Battle of Okinawa April 1 - July 2, 1945

In March, 1945, the last of the great amphibious operations of the War was being planned. Okinawa, in the Ryukyu Islands, was considered part of the Japanese Home Islands. Its proximity to Japan meant that it could not be bypassed.

Unlike other island invasions, the operation in Okinawa would be targeting a large land mass. The battle was the last chance to stop an invasion of the home islands; 100,000 Japanese soldiers were on Okinawa, and 2000 kamikaze aircraft were standing by. The battleship Yamato was readied for a one-way mission to beach itself on Okinawa and use its 18-inch guns as static artillery.

Lt. General Mitsuro Ushijima and Lt. General Isamu Cho exhorted their men to kill ten of the enemy before they died, or one tank. The civilians on Okinawa, like on Saipan, were indoctrinated to believe that the Americans would kill everyone on the island. This would be a very bloody invasion.

The Americans embarked 1,500 ships, the largest Pacific War fleet ever assembled. They embarked 500,000 men from all services. The British sent 22 ships, including fast carriers.