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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

1. For days before the invasion, Navy ships bombarded the island with naval artillery and rockets. This photo was taken five days before the amphibious assault.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

2. A Navy Corsair fires a salvo of rockets during Operation Iceberg, the Allied effort to capture Okinawa, the largest of the Ryukyu Islands.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

3. The USS Idaho shells the island of Okinawa on April 1, 1945.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

4. Marines land on the beachhead already secured on the island. These infantrymen will continue pressing the attack against approximately 130,000 defenders.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

5. U.S. landing ships sit beached and burning on May 4 near the mouth of the Bishi River after a Japanese air attack.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

6. Famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle speaks with U.S. Marines a short time before his death on the island.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

7. A long exposure photograph shows the crisscrossing lines of Marine anti-aircraft fire over the U.S. airfield established on Okinawa.

battle of okinawa
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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

8. A May 11, 1945, morning artillery barrage kicks off an all-out offensive.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

9. Japanese rockets rain down on and near U.S. positions during heavy fighting on Okinawa.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

10. The infamous battleship Yamato, sent to Okinawa to attempt to beach itself and act as a shore battery until destroyed, is sank at sea on April 7 before it can reach the island.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

11. Army Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr., at right, surveys fighting just a few hours before Japanese artillery killed him.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

12. A Sherman tank drives past a burning home. The structure was set on fire to prevent its use by snipers.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

13. Marines attempt to extinguish the flames on an overturned Sherman tank. The ammo later exploded before the Army crew could be rescued.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

14. Engineers construct a causeway from the island to the sea to allow supplies to be trucked from ships to shore.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

15. American service members move supplies by horse in areas where the mud was impassable for vehicles.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

16. Okinawan civilians hired to carry supplies line up to receive their loads.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

17. A flamethrowing tank attacks Hill 60 during the Marine assault on the mound.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle

18. A Japanese plane goes down in flames over the ocean.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

19. The HMS Formidable of the Royal Navy burns after a May 4 Kamikaze attack. Eight crew members were lost and 55 injured, but the Formidable survived the war.

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  • Photo Credit: Royal Navy

20. Marine Corps infantrymen ride a tank to the town of Ghuta on April 1 to occupy it before Japanese defenders can.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

21. A Marine sprints across the "Valley of Death," a draw covered by Japanese machine guns that caused 125 casualties in eight hours.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

22. Marines explode dynamite charges to destroy a Japanese cave on the island.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

23. The USS Bunker Hill burns after two Kamikaze strikes in less than a minute. At least 346 sailors were killed and 43 went missing.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

24. The Bunker Hill survived and returned to the U.S. for repairs. It served as a troop transport after the war before it was sent to the fleet reserve.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Navy

25. Wounded sailors are moved from the Bunker Hill to the USS Wilkes Barre.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

26. Army soldiers move forward during the 82-day battle.

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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

27. A private cuts a sergeant's hair in the Japanese city of Shuri on the island. A medieval castle in the city survived the battle.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

28. Marines rest on the side of a hill as Japanese fire prevents their further advance.

battle of okinawa
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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

29. A tank crewmember is relocated after suffering injuries.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

30. Wounded troops await transport to a ship hospital.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. National Archives Catalog

31. Marine Lt. Col. R.P. Ross, Jr. places an American flag on Shuri castle on May 29, 1945. Ross was under sniper fire at the time.

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  • Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Defense

32. The American flag is raised over the island June 22 in a ceremony marking the end of organized Japanese resistance.

battle of okinawa
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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"

33. A U.S. service member visits an American cemetery. The U.S. suffered over 12,000 killed and 50,000 wounded during the battle. Japan suffered over 150,000 soldiers and civilians killed or committed suicide.

battle of okinawa
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  • Photo Credit: Army History "Okinawa: The Last Battle"
Published on 22 Jul 2020