tv Battle of Okinawa CSPAN January 26, 2021 10:17pm-11:40pm EST
next historian mark depue details the u.s. strategy of invading the island and the japanese plans for defense which included kamikaze attacks on u.s. warships, he also describes the months of hard combat that resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 u.s. soldiers, sailors and marines. over 200,000 military and civilian deaths. the abraham lincoln presidential library hosted this event and provided the video. >> okinawa, the doorstep of japan. the last battle of world war ii and if you recall, our conversation last time about you would jima, this is a larger, larger and bloodier version of it. the intensity of the combat was every bit the same but involved lots more troops on both sides
and lasted about two and a half months. let's go ahead and dive right into it. let's start with a little bit of background. as she recall from last time, about june or july of 1944 there was a high powered meeting in honolulu, of all places, that involved president roosevelt, admiral's and general mcarthur. they had quite a discussion about where to go next. the decision was they made that finally to go to iwo jima and allow mcarthur to continue in advance in the philippines as well. a couple of months later, a couple of places later, the navy brass meets in seattle, you have the admiral's again and they hash things out. once again there is a disagreement. the disagreement is centered on where to go to next as far as the central pacific is concerned. he was all in favor to going
all the way to formosa, thought that would be logical place to go. with remembering the conversation that they had before was in favor of iwo jima. it is tough to see but iwo jima is right here, this little star, the middle of nowhere. and of course they had already decided that iwo jima would be next, that starts in march. and then where to go after that? if not formosa, the next step was going to be somewhere in the islands and the logical place was okinawa. here's okinawa, the mainland, the surrounding islands. that was the decision that was finally made and they code named it operation iceberg. don't ask me how they come up with these names, they are always colorful. a little bit about okinawa itself.
it is 60 miles long, and from anywhere to two to 18 miles wide. it's 485 square miles. remember how to highly knee iwo jima was. this is a much, much larger island. it's part of a chain of islands. mountainous terrain in the northern parts, and its central area, you can kind of see that here, the landing beaches are going to be right in this vicinity right here. it's lowland plains, lots of fields, the southern part of notes hard to tell, lots of them are rolling terrain. the top half is cut off here. it's a little bit more mountainous. the population of okinawa is half a billion, most of them lived in the southern portion. or in that central area that i just pointed out. you can take a look at it, it doesn't look like it is nice, rolling terrain, does it?
it is steep, natural, ravines, terraces, ridges, and lots and lots of natural caves. these are primarily coral formations over the eons. in other words, it is ideal terrain for the enemy to defend. very good terrain for that. there is one major city and you can see it on the map there. if i can find that quickly here, here is nadia and here is surely the ancient capital of okinawa. and there is an ancient cathedral there which is going to end up being the headquarters for the japanese for the entire campaign. as i mentioned, the population is about -- it's not japanese, it's a mixture of chinese, philippine, they are a little bit smaller than japanese.
the japanese actually took control of the island in 1879, it was one of their first conquest. the japanese look down on them, didn't think too much about them and o'connell once were happy to reciprocate their feelings about the japanese in many respects. and i wanted to play that here. this is a picture of a typical village and you can see it is very agricultural, i want to play this quote from bernie pile, for those of you who remember him he spent most of the war with the infantry in italy and he was beloved by all the gi's. they absolutely adored him. he ended the war in okinawa. >> i will try to describe what the silent looks like. actually, it doesn't look a great deal different from most
of america. in fact, it looks more like america than anything the marines have seen for the last three years. the climate is temperate rather than tropical, so is the vegetation. the country rose gradually from the sea and was formed into small fields. it did not look at all like indiana in the late summer when things have started to turn dry and brown, except the fields were much smaller. as you get inland, the country becomes refer. the hills, there is less cultivation and more trees. it is really a pretty country. >> there you go that is his description of it. you will hear that again, that description feels much more temperate and at home. a little bit about the japanese command, the 32nd army is stationed in okinawa.
it had been there for quite awhile, upwards of nine months when the commander, took control of the forces. approximately 100,000 troops, it is a mixture of front line units, three divisions, 62nd division, there is the 24th division which is the 62nd -- it is very light division, it was decided to fight in china. basically it was for guerrilla warfare. the 24th was a heavier vision. it was supposed to fight against the russians. it had wet americans would consider lots of artillery. fire support of various types, the logistical chain he would need to have a heavier combat operation. and some auxiliary units as well. there's also about 20,000 okinawans, some of the more
decent troops but a lot of them were just can stripped it right before this campaign was supposed to start. they were not reliable, they were not your frontline troops and euro see them sacrificed in a couple of occasions as we move forward. the commander is lieutenant general, an interesting person in his own right, he was the embodiment of the samurai spirit, he embrace that whole tradition of being a samurai warfare, stoic, spartan. and infantrymen, a former combat of the japanese military academy. early on, he had expressed his disagreement with the decision to attack pearl harbor. he thought it was a bad idea. he had that respect for the american military force in their potential. he is described as ramrod straight, unshakable self control, very well respected
and admired by his soldiers cross the line. he takes command of the 32nd army in august of 1944, it's really about that time that we see them doing some serious preparation. they figure that's when the americans would be. the other commander here when featuring is lieutenant general cho. he is the chief of staff, he is a very different kind of person. he is a hothead. that's the best way to describe him, very quick temper and here's one of the fascinating parts to me, he was anti-democratic, anti-cabalistic, was in favor of a military dictatorship to the point where in 1931 he had participated in a coup to overthrow the prime minister. the coup failed, what happens then to an american who do
something like that? it would be bad news. it was bad news for cho as well, they sent him up to manchuria. he stays in the army. that's what happened to people in the time. that tells you a lot about the nature of japanese governments in the military at that time. he can survive in the system, to a certain extent. in fact/ñz in the incident and a couple of the incidents that leads the japanese getting involved with major combat operations in first manchuria and then china. he's right in the midst of this. they are instigating these things and draw a hand into these major wars. that's who he is. he is also something of a sophisticated, he likes to have nice things around him. here's a quote i found. he loved the best scotch
whiskey, the finest psaki in the prettiest women. that tells you a little bit about who cho is. a little bit more about the japanese defense. the ighq, the imperial headquarters in tokyo, their concept was not there was two major airstrips, a couple of minor ones as well. the main job of the 32nd army as far as the headquarters was concerned was to guard those air strips, heap them operational. to maintain and continue to upgrade. that is not at all what the japanese were there for. that's not what they thought they should have happened. the third character that is very important to this discussion is curnow yahara,
you need to something to understand something of the nature of the japanese army, they command structure is modeled after the germans. if you know something but the german army, the chief of staff and the staff in general have a lot to do with any kind of operation or decisions. and maybe even more so for the japanese. certainly it was for the 32nd army. you have him who is very much in the background and lets these cho and yahara argue things back and forth. those two gentlemen had dramatically different visions for how to defend the islands. eventually it is yahara who is the alter ego, the opposite of cho, in terms of personality. quiet, stoic, intense them.
and believe in strongly in his positions. his idea was to allow the americans to land relatively unopposed, don't get bogged down in defending the air strips. but wait for them to come to you. this is going to sound similar to you will jima. and kuribayashi saw how iwo jima should be defended. so they want to defend the southern third of the island and not much in the central area in a lowlands. that's where the okinawa troops would be there to resist. the other part of this is, the kamikaze attacks. you might recall that there was a bit of the use of kamikaze both in the philippines, and in your jima. but this is country maxed up to
the maximum level here at okinawa. but the kamikaze aircraft, and suicide boats. and bombs that they could drop for aircraft. that would destroy the american fleet as much as possible to the point where the american fleet would have to leave and isolate the american troops on land. then the japanese can go on the offensive. that was the notion. i'm not sure that yahara but that was going to be successful. but he was committed, and was able to convince others, that this is approach we need to take. this is going to be a battle of attrition, and just like you would jima, we are going to fight till the last man and cause the enemy as much bloodshed and destruction as possible. so here is the 32nd army slogan. one plane, for one warship. one vote, for one ship.
one man, for ten of the enemy. or one tank. and that was their idea. to bloody the american forces both at sea and on land to the point where the american public, and the high command in the united states would say, this is too much. it is not worth it. let's sit down and negotiate. and forget about this concept of an unconditional surrender. that was the goal. seeking negotiated peace. okay we have to take a closer look at the japanese fortifications. i thought these diagrams illustrated it sort of well. the terrain on the southern third of okinawa, was conducive to lots of tumbles. lots of caves. lots of natural caves that people could use in the first place. so the japanese had months and months to work on developing their fortifications.
they found that the coral, it might be a few feet deep. you mix that with water, and it was set up pretty nicely. almost like cement. they had some cement that was brought in as well. they were scarce on logistics, and one of the things they were concerned about was having enough timber to enforce their tunnel system. but most of the northern half of the island was filled with forests, so they just had to get to those trees, that they could fell themselves down to the southern part of the island and fortify. one pitcher is deceiving. you can see clearly, these caves that had been dug into the side of the hill. that would not be the case when the americans first got there. i am sure that the americans were in this off, this was afterwards. they would have been very well hidden. and incredibly hard to find. and you can see how deep they michael.
35 feet. oh my gosh. that is deep. they would be very they would dig very deep. the goal was to have fortifications to the point where it was impervious to enemy shelling. to bombardment of any type. whether it be naval bombardment, or heavy and medium bombers. or fighter aircraft coming in on this. that is what they did. they had nine months, they built this very intricate system. you can see in both of these, how small the aperture is. that they want to expose to the enemy. and impossible to find in the first place, and very difficult to destroy once you do located. the problem is, this kind of a position, very much limits the fire that the japanese can have. limits their fields of fire going back and forth. they would solve that problem, to a certain extent by having a huge number of these bunkers in
position that mutually support each other. as americans were advancing on it. so, i want to mention one other thing. as i mentioned surrey castle, which is where the headquarters of the japanese were. that was 5260 feet deep. they were determined nothing was going to be able to get to them. and incredible tunnels, connecting positions that can provide support for over 1000 headquartered troops. and anything in everything you can imagine and will stop and provision, to include the generals luxury items i might add. there were even 30 young one in their, 12 japanese and 18 okinawa women, who were helping with clerical duties and other things. you can imagine with the other things might be.
okay so that is the japanese. spending months preparing for the americans. let's take a look at the allied command. cleat admiral was nimitz. the operational commander on the ground is edinburgh that spruance. he is commander of the fifth fleet. he is stoic himself very quiet. and he believed in, was pushing power, to give us much latitude as possible to his subordinates. and he was the hero of midway. he was the hero of the middle of the philippine sea. people like fdr were willing to as tolerate his idiosyncrasies, and his flagship was the uss indianapolis. that is the ship that carries
the atomic bomb. and it was some afterwards. after it had been selected. anyways, spruance would walk up and down the deck, of the indianapolis, in his shorts, no shirt. white socks and black shoes. thinking, three to four hours at a time. thinking about things. that tells you a bit about the personality of spruance. admiral richmond turner. 1908 graduate of west point. of the u.s. naval academy. yes, he would be fuming if you hear me make that mistake. he was the brains behind the navy and marines and cbs operations. he developed the notion of and finneas landings early in the war. he will have the responsibility
of all amphibious forces, including the third amphibious core. three marine divisions. not sure how marines feel about having a navy officer command them. but that is how the command structure worked. lieutenant general simon buck near junior. that should ring a bell. if you are a civil war buff. his father, was the one who surrendered to general grant at fort donaldson early in the war. he has this great pedigree. he's a 1908 west point graduate, he becomes an aviator in 1917. spends most of his early career, at military school. by the time you get close to the war he has had a series of successful commands. he will be the tenth army commander. you can see in that case, you've got the tenth army, with the 24th core, as the heart of
that. the seventh, the 27th, and the 77th and 96 division. for army divisions. here is the difference between iwo jima and okinawa. you've got a sizable army contingency there. and then you have these three marine divisions. with the first and the sixth playing the largest role for that. another general, is in command of the 24th core. thos6orvx÷ four divisions. but it will be n/#v/■or making t of the key decisions. and like he would jima, once you get into the combat there's not a whole lot of maneuvering going on back and forth. it's fighting, and by the time that company is in combat for a dare to, it's a size of a squad or platoon. that is how it will work. a bit more about the naval
forces. consider these numbers. the fifth fleet. this is spruance fleet. 17 fleet carriers. by this time, the japanese really are not much of a naval threat at all. nine light carriers, 13 battleships, including the uss nevada. we will hear about that soon. 18 heavy cruisers. including doug spruance flagship. the indianapolis. 23 light cruisers. scores of destroyers. then all of the other ships, that it takes to support this. including the landing craft, oiler's and tankers, supply ships and everything. i think underlining date self, there was something like 1300 ships off of the coastline of okinawa. now, so there is a picture of this vast armada as.
that spruance commands. he also has task force 57. a british task force. whose main mission, as i understand it, was primarily to isolate, and concentrate on formosa at the time. so they have complete command of the sea. they probably thought at the time, complete command of the air. except for kamikaze's, which we are going to speak about in a little bit. so it is l day. why is it not the day. so to avoid confusion, he would jima was still wrapping up at the time that okinawa came around so to avoid can fusion, they called d-day the l-day to avoid confusion.
the preparation concluded included, six days of naval bombardment. before this time, heavy bombers and media bombers had been bombarding the island for months. but now you have every begun in the navy, blasting away at okinawa. thinking that they could destroy much of the defensive works, for six days. much longer than iwo jima because as you recall it was one of the complaints of the marines had about iwo jima is that they did not receive the amount of support from naval gunfire as they thought was necessary. they were not going to be landing on, through -- beach. so here is this is hagushi beach. and this area right here, is not conducive to a landing at all. but it was fairly effective.
it held some of the japanese forces in position in the south. so the landing itself then, at zero for 50 hours, the main bombardment and the preparation for the landing itself it goes on for a while then that stops and you have naval air and lots of fighter bombers hitting defensive as much as they possibly could and of course the biggest problem is finding them in the first place and how do you find something that is buried 30 or 50 feet under the ground and then at 8:30 the whole force goes in so here is the landing beach itself and if you look at this on the left you have the six marine and the first marine. the six marines, main job was to get on the airfield and
drive east. to the south you have the army. two divisions online. you have the seventh infantry division, and the 96. and it's the seventh infantry that has to take this other air feel. so remember, brass in tokyo thought that is what they should be defending. these two airfields. that's not the way it worked, that's not the decisions that were made in okinawa itself. so that is the way things look. and it went very well. there was minimal resistance. the okanagan's, that were defending some of these areas, put up a rugged defense. they weren't necessarily as convinced to die for the emperor of japan as a japanese soldier would be. and they achieved their objective early in the day, and got to their el plus three objective.
and by the end of l-day the americans had 28 killed, 27 missing, and 104 wounded. and we would consider that almost unacceptable today but for what they were experiencing beforehand it's a very light next then, let's concentrate a little bit on northern okinawa. it's the six marine that had been a left mauve division on the beach. drive north, minimal resistance. again, here are the two airfields, two thirds of the island is north of that. in this two thirds area there is about 3000 troops. something in that neighborhood. and south of there, it's well over 90,000. it gives you an idea of the decisions that had been made prior to this. by april 8th, they have reached
the peninsula rate here. this area here, it's the major peak there. it's the one location the japanese put up fierce resistance in the northern two thirds. about 2000 of their troops were right here. they also had some major forces on this tiny little island that we will focus on next. during this operation, as the marines are moving north on april 12th, fdr dies. it's curious to think about the mindset of both the japanese and the germans who elevated their top leaders to mythic proportions. like they were sub kind of got. in the terms of the japanese, that was definitely the case for the emperor. they thought there would be a huge blow to american morale when fdr dies, it was certainly difficult for the guys in the
marines because honestly, they didn't know their president. but it wasn't in the makeup for the americans. april 17th, they discovered this interesting message that the commander had left. this is deep within mount you talk. easy >> to take it as a great honor to speak to you for the first time, we are awfully sorry to learn that the life of president roosevelt has suddenly come to an end. men of the six marine division, we express our regret with all of our -- with the all of the deaf over the late president. would you think was the two cause of his death? a miserable defeat, experienced by the u.s. forces in the sea around the island of okinawa. we do not think the majority of you have exact knowledge of the president operations by the u.s. forces.
in exceedingly great numbers of aircraft carriers, and destroyers, hold on to their course near the sea of okinawa in order to protect you and carry out operations in concert with you. 90% of them have been sunk and destroyed by the japanese special fighting bodies, sea and air. the grand usc numbering 500 has been brought into existence around this little island. that was the message that they read when they got to this headquarters position. it is a bit of an exaggeration. but i wanted to play a coach that i got from when it interviews i did back a marine in the six division. >> -- i was really scared, i knew ahead to pass that area. that's where my machine went
this. and i went back up there, and i went back and nothing happened. so i went back to the dump, i am showing the guys where the bullets are. the trailer was full of bullet holes. the end of the trailer, there see end of it and i am right here. the bullets are lodged in here and they went through the back but they stopped here. i was showing the guys, all of a sudden i started shaking. and i started crying. i must have -- they grabbed me and put me on a stretcher. i remember them loading me on an ambulance and i remember that i was passing in and out. i could see people moving around and hear people talking stuff like that. and all of a sudden i just passed out.
i don't know how long it was afterwards, i woke up and i see them walking. oh, i am in heaven and there is an angel. pretty soon the doctor comes and says, you are right, sun, you are all right. you are behind the line, so in a army hospital, that is an army nurse. you are all right. that made me feel better. that's what i had, i cracked up i had combat fatigue, that's what we called it. so they kept me there for a couple weeks and then they sent me back to the front lines, back story was again. >> i like that quote for a couple of reasons, one, his honesty to tell me that story in the first place, most people would not be willing to admit that they had a major case of
combat fatigue like he described. it was hardly unusual for this campaign, there were thousands who had that same problem as there were in hiroshima as well. it had everything to do with the intensity of the combat and life. this is a campaign that has been going on for life on okinawa at self. i'm sure he looked at those bullet holes and thought, how close did that come to me being killed? the other thing that struck me was what happens after he recovers? he is sent back to the front lines with the marines and fought with them for the rest of the campaign. z:qó■that little$fñr islands ofe west coast of okinawa is the mission for the 75th division to take and you can see the island has a major airstrip there as well. it is a six-day fight, initial
landings were relatively unopposed. by the time that they got to the high ground, 185 meters high and the time of each town itself, the center of bloody ridge, that's where the resistance was the strongest. once again, this is the division that bernie pile has hooked up with, and we have another quote from him. his reflections about this fight and what's going on. >> sometimes i get so mad and despairing that i can hardly keep from crying. i worry so much about what might happen to me that i haven't even gotten to brooding about it and sometimes can't sleep. i become so revolted, so nauseated by the side of kids having their heads blown off, i lost track of the whole point of the war. i had reached a point where i
felt that no idea was worth the death of one more man. >> many of you know, just a few days later ernie was killed by a japanese snipers. the buddy of every gi and marine dies at the very end of the war. very much a part of the campaign, more so than iwo jima or the philippines where the kamikaze attacks. kamikaze or divine wind, they were first in the philippines a few months before, there is about 3000 aircrafts at the japanese have available to do this. the notion was that you had your less experienced, your newest pilots, the young kids who volunteered's and most of them did willingly volunteer to
do this. most of those aircrafts were in mainland japan itself and a sizable number were coming from other areas as well. the initial times that the kamikaze's were used, this is not hard to understand, the reports that the returning pilots who were accompanying them, the mainline pilots who always were escorts for these flights coming back, would have greatly exaggerated numbers of the enemy ships that were hit and or sunk. which was just enough for the japanese to double down and tripled down on the use of kamikaze's. april six was the first state that they were used. they attacked the fifth fleet, the americans were expecting this, around the northern part of the island and pushing out many miles would be a picket
line of american destroyers. as the kamikaze's were attacking the american fleet, the first signal would encounter is these tin cans, very thin american destroyers and most of the japanese kamikaze's were in text to be attacking the destroyers instead of going after the real targets, those were the big aircraft carriers. the destroyers formed the picket line, first ones hit. and that first attack, two or some, nine are damaged, to ammunition ships are sunk. this is a big blow, those two ammunition ships are there to resupply the forces on land. that's a hindrance in the future. a total of six ships sunk and 21 damaged, the japanese lose 135 planes and most of them by
designed by the kamikaze's. but if you from their conventional aircraft. what did they report? that 30 american's back and 20 more are burning. again, greatly inflated numbers that you have. this is the first time but there are nine more major kamikaze rates over the next couple of months and few of those early on were very effective, very dangerous. by the time we it's late may in early june, the effectiveness has really petered out, but imagine the strain on american sailors. especially those who are on these destroyers in the picket line. wave after wave of kamikaze's are coming with your number determined to kill you. that has to wear on people. overall it was a deadly toll, 26 ships sunk and 225 damaged. but nothing like the japanese
were hoping for or were reporting. not anywhere close to the point that the american fleetwood abandon the americans, i am sure. they felt like sitting ducks because they had to stay in okinawa waters but they were determined to do that anyway. i have a quote who served on the uss nevada, you're gonna hear him pronounce it a little bit differently. he was on the nevada the day of the pearl harbor attack, he was the youngest man in the crowd the time. he stayed with the ship, and as it got refurbished in washington, then he went to the alaska area and went through the panama canal and win over to support the landings at utah beach, then came back to the pacific and was that you will
jima and now at okinawa. at okinawa they were attacking once again by japanese kamikaze's. >> march 27, at dawn's early light. there was about 6:32 in the morning, that was the time to attack, in the morning. that morning our three planes were approaching. two on the port side where i was. and one where the starboard side heading for the straits and wanting to get the control of each center, if they knock that out they could do it. that plane was headed for the navigation rich. i am on this area, this one came in almost close to my
friend george peters. he couldn't be anywhere else. he was right smack there. right in front of the anchor apparatus. and that sucker is coming right through his nose. he had 20 millimeter and he clipped off 20 parts of the wing. i didn't know this was going on. i was down on the other side, we had our own problems. that wing made turn a little bit this way and he is going out to sea. but that pilot it mattered somehow to turn it around. and he came back to the ship, so we get the back and on the three turned right smack into the term. it blew up. >> charles is still alive, he's living in minnesota, he is down 97 years old. he averages about one letter
every two weeks that a sense to me, he gives me more reports of different aspects of his service during world war ii. he's dummies and gentlemen. >> more of the naval campaign. battleship on the uss bunker. it's something of either side. the battleship you metal, is the largest ship in the world at the time. it has 18.1 inch guns nine of them and as a matter of scale. 18.1 inch, how big is that? the largest battleship at the time for the united states, was a battleship that had 16 inch guns. so these things are mammoth. it was a surface ship to surface ship, they could just blow us out of the water but the japanese decide to send the
yamato on a suicide mission. their idea was to send it to the harbor area just off of okinawa, right on right offshore, and sit there with those guns, just blasting away. and the americans knew about this long out. by the way also the only had enough fuel, to get to okinawa. the intention was, this was a suicide mission, for the crew of the yamato. and for the five hour for five or six other ships that were accompanying them. april 60 depart japan. two days later the naval air forces, intercept them. and it's primarily u.s. naval air, torpedo bombers and dive bombers. by the time it is done, let's see if i can find some numbers here. the ship takes seven torpedoes seven torpedo hits, and bombing
hits. it has three admiral's on board. all determined to commit suicide as well. go down with the ship. in fact the senior admiral, was so determined, that he was the last and another admiral locked himself in his cabin, and refused to cut out as the ship was sinking. that is the demise, of the uss yamato. it gives you an idea of the desperation of the japanese at the time. on the flip side, a little bit later like a month later, may 11th. on one of the series of kamikaze attacks, the japanese to get to the uss bunker hill. one of the fleet carriers. and you can see -- pictured here. he is the one who is credited for the hit. that will take longer hill out of the fight. and you land in the mid-ship,
right to the castle area. and there is nothing you can do with that carrier, except go through months and months of major repairs. so they were able to knock out the bunker hill, with two kamikaze hits. so okay at this time, we still have the american forces, on okinawa. so now it is time to turn our attention to that bottom one third of the island. that so the second day, they have already divided the island in half. the marines and the seventh had both gotten over to the eastern side of the island. you can see it's only a few miles wide at this area. and the army forces, the seventh and the 96 now, we'll with the seventh going downdfçñw3 one eastern side of the island, and the 96 division, going down the
western side of the island. they are facing the 62nd japanese division that is the lest robust of the two japanese divisions. and it is not, too long it is april 4th now and they are beginning to hit some much tougher resistance of the japanese. all these defensive positions that we've been deal illustrating before that with their running against. and the 96th, and hold on i've got butter wrap here, the 96th that runs into -- . the ridge and you can see, and where did it go hold on right here. so you've got the seventh and the 96, so that 96 really ladies itself there. attack after attack. going after that particular position. and by the 19th, the americans
have worked their way down to the -- . and that red band, that stems across the island. that is the major line of defense. that first line of defense for the japanese. and finally after the resistance for several days, the japanese decide to abandon that line, and move farther south. and they didn't move that far south, because here is the new position. and you can see that red line that i put in there. and that is going to be, along the escarpment, and the ridge and near the left boundary of the river, that's where this new position is going to be. it is in this area now, the next month that combat is especially going to be brutal. it is about this time, after the two army divisions have been some tough combat, and
ounce considerably in their infantry strength. so the general and decides to make some decisions. and the 27th division now, in the national guard division, they will replace the six marines in the north, six marines will be coming to the south, and the 77th division it replaces the 96 on the left side of the island and the first and the six, are both in combat moving south with the seventh infantry division on the east. now here, a little personal touch. it's hard to imagine the scale of, this until you can begin to personalize it in a certain way and that's all i wanted to do here. especially in the case of private charles, leo rehbein.
and i got some information about him, and leo that's when he goes by, had sent a v male, those tiny messages that the military was using, if you put on a reel of a tape, you throw it in a duffel bag and you fly back home. rather than take the way that a letter would actually do it. so he v. males his sister. and this is what he writes to his sister. dear pauline, will drop you a few lines to let you know i am fine, and hope you are the same. and now i'm in a combat zone, in the island of okinawa. this is a pretty island, they race mostly vegetables, we get plenty of them to eat. i think he's a farm kid. i hope you had a good time easter, i had not mention, april 1st, l-day was easter. easter sunday.
the day this all began. i hope you had a good time easter. it was just another day for us. only we did have an easter sermon. then he goes on a bit farther in this message, well there is not much more to write about, so we will close hoping to hear from you soon. we'll write when i have time, lots of love legal. then he throws in this interesting little piece. p.s., we are sleeping in foxholes. and yes he was definitely sleeping in foxholes. because on the first, he was part of that landing force, with the seventh infantry division that sees that airstrip. then you continue to move eastward. by the fourth, the 77th is attacking self. and unfortunately, on the 19th, is when they got the major line of defense that's when they get there, and two days later he
died. he was killed in combat. and, his body was never found. he was missing an action. crushing his whole family as you might imagine. there is a picture of the young man. in all of his youth. so that is the tool that's being borne, not by just legal, but by so many thousands of others that are suffering casualties at this time. and there was a movie that came out recently called hacks a ridge. that was a few years ago. commemorating desmond doses life. he was a seven day event just, conscientious objector. who became a combat medic. he took training and refused to even carry a weapon but by the time they got to
combat in okinawa, he turned his stripes and was respected by the troops. on april 29th, he receives, he is in an action and that action he is written up for and is middle of honor citation was actions on may 9th, may 2nd, may 5th, may 21st. but it is what happened on april 29th. it's on this ridge right in the middle of the island, and that's what he so well known for. take a look at this ridge right here, as far as i know this is a picture of where he was handing down soldiers. here it is. i need to review the first portion of his citation. >> in okinawa, he was accompanying a man on the first
-- jacob escarpment 400 feet high. as our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery mortar, machine gunfire crashed into them inflicting 75 casualties driving the other's back. private first class refused to seek cover and remained in the fire swept area with the stricken, carrying them one by one to the edge of this cart mint and then lowering them with ropes down the face of the cliff with friendly events. now the question i have, it says 400 feet, in the right up, i think that might be the actual elevation. but still, it is a remarkable feat. this is just one of several incidents, that they could've all earned a medal of honor on its own. they are awarded the medal of honor and spent the rest of his life avoiding the limelight. he wanted nothing to do with the attention. it's only after his death that
hollywood was able to make a movie about his life, that was milk absent who did that. again, here is a picture of the intensity of the combat, that is all small unit actions, in fact, a little bit more about the involving u.s. tactics. how they defeat these bunker systems that the jabbing this had so elaborately doug and prepared. one other quote here, this is one actors brought to life for me. about the attacks on sugarloaf hill. >> lee made 11 thrusts at that hill in fall back each time with most of her boys dead or missing. it wasn't uncommon to see appear fc as he fell back from a push up the hill. it's seen that the lieutenants fell first, then the sergeants. >> again, the intensity of the combat. the number of casualties, the
chain of command kept working down until you have somebody in charge with the remnants of the platoon. very high casualties. but over time the americans started to evolve and use new tactics. who is important for them to have these flame throwers, especially these flame thrower tanks into work in conjunction with infiltrate and tanks. here is the tactics that they developed. he would use everything you had in the arsenal, machine guns, mortars, heavy artillery, aircraft to go after what you thought would be the openings to one of these bunkers. and in the process you are driving the japanese deep inside the bunkers if not killing them outright. now allowing you to approach the opening of the bunker. with the tanks, with flame
throwers, with infantry. until the infantry could get close enough them and stand adjacent straddling the openings and kind of fire into the port holes. maybe better yet, a charge thrown into the ceiling. in most cases they did the ceiling because there are so many entrances and exits that they could escape out the backside. but in many cases there were probably thousands of japanese that were buried permanently in their tombs. that was the nature of the infantry. the tactics that had developed. i think the picture is pretty illustrative of those. >> we made 11 thrusts. >> the japanese by the time they get close to the line there, they're mainline of defense, before they actually got their. they were having a debate of their own, general cho, the
hothead who thought the military dictatorship would be wonderful. a real samurai. he wanted to have a massive counterattack. and the objective of the counter attack was to the 24th -- [interpreter] that was the heavy division they had, you had the separate brigade open a hole to the 24th so that they could advance the lines, take a hard left, get all the way to the west coast of the island and then circle the first marine division where they could be destroyed in detail. that was one of the plants, they also had to amphibious forces. they were on east and west side of the island. part of the notion for this, i'm sure that cho bleep this in his heart, japanese were superior to848 americans in hand
to hand combat. if you just get closem(]. enougo then we have the upper hand, that's what they thought. the colonel yahara, he was the plans and operations officer had a different notion. he thought this was the worst thing they could possibly do, and illustrate that i wanted to read a quote. we must continue to cook kurds operation, recognizing its final destiny for annihilation is inevitable, no matter what is done. their annihilation, he was committed to state until the last man died. and he maintained to a bitter and the principles, moreover, our forces will inflict a small loss on the enemy while on the other hand, scores of thousands of our troops will have been sacrificed in vain as victims of the offensive. there was quite a debate
between the two men, cho and your hara. they were going back and forth. and finally cho appealed to him emotionally, almost cried during the time to convince yahara that this is what they wanted to do. and finally he conceded and went along with it even though in his hearts he knew it was wrong thing to do. and they approve the offensive. the offensive is on may 4th, and it is no surprise that both the 72nd and the second division which are on the left side of the american lines holding the eastern part of the lime, they hold firm. that the japanese have now exposed insults. they come out of the bunkers, out of the caves, they are now susceptible to american warships, the 16 battalion artillery, the 12 artillery
that the core had at that time, the hundred and 34 ground aircraft joint in the fight. naval gunfire. this decimated it. neither of those two amphibious forces did anything. they were all sacrificed in the attempt as well, in the midst of it the first marines win on counter attack and they were headed for the place itself. in the process, the japanese flew 6000, 227 dead. to the u.s. they lost 714. no comparison whatsoever, yahara was absolutely right. and they said we are not going to do that again. they figure that out. on may 7th, the inevitable
happens in the marines. come the battlefield is turned into black. if it was a miserable enough for that time, now becomes even more miserable. the assaults, this is the area that was most heavenly defended. it is not hard to figure out. here is the major city in okinawa, this is where this castle is where the ancient council is. then you have this anchor on the eastern side. i sure am butchering all of these terms, forgive me for that. four u.s. divisions in the attack. you have the six -- this is from west to east. the sixth murray, in the first marine, the 77th infantry and the 96. infantry
some of the toughest fighting of the campaign is being done. and as i mentioned several times, this is fighting that is happening at squad platoon and navy company level. using these new tactics that the americans developed. the enemy is dug in, oftentimes if you got to the front side of the slope, and you are now finding you can go across the crest and you are fighting on the backside, the reverse slope what the military would say. the japanese are coming out of those exits on the river size the riverside and blasting away. it was dangerous on both sides. to give you an idea of how dangerous it was, i wanted to give you a quote from robert lucky. on may 11th the first marines began bucking at a ridge, in the -- town. both after a three-day battle,
the americans plotting forward by day. the japanese counter attacking by night. the platoons took the position that cost three fourths of their men. then tried to hang on with the survivors. sometimes they could, and in the town the marines found a labyrinth of towns it of tunnels and among the ruins. they had broken walls, hidden wells and cisterns. and like we saw in that iwo jima because of the incredible bravery of the american troops, 23 middle of our honor recipients. and here's a trade of americans. they love to have colorful names for different objectives. you can see a couple of them here. let's see if i can find them. sugarloaf hill. chocolate drop hill. there was a strawberry hill. all these colorful names that they came up with.
and at night, when they are hunkered down. especially in the navy, and they're listening on the ships. they might have an opportunity, to listen to tokyo rose. except she called herself orphan anti-. here is the kind of thing they would hear from orphan any. we are sorry orphan and. >> this is your number one enemy, orphan and. we we're going again for 75 minutes of news and music. for our friends, or enemies. strawberry hill, chocolate drop, jeez these sound wonderful. you must have the candy houses, with the candy canes hanging from the trees. they are red and white stripe glistening. but the only thing read, about
these places, is the blood of americans. from okinawa, where the fighting and you can sometimes, you will bear gifts. i guess it's natural to idealize, the worst paces places with pretty names, to make them seem less awful. why. sugarloaf has changed hands so often, it looks like dante's inferno. what's at sugarloaf hill. strawberry hill. they sound good don't day. only those, who have been there, know what they are really like. doug >> so why would the g eyes, be listening to tokyo rose. several women played the role
of tokyo rose over the war. so i would say listen? they would discount all the propaganda, but they enjoyed listening to the american pop music she would be playing at the time. that is why they were listening. so i mentioned there was something, like 100, 000, or half 1 million civilians. early before the campaign began, the japanese try to ship as many out as they possibly could. so there is considerably less than half 1 million, when the campaign started. but, they resented the treatment they got from the japanese, but they feared the americans. because the japanese, had told them that the americans were terrorists, barbarians, would do horrible things if they were captured. you cannot possibly trust them. it would be better to die rather than be captured by the americans. and their conditions, during the fight itself, and this is a quote from a japanese doctor. about the conditions that they
generally were facing. laundering and lodging here and there, the mountain caves and riverside's. crying and weeping, they are near death. overrun with hideous fatigue. the numbers you get, it is almost impossible to tell that something in the neighborhood of 42, 000, 222,000. okinawa and civilians they died there during this campaign. that in itself is a staggering number i think and sizable number, our combat related. a certain much mauler number, actually committed suicide. there are some film of okinawa and's, running off a cliff into the ocean and killing themselves that way. and some were even killed, by japanese soldiers, to prevent them from surrendering. or to steal food from the okinawa and's. so that was the condition, that the okinawa is we're facing at the time. and we are now nearing the end
of the battle itself. by the time you get to june, we have gotten all the way to the very southern tip. of the island. you can see there, on the 14th of june. june 12th, the remnants of the japanese trapped in about four miles. the last four miles of the southern tip. and the 18th, buccaneer, general buccaneer, is visiting a unit, near the front lines. talking to the subordinate commanders, and a couple other staff officers. and he had just, made the comment to them, and i can find it here, things are going well here. i think i will move on to another unit. shortly after he moves on to the next unit, some enemy artillery comes in, and he was killed by shrapnel. a lieutenant general, highest ranking officer in the pacific, was killed an enemy combat.
june 21st then, the japanese are trapped at hill 95. which is in this vicinity right here. and at that time, the japanese general has decide id it's time to give up. there's no way we can be victorious. he sends his last message to japan. and here's the message. our strategy, tactics and techniques, all were used to see utmost. we fought valiantly, but it was nothing before the material strength of the enemy. so. the comment was made to maybe just how important logistics are in combat. and as far as the japanese were concerned, there was no way they can stand up to the weight of the american and the combined ally forces that they brought to wreak havoc on okinawa itself. so one day later the headquarter staff, decides to
make a last bonsai charge. to commit suicide that way. rather than die in their bunkers. and general cho. decide to commit -- . that's a way to commit it if you want to commit suicide. it means you barrier got area, and take your sword and disemboweled yourself. and that is what they did. and immediately after that, one of their staff officers took the sword and beheaded both of them. and burn their bodies, so they would never be found again. so before that, and i found this interesting as well. they wanted to have somebody, who would be able to tell the story of what actually happened in okinawa. and that somebody, turned out to be colonel yahara. we're hearing this story about
what happened with the japanese from yahara his own voice. so the casualties, the death toll is astounding. 77,000 plus u.s.. that is close to 8000 dead. on the army side. over 4000 dead in the navy. and you could see the rest of the numbers there. for the japanese, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 to 110,000 dead. look at the p.o.w.'s. now we begin to see a more willingness on the japanese part, to actually surrender. saying that the end is near so it is the use and doing this it is still just a tiny percentage of the overall forces, what's interesting to me also, for the weeks and months after the end of campaigning in okinawa, you begin to see a lot of these
japanese coming out of their caves in bunker positions and surrendering. many of them after the war had actually ended. the number of civilian deaths. this is devastation on an unimaginable scale. i think it has everything to do with what i wanted to conclude with here. the aviation plans for japan, that was going to start in november of 1945 with another operation beginning a few months after that, this island would be the first one that three marine divisions would eventually be here. and then later on, in the early 1946 operation, the eighth army and tenth army lands on tokyo plane, right in this area right here. three marine and 25 army
divisions. many of those army divisions they shipped over from europe. the pacifica fleet, the 20th air force and of course by the time you get to july and august, the air force was having a hard time even finding good targets to bomb with their strategic bombers. warren mush is another interview i took, he was an intelligence officer, he survived iwo jima, 75% of his regiment was killed. he went back to hawaii and spent the next couple of months planning for the invitation in japan. that's what you're gonna hear him talking about here. >> in march there's was to be innovation of tokyo plane. 14 divisions, three moraine and
11 army. tokyo plane, 28 positions involved, three marine and 25 army. 3 million men involved in the operation. at least 1 million casualties. with all your wounded, there's probably three wounded one killed. the more i knew about it, the more i felt that i would not survive it. that's why i say this. >> that was cut off a little bit. truman's decision to use the atomic bomb, he was convinced that saved his life. who knows how many casualties the americans would suffer. if the japanese would've considered and resisted like they did at okinawa, by that time they were training japanese civilians to resist in any way they could possibly, it just looked to be a very grim
equation so the decision was made by truman in july, once they knew they had a workable atomic bomb. they're going to bomb hiroshima on august six, bomb nagasaki on august 9th. there is the devastation of the center of hiroshima. it's august 14th that you have the japanese surrender, only after the emperor insists that's what they're going to do. over the resistance for many of the army officers who resisted, to the very end. yesterday, september 2nd, 1945, that's the 75th anniversary of this event. the formal surrender ceremony on the uss missouri in the tokyo harbor, the man you see sitting there at the desk is
none other than general mcarthur. that is the time for some questions and comments, if you have any. and you already have. one >> thomas checks in and asks if it would have taken longer would be possible to isolate the island, preventing any resupply, essentially having siege to the army and starving them into submission. >> part of the argument to use the atomic bomb, it's an argument that rages on to this day. most military strategists then and to this day think it was going to be necessary to invade mainland japan. that is part of the equation. could they have done that? yes, they certainly could have. but to be able to launch an invasion which they thought was absolutely necessary given the
experience they had it iwo jima, you know the japanese for totally dedicated to the point of exterminated that entire race to defend themselves. was that actually likely to happen? we can speculate until the day has ended with that's discussion. but to be able to invade mainland japan, it was important to have okinawa as a logistical base. and in a place that you could fly in aircraft as well. i'm going to hedge a little bit, i will say this, they had made the right decision to invade okinawa. >> france he wants to know if you have any comments on the 2020 publication, 82 days on top now a. have you had a chance to read it or do you know a little bit about it?
>> there's been all kinds of recent literature, i have not experienced that one. i cannot answer that. >> we have a question from bill, let me bring that up here. bill says, i understand that the airfield son okinawa were never used by that u.s. army air corps or davie after the battle ended. is that true? if so, was the victory worth the cost? >> i think that airstrips were used, i would imagine the once on okinawa were also. i can't answer definitively on that part. i don't know why they would not be. you wanted a very early thing that did happen, the major forces started moving south, and you started having this land and they refurbished those airstrips. >> and we have a comment here, it's not necessarily a question but several of her comments. a number of people have mentioned relatives and
grandparents that served. this one says my dad was a staff sergeant, he was with inventory and supplies, as the battle escalated they were in charge of inventorying soldiers killed in battle. i imagine that was a grim duty. but a necessary one. >> so many times, as you found in this case of i was talking about. they never do find the bodies. they just have been lost. most of the casualties and death that would have initially been buried on okinawa, that would have been moved to other cemeteries because the american policies that you don't have cemeteries on terrain and land that was the enemies at the time of the war. catherine has a comment saying her grandfather was killed, april 10th was in the seventh
z j■ he was also private.enth she commented that her mother has all of the letters he wrote to her grandmother as well as all the letters that were returned after his death. another good example of preserving that family history. ■spex>> i would imagine that are many scripts would be very happy to have those letters donated sometime in the future so that others can have the same experience and appreciate the sacrifice that these young women made. >> somebody from the audience here? >> it looks like we are good, mark, ladies and gentlemen, for the friends and family that we're here to give mark a bit of an audience, let's eighth round of applause. another wonderful presentation.