60 years ago today


A reader writes to remind us that the Battle of Okinawa began 60 years ago today. Neither side expected this to be the last major battle of World War II, but it was, thanks to Fat Man and Little Boy.

The Okinawan civilians suffered enormously, sometimes at the hands of the Imperial Japanese forces, whose demands for suicide resistance were sometimes resisted.

The last and bloodiest major amphibious operation of WWII kicked off with little opposition from the Imperial Japanese defenders. The US 10th Army committed about 60,000 men in two Army and Two Marine divisions to the initial effort. By June 22 when the Island was declared captured The US had suffered:

12,520 US Soldiers and Marines killed
36,613 US Soldiers and Marines wounded
The US Navy lost 4,907 men and 36 ships (none larger than a destroyer and most to Kamikazes')
800 US aircraft lost

The Japanese forces had lost
An Island they considered a part of their homeland which could be used as a base to attack and invade the major home Islands.

About 110,000 soldiers killed (90% of the defending force)
7,400 captured
7,830 aircraft
180 vessels including the super battleship Yamato.

There was also a British Fleet present supporting the invasion.

Never forget those who gave their lives so that we might be free.