Cave Warfare on Okinawa

By the fall of 1944, the United States was in the final phase of its war against the Empire of Japan.

The ultimate goal of American operations in the Pacific was the industrial heart of Japan, the south coast of Honshu. Throughout most of 1944, the Americans planned an invasion of Formosa, Operation CAUSEWAY, to support the attack on the Japanese home islands.

When General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area, attacked Leyte in October rather than December, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Area, felt that the possibility of an early advance into the central Philippines opened a direct approach route north through the Ryukyus rather than by way of Formosa.

Thus was born Operation ICEBERG, the attack on the largest of the Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa. The island was within medium bomber range of Japan and, with airfield construction, could sustain a force of 780 bombers. Good fleet anchorages were available in the Okinawa island group, and from these air and naval bases the Americans could attack the home islands and support the invasion of Kyushu and finally Honshu.

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Author: Dale E. Floyd

Keywords: Warfare,Okinawa,WWII,Japanese,Caves,Defences,Fortifications


Dale E. Floyd

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