American troops moving through Okinawa alert for any enemy ambush.
Okinawa was the site of one of the last major island landings of World War II and scene of some of its heaviest fighting. The operation, under the strategic command of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, began with 5th Fleet air strikes against Kyushu on 18 March 1945, and initial landings on Okinawa itself on Easter Sunday, 1 April. An enormous assemblage of ships participated in the operation, during which 36 of them of destroyer size or smaller were lost, most to the heaviest concentration of kamikaze attacks of the war.
Almost 8,000 enemy aircraft were destroyed in the air or on the ground. As part of the action on 7 April, last remnants of the Imperial Japanese Navy ventured forth, only to be met by the overwhelming Navy airpower. Japanese super-battleship Yamato, a cruiser, and four destroyers were sunk in the one-day battle. As a result of securing Okinawa, the supply lanes of the East China Sea were blocked, isolating all southern possessions still in Japanese hands; and the last obstacle in the path to the Japanese Home Islands was cleared.
Credit text and pictures: US Army.
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