Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, June 21, 2004

June 21, 1945

On June 21, 1945, Japanese troops surrendered the Pacific Island of Okinawa to the United States after one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II. Having recovered the South Pacific islands from Japanese control, the United States was ready next to launch an onslaught on the Japanese mainland. [...]

On June 21, Lieutenant General Ushijima Mitsuru surrendered Okinawa to the United States. The next day he committed suicide. The United States had taken the island with the loss of 12,000 American lives and 100,000 Japanese lives. [...]

Also, a link to one of the most comprehensive accounts of the operation from the U.S. Army's Center for Military History, coverning not only the Army's contributions but that of the Navy and Marine Corps as well. This account goes into a bit more detail about the terrible cost of this operation:

[…] The price paid for Okinawa was dear. The final toll of American casualties was the highest experienced in any campaign against the Japanese. Total American battle casualties were 49,151, of which 12,520 were killed or missing and 36,631 wounded. Army losses were 4,582 killed, 93 missing, and 18,ogg wounded; Marine losses, including those of the Tactical Air Force, were 2,938 killed and missing and 13,708 wounded; Navy casualties totaled 4,907 killed and missing and 4,824 wounded. Nonbattle casualties during the campaign amounted to 15,613 for the Army and 10,598 for the Marines. The losses in ships were 36 sunk and 368 damaged, most of them as a result of air action. Losses in the air were 763 planes from 1 April to 1 July.

The high cost of the victory was due to the fact that the battle had been fought against a capably led Japanese army of greater strength than anticipated, over difficult terrain heavily and expertly fortified, and thousands of miles from home. The campaign had lasted considerably longer than was expected. But Americans had demonstrated again on Okinawa that they could, ultimately, wrest from the Japanese whatever ground they wanted.

The cost of the battle to the Japanese was even higher than to the Americans. Approximately 110,000 of the enemy lost their lives in the attempt to hold Okinawa, and 7,400 more were taken prisoners. The enemy lost 7,800 airplanes, 16 ships sunk, and 4 ships damaged. More important, the Japanese lost 640 square miles of territory within 350 miles of Kyushu.

The military value of Okinawa exceeded all hope. It was sufficiently large to mount great numbers of troops; it provided numerous airfield sites close to the enemy's homeland; and it furnished fleet anchorage helping the Navy to keep in action at Japan's doors. As soon as the fighting ended, American forces on Okinawa set themselves to preparing for the battles on the main islands of Japan, their thoughts sober as they remembered the bitter bloodshed behind and also envisioned an even more desperate struggle to come. […]

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