Sixty years ago millions of young Americans were either in the Pacific preparing for Operation OLYMPIC, the long awaited invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, or on their way from the United States and Europe to the huge island bases from which the largest landing operation in history was to occur. On 1 November 1945 nine divisions were to come ashore on the island of Kyushu with no less than 1,300 ships to lend support. An additional division was to land on the smaller islands lying off Kyushu to protect the landing force, while three divisions were to remain on ships waiting to come ashore as the immediate reserve force. Behind them would stand a massive pipeline of divisions and replacement combat troops staging across the Pacific back to the United States. Awaiting them ashore would be at least half-a-million Japanese regular army soldiers, backed by militia mobilized from Kyushu's population, well over 5,000 Kamikaze aircraft and thousands of suicide small boats. Operation OLYMPIC had the prospect of turning into an unimaginable blood bath—especially when one considers the possible collateral casualties among Kyushu's civilian population.