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Okinawa Battle Sites
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Okinawa consists of many islands that stretch between Japan's main islands and Taiwan. The islands are peaceful, beautiful tropical islands, but during WWII, they had another importance. Okinawa's main island, Okinawa-honto, was the site of the largest battle between the Japanese and the Americans in WWII. For the Americans, the capturing of Okinawa would provide air bases to attack the nearby main islands of Japan, and would also help to isolate Japan by blocking shipping lanes. For the Japanese, the loss of Okinawa would mean a loss of part of the homeland, and that next, an invasion of the main islands would follow. For both sides, Okinawa was crucial to possess.
These reasons were why both sides fought so hard and expended so many lives.
From 1 April 1945 until 23 June 1945, over 200,000 people died.
Estimates are: 38,000 Americans wounded
                         12,500 Americans killed
                         65,000 Japanese killed
                         20,000 Okinawan soldiers killed
                         10,700 captured
                         100,000+ Okinawan civilians killed

Landing beach at Kerama

A landing beach near Kadena

Japan's naval flag



Naval Headquarters entrance

One entrance to the Naval Underground Headquarters

Admiral Ota

Rear Admiral Ota and his staff


Locked Cave

A locked cave


The Japanese fought from caves along this shore, while American patrol boats cruised nearby.


Some American equipment


Monuments with the names of the war dead


One of the narrow tunnels

Ota's room

Ota's command room


"Wall riddled with a hand grenade when committed suicide"

In a cave

Peeking inside


When the boats weren't in site, Japanese soldiers would come out of the caves to try to catch some fish


Steps up from the beach


A statue of a small Okinawan boy. This is where the bones of a small boy were found, along with a pair of shoes and some grenades.


Peace Park
Mabuni Hill, the last battle field of the Okinawan campaign.


Ie Jima island: just off the west coast of the main island.
The Americans captured this island to gain Japanese held airfields.


The landing beaches on Ie Jima


Small town Ie Jima with Okinawa's main island in the background


The site on Ie Jima where a famous American reporter was killed