On 1 April 1945, an armada of 1,321 ships gathered in the far western Pacific off Okinawa. Most had come from Leyte and Ulithi, others from Pearl Harbor, the Solomons, Sydney, and even the U.S. West Coast. They were there to land the U.S. Tenth Army—a joint Marine Corps–Army force—on this large island, part of the Ryukyus chain between Formosa and Japan. The 19 fast carriers of Task Force 58 and the British Pacific Fleet, escorted by 10 battleships, 17 cruisers, and 60 destroyers, supported the amphibious armada of escort carriers and older battleships, attack transports, and landing ships. Hundreds of mine craft, store ships, and repair vessels were present, as were netlayers, tugs, and salvage vessels.
1. Roy E. Appleman, et al., Okinawa: The Last Battle (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1993), 488.
2. S. E. Smith, ed., The United States Navy in WWII (New York: Quill, 1966), 938.
3. According to the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey; other estimations top 100,000.
4. Richard B. Frank, Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire (New York: Penguin, 2001), 89–95.
5. David C. Evans and Mark R. Peattie, Kaigan: Strategy, Tactics, and Technology in the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1887–1941 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 132.
6. Saburo Ienaga, The Pacific War: 1931–1945 (New York: Pantheon, 1978), 183.
7. Samuel Eliot Morison, Victory in the Pacific, vol. 14, History of United States Naval Operations in World War II (Boston: Little, Brown, 1960), 152–53; Hiromichi Yahara, The Battle for Okinawa (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995), xiii.
8. These issues and the overall campaign all are described well in Richard S. Lee, “Japanese Success at Okinawa,” Naval History 30, no. 3 (June 2016), 56–61.
9. Action Report and Sinking of USS Emmons (DMS-22) 6 April 1945, Record Group 38, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD, 3, fold3.com/image/295921815. Both ships were converted Gleaves-class destroyers.
10. Toshiyuki Yokoi, “Kamikazes and the Okinawa Campaign,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 80, no. 5 (May 1954), 508. The figure for damaged vessels is in the ballpark but four, not 30, ships were sunk.
11. Command Summary of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (Gray Book), vol. 6, ibiblio.org/anrs/docs/D/D7/nimitz_graybook6.pdf, 3074, 3201.
12. Gray Book, vol. 6, 2861; also see 2863.
13. Joseph H. Alexander, “Hellish Prelude at Okinawa,” Naval History 19, no. 2 (April 2005). Also see Morison, Victory in the Pacific, 282, 389–92.
14. Yokoi, “Kamikazes and the Okinawa Campaign,” 512. However, it is doubtful imperial headquarters would have mustered the gasoline and fuel to carry out its plans. See Frank, Downfall, 136, 140, for casualties.
15. S. W. Roskill, War at Sea 1939–1945, vol. 3, part 2 (London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, 1961), 356.