Force. Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations Pacific. To: Facilities and Areas and the Status of United States Armed Forces in Japan Federal holiday and any date a primary, secondary school, or other compulsory education. The United States Forces Japan (USFJ) is an active subordinate unified command of the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM). In , the Koza riot occurred against the US military presence in Okinawa. containing Japanese-language text · Articles containing potentially dated statements from
Traditional dance performers. Once past the age of 65, men can expect to live to about 84, for women it's close to Per head of population, there are more centenarians on Okinawa than anywhere else, five times more than in the rest of Japan, and that's a high bar.
Rates of cancer, stroke, coronary heart disease and depression are well below the average for advanced economies yet they don't go to gyms nor do they jog. Instead you can see elderly Okinawans working in their vegetable gardens, practising tai chi and riding bikes. Food is part of the reason. It's a low-carb diet with lots of fruit, tofu, vegetables and seaweed. Rather than seafood, the No. But is it just down to food?
In historic times the rulers of Okinawa owed their allegiance to the Chinese emperor, not to the bit-players in Japan. In Shuri Castle, former seat of the supreme ruler of Okinawa, a diorama shows a new ruler being anointed by emissaries from China.
Until given the tick by China, he was a ruler in waiting. In the early s the island was invaded by samurai sent by Japan's powerful Satsuma clan, the beginning of a slow but steady incorporation of the Ryukyu Islands into Japan's sphere of influence. Advertisement Another facet of Okinawan culture that traces its origins to China is the noble art of karate, open hand fighting. Chinese martial arts were first introduced around and when the Satsuma samurai banned weapons in the wake of their invasion, Okinawan karate put on a spurt.
According to popular belief it was also this ban on weaponry that gave birth to the even more deadly martial art of kobudo, which uses farm and fishing implements including staves, oars and the chain-linked nunchaku to lethal effect. It's a fascinating collection of photos, books and weaponry as well as a chance to peek at the classes that Hokama conducts for students who come from all over the world. Hokama's specialty is kyusho, attacking nerve points, which allows a small opponent to paralyse a much larger one.
It also involves a severe toughening up exercise to withstand blows, also designed to weaponise elbows, hands, feet and knees. Just watching the pounding that goes on in the warm-up is painful. In Naha, the Dojo bar is tribute to the fighting arts of Okinawa operated by British-born James Pankiewicz, a karate aficionado. It's a favourite hangout for expats as well as the local Okinawan martial arts community and Pankiewicz is the man to know if you've come here to work on your karate, or just absorb the atmosphere.
The Dojo Bar is just as renowned for its range of British draught beers, wines and awomori-based drinks, cure-alls for any martial arts related disorders. Just don't go looking to fight.
The Battle of Okinawa came to its official end on June Almost 5, sailors were killed and 5, wounded. More than 7, Japanese aircraft, kamikazi as well as conventional, were shot down and 36 U.
As for the Japanese army, the battle was a descent into oblivion. Its force of , men was almost totally annihilated. In addition, the Okinawan people—a peace-loving race before they were absorbed by the Japanese in —became victims of violence. IV Okinawa had shocked the American civilian and military leadership. The casualties over a three-month period in a confined land and sea area had been hideous and indicated what the armed forces and their families back home could anticipate in a massive invasion of the rugged, mountainous Japanese mainland.
Against this background Harry Truman asked his advisers what they recommended as the next step. So an invasion was recommended to the President, which he accepted, even though Admiral William D. Leahy, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, projected the Okinawan casualty rate of 35 percent to , Americans killed or wounded out of the , needed for the first invasion thrust against the southern Japanese land mass, Kyushu.
The armed forces medical services were even more pessimistic. But as the two military forces prepared for the ultimate battle, Truman and his associates were aware in June and July that some Japanese civilian leaders had decided that the war could not be won and were seeking a way to bring this about. Rut the conditions they proposed were absurd.
They had the illogical idea that the Soviet Union could arrange a peace with the United States that would not require Tokyo to unconditionally surrender or accept an occupation of the Japanese mainland. Weinberg, author of A World at Arms: Secondly, they demonstrated that so far the advocates of continuing the war were winning out over those who were prepared to surrender, but they might not always be able to do so. With this information, the United States leadership was eager to prod the Japanese to the peace table.
But how should this be done? In May, while the Okinawa campaign was relentlessly underway, a peace feeler had been relayed to the Japanese, but there had been no response from Tokyo. So instead of sending a second feeler at this stage, Truman decided to await the critical new factor— the atomic bomb. The document, proclaimed by the governments of the United States, Britain, and China but not the Soviet Union, since it was not yet at war with Japan , also implied that the Japanese could retain their emperor, a sensitive and most critical point, and indeed Tokyo got that message.
In an effort to encourage capitulation U. He ordered the first atomic bomb to be dropped. On August 6, , at 8: Three days later the Soviet Union, which the Japanese had hoped would save them from surrendering unconditionally to a country they had attacked nearly four years earlier at Pearl Harbor, opportunistically declared war on Japan and invaded Manchuria.
That same evening a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. With this information in mind plus the news of the two atomic bombs and the belated decision of the Soviets to enter the war, Hirohito had only one avenue available.
Opponents of surrender were outraged and determined to stage a coup so that the war against the Americans could go on until the bitter end. But the plot failed when senior officers refused to join the uprising against the emperor.
Among those declining to oppose the emperor was the Minister of War, Anami Korechika, an advocate of defending the motherland despite the atomic bombs, the Soviet declaration, and a succession of military defeats.
He committed suicide rather than attempting to counter Hirohito. But the plot came near to success. V Fifty years after the atomic bombs were dropped controversy continues in academic circles as to whether it was necessary for the United States to use these awesome weapons. History Professor William L. But the Japanese Prime Minister was unable to control the Army. The Army was dominant in these matters, and they could only apparently be slugged into submission.
And we slugged them … The bomb stopped the war. Therefore, it was justifiable. On the home islands, so much more strongly defended and with a vastly larger population, the agony and the deaths would have been beyond imagining … Millions of Japanese civilians would have died, in addition to the fighting men on both sides. In her recent biography No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: On September 9, , a month after the bomb fell on Nagasaki, the British had been scheduled to invade the Malay Peninsula and retake Singapore, an operation that would have cost the lives of tens of thousands.
After the Okinawa campaign had concluded, an order went out from Japan to kill all , captives in Japanese prisoner of war camps when the British started their campaigns to regain lost possessions.
In addition, the Japanese still had thousands of troops in China and Manchuria for the thrust from the Soviet Union, an invasion that would have caused countless deaths. Add these casualties to the total number of killings in Japan and the final figure is almost unimaginable. Author George Feifer, in his book Tennozan: Years after he ordered the use of the atomic bomb to bring World War II to a close, Truman told an audience: Initial planning anticipated that the ships of the Amphibious Support Force and the Gunfire and Covering Force would assemble at and sortie from Ulithi.
Following the departure of these task forces from the fleet anchorage, original plans contemplated that the commander of the Gunfire and Covering Force would be responsible for the movement and approach to the target and act as Senior Officer Present Afloat SOPA upon arrival in the objective area, while responsibility for the execution of all operations at the objective would devolve upon Commander, Amphibious Support Force.
Upon completion of the amphibious operations at each objective and when directed by Commander, Fifth Fleet, the Commanding General, Tenth Army would assume command of all forces ashore.
Thenceforth the latter would be responsible to the former for the development and defense of captured positions. Directives promulgated by Headquarters, Pacific Ocean Areas, would govern the organization and administration of the area and defense forces under the Commanding General, Tenth Army.
As the campaign progressed, and when warranted by the situation, Admiral Nimitz would relieve Admiral Spruance of responsibility for the development and defense of the Ryukyus, and assign that function to General Buckner. Plans for the garrison phase contemplated three principal implementing commanders for General Buckner in the development and defense of the captured bases: A general officer of the Army Ground Forces assigned as Island Commander, Okinawa; 29 a flag officer of the Navy in command of the local naval defense forces; and a general officer of the Marine Corps in command of a joint air task force designated Tactical Air Force, Ryukyus.
Long-range planning envisaged direct liaison between the Commanding General, Tenth Army and the strategic command of the Pacific Ocean Areas in the preparation of plans for operations subsequent to the Okinawa campaign. Intelligence In order to establish a firm planning base and ensure a common frame of reference within which each Expeditionary Troops staff section could confer with its naval counterpart, Tenth Army intelligence was closely coordinated with that of the Pacific Fleet's Amphibious Force.
But when photographs were needed to initiate planning, the nearest Allied base was some 1, miles from the objective area, reducing the agencies capable of performing photographic missions to B's and carrier air. Beyond this initial handicap, the hazy weather common to the Ryukyus restricted the effectiveness of the B missions, and reconnaissance by carrier planes was of necessity contingent upon the scheduling of carrier strikes. These difficulties were compounded further by the vast area to be photographed.
It covered all of Okinawa and its outlying islands to a limited degree. However, about half the area covered, chiefly in the northern portion of the main island, was obscured by cloud cover.
Subsequently, these blank spaces were filled in with contouring taken from captured Japanese maps; but the final map, based on aerial photography, was not completed and issued until midway through the campaign. Small-scale maps were produced for use as road maps and in traffic circulation planning. In addition, plaster terrain models of the Corps zone of action were prepared by the III Amphibious Corps relief mapping section in conjunction with those of the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions.
These models were to a scale of 1: Thenceforth partial coverage was obtained at least once a month 36 until the week immediately preceding the main landing, during which reconnaissances were flown daily by photographic planes based on escort carriers CVE.
Careful study of successive sorties enabled photo interpreters to determine displacement of defense positions and changes in their relative strength, 38 and to compile a preliminary Japanese battery list which was disseminated to all artillery units within the III Amphibious Corps. Of this number, two first line infantry divisions and a tank regiment were believed to constitute both the hard core and the major portion of the garrison.
If the enemy exerted his maximum reinforcement capability, it was calculated that the defense forces could be increased to 87, men, with four infantry divisions constituting the principal combat elements. Enemy troop dispositions, studied in the light of Japanese tactical doctrine as it had evolved throughout the course of the war, indicated that they would most likely organize the southern third of the island for a defense in depth and withhold the bulk of their troops in mobile reserve.
Besides conforming to current enemy combat principles, this course of action was also potentially more dangerous to the assaulting forces than the alternative of a determined defense at the water's edge. Photographic interpretation revealed evidence that the force on Okinawa comprised two infantry divisions and an independent mixed bridgade, reinforced by service and supporting units to bring the estimated strength to 56,, troops. Apparently two infantry regiments--some six or seven thousand men who could conceivably be augmented to a total force of almost 15, by local auxiliary troops--were located in the Marine zone of action.
While counterattacks by the small garrison in the north against the left flank of the corps were considered likely, the most violent enemy reaction was expected to materialize from the south in the XXIV Corps zone, where it was surmised that a mobile reserve of considerable size would be maintained.
It was anticipated that the enemy would commit this reserve to a counteroffensive as soon as he had clarified the dispositions of the landing force. Consideration of this over-all reduction in strength, together with indications that the enemy was concentrating in the Nakagasuku Wan area, led to a presumption that no more than one infantry regiment would be available to the enemy for deployment in the III Corps zone and the total number of Japanese in the sector would not exceed 10, An additional four to six thousand men were believed to have been lifted by subsequent shipping arriving in March.
If the March arrivals were the advance elements of another division, it seemed reasonable to expect that the landing force would be opposed by at least 75, men on the target date--L Day. By the time the leading naval units had sortied for the target, the garrison in the III Amphibious Corps zone was estimated at 16, of which the principal enemy strength was believed to be embodied in two reinforced infantry regiments.
After being subjected to critical examination over an extended period, the scheme of maneuver executed in the spring of was essentially the preferred plan of the fall of It could be expected that the Japanese would react violently to an invasion of the Ryukyus by subjecting the expeditionary forces to heavy aerial attacks staged through Kyushu and Formosa. The scheme of maneuver was therefore "designed to gain early use of sufficient airdrome capacity on Okinawa, together with unloading facilities adequate to support its development, to maintain positive control of the air in the area.
Because it was the most susceptible to the construction of airfields and the development of port facilities, seizure of the southern portion of Okinawa and the neighboring small islands was to constitute the first phase; Ie Shima and the remainder of Okinawa would be secured during the second; and the positions thus gained would be exploited in the final phase by the capture of additional bases in the archipelago.
Moreover, an initial landing in this area promised a most significant advantage: Accordingly, a plan which committed the assault divisions to the western beaches was prepared and recommended as the most favorable course of action. This scheme also provided for the pre-L Day seizure of Keise Shima where artillery could be emplaced to augment the fires of naval guns supporting the main landing. See Map 5 This concept was presented to the combined naval and landing force staffs on 1 November , at which time Admiral Turner presented his views.
He held that the adjacent islands should be neutralized and an anchorage secured near Okinawa for the logistic support of the fleet. Because of the unfavorable weather prevailing in March, the admiral was apprehensive of an attempted landing in the west during that season and requested that the possibilities of a landing on the east coast be explored.
After a re-examination of the possible courses of action, the Hagushi landing was again recommended and on 6 November the initial estimates and overlays were forwarded to all major headquarters to initiate planning. Still dubious as to the practicality of landing and supporting the planned assault force of four divisions over the Hagushi beaches, Admiral Turner withheld final approval.
Another detailed study was made on 9 November which supported the original recommendation. This time, Admiral Turner accepted the plan, provided that both Kerama Retto and Keise Shima were captured prior to a landing on Okinawa. With minor exceptions, General Buckner concurred in the modifications. A subsequent proposal by Admiral Turner to establish a permanent seaplane base and a small boat pool in the Keramas resulted in plans to secure each of these islands.
Further studies in relation to the capture of the Keramas and Keise Shima indicated it was a task for a division, and the 2d Marine Division was initially designated as the landing force. As planning progressed and an early commitment of the 2d Division in support of operations on Okinawa was foreseen, the 77th Infantry Division was selected for the Kerama-Keise operation and the 2d Division tentatively assigned to implement Turner's idea of a feint landing off southeastern Okinawa.
It further provided for the capture of the Eastern Islands by the 2d Marine Division 48 hours in advance of the principal landings so that corps artillery could be emplaced to support both corps in the assault on Okinawa.
Both corps were to advance across the island as rapidly as possible and capture the airfields in their assigned zones of action. Feints against the Chimu Wan area were contemplated on L-plus 3 or 4. The plan also provided for the capture of Ie Shima and the commitment of Army reserves to either of the corps zones or on the northern flank of the XXIV Corps. This was done on 11 March , concurrent with the briefing of Fifth Fleet units which had been actively engaged against the enemy at Iwo Jima and had had little time to prepare for the Okinawa operation.
Sheetz would land on corps order and support the corps attack with long-range interdiction, counterbattery, and harassing fires. The 1st Marines remained in division reserve. The 4th Marines, less the 2d Battalion in division reserve, would be on the right and the 22d Marines on the left. The division was charged with the initial mission of capturing Yontan airfield and protecting the northern flank of the Tenth Army. IIIAC Artillery was to land on corps order to support the attack, and once ashore to coordinate field artillery, air support, and naval gunfire in the Marines' area.
To isolate the objective, the isthmus was to be seized quickly by IIIAC in order to block enemy reinforcement from the north. After the capture and occupation of central Okinawa, the attack would continue to the south to secure the remainder of the objective. Upon the completion of Phase I, the second phase was to be executed when directed by General Buckner with troops locally available.
This involved the seizure of Ie Shima and the rest of Okinawa. It was contemplated that Motobu Peninsula in the north of the island would be secured by means of a combined shore-to-shore amphibious and land assault, followed by a shore-to-shore attack against Ie Shima. The capture of the rest of northern Okinawa would bring the end of Phase II. Command and communication arrangements of TF 51 were tested and proven at Iwo Jima and modified as required by the peculiar circumstances of operations at Okinawa.
The particular difficulties expected at Okinawa involved several new factors. For the first time in the Pacific, four divisions were to land abreast on a front of almost 10, yards.
This extended beach frontage, coupled with the offshore navigational hazards, limited the density of fire which could be provided by the support ships. In addition, a considerable number of coastal guns had to be destroyed before ships could close to a range from which they could deliver the most effective fire against enemy defenses opposing the landing.
A large portion of the selected beaches were backed by extensive sea walls, which it would be necessary to breach in order to provide exits for combat vehicles.
Detailed knowledge of the Japanese defensive dispositions in relation to the beaches was lacking, and the enemy possessed the capability of moving major units within a few hours to contest any attempted landing, unless continuous interdiction was maintained on a large number of roads.
Priority naval gunfire targets were selected by the divisions and submitted to III Corps, 62 a representative of which participated in preparing the initial ships' gunfire support plan during the early part of the Iwo Jima operation.
Circumstances prevented the inclusion of a schedule of fires with this preliminary plan, but the delay in disseminating this information was not without certain advantages. It permitted the use of the latest intelligence; and issuance of the NGF schedule in a separate supplement provided gunnery officers with a more convenient reference than had been the case when the gunfire annex was part of a bulky operation plan. No specific ships were assigned on the schedules. Instead, types and numbers were designated for particular missions and individual ships possessing the requisite capabilities were subsequently assigned these numbers for the actual performance of the task.
Personnel of the fast carriers and most of the escort carriers were briefed at Ulithi between March, and the remainder of the CVE men at Leyte on 19 March. Consequently, detailed planning for both naval gunfire and logistic support commenced as soon as the Commanding General, Tenth Army verbally approved a tentative tactical plan.
An elaborate base development plan produced a second logistical mission which was related to, yet separate from, supporting the assault on Okinawa. Accomplishment of this task entailed scheduling of shipping for the garrison troops with their equipment and construction materials from New Caledonia, Leyte, the Marianas, Oahu, and the west coast of the continental United States.
A continuous replenishment of essential materials and equipment involved maintaining a supply line more than 6, miles long days steaming time from the West Coast. Besides the great distances from mounting points and sources of supply to the objective, logistical plans were governed by the capacity of the beaches and the availability of shipping. The Hagushi beaches were adequate to handle the tonnage required to maintain the assault echelon of two corps and their supporting troops; but very little margin remained to support the base development plan.
This plan contemplated the seizure and development of two airfields in the first five days of the assault and two more within another 15 days. Additional construction projects included repair of the port of Naha, installation of an advance fleet base at Nakagusuku Wan, and development of Okinawa as a rehabilitation area and a mounting point for future operations. Unloading the necessary materials for these undertakings depended for the most part on the capture of additional beaches.
Pending the establishment of a firm troop list, a tentative allotment of shipping, based on the experience of previous operations, was made to lift three reinforced Marine divisions, three reinforced Army infantry divisions, a Marine amphibious corps headquarters and corps troops, and an Army corps headquarters and corps troops.
The tonnage thus allocated was deducted from the total shipping available. The remainder established the basis for the assignment of Tenth Army support troops, including naval, air, and airfield construction units. Early in January it became apparent that insufficient shipping had been assigned to accomplish the tactical mission, support early base development, and accommodate the necessary air units.
The deficiency in transport for engineer troops needed for early airfield, road, and water front construction was partially overcome by preparations for immediate return of the assault LST's to Saipan to load eight naval construction battalions. Based on the premise that the 2d Marine Division would not be committed at once and III Amphibious Corps could afford a delay, the tonnage requirements of that corps were substantially reduced to provide additional space for army troops.
Because of the limited prospects for beaching on the coral-bound island, landing ships were loaded to the limit of their established trim and sailing characteristics.
The over-all lift was increased also to some extent by new construction. The peculiar requirements of the Okinawa operation led to a revision of the task organization of assault shipping. The transport group which had formerly sufficed to lift a division with appropriate attachments consisted of three transport divisions totalling 12 APA's and three AKA's.
In order to accommodate a proportionate share of corps and army troops the transport squadron transron was set up. This organization also comprised three transport divisions, but the divisions were increased from three to five APA's and from one to two AKA's. One hospital transport APH 70 accompanied each transron making the initial assault.
The remaining two were scheduled to arrive in the objective area on L-plus 5. In order to control the evacuation of casualties from the beach, four hospital landing ships LST H were assigned to each of the attack forces assaulting the western beaches of Okinawa. The medical officer assigned to each LST H as Evacuation Control Officer was responsible for the screening and proper distribution of casualties in accordance with three major classifications of wounded. Seriously wounded men requiring more than two months hospitalization would normally be evacuated in hospital ships; those requiring treatment for more than two weeks but less than two months would be avacuated in transports during the initial assault phase; and those who could be returned to duty within two weeks would be retained at the objective afloat until such time as medical facilities were established ashore.
The LST H 's would remain on station until relieved by the Attack Force Commander, and the Evacuation Control Officers then would move ashore and assign casualties directly to the ships. Responsibility for medical service ashore, including air evacuation when airfields were established, rested with Commanding General, Expeditionary Troops. At division level logistical planning was predicated on the premises that the landing beaches would be heavily defended, and the advance inland stubbornly contested.
Consequently, only "hot cargo" 72 certain amounts of high priority supplies were to be landed on L-Day. With operations on a relatively large land mass over a poor road net in prospect, the decision was made to use all available shipping space to transport organic division motor vehicles to the target.
Logistical planning for the 1st Marine Division was simplified by the fact that that unit was concentrated with its supply source in the Russell Islands. The 6th Division supply agency on Guadalcanal was was only a transfer installation, not a stocking agency, the source of supply being located in the Russells, which was in turn under the 2d Field Service Command on Guadalcanal.
Cumbersome administrative procedures through the several service commands in the area caused many delays in the delivery of equipment and supplies. As in the past, equipment and supplies arrived after the transports had been loaded; but the divisions embarked with no major shortages which effected combat efficiency.
FAdm E. King and Cdr W.