Okinawa – June 1945

Last picture ever taken of Lt.Gen. Buckner, the day before he died

By 10 June, the Marines had captured Yuza Hill.  The 10th US Army suffered severe casualties before they and the USMC advanced to Kunishi Ridge, the western anchor of the Japanese defense; a massive fortress.

Gen. Buckner had been sending messages to Gen. Ushijima, urging him to surrender.  So, when over a dozen Japanese wearing white hats appeared, the Marines assumed they were surrendering and they ceased operations.  Shortly after the enemy soldiers ran, a mortar barrage began.

By morning, the Americans had a foothold on the ridge, but reinforcements were cut down when they tried to advance.  Nine tanks were used to deliver 54 fresh men and supplies, but returned with 22 wounded.  As the battle for Kunishi raged on, the tanks opened a road to continue supplying the Americans.

Okinawa

By 16 June, the US 96th Div. opened a road for the tanks to continue delivering supplies, as air drops were falling into enemy hands.  Only one day later, Kunishi Ridge was considered a “mopping up” operation.

The Marines were sent to Mezado and Kuwango ridges where the enemy fire though intense, was short-lived.  Meanwhile, the Army moved down the Pacific side of the island encountering the enemy at Yaeju Dake-Yuza Dake Escarpment.  Naval gunfire and artillery smothered the enemy as the 10th Army proceeded hill by hill toward the tip of Okinawa, up Hill 89, Ushijima’s headquarters near Mabuni.

18th June – the 8th Marines moved into the line contribute their fresh, full strength to the slow drive.  Army Gen. Buckner decided to leave the outpost he was at and found himself on a hill which afforded him a view of what was actually going on up at the front.  He paused to watch for a few moments.

Oroku Peninsula where Japanese base force made their last stand

By this time, the Japanese artillery had been reduced to next to nothing, no shells had fallen in that area all morning.  However, by some devious quirk of fate, a lone gun somewhere in the shrinking ranks of the enemy let go a few rounds.  The first one felled the general, but no one else near him was injured.  He died before they could evacuate him.

Gen. Geiger took over the command and followed what his late chief would have done.  This was the first instance of a Marine officer commanding an Army unit of that size, though in WWI, MGen. Lejeune had commanded the Army’s Second Division in several operations.

Ambulance jeep, Okinawa

Although Allied land forces were entirely composed of U.S. units, the British Pacific Fleet (BPF; known to the U.S. Navy as Task Force 57) provided about a quarter of Allied naval air power (450 planes). It comprised many ships, including 50 warships of which 17 were aircraft carriers, but while the British armored flight decks meant that fewer planes could be carried in a single aircraft carrier, they were more resistant to kamikaze strikes. Although all the aircraft carriers were provided by the UK, the carrier group was a combined Commonwealth fleet with British, Canadian Australian  and New Zealand ships and personnel. Their mission was to neutralize Japanese airfields in the Sakishima Islands and provide air cover against Japanese kamikaze attacks.

Click on images to enlarge.

############################################################################################

Current News – 

Information on the upcoming events of the Bataan Legacy Historical Society….

http://bataanlegacy.org/future-events.html

Information contributed by Nasuko

############################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

############################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Robert J. Andrews – Colorado Springs, CO; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 31 y.)

Rosetta Brobst – Laceyville, PA; WWII, US Army, nurse

Athol Currin – Wanganui, NZ; RSA # 816777, J Force 22nd Batt/42 Squadron

Robert Dole – Pearl City, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 665th Ordnance Co.

Dennis Garbis – Falls Church, VA; Vietnam, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 20 y.), Bronze Star

John McCain – Alexandria, VA; US Navy, Vietnam, pilot, USS Forrestal, POW / US Senator

Miriam Olsen – Eugene, OR; US Army, WWII, nurse

Ronald Setniker – Biwabik, MN; US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne Division

James Tisdale – Goshen, AR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division, Bronze Star

John Waite – Clarkston, WA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

############################################################################################

Advertisements

About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on August 27, 2018, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 83 Comments.

  1. Thanks for following my blog, and for your like of my post; you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A friend of mine who’s of Japanese and Hawaiian ancestry was raised on the island of Okinawa.

    Of course she was born many many many years after the war so she wouldn’t have remembered these events.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I learned about General Buckner today. Thanks for educating me

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I always learn something in your posts. I’ve been watching the program Pacific War in Color on Smithsonian Channel. They had one episode on the battle for Okinawa just recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gen. Bruckner was (in my estimation, for the little that is worth) one of the finest General Officers of the war. • I didn’t realize that most of the carriers used in the Okinawa operation were from the Royal Navy. The metal flight decks were certainly good to have vs. the wooden decks of the U.S. Navy when the kamikaze attacks were happening!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dat je er plots niet meer kan zijn .Het lot beslist wanneer je ergens op het verkeerde moment on de verkeerde plek bent.

    Like

    • Het is net als dat oude gezegde over je nummer dat opstaat. Al die granaatscherven die rondvliegen en alleen de generaal wordt geraakt, het moest een lot zijn.

      Like

  8. Michael Scaravillo

    Steve great historical overview Thanks! What was your rank and unit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I did not serve. I was about to join the Army when my father, Smitty, (who never demanded anything) demanded I not join. I still regret not going, but he probably saved my life being as it was the height of the Vietnam War. I ended up there for a short time with a press group.

      Like

  9. A very interesting post. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear,GP Cox,
    Open this comment or Not,Can I leave it to you?

    I read your Link,Thank you!
    I moved the link to see easily to the top of my blog.
    At the same time, I also moved the atomic bomb link for British who is half a sleep and just muttering some gibberish,yet.
    Though,The official document of Atomic bomb ” the Quebec Agreement(1943)” “the Hyde Park Agreement(1944)” is published in the 1970s,It is amazing that there are still British who do not know about it,yet.
    “Hyde Park Agreement “maneuver of Winston Churchill(UK)
    https://nasudanasuko.wordpress.com/2018/08/28/hyde-park-agreement-maneuver-of-winston-churchilluk/

    I especially despise ppl who betray PINOY↓ fighting for independence of their home country “Republika ng Pilipinas”.
    http://pinoy-culture.com/category/history/

    Have a good day! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a good day as well, Nasuko.
      Frankly I think Churchill was more eager to beat the Russians in developing the bomb than using it on Japan. When his scientists could not split the atom, that’s when he talked FDR into helping him and these agreements were set up. FDR used money without Congress knowing about it, even his vice-President Truman was unaware of his goings on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I am afraid I deleted your other comment for a couple of reasons.
      Our two countries adore each other and our people like each other. Nothing here in discussing the war can influence that feeling of friendship we have today. I try to write these posts without my feelings involved, simply facts. Hopefully I do not show my dislike of FDR and Churchill in the posts, my opinion does not matter. I try with due diligence to publish each post as though I was simply the narrator standing aside and reporting the events.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand.
        When talking about this war, Anti-Japanese must admit the following points.
        Fake Story are exposed, already.

        WW 2 was the War to change the World to communism by Roosevelt(USA), Stalin(Soviet) and Churchill(UK).
        The Pacific War was to destroy Japan which was obstacle to make China to Communism.

        People who believe in Roosevelt’s “Quarantine Speech” in 1937 are lack of study and OUTDATED.

        Japan did NOT violate the Paris Convention.
        Manchuria is a self-defense war because Japan’s related areas.
        However, the US and the UK did not acknowledge against Japan.
        But,US and UK did Not blame which The Soviet Union invaded Manchuria.

        Well, I will end my story here.
        We Japanese keep going towards our Future with Keep head up with our friends, USA,Russian,UK,Australian,etc…who are Not Anti-Japanese and studying correctly..

        Good night and Bye! 😀

        Like

  11. The Japanese played some very dirty tricks. It’s a wonder any were taken prisoner at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s quite a story about General Buckner. I’m curious whether he might have been disregarding protocols to be in such an exposed location. Perhaps not: I don’t know how things are (or were) done on the field of battle. Still, it’s a story that cuts at least two ways: (1) it’s always good to maintain situational awareness, and (2) you never can tell what’s coming next.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a tricky thing to do—show up in white, pretending to surrender. But I guess all is fair in love and war. Sad about General Buckner though. And all the others who died.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I dread to think what the Japanese would have done had it ever been necessary to invade the home islands.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is not the first time I read about a general of the US army, who risked his life in the middle of a ferocious battle. Gen. Buckner could have easily assigned this important reconnaissance job to one of his soldiers. But he felt it was more important to see for himself. He is the type of leader that the common soldier admires and respects.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on S'amusing and commented:
    Excellent blogging site for
    military history. Check it out…

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ll be there next April. I am so looking forward to a tour of these locations.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent. I wasn’t aware of the British Fleet being involved during the Okinawa campaign. I believe Gen. Buckner’s father served as a general in the Confederate army during the War Between the States. As a former marine, Geiger and LeJeune are familiar names. We underwent combat training at Camp Geiger, and I was stationed at Camp Lejeune both before and after my combat tour in Vietnam. Thanks for sharing this.
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  19. GP, do you ever think they’ve made a film that does this campaign justice? I know there’s some good Documentary’s, but now sure about a movie?

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was a movie made in 1952, but that was mainly about the Naval fight to clear the way for the invasion. I heard Mel Gibson was planning to make one, but that was a few years back I think and haven’t heard anything since.

      Like

  20. Interesting shot of an Avenger flying at what looks like just 50 ft above those troops.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It’s amazing how hard they fought so close to the end. Their situation had to be miserable, in terms of supplies and reinforcements.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I was breathless reading this, it just seems so exhausting, amazing resilience on both sides of a deadly campaign.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Goodness, General Buckner’s death was certainly a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The Japanese lost a lot of men in Okinawa, sixty thousand in June alone and another fifty thousand in May. Would you think they’d surrender already?
    Thanks for the link on Bataan Legacy Historical Society. Glad to know that young people are getting involved in the conference and that WWII in the Philippines is now part of US History curriculum in California where a lot of Filipinos reside. Hopefully, the move spread nationwide. Thanks Nasuko for sending this to GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I really enjoy your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I can’t remember how many times I have read the phrase ‘Mopping up operation’. It sounds innocuous, until you think of all those killed and wounded in such enterprises. In the overall scheme of things, they may indeed just have been ‘mopping up’ the remaining opposition, but on the ground, it was still life and death for those involved.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: