By the spring of 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy was a shadow of its once-dominant self after sustaining horrific losses in aircraft and trained aviators at the Battle of the Philippine Sea and in surface ships at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. But the sea service and Japanese Army forces still were able to earn what historian Vincent O’Hara terms “a kind of victory” against overwhelming Allied forces at the Battle of Okinawa.
The U.S. capture of the island was a foregone conclusion. But in “Operation Iceberg’s Mixed Legacy,” O’Hara explains that Japan attained its goal of holding out as long as possible while inflicting grievous casualties by taking up strong defensive positions on the southern portion of the island and launching a kamikaze offensive against U.S. and British warships. The author presents a broad look at the campaign, pointing out its significance as a culminating event that provided a glimpse of future warfare.