The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa 1945-The Last Epic Struggle of World War II review ☆ 104

Bill Sloan ☆ 4 Free download

The Ultimate Battle: Okinawa 1945-The Last Epic Struggle of World War II review ☆ 104 ↠ The Ultimate Battle is the full story of the last great clash of World War II as it has never before been told With the same grunt's eye view narrative style that distinguished his Brotherhood of Heroes on Kamikazes sworn to sink those ships and two huge armies locked in a no uarter struggle to the death the 541000 GIs and Marines of the US Tenth Army and Japan's 110000 man 32nd Army Woven into the broader narrative in Band of Brothers style are the personal stories of men who endured this epic battle and were interviewed by the author In many cases their experiences are told here in print for the first timeA few days after Japanese defenders surprised American assault troops by allowing them to land virtually unopposed on April 1 1945 scouts of the 96th Division stumbled onto the oute. Vast in scope of human lives in the horror of Okinawa for everyone involved Book shows Japan's determination to fight for the homeland and the staggering cost such an invasion would have been

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Rworks of formidable Japanese defenses near Kakazu Ridge where fierce fighting erupted It would continue without respite for nearly three months as American forces used every weapon and strategy at their disposal to break through three cunningly designed Japanese lines of defense each anchored by commanding high ground intricate underground installations and massed artillery When one line was about to be breached the Japanese would slip away to the next one forcing the Americans to repeat the same exhausting and deadly corkscrew and blowtorch assaults all over againMuch of the action. Bill Sloan’s The Ultimate Battle Okinawa 1945 differs from the “classic” descriptions of the Battle for Okinawa in at least one important way The classics like EB Sledge’s With the Old Breed at Peleilu and Okinawa William Manchester’s Goodbye Darkness and R V Burgin’s recent Islands of the Damned were first person accounts of things directly seen and experienced The view is through a narrow angle lens and one has enormous respect for those like Sledge Manchester and Burgin who experienced such traumatic events and wrote about them so well Sloan’s contribution is a journalistic third person account based on official records interviews of participants and from the classics themselves It is a wide angle view of the Okinawa campaign with information on the initial planning the final execution and the multiple Army Navy and Marine units involved Still its value added is limited We learn that until mid 1944 the Japanese defenses on the island were sparse but after Saipan was lost the Japanese realized that Okinawa would be high priority for the US forces In the last half of 1944 and first uarter of 1945 an intricate system of interlocking caves was dug throughout the island some containing large artillery pieces some containing hospitals others containing barracks These caves were interconnected so that troops could be redirected from one area to another In short once Allied intentions became clear—that Japan would be attacked from the Marianas in the south—Okinawa was turned into the Corregidor of the East China Sea Regrettably it was a far stronger defensive platform than CorregidorIn the earlier planning phase Formosa had been the U S objective but attention turned to Okinawa because it was closer to Japan and on a direct route to Japan’s Main Islands making it a better staging base for the ultimate invasion of Japan The Okinawa invasion plan—Operation Iceberg—reuired over 1500 ships and created the Tenth Army consisting of four Army divisions and three Marine divisions with total manpower exceeding 540000; one of the Army divisions that gained notoriety was the 27th Division hastily organized from less well trained National Guard units Over time Operation Iceberg’s manpower increased to about 800000 Of those about thirteen percent would be casualties—killed wounded missing in action and psychiatric—during the eleven weeks of active battleWhile Army and Marine forces faced these formidable defensive fortifications the Navy had its own problems The 1500 ships used in the invasion were harassed by kamikazes Japanese planes sent on suicide missions to sink ships This was the heyday of the Kamikaze the Divine Wind named after the typhoon that saved Japan from Mongol invasion centuries earlier The XXI Bomber Command of the XX Air Force located in the Marianas Islands blunted the Divine Wind in March of 1945 when Curtis LeMay diverted B 29s from fire raids on Japanese cities and bombing of Japanese military facilities to attacks on the Kamikaze airfields of Japan’s Kyushu Island as many as 500 Kamikaze aircraft were destroyed on the ground The Okinawa landing on April 1 1945 was predicted to have 80 percent casualties Instead there was no initial Japanese resistance General Ushijima had radically changed Japan’s defensive strategy gone was the defensive strategy at earlier island invasions—fierce resistance on the beaches and at the airfields and repeated nighttime banzai attacks Replacing these was a strategy of attrition of U S forces and morale by deeply entrenched Japanese forces—the U S Army and Marines would simply batter themselves into defeat by attacks on an unseen and highly mobile enemy There were three Japanese defensive lines on Okinawa all in the southernmost ten miles of the seventy mile long island south of the landing beaches The First Defensive Line was the Maeda Escarpment also called among other names Hacksaw Ridge Located a few miles south of the landing beaches the Escarpment was a high cliff to a southern plateau held by the Japanese The First Line followed the Escarpment along Kakazu ridge and across the island The Second Defensive Line—the Shuri Line—was south of the First Line cutting across the island passing through the ancient Shuri Castle under which the Japanese command center was located The Final Defensive Line was south of the Second Line at the southern tip of Okinawa where the densest concentration of Japanese troops would be found From the beaches the Army and Marine units searched both northward and southward for the enemy but significant contact didn’t come until they reached the First Defensive Line on April 5 1945 four days after the landing As U S troops proceeded southward there was a steady escalation of fighting as Japanese force density increased and the complex cave systems came into play General Ushijima soon realized that there would be no Japanese victory but the defense of the island was aggressively followed as a matter of military and national pride and in the hope of encouraging a negotiated peace by showing the total commitment of Japan to protecting its home islands Ironically perhaps one could attribute use of the atomic bomb to the intense Japanese resistance on Okinawa which clearly demonstrated the excessive losses that would come with an invasion of the Japanese mainlandMuch of Sloan's book contains vignettes of the experiences of individual soldiers and Marines Many of those are taken from secondary sources and add little to our understanding of the Battle of Okinawa Rather they reinforce the horror of that battle and the total committment of both sides to destroying the otherFour Stars

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The Ultimate Battle Okinawa 1945 The Last Epic Struggle of World War IIThe Ultimate Battle is the full story of the last great clash of World War II as it has never before been told With the same grunt's eye view narrative style that distinguished his Brotherhood of Heroes on the Battle of Peleliu Bill Sloan presents a gripping and uniuely personal saga of heroism and sacrifice in which at least 115000 soldiers sailors and airmen from both sides were killed as were nearly 150000 civilians caught in the crossfire or encouraged to commit suicide by Japanese troops It is a story set against a panorama of than 1500 American ships nearly two thousand Japanese. Currently commuting alone by car I have the opportunity to listen to audio books And I like it it adds another layer to the story And “The Ultimate Battle Okinawa 1945 The Last Epic Struggle of World War II is” is splendidly narrated by Robertson Dean I like the way the author switches from personal stories from Army Navy and Marine veterans to the overall picture to the history of specific areas like night fighters and the origin of the idea of kamikaze attacks In the end President Truman chose to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki based on extrapolated numbers of dead and wounded as high as 500000 to one million Americans and allies The decision is still widely disputed I for one am grateful that I was the not one who had to decideThe history of the battle is gruesome and impossible to comprehend However still the book is one of my all time favorites