and observation missions.” Ibid.
34. Ibid., 9.
35. The B-25’s of the 47th and 48th BombSqn(M) of the 41st BombGrp(M) arrived on Okinawa on 28 June and the first strike on Kyushu, escorted by P-47’s of the 301st FtrWing, was made on 1 July.
36. Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from IsCom AR; MilGovtSect, IsCom, Histories of MilGovtOpns on Okinawa, April-August 1945; 27th InfDiv OpRpt.
37. Tenth Army AR, Chap 11, Sect XXVI, 1.
38. Izena Shima to the north of Okinawa was scouted on 23 June by patrols of the 2d MarDiv RcnCo operating from its base on Iheya Shima. No enemy soldiers were found and the 4,000 civilians were reported to be friendly in attitude. The island passed to IsCom control on 24 June. On 29 June, Kume Shima, seized by the FMF AmphRcnBn (Reinf), came under IsCom.
39. Tenth Army AR, Chap 11, Sect XXVII, 3-4.
40. History of MilGovtOpns on Okinawa, July 1945. 31Aug45. 8.
41. On 23 May 2/305 was relieved as the garrison of Kerama Retto by a provisional infantry battalion formed from the 870th AAA(AW) Bn. The former AAA men were given some infantry training by experienced 27th InfDiv officers and NCO’s and operated against the numerous survivors of the sea raiding battalions hidden out in the rugged hills of the island group until the end of the war.
42. The 106th InfRegt operated throughout the mop-up of northern Okinawa without its 2d Bn, which relieved elements of the 305th Inf as the garrison force for Ie Shima on 6 May.
43. 27th InfDiv History, 649.
44. Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from U.S. Marines and Amphibious War; Tenth Army AR; IIIAC AR; XXIV Corps AR; 1st MarDiv SAR; 6th MarDiv SAR, Ph I&II; 6th MarDiv SAR, Ph III.
45. U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, 551.
47. IIIAC AR, 194.
48. U.S. Marines and Amphibious War, 578.
49. Regarding this fire support system, the CO of the 11th Mar commented that “for the first time in the Pacific, coordination of naval gunfire and air support with artillery was prescribed in army orders, a forerunner of the present FSCC [Fire Support Coordination Center]. Examination of the records will show that each division and corps, Army and Marine, used a different modification of it. It is worthy of note that the system used by the First Marine Division was most like what we have today.” Brown.
50. Tenth Army AR, Chap 10, Sect III, 5.
51. Ibid., Chap 11, Sect V, 6.
52. The breakdown by type shows: 75mm How–166,068; 105mm How–1,104,630; 155mm How–346,914; 155mm Gun–129,624; 8-inch How–19,116.
53. 6th MarDiv SAR, Ph III, Part III, 28.
54. Quoted in the preface to 1st MarDiv SAR, Tank Support Annex.
55. Ibid., 23-24.
56. Ibid., 41. All standard tank battalions on Okinawa had some tanks equipped with small flame throwers of limited range capable of firing through either the bow gunner’s or a periscope mount. Of the three types used, the gun tube flame thrower of the 713th TkBn was considered “an all around better weapon and the most practicable of the three.” Tenth Army AR, Chap 11, Sect IX, 12.
57. IIIAC AR, 103.
58. Ibid., 195.
59. Tenth Army AR, Chap 11, Sect IX, 1.
60. Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from War Reports; 1st Information and Historical Service, Documents Relating to the Surrender of Japanese Garrison in the Ryukyus and the Occupation of that Area by Elements of the Tenth Army, September and October 1945, 9Dec45, hereinafter cited as Surrender Documents.
61. War Reports, 658.
62. Early in July Nakagusuku Wan was renamed Buckner Bay in honor of the deceased Tenth Army commander. RAdm W. R. Carter, Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil, (Washington, 1953), 365.
63. HqSqn, Air Defense Command-2 War Diary, August 1945.
64. 2d MAW War Diary, August 1945, 5.
65. On 28Aug45 the commander of the enemy 32d Regt brought in 55 officers, 342 enlisted men, and 105 civilians who had been hiding out in caves in the Itoman-Kunishi area. Tenth Army G-2 Weekly Summary, 26Aug-1Sept45, in Tenth Army G-3 Jnl and File, 6Sept45.
66. Okinawa Operations Record, 125. On 15Sept45 the official total of POW’s was 10,988 combat and 3,842 labor troops. Tenth Army G-3 Weekly Summary, 9-15Sept45, in Tenth Army G-3 Jnl and File, 19Sept45.
67. News Release contained in Surrender Documents.