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June 24, 1945 – Reports from Okinawa – Bob Brumby, Mutual Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
June 24, 1945 – although it was generally acknowledged the Battle of Okinawa was over, it would be weeks before the fighting completely stopped.
The Battle of Okinawa was a major battle of the Pacific War fought on the island of Okinawa by United States Army and United States Marine Corps (USMC) forces against the Imperial Japanese Army. The initial invasion of Okinawa on 1 April 1945, was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
The battle has been referred to as the “typhoon of steel” in English, and tetsu no ame (“rain of steel”) or tetsu no bōfū (“violent wind of steel”) in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of Japanese kamikaze attacks and the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle was one of the bloodiest in the Pacific, with approximately 160,000 casualties combined: at least 50,000 Allied and 84,166 Japanese, including drafted Okinawans wearing Japanese uniforms. 149,425 Okinawans were killed, died by suicide or went missing, roughly half of the estimated pre-war 300,000 local population.
On 4 June, elements of the 6th Marine Division launched an amphibious assault on the peninsula. The 4,000 Japanese sailors, including Admiral Ōta, all committed suicide within the hand-built tunnels of the underground naval headquarters on 13 June.
By 17 June, the remnants of Ushijima’s shattered 32nd Army were pushed into a small pocket in the far south of the island to the southeast of Itoman.
On 18 June, General Buckner was killed by Japanese artillery fire while monitoring the progress of his troops from a forward observation post. Buckner was replaced by Major general Roy Geiger. Upon assuming command, Geiger became the only US Marine to command a numbered army of the US Army in combat; he was relieved five days later by General Joseph Stilwell. On 19 June, General Claudius Miller Easley, the commander of the 96th Infantry Division, was killed by Japanese machine-gun fire, also while checking on the progress of his troops at the front.
The last remnants of Japanese resistance ended on 21 June, although some Japanese continued hiding, including the future governor of Okinawa Prefecture, Masahide Ōta. Ushijima and Chō committed suicide by seppuku in their command headquarters on Hill 89 in the closing hours of the battle. Colonel Yahara had asked Ushijima for permission to commit suicide, but the general refused his request, saying: “If you die there will be no one left who knows the truth about the battle of Okinawa. Bear the temporary shame but endure it. This is an order from your army Commander.” Yahara was the most senior officer to have survived the battle on the island, and he later authored a book titled The Battle for Okinawa. On 22 June Tenth Army held a flag-arising ceremony to mark the end of organized resistance on Okinawa. On 23 June a mopping-up operation commenced, which concluded on 30 June.
Here is a report and a roundtable of accounts by a group of reporters assigned to the Allied forces broadcast via shortwave from Mutual. It’s interesting to note that Ernie Pyle. one of the most popular reporters covering the Pacific War, was killed during the Battle of Okinawa.
Here is that report – a bit shrill and distant, as it is Shortwave – but historic nonetheless.
(Special thanks to Wikipedia for helping cut my work-load down by half).