Battle of Okinawa (1945)

Japanese women soldiers killed

ABOARD ADM. TURNER’S FLAGSHIP OFF OKINAWA (UP) – Tenth Army soldiers on the Okinawa beachhead reported today that they wiped out one night enemy infiltration group composed in part of three or four women.

A Tenth Army intelligence officer aboard this flagship said the presence of women in the group was revealed following the attack when the bodies were checked.

The women were wearing regulation Jap Army uniforms and were carrying firearms, the officer said.

The entire group was killed at night. Our soldiers knew only that enemy forces wee trying to penetrate our lines.

Inasmuch as the women were wearing men’s army uniforms, they probably could not have been identified as women even in daylight, the officer explained. He pointed out furthermore that since they were carrying arms, they could expect no other treatment than death.

1 Like

Is this story true? If so, where can I read more about it?

1 Like

If they are using women in battle, I guess that means that “the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan’s advantage”.


U.S. Navy Department (April 4, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 321

The East Coast of Okinawa Island from Yaka in the north to Kuba Town in the south was brought under the control of the Tenth Army on April 4 (East Longitude Date). Elements of the Marine III Amphibious Corps pushing north and east simultaneously established their front line on the Isthmus of Okinawa about 3,000 to 4,000 yards north of Ishikawa and cap­tured all sections of the east coast in their zone of action. In the south, the XXIV Army Corps advanced steadily and at nightfall were holding a line between Uchi Tomari on the West Coast, Kamiyama in the center of the island, and a point just north of Nakagusuku on the east coast. The enemy offered scattered resistance to the advances of our troops. Concentrations of troops and vehicles in the southern part of the island were brought under fire by the guns of surface units of the fleet and by carrier aircraft supporting the attack. The unloading of supplies for the Expeditionary Forces ashore con­tinues satisfactorily.

The enemy made several small air attacks against our surface forces early in the morning of April 4. Four of his aircraft were shot down.

Aircraft from a carrier task group commanded by RADM Frederick C. Sherman, USN, attacked aircraft, airfields, and other installations in the Amami Group on April 3. The following damage was inflicted on the enemy:

  • Forty-five aircraft shot out of the air. Two aircraft destroyed on the ground. Nine aircraft damaged on the ground.

  • Twenty-five small craft damaged or destroyed. Two small cargo ships damaged. One motor torpedo boat damaged. Fuel dumps and buildings set afire.

Corsair and Hellcat fighters of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing bombed warehouse and supply areas in the Palaus on April 4. On the same date, Marine fighters struck piers at Yap in the western Carolines.

On April 3, 4th MarAirWing planes continued neutralizing attacks on enemy-held bases in the Marshalls.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 4, 1945)

Yanks drive for two more Jap airfields

Okinawa invaders push down coasts

GUAM (UP) – Tenth Army columns pushed down the east and west coasts of Okinawa today within striking distance of two more Jap airfields and only six miles or less from Naha, capital of the island.

Resistance was still negligible as the greatest invasion of the Pacific war went into its fourth day only 362 miles southwest of Japan. But the enemy garrison of 60,000 may make its first stand in the next few hours along a line across the narrow isthmus just north of the airfields.

A German DNB dispatch from Tokyo said U.S. troops made a new landing on Okinawa Tuesday south of the original beachhead.

A Jap communiqué claimed that six more U.S. transports, a battleship and four cruisers had been sunk in the invasion armada. An additional destroyer and an unidentified ship were listed as damaged.

Seize 7-mile stretch

The 7th Infantry Division seized nearly seven miles of the east coast in a drive along the Nakagusuku Bay naval anchorage yesterday to Kuba, four miles north of the uncompleted Yonabaru Airfield.

Another army division smashing down the west coast against moderate opposition reached Chiyunna, four miles north of Machinato Airfield and six miles north of Naha, a city of 65,000.

Two other airfields farther north were captured by the Americans on the first day of the invasion and were already in operation.

The Army forces were under orders to advance at all possible speed in an attempt to break through the narrow isthmus separating the south-central budge of the island from the southern bulge in which Naha is situated.

‘Keep driving ahead’

“Keep on driving ahead,” Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge, commander of the XXIV Army Corps, told his field commanders. “We can’t kill Japs standing still.”

At the northern end of the front, Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger’s III Marine Amphibious Corps also slashed across the island to the east coast in advances of up to 3½ miles.

The Marines reached the east coast, near the Katchin Peninsula, northern arm of Nakagusuku Bay, and sealed off that narrow jut of land. The thrust completed a second steel band across the southern third of the island.

The entire Jap garrison was believed concentrated in the southern bulge of Okinawa surrounding Naha for a fight to the death. A majority of the island’s 435,000 civilians probably moved to the more rugged northern two-thirds of the island.

Front dispatches said the main advance on Naha down the west coast was being slowed by the necessity of bridging deep ravines. The Japs blew up three bridges within a few miles and army engineers were throwing prefabricated Bailey bridges across the ravines under enemy fire.

Big guns of the 1,400-ship invasion armada joined some 1,500 carrier planes in supporting the ground forces with an around-the-clock bombardment of Naha and other strongpoints on Okinawa, as well as on other Jap islands in the Ryukyu chain.

Targets in the Sakishima Islands southwest of Okinawa were attacked by carrier planes yesterday.

The unloading of supplies across the beach of Okinawa continued “satisfactorily,” an American communiqué said. It reported that 11 counterattacking enemy planes were shot down over the island by anti-aircraft guns and carrier planes.

The communiqué also revealed that carrier planes destroyed or damaged 39 Jap ships and small craft and 41 enemy aircraft in the last two days of the pre-invasion bombardment of the Ryukyus Saturday and Sunday.

Summary of the bombardment showed:


  • Sunk: Three motor torpedo boats, two small cargo ships, nine small craft.
  • Probably sunk: One small cargo ship, four small craft.
  • Damaged: One motor torpedo boat, four small cargo ships, one lugger, 14 small craft.


  • Shot down: 17
  • Destroyed on the ground: 5
  • Damaged: 19

Six submarine pens on Unten Bay, Okinawa, destroyed and another heavily damaged. A mill, barracks, radio stations, pillboxes, buildings, docks, gun positions and covered revetments destroyed or damaged on Okinawa. Other installations on Tokuno, Amami, Kikai and Minami Daito Islands hit heavily.

Völkischer Beobachter (April 5, 1945)

Die Kämpfe um Okinawa

Tokio, 4. April – Das Kaiserliche Hauptquartier gab bekannt:

Die amerikanischen Truppen, die auf der Hauptinsel Okinawa gelandet sind, haben im Küstengebiet schwere Verluste erlitten, doch ist ein großer feindlicher Truppenteil am 3. April werter südlich von der Landungsstelle in das Gebiet von Sunabutsu und Arashi eingedrungen. Die dortigen japanischen Truppen führen gegen diese Landungstruppen nach wie vor heftige Abwehrkämpfe.

In den Gewässern um Okinawa wurden der dort operierenden feindlichen Flotte folgende Verluste zugefügt:

Versenkt wurden sechs Transporter, ein Schlachtschiff, vier Kreuzer. In Brand gesetzt wurden ein Zerstörer und ein Kriegsschiff unbekannter Bauart.

Die japanischen Truppen setzen, wie Domei ferner meldet ihre Gegenangriffe gegen die feindlichen Invasionstruppen auf Okinawa fort Diese machen äußerste Anstrengungen, ihren Brückenkopf an der Westküste des Hauptteils der Insel wo sie am Sonntagvormittag landeten, zu erweitern. Unter dem Schutz einer starken Feuerglocke durch Kriegsschiffe ist es den Amerikanern gelungen, weitere Truppen zu landen.

Nach einer weiteren Mitteilung des Kaiserlichen Hauptquartiers setzt die japanische Luftwaffe ihre heftigen Angriffe auf feindliche Kriegsfahrzeuge in den Okinawa benachbarten Gewässern fort, in deren Verlauf weitere 31 Überwasserfahrzeuge versenkt oder schwer beschädigt wurden.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 5, 1945)

Showdown battle near on Okinawa

Yank drive slowed by stiff resistance

GUAM (UP) – The showdown battle of Southern Okinawa and the Jap island bastion’s capital city of Naha appeared to be shaping up or already mounting to full fury today.

Field reports said suddenly stiffened resistance had slowed the Tenth Army’s advance on Okinawa to a snail’s pace. The Japs were fighting hard from well-prepared positions – perhaps the lines on which they chose to undertake a stand – a little more than four miles north of Naha.

Both American and Jap tanks were jockeying for positions. A front dispatch reported the possibility of a major tank battle, the first of the war in the Pacific, on the plain between Naha and Kaniku.

Reach outposts

In one sector, a Jap tank concentration had already stalled the American push temporarily.

“Apparently we have reached the outposts of enemy defenses in the south, where a force of as many as 60,000 Japanese may be concealed,” United Press writer Edward L. Thomas reported from an advanced command post on Okinawa.

He said Jap strongpoints appeared to be scattered through the hills around the villages of Kaniku, Tsuwa and Tabaru. Approaching them, the Americans overran several preliminary lines of resistance in advances of 500 to 1,500 yards down the 3½-mile wide isthmus separating Central and Southern Okinawa.

Run into heavy fire

The hills command much of Southern Okinawa. Troops pushing through a misty rain toward one 600-foot height guarding the approaches to Shuri ran into heavy artillery, machine-gun and mortar fire.

The enemy appeared determined to hold Machinato and Yonabaru airfields, both within a mile and a half to two miles of the advancing Americans.

The veteran 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division on the eastern end of the line above Naha smashed the first organized resistance of the campaign yesterday with the capture of a ridge above Ishado on Nakagusuku Bay naval anchorage.

The 184th Infantry Regiment, meanwhile, was attacking a Jap pocket estimated at company strength – possibly 200 men – on the west coast.

The Army advances on the southern front, coupled with a Marine push to the north deep into the narrow isthmus between Southern and Central Okinawa, gave the Americans control of 80 square miles – one sixth – of the island only 330 miles southwest of Japan.

The campaign was already 12 days ahead of schedule, with the invasion forces controlling 17 miles of the west coast and 12 miles of the east coast, including half the shoreline of the vital Nakagusuku Bay.

Marines gain

The XXIV Army Corps’ line in the south, as of yesterday, ran from Uchi-Tomari to the west coast, 4½ miles north of Naha and 1¾ miles north of Machinato Airfield. Through Kamiyama, in the center, to a point just north of Nakagusuku village and two miles north or Yonabaru Airfield in the east coast.

On the northern end of the beachheads, Marines of the III Amphibious Corps drove to 2½ miles beyond Ishikawa in the narrow neck of land separating South-Central and Centra! Okinawa, where it had been anticipated the Japs might make another stand.

Resistance continued light on the Marine front, though observation planes reported enemy concentrations ahead.

Jap planes attack

Jap planes made several small-scale air attacks on the invasion armada early yesterday, and four of the aircraft were shot down.

U.S. planes from a carrier task group commanded by Rear Adm. Frederick C. Sherman attacked airfields and other installations in the Amami Islands just north of Okinawa Tuesday.

They destroyed 45 planes in combat and two on the ground, damaged nine others on he ground, destroyed or damaged 25 small craft, damaged two small cargo ships and a torpedo boat, and set fuel dumps and buildings afire.

U.S. Navy Department (April 5, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 322

Our troops in both the northern and southern sectors of Okinawa continued to advance on April 5. By 1800 on that date, Marines of the III Amphibious Corps had moved forward generally 8,000 to 9,000 yards on Ishikawa Isthmus, the southern end of their line being in the neighborhood of Kin Town. Japanese opposition in the north continued to be ineffective. Army troops in the south made advances up to about 3,000 yards. In this sector, elements of the XXIV Army Corps moved into areas organ­ized for defense by the enemy and at nightfall resistance to the advance was increasing. Our advancing troops were supported throughout the day by gunfire from units of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and by carrier aircraft. During the period of April 1 to 1800 on April 5, 65 enemy aircraft have been de­stroyed over our forces attacking Okinawa. During the Okinawa operation as of midnight April 4‑5, 175 soldiers and Marines had been killed in action. Figures as to Naval personnel are not available. Seven hundred and ninety-eight soldiers and Marines had been wounded in action during the same period.

Organization for military government in the area of Okinawa under our control has been established and is functioning satisfactorily. About 9,000 civilians have surrendered to our forces. Considerable stocks of enemy foodstuffs have been captured and are available for civilian use.

On April 5, Hellcat and Corsair fighters and Avenger torpedo planes of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing attacked targets in the Palaus. A warehouse was destroyed and barges and vehicles were damaged.

U.S. Navy Department (April 6, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 323

By late afternoon on April 6 (East Longitude Date), Hellcat and Corsair fighters from two fast carrier task groups of the U.S. Pacific Fleet commanded by RADMs Frederick C. Sherman and J. J. Clark, USN, had shot down about 150 enemy aircraft which were attempting to attack fleet surface units in the area of the Ryukyus. This tally of damage is preliminary and incomplete. Some ships of our forces received minor damage but all remain fully operational.

United States troops on Okinawa continued to attack in both the northern and southern sectors. At midday, the Marine III Amphibious Corps had advanced 3,000 to 5,000 yards against small scattered groups of the enemy on Ishikawa Isthmus. In the south, the XXIV Army Corps was encountering stiffened enemy resistance in areas organized by the enemy for defense and supported by enemy artillery. Our forces were being supported continuously by ships’ gunfire and by carrier aircraft. During the night of April 5‑6, nine enemy planes were shot down near our forces around Okinawa.

In capturing the Kerama group of islands preliminary to the attack on Okinawa, U.S. forces killed 539 of the enemy and captured 166 prisoners of war.

Search aircraft of Fleet Wing One shot down two enemy aircraft in the Ryukyus area on April 6.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 6, 1945)

Attack stalls U.S. invaders on Okinawa

Doughboys drive for port on east coast

Jap counterattack on Okinawa has slowed U.S. troops driving toward the center and west coast of the island toward Naha, the capital. U.S. forces gained in the east coast drive on Yonabaru. To the north, U.S. Marines neared Kin.

GUAM (UP) – Jap defenders of Okinawa opened their biggest counterattack of the campaign today, bringing the American invasion forces to a virtual standstill in the west and central sectors of the island battlefront.

United Press writer James MacLean reported the Jap counterblow in a dispatch from Okinawa. It coincided with numerous signs that the walkover phase of the invasion was finished and bloody fighting lay ahead.

Resistance was reported stiffening all along the Okinawa front. The stalemate in the west and central parts came as U.S. Tenth Army forces stormed the slopes of three hills anchoring the defenses of Naha, smoldering and deserted capital city some four miles to the south.

Gain on east coast

Late reports from Okinawa disclosing the Jap counterattack said that only in the eastern sector were the Americans advancing at anything like the pace of their initial fanout from the west coast beachhead.

Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner’s forces were pushing down the east coast toward the town of Tsuwa, three miles north of Yonabaru, the island’s principal east coast port.

The American vanguard was within two miles of Yonabaru airstrip, which the Japs had partly constructed when the invasion began. Front reports said it probably could be made usable in a short time.

On the west coast, the Americans were bogged down about a mile north of Nakama, atop a high ridge running inland. Jap artillery on the ridge was pounding our forces. A curtain of smoke hung over the ridge as U.S. naval guns and land-based artillery teamed with bombers in a concerted assault on it.

Down five Jap planes

Five Jap planes were shot down by anti-aircraft fire this afternoon.

Air scouts reported that Naha showed no signs of civilians or troops. The ruins of Okinawa’s largest city were burning fitfully from a mauling by U.S. air, sea and artillery forces.

Field reports said the Japs appeared to be preparing for a defense in depth. When the hill line before Naha is broken, they are expected to undertake a stand on a secondary line several miles south.

Upwards of 60,000 Japs were believed defending Southern Okinawa.

Marines gain

Marines of the III Amphibious Corps at the northern end of the expanding beachhead drove completely through the Ishikawa Isthmus separating Southern and Central Okinawa in advances up to 5½ miles yesterday.

On the east coast, the Marines were in the vicinity of Kin, 18 miles northeast of Naha, after clearing almost the entire shore of Kin Bay. Resistance continued light in the Marine sector and it appeared the Japanese had written off Central and Northern Okinawa.

A Marine reconnaissance outfit landed on Yabuchi Island just off the tip of Katsuren Peninsula, northern end of Nakagusuku Bay, and found it unoccupied.

U.S. casualties for the first four days of the Okinawa invasion through Wednesday were revealed as 175 dead and 798 wounded.

U.S. Navy Department (April 7, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 324

On April 6 and 7 (East Longitude Dates), the enemy attempted strong counterattacks against our forces operating in the vicinity of Okinawa.

During the late afternoon and evening of April 6, a large force of enemy aircraft attacked our ships and shore installations in the vicinity of Okinawa. One hundred sixteen of these enemy aircraft were destroyed – 55 by our fighters and the remainder by our anti-aircraft fire. The attacking enemy aircraft pressed their attacks in with desperation and succeeded in sinking three of our destroyers and damaging several destroyers and smaller craft. No larger fleet units were hit.

Early on April 7, Navy search aircraft of Fleet Air Wing One sighted an enemy surface force which had left the Inland Sea and passing south of Kyushu had headed into the East China Sea. The force included the large battleship YAMATO, the most powerful ship left in the Japanese Navy, an AGANO-class light cruiser, one other small light cruiser or large destroyer, and a number of destroyers. A fast carrier task force commanded by VADM Marc A. Mitscher steamed toward the enemy at high speed and during the middle of the day brought the Japanese Force under air attack.

Our carrier aircraft which had destroyed 245 enemy aircraft on April 6, met no opposition over the Japanese ships but did meet heavy anti-aircraft fire. At a point about 50 miles southwest of Kyushu they sank the YAMATO, the light AGANO-class cruiser, the small cruiser and three destroyers. Three other destroyers were left burning. About three destroyers escaped from this attack.

The YAMATO was hit by at least eight torpedoes and eight heavy bombs. All the enemy ships were heavily strafed with rockets and machine guns.

Our carriers lost seven aircraft in this action. During minor contacts on April 7, they and their aircraft shot down 30 enemy aircraft. The task groups participating were commanded by RADMs F. C. Sherman, USN; A. W. Radford, USN; G. F. Bogan, USN, and J. J. Clark, USN.

The Marine III Amphibious Corps on Okinawa moved forward steadily in the northern sector throughout the afternoon of April 6. By 1800, it had made advances which placed its front lines across Ishikawa Isthmus from Chuda on the west coast to the mouth of the Kinbaru River on the east coast. In the south, strong enemy resistance developed during the day. From its strong defensive positions the enemy employed machine gun, small arms, mortar and artillery fire against the XXIV Army Corps throughout April 6, and the following night. Army troops along the East Coast in the southern sector advanced about 2,000 yards during the afternoon of April 6, and occupied the town of Tsuwa. The enemy in the south was brought under heavy fire by our artillery throughout the day.

Search aircraft of FlAirWing One attacked airfields in Kyushu, destroying four fighters on the ground, probably destroying three others and damaging about 15 more by strafing.

Liberators of the 7th Army Air Force bombed dock installations and buildings at Truk in the Carolines on April 5.

Neutralizing raids on enemy bases in the Marshalls were continued on April 5 by planes of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 325

The Marine III Amphibious Corps continued to drive northward against negligible enemy resistance on the Ishikawa Isthmus of Okinawa on April 7 (East Longitude Date). By noon of that date, the Marines had advanced about 3,000 yards to the vicinity of Nago Town on the west coast and Ora Bay on the east coast. The XXIV Army Corps in the south was moving through difficult terrain in which the enemy is fortified behind an extensive system of strong points, pillboxes, blockhouses and trenches. Carrier aircraft, ships’ guns and heavy artillery continued to bombard enemy positions. A small group of aircraft attacked our forces early in the day. Twelve were shot down.

A carrier task force of the British Pacific Fleet attacked airfields and other installations on Ishigaki and Miyako in the Sakishima group on April 6 and 7. British fighters destroyed five enemy aircraft in the air and three others on the ground.

Further information on the action of fast carrier task forces of the U.S. Pacific Fleet on April 6 shows that our aircraft sank four small cargo ships and many small craft in the area of the Ryukyus and destroyed two aircraft on the ground, this damage being in addition to that previously reported. On April 7, after attacking Japanese surface forces off Kyushu, one of our heavy fleet units suffered minor damage during an aircraft attack but is fully operational.

Hellcat and Corsair fighters of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing bombed and strafed warehouses and other installations in the Palaus on April 7.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 7, 1945)

Japs’ last big battleship sunk

8 other war vessels blasted by Mitscher – 391 planes destroyed

Jap fleet blasted north of Okinawa

GUAM (UP) – Adm. Chester W. Nimitz today announced Japan had lost the most powerful dreadnaught left in her battered fleet – the 40,000-ton super-battleship Yamato – eight other warships sunk or damaged and 391 planes in a desperate air and sea attempt to stem the American invasion of Okinawa.

U.S. losses were three destroyers sunk, several destroyers and smaller craft damaged, and seven planes shot down.

In addition to the Yamato, the Japs lost a light cruiser of the 6,000-ton Agano class, a smaller cruiser and three destroyers. Three other destroyers were left burning.

Their air losses included: 116 planes lost to U.S. fighters and anti-aircraft in a Jap attack April 6 on shore installations and ships off Okinawa; 245 planes shot down by fleet carrier fighters in the same action; 30 Jap planes shot down April 7, the day on which the Jap fleet losses were inflicted.

The Yamato was hit by at least eight torpedoes launched by torpedo aircraft, and eight heavy bombs, in addition to strafing by rocket and machine-gun fire.

Adm. Nimitz revealed that the blow to the desperate Japs was once again inflicted by the fast carrier force of Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher.

The Yamato, Adm. Nimitz said, was the most powerful battleship left in the Jap fleet. It was probably Japan’s newest dreadnaught, laid down in 1938 or 1939, and probably commissioned after the start of the Pacific war.

It was rated at better than 40,000 tons but the exact figure never was known. It was supposed to have been armed with nine 16-inch guns and had a speed of 30 knots or better.

The Okinawa sea-air battle, Adm. Nimitz revealed, opened yesterday, Guam Time, with a strong Jap air attack launched against our forces on Okinawa and the concentration of ships lying off shore.

The Japs “pressed their attacks with desperation,” Adm. Nimitz said, and succeeded in sinking three U.S. destroyers and damaging several other smaller craft. But they failed to hit any of our larger fleet units.

In this battle the fleet carrier fighters had a field day, knocking 245 Jap planes out of the sky while fighter plane pilots on Okinawa and ack-ack batteries there accounted for another 116.

Early today fleet air search planes sighted a Jap surface fleet which had steamed out of its refuge in the Inland Sea and, passing south of the Jap island of Kyushu, had headed into the East China Sea.

The force, possible as strong a fleet as the Japs could muster for their all-out effort to oust us from Okinawa, was seen to comprise the Yamato, one Agano-class light cruiser, another smaller light cruiser. or large destroyer and an unspecified number of other destroyers.

Adm. Mitscher, as so many times previously. was ordered to the attack. His fast carrier force charged in at high speed and by noon brought the Japs to bay.

Three destroyers escape

While the fleet planes had found the sky filled with Jap aircraft yesterday, they discovered no Jap planes over the fleet when they drove in for the attack.

The Japs opened up with heavy anti-aircraft fire, but the American planes pressed in.

Attacking the Japs at a point only 50 miles southwest of Kyushu, they rammed at least eight torpedoes into the big Yamato and rained eight heavy bombs onto her. She sank. In the same vicinity they sank the Agano cruiser, the small cruiser and three destroyers. Three other destroyers were left ablaze.

“About three destroyers escaped from the attack,” Adm. Nimitz said.

Gain on Okinawa

The carrier forces which made the attack were commanded by Rear Adms. F. C. Sherman, A. W. Radford, G. F. Bogan and J. J. Clark.

The weight of the enemy attack made it plain that the desperate Japs, in the midst of a deep cabinet crisis, with U.S. forces firmly installed at Okinawa and faced with the Soviet denunciation of the Russo-Jap neutrality pact, had made a do-or-die attempt to drive us from Okinawa.

At the same time on land, U.S. forces encountered stiffened Jap Opposition as they drove into the strong positions designed to protect the northern tip of Okinawa and the capital of Naha.

Adm, Nimitz reported that, nevertheless, Marine forces at the north drove forward across the Ishikawa Isthmus from Chuda on the west to the mouth of the Kimbaru River on the east.

To the south. Army troops gained about 2,000 yards and occupied the town of Tsuwa.

The 7th Infantry Division was within 200 yards of the Yonabaru airfield on the east coast. Other U.S. forces were within 4,000 yards of the west coast Cachinata field above Naha.

Another announcement revealed that some major units of the British Pacific Fleet also suffered minor damage from air attacks during an earlier five-day bombardment of the Sakishima islands, southwest of Okinawa. The British force was known to include the 35,000-ton battleship HMS King George V and the 23,000-ton aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious.

The Jap planes which attacked the British apparently came from Formosa. The British shot down five planes.

Pacific Fleet headquarters announced that the 77th Infantry Division killed 539 Japs and captured 166 in the seizure of the Kerama Islands 10 to 20 miles west of Okinawa prior to the main landing on Okinawa last Sunday.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 8, 1945)

Carrier force sinks Tokyo’s largest ship

8 others blasted – 403 planes destroyed
Sunday, April 8, 1945

Steady advances on Okinawa are reported by Adm. Nimitz. Marines gained 3,000 yards on the north of the American front while Army troops advanced on two airports in the south.

GUAM (UP) – U.S. carrier planes wiped out approximately one quarter of Japan’s remaining naval strength Saturday by sinking the 40,000-ton battleship Yamato, the most powerful warship left to the enemy, and destroying or damaging eight other war vessels off the southern tip of Japan.

In addition, the Japs lost 403 planes in two days of frantic and largely unsuccessful attacks on the American invasion forces on Okinawa and in nearby waters.

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz revealed in a communiqué that 12 of a small group of enemy lanes attacking U.S. forces Saturday off Okinawa in a follow-up of Friday’s big assault were shot down to add to the earlier bag of 391 Jap aircraft.

3 U.S. destroyers sunk

The Americans lost seven planes in the attack on the enemy fleet; they lost three destroyers sunk and several other destroyers and smaller craft damaged in the Jap air attacks around Okinawa.

The Japs were trying desperately to interfere with the Okinawa invasion which put U.S. ground troops within less than 400 miles of the Jap mainland. But Adm. Nimitz announced that the American advances on Okinawa continued.

In Washington, a Navy spokesman said that what remains of the Jap fleet is a “not-so-powerful task force which could be easily handled” by any one of the major task forces of the mammoth U.S. Pacific Fleet. He said, “It looks like a good 25 percent of the remaining naval Jap combat force” was wiped out.

Sighted by planes

Adm. Nimitz said the Jap fleet was sighted early today by Navy search planes. It had left the Japanese Inland Sea, where U.S. bombers riddled naval hideouts last month, and headed into the East China Sea, passing south of Kyushu.

Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher started a fast carrier task force in that direction. At midday, his planes struck.

About 50 miles southwest of Kyushu, southernmost of the main Jap islands, they sank the Yamato with at least eight torpedoes and eight heavy bombs; a light cruiser of the 6,000-ton Agano class, a smaller cruiser or heavy destroyer, and three destroyers.

Three left burning

Three other destroyers were left burning, and Adm. Nimitz’s communiqué said that only about three destroyers escaped. All enemy ships were strafed heavily with rockets and machine guns.

The naval spokesman in Washington said he believed the number of Jap destroyers in the task force may have been overestimated in the excitement of battle, because the Japs probably didn’t have that many destroyers to spare for screening a task force.

After the terrific losses they had taken over Okinawa, the Japs could muster no planes to protect the task force. They put up a heavy screen of anti-aircraft fire, but to no avail.

The Yamato was Japan’s newest battleship. It was laid down in 1938 or 1939 and was believed to have been commissioned after war began in the Pacific. Although estimated at more than 40,000 tons, its exact size is not known. It had a speed of 30 knots or better.

Task groups participating in the attack on the Jap vessels were commanded by Rear Adm. F. C. Sherman, A. W. Redford, G. F. Bogan and J. J. Clark.

Adm. Nimitz said that on Okinawa, Marines of Maj. Gen. Roy s. Geiger’s III Amphibious Corps advanced steadily in the northern sector of Okinawa up to noon Saturday. At that time, it had driven about 3,000 yards to the vicinity of Nago on the west coast to Orbay on the east.

On the south, infantry of the XXIV Army Corps were meeting heavy gunfire from Jap artillery and mortars, but they made a 2,000-yard advance along the east coast and occupied the town of Tsuwa.

United Press writer James MacLean reported that the Army men were fighting savagely to seize three 1,500-foot-high ridges which bar their way to Naha, Jap naval base town, and to the Machinato and Yonabaru airstrips. The Machinato strip is on the west coast and the Yonabaru on the east.

Fighting was becoming more bloody by the hour. The Japs were battling skillfully from caves, trenches and pillboxes rather than expending troops in suicide charges.

The British carrier task force operating under Adm. Nimitz’s overall command, returned to the Sakishima Islands south of the Ryukyus for a two-day strike against airfields and other installations. British pilots destroyed five Jap planes in the air and three on the ground.

Latest box score of Pacific war

Saturday, April 7, 1945

GUAM (UP) – The following is an official recapitulation of Jap and American warship and plane losses in the major air and sea engagements in the Pacific:


Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 5 3
Warships damaged 4 1
Planes lost 132 66


Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 10 2
Warships damaged 7 No estimate
Planes lost 350 150


Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 18 9
Warships damaged 8 10
Planes lost 70 30


Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 5 0
Warships probably sunk 2 0
Warships damaged 11* 3
Planes lost 429 100



Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 25 5
Warships damaged 33 Few small craft
Planes lost 423 No estimate


Japan U.S.
Warships sunk 6 3
Warships damaged 3 Several destroyers
Planes lost 391 7

General pictures Okinawa as potent advance base

Much work needed to use its advantages – plans made by men who never saw island
By William McGaffin
Saturday, April 7, 1945

WITH THE U.S. TENTH ARMY ON OKINAWA – The general, who will command this island after its capture has been completed, is looking ahead to the time when it will be the Pearl Harbor of the Western Pacific – a more potent advance base even than Guam.

Among its assets, according to his view, are:

  • It has a good fleet anchorage – one of those considered among the finest in the Far East.

  • It has plenty of room in its 485-square-mile area for use as a staging base for troops and planes.

  • It is close to Japan. From Naha, its capital city, to Kageshima, capital of Kyushu, southernmost of the Japanese mainland chain, is only as far as the distance from Chicago to Kansas City. Medium bombers can operate an effortless shuttle run to the mainland, a couple of hours’ flight.

Extra bombing arm

Thus, an extra bombing arm can be brought to bear, in addition to Superfortresses, flying out of the Marianas and Liberators, capable of attacking Japan from recently-captured Iwo Jima.

We have come a long way since December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was our nearest bombing base to Japan.

Much labor and material must be poured in, of course, before the island commander’s vision of a remodeled Okinawa becomes a powerful reality.

Some of the tasks

Here are some of the tasks on his list:

  • Dredging of and pier construction on Nakagusuku Bay, the superior anchorage on the east coast, and on Chimu Bay, her sister anchorage on the north side of the west coast.

  • Development of Okinawa’s six airfields into longer, sturdier airdromes.

  • Transformation of the present “excellent network of poor roads” into several hundred miles of two-lane, modern, coral highways so that approaches can be made from two directions to any point on the island, at present a physical impossibility.

  • Hospitals for Navy and Army personnel and Okinawa civilians.

  • A health program for civilians, who are fortunately proving to be friendly, and a general effort to improve island sanitation.

Twice size of Guam

Okinawa, 60 miles in length and three to 10 miles wife, is more than twice the size of Guam, and it has a better climate. At present what construction is being done is exclusively for tactical purposes. but the island commander is ready with complete plans when his Marines and doughboys finish occupying the ground.

Incidentally, the commander is pretty proud of these plans, which bright young men on his staff drew up while thousands of miles away, with the aid only of photographs and maps. None of these “architects” had ever laid eyes on the place. Now they are able to start walking over the ground and checking their plans.

And the plans are proving to be so well drawn, according to the commander, that no changes are necessary.

“Even the sites we chose for dump locations are right on the beam,” says he, proudly.

U.S. Navy Department (April 8, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 326

On the afternoon of April 7 (East Longitude Date), the XXIV Army Corps drove into heavily defended terrain in the southern sector of Okinawa and captured the villages of Uchitomari and Kaniku. The enemy resisted stubbornly from numerous pillboxes and blockhouses which are emplaced to take full advantage of the broken terrain. In the north, Marines of the III Amphibious Corps continued to move northward rapidly against negligible opposition. Four enemy aircraft appeared in the Okinawa area on April 7 and all were shot down.

On the following day, XXIV Corps troops made small gains against heavy opposition in the south. By 1800 of that date the front line on their right had moved forward about 200 yards and on the left about 400 yards. Heavy artillery was used by the enemy throughout the night and day. Our troops are being supported by ships’ gunfire, carrier aircraft and field artillery. In the northern sector of the island on April 8, Marines of the III Amphibious Corps had moved 3,000 to 4,800 yards westward along Motobu peninsula by nightfall.

Fighters of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing have begun to use the captured airfields on Okinawa. MajGen F. P. Mulcahy, USMC, is present in command of the tactical air forces on shore at Okinawa. Nine enemy aircraft were destroyed on April 8 by various forces.

By the end of April 7, 30,000 civilians were under care of the U.S. Military Government on Okinawa. Native housing is being utilized fully.

Carrier aircraft attacked shipping and installations in the area of the Amami group on April 8. A small cargo ship was set afire and a lugger destroyed.

Vorarlberger Tagblatt (April 9, 1945)

Japans Flotte griff ein

4 US-Schlachtschiffe versenkt und schwer beschädigt

Tokio – In die schweren Kämpfe im Gebiete der Ryukyu-Inseln hat jetzt auch die japanische Flotte aktiv mit großem Erfolg eingegriffen.

Wie es in einem Bericht des kaiserlichen Hauptquartiers heißt, führten japanische Lufteinheiten und Kriegsschiffe in der Nacht zum 5. April wiederholt Angriffe gegen feindliche Flottenverbande im Gebiete der Okinawa-Insel und versenkten zwei ausgebaute Flugzeugträger, 1 Schlachtschiff, 6 Kriegsschiffe unbekannten Typs, 1 Zerstörer und 5 Transporter.

Schwer beschädigt wurden: 3 weitere US-Schlachtschiffe, 3 Kreuzer, 6 Kriegsschiffe nicht näher bezeichneten Typs und 7 Transporter.

Auf japanischer Seite gingen verloren: ein Schlachtschiff, 1 Kreuzer und 3 Zerstörer, die gesunken find.

U.S. Navy Department (April 9, 1945)

CINCPOA Communiqué No. 327

About half of Motobu Peninsula was brought under U.S. control by Marines of the III Amphibious Corps on Okinawa on April 9 (East Longitude Date). A general advance of 3,000 to 4,000 yards was made during the day against opposition which continued to be scattered and ineffective. Advance elements of the III Corps on Ishikawa Isthmus were reported in the vicinity of Kushibaru Town.

The XXIV Army Corps made small local gains in the southern sector against enemy opposition which continued to be heavy. The volume of enemy small arms and machine-gun fire on the southern front increased during the day of April 9, and mortar and artillery fire continued to be heavy. Heavy gunfire from fleet units was concentrated on enemy installations in southern Okinawa during the day resulting in destruction of guns, emplacements, barracks, and small craft. Carrier aircraft from the Pacific Fleet and both Army and Marine artillery supported the attacking U.S. Army troops. During the evening of April 9, about 10 enemy aircraft attacked our forces in the area of Okinawa. Seven were destroyed.

Army Black Widow night-fighters attacked targets in the Bonins on the nights of April 8 and 9. Army Mustangs of the VII Fighter Command made daylight attacks on enemy installations in the Bonins on the same dates.

Ammunition dumps, storage dumps, buildings and other installations in the Palaus were destroyed on April 8 and 9 by Corsair fighters and Avenger torpedo planes of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing.

A single search Privateer of Fleet Air Wing Two bombed installations on Wake Island on the night of April 8.

On the same date, Helldiver bombers of the 4th MarAirWing continued neutralizing attacks on enemy positions in the Marshalls.

CINCPOA Press Release No. 65

For Immediate Release
April 9, 1945

During the heaviest aerial attacks on our forces around Okinawa on 8 April (East Longitude Date), VADM Richmond Kelly Turner, USN, received the following report via voice radio from a minesweeper under his command:

We have been hit twice in attacks by two aircraft but we splashed the third one. Six wounded in action. We are now taking a damaged destroyer in tow.

The Pittsburgh Press (April 9, 1945)

Wedge driven into Jap line on Okinawa

U.S. invaders seize third of island

Gaining on Okinawa, U.S. forces held more than a third of the Jap island. On the southern sector, U.S. Army troops drove a wedge into the Jap defense line above Naha. On the north, U.S. Marines drove to cut off the Motobu Peninsula.

GUAM (UP) – U.S. Tenth Army troops have wedged into the enemy’s first major defense line before Naha, capital of Okinawa, in fighting approaching the fury of the bloody Iwo campaign, front reports said today.

Casualties on both sides were mounting, but the Americans were killing three to 18 Japs for every American killed, United Press writer Mac R. Johnson reported from the invasion flagship.

Soldiers of the XXIV Corps penetrated the first Jap defense line in slugging advances of 200 to 400 yards yesterday after capturing Uchitomari, four miles north of Naha, and Kaniku, 4½ miles northeast, Saturday.

Hold third of island

The advances, coupled with an almost unopposed Marine push in Central Okinawa, brought one-third or more of the island under American control as the invasion entered its second week.

As on Iwo, the Jap defenders of Naha were fighting from caves, interlocking pillboxes and other strongpoints on heights from which they could sweep the advancing Americans with crossfire.

Frequent hand-to-hand combats were developing as the Americans hit deeper into defenses manned by upwards of 60,000 Japs. One knoll alone was found to have as many as 15 entrances to its underground tunnels and caverns, where large quantities of supplies and ammunition were found.

At night, the Japs were attempting their favorite tactics of infiltration. Some American troops were killing Japs within two or three of their foxholes in the night blackness.

Japanese batteries opened fire on American guns emplaced on Keise Island, some eight miles west of Naha, and a violent artillery battle followed. U.S. battleships silenced the enemy guns.

Use captured airfields

Despite the fury of the fighting, Col. Brainard Prescott of East Aurora, New York, a Tenth Army staff officer, said casualties on Okinawa were much less than originally estimated.

Marines of the III Amphibious Corps drove another 3,000 to 4,000 yards north along the Motobu Peninsula in Central Okinawa against almost nonexistent resistance.

The advance was rapidly cutting off the peninsula and threatening to engulf 17 villages. Its pace indicated the Marines soon would have all Northern Okinawa in their hands, enabling them to turn back south to reinforce the drive on Naha, a city of 65,000.

Marine fighters were already using the two captured airfields in Central Okinawa.

Thirteen enemy planes were shot down by U.S. aircraft and anti-aircraft guns Saturday and Sunday in the Okinawa area.

By Saturday night, a communiqué said, 30,000 Okinawa civilians were being cared for by the U.S. Military Government on the island.