amphibious assault

May

21

1945

Okinawa – Medal of Honor for Conscientious Objector

6th Div Marines Okinawa

On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover.

May

17

1945

Okinawa: the bloody occupation of Ishimmi Ridge

A U.S. Marine from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines on Wana Ridge provides covering fire with his Thompson submachine gun, 18 May 1945.

The 2nd Platoon had gone over the center of the ridge and dropped into a long Jap communication trench which was about six feet deep. Small dug-outs in this trench contained about 10 or 12 sleeping enemy who were quickly disposed of by bayonet or rifle fire. However, tunnels from inside the ridge led into either end of the trench and the enemy soon attempted to force their way upward. At first, surprise was so complete that a japanese officer and his aide, laughing and talking, came toward us in the trench, walked completely past one of our men and were killed without realizing what hit them.

Apr

3

1945

Okinawa – grim reality in Japanese underground hospital

MOVING UP – Marine riflemen moving up behind flame-throwing tank on Okinawa.

Outside was a rain of bullets from morning to night. In the evening, it quieted down a little. It was then that we carried out limbs and corpses. There were so many shell craters — it sounds funny to say it, but we considered that fortunate: holes already dug for us. “One, two, three!” we’d chant, and all together we’d heave the dead body into a hole, before crawling back to the cave. There was no time for sobbing or lamentation.

Apr

1

1945

The last amphibious assault in the Pacific – Okinawa

USS Idaho (BB-42), a New Mexico-class battleship shells Okinawa on 1 April 1945, easily distinguished by her tower foremast & 5”-38 Mk 30 single turrets (visible between the barrels of the forward main turrets). Idaho was the only battleship with this configuration.

The island sloped up gently from the beach, and the many small garden and fami plots of the Okinawans gave it the appearance of a patchwork quilt. It was beautiful, except where the ground cover and vegetation had been blasted by shells. I was overcome with the contrast to D day on Peleliu. When our wave was about fifty yards from the beach, I saw two enemy mortar shells explode a considerable distance to our left. They spewed up small geysers of water but caused no damage to the amtracs in that area. That was the only enemy fire I saw during the landing on Okinawa.

Mar

23

1945

Operation Plunder: The first wave get across the Rhine

Men of the 15th Scottish Division leave their assault craft after crossing the Rhine and double up the east bank to their assembly point near Xanten.

Our troop leader was first and I was in the second craft manning the gun. We reached the river a few minutes to 9 p.m. and at exactly 9 o’clock the first ‘Buffalo’ entered the water and the rest followed. We manoeuvred into formation and headed for the opposition shore, which was just discernible through the mist. Our hearts were anywhere but in the right place, for we did not know what to expect, but the expected onslaught did not materialise, and we touched down at exactly 9.03 p.m. – three minutes which seemed like three years.

Mar

22

1945

The US Pacific Fleet prepares for Okinawa

Vast array of American warships just offshore of naval base on Mogmog Island in the Ulithi Atoll, part of the Caroline Islands.

At Ulithi we received briefings on the coming battle for Okinawa. This time there was no promise of a short operation. “This is expected to be the costliest amphibious campaign of the war,” a lieutenant said. “We will be hitting an island about 350 miles from the Japs’ home islands, so you can expect them to fight with more determination than ever. We can expect 80 to 85 percent casualties on the beach.”

Mar

17

1945

Kuribayashi prepares to meet his end on Iwo Jima

Several M4A3 Sherman tanks equipped with flamethrowers were used to clear Japanese bunkers.

Our ammunition is gone and our water dried up. Now is the time for us to make the final counterattack and fight gallantly, conscious of the Emperor’s favor, not begrudging our efforts though they turn our bones to powder and pulverize our bodies. I believe that until the island is recaptured, the Emperor’s domain will be eternally insecure. I therefore swear that even when I have become a ghost I shall look forward to turning the defeat of the Imperial Army to victory.

Mar

11

1945

Kamikaze pilots find the remote US base at Ulithi

A Life magazine image of the US Naval base at Ulithi atoll in the Caroline islands. The remote Pacific location, with an anchorage larger than Pearl Harbour, was used asa staging base in preparation fro major amphibious operations, including Okinawa.

As the island lights went out, we left the club and gathered curiously at the lagoon-end of the landing strip, and watched the fleet black out – a ship here, a ship there, one or two of the big ones delaying, and then suddenly blinking out, until at last the whole lagoon was dark. Not a very successful drill, I thought; it had been far too slow. And then, astonishingly, anti-aircraft guns began to fire, and tracers sprayed up into the darkness, as though the lights that had burned across the waters of the lagoon were being hurled into the sky. I began to feel exposed, standing there on the runway while the guns fired; but no one else moved, so I didn’t.

Mar

8

1945

The grinding battle of Iwo Jima continues

D plus 3 day. Because of rapid advance made this morning by 1st Bn, 26th Marines, many Jap pillboxes and snipers were harassing troops. Photo’s of men moving near airfield.

The barrage was so intense that Jim was forced to concede the ground, and he yelled to his men that they were pulling back. The mortar fire would have to be silenced one way or another before they could move forward. The best way to get his men safely out was to order them back in pairs between salvos. After the next salvo landed, he turned to the two nearest men in the hole with him and yelled, “Go.” When they were safely away he waited for the next salvo. When it landed, he immediately pointed to the next two and yelled, “Go.”

Feb

23

1945

U.S. Marines raise the flag on Mount Suribachi

Marines at Iwo Jima 3 cent postage stamp issued Washington, D.C. July 11, 1945, 137,321,000 stamps were sold.

Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines and black, volcanic sands, Corporal Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machine-gun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by four riflemen, he fought desperately for four hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flame throwers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out one position after another.