tv Battle of Okinawa CSPAN January 27, 2021 8:34am-10:04am EST
then you have naval air, lots of fighter bombers hitting the defenses as much as they possibly could, and of course the biggest problem was locating them in the first place, and the second biggest problem is how do you root something out that's buried 30 to 50 feet under the ground. and then at h hour at 830 hours, the whole force goes in. so here's the landing beach itself, and if you look at this, on the left, you have the sixth marine and the first marine. the sixth marine's main job was to get yon ton airfield and drive in east. to the south you have the army, two divisions online. you've got the seventh infantry division and the 96th, and it's
the 7th infantry that has to take this other major airfield, kadena. remember, brass in tokyo thought that that's what they should be defending, these two airfields. that's not the way it worked. that wasn't the decisions that were made in okinawa itself. so that's the way things look. it went very well. there was minimal resistance. the okinaw ns that were defending some of these areas weren't going to put up a defense. and they actually achieved their objective very early in the day, and got to their l plus 3 objectives, what they thought they would achieve three days into this exercise. and by the end of l-day, the americans had lost 28 killed, 27 missing, and 104 wounded.
pretty light. we would consider that almost unacceptable today, but for what they were experiencing before hand, that's very light. okay. next then, let's concentrate just a little bit on northern okinawa, and it's the sixth marine that had been the left most division on the beach. drives north, meeting minimal resistance, so, again, here are the two airfields, two-thirds of the island is north of that. in this two-thirds area there's about 3,000 troops, something in that neighborhood, and south of there, that's well over 90,000, so that gives you an idea of the decisions that had been made prior to this. by april 8th, they have reached the peninsula right here, the motobu peninsula, this is the
major peak there. that's the one location that the japanese put up fierce resistance in the northern two-thirds. about 2,000 of their troops were actually in the motobu wince peninsula right here. they also had major forces on this tiny little island we're going to focus on next. during this operation as the marines are moving north on april 12th, fdr dies, and it's curious to think about the mind-set of both the japanese and the germans who elevated their top leaders to, you know, mythic proportions. they were some kind of god in terms of the japanese, that was definitely the case for the emperor. and so they thought they would be a huge blow to american morale when fdr dies. it was certainly difficult for the gis and the marines because honestly they'd known no other president, but it just wasn't in the makeup for the americans. april 17th, they captured mount
yaetake, and they discovered this interesting message that the commander had left for them before i believe he commits suicide, deep window mount yaetake. we take it as great honor to speak to you for the first time. we are awfully sorry to learn from the u.p. telegraph that the life of president roosevelt has suddenly come to an end. men of the 6th marine division, we express our hearty regret with all our -- with you all over the death of the late president. what do you think was the true cause of the late president's 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 present operations being carried out by the u.s. forces. an exceedingly great number of picked aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers and destroyers hold on her course to and near the sea of okinawa in
order to protect you and carry out operations in concert with you. 90% of them have already been sunk and destroyed by the japanese special fighting bodies, sea and air. a grand u.s. sea bottom fleet 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. well, it's a bit of an exaggeration, isn't it? but i wanted to play a quote that i got from one of the interviews i did a few years back with ralph contreras, a marine in the 6th marine division. >> i was really scared there because i knew i had to pass that area where that machine gun was. anyway, i went back up there and dumped the stuff out and went back and then nothing happened. so i get back to the dump and
i'm showing the guys where the bullets were in the trailer. the trailer was full of bullet holes, and like the end of the trailer, like there's the end of the trailer and i'm right here. the bullets are lodged right in here, you know, they went through the back, but then they stopped there. i was showing the guys, then all of a sudden i start shaking. start shaking to heck, then i started crying. and i must -- so they grabbed me and put me on a stretcher, and i remember them loading me on an ambulance. they put me in an ambulance, and i remember i was passing in and -- i was coming to and i could see people moving around and hearing people talking and stuff like that. then all of a sudden i just passed out. so then i don't know how long it was afterwards, i woke up and i see this woman walking down, i said, oh, jesus, i'm in heaven
and there's an angel. and pretty soon the doctor come and he says, you're all right, son. you're all right. he said you're ten miles behind the line. you're in an army hospital. that's an army nurse there. said you're all right. so that made me feel better. but anyway, that's what i had. i cracked up. i had combat fatigue we called it, and so they kept me there for a couple weeks, and they sent me back to the front lines. i went back to where i was again. >> i like that quote for a couple reasons. one, ralph's honesty to tell me that story in the first place. most people i don't think would be willing to admit that they had a major case of combat fatigue like he described, but it was hardly unusual for this campaign. there were thousands that had
that same problem as there were at iwo jima as well, and it had everything to do with the intensity of the combat and the lengths. and this is going to be campaigns going on for months on okinawa itself, and i'm sure he looked at those bullet holes in the back of his jeep trailer and thought, oh, my gosh, how close did that come from me being killed. the other thing that struck me is what happens after he recovers? he's sent back to the front lines with the six marines and fought with them for the rest of the campaign. that little island that was off the west coast of okinawa is the mission for the 77th division to take, and you can see the island has a major airstrip there as well. it's a six-day fight, initial landings was relatively unopposed but by the time they got to the high ground, 185
meters high and the town of ie, ie town they called it, and right in the center of bloody ridge, that's where the resistance was the strongest. and once again, this is the division that ernie pyle has hooked up with. he's following along with them, and we've got another quote that ernie pyle had. his reflection while this fight is going on. >> sometimes i get so mad and despairing i can hardly keep from crying. i worry so much about what might happen to me. i've even gotten to brooding about it and sometimes can't sleep. i become so revolted, so nauseated by the sight of swell kids having their heads blown off. i'd lost track of the whole point of the war. i'd reached a point where i felt that no ideal was worth the death of one more man. >> as many of you know, just a
few days later ernie pyle was killed by a japanese sniper. so the buddy of every gi and marine in the american forces dies near the very end of the war. okay. very much a part of the campaign in okinawa, much more so than iwo jima or the philippines were the kamikaze attacks. kamikaze or divine wind. they were first used there in the philippines just a few months before. there's about 3,000 aircraft that the japanese have available to do this, and the notion was that you had your less experienced, your newest pilots, the young kids who volunteer and most of them did willingly volunteer to do this. most of those aircraft were in mainland japan itself, but a sizable number were coming from
fermosa as well. the initial times that the kamikazes were used -- and this isn't hard to understand -- the reports that the returning pilots who were accompanies them, the regular, the main line pilots who always were escorts for these flights coming back would have greatly exaggerated of the enemy shipspó$ú@ were hitr( t&háhp &hc%and/or su just enough for the japanese to double down and triple down in the use of kamikazes. april 6th was the first date that they were used and they attacked the fifth fleet. the way it worked, the americans were expecting this, so around the northern part of the island especially pushing out many, many miles would be a picket line of american destroyers, so as the kamikazes were attacking the american fleet, the first thing they would encounter is these tin cans, very thin
armored american destroyers, and most of the japanese kamikaze pilots were enticed to be attacking the destroyers instead of going after the real targets which were the big aircraft carriers much closer to okinawa itself. so the destroyers formed the picket line. they're the first ones hit, and that first attack two destroyers are sunk, nine more are damaged. two ammunition ships are sunk, and this is a big blow because those two ammunition ships are needed to resupply the forces on land, and that's going to be a bit of a hindrance in the future. so a total of six ships sunk and 21 damaged. the japanese lose 135 planes, you know, most of them by design. the kamikazes, but a few of their conventional aircraft as well. what do they report? that 30 american ships are sunk and 20 more are burning.
so again, greatly inflated numbers that you've got. this is the first time, but there are nine more major kamikaze raids over the next couple of months, and few of those early on were very effective, very dangerous. by the time you get to late may and 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 when wave after wave of kamikazes are coming with your number determined to kill you. that's got to wear on people, too. overall, it was a deadly toll, 26 ships sunk and 225 damaged, but nothing like what the japanese were hoping for or were reporting and not anywhere close to the point where the american fleet would abandon the
americans onshore. they felt somewhat like sitting ducks because they had to stay in okinawa waters, but they were determined to do that anyway. i do have a quote from charles sayhe who served on the u.s. sft nevada. you're going to hear him pronounce it a little bit differently. he insists that's the way it's pronounced is nevada. he was on the nevada at pearl harbor the day of the pearl harbor attack. he was about the youngest man in the crew at the time. he stayed with the ship as it got refurbished in bremerton, washington, then went to the alaska area, then it went through the panama canal and went over to support the landings at utah beach and in southern france. then came back to the pacific and was at iwo jima and now at okinawa and okinawa now they were attacked once again by japanese kamikazes.
>> march 27 at dawn's early light, it was about 6:32 then. see, that's the best time to attack is in the morning. that morning there were three planes coming, approaching. two on the portside where i was and one on the starboard side head for the bow straight. they wanted to get the controlling center, knock that out. they could do it. so that plane was headed for the navigation bridge. now, see, i'm on the 20 millimeter. this one came in almost -- my friend, george peters, a marine, you couldn't be anywhere else, right smack in the bow in front of the anchor apparatus.
that guy was -- and that sucker was coming right for his nose. he had 20 millimeter, and he clipped off part of the wing. now, i didn't know this was going on because i was on the other side. we had our own problems. that wing made the turn a little bit this way and it's going out to sea, but that pilot, he managed somehow to turn it around, and he came back to the ship right smack into the turret, blew up. >> charles is still alive. he's living in mankato, minnesota, he's 97 years old. he averages about one letter every two weeks that he sends to me, and gives me more reports of
different aspects of his service in world war ii. he's an amazing gentleman. okay, more of the naval campaign. battleship yomato and u.s.s. bunker hill. the battleship yomato is the largest ship in the world at the time. it has 18.1 inch guns. nine of them. now, as a matter of scale, 18.1 inch, how big is that? the largest battleship at the time for the united states was the iowa class battleship that had 16-inch guns. so these things were mammoth, and they could stand off -- it was just a surface ship to a surface ship, they could blow us out of the water. the japanese decide to send the yamato on a suicide mission. their objective is to reach the harbor area off the beaches at okinawa to beach it right on the
shore, ram it right into the shore and then sit there with those main guns blast away at any american vessel that got close enough to do that. now, the americans knew about this long out -- oh, and by the way, they 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 or six other ships that were accompanying them. april 5th, they depart japan. two days later, the u.s. naval air forces intercept them, and it's primarily in the u.s. naval air both torpedo bombers and dive bombers, and by the time it's done -- let me see if i can find some numbers here. the ship takes seven torpedo hits and 12 bomb hits. it has three admirals on board all determined to commit suicide as well. they go down with the ship. in fact, the senior admiral was
so determined that he was lashed to a beam, another admiral locked himself in his cabin and refused to come out as the ship was sinking. so that is the demise of the u.s.s. yamato, and it gives you an idea of the desperation of the japanese at that time. on the flip side, a little bit later, a month later, may 11th. in one of these series of kamikaze attacks, the japanese do get to the u.s.s. bunker hill, one of the major fleet carriers, and this yoshi ogawa who you can see pictured here is the one who is credited for the hit that is really going to damage and take the bunker hill out of the fight. you land right in the mid ship close to the castle area, and there's nothing you can do with that carrier except take it back to bremerton and go through months and months of major
repairs. so they're able to knock out the bunker hill with two kamikaze hits. okay. so we -- at this time we still have the american forces on okinawa, so now it's time to turn our attention to that bottom one-third of the island. by l plus 2, the second day, they've already divided the island in half. the marines and the 7th had both gotten over to the eastern side of the island. and you can see it's only a few miles wide at this area in the first place as well. and the army forces, the 7th and the 96th now are going to take a hard right turn with the 7th going down the eastern side of the island and the 96th division going down the western side of the island. they are facing the 62nd japanese division. that is the light division, the less reliable, the less robust
of the two japanese divisions, and it's not too long. it's april 4th now, they're beginning to hit some much tougher resistance of the japanese. all these defensive positions that we've been illustrating before is what they're running against. the 96th -- i've got a better map here. the 96 runs into kauza ridge, you can see -- where'd it go? right here. so we've got the 7th and the 96th. so the 96 really bloodies itself on kauza attack after attack going after that particular position, and by the 19th, the americans had worked their way down to the mashianato line. you can see that red band that extends across the island. that's the major line of
defense, that first line of defense for the japanese. and finally after determined resistance for several days, the japanese decide to abandon that line and move south, and they didn't move that far south. because here now is this position, the new positions that you can see that red line that i put on there. and it's going to be along the kosi ridge, the asa river is the left boundary of it. that's where this new position is going to be, and it's in this area now the next month that combat is especially going to be brutal, and it's about this time after the two army divisions have really been in some tough combat and down considerably in their infantry strength especially, general buckner decides to make some decisions, and the 27th division now and
national guard division is going to replace six marines in the north. six marines are going to be coming to the south. the 77th division replaces the 96th on the left side of the island, and the 1st and the 6th marine now both are going to be in combat moving south with the 7th infantry division on the east. okay. now a little personal touch. ñg, @r(t&háhp &hc%nal touch. scale of this until you can scal5d7ujájuz it in a u can certain way. that's what i wanted to do here, especially in the case of private charles leo rehbein, and i got information about him from one of our colleagues here who works in the theater department, dale jensen. this is his uncle. and leo, that's what he went by had sent a v mail, those tiny
little messages that the military was using where you photocopy it. you put it on a reel of tape. you throw it in a duffel bag and you fly it back home rather than taking all the way that a piece of letter -- a mail would actually do. so he v-mails his sister, and here's the message that 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 in a combat zone in the island of okinawa. this is a pretty island. they raise mostly vegetables so we get plenty of them to eat. i think he's a farm kid. i hope you had a good time easter. i hadn't mentioned april 1st, l-day was easter. that was 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. and then he goes on a little bit farther in this message. well, there isn't much more to write about so will close. hoping to hear from you soon. will write when i have time, lots of love, leo. and then he throws in this interesting little p.s., p.s., are sleeping in fox holes. well, yes, he absolutely was sleeping in fox holes because on the 1st he was part of that landing force with the 7th infantry division that seize that had airstrip and then continued to move eastward. by the 4th, the 77th is attacking south and unfortunately on the 19th is when they got the machinato line, that was the major line of defense, and two days later he died. he was killed in combat, and his body was never found. he was missing in action. crushing his whole family as you
might imagine. there's a picture of the young man in all of his youth. so that's the toll that's being born not by just leo rehbein but by so many thousands of others who are suffering casualties during this time. the one that we know so much about is desmond doss because there was a movie that came out recently called "hacksaw ridge" just a few years ago commemorating his life. he was a seven-day adventist, a conscientious objector who became a combat medic, and he took an awful lot of grief in training because he refused to even carry a weapon, but by the time they got to combat in okinawa, he had earned his stripes and he was respected by the troops. on april 29th he receives -- he
was in action, and the action that he's written up for in his medal of honor citation includes actions on april 29th, may 2nd, may 5th, may 21st. but it's what happened on april 29th at this ridge right in the middle of the island that he is so well-known for. and take a look at this ridge right here. as far as i know, this is a picture of where he was handing down soldiers because here's the cargo net, but i need to read you the first portion of his citation. pfc doss was accompanying a man when the first battalion assaulted a jaggedes cartment 400 feet high. as our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar, and machine
gunfire crashed into them inflecting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. private first class doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire swept area with the many stricken carrying them one by one to the edge of the escartment lowering them in a rope supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. now, the question i have, it says 400 feet in the write-up in the medal of honor citation. i think that might be the actual elevation where this occurred, but still, it's a remarkable feat, and this is just one of several incidents, each one of them could have earned him the medal of honor on its own. he was awarded the medal of honor and then spent the rest of his life avoiding the limelight. he wanted nothing to do with the attention. so it's only after his death that hollywood was able to make a movie about his life, and that was mel gibson who did that. so again, here's a picture of the intensity of the combat to
get a feel of it. it's all small unit actions. in fact, a little bit more about the evolving u.s. tactics, how to defeat these bunker systems that the japanese so elaborately dug and prepared, and one other quote here from gunnery sergeant mike gorikof. this is one our actors brought to life for me, about the attacks on sugar loaf hill. >> we made 11 thrusts at that hill and fell back each time with most of our boys dead or missing. it wasn't uncommon to see a pfc commanding the platoon as it fell back from a push up the hill. it seemed that the lieutenants fell first, then the sergeants. >> again, the intensity of the combat, the number of casualties, the chain of command keep working its way down until you have a pfc in charge of the remnants of the platoon to begin with. very high casualties, but over
time the americans started to evolve new tactics that were going to be much more effective, and it was important for them to have these flame throwers and especially these flame thrower tanks, and to work in conjunction with dismounted infantry and tanks moving forward, so here's the blow torch and corkscrew tactics that they eventually developed. you would use everything you had in the arsenal, machine guns, mortars, heavy artillery, naval gunfire, aircraft to go after what you thought might be the openings of some of these bunkers, and in the process you're driving the japanese deep inside the bunkers, if not killing them outright, and allowing you now to approach the opening of the bunker with the tanks, with flame throwers, with the infantry until the infantry could get close enough and stand adjacent straddling the openings and kind of fire into the
portholes. or maybe better yet, a satchel charge thrown in the opening and sealing whoever's inside. in most cases, they didn't seal them because there's so many other entrances and exits that they could escape out the back side of it, but in many cases, there were probably thousands of japanese that were buried permanently in their tombs. so that was the nature of the infantry. the tactics that had developed, and i think the picture is pretty illustrative of the nature of those. the japanese by the time they get to -- close to the na ha shira line, their main line of defense before they got there were having a debate of their own, general cho, remember the hot head, the one who thought the military dictatorship would be wonderful, a real samurai in
his spirit wanted to have a massive counter attack, and the objectives of the counter attack was to the 24th would attack -- the 24th was the heavy division they had. first you had the 41st separate brigade kind of open a hole in the middle of the american lines for the 24th to advance through 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 plans. meanwhile, they had two amphibious forces both on the east and the west side of the island that would go far to the rear of the american forces to really disrupt as much as possible. and part of the notions for this, i'm sure cho believed this in his heart, that japanese were absolutely superior to americans in hand to hand combat. so he'd just get close enough to them, we've got the upper hand. that's what they thought. colonel yahara, remember, he was
the plan's operations officer, had a completely different notion about this. he thought this was just the worst thing they could possibly do, and to illustrate that, i wanted to read a quote. we must continue the current operation, calmly recognizing its final destiny for annihilation is inevitable no matter what is done. their annihilation. he was committed to stay to the last man and died the last man. and maintain to a bitter end the principle of strategic holding action. moreover, our forces will inflict but small losses 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 yahara going back and forth. and finally, cho basically just appealed to him emotionally and
almost cried during the time trying to convince yahara this is what they want to do. and yahara conceded and went along with it even though in his heart of hearts he knew it was the wrong thing to do. and yusajima approves the offensive. the offensive is on may 4th and to no surprise to yahara at least, both the 77th and the 7th division, which are on the left side of the american lines holding the eastern part of the line, hold firm. but the japanese now have exposed themselves. they've come out of these bunkers. they've come out of their caves, and so now they are susceptible to american warships, 16 battalions of artillery americans had on board, the 12 of the heavier artillery that the corps had by that time, the 134 ground support aircraft joined in the fight, naval
gunfire, and this assault force is decimated. neither of those two amphibious forces did anything either. they all were sacrificed in the vain attempt as well. and in the midst of it, then, the first marines went on counter attack headed for shuri itself. so in the process the japanese lose 6,227 dead to the u.s. 7th and 77th and lose 714. so no comparison whatsoever. yahara turned out to be absolutely right a&b":jñ yusaji says we're not going to do that again. he figured that out. okay. then on may 7th, the inevitable happens and the rains come, and the battlefield is turned into mud. so if it wasn't miserable enough before that time, now it becomes even more miserable with the
nature of the rain. the assault on the naha-shuri line. this is the area that was most heavily defended. you've got -- not hard to figure out why it's called the naha-shuri line. here's the major city in okinawa, naha and shuri was the capital of okinawa, and then it's anchored on the eastern side on yanaburo. i'm sure i'm butchering almost all of these terms here. forgive me for that. and four u.s. divisions are now aligned in the attack. you've got the -- and this is from west to east, the 6th marine, the 1st marine, the 77th infantry, and the 96th infantry, which had now been brought into the line again. some of the toughest fighting of the campaign is being done, and as i've mentioned several times, this is fighting that's
happening at squad platoon and navy company level, and using these new tactics that the americans had developed. the enemy has dug in and oftentimes if you got to the front side of the slope and you're now fighting to go across the crest and you're fighting on the back side, the reverse slope is what the military would say, the japanese are coming out of those exits on the reverse side and blasting away. so it was dangerous business however you equated it. to give you an idea of how dangerous it was, i wanted to read a quote from robert lecky who describes this combat. on may 11th, the 1st -- 1st marines -- began bucking at a ridge, both fell after a seesaw three-day battle. the americans plotting forward by day, the japanese counter attacking by night. daylight sometimes met a fresh attack to recover ground surrendered during the night.
platoons took a position at the cost of 3/4 of their men, then tried to hang on with the survivors. sometimes they could. in the town, the marines found a labyrinth of tunnels, shafts, and caves with sniper everywhere among the ruins, crouching behind broken walls, hidden wells or cisterns. and like we saw in iwo jima, because of the incredible bravery of the american troops both army and marines, 23 medal of honor recipients during this campaign, 23, and here's another trait of americans. they love to have colorful names for different objectives, and you can see a couple of them here. let me see if i can find them. sugar loaf hill, chocolate drop hill, there was a strawberry hill, all these colorful names that they came up with, and at night when they're 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 annie. here's the kind of thing they would hear from orphan annie, excuse me orphan ann. >> greetings, everybody, this is your number one enemy, orphan ann. we're ready again for 75 minutes of music and news for our friends, i mean, our enemies at okinawa. sugar loaf hill, chocolate drive, strawberry hill, gee, these places sound wonderful. you can just see the candy houses with the white picket fences around them, and the candy canes hanging from the trees. their red and white glistening, but the only thing red about these places is the blood of americans. yes, sir, these are the names of hills in okinawa where the
fighting is so close that you can get down to bayonets and sometimes you'll bear fists. yes, it's natural to idealize the worst places with pretty names to make them seem less awful. why? sugar loaf has changed hands so often it looks like dante's inferno. yes, sir, sugar loaf hill, chocolate drive, strawberry hill, they sound good, don't they? only those who have been there know what they are really like. >> so why would the gis in the marines be listening to tokyo rose? several women played the role of tokyo rose over the war. why would they listen? they would discount all the propaganda she was talking about, but they sure enjoyed listening to the american pop music that she would be playing at the time.
and that's why they were listening. i mentioned there was something like 100,000 -- excuse me, half a million civilians early before the campaign began, the japanese tried to ship as many out as they possibly could so there's considerably less than a half a 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 the americans were terrorists, barbarians, would do horrible things if they were captured. you can't possibly trust them. it would be better to die rather than be captured by the americans. their conditions during the fight itself -- and this is a quote from a japanese doctor about the conditions they generally were facing. wandering and lodging here and there in the mountain caves and riversides crying and weeping,
they are near death, overrun with hideous fatigue. the numbers you get, it's almost impossible to tell, but something in the neighborhood of 42,000 to 122,000 okinawan civilians died during this campaign. that itself is a staggering number, i think. a sizable number of those are combat related, a certain much smaller number actually committed suicide. there's some film of okinawans running off a cliff into the ocean killing themselves that way. some were even killed by japanese soldiers to prevent them to surrender or to steal food from the okinawans. that was the condition that the okinawans were facing at the time, and we're now nearing the end of the battle itself. by the time you get to june, we've gotten all the way to the very southern tip of the island
itself. you can see there on the 14th of june, june 12th the remnants of the japanese are trapped about four miles, the last four miles in the southern tip. on the 18th, buckner, general buckner is visiting a unit near the front lines talking to the subordinate commanders, a general and a couple other staff offices, and he had just made the comment to them -- if i can find it here -- things are going well here. i think i'll 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. the lieutenant general, the highest ranking office in the pacific who's killed in enemy combat. june 21st then, the japanese are trapped at hill 95, which is in this vicinity right here, and at
that time general ushijima decides it's time -- he's given up. we're not going to be able to win. there's no way we can be victorious. he sends his last message to japan s here's the message. our strategy, tactics and techniques all were used to the utmost. we fought valiantly, but it was nothing before the material strength of the enemy. so comment was made to me before how important logistics is in combat, and as far as the japanese were concerned, there is no way they can stand up to the weight of the american and the combined allied forces that they brought to wreak havoc on okinawa itself. one day later, the headquarters staff decides to make a last bans eye charge. this is a better way as far as they were concerned, to commit
suicide that way rather than to die in their bunkers. and generals ushijima and cho decide to commit the ceremonial way to commit suicide if you're a samurai warrior. it involves baring your gut area, taking your ceremonial sword and disemboweling yourself, and that's what they did. immediately after that one of their staff officers took the sword and beheaded both of them and probably burned their bodies so they would never be found again. before that -- i find this interesting as well -- ushijima 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, so we're hearing the story about what happened with the japanese from yahara's own voice after the war itself. the casualties, the death toll is astounding.
77,000 plus u.s. that's close to 8,000 dead on the army side, over 4,000 dead in the navy, and you can see the rest of the numbers. 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 more willingness on the japanese part to actually surrender saying that the end is near. what is the use in doing this. it's still just a tiny percentage of the overall forces. what's interesting to me also is 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 and bunker positions and surrendering. many of them after the war had actually ended. and again, the number of
civilian deaths. this is devastation on an unimaginable scale, and i think it has everything to do with what i wanted to conclude with here. the invasion plans for japan, that was going to start in november of 1945 with another operation coronet beginning a few months after that. three marine divisions and 11 army divisions eventually would be in keyushi islands right here, later on in early 1946, operation coronet, the 8th army and 10th army lands on tokyo plain right in this area right (k divisions. many of those army divisions being shipped over from europe. the pacific fleet, the 20th air
force and of course by the time you get to july and august, early august, the air force is having a hard time even finding good targets to bomb with their strategic bombers, and warren mush is another individual i interviewed. warren mush was a marine intelligence officer at the regimental level. he survived iwo jima. 75% of his residents were casualties in iwo jima. he survived, went back to hawaii, and spends the next couple of months planning for the invasion of japan, and that's what you're going to hear him talking about here. >> the invasion was to be in november. following march was to be an invasion of the homeland tokyo plain. okay, 14 divisions on khu three marine and 11 army. tokyo plain 28 divisions involved, three marine and 25
army. 3 million men involved in the operation minimum, and at least a million casualties. your wounded were about three wounded to one killed. the more i knew about it, the more i felt that i would not survive, so that's why i say. >> cut off just a little bit. that's truman's decision to use the atomic bomb, he's convinced saved his life. who knows how many casualties the americans would have suffered, but if the japanese would have continued to resist like they did in iwo jima and okinawa, and by that time they were training japanese civil unions 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
to bomb hiroshima on august 6th, to bomb nagasaki on august 9th. there's the devastation of the center of hiroshima, and it's august that you have the japane surrender only after the emperor insisted that's what they're going to do over the resistance from many of the senior army frs os who resisted to the very end of that decision. so, yesterday september 2nd, 1945 then as the 75th anniversary of this event. the foremost surrender ceremony on the "uss missouri" and the tokyo harbor and, of course, the man you see sitting there at the desk is none other than general douglas macarthur. that's the time now for some questions and comments, if you
have any. you already have one. >> yes, mark thomas checks in and asks although it would have taken longer, would it have been possible to isolate the island preventing any resupply essentially laying siege to the island and starving them into submission? >> part of the argument about whether or not to use the atomic bomb in the first place is an argument that rages on to this day most militant strategists think it was necessary to invade manland japan and that's part of the equation. could they have done that? yes, they certainly could. but to be able to launch an invasion of mainland japan which they thought was absolutely necessary given the experience they had in iwo jima and the resistance they had in iwo jima, you knew that the japanese were totally dedicated to the point of exterminating the entire race
practically to defend themselves and to die to the last japanese. was that likely to happen? we could speculate to the days ended with those discussions. but to be able to invade mainland japan, it was important to have okinawa as a logistical place and a place to fly aircraft, as well. i'll hedge just a little bit i will say this that they made the right decisions to invade okinawa. >> francy checks in and wants to know if you have any comments on the 2020 publication "82 days on okinawa." have you had a chance to read it or know a little bit about it. >> all kinds of recent literature and i have been reading stuff that was written quite a while ago. i have not experienced that one. i can't answer that. >> and we have a question from
bill, let me bring that up here. bill says i understand that the airfields in okinawa were never used by the army air corps or navy after the battle ended. is that true? if so, was the victory worst the cost? >> i think the airstrips on hiroshima were used and the ones on okinawa were, as well. i can't answer definitively on that part, but i can't imagine they were not. one of the early things that would have happened after the major forces start moving south is you start having to refurbish those airstrips. >> and we have a comment here not necessarily a question, but several different comments. a number of people have mentioned relatives or grandparents and what not, grandfathers that served but aaron says my dad was a staff sergeant initially involved in inventory and supplies and as
the battle escalated he and his unit were in charge of inventorying the american soldiers killed during battle. i can imagine that was a grim duty, but a necessary one, nonetheless. >> and so many times as you found in this case i was talking about, they never do find the bodies. they've just been lost. and most of the casualties that would have been initially buried on okinawa would have been moved to other cemeteries. because, again, the american policies you don't have cemeteries on terrain, on land that was the enemy's at the time of the war. >> and catherine denardo with a comment said her grandfather was killed april 10th was in the seventh infantry and also 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.
so, another good example of preserving that family history. >> and i would imagine our manuscripts department would be very happy to have those letters donated some time in the future so that others can have the same experience and begin to appreciate the sacrifice that these young men made. >> do we have any from the audience here? >> it looks like we're good. so, mark, ladies and gentlemen, for the friends and family that were here to give mark a little bit of audience, let's give a round of applause for dr. depue, another wonderful presentation. >> international holocaust remembrance day is january 27th. the date in 1945, the soviet army liberated auschwitz. the largest world war ii nazi death camp. tonight to mark the anniversary, we'll air a night of programs about the holocaust beginning
with benjamin farenz who at the age of 27 served as the chief prosecutor at one of the trials. he recounts his early life in new york city and his service in u.s. army and watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern. american history tv every weekend on cspan3. you're watching american history tv every weekend on cspan3. explore our nation's past. american history tv on cspan3 created by america's cable television companies. we're brought to you by these american cable companies who provide it as a public service. every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on cspan3 go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution, civil rights and
u.s. presidents to 9/11. >> thanks for your patience and for logging into class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union but reagan met him half way, reagan encouraged him, reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press, which we'll get to later, madison originally called it freedom of the use of the press and it is, indeed, freedom to print things and publish things. it is not a freedom for what we now refer to institutionally as the press. >> lectures and history on american history tv on cspan3. every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. lectures and history is also available as a podcast. find it where you listen to podcasts. on cspan3 we'll go live now to capitol hill. the senate foreign relations committee is holding a confirmation hearing for linda