The Battle of Okinawa, the largest land battle of World War II’s Pacific theater, was the conflict’s amphibious high-water mark for the number of men landed, casualties incurred, and military equipment used.1 The United States committed seven Army and Marine Corps divisions to Operation Iceberg, the seizure of the Ryukyu Islands, including Okinawa.2 Lieutenant General Simon Buckner’s Tenth Army, composed of the XIV Army Corps and the III Marine Amphibious Corps, assaulted Okinawa on Easter Sunday, 1 April 1945. The two corps faced more than 100,000 defending Japanese soldiers of the 32nd Army and supporting naval units as well as 20,000 men of the Okinawan home guard.3
Japanese Success at Okinawa
Against great odds Emperor Hirohito’s troops fought tenaciously for nearly three months, inflicting heavy casualties and affecting U.S. plans for ending the Pacific war.
By Lieutenant Commander Richard S. Lee, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Navy