Tagged: Japan

Landing at Okinawa

                                                            

 

Landing at Okinawa



1 Apr-21 Jun 1945

From Peter Chen:

It was April 1st, 1945. April 1st was Easter. April 1st was April Fools day. April 1st was the beginning of the battle for Okinawa. It was under what was known as Operation Iceberg.

Operation Iceberg struck the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands on that date of April 1st , 1945.  Okinawa was a relatively large island, 60 miles long and eight miles wide; it was the largest of the Ryukyu Archipelago situated between Taiwan and Japan. Immediately to its west was the small island of Ie Shima. Before the landing operation started, Allied bombers softened Okinawa of its defenses and morale, which resulted in the destruction of over 80% of the city of Naha and the sinking of over 65 boats. Admiral Richmond Turner, veteran commander of amphibious forces, delivered landing forces, with ships of the British Pacific Fleet among his vanguard. The amphibious vehicles landed the 96th and 7th Army Divisions on the left flank, and the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions were delivered on the right. Once on land, the combined forces of Chester Nimitz’s Marines and Douglas MacArthur’s soldiers, the first time their men fought side-by-side, were placed under the command of Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. The landing was not resisted, much to the surprise of the landers. There were no coastal guns, no mortars, and no machine guns; it was a scene very much unlike the previous landings elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Deep in the island, however, the 110,000-strong Japanese garrison led by Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, augmented by 20,000 volunteer Okinawan militiamen, awaited. Read more »

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Surrender, August 6, 9, 15, 1945

(Wikipedia)

From the pages of Pain and Purpose in the Pacific 

“At 2¦45 a.m., the morning of the 6th August 1945, the B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets Jr. of the 509th Composite Group, lifted off the 8,5oo foot long Runway Able of Tinian’s North Field for destination Hiroshima, Japan. Six and one half hours later Tibbets and the crew found their destination. From 31,600feet, with tail wind allowing a ground speed of 328 m.p.h., they dropped “Little Boy.” The nuclear bomb, weighing 9,700 pounds, measuring 129 inches in length, with a diameter of 31.5 inches, contained 137.5 pounds of Uranium 235. “After falling to an altitude of 800 feet, nuclear fission began in one fifteen-hundredth of a micro-second. The firebomb that erupted was thousands of degrees hotter than the surface of the sun. It melted granite and vaporized people leaving only their shadows on the few remaining buildings left standing in the city after the blast.”

“One painstakingly calculated report says that single bomb left 122,338 dead, or missing, 30,524 severely injured, and 48,606 slightly injured. Many of the injured would die of the injuries.”

“On August 9th, a second bomb, code named “Fat Man”, which was a 10,000 pound plutonium device and carried by the B-29, Bocks Car and piloted by Major Charles Sweeney, and co-pilot Lieutenant Fred Olivi, had as its primary target the city of Kokura, but bad weather forced the pilot to the alternate target of Nagasaki. On August 14th  a total of 741 B-29s bombed Japan. On August 15th the Japanese government surrendered without conditions. The invasion of the Japanese main islands was avoided. The strategy had proved to be right. ”

“However, in making that crucial decision, maybe as many as 125,000 or more Japanese civilians at Hiroshima, and at least 70,000 more at Nagasaki would die. Thousands more would suffer terribly. Read more »