Battle Of Okinawa

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Okinawa was the largest invasion of the Pacific campaign and the last major campaign of the Pacific War. More ships were used, more troops put ashore, more supplies transported, more bombs dropped, more naval guns fired against shore targets than any other operation in the Pacific. More people died during the Battle of Okinawa than all those killed during the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Casualties totaled more than 38,000 Americans wounded and 12,000 killed or missing. The battle of Okinawa proved to be the bloodiest battle of the Pacific War. Thirty-four allied ships and craft of all types had been sunk, mostly by kamikazes, and 368 ships and craft damaged. The fleet had lost 763 aircraft. Total American casualties in the operation numbered over 12,000 killed and 36,000 wounded. The Battle of Okinawa became an important part of overall U.S. Pacific military strategy. The goal of the Pacific campaign was to reach the industrial heart of Japan, southern Honshu between Shimonoseki and the Tokyo plain. This strategy entailed taking successive steps towards mainland Japan, which has been called island hopping in the Pacific. One plan code-named Operation Causeway, considered Formosa as the next island in the Pacific in the spring of 1945. Allied occupation of Formosa would enable them to provide support to China as well as establish air bases to bomb mainland Japan. Operation Iceberg an alternative plan called for the invasion of the Ryukus, the island chain that contains Okinawa. The Ryukus were within medium bomber range of mainland Japan and would provide airfields for both bombers and fighters. Okinawa would provide good anchorage, and the islands would help establish support positions for the invasion of first, Kyushu, and eventually industrial Honshu. The Japanese knew they could not win, therefore their mission, became a battle of destruction.

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